"I like wild, rich, hammy characters and Doctor Who is one of the few series where you can get away with them."Robert Colin Holmes (2 April 1926 – 24 May 1986) was a British screenwriter best known for his stint on Doctor Who: he wrote 18note stories between 1968 and 1986, and served as script editor from 1975-1977.These aren't just any stories though. Included in his work are somenote of the all-time classics of the show, including:
- "Spearhead from Space"
- "Pyramids of Mars"
- "The Deadly Assassin"
- "The Talons of Weng-Chiang"
- "The Caves of Androzani"
Tropes in his work include:
- Black Comedy: If his sense of humour wasn't clever wordplay, it was this.
- Bloodier and Gorier, Darker and Edgier: Along with producer Philip Hinchcliffe, he was responsible for Doctor Who's "gothic horror" period in the mid-Seventies, and really tested the limits of what they could get away with.
- Creator Thumbprint: Those Two Guys, massive body counts, boundary-pushing horror, general cynicism sometimes to localised Crapsack World levels, aliens referring to Earth humans as "Tellurians", Getting Crap Past the Radar fart gags, deformed grotesque villains and more than a touch of black humour.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: He was fond of smoking one.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: In at least three of his stories, he butchered nearly all his guest cast. In "The Caves of Androzani", the only person to make it off Androzani alive is Peri - he even kills the Fifth Doctor!
- Gothic Horror: His tenure even had a touch of Hammer Horror about it.
- Nightmare Fetishist: His attitude to Doctor Who was essentially, "Let's scare the little buggers".
- Those Two Guys: And frequently so well-written they became pretty popular. Some of the more popular examples include showman Jago and police pathologist Litefoot (They Fight Crime!!), con artists Garron and Unstoffe, and mercenary Sabalom Glitz and his incompetent assistant Dibber.
- Writer on Board: Occasionally quite obvious, though rarely detrimental to the plot. "The Two Doctors" made the Doctor a vegetarian like Holmes (and this actually held for twenty years). "The Sun Makers" was a jab at the Revenue office (because they subjected him to a gruelling tax audit because he'd been paid as both an employee and a freelancer for the BBC during his period as script editor). "The Deadly Assassin" is commonly seen as taking some potshots at the ridiculousness of the House Of Lords and the Oxbridge establishment, too.