The twenty-sixth season of Doctor Who would end up being the last of the original series, though there was no grand finale. However, the character of Ace was explored in unusual depth over the course of the season, which began with a new UNIT story featuring the return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Finally, the Master reappeared for one more showdown with the Doctor. The next televised adventure would be the problematic 1996 TV movie, followed at last by the new series beginning in 2005.
Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor picks up a mysterious signal, a pan-dimensional call for “Merlin.” Locked into the source of the signal, the TARDIS materializes on the shore of Lake Vortigern in Carbury, England at a time the Doctor describes to Ace as “a few years in your future.” Near an archaeological dig, they find a UNIT operation underway, now under the command of Brigadier Winifred Bambera. When word of the Doctor’s presence makes its way to Geneva, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is called out of retirement. A cadre of Arthurian knights appear from another dimension, and the Doctor and Ace encounter one in a barn, who recognizes the Doctor as being Merlin, to the Doctors bewilderment.
Ace: You’ve got it wrong, mate. This is the Doctor. Ancelyn: Oh, he has many names, but in my reckoning, he is Merlin. The Doctor: You recognise my face, then? Ancelyn: No, not your aspect. It is your manner that betrays you. Do you not ride the ship of time? Does it not deceive the senses, being larger within than without? Merlin, cease these games and tell me truly, is this the time?
Ancelyn has come to retrieve the sword Excalibur, hidden within a spacecraft at the bottom of the lake. He is pursued by the sorceress Morgaine and her army, and she has summoned a demonic creature called the Destroyer, which Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart disintegrates by shooting silver bullets into it. Morgaine then hijacks the nuclear missile which UNIT was transporting, but the Doctor is able to convince her that nuclear war is inherently dishonorable. She and her son Mordred are taken into custody.
It would seem that at some point in his own future, the Doctor will travel to a parallel universe where the Arthurian legends are all true, and he will be mistaken for Merlin the Magician. The Doctor will assist King Arthur and his knights in an apocalyptic battle with Morgaine and her forces of evil. Unbeknownst to Morgaine, Arthur will be slain in the battle, and the Doctor will place his remains along with Excalibur aboard a spacecraft and move it sideways in time to the eighth-century Earth of his home universe. He will then construct a tunnel to the surface of the lake, and leave a note for his past self to find inside Arthur’s helmet. The Doctor will then apparently be sealed in some ice caves with no hope of escape, but not before starting the myth that Arthur will one day return for a reckoning.
From “Ghost Light”
Ace tells the Doctor of a traumatic event from her childhood: in 1983, when she was 13 years old, her best friend’s house in Perivale was firebombed, probably by white supremacist skinheads. In a rage, Ace broke into a “haunted house” called Gabriel Chase, and, terrified by a sense of powerful evil of an alien nature, she burned the house to the ground. Wanting to learn the nature of this evil presence, the Doctor takes them back to Gabriel Chase in 1883, where they meet a cast of bizarre characters, mutated by a powerful alien creature called Light, who once catalogued all life on Earth and then becomes distraught when he discovers that his research has been made obsolete by evolution. Gabriel Chase had been built on top of Light’s spacecraft, and his evil presence lingers long after he and his ship are gone.
From “The Curse of Fenric”
The TARDIS materializes at a military installation for codebreaking on the British coast during World War II, but the base personnel have become obsessed with an ancient Viking curse. Ace meets Kathleen Dudman and her baby daughter Audrey, whom she learns are her grandmother and mother, respectively. The Doctor discovers that the base is actually a secret stockpile for chemical weapons. They are attacked by a number of aquatic vampire-like creatures the Doctor calls “Hæmovores,” but he is able to drive them off by emitting a strange, singing sort of noise, which, he claims, creates a psychic barrier against such monsters, which have been created through the evil power of Fenric.
