Season 26

From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference

Season 26 of Doctor Who ran from 6 September 1989 to 6 December 1989. It starred Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. Season 26 was also the last season in the original run of the TV show. The season opened with Battlefield and concluded with Survival.

On 23 November 2019, a special edition of the third story The Curse of Fenric was shown at BFI Southbank along with a Q&A with Sophie Aldred and script editor Andrew Cartmel.[1][2]

On 23 December 2019 the Blu-ray Box Set for the season was released with rare restored extended cuts of The Curse of Fenric; VHS extended version, The Curse of Fenric; DVD special edition, Battlefield; VHS extended version and Battlefield; DVD special edition, 5.1 surround sound and isolated scores on all 14 broadcast episodes, plus 5.1 sound on all extended versions of The Curse of Fenric and Battlefield, "Behind the Sofa"; new episodes with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, plus companions Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Anneke Wills and Jodie Whittaker-era writers Pete McTighe and Joy Wilkinson, Showman – the Life of John Nathan-Turner; a feature-length look at the life and career of Doctor Who's longest-serving producer, who fought to keep the programme on-air during the 1980s; Contributors include Peter Davison and Colin Baker, Making The Curse of Fenric; a brand new documentary featuring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Tomek Bork, Nicholas Parsons, Cory Pulman, Marek Anton, Ian Briggs, Andrew Cartmel, Mark Ayres and Ian Collins featuring unseen behind-the-scenes footage and photographs, In Conversation; Matthew Sweet chats to companion Sophie Aldred, The Writers' Room; Ben Aaronovitch, Marc Platt, Ian Briggs, Rona Munro and Andrew Cartmel discuss their work on Season 26, Becoming The Destroyer; actor Marek Anton and prosthetics designer Stephen Mansfield recall the creation of one of Doctor Who's best-ever monsters, brand new Ghost Light extended workprint, unseen studio footage, rare archive treats, convention footage, HD photo galleries, scripts, costume designs, rare BBC production files and other gems from the archive in PDF. The trailer for the release, Ace Returns!, was created by Pete McTighe.[3]


The season consisted of four stories comprised of fourteen episodes. It was the final season of the "classic" series; the BBC announced in 1990 that it would not be producing a 27th season. However, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred reprised their roles as the Doctor and Ace respectively for a special episode of Search Out Science entitled Search Out Space, which aired that year. A one-off Children in Need special, Dimensions in Time, appeared in 1993, after which a television film, co-produced by an American network, followed in 1996. The series finally returned in 2005. However, the BBC chose to restart the season numbering with Series 1. Season 26 featured the return of Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier and the last televised appearance of Anthony Ainley as the Tremas Master. Unusually for a Doctor Who season, aside from some scenes in Survival, all the stories took place on Earth. The only other season to do this was Season 7. Apart from Battlefield, the stories followed a loose character arc, as Ace came to terms with her past. As for the Doctor, he had become darker in personality, treating others as pawns in the battle between good and evil while dressing in dark clothes to match his personality change. This was the first and so far only season to be produced entirely out of broadcast order.

Television stories[[edit]]

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 Battlefield Ben Aaronovitch 4 Special guest appearance by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
2 Ghost Light Marc Platt 3 Last story of the classic series filmed.
3 The Curse of Fenric Ian Briggs 4 First appearance of Fenric.
4 Survival Rona Munro 3 Last serial in the "Classic Series". Final regular appearance of Ace, and final televised appearance by the Tremas Master.




Stories set before this season[[edit]]


Stories set during this season[[edit]]

to be added

Adaptations and merchandising[[edit]]

Home media[[edit]]

VHS releases[[edit]]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

All serials of season 26 were released individually on DVD between 2003 and 2009. The complete season was upscaled in 1080i50 high definition and was released on Blu-ray as Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 in the UK on 27 January 2020.

It was later released in Australia on 11 March 2020 and was released in the US under the title Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy - Complete Season Three on 24 March 2020. The Blu-ray box set included the extended Special Edition cuts and VHS extended versions of Battlefield and The Curse of Fenric and a workprint cut of Ghost Light.

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Battlefield 4 × 25 min.
(Broadcast Version)
1 × 96 min.
(Special Edition)
26 December 2008 5 February 2009 5 May 2009
Ghost Light 3 × 25 min. 20 September 2004 3 February 2005 7 June 2005
The Curse of Fenric 4 × 25 min.
(Broadcast Version)
1 × 104 min.
(Special Edition)
6 October 2003 11 February 2004 1 June 2004
Survival 3 × 25 min. 16 April 2007 6 June 2007 14 August 2007
The Collection - Season 26 14 x 25 min.
1 x 96 min.
(Battlefield Special Edition)
1 x 104 min.
(The Curse of Fenric Special Edition)
27 January 2020 11 March 2020 24 March 2020

Download/streaming availability[[edit]]

Serial name Amazon Video iTunes
Battlefield (4 episodes)
Ghost Light (3 episodes)
The Curse of Fenric (4 episodes)
Survival (3 episodes)


Behind the scenes[[edit]]

  • The producers had already outlined basic plots for the next season of Doctor Who when the programme's cancellation hit. In that season, it was proposed that Ace should leave, and a new companion should join. Also planned was that the entire season should do more to explore the darker side of the Doctor. While the scripts never saw a TV screen (and in some cases did not exist beyond a rough outline), they were eventually completed and produced as full-cast audio plays in Big Finish Productions' collection The Lost Stories.

External links[[edit]]