DR. WHO:
An Event Time Line
(Part Two - From The Romanas to The Eighth Doctor)

SERIES SIXTEEN

1978/1979 - The Keys to Time: An ambitious and mostly worthy experiment, Series Sixteen consisted of  six connected stories, each with its own title, plot and location, but with the end goal always being the same - The Doctor and new companion Romana (full name "Romanadvoratnelundar") must find the six keys to time. They are helped alternately by The White Guardian and hindered by The Black Guardian.

Newcomer Mary Tamm plays Romana, a Time Lord sent by The Time Lords to help The Doctor achieve his goal. Thus for the first time in the series, The Doctor travels with one of his own kind.
1979: The Armageddon Factor: Actress Lalla Ward plays Princess Astra in the final story that makes up the who Key to Time concept.
SERIES SEVENTEEN

Destiny of the Daleks (1979): Mary Tamm declines to come back for Series Seventeen. Lalla Ward accepts the job and plays a regenerated Romana. In fact, after a few quickie regeneration tries, she settles on looking like Princess Astra from the previous season ender "The Armageddon Factor".

David Brierley, not John Leeson, voices K9 this season, and the difference is somewhat obvious but not detrimental to the show at all. We're talking about a mechanical dog.

David Gooderson plays Davros.

Fans often refer to the two successive Romanas as Romana 1 and Romana 2.

In 2019, Romana 2 was voted Cutest Companion of the Classic Era.

By me.
City of Death (1979): Julian Glover returns to the series, playing villain Count Scarlioni. Two other interesting members of the cast: John Cleese and Eleanor Bron, who appear as art lovers. They are in the show for less than a minute.
Shada (1980 - not completed). A story that was started, stopped because of labor problems and later discarded all together. Over the years, there were several attempts to put it all back together, most notably in 2018, when it was cobbled together from existing footage and animation, with a voice cast that included several of the original actors, such as Tom Baker and Lalla Ward, who had taken part in the original doomed version.
SERIES EIGHTEEN

1980/1981:
The E-Space Trilogy

The E-Space Trilogy
finds The Doctor, Romana and K9 winding up in a different region of space-time called E-Space. Adventures over three consecutive stories end up with Lalla Ward leaving as Romana, K9 written out of the series completely, and the Doctor getting a new companion, a  precocious young boy child named Adric.
The Keeper of Traken (1981): The Master returns.
Logopolis (1981): Tom Baker's last story before The Fourth Doctor regenerates. It is a busy one too, with the full return of The Master, now played by Anthony Ainley, who is kind of like Roger Delgado's Master, only crazier and more cartoony. Stewardess Tegan Jovanka, played by Janet Fielding, finds herself with The Doctor, but it's hard to determine if she is really a companion yet. Nyssa, played by Sarah Sutton, is hypnotized by The Master but winds up on the side of The Doctor too. I'm going to say they are both companions of The Fourth Doctor but will most remembered for being companions of The Fifth Doctor.

The Fourth Doctor regenerates into The Fifth at the end of the story. Peter Davison takes over the series.
SERIES NINETEEN

Castralova (1982): It's always fun when a recently regenerated Doctor winds up with the companions of his previous incarnation, who have to adjust to a Doctor with a brand new personality. Peter Davison's Doctor winds up with the loud and boisterous stewardess Tegan Jovanka, Nyssa, and precocious young boy child Adric.
The Visitation (1982): The Doctor attempts to get Tegan back to Heathrow Airport but fails. This will be a mini-running gag. It is later referenced in the Matt Smith/Jenna Coleman era story "The Crimson Horror".
Earthshock (1982): MAJOR SPOILER! Possibly the most shocking moment of the Classic Doctor Who years. Precocious young boy child Adric exits the show in the strongest way possible. It is the first if not the only time the end of a story has no music.
June 17, 1982: Jodie Whittaker is born.
October 28, 1982: Matt Smith is born. Geronimo!
SERIES TWENTY

Arc of Infinity (1983): Colin Baker plays Commander Maxil.
One year later, he will be The Sixth Doctor.

Mawdryn Undead (1983): Actor Mark Strickson joins the cast as Vislor Turlough. He is initially the pawn of The Black Guardian and sent on a mission to kill The Doctor. Eventually he becomes a loyal companion to The Doctor.

Nicholas Courtney as The Brigadier shows up
for the first time since the early Tom Baker days.
Terminus (1983): Nyssa leaves.
The King's Demons (1983): The robot Kamelion becomes a companion. Ahem... moving on....
THE FIVE DOCTORS (1983)

The Twentieth Anniversary of Doctor Who. A ninety minute special brings back Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, both of whom act like they've never left the show. Tom Baker opted out (don't get me started) and so is only represented in footage from the doomed "Shada". While footage of the late William Hartnell is shown at the beginning of the special, it is Richard Hurndall who plays The First Doctor in the special, and he is not bad at all. Peter Davison is of course there, as are his current companions, Tegan and Vislor.

Also showing up to join the festivities are Carole Ann Ford ("Susan"), Elisabeth Sladen ("Sarah Jane Smith") and Nicholas Courtney ("The Brigadier"). Several other former cast members have fleeting moments. Anthony Ainley ("The Master") and several villains and monsters from the past (Daleks, Cybermen, etc.) round out the cast. There is an actual story involved, and surprisingly, The Master is on the side of the good, at least until the final moments.

Not the greatest Doctor Who episode, but a fun one to watch at any time. Best moments for me: A brief teaming of Tegan and The First Doctor, and anything Patrick Troughton does or says.