The Doctor: The beginning of all beginnings, two forces only -- Good and Evil. Then, chaos. Time is born, matter, space -- the universe cries out like a newborn. The forces shatter as the universe explodes outwards. Only echoes remain. Yet somehow -- somehow, the Evil force survives. An intelligence -- pure evil! Ace: That’s Fenric? The Doctor: No, that’s just Millington’s name for it. It has no name. Trapped inside a flask. The genie in the bottle.
The evil intelligence called Fenric manifests itself using a succession of human bodies as hosts. The Doctor and Fenric have met at some point in the past, and Fenric is back for revenge, an ongoing game of chess used as a metaphor for their conflict.
Fenric: Where is the Time Lord? Millington: Time lord? Fenric: For seventeen centuries I was trapped in the shadow dimensions because of him. He pulled bones from the desert sands and carved them into chess pieces. He challenged me to solve his puzzle. I failed. Now I shall see him kneel before me, before I let him die.
Fenric has manipulated events to bring together all those touched by his curse -- the descendants of the Viking raiders who buried the oriental flask in which he was trapped, including Ace, as well as the last survivor of the future Earth, horribly mutated by industrial pollution into the Ancient Hæmovore -- in order to unleash the deadliest of poisons to kill all life on Earth. The Doctor realizes the only way to defeat Fenric is to break the curse, and the only way to do that is to crush Ace’s faith in him.
Fenric: Kneel if you want the girl to live! The Doctor: Kill her. Fenric: The Time Lord finally understands! The Doctor: You think I didn’t know? The chess set in Lady Peinforte’s study? I knew. Fenric: Earlier than that, Time Lord. Before Cybermen. Ever since Iceworld, where you first met the girl! The Doctor: I knew. I knew she carried the evil inside her. You think I would have chosen a social misfit if I hadn’t known? She couldn’t even pass her chemistry exams at school. And if she manages to create a time storm in her bedroom, I saw your hand in it from the very beginning. Ace: No... The Doctor: She’s an emotional cripple. I wouldn’t waste my time on her, unless I had to use her somehow. Ace: No!
The curse thus broken, the Ancient Hæmovore is free to act, trapping Fenric inside a testing chamber, where the deadly chemicals destroy them both. With the death of his corporeal host, Fenric is presumably once more banished to the shadow dimensions. The Doctor seems to have brought Ace to this time and place specifically for the showdown with Fenric, and this may explain the mentor relationship he has with her, helping her to face her inner demons and mature from a troubled teen into a well-adjusted young woman, whose real name is most probably Dorothy Dudman.
When Ace mentions that she wonders what her old friends are up to, the Doctor takes her back to contemporary Perivale. Ace learns that several of her friends have since vanished under mysterious circumstances, and then she, too, is kidnapped -- transported to an alien planet inhabited the Cheetah People, who hunt humans for food. The Doctor is then transported there as well, where he soon sees a familiar face -- the Master. Having become stranded on the disintegrating planet, the Master established a mind-link with the kitlings, creatures that look like black cats that possess the power of teleportation, and had them bring the Doctor there as well, the Master believing that his old adversary would surely find a means of escape.
The Doctor: Why should I help you? The Master: It’s not just death that we’re all facing. This place bewitches you. If we stay here, we’ll be like the people who built these. They thought they could control the planet -- the wilderness. They were the ones who bred the kitlings -- creatures with minds they could talk to, eyes they could see through, the way I do. It only led to their corruption. We shall become like them. We shall become animals!
Like the Master, Ace also is affected by the power of the planet and begins to mutate into a more feline form, a process she finds seductive. As the mutation progresses, the power of teleportation arises as well, and the Master uses one of Ace’s mutated friends to get to Earth, where he tries to suppress his own transformation.
The Master: You are all animal now. You’re so weak, your will devoured. A stronger mind will hold onto itself longer. A will as strong as mine -- how much longer? If I have to suffer this contamination, this humiliation, if I am to become an animal, then like an animal I will destroy you, Doctor. I will hunt you, trap you, and destroy you!
Ace likewise transports the Doctor and her other friends back to the TARDIS, though the Doctor fears it may make her transformation irreversible. She is then able to track the Master’s movements. She and the Doctor become separated, and the Doctor finds the Master apparently trying to break into the TARDIS.
