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Robert Colin Holmes (2 April 1926 - 24 May 1986) was an English writer who held the position of script editor on Doctor Who from 1974 to 1977. Holmes was the most prolific writer of the 1963 to 1989 run of the program, contributing eighteen stories between 1968 and 1986.

Robert holmes

At the age of sixteen, Holmes joined the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and fought in Burma. He reportedly lied about his age to get into the British Army. His first Doctor Who script - "The Krotons" - was for Patrick Troughton's Doctor in 1968. He penned a further tale for the second Doctor - "The Space Pirates" - before being asked to write Jon Pertwee's third Doctor debut "Spearhead from Space" (the first story to feature the Nestenes and their Auton servants) in 1970. His next script - "Terror of the Autons" - introduced the character of the Master to the series, a villain that was to prove both popular and long-running in the show. He would write two further adventures for the third Doctor - "Carnival of Monsters" and "The Time Warrior". The latter story saw the introduction of the Sontarans to the series.

1974 saw him replace Terrance Dicks as Doctor Who's script editor, just in time to oversee the introduction of Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. One of his first tasks was to re-write from scratch the story that would become "The Ark in Space". He also had major writing input into the stories "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Brain of Morbius". He re-introduced the Master to the programme in his story "The Deadly Assassin", a serial set on the Time Lord world of Gallifrey (a name Holmes had invented in "The Time Warrior"). His next script was the widely acclaimed "The Talons of Weng-Chiang". This was followed by "The Sun Makers", after which he handed over the show's script editing reins to Anthony Read. More stories followed - "The Ribos Operation" and "The Power of Kroll".

Holmes then had a five-year break from Doctor Who, until he was asked to script the series' twentieth anniversary story in 1983. In the end, his script idea was not used, but it did lead to him being commissioned for Peter Davison's swansong story as the fifth Doctor - "The Caves of Androzani". He would go on to write for Colin Baker's Doctor, with the return of Troughton's Doctor and the Sontarans for "The Two Doctors". Holmes scripted the opening four episodes ("The Mysterious Planet") of the fourteen-part "The Trial of a Time Lord" arc, and was also scheduled to script the final two episodes but ill health saw him completing only the thirteenth episode (the first part of the two-part "Time Inc.") of the arc. Holmes died following a brief illness in May 1986.

Writing credits[]

On-screen appearances[]

Holmesdoctor a mind-bending projection

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