Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 18 - 1979

"I don't think he's a stupid as he seems."
"My dear, nobody is as stupid as he seems."
The Countess and Count Scarlioni discuss the Doctor, City of Death

On Screen
The search for the Key to Time continued into 1979 with 'The Power of Kroll'. This story would be the last written by former script editor Robert Holmes for five years.  In the brief he was given, Holmes was told to include the biggest monster ever seen in the series' history.

Holmes duly obliges with the gigantic Kroll, a swamp creature that has grown to gigantic size and is being worshipped as a god by the native Swampies.  And what has caused Kroll to grow?  Perhaps not surprisingly, it's the fifth segment of the Key to Time which Kroll has eaten.  Fortunately the Doctor is able to retrieve the Segment from within Kroll and he are Romana and on their way.

The epic finale of the Key to Time season was 'The Armageddon Factor', which sees the Doctor, Romana and K9 travel to the warring planets of Atrios and Zeos in search of the final segment. They discover that the war has been engineered by The Shadow, a agent of the Black Guardian - the opposing number of the White Guardian that the Doctor encountered at the beginning of the season.

Princess Astra, the Doctor and Romana

The sixth segment of the Key to Time turns out to be disguised not as an object but a person, Princess Astra of the planet Atrios.  She willingly gives up her existence to become the Segment once more and the Key to Time is finally complete.  The Black Guardian (played by the original Man in Black, Valentine Dyall) tries to trick the Doctor into handing over the Key but the Doctor, deciding that it's too powerful for anyone to have, breaks the Key  up and scatters it again through time and space.

The Black Guardian

That ending might have some people wondering what the point of finding all the segments was if they simply going to be scattered again a few minutes later.  Which is a fair point but I'm not sure that the season could have ended any other way.  There's no way that the Doctor would allow anyone to have an object as powerful as the Key so it's not a great surprise that he breaks it up again.

One other outcome of this season is that the Doctor, Romana and K9 are now on the run from the Black Guardian. The Doctor even fits a 'Randomiser' to the TARDIS so that no one, particularly the Black Guardian, knows where the Doctor is going.  It's an interesting idea - the Doctor hasn't really been on the run from a powerful enemy before - but it's one that, unfortunately, is largely ignored over the next year or two.

Doctor Who was once again on it's holidays until September of 1979.  Over its Summer break there were a couple of important changes both in front of and behind the camera.  Mary Tamm, playing Romana, and John Leeson, voicing K9, both decided to leave the series.  Neither character were written out but both were re-cast.

The change in K9's voice was the less major re-cast.  David Brierley was the actor hired to be K9's new voice with the change explained by saying that K9 has somehow caught laryngitis!  The re-casting of Romana was a slightly bigger deal.  As Romana was a Time Lady, the explanation for her change in appearance was simple: regeneration.  Romana's regeneration takes place off-screen at the beginning of the first story of Season 17, 'Destiny of the Daleks', in a scene written by the series' new script editor, Douglas Adams.

This scene has had its fair share of criticism from some fans because it makes the idea of regeneration into a bit of a joke.  When the Doctor regenerates it's portrayed as, literally, a life-changing event.  When Romana regenerates however it's the equivalent of trying on outfits in a clothes shop.  In the scene in questions she 'tries out' several different bodies before settling on one that looks a lot like Princess Astra from 'The Armageddon Factor' - hardly surprising given that both characters are played by the same actress, Lalla Ward.
The Doctor and the new Romana

Aside from introducing the new Romana, 'Destiny of the Daleks' also marks the return of the Daleks and Davros, both last seen back in 1975's 'Genesis of the Daleks'.  The TARDIS has landed once again on the planet Skaro, centuries after 'Genesis', where the Daleks are searching for their creator.

Davros, if you recall, was last seen being exterimanted by his own creations but it turns out he's not dead at all, just resting.  The Daleks  need him because they are losing a war with the robotic (and comically Seventies-looking) Movellans and they think that Davros will be able to turn the tide.  The Doctor gets involved and, not only manages to stop both the Daleks and Movellans but also captures Davros as has him sent to Earth to face trial for the Daleks' crimes.

The TARDIS travels to present-day Paris for 'City of Death', a hugely popular story co-written by Douglas Adams and producer Graham Williams.  Thanks to an ITV strike, this story also has the distinction of being the most-watched Doctor Who story ever with over 20 million people watching when it was first shown.

The story has a surprisingly complex plot which I don't think I can do justice to here.  In brief though it involves three different time periods, Leonardo Da Vinci, the Mona Lisa, a man ripping his face off, a detective who likes punching people and John Cleese.

