The Highlanders, the fourth story of Doctor Who's fourth season, was first broadcast from December 17th 1966 to January 7th 1967. While quite a strong story in its own right, it is also fondly remembered for its place in Doctor Who's evolution. Patrick Troughton's second story as the Doctor, it also introduced the character of Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines. Although not originally intended as a regular companion the production team realised they were on to a good thing and the two actors went on to form a strong partnership right up to the Doctor's next regeneration. As well as this it was the last purely historical story to be made until "Black Orchid" in the eighties, as the production team steered the program more towards a science-fiction / adventure format with a greater emphasis on monsters. While it is sometimes claimed that this move was related to the declining ratings the show experienced in William Hartnell's final year, generally the historical stories of the era did not fare worse than the others. The Highlanders rated respectably at around the 7 million mark, and the ratings recovered for most of Troughton's tenure.
Sadly all four episodes of the story are missing from the BBC archives and no copies are known to exist. However audio recordings and telesnaps survive, together with a few very brief clips from episode one which were recovered in 1996 from the Australian Archives. These had originally been removed by the censor prior to screening in Australia in the late sixties.
On transmission the story was credited to both Elwyn Jones and Gerry Davis, the then Script Editor. However the original idea to do a story based on the battle of Culloden had come from Davis, and when Jones was unable to deliver the scripts the Script Editor found himself writing the story from scratch. It became yet another eleventh hour project, but one with which Davis was very happy. Davis was also able to discuss what was possible with the director, Hugh David, while writing the story, thus avoiding any shortcomings in its realisation . The end result was a humorous, well paced and entertaining adventure, with solidly acted and memorable characters.
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