At the start of the Third Doctor’s tenure in the TARDIS, there was a distinct plan to move the show out of the realms of the entirely fantastical, and to give it a basis in what was then modern day fact. To this end, the idea was cooked up that the Time Lords would exile the Doctor from the universe at large, confining him to Earth in the early years of the 1970s, and giving him a job, as scientific advisor to the newly-formed UNIT.
This solved quite a few production problems, not least the one of having to find a new alien landscape for every new script, but it did raise one significant issue. If the Doctor doesn’t travel any more, and he isn’t walking around explaining foreign worlds to his star-struck companions – or to be strictly accurate for the Third Doctor era, companion singular – how do we flesh out the human stories behind the action? There are no strangers to meet, no alien cultures to explore.
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