1978 is not only the year in which I was born, but it also produced one of my all time favourite eras of Doctor Who. Having left Leela behind on Gallifrey to indulge in her gratuitously discreet romance with the guard Andred (in one of the most derided leaving scenes of all time), the Doctor was happy to put his feet up, but the universe had other ideas.
The White Guardian, one half of the two greatest powers in the galaxy, has given him a quest, to assemble the crystalline, transformative segments of the Key to Time. He also provides the Doctor with a new ‘assistant,’ the glamorous and snooty Romana (Mary Tamm).
We’ve had intelligent companions before, and companions who are close to being the Doctor’s intellectual peer (Zoe and Liz being the main examples), but this is the first time that a companion was set up as being the Doctor’s superior in most things.