One other notable thing about this story is that it marked the first time that the series had filmed abroad.  And the production team really went out of their way to showcase this, with lengthy sequences of the Doctor and Romana running through the streets of Paris.

The next story in the season, 'Creature from the Pit', seems to be fairly self-explanatory story title, featuring as it does a Creature in a Pit. One might assume that it's some sort of mindless, evil monster but, in fact, the Creature is an alien ambassador who has been imprisoned in the pit.  It's up to the Doctor to rescue the ambassador and prevent a diplomatic incident.

The final full story of the year was 'Nightmare of Eden', which tackles the subject of drug abuse and drug trafficking - not subjects that you would usually expect the series to tackle.  The story sees two spaceships collide in hyperspace, fusing together.  The collision has been caused by the pilot of one of the ships who is addicted to a powerful drug.  The Doctor, Romana and K9 have to help separate the two ships and also find the source of the drug.

The year closed with the opening two episodes of 'The Horns of Nimon', but I'll talk more about that next time.

On Audio

1979 saw the release of an LP and cassette version of Genesis of the Daleks.  This was in essence the original soundtrack of the TV story from 1975, albeit reduced to just one hour in length.  Tom Baker in character as the Doctor narrated certain parts of the story - mostly action scenes and those parts of the story that had to be edited down to fit the running time of the LP.  

In Print

1979 was a busy year for books.  It was also a particularly busy year for Terrance Dicks.

As ever there were a number of Target novelisations published this year.  Of the seven new books published, five were written by Dicks: 'The Robots of Death', 'Image of the Fendahl', 'The Invisible Enemy', 'The Hand of Fear' and 'Destiny of the Daleks'.  The 'Destiny...' novelisation is particularly noteworthy as it set a new record by being published just a month after the story was shown on TV.

Dicks was also busy writing 'Junior Doctor Who and the Giant Robot' as well as writing and editing two non-fiction books: 'The Adventures of K9 and Other Mechanical Creatures' and 'Terry Nation's Dalek Special'. 'Junior Doctor Who' was not, as you might expect, a story from the Doctor's childhood, but a revised version of Dicks' novelisation of 'The Giant Robot', aimed at an even younger audience than the original book.  The other two books contained histories of K9 and the Daleks respectively along with puzzles and other fun activities.  The Dalek Special also contained a short story written by Terry Nation.

This heavy workload seemed to be taking its toll on Dicks however as several of the novelisations produced this year were incredibly short, in particular 'Destiny of the Daleks' and 'Robots of Death' where the page count barely scrapes into three figures. 

The two other novelisations published this year were 'The Ribos Operation' by Ian Marter and 'The War Games' by Malcolm Hulke who had the unenviable task of trying to squeeze ten episodes of TV into around 140 pages.  Sadly Hulke died in July 1979, three months before what would be his final book was published.

The novelisations also made it across the Atlantic for the first time, as several of the Target books were reprinted in the US.  These American editions had new covers (including a new logo), Americanised some of the language (jelly babies became jelly beans) and included special introductions written by noted SF writer, Harlen Ellision.

Finally, as ever the latest Doctor Who Annual was also published in September.

In Comics

And so we reach the end of one era and the beginning of a new one.  The very last Doctor Who comic strip in TV Comic was published in May 1979, bringing a near 15 year relationship to an end.  The strip went out with a whimper rather than a bang as that final strip was a reprint of an earlier story with Tom Baker's face drawn over Jon Pertwee's.

Five months later, though, the comic strip was back this time in its new home of Doctor Who Weekly, or DWW.  This was the first time that a dedicated, regular magazine had even been produced for Doctor Who  The strip was the centre point of the magazine and, to highlight how important the strip was to the magazine, three top British comic creators were brought in to work on the strip.  They were writers Pat Mills and John Wagner and artist Dave Gibbons.

All three came from having worked on 2000 AD - indeed Mills and Wagner launched that comic and were responsible for the creation of amongst others, Judge Dredd.  Although all three would go on to have very successful careers after their stints on the Doctor Who strip, it's Dave Gibbons who's probably had the greatest success, going on to illustrate Alan Moore's 'Watchmen' in the mid-80s.

Mills and Wagner had submitted a few story ideas to the TV production team a few years earlier, none of which came to anything.  The four strips these two wrote for DWW are adaptations of these ideas and, if they're accurate adaptations of what the writers intended then I can see why they weren't produced for TV.  Their comic strips are incredibly ambitious and they certainly wouldn't have been able to make them for the TV series at the time.

