The Ribos Operation

No. 12 of 184 in the BBC classic series DVDs/Blu-rays series
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Starring: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm & John Leeson
By:Robert Holmes
Rating:   8.1  (25 votes)  Vote here
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Editions:  US US (standard DVD) | US US (special DVD)
Description:  DVD release of the 1978 Doctor Who TV serial of the same name — the first story in the Key To Time season. Only available separately in the US — in the UK and Australia it was instead released as part of The Key To Time box set.

Cover image for The Ribos Operation
Edition: US US (standard DVD)
Released:  October 2002
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x DVD
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Cover blurb:
Having left Leela on Gallifrey, the Doctor and K9 Mark II don’t remain footloose for long. The TARDIS is soon intercepted by the White Guardian.

The White Guardian sets the Doctor on an urgent mission to locate the six segments of the Key to Time, which are well disguised and hidden in odd corners of time and space. Once assembled, the Key will allow the White Guardian to restore balance to a universe descending into evil and chaos.

To assist the Doctor the White Guardian has appointed Romana, fresh out of the Time Lord Academy and none too well traveled. Despite an initial bout of “negative empathy,” the Doctor and Romana trace the first segment’s signal to Ribos, a remote, backward planet that suffers from 32-year winters. There they are surprised to meet other interplanetary travelers, who include two conmen, Garron and Unstoffe, and the Graff Vynda-K, a warlord in the market for an inexpensive planet.


  • Commentary by actors Tom Baker and Mary Tamm
  • Pop-Up Production Notes
  • Photo Gallery
  • Who’s Who

Cover image for The Ribos Operation: Special Edition
Edition: US US (special DVD)
Title:  The Ribos Operation: Special Edition
Released:  March 2009
Publisher:  BBC Video
Format: 1 x DVD
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New:  $10.99
Used:  $8.00
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New: $23.16
Used:  $38.01

Cover blurb:
The Doctor is summoned by the mysterious and powerful White Guardian, and sent on a quest to find the six segments of the Key to Time, which, once assembled, will restore balance to the universe. Joining the Doctor and K-9 is the smart and sassy Romana, a Time Lord fresh from the Academy.

Landing on the wintry planet of Ribos to locate the first segment, the TARDIS crew quickly find themselves embroiled in a little local trouble with a pair of conmen and an unstable warlord.


  • Audio Commentary by actors Tom Baker (The Doctor) and Mary Tamm (Romana)
  • A Matter of Time A new documentary exploring Graham Williams’ three year tenure as Doctor Who’s producer and The Key to Time as a whole, with Tom Baker, Louise Jameson (Leela), Lalla Ward (Princess Astra / Romana), John Leeson (K-9) plus new series writer Gareth Roberts (60 mins)
  • The Ribos File “Making of” with Nigel Plaskitt (Unstoffe), Paul Seed (The Graff Vynda-K) and Prentis Hancock (Captain) (19 mins)
  • Season 16 trailer (1 mins)
  • Continuities (2 mins)
  • Photo Gallery (6 mins)
  • Production Note Option
  • DVD-ROM PC / Mac feature Radio Times billings
  • Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

Originally transmitted September 2 - 23, 1978

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