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;

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;

Guest 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 cast: 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;

First showing

Channel Episode Title Date Viewers Position
BBC 1480Part OneSat 2 September 19785:45 pm - 6:10 pm8.3M42nd
BBC 1481Part TwoSat 9 September 19786:20 pm - 6:45 pm8.1M36th
BBC 1482Part ThreeSat 16 September 19786:30 pm - 6:55 pm7.9M38th
BBC 1483Part FourSat 23 September 19786:20 pm - 6:45 pm8.2M36th

Outside filming

This programme does not have any outside filming

Studio filming

Television Centre Studio 4;

Bloopers and mistakes

This programme has no bloopers or mistakes. It's probably not perfect, just that they haven't been found or pointed out yet.

Notes and trivia

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;