Hinchcliffe's tenure is often held up by fandom as one of, if not the greatest period in the show's history; alongside script editor Robert Holmes, he sought to take the show in a Darker and Edgier "Gothic Horror" direction, taking inspiration from classic horror movies. This proved a huge hit with audiences at the time, but also courted controversy from some who felt that the programme had become to scary for children, most infamously Moral Guardian Mary Whitehouse, whose complaints eventually led to Hinchcliffe being moved away from Doctor Who by the BBC. His replacement, Graham Williams, was ordered to take the show in a Lighter and Softer direction. He would later contribute to the Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas, writing "The Ghosts of Gralstead", "The Devil's Armada", "The Genesis Chamber", "The Helm of Awe", and "The God of Phantoms" (which were then further adapted by Marc Platt) in the anthology set Philip Hinchcliffe Presents.
Tropes associated with his work:
- Bloodier and Gorier / Darker and Edgier: Along with script editor Robert Holmes, 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. In the end, they ran afoul of the limit, and Hinchcliffe was replaced.
- Chromosome Casting: His tenure as Doctor Who producer is notorious for its lack of female representation; many of the stories featured no female characters other than companion Sarah-Jane Smith. This was taken even further in the serial "The Deadly Assassin", which came after Sarah-Jane's departure and featured the Doctor without a companion - and no female characters whatsoever!
- Gothic Horror: Many of the Doctor Who stories he produced took inspiration from Gothic Horror stories:
- "Planet Of Evil" was inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- "Pyramids of Mars" drew inspiration from Mummy horror films like The Mummy (1932) and The Mummy (1959).
- "The Brain of Morbius" pulled from Frankenstein.
- "The Talons Of Weng Chiang" drew upon The Phantom of the Opera and the Fu Manchu novels, as well as the story of Jack the Ripper.