The Doctor: Good hunting? The Master: Yes. It would be too easy. It seems we must always meet again. The Doctor: They do say opposites attract. The Master: But this is the end, Doctor. You see it? It’s a power -- the power from that planet. It’s growing within me. Are you frightened yet? The Doctor: No. The Master: You should be. You should be. It nearly beat me. Such a simple, brutal power, just the power of tooth and claw. It nearly destroyed me, a Time Lord. But I won. I controlled that force, Doctor. And now, at last, I have the power to destroy you! Welcome to my new home, Doctor! The Doctor: They’re gone! What are we doing? I’ve got to stop! We’ve got to go home! The Master: Can’t go! Not this time! The Doctor: Yes, we can! The Master: Escape to what? I don’t choose to live as an animal! The Doctor: If we fight, we’ll destroy this planet! We’ll destroy ourselves! The Master: You should have killed me, Doctor! The Doctor: if we fight like animals, we die like animals!
After being abandoned by the Cheetah People, the planet finally disintegrates as the Doctor is suddenly teleported back to Perivale and the TARDIS and the Master, presumably, to parts unknown. He catches up to Ace, mourning the death of the Cheetah Woman she had befriended, who was killed by the Master. Her body is then taken by another Cheetah Person and teleported away.
Ace: Where have they gone? The Doctor: They’ve been taken back to the wilderness. The place is different, but the hunt goes on. You know all about the hunt, don’t you, Ace? Ace: I felt like I could run forever, like I could smell the wind and feel the grass under my feet and just run forever! The Doctor: The planet’s gone, but it lives on inside you. It always will. Ace: Good.
The Doctor and Ace return to the TARDIS to continue their travels.
Doctor Who celebrated its twenty-fifth season with the return of the Daleks and the Cybermen, as well as attempts to add new layers of mystery to the Doctor’s character. The initial story acted as a sequel to the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child,” and revealed more details about Time Lord history.
From “Remembrance of the Daleks”
The Doctor: A long time ago, on my home planet of Gallifrey, there lived a stellar engineer called Omega. Ace: Stellar? As in stars? Do you mean he engineered stars? The Doctor: Ace! Ace: Sorry. Go on. The Doctor: It was Omega who created the super-nova that was the initial power source for Gallifreyan time-travel experiments. He left behind him the basis on which Rassilon founded Time Lord society. And he left behind the Hand of Omega. Ace: His hand? What good was that? The Doctor: No, no, not his hand literally. No, it was called that because Time Lords have an infinite capacity for pretension. Ace: I’d noticed that. The Doctor: The Hand of Omega is a mythical name for Omega’s remote stellar manipulator. A device used to customize stars with. And didn’t we have trouble with the prototype... Ace: We? The Doctor: They. Ace: And the Daleks want it so they can recreate the time-travel experiments? But you said that both Dalek factions can already travel in time. The Doctor: Oh, yes, Daleks have got time corridor technology, but it’s very crude and nasty. What they want is the power that Time Lords have. And they’ll get that from the Hand of Omega. Or so they think. Ace: And you have to try and stop them. The Doctor: No, Ace, I want them to have it! Ace: Eh? The Doctor: My problem is trying to keep Group Captain Gilmore and his men from getting diced in the crossfire. Ace: So all this -- The Doctor: Is a massive deception, yes. Ace: Well devious! So the Daleks grab the Hand of Omega and go and no one gets hurt! Brilliant! The Doctor: Just one thing. Ace: What? The Doctor: I didn’t expect two Dalek factions. And now I have to make sure the wrong ones don’t get their grubby little protuberances on it!
* * *
The Doctor: The Hand of Omega is inside this box. The most powerful and sophisticated remote stellar manipulator device ever constructed. Ace: Are you sure you want the Daleks to have it? The Doctor: Absolutely. You know what you’ve got to do, don’t you? Yes, of course you do. Ace: Is it alive? The Doctor: In a manner of speaking, yes.