The first strip, which ran for 8 weeks from October to December 1979, was 'The Iron Legion'.  This saw the Doctor discovering a parallel world where the Roman Empire had never fallen and where robotic legionnaires enforce the law and invade other worlds, enslaving their populations.  This empire is being secretly controlled by a winged, demonic being called Magog.  It's down to the Doctor to expose him and destroy his hold over this alternate Earth.

Unlike the TV Comic strips, which generally had just two pages an issue, the comic strip in DWW had 4 or 5 pages each issue, which meant bigger stories and more space for the artwork to 'breathe'.  There are great images in this strip, including a couple of full-page panels, which adds to the scale of the story. Another big plus is that the Doctor is actually given a personality or, to be more precise, the personality that he has on TV, something that the TV Comic Doctor was somewhat lacking.  Oh, and he's actually called 'the Doctor' here rather than 'Doctor Who'.

Following 'The Iron Legion' came 'City of the Damned', the first four parts of which were published in December 1979.  The story sees the Doctor arriving in a city where all emotion is illegal.  As the year closes he's fallen in with a group of rebels, each of whom represents a specific emotional state, and he's become enemy number one of the villainous Brain's Trust who rule the city.

In addition to the main Doctor Who comic strip, Doctor Who Weekly also had a second back-up strip.  Although not featuring the Doctor, these strips would focus on his various and foes.  The first such strip was called 'Return of the Daleks' and I think you can guess which enemies that featured.  This story ran for 4 issues and was followed by an intriguing story called 'Throwback: the Soul of a Cyberman'.  As its title suggests, this concerned a Cyberman, called Kroton, who due to an accident, rediscovers his emotions and ends up leaving his fellow Cybermen and venturing out into space alone.

The focus in these early issues of Doctor Who Weekly were the comic strips but there was also room for a few articles. The first issue for instance included an articles on the Daleks and a profile of William Hartnell.  Other issues published this year had articles on other monsters that the Doctor had faced, such as the Krynoid, and detailed synopses of the early First Doctor stories.  Issue 7 introduced a letters page, entitled 'Who Cares!' and one of the first letters printed came from a young fan called Matthew Waterhouse.  Watch out for him in the next year or so...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 17 - 1978

 On Screen

 1978 opened with a story that is widely considered to be one of the weakest in the series's history - 'Underworld'. The story itself sounds really good - it's based on the Greek myths like Jason and the Argonauts and reveals something of the history of the Time Lords and the reason why they became a race of observers.  It's the execution of the story that let's it down in the eyes of many fans. 

Blue screen effects (or CSO as the BBC used to call it) was nothing new in Doctor Who in the Seventies.  It was used in many stories to place characters in situations and locations that it would, under most circumstances, be impossible to do with Doctor's Who's tiny budget.  And the fact that they use the effect in 'Underworld' is no surprise.  The problem is that the production team decided to use CSO in nearly every scene.  While nowadays such a decision would probably barely register with most viewers, back in 1978 the technology was in its infancy and the results were...less than stunning.

Fortunately the CSO was minimal in the season finale 'The Invasion of Time' although there was still evidence of budget stretching at certain points.  All this considered though, this is something of a minor epic.  We see the Doctor return to Gallifrey to take his place as President of the Time Lords.  We see the Doctor apparently turning to the Dark Side, appearing to ally himself with a mysterious group of aliens called the Vardens who want to invade Gallifrey.  And then, when it seems like the story is over and the Vardens have been defeated, the Sontarans turn up.

This is where it falls down a bit as the final two episodes largely consist of the Doctor and Sontarns chasing each other round inside the TARDIS.  This in itself would have been fine had the production team had the budget needed to build a few sets for the TARDIS interior.  Unfortunately they didn't and had to film inside a abandoned mental hospital instead, meaning that the inside of the TARDIS looks like, well, an abandoned mental hospital.  

At the end of the story, Leela chooses to stay on Gallifrey as she's fallen in love with a guard that she met during the course of the story.  It seems an unlikely exit for a character like Leela and actress Louise Jameson wasn't terribly happy with it as she wanted Leela to be killed saving the Doctor's life.  In a way though, marrying her off instead has paid off as it's enabled the character to reappear in books and audios in later years.
Leela with her future husband

K9 also elects to stay with Leela so it looks as if the Doctor is going to be alone again but, in the final scene, he drags a big cardboard box into the TARDIS control room which says 'K9 Mark II' on it.  So he won't be alone for long.

