After Colin Baker left the series the role went to Sylvester McCoy and the editorial decision was made to return the Who? Back Into Doctor Who?
The Seventh Doctor
Travelling with Mel the Doctor is attacked and kidnapped by The Rani, thus triggering his regeneration. After foiling her experiments the Doctor and Mel travel to help the inhabitants of Paradise Towers out from the murderous machinations of a disembodied architect and help an exiled queen find love and end a war with the help of some 50’s rockers in a Welsh seaside resort. Upon travelling to Ice World the Doctor and Mel meet up with Glitz and Ace, a stranded teenager from 1980’s Perivale. At the end of the Serial Dragonfire, Mel begins travelling with Glitz and Ace leaves Ice World to travel with the Doctor.
This is when the series began to take a darker tone, with the Doctor becoming more manipulative of events and showing the first signs of a hidden history from his life on Gallifrey. All but destroying the Daleks and Cybermen within the early days of travel with Ace, as well as battling a robot made out of candy, yes you heard that right, before manipulating events to defeat the Gods of Ragnarok.
Moving on from the events surrounding the Greatest Show In The Galaxy, The Doctor and Ace join up with U.N.I.T and the Brigadier in fighting the villains from Authurian myth, defeating Morgaine Le Fay and her son Mordred under the guise of Merlin The Magician. The Doctor and Ace then travel to Preivale in the 1800’s and discover that house that Ace burns down a century later is inhabited by the spirit of Light, a being of immense power who spends eternity cataloguing all life. After defeating Light a psychic residue is imprinted on the house, and it is revealed that Ace burnt the house in anger over he friend being subject to racist attack, some hundred years in the future.
Moving forward in time to World War 2, where it is revealed that Ace has been manipulated her whole life, having been sent to Ice World by fenric, manipulating events such as the Doctors recent encounters with the Daleks and Cybermen. And because of the nature of time travel, it is revealed that Ace sent her own grandmother and infant mother away from danger, revealing a great deal about her difficult relationship with her mother. The Doctor, revealed to have known all this about Ace stands revealed as a master manipulator and justifies it as becoming Time’s Champion, but the rift between the Doctor and Ace is there.
With the wounds of their encounter with Fenric still fresh, the Doctor returns Ace to Perivale in her own time. Having been presumed missing for some time Ace finds that many of her friends have also gone missing. The Doctor investigates, and discovers that the residents of Perivale are being taken across the galaxy to the become the prey of the Cheetah People, under the orders of the Doctors old enemy: The Master. After defeating the Master and abandoning him on the disintegrating planet of the Cheetah People, Ace decides to continue travelling with the Doctor, with the two walking off into the sunset, marking the end of the original run of the series.
Next we see of the Doctor he is still in his Seventh regeneration, however is travelling alone, with no reference as to the fate of Ace. The Doctor is then contacted by the Time Lords and ordered to retrieve the remains of the Master from the planet Skaro (previously thought destroyed) home world of the Daleks and return them to Gallifrey. Managing to cheat death the Master forces an emergency landing of the Tardis, landing in San Francisco on New Years Eve 1999, upon exiting the Tardis, the Doctor is caught in the middle of a gang land shoot out and dies of multiple gun shot wounds sustained in the cross fire.
Sylvester McCoy was a short and non imposing man with a slight Scottish lilt in his voice (the first time the Doctor had not sounded English) and was given to dark moods and a secretive nature, McCoy made the role his own for 3 series, racking up 12 serials (42 episodes in all) before the series end, before going on to reprise his role for the Doctor Who Moive which then saw the attempt to reignite the series with Paul McGann as the Doctor.
Stand Out Serials
- Remembrance Of The Daleks: This was the first serial of the McCoy’s second series in the role, and saw the return of the Daleks and of Davros, introduced the special weapons Dalek and saw a lot of nods to earlier serials, being set on November 23rd 1963 (Doctor Who’s first broadcast date) the story is set at Coal Hill School and Totters Lane Junkyard, the shcool and junkyard from the first serial of the series An Unearthly Child, and it was also the last proper look at the Daleks for almost 17 years when the series was eventually relaunched in 2005.
- Silver Nemesis: A classic tale of Time Lord versus Cyberman, with a lot more of the Doctors newfound talent for manipulation on display, revealing the culmination of events several hundred years in the making this is a classic tale with a twist.
- The Curse Of Fenric: What I liked about this serial is that it pretty much wraps up Aces storyline, we discover how a teenager from a council estate in London wound up several galaxies away, and find out just what it is this Doctor has been up to since day one, hinting that he may be more than just another Time Lord.
- Survival: It was the final episode of the original run, and it was a high note to go out on, the Doctor engaged in mortal combat with his greatest enemy, before walking off into the sunset, knowing that no matter where he goes, there’ll be some that needs sorting
- Delta And The Bannermen: The whole premise of a galactic time travel bus trip to the 1950’s itself is bad enough, but add in the ridiculous war that the holiday makers seem to become embroiled in, not to mention that one side seems to be made up of Green Plastic Toy Soldiers, you get an awful story, made worse by the bad music, costumes and phrases that were the 1950’s.
- Cannibal Grannies: In the serial Paradise Towers, companion Mel is captured by two Cannibal octogenarians, you read that right. Mel the last of the shrieking companions with little character depth beyond being a narrative devise designed for exposition and rescue, is captured by two little old dears, who happen to eat people
Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.
This is the seventh in a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.