Doctor Who serial number 75, Robot, was the first appearance of the new Doctor, now played by Tom Baker. He's a bit more looney than the last bloke but people got used to him so much that he's many fans favorite Doctor. Robot is the first story of the 12th season and the serial started airing December 28 1974 and ran through January 18 1975. It's a 4 part story that was written by Terrance Dicks. He had already resigned as script editor and he convinced the new script editor that the leaving script editor would be given the first story of the next season. It wasn't true. He just wanted to have a job now that he was a free lancer. This episode was the last that Barry Letts would produce. He's stayed on for a few months helping the new producer learn the ropes. You can see the 4 episodes on Dailymotion. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4.
After the regeneration process is over the Doctor almost leaves in the Tardis but Sarah Jane convinces him to stay and help in the investigation of the stolen ray gun plans. Something powerful and heavy has been breaking into science labs, killing the guards, and stealing stuff. Turns out it's a secret society that has stolen the ray gun plans. It's part of the secret plan for world domination by a power hungry group of smart people want to tell people how to act and what to do. Wouldn't that be fun? Oh, and they have a huge robot guy to help inflict their new order. Patricia Maynard plays the misguided Miss Winters who's leading the group. In real life she was married to Dennis Waterman from 1977 -1987. Their daughter, Hannah Waterman, joined her dad on his show New Tricks.
There's some running around chasing down clues left in the wake of the secret society's actions. They leave a big trail and the Doc and Unit track them down quickly. That's the nice thing about the 4 part story, not as much padding. There's some collateral damage and some poor extras get murdered. There's plenty of machine gun fire and hot robot action. The robot has some personality and he has some trouble with his commands. The Doc figures out who's behind the evil plot and puts a stop to it. Sadly the robot doesn't have a good end. He wasn't evil, he was fooled by his masters. In the end, aren't we all. The story isn't too bad and I'm getting used to the new Doctor. There's a new character in Harry Sullivan, played by Ian Marter. He'll appear in the serials of the 12th season and the first story of the 13th. Mostly a good start to the new season and the new Doctor. I did like the robot getting all tall and stomping around. The effects work for that is about average for the show. Some shots are much better than others.
There's a nice documentary on the episode. Lots of the people involved are still around and they yak about the program. There's another short on the design of the Doctor Who opening credits with creator Bernard Lodge. He worked on the credits for the first four series. It's certainly some of the most iconic title work out there and the images are pretty neat. It's totally interesting how they did them. You'd never guess. There's another segment from the tv show Blue Peter where the hosts wind up on the Doctor's UNIT set. They talk about a pet shop in America which sells a record of dog horiscopes. They question the sanity of that, and really, who wouldn't. There's a photo gallery and a commentary that I am listening to right now. Barry Letts, Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Terrance Dicks all comment on the show.