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Top Ten Villainous Voices by Martin Stone 23/1/01

The alien voices created by Doctor Who'ss many fine actors, often in conjunction with the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, have always been one of my favorite aspects of the show. Just as Doctor Who took pains to create non-humanoid aliens and creatures, so too did the show's creators strive to produce truly chilling voices for their villains and monsters, either through electronic means or through sheer acting ability. Here are my top ten favorites:

  1. Dalek Interrogator, The Daleks Episode Two. In the interrogation scene, we hear the archetypal Dalek voice: a clipped, guttural sound with metallic overtones, imbued with cunning and malice. Never again in Doctor Who, not even later in the same serial, do we hear a Dalek sound this intelligent and purposeful. "A few questions will reduce the mystery," it says to its comrade before the Doctor is brought in. "The truth is that your supply of drugs has failed, and you came to the City to see if you could find more," it snaps, circling the Doctor like a shark, keeping its eye on him at all times. "They must be disGUSTingly mutated," it says of the Thals, with hatred and revulsion evident even through the fairly monotone delivery. Brilliant. Almost every other Dalek I've ever heard suffered from either too droning a delivery, or too squeaky; or too mechanical, or just plain hysterical. Just this once it was perfect, and it's no wonder the creatures became instant icons of alien menace.
  2. Cybermen, The Moonbase. The Cybermen's voices have undergone almost as many changes as their physical appearance, and here, I feel that they were at their best. (Though the voices in Tomb of the Cybermen are similar, they are not quite as good. Who can explain why the Controller's voice goes up an octave in Episode Three?) In The Moonbase, Peter Hawkins' voice-box never sounded so inhuman, conveying the Cybermen's ruthlessly logical mind-set with incredible verisimilitude. The vocal work perfectly supports the physical action - though slow and unhurried, their sheer implacability makes them terrifying. Of course, visuals (the scenes in the Cyber-craft and on the lunar surface spring immediately to mind) help this effect tremendously. I will never forget the chills I felt, raised as I was on Earthshock era Cybermen, when I first heard those buzzing voices issue their dispassionate threats over the Base's intercom. "We are inside already."
  3. Anthony Ainley. I just can't resist. Sure, he was more of a ham than Roger Delgado. But who could resist playing The Master to the moustache-twirling hilt, especially when given such deliciously ripe dialogue? ("These facile triumphs only whet my appetite for more conquest!") With a saturnine smirk and a voice as velvety as his costume, Anthony Ainley deserved his 8-year run as everyone's favorite Time Lord villain. And though quite capable of an out-and-out Maniacal Laugh (tm), he was never more charmingly despicable than when sneaking away with a little "heh-heh-heh-heh".
  4. The Ice Warriors. Their labored breathing and hissing, sibilant voices made in instant impression on me the moment I saw Seeds of Death at a convention so many years ago. No effects necessary, just a top-notch vocal performance from actors encased in rubber alligator suits. And, to top it all off, their voices become more 'normal' in their own carbon dioxide atmosphere, a touch that goes a long way towards selling these rather cumbersome creatures as realistic aliens. The voices in the original Ice Warriors, now that I've seen it on video, are even better. The Computer in that story should get special mention as another quite effective voice, albeit non-villainous.
  5. Sutekh, Pyramids of Mars. Given the severe limitations on his physical performance - paralyzed for most of the story, wearing a mask, replaced with a puppet when the mask comes off - Gabriel Woolf could have voiced this supreme galactic destroyer as a ranting, growling windbag. Instead, he delivered his lines with a chilling calm, portraying Sutekh as a being so confident in his powers that to raise his voice above a meditative whisper would be the most vulgar display imaginable. His detached delivery goes a long way towards making Pyramids the eerie classic that it is.
  6. The Robots of Death. By now you may have noticed in me a preference for alien voices which remain calm while issuing the direst of threats - call it the HAL 9000 effect. HAL's nearest Doctor Who relatives are The Robots of Death, the art-deco androids whose blank stares, implacable strength, and bland, pleasant voices seem only too likely to drive people like Taren Capel or Poul mad. As humorous as was D84's plaintive "I have failed," there is a world of unutterable horror implied when V6 answers Toos' hysterical "What do you want!?" with the oh-so-reasonable, "To kill you."
  7. Chief Clown, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. Now here was a villain worth remembering, a sadistic task-master who is as much a victim of circumstance as everyone else in the Circus. Ian Reddington's hoarse, whispery voice, implying desperation and cruelty at once, has haunted me to this day. "Last chance, Deadbeat" The Chief Clown's menace is tinged with the regret of an artistic genius now simply working to survive, a formerly noble character debasing himself in exchange for petty powers. Imagine if Reddington had played the Joker instead of Jack Nicholson, and you'll imagine a much creepier film. (In all the discussions of this story I have read which draw the Circus / Who parallel, none have realized that the Clown must stand-in for John Nathan-Turner himself - the artistic director who's been chained to the same 'circus' so long it's destroying him.) "Let ME entertain you..."
  8. Sil, Vengance on Varos / Mindwarp. Ah, Sil. His memorable voice, though assisted by electronic processing, was the result of Nabil Shabin's wonderful delivery. Shifting between fawning and petulance and a self-satisfied gurgle, Shabin gave Sil a truly unique vocal style. Plus, his French-tinged Turkish accent added a variety of inflections and pronunciation quirks that made him sound convincingly alien. It's a pity that his make-up couldn't have been as good in Varos as it was in the inferior (though still enjoyable), Mindwarp.
  9. The Krotons. A mediocre story with truly bizarre monsters, the Krotons always struck me as having very distinctive voices, like rusty pipes. Good old Roy Skelton again.
  10. Davros / Nyder, Genesis of the Daleks. These two were such a double-act, and both with such distinctive voices, I had to mention them together. Davros, of course, brought a reasoned intelligence to the Daleks' monotonous rantings. Michael Wisher's portrayal was suffused with a contempt for life stemming from an overarching arrogance and a sterile, scientific world-view with no room for sentiment. Peter Miles' Nyder was the perfect henchman, with his beady eyes, nasal inflections and dry delivery. It's a pity they didn't resurrect him, too, to play Smithers to Davros' Mr. Burns.

Ten Best Cliffhangers by Martin Stone

(Please note that I am leaving out "regeneration" cliffhangers, as their inclusion is such a fait accompli.)

  1. An Unearthly Child, Episode One. The first and the best. The Doctor has made good his promise of time travel, and in a swirl of electronic interference patterns, the TARDIS appears on some bleak tundra. A shadow falls across the ground - the shadow of what? Certainly enough to make me want to see what happens next week!
  2. Revelation of the Daleks, Episode One. In an insane temporal paradox worthy of Rod Serling, the Doctor is seemingly crushed to death under his own tombstone. A real mind-bender, memorable not so much for the danger (since we all know he'll get out of it) but for the audacious exploitation of the series' time-travel format.
  3. The Deadly Assassin, Episode One. After a magnificent build-up in the baroque, claustrophobic corridors of Gallifrey, the Doctor seemingly shoots the President. Is he mad? Did he do it accidentally? Will Jack Ruby be coming after him shortly? Find out in next week's exciting episode!
  4. The Caves of Androzani, Episode One. This story has three amazing cliffhangers (pity about that rubber creature!). However, top honors must go to Episode One's firing-squad cliffhanger. Graeme Harper creates such a doom-laden atmosphere that it's impossible to shake the finality of the scene. We know the Doctor is going to regenerate in this story, could this be it? Leave it to good Mr. Holmes to keep us guessing to the very end.
  5. The Daleks, Episode One. Probably the most famous of all cliffhangers. From the very beginning, Doctor Who's creativity shines through - the Dalek props weren't finished yet, so Barbara is menaced by a sink plunger from the Dalek's point-of-view. Excellent.
  6. The Mind Robber, Episode One. The TARDIS is destroyed! Jamie and Zoe spin away on the console to who-knows-what terrible fate! And the Doctor seems comatose or worse - posessed. Zoe's scream echoes as they disappear into the mist...roll credits. Incredible.
  7. The Leisure Hive, Episode One. As the capper to this stylish and enjoyable episode, the Doctor is seemingly torn limb-from-limb by the Tachyon Generator. One of the things that struck me when I first saw this was the sudden zoom-in to his gaping mouth and the way his scream echoed into the end credit music.
  8. Tomb of the Cybermen, Episode Two. "You belong to us!You will be like us!" Very creepy.
  9. The Ark, Episode Two. I recently saw this for the first time and was very impressed. The much-maligned Monoids' costumes were quite inventive, I thought, and the cliffhanger where the Doctor, Stephen, and Dodo return to the Ark to find the colossal human statue has had its head replaced with that of a Monoid is truly creepy, implying much but revealing nothing.
  10. City of Death, Episode One. Come on, you know you love it!

