Starring Tom Baker as The Doctor
with Mary Tamm as Romana
and John Leeson as the voice of K9

98 The Ribos Operation

One of Robert Holmes' most winning stories, carried by the loveable con-artists Garron and Unstoffe. Tom Baker turns in an excellent performance when the Doctor basically sides with the pair against local authority, partly to irritate Romana. Full of lovely touches, and the Key to Time gives a good enough excuse for this fun macguffin caper.


99 The Pirate Planet

Douglas Adams' first script for the show has a great plot which brings the best out of Tom Baker and Bruce Purchase, and blends comedy and drama with considerable aplomb. The problem is there's another plot grafted on, with the po-faced Mentiads rubbish. This tends to bog the story down and distract from some of the wonderful - if raw - ideas bubbling around.


100 The Stones of Blood

Much better before the shift to the ship on Hyperspace. The idea of a story shifting from a Hammer homage to science fiction is a good one, but the thing looks so dreadful and depends so much on idiot plotting (notably the gullible justice mechanisms) that the thing just becomes irritating.


101 The Androids of Tara

A charming pastiche of The Prisoner of Zenda, this is a great little swashbuckling slice of fun. Tom Baker puts in one of his best performances - as with "Seeds of Doom" and "Masque of Mandragora", he's clearly relishing the fight scenes - and is almost matched by the rest of the cast, especially Peter Jeffrey. Proof that the show can be dramatic and exciting without being humourless and overwrought, a lovely adventure.


102 The Power of Kroll

Not only does "The Power of Kroll" feature dreadful effects by any standards, but it also has next to no redeeming features. John Leeson shows why his most famous role is as the voice of a prop robot dog, Glyn Owen seems to be asleep and even Phillip Madoc and John Abineri just cannot be bothered. For a Robert Holmes script it's very badly written, and too straight-faced to even be amusing. Plus the Doctor and Romana basically leave Fenner to be butchered at the end.


103 The Armageddon Factor

Another disastrous end of season story. A few good ideas are buried by lots of bad ones, and the cast vary between phoning it in and making you wish they'd phoned it in. Even Lalla Ward is rubbish. Whereas "The Power of Kroll" was humourless, "The Armageddon Factor" tries to be funny and clever and almost totally fails. And after enduring five and a half episodes of dross, the resolution to the whole Key to Time storyline is a complete anticlimax.