The White Guardian sent the Doctor and Romana on a quest to find the six segments of the Key to Time, transmuted into a variety of forms and scattered across time and space. He warned them of the Black Guardian who would try to prevent the assembly of the Key.
The sixth and final segment took the form of a living being, Princess Astra of Atrios. The Black Guardian used the Shadow to try to prevent the Doctor and Romana from re-assembling the Key. After the Doctor defeated the Shadow and re-assembled the Key, including the Sixth segment, formerly Princess Astra, the Black Guardian presented himself as the White Guardian and asked for the Key back. Observing the Black Guardian's casual indifference to the life of Princess Astra, the Doctor saw through this ruse, and scattered the Key through time instead. The Black Guardian swore revenge on the Doctor and Romana.
In order to escape the Black Guardian, the Doctor and Romana, who had by then regenerated, removed themselves from the universe.
The Black Guardian later appeared to Turlough, a young Trion exiled to Earth. He promised Turlough that, if he killed the Doctor, he would return Turlough to his home, and gave Turlough a small crystal by which he could communicate with him. Turlough ended up joining the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa in the TARDIS, still at least partly determined to carry out his mission. As he grew fonder of the Doctor, Turlough began to rebel against the Black Guardian, wishing to back out of the bargain. The Black Guardian still convinced Turlough to sabotage the Doctor's TARDIS.
The travellers found themselves warned about the Black Guardian by the White Guardian and found themselves in the midst of a contest for Enlightenment, symbolized by a crystal of unknown powers and great value much sought after by the amoral Eternals, who vied for it in a race against the Solar System in sailing ships. The Black Guardian hoped that, with such a prize, the Eternals might wreak havoc throughout the universe. Instead, the Doctor and Turlough won the race. The Doctor refused Enlightenment, instead offering it to Turlough. The Black Guardian told Turlough that, to get the crystal, he must kill the Doctor. Turlough refused and threw the crystal at the Black Guardian, who vanished in a burst of flames. However, the White Guardian explained that the Black Guardian would exist as long as he did, until neither were needed any longer .