K-9 and Company

(United Kingdom | BBC | 1981)

Series Background

Until the announcement of Torchwood in October 2005, K-9 and Company had been the only BBC-produced spin-off production from Doctor Who to ever get off the ground, and even then it never advanced beyond a one-off pilot episode titled A Girl's Best Friend.

Set on modern-day Earth, it saw K-9 Mark III paired up with popular ex-Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) to investigate a witches' coven in the sleepy English village of Hazlebury Abbas. But despite the production achieving higher ratings than every single episode of the previous season of Doctor Who, this was to be the only episode actually produced.

But that wasn't to be the last that was seen of K-9 and Sarah Jane Smith, however, as they swiftly returned to TV in 1983 for the twentieth-anniversary Doctor Who story The Five Doctors, although K-9 would only appear briefly. Yet again, this wouldn't be the end of the story as, in 2006, they were to become the first characters from the original Doctor Who television series (apart from the Daleks and Cybermen) to make the transition into the modern era, appearing in School Reunion alongside David Tennant and Billie Piper.

The success of School Reunion subsequently led to the commissioning of a spin-off series titled The Sarah Jane Adventures. Written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts, the sixty-minute Invasion of the Bane was broadcast on BBC One on 1 January, 2007, with a complete ten-part series following later in the year. Four further seasons would be produced before the premature death of actress Elisabeth Sladen in April 2011 caused the curtain to finally be brought down.

Copyright reasons would mean that K-9 Mark IV could initially only appear in the sixty-minute special, although he eventually re-appeared at the conclusion of Season 2's Enemy of the Bane, before being confirmed as returning on a more regular basis for Seasons 3 and 4 of the series.

DVD Releases

K-9 and Company has been released on DVD in both the UK and the United States, in both cases as part of the K-9 Tales box set, which also included the Doctor Who story The Invisible Enemy. Extras on the K-9 and Company disc included a commentary, production subtitles, documentary, archive items, photo gallery and subtitles. The DVD also included a number of PDF files, including the K-9 Annual 1983, the four children's picture books from Sparrow, and the original Radio Times listings for the story.
 
The Companions of Doctor Who: K-9 and Company

by
Terence Dudley
Cover image: The Companions of Doctor Who, K-9 and Company, Target Books (1987)
Country UK
Format Paperback
Publisher Target Books
Publication Date October 1987
Original Price 1.95
ISBN 0426203097

K-9 and Company is a novelisation of the 1981 television spin-off from Doctor Who.

Back Cover Blurb
In the sleepy village of Hazelbury Abbas the Winter Solstice is fast drawing near. It is a time of deep mystery and ancient evil.

Sarah Jane Smith, journalist and former companion to the Doctor, comes to Hazelbury Abbas to start work on her new book. While there she meets Brendan, the young ward of her Aunt Lavinia.

Suddenly Brendan disappears. Has he been kidnapped by the practitioners of Black Magic who are said to live in the village? Is he to be sacrificed to the goddess Hecate on the Winter Solstice?

But Sarah is not alone in her search for Brendan. Across the unimaginable gulfs of time and space, the Doctor has sent her a very special companion: a robotic dog by the name of K9...
Television Episode
50 Minutes | BBC2 | Colour

28/12/81 A Girl's Best Friend Terence Dudley
Notes
Cover image: Doctor Who, The Companions of Doctor Who: Turough and the Earthlink Dilemma, Target Books (1986)

Cover image: Doctor Who, The Companions of Doctor Who: Harry Sullivan's War, Target Books (1986)
  • K9 and Company was published as part of the short-lived Companions of Doctor Who series of books. The only other titles to be released were Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma and Harry Sullivan's War, both of which were published in 1986.

    Although the Doctor Who novelisations from Target were still being released in hardback at this point, the Companions of Doctor Who series would only be available in paperback.
  • Terence Dudley also novelised his scripts to the Fifth Doctor stories Black Orchid and The King's Demons, produced as part of seasons 19 and 20 respectively. Prior to this, his scripts to Four to Doomsday had been novelised by Terrance Dicks.

    Away from Doctor Who, Dudley was best known as a director and producer, and in the latter capacity was responsible for every single episode of both Doomwatch and Survivors. Neither series would be entirely happy affairs under his leadership, however, with Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis walking away from Doomwatch during Season 2, and Terry Nation leaving Survivors under similar circumstances.

    One other producer/director credit is also worth mentioning, and that was for the BBC's 1962 sci-fi serial The Big Pull, which was along similar lines to Nigel Kneale's The Quatermass Experiment. Sadly, it's yet another series where comparisons have to made purely by reading episode synopses, as all six episodes have long since been destroyed.

    Returning to Terence Dudley's writing credits, and a significant proportion of them are for UK sci-fi TV series, including five episodes of Doomwatch, and Manhunt, the opening episode of Survivors Season 3, which set the tone for the final run of episodes with its search for other communities and the re-establising of some sort of order.
K-9 Annual 1983

Cover image: K-9 Annual 1983, World International Publishing Limited (1982)
Country UK
Format Hardback
Publisher World International Publishing Limited
Publication Date 1982
Original Price 3.50
ISBN 0723566615

One-off annual that featured Sarah Jane Smith, K-9 and Brendan.

Stories
  • Powerstone
  • The Shroud of Azaroth
  • Hound of Hell
  • The Monster of Loch Crag
  • Horror Hotel
  • The Curse of Kanbo-Ala
Notes
  • Anyone thinking of tracking down a copy may wish to consider the fact that it is one of a number of items to have been included as PDF extras on the regular range of Doctor Who DVDs.

    In the case of the K-9 Annual, it was included on the K-9 and Company disc which was released in a box set with the Tom Baker Doctor Who story The Invisible Enemy. The disc also included PDF copies of the four K-9 picture books for children which were released by Sparrow in 1980.

    In all cases, the PDF files can be accessed, or copied, by opening the disc using a PC or Mac.
  • As with the majority of annuals, all of the stories contained within are unattributed.