The Doctor subsequently tricks Davros into causing the Hand of Omega to make Skaro’s sun go super-nova, thereby destroying the Daleks’ home planet.
The Doctor apparently took the Hand of Omega with him when he and Susan escaped Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS. Upon arriving on Earth in A.D. 1963, he left the machine at a London undertaker’s shop, intending to have it buried in a nearby churchyard. However, he left unexpectedly when Mr. Chesterton and Ms. Wright discovered the TARDIS at Totter’s Lane and didn’t get back to have it buried until during his seventh incarnation. However, after only six months on Earth, the Hand was used to destroy Skaro and sent back to Gallifrey.
From “The Happiness Patrol”
On the Earth colony planet Terra Alpha, the Doctor tells Trevor Sigma that his nickname at college was “Theta Sigma.”
From “Silver Nemesis”
Ace: How can she get to 1988? The Doctor: She used the silver arrow, of course. And she had some basic, rudimentary knowledge about time-travel. Black magic, mostly. Ace: Black magic? The Doctor: And what you might call a nose for secrets. Ace: So, it wasn’t just silver, this stuff that fell from the sky? The Doctor: Unfortunately, Lady Peinforte discovered it was something rather more unusual. A living metal, vallidium. Ace: Living metal? The Doctor: Yes, with just one purpose: destruction.
* * *
Richard: What will my lady do when you possess the Nemesis? Lady Peinforte: Why, first have revenge on that predictable little man. He will soon arrive, Richard, oh, yes. I expect him. This time there’ll be a reckoning with the nameless Doctor whose power is so secret, for I have found his secret out.
* * *
The Doctor: Vallidium was created as the ultimate defense for Gallifrey, back in the early times. Ace: Created by Omega? The Doctor: Yes. Ace: And? The Doctor: And Rassilon. Ace: And? The Doctor: And none of it should have left Gallifrey. But, as always with these things, some of it did. Ace: So you had to try to stop Lady Peinforte -- The Doctor: Or anyone else. Ace: -- from ever putting the three bits together. The Doctor: Yes, so I launched the largest piece into space... Ace: But you got your sums wrong.
* * *
The Doctor: The rockets are now locked in to your destination. Now, let’s see how the Cyber Fleet is progressing. Right on course. Nemesis: And I am to destroy the entire Cyber Fleet? The Doctor: Forever. Nemesis: And then? The Doctor: Reform. Nemesis: You will need me in the future, then. The Doctor: I hope not. Nemesis: That is what you said before. The Doctor: Enough. Nemesis: And after this, will I have my freedom? The Doctor: Not yet. Nemesis: When? The Doctor: I told you when. Things are still imperfect.
* * *
Ace: The Doctor’s not going to just give you the bow. Tell her, Doctor. Tell her. Lady Peinforte: Doctor who? Have you never wondered where he came from? Who he is? Ace: Nobody knows who the Doctor is. Lady Peinforte: Except me. Ace: How? Lady Peinforte: The statue told me. Ace: All right, so what does it matter? He’s a Time Lord, I know that. Lady Peinforte:(laughs and shakes her head) Well, Doctor? The Doctor: If I give you the bow? Lady Peinforte: Your power becomes mine, but your secrets remain your own. The Doctor: It’s all over, Ace. My battle -- all my battles. I’ve lost. I can only surrender. Lady Peinforte: Yes. The Doctor: But not to you. The Cybermen will have the Nemesis. Cyber Leader: This is most rational, Doctor. Lady Peinforte: But I know your secrets! The Doctor: Very well, tell them. Lady Peinforte: I shall tell them of Gallifrey, tell them of the old time, the time of chaos. The Doctor: Be my guest. Lady Peinforte: Your secrets -- Cyber Leader: The secrets of the Time Lords mean nothing to us. The Doctor: Exactly. Thank you for coming to the 20th century and giving me assistance. Thank you for bringing the arrow. You may go now. Lady Peinforte: What? The Doctor: You had the right game, but the wrong pawn. Check.
