Robert Banks Stewart, who has died aged 84, is best known for creating both Bergerac and Shoestring, a couple of inventive crime dramas but we Doctor Who fans hold him in high regard for his two classic stories `Terror of the Zygons” and `Seeds of Doom`. They also happen to two of my all time favourite stories which I recall enraptured a whole generation when first shown in the 1975 -76 season which must rank as the overall most consistently good season in the series’ history. Both manage to conjure up a slightly different take on the series than the other stories that season. Robert Banks Stewart seemed eager to push the show into a harder world with storylines that grew from everyday preoccupations of the time. He put a spin on old ideas- and sometimes the best Doctor Who does that- be they the Loch Ness Monster or plants taking over. Because they were largely made by the same team they are similar in production values and drawn together by Geoffrey Burgon’s elegant fluid scores. By way of a little tribute, here’s a piece I recently penned for an upcoming project about `Terror of the Zygons` though I should point out I love `Seeds of Doom` equally!
On 24 October 1980 an apparently hastily arranged news conference announced that Tom Baker was leaving Doctor Who after seven years in the role. He was, remains and in all likelihood always will be the longest running Doctor so you can imagine it was quite a big story at the time. For fans it was quite a shift as there would be some who could barely recall another Doctor. For Tom himself it was a life changing moment and his manner during the ensuing months leading to his final story would be, even for him, a little odd.