Memories of the Seventies

Seasons 7-17: Spearhead from Space - The Horns of Nimon


It was about four years before Doctor Who screened again. I remembered bits of Spearhead From Space and The Silurians before the repeats. But it was not really until I got a copy of the Radio Times 10th Anniversary Special (they were giving them away as part of a Levi's Jeans/TV2 promotion) that my interest in the programme really developed. Shortly after that the Target novels started coming out which increased my interest even more. Of course, most of the stories had not been shown in New Zealand and so the books were something of a substitute.

To this day, the late sixties and early seventies stories are my favourites. I especially liked the 'present day' Earth UNIT stories, and felt that some of the 'Doctor Who magic' was lost when UNIT was written out.

I don't remember every being frightened by the programme, although I remember my parents tried to stop me watching Doctor Who along with Lost in Space, because they were 'too violent'.

Wendy Toynton

The early seventies had some very good stories, although the overuse of the Master did tend to become a bit tedious. Tom Baker's Doctor lasted too long. He should have fallen off the radio antenna a lot earlier.

Paul Kelly

The seventies I can remember very well as I have seen every story of this era. To start with, Jon Pertwee's Doctor is my favourite Doctor, and his first season is when I really became a true fan. He is not only my favourite Doctor because he had some of the best enemies, but also because his version had everything - humour (though not as much as Tom Baker), action, suspense. These five seasons were absolutely brilliant. Then came the regeneration and we were confronted with a radically different Doctor in the form of Tom Baker. It was during his years that the humour was expanded to a level which had never been seen before on Doctor Who, climaxing in Seasons 16 and 17. There are many different scenes from these seasons I remember, one in particular being at the start of Destiny of the Daleks where we see Romana's regeneration watched by an amazed Doctor.

Paul Scoones

Anyone born within the last 30-35 years who watched Doctor Who as a child will have a Doctor which they thought of as the definitive Doctor, and I personally know many who still do. For me the Doctor was Jon Pertwee. Yes, I was one of those who watched the Autons, Silurians, Drashigs, Daleks, Sontarans and spiders from behind the sofa. My very earliest memory dates back to a couple of years after arriving in New Zealand from Britain (I can remember Britain, but not Doctor Who - I left when I was 5 years old). I can still recall vividly the TARDIS materialising in a wood, and the Doctor falling from it. I was especially frightened when the Doctor had a sticking plaster over his mouth, and was in a wheelchair - I suppose it was because the Doctor was the one person who was always in control of the situation, and here he was at the mercy of the Autons. I don't remember much of Liz or the Brig from the first showing of Pertwee material, and the Master didn't feature in the selection we saw here. I do, however, distinctly remember seeing Carnival of Monsters before The Three Doctors, the latter of which came as something of an education for me, as at the time, I wasn't aware of any other Doctor apart from Pertwee. My mother explained to me that she'd watched the occasional episode of Hartnell and Troughton in Britain, and I suppose it was about that point that my interest in the show began (up until then, I had only watched it because it was on, like any other TV-fixated kid). My memory of those Pertwee stories is a little confused to the point that I thought that the metal snake/probe from Death to the Daleks was under Styles' house in Day of the Daleks. The Daleks themselves were no more frightening to me than any other monster.

I only made a point of following Doctor Who week by week in about 1980-81. I started watching on a semi-regular basis with the advent of Tom Baker, who for many years was my favourite Doctor, and for my mother is still the Doctor. His light-hearted manner was extremely reassuring as the show got more and more scary under the Hinchcliffe/Holmes team. The Brain of Morbius became a term in our house for anything exceptionally repulsive - the scene where it was tipped out of the bowl onto the floor is etched on my mind as possibly the most gruesome moment in the entire history of the show.

I first started to consider myself a fan of the show around the screening of the 'Key to Time' season. This was when I started to collect the books. For some years I'd had a scruffy copy of The Cave Monsters, and when I was allowed to choose a book to be gifted to me, I chose Genesis of the Daleks because Destiny was being screened at that time. Prior to that, I'd read all ten or so Doctor Who books I could find in the local library - several times! For a long time I was definitely more of a fan of the books than the show - everyone watched the show at school, but only I collected the books. Also, the episodes were only on once a week, but I could read the books (over and over) every day. My friends and me even tried our hands at writing Doctor Who stories and I ran a club for about a month or two, with about five members. They lost interest after a while: I didn't. With the advent of the episodes from the 1980/1 season, I became truly hooked.

Scott Walker

For myself, Doctor Who has almost been a life-long interest with many varied and entertaining memories associated with my hobby. My earliest memory of actual Doctor Who goes back to 1975 when I was only a young and impressionable five years old. I remember quite vividly watching those horrifying cell guards chase the good Doctor over a disused quarry, and how back in my living room I sat petrified, on the sofa (legs up). The Three Doctors was probably a good place to start remembering things, although I know that I had been watching Doctor Who for quite a few months before that, as my mother was often spending time consoling one distraught child.

It was in 1976 that the smelly stuff hit the fan, as far as my mother was concerned. Enough was enough, two or more years off comforting a young child, frightened by Doctor Who was it. The story in question was Death to the Daleks. By this time my brother had been introduced to the world a few years back, and we frequently watched the show together - arms wrapped firmly around each other, sitting behind a large sofa chair, peering through the cracks in the seat's trappings. On this occasion Mother dear was attempting to lessen the ever-increasing ironing pile while keeping an eye on us, petrified behind the chair. I remember the scene well, the Daleks were herding a group of people somewhere, again in a disused quarry, when Mum took the initiative and switched the TV off, deaf to our cries of disappointment and protest. We were banned from watching Doctor Who for about two to three years. However, it was not a total ban, and I did get to see a few other stories, but I soon lost interest and it wasn't until 1979 that I again began watching in earnest. However, it was just a little confusing at the time.