My Personal Top Ten by Gareth Evans 6/3/01

  1. The Deadly Assassin
    A brilliant story. Brilliantly acted, designed, directed and written. The highlights are the scary matrix scenes that have you at the edge of your seat. Absolutely flawless.
  2. The Caves Of Androzani
    Almost the best. Fastly paced, brilliantly acted, written and designed with brilliant cliffhangers to episodes one and three. Only let down, that awful looking magma monster.
  3. The Seeds Of Doom
    A fun story with admirable mood changes, swinging from a light-hearted atmosphere to a dark scary one all the time. Tony Beckley and John Challis are particularly admirable.
  4. The Mind Of Evil
    Plays like an action film but also with darker, scarier concepts. The master is at his best and the only story where Jo Grant is actually likeable.
  5. City Of Death
    Despite my taste for dark, scary stories this is one lighthearted adventure that I like due to its brilliant wit, acting and special effects and direction.
  6. The Curse Of Fenric
    A dark, scary story with many chilling scenes, especially when Dr Judson kills Nurse Crane. The only grudge is the Ancient Haemoveres mouthpiece that doesn't work until it talks to the doctor.
  7. Revelation Of The Daleks
    A violent, scary story. Colin Baker's only real classic, it has brilliant wit and an atmosphere of grotesque horror. The only let-downs are the irritating DJ and the scenes between him and Peri.
  8. The Robots Of Death
    A stylish, scary story with the creepy robots and a brilliant music score by Dudley Simpson.
  9. The Brain Of Morbius
    Not very scary (apart from the ending when Condo gets wounded and eventually killed) but very fun.
  10. Inferno
    An original story and quite frightening, apoart from the Primords.

Top 10 pieces of advice for fans venturing into post TV Doctor Who Fiction by Norman Dewhirst 15/3/01

Some of us seem to forget that a good many fans are only familiar with the TV incarnation of Who. Here are my top ten pieces of advice for fans venturing into post TV Who.

  1. In 1997 a book called Alien Bodies was released. Buy it, it is amongst the best of The Doctor's adventures. This is what you dream a post TV film series could be like.
  2. In 2000 Big Finnish Productions released an audio play called The Holy Terror. This must be the best 6th Doctor story of all time coming into my top ten of all time Who.
  3. For those of you unsure of treading into this area of Who look for adventures with the words Mark Gatis, Gareth Roberts and Gary Russell.
  4. Avoid adventures with the following names as they are utter rubish. Michael Collier and Paul Anghelides (or as he is known in certain circles Mr 20%).
  5. The 5th Doctor is either hard to write for or hard to characterise, he has had the most disapointing adventures. However read the following for 5th Doctor fans Goth Opera, The Sands Of Time, Cold Fusion, The Ultimate Treasure and hear Phantasmagoria and Winter For The Adept for very good performances from Peter.
  6. Now in 1997 a Second Doctor book was written which introduced The Master, called The Dark Path. It is amongst the best adventures and a perfect intro for The Master.
  7. For those of you who like a laugh and enjoy the 3rd Doctor read Verdigris, also other Paul Magrs adventures for a good view on the history of the programme.
  8. The following are the most consistent Who writers and always worth a read or hear. Paul Cornel, Christopher Bulis, Steve Lyons, David Mcintee, Terance Dicks.
  9. Old enemies do reapear now and again. Cybermen and Ice Warrior stories are consistently good and worth a read if you want old monsters. Sadly no-one's brought back Sil yet.
  10. Be warned in the books the 7th Doctor became a bit of a misery guts but there are plenty of stories in there by people who ignored this. Examples of this less suicidal doctor are The Also People and Happy Endings.

My Top Ten by Aly Winford 22/3/01

This is going to be controversial, but here goes...

  1. The Caves Of Androzani
    Just wonderful. Not only does it have the best cliffhangers in the series history (Two and One, in descending numerical order), it has the best single episode ever (Part four) the best acted villian (Jek, of course), arguably the finest performance given by any lead actor, previously and beyond, and is, in my opinion, the best directed piece of Doctor Who ever (Graeme Harper) In short, this is not just the best Doctor Who story ever made, it is an extraordinary piece of Science Fiction, and can stand up against any other challenge, story wise, from that genre.
  2. The Invasion
    I always wonder why there are people out there who dislike this, because any accusation that it is boring is just plain wrong. The atmosphere is superb, and this is thanks to the almost unprecedented score given to the story by Don Harper (Only The Sea Devils rates higher in that department in my book). Tobias Vaughn is wonderfully brought to the screen, thanks to Kevin Stoneys' magnificent acting, and I feel that Troughton was never better than in this story. A tip for you fans out there - get the reconstruction of episodes one and four from one of the dubsites. Episode one is essentially character development, and so, although still being very good, is not particularly essential. Episode four, however, is wonderful, and for the fans out there lucky enough to own the video release, this will make you wonder just why the BBC decided to include shoddy, twenty second links to fill in the gaps.
  3. The Ambassadors Of Death
    Now here is a story which nobody ever seems to put into any top ten (On this page at least). And that, in my opinion, is inexcusable. The BBC's attitude towards this story is equally so, especially as it is Pertwees best. The sequences involving the alien ambassadors are haunting, and Dudley Simpson's surreal, electronic-ish score that accompanies these scenes is no less effective. On the one occasion that we get to see one of the ambassadors faces, the moment is genuinely frightening. Liz is advanced upon by three of the aliens, one of which reaches up to his helmet... We only get to see the face for a split second, but the make up is just wonderful...hideously deformed and crawling with maggots, the ambassadors must be a candidate for the best realised monsters showcased in the series. Pertwee is superb, but the real star here is General Carrington, outstandingly portrayed by John Abineri.
  4. Talons Of Weng Chiang
    Atmospheric, wonderfully acted and directed, The Talons Of Weng Chiang is surely Baker's best. (Not too many people would disagree with that, I think) Marvellously filmed, the location work is so convincing that it would pass in any big budget dramatic production, the mist filled streets provide a perfect setting for the "abduction, murder etc." scenario, and Michael Spice is brilliant. Magnus Greel is interesting, although not characterised as well or as well developed as other lead villains (Sorry - Nobody, but NOBODY can ever touch Christpoher Gables' stunning portayal of Jek). The giant rats are very well done at first (Real rats in a miniture sewer), but the later creatures are just appalling (Someone running around in a furry suit). Sorry, I've been being too critical again, haven't I? In short, this is brilliant.
  5. Inferno
    I just love the parallel Earth setting (All of the fascists there are wonderfully portrayed, notably the Brigade Leader and Section Leader Elizabeth Shaw), and the stark location work for the scenes set on the high metal walkways is excellent. That incidental music is so unnerving - an unrelenting metallic drum beat, and although the Pimords aren't particularly brilliant in any sense of the word, they still make for some frightening viewing, notably when the Doctor catches up with Private Wyatt. The cliffhanger to part six is an all time classic (Everyone's about to get melted), and Stahlaman is pretty good, although a little over rated (Keith Gold and Sutton are better). Superbly acted throughout, excellent overall.
  6. The Sea Devils
    One of the first stories I ever saw, so pangs of nostalgia accompany any contemporary viewing of this. Certain scenes just stick in the mind, the stock footage, the Sea Devils succumbing to the disabling signal and the Doctor grabbing a bite to eat in the middle of the sword fight with the Master. Brilliance. The design of the villians themselves is great, although (Please don't punch me) I prefer those seen in Warriors Of The Deep. Sorry.
  7. Terror of the Autons
    Not as scary as some may claim, but creepy and effective throughout. One can genuinely understand how this was interpreted as terrifying by the audience at the time, and that scene with the Auton in the safe is a classic moment. The cliffhanger to part two's notoriety tends to obscure the fact that it really isn't very good, as we know exactly who the policemen are as soon as they start acting strangely (We have known that the Autons are involved virtually right from the start), and the monsters are not as well realised as in their debut outing. Oh, and the doll is not half as bad as it is made out to be, I think it's really well done. (Exactly the same technique was used for the cliffhanger to part three of the terrible Green Death, with no such criticism from fans. The prosecution rests.)
  8. Remembrance Of The Daleks
    The feel of the 60s' is brilliantly recreated, and the wonderfully designed Imperial Daleks are probably the best "Tin plated pepperpots" seen in the series. The subplot of racial hatred is subtle, not intruding on the (Considerable) action scenes, although still movingly apparent (That magical moment in the cafe is spine tingling), and the cliffhangers to parts one and two are just superb (Always a reliable equation - great cliffhangers = great story). The best Dalek story. Says a lot, doesn't it?
  9. Terror of the Zygons
    OK, lets get a few things straight. To claim that you do not like a Doctor Who story because of a bad special effect implies that you really don't like the series at all. Got it? I can't defend the Skarasen, but what nobody can argue is that the Zygon costumes are just stunning. The cliffhanger to part one is the scariest moment ever in Who (Disagree? Well, name me a more scary scene, then? The Myrka?), and I feel that the Brigadier was never better than here. The Scottish setting is undeniably atmospheric (The scene in the barn springs to mind), and the model work of the Zygon craft is great. Still want to disagree because of the Skarasen? If so, E-Mail me and we'll argue some more.
  10. City Of Death
    Only in Nimon was humour better utilised. Julian Glover plays Scarlioni brilliantly (that scene about selling a Guttenberg bible discreetly had me rolling around on the floor laughing), and even Duggan is great. The cliffhanger to part one (Everybody likes that, don't you?) I love, and Dudley Simpsons' score is fantastic. Even John Cleese is in it, for christs sake!

