September 2, 1978: The Doctor Who adventure The Ribos Operation begins

Ribos_operation
The Ribos Operation title card [Doctor Who Collectors’ Wiki]
The Ribos Operation was the first serial of season 16 of Doctor Who. It began the season-long quest to find the legendary Key to Time.

There was much debate as to whether K9 should return after the problems the prop had caused in season 15. The character was popular with younger audiences so, with the assurance that the new prop was more efficient, Graham Williams approved the introduction of K9 Mark II.

Tom Baker’s lip was cut in an accident in which a dog bit him. The dog belonged to Paul Seed, who played Graff Vynda-K in the serial, and Baker had attempted to perform a trick that Seed had previously performed. This meant he had a visible sticking plaster upon his face in the publicity stills for this story. The scar from the injury remained visible in much of this and subsequent stories.

The Ribos Operation was notable for seeing a number of debut appearances. It was the first serial to feature Mary Tamm as companion Romana I and was also the first to properly feature K9 Mark II. The White Guardian also made his debut. He was not seen again until Enlightenment, though his voice was heard in The Stones of Blood.

The Doctor is summoned by the mysterious and powerful White Guardian, and sent on a quest to find the six segments of the Key to Time, which, once assembled, will restore balance to the Universe. Joining the Doctor and K9 is the smart and sassy Romana I, a Time Lord fresh from the Academy.

Landing on the wintry planet of Ribos to locate the first segment, the TARDIS crew quickly find themselves embroiled in a little local trouble with a pair of con men and an unstable warlord…

The serial was novelised as Doctor Who and the Ribos Operation, written by Ian Marter.

Notable Cast

  • Doctor WhoTom Baker
  • RomanaMary Tamm
  • Voice of K9John Leeson
  • GuardianCyril Luckham
  • Garron – Iain Cuthbertson
  • Shrieve Captain – Prentis Hancock

Find out more*

Source of information, pictures etc is the TARDIS Data Core* unless stated otherwise.

*Prof Nostalgia & the20thcentury.today are not responsible for external links.

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