At some point, it would seem, an amount of vallidium, the mysterious living metal created by Omega and Rassilon, crashed to earth and eventually came into the possession of Lady Peinforte in seventeenth century England. She had it fashioned into a statue of herself, only to discover the metal’s sentient properties. Whatever plans she had for it were foiled by the Doctor, apparently earlier in his seventh incarnation since she recognized him visually. At some point, the statue revealed to her the dark secret of the Doctor’s true identity. The Doctor was able to launch the body of the statue into solar orbit encased in a meteorite. However, due to a miscalculation, the meteorite came near the earth every 25 years, its malevolent influence causing calamities. In the months to follow, Lady Peinforte hatched a plan to regain the statue and exact revenge on the Doctor when it eventually crashed back to earth in 1988. She seems to hint that the Doctor has something to do with the time in Gallifreyan history before the founding of Time Lord society and that the Doctor is not or not just a Time Lord. It is also possible that the sentient metal Nemesis is composed of is the same substance that gave the Hand of Omega its strange powers and apparent intelligence. It seems that vallidium may have been invented during the time before the establishment of Time Lord society to protect Gallifrey from some great enemy, perhaps by destroying that enemy entirely. Omega was then able to use this material to create the remote stellar manipulator that unlocked the secrets of time-travel and allowed Rassilon to make them Time Lords.
From “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”
The Doctor: I have fought the Gods of Ragnarok all through time! Ragnarok 1: You are in our true time-space now, Doctor. There is no appeal beyond its confines to any other! The Doctor: Don’t tell me, let me guess. Now you want me to... Ragnarok 1: Entertain us! Ragnarok 2: Entertain us! Ragnarok 1: Or die! So long as you entertain us, you may live! Ragnarok 2: When you no longer entertain us, you die! The Doctor: Predictable as ever, Gods of Ragnarok! As I think it’s been said before -- or was it after -- you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
These “Gods of Ragnarok” are apparently a nihilistic triumvirate from another dimension who prey on imaginative beings to be used as entertainment. The Doctor seems to have a history with them, though it would seem he never before encountered them face to face.
Doctor Who returned from its long hiatus for a twenty-fourth season with a new Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy. While minor characters such as the Rani and Sabalom Glitz put in another appearance, none of the Doctor’s major recurring villains were seen. A new companion was introduced in the final story, who would prove to be the last of the original series.
From “Time and the Rani”
The Rani reminds the Doctor that thermodynamics was his special subject at university, where they attended together and she studied neurochemistry. The Doctor mentions that he has regenerated into his seventh persona, and also reveals that both he and the Rani are aged 953 and that he has “a unique conceptual understanding of the properties of time.” Upon the collapse of her evil plans, the Rani is taken prisoner and transported to the homeworld of the Tetraps.
From “Paradise Towers”
The Doctor and Mel decide to visit the megalithic apartment complex Paradise Towers after the leaky TARDIS swimming pool has been jettisoned.
From “Delta and the Bannermen”
As Billy prepares to leave Earth to mate with the Chimeron queen, Delta, the Doctor notes that “love has never been known for its rationality,” exhibiting an uncharacteristic wistfulness, suggesting that he is perhaps speaking from experience.
On Iceworld, the Doctor and Mel meet an Earth-born waitress who calls herself ‘Ace.’
Mel: You’re from Earth? Ace: Used to be. Mel: Whereabouts on Earth? Ace: Perivale. Mel: Sounds mce. Ace: You ever been there? I was doing this brill experiment to extract nitroglycerine from gelignite. I think something must have gone wrong. This time storm blows up from nowhere, whisks me up here. Mel: And when was this? Ace: Does it matter? Mel: Well, don’t you ever want to go back? Ace: Not particularly. Mel: What about your mum and dad? Ace: I haven’t got no mum and dad. I’ve never had no mum and dad, and I don’t want no mum and dad! It’s just me, all right? Mel: Sorry. What about your chemistry A-level, then? Ace: That’s no good. I got suspended after I blew up the art room. Mel: You blew up the art room? Ace: It was only a small explosion! They couldn’t understand how blowing up the art room was a creative act!
