This season introduced K9 to the series and saw the departure of Leela. It was originally intended to include Terrance Dicks' story The Vampire Mutations but, due to a major BBC production of Dracula, it was postponed. It later became Season 18's State of Decay. To replace it, Dicks quickly scripted the season opener, Horror of Fang Rock. The season took a two week transmission break over the 1977 Christmas period, between the broadcast of part four of The Sun Makers and part one of Underworld.