Above: Four Doctors. Tom Baker sold separately.
SERIES TWENTY-ONE

Resurrection of the Daleks (1984): Tegan Jovanka leaves The Doctor. Unlike most other companions who leave because they have found a purpose (rebuilding a civilization, going back to their home planet, etc.) Tegan leaves because she's just had enough. One of the few companions who just said, in so many words, "I'm done." Good for her!
Planet of Fire (1984): In case you care, Kamelion is gone. Ahem... moving on...

Nicole Bryant enters the show as young and voluptuous botanist Peri Brown. She will become the Fifth Doctor's final companion.

Vislor Turlough leaves The Doctor.
The Caves of Androzani (1984): Considered by many fans as the best Doctor Who story ever.

The Fifth Doctor regenerates into the Sixth, played by Colin Baker.
The Twin Dilemma (1984): Series Twenty-One ends on an unprecedented note. One week after Peter Davison's last story "The Caves of Androzani", Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor gets to play out his full four episode story just before the season ends.

Peri Brown is now The Sixth Doctor's companion.
SERIES TWENTY-TWO

Doctor Who episodes are temporarily doubled from 25 minutes to 45, while the number of stories are halved, from 26 to 13.

Mark of the Rani (1985): The first appearance of The Rani, played by Kate O'Mara.

The Two Doctors (1985): Patrick Troughton and Frazier Hines reprise their roles as The Second Doctor and Jamie.

Revelation of the Daleks (1985): Eleanor Bron makes her second appearance in Doctor Who, putting her one up on John Cleese.
Doctor Who Canceled?

Canceled, put on hiatus... whatever. It would be 18 months before the show would return.
SERIES TWENTY-THREE

The Trial of a Timelord (1986): An ambitious but not always successful experiment. The Doctor is on trial for interfering with the natural order of time and space, and we see glimpses of his past, his present and his future.

We meet The Valeyard, the prosecutor who is actually a dark anomaly who exists between The Doctor's eleventh and twelfth incarnation. Tony Selby plays Glitz, a fun lowlife who will also hang around with The Seventh Doctor for a few episodes.

Peri leaves The Doctor (not voluntarily). Entertainer Bonnie Langford plays Mel, The Doctor's new companion.

In between seasons, Colin Baker is fired as The Doctor.
SERIES TWENTY-THREE

Time and the Rani (1987): Sylvester McCoy becomes The Seventh Doctor. Because Colin Baker was fired from the show, and thus refused to do an opening regeneration scene (good for him!), the opening  regeneration scene is the worst of any series, including anything they might come up with in the future.

Kate O'Mara returns as The Rani.

Considered by many fans to be the worst Doctor Who story ever.

March 28th, 1987: Patrick Troughton dies.

Dragonfire (1987): Mel leaves The Doctor. The Doctor, again not one to cry over spilt companions, offers Mel's curious friend Ace a companionship. She accepts enthusiastically. Sophie Aldred plays Ace.
SERIES TWENTY-FOUR

Remembrance of the Daleks (1988): In the 25th anniversary of the show, The Seventh Doctor's personality is tweaked to make him more mysterious and a tiny bit less of a clown. Ace turns out to be the most active and violent companion since Leela. She kills one Dalek with a bazooka and bashes another Dalek with a baseball bat before she crashes through a window to escape.
SERIES TWENTY-FIVE

Battlefield (1988/89): Nicholas Courtney appears for the last time in the series as The Brigadier. Jean Marsh returns as a villain.

Survival (1989): Although not the last Classic Doctor Who story filmed, it was the last story to be aired. The Doctor, Ace, The Master, and goodbye. The last shot of the series is The Doctor and Ace walking away, as a tacked-on but excellent voiceover by McCoy plays. While there were some plans for Series Twenty-six, nothing came of it.

Doctor Who was no more. For the moment.
1993: DIMENSIONS IN TIME

A special Doctor Who/EastEnders two-part charity event. All five of the still-living "Doctors" appear, and a multitude of companions. Predictably, Tom Baker shares time with no one.  If you also like EastEnders, there are several of those characters too. The entertainment value is just barely there. Hardly worth watching, yet hardly worth not watching. And it was all for charity.

May 20th, 1996: Jon Pertwee dies.

1996: Doctor Who: The Movie (1996)

An attempt to reignite the TV series, with the backing of The BBC, Universal, 20th Century Fox and the Fox TV station. In the end, a revival didn't happen, although Paul McGann, who starred in the film officially became The Eighth Doctor. And a great one at that.
1999: Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death

Written by Steven Moffat for Comic Relief, five years before he would write for the real Doctor Who series. Rowan Atkinson stars as The Doctor with Julia Sawala as his companion and Jonathan Pryce as The Master. It has running gags, fart jokes, Daleks, Moffat's usual allotment of timey-wimey story telling, and a load of famous faces popping up as The Doctor  keeps accidentally killing himself and regenerating. You'll find The DoctorThe DoctorRichard E. Grant, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent and Joanna Lumley all turning up as The Doctor. In only twenty minutes, Moffatt states his case as to why he should be writing for Doctor Who, even if he had no such idea in his mind at the time and the show was off the air anyway. Lots of fun.
2003: Scream of the Shalka: Richard E. Grant stars as The Doctor in an animated cartoon shown on the official Doctor Who website. Derek Jacobi voices The Master. For a while, Grant's animated Doctor was officially The Ninth Doctor, until Russell T Davies revived the series and Christopher Eccleston took over that title.

Next: Doctor Who Time Line Part 3

Go Back: Doctor Who Time Line Part 1

Doctor Who Main Page

The Secret Vortex