Season 7

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Season 7 of Doctor Who ran from 3 January 1970 to 20 June 1970. It starred Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, Caroline John as Liz Shaw and Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. The season opened with Spearhead from Space and concluded with Inferno.


It consisted of four serials comprised of twenty-five episodes. It was the shortest series of Doctor Who to date (and had the fewest number of serials until Season 23). It has the distinction of being the earliest Doctor Who series to exist in its entirety (though not completely in colour, with the monochromatic copies of episodes later subjected to various recolourisation techniques) in the BBC archives. This is also the first series (other than the first one) to not feature any returning monsters from earlier stories.

It was the first series produced and broadcast in colour and the first set entirely in one time period and almost entirely on Earth (the latter of these factors would later be repeated for Season 26 and Series 1, although in those two cases there was no attempt at an in-universe explanation for confining the Doctor to the planet). Although the series did not have an overall story arc, it did feature a recurring subplot of the Doctor trying to adjust to life as an exile while trying to circumvent the restrictions placed upon him by the Time Lords, and began the process where the Doctor would try to gain more control over his TARDIS. Beginning with this series and continuing for the next few years, most storylines involve the Doctor working with UNIT.

Beginning with this series and continuing through the Pertwee era, the BBC changed the show's scheduling with new, shorter series from this point beginning in either January or very late December, rather than Autumn as had been the previous format; the series would return to an Autumn series start in the Tom Baker era. The new scheduling reflected the change from around forty to forty-five episodes a series to more or less twenty-six per series, though the length of the episodes remained the same.

Production-wise, this season was a rather prominent transitionary period for the show, accentuated by a six month-long hiatus following the conclusion of The War Games. With the 1960s coming to a close, this season saw the last two stories to be filmed during the decade: Spearhead from Space and Doctor Who and the Silurians, both of which were filmed in late 1969. Additionally, as mentioned before, the series made the leap from monochrome to full-colour, crossing paths with the arrival of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. Having done away with the entire main cast at the end of the previous season, Season 7 also built up a new team for the Doctor, consisting of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart & Sergeant Benton (both of whom had already been introduced in The Web of Fear and The Invasion respectively) and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. This also saw the only time in the classic series where there was no defined producer for a time, with Barry Letts only taking up the role midway through production of Doctor Who and the Silurians. With the show amassing a considerably larger budget this season, Letts gave the show many technological achievements that came with its new colour presentation, most notably Colour-Separation Overlay, and stories began to feature a greater amount of on-location filming and action sequences than before. Overall, the seventh season marked the departure of several staples of the 1960s seasons, while introducing many more elements that would become prevalent for the rest of Doctor Who's run.

This was also the first season of Doctor Who to have no scenes inside the TARDIS, although the console was removed from it in The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno in order for the Doctor to run repairs on it in an attempt to escape his exile.

Television stories[[edit]]

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 Spearhead from Space Robert Holmes 4 First episode broadcasted in colour. First appearances of the Third Doctor, Liz Shaw, the Nestene Consciousness and the Autons.
2 Doctor Who and the Silurians Malcolm Hulke 7 First appearance of the Silurians. First story to use Colour Separation Overlay.
3 The Ambassadors of Death David Whitaker
Trevor Ray (uncredited)
Malcolm Hulke (uncredited)
7 Debut of the Doctor Who cliffhanger "sting". Final story to be written by former script editor David Whitaker.
4 Inferno Don Houghton 7 Final regular appearance of Liz Shaw. Final story to be scored entirely with stock music. First story to explore alternative universes.




Stories set before this season[[edit]]

Main article: Season 6B

Stories set during this season[[edit]]


Short stories[[edit]]



to be added

Adaptations and merchandising[[edit]]

Home media[[edit]]

VHS releases[[edit]]

  • Spearhead from Space (1988) (edited movie format)
  • Spearhead from Space (1995)
  • Doctor Who and the Silurians (1993) (colour restoration)
  • The Ambassadors of Death (2002) (partly in black and white)
  • Inferno (1994) (poor colour restoration; also including in episode 5 a scene cut from the original UK transmission but retained for overseas screening)
  • The Pertwee Years (1992) (Inferno episode 7)

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
Spearhead from Space 4 × 25 min. 29 January 2001 12 September 2001 11 September 2001
Spearhead from Space – Special Edition
Only available as part of the Mannequin Mania box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 9 May 2011 2 June 2011 14 August 2012
Spearhead from Space - Blu-ray Edition 4 x 25 min. 15 July 2013 17 July 2013 13 August 2013
Doctor Who and the Silurians
Only available as part of the Beneath the Surface box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
7 × 25 min. 14 January 2008 5 March 2008 3 June 2008
The Ambassadors of Death 7 × 25 min. 1 October 2012 3 October 2012 9 October 2012
Inferno 7 × 25 min. 19 June 2006 6 July 2006 5 September 2006
Inferno - Special Edition 7 x 25 min. 27 May 2013 5 June 2013 11 June 2013

Download/streaming availability[[edit]]

Serial name Amazon VIdeo BritBox Google Play iTunes
Spearhead from Space
(4 episodes)
Doctor Who and the Silurians
(7 episodes)
The Ambassadors of Death
(7 episodes)
(7 episodes)

BritBox is available only in the US. iTunes stores carry Doctor Who serials in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US.


External links[[edit]]

BBC website guide to Series 7