Robot
Episode / February 3, 2016

Aired on: 28 December 1974 – 18 January 1975 Replacing Jon Pertwee, the longest-tenured actor in the lead role to that point after an impressive five-year run, was never going to be an easy task, and so it makes sense that ‘Robot’ is essentially a Pertwee episode complete with his familiar UNIT family and a threat to contemporary Earth in order to ease the audience’s transition to new leading man Tom Baker. Of course, nobody could have predicted just how instantly Tom Baker would make the role his own and quickly take the title as the definitive Doctor in many fans’ eyes. As a result, though, this makes ‘Robot’ feel a bit as if it is constraining its new lead rather than allowing him to fully find himself. Even Ian Marter’s Harry Sullivan, a character who was explicitly brought in not only to provide a male-female companion dynamic as in the earlier years of the programme but also to cover the possibility of having to be the a more physical male presence should the Fourth Doctor ultimately not be able to perform that task, quickly becomes redundant presence as Baker far exceeded all expectations right from the start. Still, there’s…