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24 September 2014

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Season 14

Regular cast:
Doctor Who (Tom Baker)
Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) until The Hand of Fear Part Four
Leela (Louise Jameson) from The Face of Evil Part One onwards

Regular crew:
Producer: Philip Hinchcliffe.
Script Editor: Robert Holmes.
Production Unit Manager: Chris D'Oyly-John on all stories, John Nathan-Turner uncredited on
The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
Title Music: Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Delia Derbyshire.
Special Sounds: Dick Mills.

Season fourteen was the third and final season on which Philip Hinchcliffe worked as producer of Doctor Who. In many ways it built on the success of the previous one, but on the other hand it also brought further controversy about the levels of horror and violence in the series, which culminated in BBC executives giving an unprecedented written apology to Mary Whitehouse over a scene at the end of part three of The Deadly Assassin in which the Doctor is apparently on the point of being drowned.

The repercussions of this incident were to be felt in subsequent seasons, when much tighter controls would be imposed on the production team and the series would arguably never be quite the same again. Another significant development during the course of season fourteen was the departure of the well established and popular Sarah Jane Smith and the introduction of a new, very different type of companion in the person of Leela, played by Louise Jameson. Tom Baker, meanwhile, was well into his stride as the Doctor, and still going strong.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang was Philip Hinchcliffe's Doctor Who swansong, his BBC superiors having decided to reassign him to a new police series called Target devised by a man named Graham Williams - who, by a strange coincidence, was to be his successor on Doctor Who. Established script editor Robert Holmes remained on the production team for the time being but was keen to move on and so would also be bowing out before long. Season fifteen would thus be one of behind-the-scenes changes for the series - not to mention considerable difficulties, as a number of problems combined to make it a baptism of fire for the incoming team.

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