The series took it's usual Summer break and returned in September with a new series.  This series, however, was going to be a little different to previously as this season had a running theme.

In the opening story of the season, 'The Ribos Operation' the Doctor comes face to face with the White Guardian.  The White Guardian is an almost god-like being who, on this occasion looks like a kindly old man in a wicker chair.  He asks the Doctor to find the six pieces of the Key to Time, a powerful object that supposedly keeps the entire universe in balance.  The six segments are spread throughout time and space and could be disguised as almost anything.

The White Guardian

The Doctor agrees (not that he actually has any choice) and, for his troubles, is given a new companion to assist him.  This is Time Lady Romana, who initially believes that she has been sent by the Time Lord President to aid the Doctor before realising that she too has been recruited by the White Guardian.

The Doctor and Romana

The Doctor and Romana, along with K9 (mark II) travel to the icy world of Ribos to find the first segment.  The segment is disguised as a piece of valuable metal which is part of elaborate plot hatched by a pair of con artists that the Doctor and Romana are inadvertently caught up in.

The next story sees the TARDIS travel to the planet Zanak, a hollow world that is being used as a giant pirate ship by a cyborg space captain with a robot parrot.  Not for nothing is this story called 'The Pirate Planet'.

This is the first Doctor Who story to be written by Douglas Adams who, as I'm sure everyone knows, went on to achieve great success in years to come.  The first radio series of 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' has been broadcast a few months earlier and the humour of that series is certainly evident here with even one or two lines from 'Hitch Hiker's...'  being adapted and re-appearing here.

After finding the second segment of the Key to Time (which is actually on of the planets that had been plundered by the pirates), the TARDIS crew head to contemporary Earth for 'The Stones of Blood', which also happened to be the 100th Doctor Who story.

This time, the Doctor, Romana and K9 and investigating an ancient stone circle whose stones appear to be coming to life and attacking people.  These rock-like monsters and called Ogri and they are the servants of an escaped alien criminal called Vivian Fey.  The Doctor and Romana team up with the eccentric Professor Amelia Rumford (who takes everything in her stride) to defeat the aliens and find the third segment.
The Doctor and Professor Rumford

Finally this year, 'The Androids of Tara'.  Here the TARDIS crew arrive on the planet of Tara to find the fourth segment of the Key to Time, something which they achieve within the first minutes of the first episode.  However Romana is then mistaken for an android copy of one Princess Strella, of whom she is an exact double, and is promptly captured by the villianous Count Grendel.

The Doctor meanwhile falls in with Prince Reynart, the rightful ruler of the planet, who also has his own android double.  Needless to say, with android doubles all over the place confusion abounds as the Doctor tries to rescue Romana, defeat the evil Count and ensure that the Prince and Princess are reunited.

Count Grendel
With the fourth segment found, the Doctor, Romana and K9 head off to find the fifth in 'The Power of Kroll'.  But that story is for another year.  

On Audio

In 1978 the BBC released an album that I am sure nearly every Doctor Who of a certain age must have listened to: the Doctor Who Sound Effects album.Not typical listening material admittedly but it was still strangely exciting to listen to Dalek laser blasts or the TARDIS materialising.  My personal favourite was the sound of the TARDIS doors opening and closing. 

In Print

The Target novelisation series continued this year, although fewer new novelisations were published than in previous years. Terrance Dicks once again wrote the lion's share of the books, novelising 'The Face of Evil', his own 'Horror of Fang Rock', 'Death to the Daleks', 'The Android Invasion' and 'The Time Warrior'.  'The Time Warrior' was originally to be novelised by original script writer Robert Holmes but Holmes had to pull out after writing the Prologue and the rest of the book was handed over to Dicks.

In addition to Dicks' efforts, Gerry Davis returned to novelise Second Doctor story 'Tomb of the Cybermen'.  Former Harry Sullivan, Ian Marter, also made his return to the range, this time novelising the follow-up to 'The Ark in Space', 'The Sontaran Experiment'.

Target also published two more of the 'Doctor Who Discovers...' series of books.  The two titles published in 1978 were '...The Conquerors' and 'Strange and Mysterious Creatures'.

Finally, in addition to the usual Doctor Who and Dalek Annuals, there was also a Dalek Colouring book and a shameless cash-in book called 'Jon Pertwee's Book of Monster's'.  This had no connection to Doctor Who at all other than having Pertwee's name on the cover and a introduction to the book written by him.  Nevertheless it was quite a neat way to persuade people to buy this book of short stories and it was a trick that was be used again in a few years, using Peter Davision rather than Pertwee to sell books of sci-fi short stories. 

