This week Whovian Leap takes a look back at Jon Pertwee’s Season 9.
Jon Pertwee would have celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday this week. How proud he would have been to know that Doctor Who is alive and kicking again and that the Twelfth Doctor has taken so much inspiration from him! With Series 9 tantalisingly close now, let’s take a look at the other ‘Series 9’ or rather ‘Season 9’ of Classic Doctor Who.
Pertwee is now in his third year as the Doctor and the show has settled down into its Earth-based format. It features the Doctor’s popular companion Jo Grant alongside UNIT regulars, the Brigadier, Captain Yates and Sergeant Benton. The Master only appears twice in contrast to the previous season in which, incredibly, he appeared in every story. Season 9 ran from 1 January 1972 to 24th June 1972, with 26 episodes and 5 stories.
The Day of the Daleks
A four parter by Louis Marks. In colour (on TV) for the first time and after a five year break, the Daleks make their glorious return. ‘Day’ is one of the first stories in the series to look at the complexities of time travel, in which Dalek-oppressed rebels from the future arrive on present day Earth and attempt to change the course of history. The Doctor encounters the brutish Dalek servants, the Ogrons, for the first time.
The Curse of Peladon.
A four parter by Brian Hayles. The Doctor and Jo are faced with an ancient royal curse. Classic foes, the Ice Warriors, are back but not quite as one might expect. This is the first story since 1969 with no appearance of the Earth.
The Sea Devils
A six parter by Malcolm Hulke. The Sea Devils, acquatic relations of the Silurians, make their first appearance in the show. They consider themselves the rightful owners of Earth and attempt to reclaim it from humankind. The Doctor and Jo visit the Master in prison who we discover is a fan of children’s TV show “The Clangers”. The story makes heavy use of electronically-generated incidental music which unfortunately is often grating to the ear. Surprisingly, this is the only story in the Pertwee era where the Doctor actually “reverses the polarity of the neutron flow”.
A six parter by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. The populace of Solos transform into mutants. The story is remembered for being a little dull and also for its poor use of the – at the time popular – CSO technique, where a colour background is eliminated and a different one is substituted.
The Time Monster
A six parter by Robert Sloman. The Doctor and Jo deal with the TOMTIT machine and travel to Atlantis. This is the second story this season to feature the Master. “Time isn’t smooth. It’s made up of little bits” – the explanation of time provided by this adventure pales somewhat in comparison to the rather more famous one given by the Tenth Doctor and does not trip off the tongue quite so easily. Luckily for fans, no-one has ever coined the term “Timey wimey – itsy bitsy”!
Season 9 was so successful that producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks, who at the time were thinking of leaving the show, were asked to stay on by BBC management. The season gives us the Third Doctor at his peak where he and Jo start to venture off into time and space again. With the Twelfth Doctor and Clara doing exactly the same in their upcoming adventures, it is almost as if they are paying homage to Season 9. If only Jon Pertwee were with us today to see it.