Doctor Who? The Ninth Doctor

Doctor Who- The First Doctor (12).png

After almost a decade since the ill fated television movie debacle the BBC finally did it and brought back Doctor Who to our screens. We were introduced to the new Doctor Christopher Eccleston amid a flurry of mystery really adding the who? into Doctor Who.

The Ninth Doctor 

ce1

Travelling on his lonesome this new Doctor arrives in contemporary London meeting companion Rose Tyler after blowing up her workplace in order to stop an attempted take over of the earth by the classic series villain the Nestene Consciousness and their foot soldiers the Autons. After administering an epic defeat the Doctor and Rose take off into time and space, heading to the end of the earth where we find that the Doctor is now the last of the Time Lords, the race of near immortals having died in a war, The Last Great Time War, the effects of which have passed into legend and can still be felt all across the cosmos.

After defeating the criminal family Slitheen of the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius from destroying the earth to sell the irradiated remains as space fuel, the Doctor and Rose travel to the near future where we find that the Time Lords had fought their war with the Daleks and that the Doctor was the one who destroyed them both, it was the Doctor who killed them all, and it changed him into the person he is, determined never again to commit such acts, and to save as many people, no matter the cost.

After the last Dalek in the universe ends its life the Doctor Rose and new companion Adam travel to a television network in the far future where its revealed that humanity has been manipulated by this news network aboard satellite 5 for hundreds of years, however due to his selfish actions in the future companion Adam is returned to his own time, with the Doctor exclaiming he only travels with the best.

Travelling to World War 2 the Doctor and Rose team up with dashing time agent Captain Jack Harkness before heading back to contemporary Cardiff where they discover a surviving member of the Slitheen posing as the Mayor of Cardiff who also happens to be chapioning a nuclear power station right on top of a rift in time and space. While trying to manipulate the Doctor, Captain Jack and Rose, Blon Fel-Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen is exposed to the heart of the Tardis, the infinite power of which reverts her to an egg.

Winding up on satellite 5 inside familiar television shows such as Big Brother and the Weakest Link the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack discover a race of mutated Daleks left over as the last surviving vestiges of the Time War, their leader proclaiming himself the god of the Daleks is hell bent on continuing the Dalek’s quest of destruction and conquest. The Doctor seeking to save rose from the fate the Daleks have in store for humanity tricks her into returning to her own time. Knowing that the Tardis is sentient Rose looks into its core absorbing the whole vortex of time and space into her consciousness, returning to the Doctor, expunging the Dalek’s from existence and granting new life to the deceased Captain Jack Harkness, Rose soon begins to succumb to the pressures of the time vortex ripping her apart, the Doctor absorbs the energy into himself before returning it to its proper place in the heart of the Tardis. The strain however leads the Doctor to regenerate leaving a bewildered Rose alone with a stranger while the Tardis hurtles back to Earth landing on Christmas Day.

Stand Out Stories

  1. Rose: A good opener to the new series starting out with a classic, if little know, villain, it introduces you to the key players and sets out the world of Who pretty quickly.
  2. The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances: A pretty creepy two parter that sees the first appearance of Captain Jack Harkness and Whoniverse mainstay who remains one of my favourites.
  3. Dalek: This is a superb piece of acting from Christopher Eccleston it really gets across just how much hatred their is between the Doctor and the Dalek race, it answers the question of how Daleks get up stairs and it to this day remains one of the most powerful pieces of television I have ever seen.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. Sex in Space: I get that sex is everywhere, but it is one of my major bug bears with the new series of Doctor Who, the Tardis should be a sex free zone, the weirdness between Billie Piper and Christopher Ecclestone was creepy, and while it isn’t as bad as in later series, its still pretty weird when you think the Doctor is 881 years her senior.
  2. The Domestic Approach: I’m not sure how I feel about adding the family and boyfriends of the Doctor’s companions into the cast. But I suppose making the companions fully fledged characters with well rounded and sympathetic back stories does require so annoying additional characters littering an episode here and there.