Tom Baker had been showing for a year and suddenly up pops The Green Death, a Jon Pertwee story. I remember, most chillingly, a miner coming up in a lift was his face covered in a mesh of glowing green substance. I did not sleep well after that. Again my viewing was interrupted as we took off for our world trip. We ended up living in London for a year, unfortunately for me, I did not realise that London was the home for the intrepid time traveller, and probably missed out on some marvellous merchandise opportunities. I did though, manage to catch Doctor Who over there, and remember The Power of Kroll, The Creature from the Pit and most special for me City of Death. City of Death was special for me at the time because at the time when I was watching it, Mum told me I would be going to Paris next week and sure enough, a week later, I was standing in almost the exact spot Tom Baker had stood on the Eiffel Tower. That was a really big thrill, not so now, but I was very pleased then.

It was also in London that I was introduced to the Doctor Who novels. I was given two, The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Web of Fear. I was nine at the time, rather small for my age, and we were preparing for the second stage of our trip, Europe. I was sitting on a suitcase, in the London Underground, awaiting a tube to the airport, reading (for the umpteenth time) The Web of Fear. I tell you right now, it's not an experience you forget quickly, especially at an impressionable nine years old! I wish I still had those books, but in a moment of irrational thought I gave them to my American cousins who had shown an interest in the show.

I again began serious Who watching in 1980 with Destiny of the Daleks, and remember being curled up in my father's lap watching these hideous Daleks burst through the wall and corner Romana. Quite neat then, but during the recent re-screening I laughed myself silly.

Stephen Murray

Doctor Who was never to be more popular than through the Pertwee-Baker years. Why? Because they were written with imagination and considerable thought. Doctor Who grew up through these years.

We could now pick out the seemingly invisible wires and bad special effects, thanks to the new technicolour process. But this is why we like it, and that's part of its charm. It never takes itself seriously and neither should we.

Those of us lucky enough to remember past episodes as they were first shown will remember the horror we felt as kids. The mind of a child perceives the Doctor and his adventures as real. For a seven-year-old, such classics as Jon Pertwee's The Silurians became the subject of play. We would walk around scaring ourselves, and especially the girls, by pretending that we had the dreaded disease. Everybody we touched would thus be infected... "You're going to die, you're going to die..." such fun. The girls would scream in terror.

My fondest memories were of the Pertwee-Baker eras. The Doctor strapped and gagged, trundling along in a wheelchair, escaping from the Autons in Spearhead from Space. One was never more terrified when the Autons smashed their way through shop windows, gunning down passers-by. Now one always looks twice when passing a shop window.

Doctor Who had a habit of turning everyday things into something terrifying. It happened again in Terror of the Autons, a seemingly harmless chair smothering its occupant. The devilish doll moving in the back seat, later to murder. Made you want to amputate your Action Man's legs before he got any nasty ideas. Years later when entering a railway tunnel a memory from Day of the Daleks attacked me. Every few feet I would look back over my shoulder, expecting to see a Dalek or an Ogron. Remembering the look on the Doctor's face when he confronted his archenemies was firmly etched on my brain. I learnt never to go down in any dark pits from fear of some unfriendly monster named Aggedor might be waiting to eat me up.

Having an active imagination and believing there was a man inside every TV and a circus inside every radio was only confirmed by Carnival of the Monsters. The Drashigs were enough to give me nightmares, but Vorgs assistant Shirma was only an afternoon delight.

As was little Jo Grant with those short skirts and those revealing knickers in episode one of The Three Doctors. Blondes were always the menu after that.

The Daemons I watched from behind the sofa. Jon Pertwee was never better, the Master never more dominating or devilish. The winged demon still gives me the willies.

In The Green Death we were confronted with the most ghastly creepy-crawlies ... maggots. Big-toothed maggots on land and in the mines, confirming that underground was not a very nice place. Along with the departure of Jo Grant, which practically moves me to tears now, this story was made for me.

Tom Baker appeared on our screens about 1977. I was a teenager and very much into the comic side of life. I enjoyed him enormously. He was never more clownish than in Robot with his search for a costume and his antics at the meeting.

I was rather scared watching The Brain of Morbius and The Hand of Fear, having always had a fascination for spare parts, wondering what it would be like to grow another head or torment someone with a bit of one's anatomy. Maybe I should have become a Who monster.

Ken Tod

I liked Jon Pertwee's Doctor, being a man of action. Spearhead from Space and The Silurians scared the willies out of me, even when they were rescreened ten years later!

These two were my favourites of Jon Pertwee's stories as well as: The Daemons, Day of the Daleks, The Curse of Peladon, The Sea Devils, The Three Doctors, Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, The Time Warrior and The Monster of Peladon.

My favourite Tom Baker stories of the seventies were The Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius, The Deadly Assassin, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Pirate Planet, The Stones of Blood, Destiny of the Daleks and City of Death.

Murray Jackson

I first saw Jon Pertwee's Doctor in 1975 when the Silurians burst into the lab and overpowered the Doctor. The Silurians scared the hell out of me but I watched the programme avidly from then on. When Tom Baker eventually made it to our screens I was captivated by the gothic mood that had entered the programme. Doctor Who was both scary and entertaining and with the thirteenth season the production became very polished with special effects and monsters reaching an all time high. Particularly memorable were Terror of the Zygons and Pyramids of Mars. After the fourteenth season was shown I managed to miss most of Doctor Who until the eighties.

This item appeared in 25 Years of a Time Lord (January 1989).

Related Items: Memories of the Sixties, Memories of the Eighties