There you have it.

But to get a better idea of my favourite stories, here's 11 - 20:
11) Trial Of A Timelord
12) Genesis Of The Daleks
13) Tomb Of The Cybermen
14) Curse Of Fenric
15) Spearhead From Space
16) Survival
17) Deady Assassin
18) The Daemons
19) Resurection Of The Daleks
20) Vengeance On Varos

My Top 10 Favourite Big Finish Stories by Robert Thomas 5/4/01

Remember this is based on the stories up to Sword Of Orion except The Land Of The Dead which I haven't heared yet.

10. The Marian Conspiracy - A lovely fun little story with a good introduction for Evelyn and a 6th Doctor played the way Colin wanted.

9. The Sirens Of Time - I love this story alone just for being able to hear the Doctors after so long and their interplay is great.

8. Phantasmagoria - Perfect recreation of the 5th Doctor era. Great story, the most perfect romp you could imagine, a great performance by the regulars.

7. Storm Warning - Good story for McGann and good introduction for Charley. A nice little story plotted well.

6. Whispers Of Terror - Original ideas and a setting which brings the story to light. Justin Richards at his best.

5. Winter For The Adept - A story best described as fun. Great Doctor, great Nyssa great performance by India Fisher who steals the show in all her scenes. Bit of a flawed ending but having Andrew Cartmel the 7th Doctor expert write a 5th Doctor story adds to the 5th Doctor's style.

4. The Fearmonger - All I can say is this could be a sound track of a lost season 27 story. Perfect except for the DJ.

3. The Genocide Machine - Fantastic story and good characters, with the regulars putting in great performances. Even better The Daleks are in it. Mike Tucker handles the change from book to audio with ease.

2. The Shadow Of The Scourge - It is labeled as a side step but it's a step in the right directions. Easily one of the best NA's, a fantastic story which has a more profound affect than the average Who story. Fantastic Bernice and Sylvestor puts in a performance to epitomise the NA 7th Doctor. Scenes set in the Doctor's brain are pure class.

1. The Holy Terror - Not only the best audio but my sister's new favourite story, and at the top of my list. A class perfromance from all concerned and Colin's best performance. A true classic.

Top Ten Doctor Who Spin-Offs by Stuart Gutteridge 26/4/01

They`ve formed an integral part of the Doctor Who Universe to a greater or lesser degree, and are just as enjoyable as the real thing.

  1. PROBE: Unnatural Selection. The take on the X-Files is clever, the plot engaging and it gives the supporting cast (notably Louise Jameson and Geoffrey Beevers) a chance to take centre stage
  2. Guests For The Night. It`s light-hearted enough not to be taken too seriously, Sophie and Sylvester shine and more importantly it has atmosphere
  3. K-9 And Company: A Girl`s Best Friend. The opening titles are ridiculous, Sarah is frumpy and Brendon a sap, but this is part of its charm. Best of all it has Mary Wimbush in it as the wonderful Aunt Lavinia
  4. Whatever Happened To Susan Foreman? Largely for the comedy element, whilst not entirely plausible is certainly enjoyable
  5. Auton: Sentinel. For giving fresh life to a popular enemy. Reinvention is the key word here as Lockwood and Natasha Alexander continue to grow
  6. The Curse Of Fatal Death. If you don`t believe in continuity, then this suits. Even if you do it's great being both affectionate and funny
  7. PROBE: The Devil Of Winterborne. A great performance from Peter Davison with a great story to match
  8. Dimensions In Time. Again ignore the continuity, and remember it was for charity. Tom Baker clearly did. It might not have made much sense, but it was okay for two seven minute episodes
  9. Downtime. Old companions unite against an old enemy. Great location work and the completion of the Yeti Trilogy
  10. Wartime. At last Benton gets a character development overhaul. Haunting music and location work help greatly

The Top Eight Story Arcs in Doctor Who by Alan Thomas 30/4/01

8. The Trial Of A Timelord Sheer dullness prevents it from being anywhere further up.
7. Frontier In Space/Planet Of The Daleks The latter has virtually nothing in common with the former, but entertaining.
6. Resurrection Of The Daleks/Planet Of Fire/The Caves Of Androzani/ The Twin Dilemma Varying degrees of entertainment, but a fascinating insight into the changes that took place. No character in the first is present in the last.
5. The Key To Time Season It's not as good as some think, but it's entertaining overall.
4. Survival/Dimensions In Time/Enemy Within/The Curse Of Fatal Death Not linked at all, really. But they show the stages that the series took toward the end.
3. The Guardian Trilogy Nicely different idea, with some great characterisation for Turlough.
2. The E-Space Trilogy Wonderful. A great introduction for Adric and a fantastic exit for RomanaII and K9II.
1. The Return Of The Master Trilogy Lots of change, great stories, great regeneration.

The Top Ten Target Novelisations by Graham Keeling 2/5/01

I am listing my top ten Target novelisations as they were the things that made me a Doctor Who fan in the first place, and also because I don't think anyone else has done this yet. I have made my decisions on the basis of my long-term 'feeling' about each book, as I haven't read any of the Target series for quite a while.

Doctor Who and the Planet of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks
For being the first Who book I ever read and instantly getting me hooked. There are occasional links to past stories, such as the mention of Ian, Barbara and Susan, and the way the book begins with the Doctor unconscious - as well as a link to a future story with the TARDIS returning to Earth at the end of the book. These begged me to read more of the series. This book is to blame for everything.

Doctor Who and the Daleks by David Whitaker
For being the most stylish and original Who novel. The first and best. You get a real feeling of being there with the first person persona of Ian Chesterton. I also have the Armada books version, with has different internal illustrations, which are equally as good as the Target ones. Doctor Who and the Cybermen by Gerry Davis

The first Cyberman novel. Well written and evocative.This novel really made the Cybermen seem frightening. The imagination runs wild and the illustrations are cool!

Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons by Terrance Dicks
The second cover with the octopus/squid/crab Nestene was the best in the entire range I was quite disappointed when it didn't make an appearance when I saw the TV original. Good Terrance Dicks content, too!

Doctor Who and the Ark in Space by Ian Marter
More horrifically graphic than the series could ever be. Ian Marter's best. The Sontaran Experiment was great, too. Ian Marter never shies away from detailed descriptions of gore. Which is nice.

Doctor Who - Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronovitch
Intelligently written, can be seen as being a step towards the N/As. Great background on the Doctor. The two things that stick clearly in my mind nearly ten years since reading it are Davros coming round after his operation and being given the choice to live or die and the view of the universe through the eyes of 'The Abomination'.

Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion by Terrance Dicks
Great story with brilliant baddies and the final showdown remains fresh in my imagination to this day. Although the TV's Autons weapon design is very effective, I liked these Autons whose whole hands fall away to reveal a barrel. I still get nervous in department stores to this day.

Doctor Who - The Edge of Destruction by Nigel Robinson This novel fascinated me when I was at Primary School. I'd always been interested in finding more out about the TARDIS interior, and this story lets us in there.

Doctor Who and the Pyramids of Mars by Terrance Dicks I first got the hardback version of this book out from the local library. I can clearly remember the look and feel (and smell!) of it. Cool cover and another Terrance Dicks success.

Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters by Malcolm Hulke A Malcolm Hulkes novel had to be included in this list. Brilliant story. Classic Malcolm Hulkes. Enough said.

Novels that didn't quite make the list:
Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth by Terrance Dicks
Doctor Who - The Daleks' Masterplan - both parts by John Peel
Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet by Gerry Davis
Doctor Who - Fury From the Deep by Victor Pemberton
Doctor Who and the Daemons by Barry Letts
Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks
Doctor Who and the Sea-Devils by Malcolm Hulke
Doctor Who and the Time Warrior by Terrance Dicks
Doctor Who and the Deadly Assassin by Terrance Dicks
Doctor Who and the Warriors of the Deep by Terrance Dicks
Doctor Who - Earthshock by Ian Marter

Top 10(ish) Swearwords and/or insults in Dr Who by Aly Winford 5/5/01

Looking for a laugh on Saturday, I sat down to watch Invasion of the Dinosaurs. 5 minutes in, I decided that the whole thing was just a little too painful instead of fun for my liking, and so I did this:

Swearing (Or, as the case may be, lack of it) and the best insults in Doctor Who.