 

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is part of a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Doctor Who? The Eighth Doctor

Doctor Who- The First Doctor (9).png

After its long hiatus of 7 years Doctor Who fans finally got what they wanted, a new Doctor Who that was made by the BBC (this time with 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios as well). In May 1996 we finally saw the regeneration of Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy into a new younger Doctor portrayed by Paul McGann

The Eighth Doctor 

8th-doc.jpg
The Eighth Doctor

Travelling alone this doctor comes into being on new years eve 1999 after being shot multiple times in a gangland shooting in San Francisco, here he meets surgeon Dr Grace Holloway and the two become entangled in a plot of he doctors old adversary the Master, who using the Tardis’ link to the eye of harmony on Gallifrey seeks to take all the Doctors remaining regeneration’s for himself.  At the end of his lives the master inhabits the body of an unsuspecting paramedic, in much the way he inhabited the body of the Trakenite Tremas.

After defeating the Master and trapping him in the eye of harmony, the Doctor begins travelling alone again, leaving Grace to remain on Earth.

This version of the Doctor was not seen again on television for 17 years (8 years after the shows second revival in 2005) however his adventures where chronicled in a series of books published by BBC books and several series of audio dramas produce by Big Finish Productions (to be explored in Doctor Who? The Wilderness Years Part Two), however this Doctor became embroiled in the events of the Last Great Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords, attempting to save a young gun ship operator named Cass, whose ship was damaged as a result of skirmish between the two warring factions, the Doctor crash lands on the planet Karn. Upon being revived by The Sisterhood of Karn, the keepers of eternal life, they implore the Doctor to take up arms to save the universe from both sides of the war, The Doctor agrees and the sisterhood trigger his regeneration and he becomes the Doctor No More

Stand Out Stories

  1. The Movie: I first saw the movie in the cinema when it was released and being 7 I thought it was a good film, this was the first (official) Doctor Who to be released in my lifetime and even at 7 I was already enamoured of the TV show, and then this new film came along with even more action, motorcycle chases, gunfights and explosions, and it has a real nostalgia value for me, so even when watching it again as an adult I still love it, even though the script is not fantastic and some of the cast members acting was truly awful. Paul McGann makes the role his own and is sadly underrated, I think he was fantastic in the role and I would have loved to have seen more of him on screen (even if he was equally fantastic in the Big Finish Audios)
  2. The Night Of The Doctor: 17 years after the TV move the Eighth Doctor finally got a regeneration story and it was probably one of the most powerful performances ever seen in Doctor who, the fact that this all happened in a six minuet episode is just another astounding feat that I have come to expect from Paul McGann.

 

Dishonourable Mention 

  1. America/Americanisation: The main problem with the 1996 movie was that it was made for American’s and it lost something of its Doctor Whoiness, Doctor Who after all is a British institution, and whilst car chases and shoot outs appealed to the seven year old me, but it doesn’t really do much for me at this age.

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is part of a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Doctor Who? The Sixth Doctor

Doctor Who- The First Doctor (6).png

After Peter Davison’s departure from the role of the Doctor in March 1984, the role went to Colin Baker, the Doctors most colourful incarnation to date. Colin Baker stared in only 8 serials (33 episodes) until being replaced in 1987.

The Sixth Doctor 

Sixth_Doctor.jpg
The Sixth Doctor

The Sixth Doctor was a man given to great eccentricities, donning a patchwork coat of rainbow hue, a pair of bright yellow pinstripe trousers, mismatched waistcoat, polkadot cravat and capped off with bright orange spats and a mop of curly blonde hair. Due to the trauma of his regeneration this Doctors personality was prone to violent outbursts of temper and a depressive sensibility, often at times brooding, his domineering personality was only enhanced by his great physical stature, a big man, both tall and broad, this Doctor was the most physically imposing to date.

Continuing his travels with Peri, The Doctor battle old enemies such as the Daleks and Cybermen, meeting new foes such as Sil and The Board, whilst meeting H.G Wells before coming across the Master and the sociopathic Time Lady the Rani, a being solely interested in the advancement of her scientific research, stopping at nothing to meet her ends.

