Elementary, My Dear Holmes
Thirty years ago today we lost one of the great writers of Doctor Who, when Robert Holmes died at the tragically early age of 60.
By far the best writer of The Classic Era of WHO.
It is difficult to exaggerate the impact of Robert Holmes on the series. He wrote 72 episodes, spread across 18 stories as well as being Script Editor throughout the first half of the Tom Baker era.
The so-called “Golden Age” of Hinchcliffe/Holmes.
He created Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith, The Master and The Valeyard, The Autons and The Sontarans. He was the mastermind who named Gallifrey and then reinvented the Time Lords giving them Borousa and Rassilon. He devised The Key to Time and The Matrix, The White and Black Guardians. He imposed the 12-regeneration limit for Time Lords.
40 years later his Time Lords still reign in the Gallifreyan Mind Set.
His characters were exquisitely written. Whether petty bureaucrats or megalomaniacs, they lived and breathed thanks to Holmes. Characters such as Sabalom Glitz, Henry Gordon Jago, George Litefoot, Sharaz Jek, Irongron and Pletrac.
Robert Holmes wrote the story voted Best Story of all time in the 2009 DWM readers survey, The Caves of Androzani.
(came in 4th in 2014).
Writing in 2008, Russell T Davies paid tribute to Holmes’ legacy,
The Third Doctor
The Nestene Consciousness and the Autons
Sarah Jane Smith
Gallifrey – First identified as the homeworld of the Time Lords in The Time Warrior. It had previously been seen but not named.
The Eye of Harmony
The Key to Time
The White Guardian
The 12-regeneration/13-life limit for Time Lords.
Televised scripts Edit
The Space Pirates
Spearhead from Space
Terror of the Autons
Carnival of Monsters
The Time Warrior
The Ark in Space – based on a script by John Lucarotti
Pyramids of Mars – credited as Stephen Harris
The Brain of Morbius – credited as Robin Bland, based on a script by Terrance Dicks
The Deadly Assassin
The Talons of Weng-Chiang
The Sun Makers
The Ribos Operation
The Power of Kroll
The Caves of Androzani
The Two Doctors
The Mysterious Planet
The Ultimate Foe – first episode (The Trial of a Time Lord Episode 13) only
Robert Holmes was also commissioned to write Yellow Fever and How to Cure It for the original season 23 but this story was never made. Apparently it would have been set in Singapore and featured the Master, the Rani and the Nestenes.