5A. Doctor Who - The Ribos Operation

Season Sixteen - The Key To Time

  • Script Editor: Anthony Read
  • Writer: Robert Holmes
  • Produced by: Graham Williams
  • Director: George Spenton-Foster
  • Designer: Ken Ledsham
  • Incidental Music: Dudley Simpson

5A. Doctor Who - The Ribos Operation

The Doctor is chosen for a very special mission - to retrieve and assemble the Key to Time - by none other than the White Guardian. The Doctor is also provided with a new companion, the Time Lady Romana, and warned that there is also a Black Guardian who will do all in his power to obtain the Key to Time.

The Doctor is also provided with a Tracer which will locate each of the segments, and it leads the TARDIS to the planet of Ribos, where two con-men are attempting to sell the planet to the Graff Vynda-K. To make the planet look more valuable the leader, Garron, plants a lump of Jethryk as bait, whilst Unstoffe pretends to be a local talking of a Jethryk mine.

The Graff Vynda-K discovers that Garron and Unstoffe are con-men, and pursue them into the catacombs, where the natives fear to tread. Several fights break out, and the Graff Vynda-K's men are all destroyed. The Doctor disguises himself as one, and the Vynda-K tries to use him to deliver a bomb, but the Doctor switches it back, and the Vynda-K is destroyed.

Romana uses the tracer and the Jethryk transforms into the first segment of the Key to Time.

Regular Cast

  • Voice of K-9: John Leeson
  • Romana: Mary Tamm

Cast

  • Garron: Iain Cuthbertson
  • Unstoffe: Nigel Plaskitt
  • Graff Vynda-K: Paul Seed
  • Sholakh: Robert Keegan
  • Captain: Prentis Hancock
  • Shrieves: Oliver Maguire, John Hamill (1-2)
  • The White Guardian: Cyril Luckham (1)
  • Binro the Heretic: Timothy Bateson (3-4)
  • The Seeker: Ann Tirard (3-4)
Uncredited:
  • Walk-On Shrieves: Roy Brent, Yuri Gridneff, Barry Summerford, David Young
  • Shrivenzale: Stuart Fell (1-2), Nick Wilkinson (1-2)
  • Krole: Pat Gorman
  • Leviathans: ony Bell, Derek Chafer, Harry Fielder, Steven Ismay

Showings on the BBC

First showing

Channel Episode Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 480 Part One 02 September 1978 17:45 - 18:10 8.3M 59%
BBC 1 481 Part Two 09 September 1978 18:20 - 18:45 8.1M
BBC 1 482 Part Three 16 September 1978 18:30 - 18:55 7.9M
BBC 1 483 Part Four 23 September 1978 18:20 - 18:45 8.2M 61%

Locations

Outside Locations

No location details are available

Studios

  • Television Centre Studio 4

Notes

Bloopers

No blooper details are available

Notes

  • This story introduces the Key to Time quest that is continued through the season.
  • John Leeson's K-9 voice is not heard in Part Two.
  • The organ music heard in the story was played by Leslie Pearson.

Working titles

  • The Galactic Con Man
  • The Ribos File
  • Operation