The Doctor then once again meets one of his past selves, his second incarnation (played by Patrick Troughton), when this prior incarnation and Jamie are sent on a mission by the time lords to end rival experiments into time travel, experiments being conducted on behalf of the war like Sontaran’s, all to aid their war effort against the Rutan Host. Managing to save himself from the Sontaran’s grasp, both Doctors return to their proper place in time and space, the Second Doctor about to being exile on Earth and the Sixth Doctor still in 20th century Spain.

It is then that the Doctor faces the most difficult battle of his life, placed on trial by his own people the Doctor faces off against the mysterious Valeyard, a Gallifreyan prosecutor with a clear grudge against the Doctor. Presenting evidence from the Doctor’s past, a court room drama unfolds, in which the prosecution seems to stack against the Doctor, before a plot at the very heart of Time Lord society. The Doctor is framed by the Valeyard for the Death of Peri, before being revealed to by the Master as a potential future incarnation of the Doctor. Defeating the Valeyard and The Master, the Doctor meets new companion Mel, before discovering that Peri is still alive and well, living as a queen, his innocence secured the Doctor and Mel once again set off into time and space.

Whilst Colin Baker did not serve in the role long, two series in total, he is still the most colourful Doctor there has ever been and it saddens me a little that he didn’t come back for a regeneration scene, and whilst his successor is still probably my favourite doctor since William Hartnell, I feel that Colin Baker deserved better.

Stand Out Serials

  1. The Trial Of A Time Lord: This was to be Colin Bakers last serial (also last series as it lasted a whole series), this 14 part saga, saw the departure of Peri, the introduction of companion Mel and recurring character Glitz, all whilst the Doctor battles through a trial, being enforced on him by his own people, with a biased Judge and vengeful prosecutor the Doctor is fighting for his lives.
  2. Vengeance On Varos: Its a little like the hunger games, and a bit like big brother, all with the Doctor and Peri trying to get out of the clutches of a group of corrupt politicians and some slimy merchants.
  3. The Two Doctors: Doctor meets Doctor in this head on collision that tires to see the Time Lords maintain their monopoly on time travel, in the heart of the endless conflict between the Might Sontaran Empire and the Rutan Host. This episode also gives rise to the series 6b fan theory, that in spinoff media suggests that the second Doctor didn’t go straight from courtroom to exile on earth, but was in fact acting as a secret agent of the Time Lords.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. The Doctor and the Amazing Technicolour Nightmare Coat: Even Colin Baker admitted to absolutely loathing his costume, it was tartan, it was tweed, it was gingham and it was a rainbow coloured nightmare of fashion dont’s.

Doctor Who? The Fifth Doctor

Doctor Who- The First Doctor (5).png

At the end of the eighteenth series of the show, Tom Baker submitted the role of the Doctor to the young actor Peter Davison. Davison ditched the 4 meter scarf and battered fedora for a traditional English cricket attire, adorned with a stick of celery, yes that’s right, a stick of celery, pinned right there. On his lapel.

The Fifth Doctor

Fifth_Doctor.jpg
The Fifth Doctor

This Doctor continued travelling with companions Nyssa and Adric, all while unsuccessfully trying to return Tegan to her proper place and time as an air stewardess bound for Heathrow Airport, travelling together until Adric’s death at the hands of the Cybermen the Doctor and friends might alien invaders and a snake deity, before coming face to face with the Master once more.

Still reeling from Adric’s death, the Doctor once again battles the Legendary Time Lord Omega, the snake god the Mara, before meeting up with the Doctor’s old friend The Brigadier and new companion Vislor Turlough, a young alien stranded on Earth as a political exile, tasked with murdering the Doctor by the villainous Black Guardian.

After the departure of Nyssa and Turlough’s betrayal of the Black Guardian the Tardis crew land in medieval England on the eve of the Magna Carta, where the Master is attempting to manipulate time for his own ends, this time using the Robot Kamelion, a shape changing robot.