  1. From the wonderful Shakedown: 'You killed him, you bastard! You killed him you bastard! You bastard!" etc.
    Ms Aldred gets hysterical. Although how she hoped to insult a clone race (The Sontarons) by claiming that their leader was illigitimate is a little beyond me.
  2. Also from Shakedown: 'Stupid bitch! They'll kill us all!'
    Brian Croucher being tough.
  3. The TVM: 'Only kids believe that crap'
    Yay! We finally get a swearword in the programme itself! You could almost hear Mary bloody Whitehouse raising hell at the BBC. Despite the fact that they didn't make it. And that it wasn't broadcast on kids' TV. And it was given a 12 certificate. And...
  4. Caves of Androzani: 'Bite, you slut! Bite! Bite! Bite!'
    I noticed this the other day - and I'm 99% sure that this is what Stotz yells at Krelper on the cliff - have a look for yourself!
  5. Also from Androzani: 'The spineless cretins...'
    Morgus raises an eybrow and totally loses his self control.
  6. 'That jackanapes! All he ever does is cause trouble!' from Terror of the Autons and: 'You have the mouth of a prattling jackanapes...' yet again from Androzani
    Somehow I feel that coming back from an almighty insult like that would be quite hard (Sarcasm)...
  7. 'Scum!'
    From City of Death, Horns of Nimon and Mindwarp, although I'm sure it was used elsewhere - I just can't put my finger on the story.
  8. 'You horrible man!'
    Tegan, to the Master in Logopolis - this had me creased up in laughter - probably not the way I would go about insulting one of the greatest criminal masterminds in the Galaxy...
  9. 'Rabbits!' Not...

Top Ten Story Titles by Alex Keaton 14/5/01

Just for the record, there are 7 serials that have the word 'time' in it. 17 one word titles. 6 serials titles that require some sort of grammar (like an apostrophe or dash) and a hell of a lot which use the word 'the' and 'of.' There are also more than 10 story's that have cool titles and such story's that missed out on this top ten listing but made the top twenty are; The Daemons, Image of the Fendahl, The Celestial Toymaker, Snakedance, Silver Nemesis, The Masque of Mandragora, Timelash, Kinda, Enlightenment, Terror of the Zygons. Anyway, here are the ten story title finalists which may sound cool, snazzy, or even unusual.

10. Four to Doomsday - Doesn't specifically state whether it's four episodes to doomsday?, perhaps four days until the ship arrives on Earth?, four races on the ship? or even four visits by Monarch to Earth? But it keeps you thinking as to what 'four' stands for.

9. State of Decay - All I can say is that it sounds better than the story's working title, The Wasting, and is fairly snazzy and cool to boot.

8. Terminus - I think it's quite clever how this title fits in correct tact to the meaning of the actual word 'Terminus' itself which means the end journey of something. In context it would mean the possible Terminus of the universe that can only be saved by the Doctor who is on the ship, 'Terminus' which has reached it's own Terminus long ago. Excellent!

7. Meglos - Sounds a lot like a car cleaning liquid but a cool word anyway.

6. Dragonfire - A cool title for a cool serial.

5. Mawdryn Undead - Space-agey and enthralling (As I think Mike Morris stated on his top ten story title list).

4. Ghost Light - A spooky and cool one.

3. The Talons of Weng-Chiang - This is a totally cool one. Credit to Robert Holmes.

2. Arc of Infinity - I must admit I really like it when the word 'infinity' is used in a story title and like it even more so here because of it's 'space-agey' effectiveness.

1. The Deadly Assasin - It may not be grammatically correct but it is still so different and unusual that it just has to be number one.

The Top 10 Least Anticipated Doctor Who Spin-Offs by Daniel Callahan 5/6/01

  1. Griffiths: Cook from the 21st Century A bit part from The Enemy of the World becomes the lead in his own series, traveling to different kitchens in the future, showing his audience how to make recipes, complaining about life, and nearly (but not quite) involved in dangerous political and sexual imbroglios. Envisioned as a cross between science-fiction and a hands-on cooking program, this spin-off was apparently intended for the feeble-minded^ a group the BBC often confused with Doctor Who fans.
  2. Jago & Litefoot 2000 The BBC, of course, considered a spin-off of these delightful characters from The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Less widely known is that a British fan-group proposed a modernized series in 1996 (inspired, in part, by Cracker no less!) Jago & Litefoot find themselves transported to London in the year 2000 thanks to one of the 13th Doctor's practical jokes, allowing the production company to save a fortune on costumes and sets. Apparently a few scenes were shot of the two intrepid Victorians bumbling through London, solving crimes (not Internet related, obviously), but the money ran out, leaving the project unfinished.
  3. Love, Romana A skinny replacement for the already near-anorexic Lalla Ward was to bum around Liverpool nightclubs and find excuses to take off her clothes. Typical fanboy drivel.
  4. The Son of Doctor Who The late William Hartnell's idea of playing his own son almost came to light in 1999. Part spin-off, part parody, Michael Vesp played Hartnell's identical (?) Time Lord son, complete with line-fluffs and inconsequential ad-libs. The Daleks were to be portrayed as motorized dust-bins who invaded a quarry.
  5. Lethbridge-Stewart: The Cromer Years Rumor has it Nicholas Briggs posited this one-off video during a particularly brutal piss-up.
  6. Glitzworld! From the original BBC paperwork.: "Hijinks and laughs follow Sabalom Glitz and Mel throughout the cosmos! Mel scolds Glitz for slave-trading, and Glitz complains about Mel's screaming." Only JNT seemed to take this idea seriously.
  7. Math with Adric Robo-Ham himself, Matthew Watercloset, devised this show for the under-sixes. It was intended to be taped live, educational, and in front of an audience of 30 sugar-addicted children. During the never-to-be-aired pilot, Watercloset is pestered with such memorable questions as: "Didn't you die?" "Was Nyssa your girlfriend?" "How many beans make five?" Eventually, Watercloset walks off the set, never to return.
  8. Peri Unplugged After her stunning vocal performance on "Doctor in Distress", someone at the BBC suggested that Nicola Bryant attempt an album. Obviously, the individual was tone-deaf.
  9. The Gnufighters What began as a typo became the trumped-up plan for a series based on The Gunfighters. In a near hallucinogenic scenario, Gnus from outer space invade the Western town of Tombstone, and the Doctor, Wyatt Earpp, Doc Holiday, and friends must outwit and defeat those pesky gnus. This production may have been an April Fool's hoax, although the BBC received many letters about the program complaining that it wasn't as good as Doctor Who in its heyday.
  10. Tom Baker Gets Drunk A reality program where a hidden camera follows Tom Baker on his latest drinking binges. Don't ask!

Ten Diamonds in the Rough by Rob Matthews 20/6/01

  1. The Valeyard
    A great, if obvious, idea lost amidst a slew of crap. "Just a minute! Did you call him... the Doctor?" is one of the series' great spine-shivering moments.
  2. The Time Lords destroy Earth
    The other good idea lost in that mess. It's frequently been referred to as some kind of alternate-dimension Earth or something (which is as bad a cop-out as killing off Peri only to reveal she's actually shacked up with Brian Blessed), but was this actually stated on screen?
  3. Lady Peinefort
    A well-acted villain thrown into a silly mix of returning baddies, pointless Nazis and superfluous nonsense. A less ambitious yarn with her as main villain (perhaps teaming up with a dark new Meddling Monk) would have made a much better anniversary story.
  4. The Draconians
    Well, Frontier in Space isn't a bad story, but the prominence of the Draconians in the novels is well in excess of the time they spent on screen.
  5. The Variant Daleks
    ie- John Peel's Spider, Strider and Marine Daleks. I haven't read War of the Daleks as I think its rewriting of TV continuity is better left ignored, but a Dalek makeover is long overdue. A Dalek doesn't have to be a pepperpot with sink plungers and baubles, and you'd expect all kinds of variations for different environments. Take them off John Peel and give them to Lawrence Miles, that's what I say. They'll be flying around disguised as wasps or something in no time.
  6. The Rani
    'A brilliant but sterile mind'. She's been referred to as a female Master, but that's not really fair. The Master is motivated by hate and conceit. The Rani is an amoral scientist. Her stories were poor, but Kate O Mara played the part superbly - a heartless old cow who became giddy as a schoolgirl when her experiments came to fruition.
  7. The Doctor goes bonkers.
    The Twin Dilemma is a story so hopeless and garish that it actually makes me feel physically sick, but invoking the Doctor's dark side was a good idea. It was just done really badly. It perhaps would have succeeded in the learning curve of the story was reversed - rather than running around strangling Peri, the Doctor bounces back from his traumatic regeneration and seems perfectly well. He's witty and wonderful good company for the rest of the adventure, establishing a rapport with his companion and so on. And then when he faces down the villian at the climax he displays a totally unexpected propensity for violence. That way it would be shocking rather than rushed and irritating.
  8. Sarah's departure in The Hand of Fear.
    A nice, understated scene, but it's a shame it comes so randomly at the end of a banal story.
  9. Susan's departure in Dalek Invasion of Earth
    With a moving and tearful speech, the Doctor boots the ankle-twisting pain in the arse off his ship, and acts like he's doing her a favour. Whether by accident or design, it adds a great deal of conflict and contradiction to the Doctor's character. And after all these years it's the only thing that stands out in this shoddy and overrated story.
  10. Mel and Ace in Dragonfire
    Who'd have thought it? There's lovely chemistry here.

