50 Glorious Years: Episode 20 - 1982
It was a new beginning for Doctor Who in 1982. Peter Davison burst on to the scene in fine form with one of Doctor Who‘s finest seasons, a new time-slot in the UK, and ratings that on average, nearly doubled that of the previous season. Season 19 if often lauded for being the season which arguably shows Doctor Who‘s diversity better than any other season, even to this day. Stories set either totally or partially in Earth’s future, earth’s past, present day, alien planets, spaceships and even in the mind of one of the companions. The season incuded (amongst others) the cerebral, surrealistic Kinda, the “hard” sci-fi of Four to Doomsday, the fantasy of Castrovalva, a pseudo-historical with The Visitation, the first “pure” historical with Black Orchid and the all-out action-packed space epic Earthshock, which proved to be the biggest hit of the season and arguably, in its day, the most popular Doctor Who story of all time. From new monsters, returning monsters, new villains and the most brave and bold departure for a companion the series had ever done, the 1982 season was truly a special and memorable one.
It was quite the season for writer Eric Saward. He took over from Christopher Bidmead (with Antony Root sandwiched for a few months in between) as the show’s script editor while scripting two stories, the aforementioned The Visitation and Earthshock. It is difficult to think of another writer in the classic series days who had such a quick and impactful debut on the show - he went from being commissioned as a freelance writer for a debut script to becoming the show’s script editor and top writer by the end of the same year.
Outside of the UK, the series continued to gain in popularity around the world. In the US, the BBC achieved one of its biggest sales ever in this year - the entirety of the Doctor Who back catalogue (at least in terms of complete stories) to the US PBS stations. It was one of the most lucrative BBC sales to date, and the money that it generated was put back into other programmes rather than Doctor Who, showing the value of the property to the BBC just a year before its biggest anniversary celebration yet…..but that is for our next entry.
Posted by Luca on Sunday, May 26 at 11:52 am