In Comics

30 June1978 proved to be something of a milestone for the comic strip, as this was the last time that an original Doctor Who comic story appeared in the pages of TV Comic.  The strip itself did continue (well into 1979 in fact) but they were all reprints.  Just as had been done in the Winter Special in 1977, the artwork was altered to replace the previous Doctors (mostly the Third) with the Fourth Doctor's image.   

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 16 - 1977

"You know, you're a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain."
- The Doctor, The Robots of Death

On Screen

Doctor Who returned after a Christmas break with the second part of its current season and an opening story that introduced the new companion.  I could be talking about 2013 but it might surprise some people to know that we were having split seasons back in the mid-1970s.

The first story of the year was 'The Face of Evil' which introduced new girl, Leela.  Leela was quite a departure from the past few companions.  Rather than being from contemporary Earth she's a warrior woman from the future (descended from space travellers stranded on a distant planet), dresses in animal skins and carries a big knife.  Despite appearances, though, she's not a simple savage.  She's bright and inquisitive and it's these traits that get her involved with the Doctor in the first place.

Leela's one flaw is that she has no problem with killing her opponents when necessary.  If she's not using that big knife of hers then it's the Janis thorn, part of a poisonous plant which causes paralysis and eventually death.  It's a character trait that leads her into conflict not only with the Doctor but with critics of the TV series like moral crusader Mary Whitehouse.

As for the titular 'Face of Evil' itself: well the Doctor learns first hand about the negative consequences of his interference as it turns out that he's responsible for Leela and her people's current situation and that the face of evil is in fact his own.

Leela chooses to join the Doctor in his travels at the end of the story.  This in itself marks Leela out as a bit different from most other companions - usually they're invited into the TARDIS by the Doctor, here Leela makes the decision herself.

'The Robots of Death' is the next story and, I'll admit now, that it's one of my all time favourite stories and one that I've long thought to be overlooked and underrated.  The story is essentially a good old-fashioned whodunit in true Agatha Christie style where everyone is a suspect.  Unlike an Agatha Christie novel though the murder weapons are the robots that are being sent out by someone to commit the murders.

Doctor Who conventions could get violent

There's a lot of great scenes in this story but one of my favourites is this scene, where the Doctor for the first time actually tries to explain why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside.  I particularly like Leela's reaction at the end.

If there's one reason why 'Robots of Death' is overlooked it might be that it's followed by 'The Talons of Weng Chiang', a story that is widely considered to be one of the very best in the series' history. 

Set in late-Victorian London, this story takes its inspiration from, amongst other things, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Fu Manchu and the Phantom of the Opera as it sees the Doctor and Leela investigate a series of strange murders in the East End of the city. Their investigation lead them to the cellars of the Palace Theatre where they discover the individual organising the murders: someone calling themselves the Chinese god Weng Chiang.  This being Doctor Who, nothing is quite as it seems.  Weng Chiang isn't really a Chinese god but a time-travelling war criminal from the future and the ventriloquist's puppet that he sends out to commit murder is really a robot with the brain of a pig.

The Doctor and 'Weng Chiang'

Not surprisingly, this is quite a dark tale - literally in some cases - but something that does lighten the mood somewhat is the introduction of two characters to assist the Doctor and Leela in their investigations: Professor George Litefoot, police pathologist, and Henry Gordon Jago, the exuberant manager of the Palace Theatre where much of the story takes place.  The two characters are a great double act and proved so popular that, for years afterwards, fans were requesting that the two characters be given their own spin-off series.  Many, many years later their requests would finally be answered but that's another story.

Jago and Litefoot contemplate a spin-off series

The day after the final episode of 'Talons of Weng Chiang' was shown, BBC2 broadcast a documentary called 'Whose Doctor Who'.  It was the first time that an entire documentary had been made about the series.  Presented by Melvyn Bragg, it looked at the history of the series, its popularity and also looked behind the scenes at the making of Talons of Weng Chiang.

'Talons of Weng Chiang' was the end of Doctor Who's fourteenth season and, behind the scenes, things were changing. In light of the many complaints that they were receiving regarding the frightening nature of the series, the BBC chose to move producer Phillip Hinchcliffe on to another programme.  He was replaced by Graham Williams who was asked to lighten the series up and make it less frightening.