...And Ten Pieces of Coal

  1. The Coat.
    Eighteen years later and we're still reeling from it. You'll note that authors of the novels always feel obliged to either give us some kind of psychological explanation or get him out of the damn thing. Or both.
  2. Toberman from Tomb of the Cybermen
    Really, there's no excuse.
  3. The Balsa Wood from Revelation of the Daleks.
    In a great scene laced with drama and black humour, Tasambeker stabs Jobel with a hypodermic needle. But it clearly lands in a small wardrobe stuffed beneath his apron.
  4. 'I think it's high time women's lib was introduced to Draconia' from Frontier in Space Might have been a good line if it wasn't delivered like a reactionary joke.
  5. 'This Time Storm blew up from nowhere' from Dragonfire
    I know it was finally explained in Curse of Fenric, but remember how stupid it sounded at the time.
  6. The plot of Dragonfire
    Memorable villain, magnificent music, and a story that makes no sense at all. Let's get this straight: It's taken Kane thousands of years to discover a creature that the Doctor stumbles upon within half an hour of his arrival on the planet? His jailers hid the key in his jail?
  7. 'Tremas'
    Not the character, just the name. We all know how fond the Master is of coming up with magisterial pseudonyms, but for his victim to somehow already have one is just daft.
  8. The Dalek Time Controller
    Or is it a plasma globe, available from any branch of Argos?
  9. The Sink Plunger in Alien Bodies
    The Doctor operates the Dalek ship with an actual sink plunger. It's very funny actually, but might just be a piss-take too far. I'd have assumed the Dalek's plunger-like aoppendices carried electromagnetic charges or inputted data into their control panels in some highly advanced way. But no. They really are just sink plungers.
  10. The Rocket takes off in Revenge of the Cybermen
    Only Ed Wood has used stock footage with such seamless precision.

Top Ten Completely Missing Doctor Who Adventures by David Miano 17/8/01

Here are the Doctor Who episodes no longer in the archives that we all would love to see one day. Not a single episode from one of these stories is in existence, as far as we know. I cannot rate them in the usual fashion, because I've never seen them (and probably never will). However, I do know which ones I'd like to see the most. If I could choose which ones were to be recovered first, here is the top ten (there are only ten anyway) in reverse order:

10. The Savages -- From what I hear, the story is pretty boring.
9. Galaxy Four -- Some interesting ideas, fresh for its day, but the characters are rather uninteresting.
8. The Macra Terror -- A decent story with some social comment, but nothing spectacular.
7. The Smugglers -- A great set of characters, plenty of location filming, and swashbuckling action.
6. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve -- Dark atmosphere, great music, and, best of all, William Hartnell plays both the hero and the villain.
5. The Myth Makers -- An underappreciated story in its time, this adventure has a fascinating premise, a polished production, and a sense of humour.
4. The Highlanders -- Not only Jamie's introduction to the series, but a great story with interesting characters, and Troughton is in fine form.
3. The Power of the Daleks -- Well, I'm sure I don't have to explain that this is one of the most sought-after stories in the series. Who would want to miss Patrick Troughton's debut?
2. Marco Polo -- Probably the best of all the historical stories. One of the greats.
1. Fury From the Deep -- A highly entertaining, fear-inspiring story with a fine cast and great direction. We also say goodbye to Victoria.

I'd be interested in seeing other opinions, for sure.

Ten Terrible Story Titles by Tim Roll-Pickering 19/8/01

(Any story titles are fair game, no matter how 'valid' they may be)

  1. The Ultimate Foe (Parts 9-12 of The Trial of a Time Lord). According to researchers this was the original commissioning title. Given that this story is meant to be a run of the mill average monster story, what on earth is 'Ultimate' about it?
  2. The Mutants (Serial NNN). Not so bad in itself but this title had already been used at the time of production for the first Dalek story (and the DW Fan Club at least knew this at the time) and thus generating a significant part of the endless arguments over the early story titles.
  3. Enemy Within. The only title given to the Paul McGann TV movie by any of the production team (admittedly after the event). And just what does it refer to?
  4. The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. While the story isn't a disaster, I doubt there are many fans who would agree about the title's accuracy.
  5. The Aztecs. Forget the debate about the 'pointlessness' of replacing the title An Unearthly Child with the 'less effective' 100,000 BC because it's happened before. Temple of Evil (the title of the first episode and thus the one given in guides which just use them such as the Radio Times 10th Anniversary Special or the first edition of the Programme Guide) sounds like an intriguing, mysterious story. The Aztecs sounds like a story with some Aztecs in it. Which sounds better?
  6. The Romans. Again a story with some Romans in it. Unfortunately in this case none of the other titles used since the 1970s (The Slave Traders [the title of the first episode], The Roman Empire [probably a Jeremy Bentham invention]) is much better.
  7. The Dalek Invasion of Earth. By the time the story starts, this has already taken place.
  8. The Caves of Androzani. As the Doctor points out at the start they're not caves but blow-holes.
  9. Galaxy 4. Naming a story after the galaxy where the characters come from seems a little strange and, if applied consistently, would lead to numerous stories called 'Milky Way'...
  10. Frontios. ...whilst the logic of calling a story after the planet it's set on would make most of them 'Earth'.

Oh and of course there are the old favourites for lists like this: Doctor Who and the Silurians (he's not called Doctor Who and the creatures don't come from the Silurian period), Planet of the Daleks (which isn't set on the Daleks' home planet), Death to the Daleks (which isn't one of the stories that sees the Daleks wiped out for good), Resurrection of the Daleks (Davros is the one resurrected), Revelation of the Daleks (which doesn't have much of a revelation), Remembrance of the Daleks (they might as well have used R-word of the Daleks) and others.

Top ten stories by Mark Irvin 28/8/01

  1. The Deadly Assassin The somewhat surreal episode three - staged in the matrix, is quite possibly one of the most unusual and greatest episodes in Doctor Who history.
  2. The Robots of Death A good old fashion murder mystery, with some (dare I say evil!) looking robots thrown in.
  3. Silver Nemesis The Cybermen are back and more menacing than ever - the unforgettable scene where they emerge from their ship to conduct a shootout with the Nazis is an absolute classic. An underrated story.
  4. The Stones of Blood I enjoyed the humour and unpredictability of this story. The Ogri are definitely one of the most fearful monsters to appear on the show (Just have a listen to that loud beating sound they make).
  5. Inferno The parallel dimension is an interesting concept and the plot is well paced for a 7 parter. I have often found Slow spots or episodes mar many of the Pertwee adventures.
  6. City of Death It was good to see the show filmed abroad with some quite memorable characters - Tom Chadbon as Duggan, Julian Glover as the Scaroth and a surprise cameo by John Cleese.
  7. The Seeds of Doom An excellent idea to create a story with the action spilt between two such vastly different locations - the Antarctic and Chase's mansion.
  8. Resurrection of the Daleks A bloody and more serious adventure which was good for a change, after all what should you really expect when the Daleks are involved. Oh, and it was great to finally see the back of Tegan.
  9. The Seeds of Death I enjoyed watching this one when it came out on video and Patrick Troughton was simply wonderful as the doctor, so I thought I would have to include at least one of his adventures.
  10. Attack of the Cybermen As this story has gaping holes in the plot it was very lucky to sneak in. However, the sub-plot on Telos involving two semi-cyber human prisoners attacking a Cyberman to steal his head is a personal favourite. Colin Baker starts to show some sorely missed class and character in the role of the Doctor - after a somewhat bland (but still at times likeable) Peter Davison.

Unlucky to miss out - The Caves of Androzani, The Sun Makers, Earthshock, The Tomb of the Cybermen, Pyramids of Mars and The Curse of Fenric.

My top ten lists by Patrick Daugherty

The Best First Doctor Stories (in my opinion)

  1. Venusian Lullaby
  2. The Celestial Toymaker
  3. The Daleks' Master Plan
  4. The Gunfighters (I happen to like this one!)
  5. The Smugglers
  6. Marco Polo
  7. The Witch Hunters
  8. The Space Museum
  9. The Tenth Planet
  10. Inside the Spaceship

The Best Companions

  1. Frobisher (my all-time favorite)
  2. Zoe Harriet
  3. Fitz Kreiner
  4. Steven Taylor
  5. Liz Shaw
  6. Sara Kingdom (brief yet brilliant)
  7. Ace
  8. Peri Brown
  9. Jamie McCrimmon
  10. Leela

The Worst Companions

  1. Sam Jones (she bugs me)
  2. Jo Grant
  3. Victoria Waterfield
  4. Melanie Bush
  5. Adric
  6. Polly
  7. Kamelion
  8. Harry Sullivan
  9. Ben Jackson
  10. Roz Forrester

The Best Sixth Doctor Stories (in my opinion)

  1. The Holy Terror
  2. The Trial of a Time Lord (all 4 stories)
  3. Voyager (comic)
  4. Attack of the Cybermen
  5. The Marian Conspiracy
  6. Vengeance on Varos
  7. Millennial Rites
  8. The Mark of the Rani
  9. The Two Doctors
  10. Once Upon a Time Lord (comic)

Ten Pieces of Advice I'd Give to Anyone Starting the EDAs by Ed Swatland

10. Avoid the first book, The Eight Doctors, not only do you not actually need to read it, but it is in fact a fan-wankish nightmare where numerous NA's are retconned (namely First Frontier), and above all a certain companion called Sam is introduced. She will go on to be the most hated companion next to Adric...