Ace reveals that she is sixteen years old, and has obviously been on Iceworld for some time, allowing her to adjust to her bizarre experience and assimilate into an alien culture, perhaps a year -- meaning she left Earth around 1985. She also tells Mel that her real name is Dorothy. When Mel decides to join up with Sabalom Glitz, the Doctor invites Ace to go with him in the TARDIS.
Season twenty-three of Doctor Who was presented as a single serial under the title “Trial of a Time Lord,” with four interrelated yet distinct segments. A new companion was introduced in a rather convoluted manner as Peri was written out. This would prove to be the last story featuring the Time Lords. It also proved to be the final adventure for the sixth Doctor, as Colin Baker was fired before production began on the following season.
From “The Mysterious Planet”
The Doctor is forcibly brought aboard a gigantic deep space station to once again stand trial in a Time Lord court for conduct unbecoming a Time Lord and for meddling in the affairs of other cultures. The Doctor learns that since he neglected his duties as Lord President of the High Council of the Time Lords, he has been removed from office. The Valeyard, acting as prosecutor, presents what he considers a typical example of the Doctor’s meddling activity culled from the data stored in the Matrix. The Valeyard explains that the Time Lords are able to carry out detailed surveillance upon anyone within range of a TARDIS. His first example is the Doctor’s recent visit to Ravolox, during which time the Doctor claimed to be 900 years old (At one point, he also produced from his patchwork coat a bag of jelly babies.) After encountering intergalactic highwayman Sabalom Glitz, who was attempting to steal secret tapes from an abandoned Andromedan base, the Doctor realized that Ravolox was really Earth, mysteriously moved across the galaxy. However, it becomes apparent that the High Council is suppressing certain information within the presented evidence. During the course of the trial, the Doctor’s utter contempt for Time Lord society becomes evident.
The trial continues with a presentation of the Doctor’s activities immediately preceding his summons to the Time Lord court, at which time he and Peri Brown were investigating arms shipments from Thoros-Beta, homeworld of Sil, an enemy they made on Varos. The Doctor realizes during the presentation that he has lost his memory of the events being shown. When they present him teaming up with Sil and aiding his evil scheme, the Doctor suspects the evidence has been tampered with, despite the inviolate nature of the Matrix. At the conclusion of the evidence, the Doctor is shown how, after transporting him and the TARDIS away, the Time Lords apparently manipulated events so that King Yrcanos destroyed Crozier and his mind-transference experiments, killing Peri in the process.
From “Terror of the Vervoids”
The trial continues following a brief recess to allow the Doctor time to deal with Peri’s death and to search the Matrix for evidence to present in his own defense. He presents an episode from his near future, at which time he is traveling with a young woman named Mel. However, the Doctor becomes convinced during the presentation that the evidence has been tampered with to incriminate him before the court. Unfortunately, by showing himself destroying every last Vervoid, the Doctor opens himself to the charge of genocide, which the Valeyard immediately puts before the court.
From “The Ultimate Foe”
Responding to the Doctor’s charges of malfeasance, the High Court of the Time Lords brings the Keeper of the Matrix in for questioning However, the proceedings are interrupted by the arrival of both Sabalom Glitz and Mel, who, it turns out, were sent for by the Master, who has been observing the trial from within the Matrix. The Master finally shows himself to the assemblage, claiming to intervene for the sake of “justice.” Under the Doctor’s examination, Glitz reveals that the Andromedans were hacking information from the Time Lord’s Matrix from a secret base on Earth. To prevent these secrets from coming to light, the High Council ordered that the Magnetron be used to move the planet, and that it be renamed Ravolox. Learning of this, the Master had hired Glitz to recover the secrets. The Doctor is outraged:
The Doctor: In all my travelings throughout the universe, I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators! I should have stayed here! The oldest civilisation, decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core! Power-mad conspirators? Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen? They’re still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power, that’s what it takes to be really corrupt!