The Doctor is then embroiled in a plot which sees his past selves being taken from time, where they must unite to stop Cybermen, Daleks, Yeti’s, The Master and Other Time Lords from stealing the Time Lord’s ultimate weapon, immortality. After once again being dragooned into taking the presidency of the Time Lords, the doctor absconds with his Tardis once more.

After tangling with old foes such as the Silurians, the Sea Devils and the Daleks, Tegan leaves the Tardis returning to earth, whilst the Doctor continues to travel with Turlough, and new companion Peri, Turlough soon returns to his home world, after the trio are betrayed by Kamelion, still controlled by the Master. The Doctor, on the planet Androzani Minor, succumbs to some form of poisoning before traumatically regenerating once more.

Peter Davison stared in 20 serials (69 episodes) from January 1982 until the penultimate serial of the 21st Series in March of 1984, before being replaced by Colin Baker. Davison, was the youngest man to play the Doctor at this point in the shows history, and made the role his own, seeing in the show’s 20th year and battling a whole slew of villains both old and new, whilst his tenure was no shorter than most to this point Davison is one of the classics and to my mind will be remembered most fondly.

Stand Out Serials

  1. The Five Doctors: This single, feature length episode, features all past incarnations of the Doctor, who are taken from time, to join the game of Rassilon, where the winner will find immortality.
  2. The Kings Demons: Set on the eve of the Magna Carta, this introduces the robotic companion Kamelion and sees the return of the Master, this time using an Iron Maiden as a tardis and affecting a questionable french accent.
  3. Earthshock: This episode sees the revival of the cybermen, in a new form (which would last until the series’ revival in 2005) in an effort to destroy the earth the Cybermen actually bring about the death of a companion, the third time in the shows history (both Katarina and Sara Kingdom die in the first Doctor serial the Daleks Masterplan), the credits role silently, and it is something that has a lasting effect across the series, especiall as the companion in question, Adric, was meant to be one of the youngest of the Doctors Travelling Companions.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. Celery: I want to know who thought that it would be a good idea to put the Doctor in cricket whites for everyday wear, and then accessorise it (or should that be garnish?) with a decorative vegetable? I know it was explained away at the end of Davisons run, but we went almost three whole series with no comment about the fact that a grown man is wearing a vegetable pinned to his lapel as if it were the worlds worst boutonniere. I mean seriously who pins a but of salad to the jacket and thinks hey this looks good? I mean its almost as bad as the radish earrings worn by Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter, but at least she is mocked, and rightly so, for it. Now you can see why it gets the dishonourable mention of this particular post. Celery, I mena come on, Celery.

 

 

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is part of a series of posts relating to the BBC’s longest running show: Doctor Who.

Doctor Who? The Fourth Doctor

Doctor Who_ The First Doctor (10).png

After the departure of Jon Pertwee from the role of the Doctor, Tom Baker began his tenure as what is probably the most memorable incarnation of the Doctor to date. Abandoning his capes and frills in favour of a battered fedora and 12 foot scarf Tom Baker was in the role from December 1974 until March 1981 and saw in some of the show’s most radical changes.

The Fourth Doctor

tom-baker-classic.jpg
The Fourth Doctor

The Fourth Doctor was much different than his predecessors, for a start he was much younger in appearance, and his temperament was much different as well, prone to rambling monologues with a fondness for jelly babies and a little false modesty this Doctor was definitely a man of his own creation.

After fighting a giant robot bent on using the worlds stockpile of nuclear weaponry to wipe out humanity The Doctor chose to leave earth taking with him reporter Sarah Jane Smith and U.N.I.T doctor Harry Sullivan. They travel through time and space, meeting Sontarans, Cybermen, giant slugs, and even witness the birth of the Daleks at the hand of their creator Davros. After returning to earth Harry stays rejoining U.N.I.T after fighting the Loch Ness Monster. The Doctor and Sarah Jane return to space meeting various monsters including Morbius, an exiled Time Lord who led an uprising.  Not long after this Sarah Jane leaves the Doctor so that he can return to Gallifrey.

