Subscribe RSS
Doctor Who top three Oct 25

Via Rullsenberg comes Rob’s Tuesday Doctor Who meme:

So here it is: what are you three favourite Doctor Who stories and why? You can have stories from the old series, new series, audio plays, movies, books, comics, stage plays, even fan fic. You don’t have to arrange them in any order (nor put down any other stories if you don’t want). You just need to name your top three.

I thought this would be tough, but it turns out that I can identify a top three – although I’d struggle to order the next 10-15. I feel a little guilty for not including Remembrance of the Daleks, Survival, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Robots of Death, The Stones of Blood, Logopolis, Kinda, The Romans, The War Games, School Reunion, and even The Happiness Patrol (hey, Rob said “favourite” not “best”). But here they are.

  1. The Keeper of Traken: Possibly the most middle-of-the-road story going, but it was the first Who video I bought. Anthony Ainley gives one of his two best performances in the series (the other is in Survival) and unconstrained by the bwa-ha-ha-ing of the Master he’s able to portray Consul Tremas as a sympathetic and endearing character. Traken itself is well-realised if a little camp – but what can you expect from an “empire held together by people just being terribly nice to each other.” The less excitable Tom Baker, in his penultimate story, is still an excellent lead and there is some brief foreshadowing of his final story. By no means the best story ever made, I do have a soft spot for it.
  2. The Caves of Androzani: This one, however, is the best Doctor ever made. Excellent villains in Morgus (complete with asides to camera) and Sharaz Jek, top direction by Graeme Harper and a classy script from Robert Holmes. Peter Davison acts his socks off surrounded by a strong cast of supporting characters. As has been said on Rob’s blog, it’s as bleak as the series gets: only the female characters survive; even Davison is killed off. Every fantastic serial needs a rubbish monster, which in this case is the Magma Beast, but we just ignore that.
  3. The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Let the talons of Weng-Chiang shred your nerves! OK, it’s not quite that scary, but it is extremely good. Tom in Sherlock Holmes get-up investigates a time traveller from the future who’s been kidnapping young women (<cough>prostitutes</cough>) in Victorian London. Another marvellous script from Bob Holmes, a convincing, foggy city, another great supporting cast (John Bennett, Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxendale), a good companion with lots to do. And, as an extra bonus, it’s six episodes long without overstaying its welcome. What more can you want? Apart from a slightly rubbish monster, of course, which in this case is a giant rat.

This is a meme, fanboys, so do join in.

4 Responses

  1. 1

    The Time Meddler (William Hartnel)
    One of the few ‘early’ episodes I can remember dealing with the time of the Battle of Hastings and a rogue time traveler (Carry On star Peter Butterworth)

    The Ice Warriors (Patrick Troughton)
    First baddie that really scared me. England in the grasp of a new ice age, and revived creatures from Mars. Classic

    Genesis Of The Daleks (Tom Baker)
    Fantastic seeing the Dalek factory, the whole ‘Nazi’ feel to the episodes got to be the best ever.

  2. 2

    Caves of Androzani, Robots of Death and Empty Child/Doctor Dances (can I count that as one?). Sorry, I can never explain *why* I like things, I just do. Caves is just a rollicking good story, Robots too though I also like the lesbian undercurrent between Toos and Leela and Empty/Dances is the first thing on telly since Ghostwatch that has actually spooked me.

  3. 3

    Go on then –

    The Caves of Androzani, for all the other reasons plus Peter Davison was my first Dr. Who and I cried when he turned into Colin Baker (and kept crying for the next three years…)

    Survival, because it’s great – the Doctor wandering round suburbs and council estates, fighting evil in corner shops and municipal parks. The new series, just 15 years early.

    Inferno – I was going to plump for The Robots of Death, but on reflection, Inferno’s one of those stories I could watch from start to finish any time.

    Bubbling under: The Time Warrior, The Robots of Death, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The War Games, City of Death, The Empty Child, Army of Ghosts.

  4. 4
    Hywel ap Dafydd 

    Hmm… tricky one this.

    1) – The Curse of Fenric.

    What can I say, this scared me shitless as a child. I was having nightmares about it for months afterwards not that it stopped me watching the VHS release everyday for a week after I bought it (my Dad had to ban me from watching it!) The setting is perfectly judged without the jingoist overtones and happy ending of The Empty Child which leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Everything here is perfect, from the writing though performance to production. Doctor Who had never felt so real.

    2) – The Deadly Assassin.

    Robert Holmes’ Gallifreyan masterpiece. The oldest and most powerful society in the Universe ossified into meaningless ritual and petty academic rivalry with a serpent in it’s heart. I love how dark the sets are, gothic yet futuristic, particular attention to should be paid to the scale of the Panopticon. I love the costumes, this is the first time the high collar & the seal were used, setting the style for every subsequent appearance. The surreal matrix sequence which is quite disturbing to say the least. And the Master’s hideous form; it must have taken some real guts to re-invent that character after Roger Delgado superb performances. Outstanding.

    3) – Ghostlight.

    This is such a intellectual guilty pleasure. I love the obscurity of the whole plot plus the gothic setting. Again the performances and production are excellent. It just makes you wonder what would have happened if they had made Lungbarrow after all.

    Near misses: The Caves of Androzani, The Tomb of the Cybermen, Blink, Remembrance of the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks, Frontier in Space, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Silurians, Human Nature (although nowhere near as good as the book), and if you would indulge me two books, Interference and So Vile a Sin.