The Master then reveals that in order to stop the Doctor from uncovering more of its secrets, the High Council struck a deal with the Valeyard, who is an amalgamation of the darker sides of the Doctor’s own character from somewhere between his twelfth and final incarnations. The Master also reveals that Peri did not, in fact, die, but instead was saved by King Yrcanos and taken back to Krontep to be his queen. Once news of the scandal leaks out, the Keeper tells the Inquisitor that the High Council has been deposed and insurrection has broken out on Gallifrey. The Master’s triumph is short-lived, though, as he and Glitz become trapped within the Matrix, awaiting justice from the new Time Lord government. The charges against the Doctor are dropped, although the Valeyard makes good his escape.
Upon being released, the Doctor and Melanie Bush leave the space station in the TARDIS. However, while it is clear that Mel is well-acquainted with the Doctor, he has never actually met her before. Also, the Doctor has yet to actually encounter the Vervoids aboard the Hyperion III, although Mel remembers that adventure well. Presumably, to untangle this mess, the Doctor had to leave Mel somewhere and go off on his own to their actual first meeting and their encounter with the Vervoids, during which time he perhaps endured a self-imposed amnesia. They would then continue on until whatever point in time Mel was summoned by the Master. The Doctor would have to leave her again shortly before this and then pick her up shortly after his past self dropped her off. Mel would perhaps not even be aware of the Doctor’s measures, thinking the trial merely occurred at that point in a simple linear fashion. They would then continue on together to Lakertya and the Doctor’s regeneration before finally parting company on Iceworld, where Mel partnered up with Sabalom Glitz aboard the Nosferatu II.
The twenty-second season of Doctor Who saw a mixture of old and new, as the Doctor once again battled the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, and the Master, as well as new menaces like the Rani and Sil. The Doctor’s own past also caught up with him, with significant references made to his first and third incarnations, and an adventure shared with his second incarnation and former companion Jamie McCrimmon. There would be a long hiatus following this season before the next one was produced, as the BBC tried to figure out why the show was dying in the ratings.
From “Attack of the Cybermen”
The TARDIS briefly lands the Doctor and Peri Brown in the scrapyard at 76 Totter’s Lane in 1985. Seeing the sign, the Doctor mistakenly calls his companion “Susan.” After telling an undercover policeman flat out that he is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, the Doctor learns he has once again crossed paths with Commander Lytton of Rifton V, whom he left stranded on Earth a year previously. Later, held prisoner within the TARDIS, the Doctor recounts the destruction of planet Mondas after the Cybermen’s attack on Earth in 1986, which he foiled during his first incarnation. The Cybermen have traveled back in time using a stolen timeship to change that history, and the Time Lords have sent the unwitting Doctor to foil their plan. Lytton dies helping the Doctor defeat the Cybermen on their adopted homeworld of Telos.
From “Vengeance on Varos”
After leaving Telos, the Doctor accidentally jettisons three-quarters of the TARDIS storage holds. In search of the rare mineral zeiton-7, the Doctor and Peri visit the planet Varos, where they meet the slug-like Sil, an unscrupulous trade negotiator from Thoros-Beta.
From “The Mark of the Rani”
Intending to visit Kew Gardens in the early nineteenth century, the TARDIS lands instead near Killingworth, pulled off course by the nearby operation of the Master’s and the Rani’s own timeships. The Doctor and Peri try to foil both the Rani’s plans to steal a special chemical from the brains of the local populace that she needs for the planet she rules, Miasimia Goria, and the Master’s plans to take advantage of her scheme to set himself up as ruler of the Earth. The Master reminisces about when the Rani was exiled from Gallifrey after one of her experiments turned mice into monsters that attacked the Lord President of the High Council. The Doctor sabotages the Rani’s TARDIS, trapping the Rani and the Master aboard with several tyrannosaurs as it hurtles out of control to the furthest reaches of space and time, presumably leaving the Master’s TARDIS abandoned near the mining village.