Upon returning to Gallifrey the Doctor is implicated in the assassination of The Lord President, the plot it turns out to be a ploy of the Master, at the end of his regeneration cycle, decaying and emaciated, The Master tried to access the power of the Eye Of Harmony (a black hole that powers the Time Lords ability to time travel) but is thwarted in the attempt by the Doctor, who becomes president of the Time Lords in the process.

Running from Gallifrey the Doctor meets Leela, a savage from a primitive planet and the two travel together for some time, being joined by K-9 a robot dog with a laser in its nose. The three travel together for some time until The Doctor returns to Gallifrey to undertake his presidential responsibilities and fend of an invasion from the Vardans and The Sontarans. Lela remains on Gallifrey as the consort of gurard captain Andred, with K-9 remaining also.

The Doctor sets out with a new model of K-9 in an attempt to discover and then destroy the Key of Time, Joined by the Time Lady Romana the pair travel together for some time. After regenerating once Romana and the Doctor continue their travels, getting caught up in the Dalek Movellan war and an art forgery ring involving taking masterpieces from the past. The pair actually leave the universe, becoming trapped in a parallel dimension where they pick up a young stowaway Adric, before returning to their home dimension Romana and K-9 Mark II decide to remain behind.

Back in his home universe, the Doctor and Adric travel to Traken where the Doctor discovers a plot by The Master to once again gain limitless universal power. On Traken the Doctor meets new companion Nyssa whose fathers body is taken over by the Master, in this new body The Master departs Traken swearing revenge on the Doctor.After picking up another stowaway Tegan the Doctor then begins  Working with the Master to stop the decaying of the universe, successful the Master then betrays the Doctor pushing him to his death, and a new regeneration.

Tom Baker is still to this day who most people see as the embodiment of the role of The Doctor, often quoting him as the definitive. He had the longest run and the best writers of the show’s history, and I would have to say that he just made the part so much fun. And I can say from personal experience, having met the man once, (his autograph sits on a shelf in my man cave) he seemed like a really nice man.

Stand Out Serials

  1. Genesis of The Daleks: This serial gives us the deepest look into the history of the Daleks since their creation. We meet their creator, Davros, a brilliant scientist who is the product of his own environment, the biggest advances in science and medicine usually come about in war time, and this really is shown here with the Daleks, they are the result of endless war, and are designed purely for extermination.
  2. The Deadly Assassin: Political intrigue and the biggest insight into the world of the Doctor, I often favour the stories set on Gallifrey, because I like learning about the history of the Time Lords, especially their early days and this along with maybe two or three others from the original run are really the only information we have on the past of the Doctor and his people.
  3. State of Decay:  In a show that makes use of history and myth it amazes me that it took so long for the Doctor to encounter Vampires.

Dishonourable Mention

  1. The Ark In Space: The story itself wasn’t bad, but really gets me about this story is that the monster is made out of painted bubble wrap.

    wirrn00.jpg
    Bubble wrap is fun, not scary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is the fourth in a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Doctor Who? The Second Doctor

Doctor Who- The First Doctor (1).png

At the end of the second serial of the Fourth Series William Hartnell bowed out of the titular role submitting the mantle of the Doctor to Patrick Troughton.

The Second Doctor

seconddoctor.jpg
The Second Doctor

The second Doctor was a different beast all together, where the First Doctor was quietly confident with a rigid and dignified bearing, the Second Doctor was a flapping, over excited little man who was almost a sort of cosmic hobo in appearance, sporting un-ironed shirts, a tailcoat that was 3 sizes too big, a tie that was always askew, trousers fastened with safety pins and a fur coat that was held together with a piece of string.   And whilst the First Doctor was more at home with the quiet of a good book, the Second would endlessly annoy his companions with unintelligible renditions on his trusty recorder.

After regenerating before the eyes of his companions Ben and Polly (A sailor and secretary from swinging 60’s London) the Doctor and his friends find themselves involved in an adventure pitted against the Daleks while Ben and Polly and sceptical of this new man claiming to be the Doctor. After defeating the Daleks and regaining the trust of Ben and Polly, the trio where travel to Scotland following the Battle of Culloden (1746), where they are Joined in their travels by Jaime McCrimmon an 18th Century clan piper. They go on to Cybermen on the moon, The Macra, The Daleks again and are introduced to the Yeti and The Ice Warriors of Mars, as well as the man who will become the Doctors closest and most long lasting friend Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart, the founder of U.N.I.T.