9. Whatever you do, DON'T read an EDA by Collier (fans call his first offering Dullest Day for a reason you know), Peel and Russell.

8. The first rad EDA is called Alien Bodies, by Lawrence Miles. Everything except me loves it, so take their word rather than mine, and read it.

7. Avoid any EDA you can with Sam Jones in. She's a whiny stereotype, who supports Greenpeace and was made immortal in Jim Mortimore's Beltempest. Thanks Jim.

6. Don't read any EDA's from 1998 unless they are called Seeing I and The Scarlet Empress.

5. Fitz is a great companion introduced in The Taint by Collier. It's better than Longest Day, and is followed by the pretty decent Demontage, Revolution Man and Dominion... and then the rot sets in again with Unnatural History. Read the four decent ones and scrap Unnatural History: a disaterous attempt at different authors attemping to do their own twist on Faction Paradox. It also has two Sams in it. Nuff said.

4. If you're a masochist, do not read Interference I & II by Lawrence Miles. It is in fact an important book and pretty much the book you need to read. I hated it, so well... you decide.

3. Here are some pre-The Burning books that you shoud read. The Shadows of Avalon, Coldheart, The Banquo Legacy (and because it's pretty important) The Ancestor Cell.

2. READ THE TRAPPED ON EARTH ARC!!!!! All the books in it are fab (apart from Escape Velocity). They are a bold attempt at something different and return the Doctor to his rootes if you like. If not, then at least give The Burning a try.

1. Read everything after the Earth Arc. Not only are they all great, but shows what an improvement the books have gone through...

The Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies Doctor Who Fans Should Watch by Martin Gardner 6/10/01

  1. Them!
    A thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking movie about, well, giant ants. Doctor Meredith and his daughter could easily be the third doctor and Liz Shaw. The ants, mutated by atomic testing(!!), are very realistic and their designer has made good use of the shadows that black and white film produce.
  2. The Day The Earth Stood Still
    One of the best. The message may be out-dated but it's great. 'Nuff said.
  3. Village of the Damned
    The original black and white version of this movie could easily fit straight into the Pertwee era as the style, direction and type of plot are markedly similar (and The Daemons nicked the idea of the invisible sphere isolating a small town). It would have been great if John Wyndham had written for Dr Who. As for the 90s version of this movie, you would get far more enjoyment watching Time and the Rani seventeen times in one sitting.
  4. The Thing (From Another World)
    This is very much a Who-like storyline. A terrible alien is beseiging an arctic base, the occupants of which are divided into two camps: those who want to study the alien and those who want it destroyed. In true Who style, the plot revolves around the disputes between these two camps, rather than the alien itself.
  5. Planet of the Apes
    The original, not the recent ghastly remake. Raises some important questions about how our civilisation is run and where it is going, as well as our treatment of animals. Wouldn't be out of place in season seven of Who.
  6. Back to the Future
    I didn't put this movie in as a joke. This is sci-fi family viewing, in the same vein as Dr Who. Christopher Lloyd was born to play Doc Brown. I wonder what he'd be like as the Doctor?
  7. Gattaca
    A rarity these days - a sci-fi movie that doesn't rely on flashes and bangs to carry it. Who never relied on those things either (well, maybe the 1996 movie did a bit, but, gee, let's face it, at least it took some attention away from the script).
  8. The Matrix
  9. Alien
    Everyone's probably seen this anyway, but if you haven't, go rent it right now. NOW!
  10. Mad Max 2 - The Road Warrior
    Very different from Dr Who in tone, style and the amount of violence... but I think there are many parallels between Max and the way in which the Doctor is portrayed in several stories. The loner, at first reluctant to help other people... and if I point out any more parallels I may give away some plot. Maybe there aren't any parallels and I am just crazy.

Top Ten Covers by Richard Radcliffe 18/10/01

Over the last year one of the major delights of having access to the Web has been the masses of Doctor Who brilliant Websites. One of the best is Outpost Gallifrey. It is wonderful to see the new covers of all the books, audios, videos and other DW merchandise months before they hit the shops. The sense of anticipation becomes that much more acute upon seeing these covers.

The latest Book releases, Psience Fiction and City of the Dead, got me thinking about the covers in general – specifically that of new Who (the original novels and original audios, not novelizations or recordings of existing TV stories). The latest releases emphasize the vast improvement in covers that happened when BBC Books began. There has also been a significant improvement in the Big Finish Audios since Jan 2001. And so a list of my personal favourites.

10. Asylum The cathedral background. The foreground of Cross and Dagger. Medieval Whodunnit here there be.

9. The Burning Simple yet effective. McGanns’ Doctor against a backdrop of Fire.

8. Banquo Legacy Dark Turbulent skies, superimposed by a terrifying Skull and Rat. Horror Who lies within.

7. Sands of Time Perfect renditions of 5th Doctor and Tegan. The promise of a sequel to a Classic.

6. Bloodtide Capturing the wonder of the sea. Slight glimpse of land promising remoteness.

5. Stones of Venice Richly ornate yet dark cover, like Venice itself. Old maps, paintbrushes, gothic architecture.

4. Grave Matter Tombstones opening, misty landscapes. Enter into secluded, atmospheric Who.

3. Father Time Pure and Bright. The white Blanket perfectly merging with the background snow. The Child longing for affection within its folds.

2. City of the Dead Stunningly effective. The greatest icon of Dr Who – the TARDIS, in amongst the Crypts of a New Orleans Cemetery.

1. Witchmark A magical contrast between reality and fantasy. Exactly what Doctor Who does better than anything else.

Top 10 Companions by Russell Gillenwater

  1. Bernice Summerfield

    After finishing Love and War, Benny took over the mantle of best companion. For a character that never appeared on TV for me she was amazing. I mean if a book character being so popular were easy then there would be more like her (take Sam as an example how it doesn't work). Everyone's favorite archaeologist is just the most rounded and real companion the series has ever seen. It might be because she was older (Benny is 30 at the time of Love and War), and had some of the same flaws as the rest of us. She's feisty, independent, likes drinking (sometimes too much), is rather lazy like many of us and she meshed so well with the Seventh Doctor (even more so than Ace). And a tribute to Benny's enduring popularity as a character can be seen in two book series of her own and her own line of audio adventures. Whether it is Lisa Bownman's portrayal for Big Finish or her written adventures Benny stands at the top of the companion list.

  2. Sarah Jane Smith

    Growing up Sarah Jane was my favorite companion. She was in the first episode I ever watched (The Seeds of Doom) and she was the companion all others were measured by (I even had a crush on her in my early teens). Over the years while my feelings for some companions have changed, Sarah is still at the top of the list. Most of the credit must go to Elisabeth Sladen whom did a wonderful job whether the script was up to snuff or not. There is no doubt that on TV there was never a better team than Sladen and Tom Baker. While in recent years Sarah has been replaced at the top of the companion list by Benny, it isn't by much. Furthermore, most of the novels she has been in have just expanded the character (the older Sarah was by far the best thing in the EDA Interference).

  3. Romana II

    I thought Romana was ok when she first appeared with Mary Tamm in the role. However, when Lalla Ward took over with Destiny of the Daleks, Romana instantly became a favorite of mind. Ward and Baker worked really well together and had some of the best chemistry seen in the series. Another boost Romana got was when she left and the companions that followed (Adric, Nyssa and Tegan) didn't quite measure up to her, it made one appreciate Romana more. Since then her reappearance in the NAs and EDAs only worked to strengthen her position as one of the all-time best companions.

  4. Peri Brown

    While opinions vary on Peri, I will just admit it I like her. Yes, I will admit that looks have something to do with it. Nicola Bryant is arguably the best looking companion ever (so, when she was annoying she was something to look at). However, I have come to like her character. As Bryant grew as an actress so did the character of Peri. The biggest drag on Peri was the scripts. If it was a good script then Peri was good and if it wasn't she suffered. The writing for her has varied in the books, but Peri best story maybe Bad Therapy, which saw the return of a matured Peri.

  5. Ace

    Ace is a character that moved up the companion with ever episode she appeared. It must be said that Ace was somewhat two-dimensional and a stereotype of a teen of that time. But what made Ace work on TV was Sophie Adler's chemistry with Sylvester McCoy. The tandem formed one of the best in the shows history. This chemistry between Ace and the Seventh Doctor was continued to the NA when Doctor Who moved to print. Ace peaked in what seemed to be her final adventure Love and War. I will admit I wasn't too happy with the character when she returned in the book Deceit. By this point I really didn't think she was too needed with Bernice being in the TARDIS. However, as writers got a better handle on the "new" Ace, she the Doctor and Benny became a great team.