From “The Two Doctors”
After leaving Victoria Waterfield on Earth, the second Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon are apparently sent by the Time Lords to call a halt to time-travel experiments being conducted at a deep space research station run by an acquaintance of the Doctor’s, Dastari.
Dastari: I remember it very clearly, Doctor. You came to our inauguration, bearing fraternal greetings from Gallifrey. The Doctor: Yes, yes. That was before I fell from favour. I’m a bit of an exile these days. Dastari: Yes, I heard something about that. But you still act on their instructions. The Doctor: It’s the price I pay for my freedom. Dastari: Needless to say, we’ve had no support at all from your people. The Doctor: Oh, Dastari, you can’t have expected help from the Time Lords. Their policy is one of strict neutrality.
Sensing the effects of the torture chamber in his sixth incarnation, the Doctor and Peri travel to the space station to consult Dastari, only to find the station devastated. Learning of the Time Lords’ objection to the experiments from Dastari’s journal, the Doctor has no memory of his earlier visit, even after finding Jamie in the wreckage (due to the drugs given him after his abduction by the Sontarans). However, he begins to puzzle out the sinister plot:
The Doctor: Right, Jamie, a plot to kidnap me and Dastari as well. He’s about the only biogeneticist in the galaxy capable of isolating the symbiotic nucleii of a Time Lord. Peri: So that’s how you control the TARDIS -- symbiosis!
Held prisoner by the Sontarans to be used in Dastari’s time-travel experiments, the second Doctor learns the nature of the scheme:
The Doctor: No one can travel through time without a molecular stabilisation system. Dastari: We know that now. And we know that Time Lords possess a symbiotic link with their machines which protects them and anyone with them from destabilisation. The Doctor: Guesswork!
The Doctor demonstrates a familiarity with the Sontarans in his second incarnation. Meanwhile, the sixth Doctor, Peri, and Jamie track the villains to their hideout in Seville, where the Doctor examines the primitive time capsule:
The Doctor: They’ve got it almost exactly right, even down to the briode-nebuliser, look. Jamie: What is it? The Doctor: A Kartz-Reimer version of a TARDIS. Jamie: A TARDIS? The Doctor: Yes. Jamie: Will it work? The Doctor: It will if I use it. Or any other Time Lord. Not for anyone else. Jamie: Why not? The Doctor: She has to be primed by what you call the Rassilon Imprimature. That’s a sort of symbiotic print within the physiology of a Time Lord. Once that’s been absorbed into the briode-nebuliser, you have a time machine that anyone can use. That, of course, is what they didn’t understand. They simply copied the technology without realising that Rassilon had a second trick up his sleeve.
The Doctor and Jamie are interrupted by Sontarans. After escaping, the Doctor tells Jamie that he knew the Sontarans were there and what he said about the time capsule was not entirely true. The imprint he left on the briode-nebulizer lasted only long enough for one test run. The villains defeated, the Doctor and the Doctor part company. Presumably, due to the effects of the drugs and the genetic experimentation, the earlier Doctor has little or no memory of this adventure by the time he reaches the Wheel in Space.
Encountering an apparition within the TARDIS after colliding with a time corridor, the Doctor returns to the planet Karfel, which he and Jo Grant apparently visited during his third incarnation, and once again gets embroiled in local politics. At one point an errant death ray reveals of mural of the Doctor made after his first visit:
Mykros: Incredible! I’ve never seen that before! The Doctor: That’s me. Herbert: Have you changed a bit? The Doctor: Immeasurably for the better, it seems. Strange how you forget what you used to look like.
From “Revelation of the Daleks”
News of the death of a noted scientist lures the Doctor to a suspended-animation facility that is a cover for a Dalek breeding farm run by Davros, who is using the bodies of the strong to make more Daleks and the bodies of the weak for a food source. Davros intends to exact revenge on the Doctor by turning him into a Dalek. However, the other Dalek faction arrives to take Davros back to Skaro to stand trial. In the melee, Davros’ only good hand is blown off.