The DWC looks at the Fourth Doctor’s Romana years

The Doctor Who Companion has raced on with its season reviews and time for me to take a quick peek at the last big Fourth Doctor era. It’s seasons 16 – 18: the Romana years!

Return of the Arc

First up is Mary Tamm’s tenure and Frank Danes does the honours with REVIEWED: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 16 – ORDER AND CHAOS. It was all change in the TARDIS with a new Time Lord, and female to boot (how times have changed). Exciting though that is, for me it’s very much the Key To Time series, a complete arc of six separate stories. Not only yet another all-powerful artefact but also the White and Black Guardians. I always remember the name of the Graff Vynda-K from Robert Holmes’ The Ribos Operation. I know I watched the whole season, but only Androids of Tara remains in the memory. I obviously need to have another look – more DVDs for the intray!

It fell to Douglas Adams to magic a regeneration for Roman, and enter Lalla Ward. Peter Shaw takes the keyboard with his piece REVIEWED: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 17 – THE END OF DR WHO. This season shows my personal preferences. Destiny of the Daleks may be Terry Nation’s final story for the show, but sadly I have no strong memory. City of Death is on the other hand rather brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it in 1979. I remember the monster from Nightmare of Eden and the odd effects in Horns of the Nimon. Then there was Shada. So. That all tells me I was a big fan of Douglas Adams before I even knew who he was!

It all ends in season 18 as Bar Nash Williams describes in REVIEWED: DOCTOR WHO SEASON 18 – IT ALL FALLS APART. I will return to this season again, but for now I’ll just cover the Romana stories. The Leisure Hive starts in Brighton; as I lived there in the 1970s I can’t help but like this story from the start. Meglos I always thought a mad bit (the make-up probably determines that), Full Circle brings us N-Space and Adric, and is (of course) Andrew Smith’s debut in the universe of Doctor Who. State of Decay brings us vampires, and personally I’ve never been a big fan of vampires in Doctor Who. I can’t explain why! Then we have the exit from N-Space and Romana’s remaining behind in Warrior’s Gate. It’s very much 1981 and very much a new decade for the show. I also stopped watching as I went to university at the start of October, so definitely missed many episodes. That’s what DVDs are for!

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