Season 12 (Doctor Who 1963)

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Season 12 of Doctor Who ran from 28 December 1974 to 10 May 1975. It starred Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah-Jane Smith and Ian Marter as Harry Sullivan. The season opened with Robot and concluded with Revenge of the Cybermen.


It consisted of five serials comprised of twenty episodes, and would be the shortest season of the show until season 22 in 1985. The season was shortened by a decision by the BBC to move Terror of the Zygons, originally intended as the finale, to the start of Season 13. This was intended to allow the next season to begin earlier and let Doctor Who better compete against the soon-to-debut Space: 1999.

All the stories in this season were interconnected, several forming a loose story arc relating to Space Station Nerva. The Cybermen returned to the series for the first time since The Invasion. Genesis of the Daleks, a story which introduced Davros and showed the creation of the Daleks, is one of the most famous of all Doctor Who serials.

It was also the last Doctor Who season to have a December/January start until the Peter Davison era. This is the first and, so far, only season to not feature the TARDIS control console, and is the first since Season 7 to have no scenes set inside the TARDIS.

This is the first season since Season 5 that Malcolm Hulke didn't write for.

Television stories[[edit]]

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 Robot Terrance Dicks 4 First appearance of Harry Sullivan. Final regular appearance of Bessie. First story to feature videotaped exteriors.
2 The Ark in Space Robert Holmes 4 First appearance of the Nerva Beacon.
3 The Sontaran Experiment Bob Baker and Dave Martin 2
4 Genesis of the Daleks Terry Nation 6 First appearance of Davros.
5 Revenge of the Cybermen Gerry Davis 4 Return of the Cybermen as recurring antagonists. Final appearance of the Nerva Beacon.




Stories set during this season[[edit]]

Adaptations and merchandising[[edit]]

Home media[[edit]]

VHS releases[[edit]]

  • Robot (1992)
  • The Ark in Space (1989) (edited movie format)
  • The Ark in Space (1994)
  • The Sontaran Experiment/Genesis of the Daleks (1991)
  • Genesis of the Daleks (2001)
  • Revenge of the Cybermen (1983/1984) (edited movie format)
  • Revenge of the Cybermen (1999)
  • The Tom Baker Years (1992) (extracts from each of the stories)

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

All serials of season 12 were released individually on DVD between 2002 and 2013. The complete season was upscaled in 1080i50 high definition and released on Blu-ray as Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 12 in the UK on 2 July 2018. Due to authoring issues, replacement discs for two of the serials were issued by BBC Video later that year.

It was later released in Australia on 1 August 2018 and was released in the US under the title Doctor Who: Tom Baker - Complete Season One on 19 June 2018. This is, to date, the only classic Doctor Who complete season Blu-ray set released in the US before the UK. BBC Video also released replacement discs for this set.

A standard edition of the box set was released in the UK on 31 May 2021.

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Robot 4 × 25 min. 4 June 2007 4 July 2007 14 August 2007
The Ark in Space 4 × 25 min. 8 April 2002 3 June 2002 6 August 2002
The Ark in Space - Special Edition 4 × 25 min. 18 February 2013 20 February 2013 12 March 2013
The Sontaran Experiment
Available individually or in the Bred for War box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
2 × 25 min. 9 October 2006 7 December 2006 6 March 2007
Genesis of the Daleks
Available individually or in The Complete Davros Collection box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
6 × 25 min. 10 April 2006 4 May 2006 6 June 2006
Revenge of the Cybermen
Only available as part of the Revenge of the Cybermen/Silver Nemesis box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 9 August 2010 7 October 2010 2 November 2010
The Collection - Season 12 20 x 25 min. 2 July 2018 1 August 2018 19 June 2018

Download/streaming availability[[edit]]

Serial name Amazon Video BritBox Google Play iTunes
(4 episodes)
Except UK
The Ark in Space
(4 episodes)
UK Except France, Germany
The Sontaran Experiment
(2 episodes)
Genesis of the Daleks
(6 episodes)
Revenge of the Cybermen
(4 episodes)

BritBox is available only in the US. iTunes stores carry Doctor Who serials in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US, unless stated otherwise. Amazon Video in the US streams classical Doctor Who through BritBox channel.



  • In 2004, BBC Books published a hardcover, annotated collection of all the scripts from Season 12.

The Lost Stories[[edit]]

In 2021 and 2023, Big Finish Productions have released audio adaptations of three Season 12 stories based on their initially-intended storylines as part of their Lost Stories range.

External links[[edit]]