After the departure of Ben and Polly and the introduction of astrophysicist Zoe Heriot in the serial wheel in space the Doctor, Jaime, and Zoe went on to fight the Kroton’s, the Cybermen and Ice Warriors once more and even the Master of The Land of Fiction, The company meet a foe that even the Doctor cannot best, A renegade Time Lord know as the War Chief, who is abducting human armies from various points in time, and making them fight in order to gain the ultimate army to conquer any point in time and space. The Doctor (a fugitive himself) contacts the Time Lords surrendering himself to return the captive humans to their rightful homes.

The Time Lords who are sworn never to interfere in the affairs of other races place the Doctor on trial, he defends himself saying that he has only interfered for good and to save innocents. Agreeing with this the Time Lords see that earth is most vulnerable to attack from outside influences, so as punishment for the Doctor’s crimes he is exiled to earth, with his knowledge of time travel erased from his mind, and a new regeneration forced upon him, the Doctor agrees and his companions are sent back to their rightful places in time and space and the Doctor begins his exile.

Troughton stared in 118 episodes (21 serials) from 1966-1969 with three subsequent appearances during his lifetime, Troughton possibly had the hardest time of any Doctor, how do you replace the original (look at new coke) but Troughton managed to bring his own uniqueness to the role, he didn’t try to simply play a younger version of William Hartnell, but was his own man, and the show was the better for it, this is why it is such a shame that much of the Second Doctor’s run was junked by the BBC and now only exists in dribs and drabs with only 6 out the 21 serials existing intact, and whilst audio recordings and animated reconstructions exist, something is of Troughton’s original performance and chemistry is lost.

Stand Out Serials 

  1. The Enemy Of The World: A sick and twisted dictator who rules the world, but is seen by many as noble saviour, who also happens to look like The Doctor? What could be better, the Doctor and friends work with rebels to take expose the corruption of the evil Salamander, the only bad part of the serial is Troughton’s teensy bit racist mexican accent.
  2. The Web Of Fear: This serial introduces us to the Brigadier, a stalwart of the whole series, it also marks the second appearance of the Great Intelligence and the Yetis, this time in the London underground,.
  3. The War Games: Whilst I feel that this serial could have been shorter (whilst not the longest, a 10 part serial is still a lot to take) it sheds the most light on the Doctor, mentioning for the first time his race and introducing yet another meddlesome Time Lord, in the War Chief, who I feel was a precursor to the more villainous and long lived Master. It also marks Patrick Troughton’s last regular appearance as the Doctor before being replaced by Jon Pertwee

Dishonourable Mention 

  1. The Questionable Relationship Between The Doctor And Jaime: It really is the first time that the Doctor seems to actually love one of his companions, he has definitely cared for companions in the past, even though he did leave his own granddaughter in a nightmarish dystopia with only one shoe, but with Jaime it seemed something more, from eccentric hand holding to tender embraces, the Doctor’s relationship with Jaime may be innocent and it may be my sick mind reading something that isn’t there, but you tell me.

e51603241f9415da56f4a1901f9667ef.jpg

 

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is the Second in a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.

Doctor Who? The First Doctor

Doctor Who- The First Doctor.png

There is a new series of Doctor Who starting on Saturday. You have no idea how excited I am about this. Doctor Who is my favourite TV show and my absolute number #1 fandom (followed closely by Marvel Comics). Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi series in the world, with over 800 individual episodes spanning 54 years marking it as the BBC’s longest running drama.

The show focuses on The Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who chooses to flee the conformity of Time Lord society in a stolen Time Machine come spaceship (The Tardis) and sets out to see a universe that he has only read about.  The Time Lords of Gallifrey are imbued with a unique gift, that when they are approaching death, they are able to regenerate, taking on a new body and personality to match.

