Doctor Who (1963–1989)
4 user 4 critic

The Ribos Operation: Part One 

The Doctor is chosen for a quest by The White Guardian to go in search for the six segments to the Key to Time, that have been scattered and sent throughout the time/space continuum. With ... See full summary »



Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Video






Episode complete credited cast:
Iain Cuthbertson ...
Nigel Plaskitt ...
Paul Seed ...
Robert Keegan ...
Prentis Hancock ...
Oliver Maguire ...
John Hamill ...
John Leeson ...
K9 (voice)


The Doctor is chosen for a quest by The White Guardian to go in search for the six segments to the Key to Time, that have been scattered and sent throughout the time/space continuum. With the Key to Time, The White Guardian will restore balance to the universe. Joined by a young time lady named Romana, The Doctor, Romana and K-9 Mark 2 begin their quest and arrive at their first destination, The medieval Russian like world Ribos, where a conman named Garron bids to sell Ribos to a exiled tyrant known as Graff Vynda K, where Unstoffe, Garron's assistant uncovers Garron's scheme and is unaware he is in possession of the first segment of the Key to Time. Written by Daniel Williamson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

2 September 1978 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Fans voted this number 64 in a countdown of the 163 Doctor Who (1963) stories in Outpost Gallifrey's 40th anniversary poll in 2003. See more »


The Doctor: ...One more thing. Your name.
Romana: What about my name?
The Doctor: It's too long. By the time I've called out, "Look out..." What's your name?
Romana: [slowly] Romanadvoratrelundar.
The Doctor: By the time I've called that out, you could be dead. I'll call you "Romana".
Romana: I don't like "Romana".
The Doctor: It's either "Romana" or "Fred".
Romana: All right, call me "Fred".
The Doctor: Good. Come on, Romana.
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: River Runs Deep (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Messily written Tom Baker adventure
24 May 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Review of the Complete Story:

THE RIBOS OPERATION is one of the lesser Tom Baker Dr Who outings. The strength of these serials lies entirely in the calibre of the writing, which just isn't up to scratch here. The story is set on another alien planet, where various factions are competing for possession of a valuable mineral; unlike the Italian and medieval stories found elsewhere in this series, there's a distinctly Russian influence on this planet which has a chilly atmosphere all of its own.

The back-and-forth of the narrative is rather complicated - needlessly, I might add - and lesser than the sum of its parts; come the end, you wonder what exactly has been going on. The only thing the tale has going for it is an outstanding performance from Iain Cuthbertson who plays a larger than life lovable rogue, an outer space salesman if you will, who dominates the screen with his strength of personality.

Baker is on typically good form here, butting heads with his new assistant, the imperious Romana (thankfully her character would be softened in subsequent serials). K9 always makes for a welcome presence, and there's some extra intrigue in that this is the first in the 'Key to Time' six-part serial featuring a mysterious guardian character. It's just a shame that the main story is so ordinary, enlivened only by a very silly dragon-type creature.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
An Alternative Universe of Stories: The Entire Classic Run Doctor_Omega
Top 10 Classic Stories jacobcerin-49548
Missing Episode Reconstructions: All 97 Episodes & Much More Besides! Doctor_Omega
Missing Episode Lead? Another Hoax? Doctor_Omega
Most Annoying DVD Interviewee Doctor_Omega
What did Harrison Chase eat? Naomi222
Discuss The Ribos Operation: Part One (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page