The first story when Doctor Who returned after its summer break was 'Horror of Fang Rock' which is still very much in the vein of the 'Gothic' style stories of the previous season and doesn't really give much indication of the horror being toned down.  If anything the opposite seems to be true here.  Set in a remote lighthouse at the turn of the 20th Century, the story sees the Doctor and Leela trapped in the lighthouse with a small group of people while something goes around killing them one by one.

What is particularly notable about this story (other than the high body count) is that the monster featured here is one that has been mentioned in earlier stories but never seen until now: the Rutan.  The Rutan are jellyfish-type aliens that have the ability to shape-shift.  They've been at war with the Sontarans for many years and were referred to in both of the previous Sontaran stories, 'The Time Warrior' and 'The Sontaran Experiment'.
The Doctor and a Rutan
The next story, 'The Invisible Enemy' takes the Doctor and Leela in the future where the Doctor becomes infected with a strange virus.  Leela takes him to a hospital where they encounter one Doctor Marius and his pet robot dog, K9.

Yes, this is the story where we first encounter Doctor Who's answer to R2D2 and C3PO.  He was originally intended to appear in just this one story but, in order to ensure that they made the most of the expensive prop, the production team decided to add him to the regular cast.  It was a wise move.  Not only did it lighten the tone of the series but K9 also provided a lucrative form of merchandise in years to come as his popularity grew and grew.  It's also provided K9 voice, John Leeson with regular work for the past 35 years.

The decision to add K9 to the TARDIS crew was taken late in the day so he only appears briefly in the next story 'Image of the Fendahl'.  This is perhaps just as well as this story is certainly darker in tone than 'The Invisible Enemy' and K9 would have seemed out of place.  Indeed, so dark is this story that one character even commits suicide by shooting themselves rather than be killed by the alien Fendahl who feed off life itself.

The final story of 1977 was 'The Sunmakers', written by outgoing script editor Robert Holmes.  The story is about a company that uses extreme forms of taxation to control the people of the planet Pluto.  This company are able to enforce the taxes because the built the suns that now surround Pluto and allow people to live on the planet.  Naturally it's up to the Doctor, Leela and K9 to unite the people and bring down the evil regime.

Incidentally, 'The Sunmakers' sees a guest appearance by the actor Michael Keating who, about three weeks after the final episode of 'The Sunmakers' was transmitted, would be seen again in the first episode of 'Blake's 7' - the closest that Doctor Who ever got to having a sister show back in the late 70s - as series regular Vila.
Michael Keating

On Audio
Nothing of note this year.

In Print

Once again there were a large number of books published this year.

As far as the novelisations were concerned, there was only one month that didn't see a new book published.  Of those eleven, 8 were written by the ever-reliable Terrance Dicks.  Two, 'The Seeds of Doom' and 'Masque of Mandragora' were written by current Doctor Who producer Phillip Hinchcliffe while 'The Ark in Space' was written by Ian Marter who, if you recall had played the role of companion Harry Sullivan in 1974-1975.  For those keeping track, the eight written by Dicks were 'Carnival of Monsters', 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth', 'The Claws of Axos', 'The Brain of Morbius', 'Planet of Evil', 'The Mutants', 'The Deadly Assassin' and 'The Talons of Weng-Chiang'.

Aside from the standard Doctor Who and Dalek Annuals, 1977 also saw the publication of the 'Doctor Who Discovers...' series of books.  Like the Dinosaur book last year, these were educational books on a variety of different subjects.  So we had Doctor Who Discovers... Early Man, Prehistoric Animals and Space Travel in the three books that were published this year.

Finally, also published this year was a Second Doctor Who Monster Book and a Doctor Who Omnibus which, like the Dalek Omnibus last year, contained reprints of novelisations.  In this case the reprints were 'The Space War' (aka 'Frontier in Space'), 'The Web of Fear' and 'Revenge of the Cybermen'.

In Comics 

 Leela made her TV Comic strip debut in July of this year in a story entitled the 'The Orb'.  Perhaps surprisingly, her character here remained remarkably faithful to her TV counterpart: she wore skins, carried a knife and was quite violent.  Perhaps because of this, she was destined not to last long in the strip and was gone just six months later with no explanation for the absence given.

Also published by TV Comic this year was the Doctor Who Winter Special (just a guess but I'm assuming it was published in time for Christmas).  The Special featured several comic strips that had previously been published in either TV Comic or Countdown/TV Action a few years earlier.  However, the art was 'doctored' (pun not intended) to replace images of previous Doctors with that of the Fourth.  This was a practice that would occur a lot more in the comic strip proper over the next couple of years.