The First Doctor 

first-doctor-william-hartnell.jpg
The First Doctor

When the series opens we find the Doctor aged in his 600’s an old man still in his first incarnation (portrayed by the redoubtable William Hartnell), on the run from his own people and travelling with his granddaughter Susan, the Doctor is hiding in 1960’s London, where is Granddaughter is enrolled at the local comprehensive, Coal Hill School. It is here where the Tardis (designed to blend with its environment) malfunctions and is stuck as police public call box after landing in the totters lane junkyard. After garnering concern from her teachers, Susan is followed back to the Tardis, where his secret discovered, the Doctor and Susan run again, taking her teachers with them, thus beginning this adventure in space and time. Encountering things such as cave men, moth people, romans, space miners, and Marco Polo, not to mention the villainous Daleks, a cyborg race hell bent on spreading racial purity throughout the universe, the Doctor loses friends, and gains new companions, leaving his granddaughter to start a family in a Dalek destroyed future London, it is when he encounters the Cybermen for the first time, that he absorbs a lethal amount of radiation, but instead of dying he regenerates in the 2nd doctor.

William Harntell stared as the doctor in 133 episodes (29 serialised stories) from November 1963 and October 1966, with a few cameo appearances after the role was taken over by other actors (it is a time travel show after all). This whole era was characterised as Hartnell’s grumpy old man demeanour (in spite of only being in his 50’s at the time), and what marks Hartnell as my favourite Doctor is that he played the role with such a brash, insulting, almost arrogant nature that you want to hate him, until you see that little mischievous glint in his eye, and you realise, that he is playing a time lord (said to arrogance and pomposity personified), but one that would definitely be a bit of a pariah or outcast among his people.

Stand Out Serials 

  1. The Unearthly Child: The first serial which sets up the whole adventure of Tardis, Time Lord and Teachers. This sees The Doctor And Susan’s secret discovered, and at the risk of being found by their own people flee into the past and wind up in prehistoric earth and the middle of powerplay over the creation of fire.
  2. The Romans: This story sees the doctor and companions taking a holiday in the ancient roman empire, While the Doctor and new companion Vikki wind up in the court of Nero, with the doctor mistaken for a famous musician. Other companions Ian and Barbera are sold into slavery, with the two parallel stories culminating in the great fire of Rome.
  3. The Time Meddler: This is one of my favourites as it introduces us to the character of the Monk, another renegade of the Doctors race, and its this first glimpse that we get into the doctors past that makes is fascinating, as throughout the series the Doctor is shrouded in mystery, at this point we assumed that the Doctor created the Tardis, but to discover another (with working camouflage) in the hands of someone trying to manipulate time for their own benefit left a great deal of unanswered questions for audiences to ponder.
  4. The Daleks Masterplan: I’ve only actually heard the audio recordings from this serial, as only 3 episodes still exist on film, but it is one of the longest serials and is the fourth to feature the Doctors arch enemies the Daleks, and the second to feature The Monk. This serial is where large scale space opera was conceived, with a complex plot and multitudes of characters, set on earth, set on space, set in the past and the future, I would go as far as to say that without this serial we wouldn’t have things like Star Wars, because it was the first to really go all out.
  5. The Aztecs: This one makes the list because it is the first time that it’s really brought home in the series that you cant change the past. The Aztecs butchered thousands in the name of their religion, and nothing the Doctor’s companions did made one bit of difference to the whole thing, and it sets up one of the key tropes in science fiction, which is that trying to change the past will not work, the universe doesn’t want it to (the best way to avoid alternate reality fiction, is the line used in later series, “The Universe Compensates”).

Dishonourable Mention 

  1. The Web Planet: This has to have a mention, because I’ve seen it about five times from beginning to end, and I still have no idea what was happening. There are moth people and giant beetles and a lot of prancing about. My initial thoughts about the serial is that the producers must have been smoking something pretty powerful, and then my second thought was that it was the 60’s so my thought was probably right.

Join again soon for more on the wonderful worlds of The BBC’s Doctor Who.

This is the first in a series of posts relating to the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who.