  6. Chris Cwej

    I rank Chris just slightly ahead of Roz, because we got to see his character develop more in the Benny New Adventures. When I first picked up Original Sin I wasn't sure about "police officers" in the TARDIS. But halfway through the book both Chris and Roz had won me over. Both charters grew while with the Doctor. However, Chris really took off in the Benny New Adventures and peaked in the excellent story Dead Romance.

  7. Roz Forester

    As pointed out above I had my doubts about Roz when she debuted in Original Sin. However, from that book forward I was won over. Roz once again showed if a character is properly written they can have much more depth than their TV counterparts. The sad thing about Roz was that her best book, So Vile a Sin, was her last.

  8. Nyssa

    Originally, when I viewed the Fifth Doctor episodes I liked Tegan better than Nyssa. It might be because Tegan just stood out more. But as I have aged, my taste has changed and that is what happen with Nyssa. I got a greater appreciated of her character on TV after viewing the Davison episodes again. But it was in the books where Nyssa truly outshines Tegan. In Goth Opera, Nyssa was the strongest companion and continued to be that in other books. Also, her appearances with Davison in some of the Big Finish Audios have just helped her place on the companion list.

  9. Liz Shaw

    As with Nyssa, Liz Shaw wasn't my favorite Third Doctor companion. While I still rank Sarah Jane ahead of her, over the years, Liz has moved ahead of the "traditional" Pertwee companion, Jo Grant. While I will admit the chemistry between Pertwee and Katy Manning's Jo was better than Pertwee's with Carolina John's Liz, the original third Doctor companion is just a better companion than Jo. Since the show, Liz Shaw's portrayal in the books have only helped to point this out.

  10. (Tie) Zoe and Fitz

    It was tough to decided who would be 10th, so I decided to just make it a split. Fitz is the best companion I have seen so far in the EDA's (I haven't read the books with Anji yet, so I can't rate her). When used well Fitz is a very strong character. Like Bernice he has a lot of the flaws as the rest of us and add to that the events that happened to him in Interference and Fitz's place on this list is assured. As for Zoe, I just like her, what else can I say.

To finish I had to add that Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart is also one my favorite characters. While some might consider him a companion I don't - The Brigadier is a special character and a classic of the series.

Ten Stupid/Awful Pieces of Doctor Who by Mark Irvin 1/11/01

  1. The pathetic attempt to pass off a rotating drum as the surface of Voga in Revenge of the Cybermen.
  2. The worst shots in history - The guards in Happiness Patrol are so incredibly inept that they can't shoot the Doctor in a buggy from the impossible distance of 4 metres, not to mention their inability to "jog" after the Doctor and apprehend him. (I suppose he was travelling at the breakneck speed of 5km/per hour.)
  3. CSO involving the Whomobile flight in Planet of the Spiders - so fake it almost defies belief.
  4. Us Australians will love (or hate?) this one. In Four to Doomsday, Tegan is able to translate what the Aboriginal is saying for the Doctor. Does anyone actually comprehend how incredibly unlikely this is?! Extremely few modern day Aborigines actually know native tongue, let alone some half-witted air hostess. Not to mention the coincidence that even if she did know it - there are literally hundreds of different regional types. However on the up side, it was very interesting to see Aborigines in Doctor Who complete with Davison's reaction. (Hey! There's something from Down Under, and the Doc played cricket for N.S.W!)
  5. Carnival of Monsters - Poorely realised, tacky effects, crap dialogue and to be frank - Downright embarrasing.
  6. The Vervoids...... Rubber flower men? Gee the old 1986 budget must have been pretty darn thin. Might have been passable alongside Tom Baker in the 1975 story The Seeds of Doom.
  7. How about an appropriate rival for the Vervoids? - The Tractators from Frontios - Need I say why? In fact I'd say they're a hell of a lot worse.
  8. The Master holding the universe to ransom using the Pharos Project and a tape recorder in Logopolis. You couldn't tell someone using a straight face that the Master's plan is in the the slightest bit feasible. Wouldn't it take thousands of years to reach anyone? In fact the Master in general has always had a rather dodgy track record in the half-baked plan department.
  9. Whilst pretty good in the earlier cliffhanger scene, the Cybership from Silver Nemesis is decidedly "wobbly" in the subsequent footage.
  10. Janet Fielding and her tenure as the 'Aussie' air hostess Tegan. Makes me wish I was born in bloody New Zealand. Hang on....... that might be taking things just a bit too far.

Top Twenty (Un-ironically) Scariest (TV) Stories by Graham Pilato 15/11/01

Note: This is my first submission of anything at all review-ish to this lovely site - I do a Top Ten first because Mike Morris made it look fun 'n' cool. I'm going for easy scared-children crowd pleasing first... :) And also because I recently saw Jeepers Creepers and some little reptilian part of me is very zippy still from that twittery little spin round the scares-block. Fun irony-soaked scare-lists willing to include the cardboard clam-thing from Genesis of the Daleks or those devilish Quarks (death-spitting!) from The Dominators or the worry of just plain losing one's mind while watching/listening to The Underwater Menace or even the fact that The War Machines' WOTAN clearly really knows that this is actually a TV show and that he's fighting a tv character and that means that this evil computer is really part of the real world and we're never gonna be safe again can wait, yo.

(in chronological order)

  1. Fury from the Deep: Well, I haven't actually seen this one, of course (I'm 24), but I heard good things. The Misters Oak and Quill angle is pure lovely 60s madness ilk of The Prisoner and The Avengers and 007 movies - completely psychedelic/trippy and inexplicable - absolutely designed to freak. The monsters here are far more creepy than the Doctor Who 60s usual in an amorphous ellusiveness way instead of just plain "could be a man in a suit" scary. The fact that this was present day and rather realistic in its representation of a North Sea refinery also places this story way ahead of the rest of the ancient 60s Doctor Who on the freak-o-meter. And green growing intelligent human-possessing gooey seaweed is far more inherently scary (at least to me) than furry great backwards-flushing teddy bears in a mostly abandoned London underground.
  2. The Silurians: Well, now I've cut out all of the sixties stories but one and left only one Pertwee story too... One may get the impression that I'm not letting myself fall back to the standards of older generations of kids hiding behind the sofa or something... Well, heck, I guess I'm not. More on that in a second. This here's easily the creepiest story of the entire series, though, see! And it's the seventh season hard action and more adult sci-fi stuff here that's really effectively freaky. Never was Doctor Who to be as realistic again in its protrayal of the nasty things that may happen to us if an aggressive alien race was to contend with our top-of-the-food-chain status on earth. Our necessary reliance on the closed-minded military and the empty-minded bureaucracies to handle the great unknown is perhaps the scariest thing there is here - never to be as well-illuminated again in the series as it was here. The Geoffrey-Palmer-starred plague-in-London scenes are absolutely terrifying - not only not outdated but especially scary in these days of bioterrorism. Dr. Lawrence's mad, sick, dying lunge at the Brigadier is even, perhaps, the single scariest moment in Doctor Who up to this point. But The Silurians is marvellously creepy throughout, as we very gradually build the image in our minds of a great, totally alien - and even superior - race that have always been here on Earth, lurking underground - they could be anywhere there are deep caves - not just in England...
  3. The Ark in Space: The cliffhanger of the second episode here is so creepy that it really just blasts the series into a whole new realm of sensation - the "Gothic" of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes Era. Nevermind the silly appearances of the adult Wirrn here in the last couple episodes - the grubs are plenty freaky, the concept of the species is extremely freaky, and the immense horror of Noah's transformation is like a great christening for the Hinchcliffe/Holmes Era and its coming voyage through all places dark.
  4. Genesis of the Daleks: Yup. This is where Doctor Who was really scary - especially in the long view of likely future generations. The stories of the mid-seventies were so sensationally spot-on with the horror genre and with what it takes to make us really throw ourselves up over and behind the old protective loveseat. This story is great evidence of that, actually, despite its lack of freaky organic monsters one can easily imagine lurking in the dark. The Daleks are classic monsters for one thing, anyway, but this story makes them so much more threatening when you can see just how it might make sense that someone would develop a method of existence like that, for the sake of outliving this horrible apocalypse world on the screen that we would certainly not be too far away from ourselves as children of the Cold War and the superterrorism after it. Then, of course, there's Davros, the perfect Dr. Who villain - a still vulnerable proto-Dalek who is horrfyingly ugly and a brilliant scientist - doing his evil for very human reasons: to preserve his species and find some kind of immortality... Genesis is so sensationally pitched, paced, and produced that it comes off as a serious hard sci-fi white-knuckles horror movie when watched all at once.
  5. Terror of the Zygons: "open this door..." you hear whispered menacingly. Tom Baker is right about the Zygons when he discusses them on The Tom Baker Years video - those whisperin' aliens are freakier than the yellin' ones. They're frightening because they aren't really even human-like at all beyond the most minimal of attachments to the basic humanoid phyiscal form. They're almost totally alien and, again, they've always been here (practically). They're totally alien, they shapeshift, they abduct humans, and they control a giant mostly unseen Loch Ness monster - that's a lotta good sci-fi Scary Points. This was actually my first Doctor Who monster to tell myself "it's not gonna get me when I go to bed" about back when I was eight... so I, at least, see the effectiveness here... still... a little... on occasion...
  6. The Seeds of Doom: It puts you off wanting to own house plants fairly well. And then there's the gradual transformation of poor Arnold Keeler into a writhing mass of paranoid green tentacles alongside Harrison Chase's descent into homocidal plant-loving madness under the influence of the Krynoid. I'd have picked this as the scariest Doctor Who story ever, if asked any time until I was about 18 and I saw The Silurians yet again and realized just how awesome a chiller that sucker was.
  7. The Robots of Death: Well, this is only truly scary because it's such a masterpiece of stylish presentation. This is The Caves of Androzani style-wise of the Hinchcliffe Era. Sure, the concept of the robot-dependent culture facing a sudden insidious betrayal by its robots is thoroughly creepy, but just watch this story alone in the dark and see what a masterful creeper we have here. The synchronization of all the robots in movement and their same soft unemotional-yet-cultured voices is so eerie you get put way out of it - the uneasy creepy unnerving feeling that all this at-work paradise is going straight to hell for these miners is there from the beginning. D84's repeated "I heard a cry" followed by Tom's repeated "it was me", SV7's repeated "kill the humans", and the great hilarious/terrifying "please don't throw hands at me", said evenly and unemotionally by a murderous robot to Toos, are all deeply inbedded in my memory as great creepy lines to possibly hear in quiet superficially unthreatening monotones in nightmares...
  8. Resurrection of the Daleks: Okay, so this is just Eric Saward goin' nuts here, but it certainly does the horror trick. The werid effects of the Daleks' gas on humans is particularly nasty... let alone the fact that one character smells something awful coming from her partner and then finds that that smell was just his face and hands gradually sliding off! The fact that it is also stated that there are Dalek replica imposters all over the planet in important positions ready to destroy our civilization or something at any given moment in the present day is pretty nasty too. Not to mention that general atmosphere/reality of the gratuitous violence and nastiness throughout this story - enough to reasonably make Tegan leave. More stories like this could ruin a series... just one or two, if you can forgive the greatest Dr. Who swiss cheese plot of all swiss cheese plots, is actually fine by me - because now Daleks could come sweeping down their Time Corridor into industrial London anytime they want if you have the imagination to fear/dig it.
  9. Revelation of the Daleks: speaking of. Saward does it again here. This time there's a man becoming a Dalek before our very eyes, screaming to his own daughter to shoot him as he is taken over more and more. There's that. And then there's that Saward atmosphere of horror and inescapable grim death throughout... except this time it's directed so well and there's such a huge array of grim subplots and marvelously dark and anti-hero-y 6th-Doctor-Era-only supporting characters that it's easy to forget that these Daleks are even supposed to be a threat... If the title had been different - something like "Necros" or "The Great Healer" - this wouldn't even have been an issue, though; the Daleks would have been neat/nasty icing on the cake. This is Doctor Who scary because it is just too mature on the horror front to even be about individual monsters or even classic ones; the tone itself is the main creeper (a main feature of all the best/scariest in Who).
  10. The Curse of Fenric: Evil from the dawn of time makes itself a big player in the Doctor Who universe, setting a great tone for the NAs to follow. Fenric is pretty darn scary himself. Nevermind the fact that some heaving great soggy blue vampires come lunging into the windows and doors of a great old fortress of a church. "Could I be a wolf of Fenric too?" you ask as a child. (Gosh...) Then you, as an adult, get freaked out about not being able to have enough faith in your great and meaningful symbols... would you be able to stop thems Haemorvores? British bombs falling on German children...

