Trenton, New Jersey, mentioned in Doctor Who 35 years ago

While watching “Doctor Who: Tales from the TARDIS” on BBC America last night, I noticed a scene involving Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor and his robot dog K-9 from the four-part “The Stones of Blood” from 1978. I remembered that this story featured a bizarre remark by the Doctor that mechanical dogs like K-9 “are all the rage in Trenton, New Jersey.”

I knew a clip of that scene existed on YouTube, but I just realized today that the conclusion of that four-part serial aired exactly 35 years ago yesterday. Since the Trenton reference took place in part two of the story, I assume that means it originally aired Nov. 4, 1978.

As a native New Jerseyan who has worked in Trenton and lives in a town bordering New Jersey’s state capital, I take pride in the fact that Trenton, N.J., has at least a small mention in the 50-year history of Doctor Who. However, I still find it odd that Trenton was referenced in Doctor Who back in 1978. While Trenton-based New Jersey Network—the state’s public television network at the time—was one of the major PBS outlets to air the program in the 1980s and early 1990s (even producing original Doctor Who content to air during pledge drives), there is no obvious connection I can think of between Doctor Who and Trenton, N.J., in the late 1970s.

But here it is…Trenton, N.J.’s place in Doctor Who’s 50-year history:

Doctor Who and Trenton NJ