Doctor Who, The Highlanders, 1966
Introduced as Doctor Who and the Highlanders by the “Next Episode” caption at the end of The Power Of The Daleks, this was the fourth story from season four and Patrick Troughton’s second story as The Doctor.
It’s significant for introducing Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon. Jamie would go onto travel with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor until the end of his tenure, something that to date has never been repeated, making him the longest serving companion.
The Highlanders was also the last of the pure historical stories that had been a regular feature of the show since it’s beginning. According to his son Michael, it was Patrick Troughton who encouraged the move away from historical stories, out of an interest in exploring “real science in drama” as well as a desire to further distinguish his era from that of his predecessor.
The script was commissioned from Elwyn Jones, who proved ultimately too busy to actually write it. Script editor Gerry Davis stepped in to write the serial. On screen Jones and Davis were both credited.
The Highlanders became the first Doctor Who serial to have its videotapes wiped, which occurred on 9th March 1967, just two months after it’s broadcast
Arriving in Scotland in the aftermath of the battle of Culloden. The Doctor gains the trust of a small band of fleeing Highlanders by offering to tend their wounded Laird, Colin McLaren; but while Polly and the Laird’s daughter, Kirsty, are away fetching water, he and the others are all captured by Redcoat troops under the command of Lieutenant Algernon ffinch.
Grey, a crooked solicitor who sells prisoners for transportation to slavery in the West Indies, then secures the group into his custody. Polly and Kirsty blackmail ffinch into helping, and the Doctor eventually wins the day by smuggling arms to the Highlanders, who are being held on board a stolen ship, the Annabelle.
Grey and the ship’s unscrupulous captain, Trask, are overpowered and the vessel returned to its rightful owner, MacKay, who agrees to take the Scots to safety in France.
The Doctor, Polly and Ben return to the TARDIS, where they are joined on their travels by the young piper Jamie McCrimmon.
The Doctor – Patrick Troughton
Ben Jackson – Michael Craze
Polly – Anneke Wills
Jamie McCrimmon – Frazer Hines
All episodes are missing from the BBC archives. Although audio recordings, still photographs, and clips of the story exist, no episodes of this serial are known to have survived.
Written By: Elwyn Jones and Gerry Davies
Produced By: Innes Lloyd
Script Editor: Gerry Davies
Directed By: Hugh David
Original Transmission Dates: 17th December 1966 – 7th January 1967