As a new producer (Graham Williams) takes over, Tom Baker’s Doctor Who era takes on a lighter tone, with Tom Baker showing a more comedic approach to the character than the somewhat more brooding and cynical Doctor of his earlier seasons. Also, a new character is introduced-K-9, a robotic dog (with multiple incarnations, sort of like the Doctor) from the far future who serves as not only a companion, but also good technical support and fact-checker. The laser it has hidden in it’s nose comes in handy, too.
K-9 Mark I
After running into Sontaran enemy the Rutans at an old lighthouse, The Doctor and Leela are introduced to K-9 Mark I while on an adventure that sees the Doctor nearly taken over by a shrimp-liked virus monster, which has him undergo a “Fantastic Voyage”/”Innerspace” style adventure inside his own body to expel the threat. Next up, the trio of companions deal with an unearthed ancient skull which holds an ancient time lord enemy and it’s slug-like henchmonsters, a bizarre taxation critique on Pluto, and an adventure which shows an unfortunate side effect of ancient Gallifreyan experiments, with a crew of voyagers stuck in perpetual regeneration.
Encountering time lord mistakes of the past, it’s perhaps fitting that the season finale takes the Doctor and co. back to Gallifrey. There, the oddly-behaving Doctor assumes control of the planet, but it’s in fact a ruse to lure out the alien race known as the Vardans. Although the Doctor defeats the Vardans, turns out they are a ruse of their own, allowing the Sontarans to slip through and invade the planet undetected.
Nevertheless, with the help of some old Gallifreyan technology and a chase through the TARDIS, the Doctor is able to defeat the Sontarans. However, during the battle, Leela has fallen for a Gallifreyan guard captain, and decides to stay on Gallifrey with him. K-9 also decides to stay.
However, the Doctor has a spare K-9 unit in the TARDIS already to go. However, shortly after assembling his new best friend, the Doctor finds himself summoned by the god-like being known as the White Guardian, who gives him a guest-locate the pieces of the Key To Time, scattered throughout the cosmos in various forms. He also has to allude the White Guardian’s opposite counterpart, the Black Guardian, who wants the Key for nefarious purposes.
In addition to K-9, the Doctor is given a new companion-a fellow time lord, or time lady actually, known as Romana. She’s more straight-laced and no-nonsense than the Doctor, at least at first. The three companions trace the segments throughout time and space, dealing with thieves, giant octopus monsters, robots, vampiric stones, and the agents of the Black Guardian as well. Ultiametly assembling the key, the Doctor decides than rather have it fall into the wrong hands, he decides to de-assemble it. However, it makes the Black Guardian extremely angry.
The Key To Time
To evade the Black Guardian, the Doctor installs a randomizer into the TARDIS. Although the TARDIS is already fairly erratic in it’s travels, this seems to make it more so, and difficult for the Black Guardian to track.
However, it’s first “random” location is a place very familiar to the Doctor-Skaro. Also, Romana regenerates into a new form. This new incarnation is more adventurous, and more like the Doctor in persona. One of her outfits is even a sort of variation on the Doctor’s own look:
Romana II (Lalla Ward)
As the Doctor and the new Romana set down on Skaro, they soon find themselves in the middle of a war between the Daleks and another race of robots, the Movellans. Both races are in a stalemate, but the Daleks believe they can find a way out-by bringing back their creator, Davros. Turns out he wasn’t really dead, just in a sort of suspended animation while his body-or what was left of it-repaired itself. The Daleks revive Davros, but the Doctor is able to defeat the Daleks and Movellans, and captures Davros, sending him to earth to stand trial for the creation of the Daleks.
The Doctor’s next adventure takes him to Paris, where he and Romana intend on having a vacation. However, local time disturbances distress the two Time Lords, and they soon discover it’s linked to a count who’s trying to steal the Mona Lisa. Turns out, he’s an alien who is split into several different personas throughout time due to an space accident in the past-an accident which also provided the seed necessary for the creation of life on Earth. He’s trying to sell the Mona Lisa-and several doubles created by Leonardo himself-to fund time travel experiments so he can go back and prevent the incident from ever happening. The Doctor manages to stop him, with the help of a local detective with a good punch.
The Doctor and Romana in Paris. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward actually were briefly married for a while.
The next few adventures for the Doctor deal with them fighting drug smugglers on two spaceships that have been merged together, a bizarre blobby monster who isn’t quite as monstrous as he seems, and the bull-like aliens known as the Nimon. Another adventure-that unfortunately wasn’t finished-would’ve had the Doctor in a caper involving an alien prison and a former time lord fugitive. However, the end is coming for this popular incarnation of the Doctor.
Next: It’s the End…but the moment has been prepared for.