Season 18 (Doctor Who 1963)

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Season 18 of Doctor Who ran from 30 August 1980 to 21 March 1981. It starred Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana II, John Leeson as K9 Mark II, Matthew Waterhouse as Adric, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka. The season opened with The Leisure Hive and concluded with Logopolis.


Season 18 consisted of seven stories comprising twenty-eight episodes, making it the longest season in terms of episode count since the start of colour production. It was Tom Baker's final season and the first season of John Nathan-Turner's producership. Many of the changes he brought in during this season would continue throughout the 1980s — some to the end of Doctor Who's original run. Amongst the more obvious changes during the season were: a new logo, a reworking of the theme tune, fully electronic incidental music, a raft of new writers and directors, a new maroon-coloured outfit for the Doctor and the introduction of the question mark motif on the Doctor's clothing. Additionally, he commissioned Tom Yardley-Jones to design a new TARDIS prop to be used for the show. This prop would continue to be used up until the end of Season 26 (though, the previous Barry Newbery design would appear this season in Logopolis). Finally, it was Barry Letts' swansong on the programme. He had returned for this one year to executive produce.

It was the last season of the original series to have an autumn-to-spring broadcast schedule and the last to have an autumn start until Season 23. After this season, the number of episodes per season began to decline, after a relatively stable episode count for the whole of the 1970s. The season took a two week transmission break over the 1980 Christmas period, between the broadcast of part four of State of Decay and part one of Warriors' Gate, making it the last to do so.

From Full Circle onwards, the season featured a story arc involving E-Space and the return of the Master who had stolen a new body rather than regenerate. The stories were darker and more adult in tone than those during the Graham Williams era. They also attempted to emphasise science, much to the satisfaction of both script editor Christopher H. Bidmead and executive producer Barry Letts. (REF: The Fourth Doctor Handbook)

Notably, this season revolves around the theme of entropy, linking together all of its stories in a rare phenomenon for the show (while other story arcs would be linked together via people, objects, etc, the use of an overarching theme for a season was unprecedented). This theme would eventually foreshadow and culminate in the Doctor's regeneration at the end of the season.

From a ratings standpoint, it sits right at the very nadir of Doctor Who history. It is easily the worst-ranked season of Doctor Who, with 17 of its 28 episodes outside of the top 100 shows. Indeed, the 9 lowest-charting episodes in Doctor Who history come from this season. Full Circle's second episode remains the worst-charting episode of Doctor Who. Its paltry 3.70 million viewers were only good enough for what was, even by the season's low standard, an extremely anaemic 170th place during the week of 1 November 1980.[1] In terms of pure ratings, as opposed to ranking, it was not quite the worst of the lot, with all four seasons after the 1985-86 hiatus faring worse in this regard. But it was easily the least-watched Tom Baker season, with an average of only 5.8 million Britons watching each episode. (REF: The Fourth Doctor Handbook) The decline in ratings has been attributed to direct competition from ITV. The first half of the season was up against Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, an American import with considerably better production values. (INFO: Full Circle)

Television stories[[edit]]

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 The Leisure Hive David Fisher 4 Debut of the Fourth Doctor's burgundy outfit. Final story to be written by David Fisher.
2 Meglos John Flanagan
Andrew McCulloch
4 This story marked the first involvement on the show of Terence Dudley, who, along with directing this story, would contribute several scripts over to the series over the next two seasons.
3 Full Circle Andrew Smith 4 First appearance of Adric. Directorial debut on the programme of Peter Grimwade. Beginning of the "E-Space trilogy".
4 State of Decay Terrance Dicks 4 First story to be directed by Peter Moffatt.
5 Warriors' Gate Steve Gallagher 4 Final appearances of Romana II and K9 Mark II. Conclusion of the "E-Space trilogy".
6 The Keeper of Traken Johnny Byrne 4 First appearance of Nyssa. Reintroduction of the Decayed Master, and debut of Anthony Ainley's the Tremas Master.
7 Logopolis Christopher H. Bidmead 4 Final appearance of the Fourth Doctor. First appearance of the Tegan Jovanka and the Fifth Doctor.


  • Season 18 stands as one of only three seasons in Doctor Who history in which each story of the season has consisted of the same number of episodes - with this season consisting entirely of four-part serials - the others being Series 7 and Series 11, with one each. If the unfinished Shada is discounted, then this number is raised to four, with Season 17 also entirely consisting of four-part serials.




Stories set before this season[[edit]]

The following stories are the known ones to be set between Seasons 17 and 18:



to be added

Short stories[[edit]]



to be added

Stories set during this season[[edit]]


Short stories[[edit]]



to be added

Adaptations and merchandising[[edit]]

Home media[[edit]]

VHS releases[[edit]]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

All serials of season 18 were released individually on DVD between 2004 and 2011. The complete season was upscaled in 1080i50 high definition and released on Blu-ray as Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 18 in the UK on 18 March 2019. Due to authoring issues, BBC Video released replacement discs for this set.

It was released in Australia on 17 April 2019 and was released in the US under the title Doctor Who: Tom Baker - Complete Season Seven on 19 March 2019. BBC Video also released replacement discs for this set.

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
The Leisure Hive 4 × 25 min. 5 July 2004 7 October 2004 7 June 2005
Meglos 4 × 25 min. 10 January 2011 20 January 2011 11 January 2011
The E-Space Trilogy:
Full Circle (4 episodes)
State of Decay (4 episodes)
Warriors' Gate (4 episodes)
12 × 25 min. 26 January 2009 5 March 2009 5 May 2009
The Keeper of Traken
Only available as part of the New Beginnings box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 29 January 2007 7 March 2007 5 June 2007
Only available as part of the New Beginnings box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 29 January 2007 7 March 2007 5 June 2007
The Collection - Season 18
Released as Tom Baker: Complete Season Seven in the US.
28 x 25 min. 18 March 2019 17 April 2019 19 March 2019

Download/streaming availability[[edit]]

Serial name Amazon Video Google Play iTunes
The Leisure Hive (4 episodes)
Meglos (4 episodes)
Full Circle (4 episodes)
State of Decay (4 episodes)
Warriors' Gate (4 episodes)
The Keeper of Traken (4 episodes
Logopolis (4 episodes)


External links[[edit]]