(I'm attempting overachievement or something... I just couldn't stop the fun...)

Runners-up (#s 11-20):

a p.s. note on the note above: Yeah, if you were confused on that one about WOTAN, I'll explain... It knows the Doctor is Who... um... he is... yeah.

Top Ten 6th Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 20/11/01

After being so poorly served by his time on screen the 6th Doctor has come into his own in Books and especially Audios. When I was younger I was forever doing Top Ten stories for each Doctor - these lists, thanks to new material have now changed beyond recognition. The 6th Doctor Top Ten has changed more than any of them - that is the one I shall do first. TV, Books,

Comics and Audios included:-

10 Nightmare Fair - One of the first missing adventures that show the 6th Doctor is better than his TV output. I like Blackpool too!

9 Marian Conspiracy - Introduction of the excellent companion Evelyn for the 6th Doctor, one of the best Historicals.

8 Project:Twilight - Gory tale, totally suited to the Doctors character. Hopefully a sequel will materialize sooner rather than later.

7 Players - Terrance Dicks can write the best books, and his Winston Churchill book is one of his best.

6 Once Upon A Time-Lord – Building upon the fantastic style of Voyager, this further brings a magical world to our doorstep.

5 The Two Doctors - The only TV story to make the Top Ten. Helped along by the wonderful Pat Troughton. Great story from Robert Holmes.

4 The Holy Terror – A clever and witty piece of dark humour. All hail the Big Talking Bird!

3 The Voyager – A tour de force of the imagination, magnificent visuals and Colourful prose abound.

2 Grave Matter - One of the best pieces of Who original Fiction there is - completely capturing the essence of classic Who.

1 Spectre of Lanyon Moor - It had to be an Audio on top. Colin Baker is the best Audio Doctor, and this is a marvelous traditional tale.

Ten Official Writer's Guidelines for the Pertwee era by Mike Morris 22/11/01

TOP SECRET documents have come to light. In 1969 Pertwee was in place, backed by cutting-edge stories put in place by the previous production team. But fear not, this would change. Between 1970 and 1974, Terry and Baz had a plan. They knew what their stories should be like. And they had rules.

Recently discovered in an old public toilet in Tooting Bec, beneath the carcass of a decaying Yeti who couldn't get out because the door was too small, researchers have found the official guidelines for Pertwe-era Who stories. They also found the master tapes of Episode Four of The Tenth Planet, but mistakenly taped over it with a celebrity edition of Stars In Their Eyes. Oh well.

And, for the first time in history, here they are.

  1. The Doctor has a time machine and can go anywhere or "anywhen" in the universe. Please bear in mind, however, that most alien planets look like a quarry or a single unfurnished room, so he tends to stay on twentieth-century earth quite a bit.
  2. As you will be aware, the Doctor is a Time Lord and thus far more intelligent than mere humans. This may suggest that you make him unusually clever, but we would prefer it if instead you make everyone else unusually stupid.
  3. We are currently in negotiations with the BBC to reduce the duration of the episodes from twenty-five minutes to fifteen minutes, as Terrance's missus is complaining that his dinner keeps getting cold and Barry's Buddhist Centre closes at seven o'clock. While this has not yet come into effect it may happen at any moment, so please include ten minutes worth of irrelevant material that could be removed from the story without affecting the plot in EVERY EPISODE. We suggest a good long car chase.
  4. A recent survey has revealed our audience demographic; 63% are children. We feel that this is not a lucrative market, and would prefer the show to be watched chiefly by yokels, and in particular poachers. Please include a poacher or yokel at some stage wherever possible to woo this untapped audience.
  5. It is written into the contract of Jonny Bignose, sorry we mean Mr Pertwee, that he must have a twelve minute fight scene and a moralistic speech included in every story. However, we are trying to piss him off by making the fight scenes desperately unconvincing and the speeches incredibly boring and pompous, so please oblige us in this small detail. We've a bet on that he'll quit within five years and blame it on the break-up of the "family". Yeah right.
  6. Further to this point, we feel it would be an interesting direction to counterpoint the Doctor's natural charisma (so brilliantly established by Bignose during his first season) from time to time by making him pompous, opinionated, right-wing and patronising.
  7. Please allow the Doctor to drop the name of at least one historical figure in every episode, as this reinforces the mystery of the character. Obviously there are limits; we would prefer it if the Doctor did not mention meeting Jesus Christ! Stick to tasteful characters that the Doctor might conceivably form a friendship with, such as Genghis Khan, Hitler, Napoleon and Mao Tse-Tung.
  8. A note on the treatment of UNIT. We feel that the military are all too often portrayed in a stereotypical fashion. We would like to avoid this. We visualise UNIT as having an old warehouse as their HQ and about five soldiers to spare. Also, their leader was originally portrayed as a warrior of poise, stature and judgement. This was valid, but we see the Brigadier in a different light; a buffoon who blows things up all the time is a more interesting characterisation, and this is the direction we wish to take.
  9. We have, in our spare time (such as it is!) been thinking about the future of mankind, and have come to the conclusion that rural living is unsustainable. The future for mankind lies in the city and in urbanity. Scenes such as those in Spearhead from Space spread an irresponsible anti-urban message. Please avoid this. Set stories in rural villages wherever possible, thus implying that the countryside is incredibly dangerous. Portray all rural people as stupid and stereotypical, to suggest that your neighbours will be smelly inbreds if you move out of London. These steps may seem curious, but the future of the human race hangs in the balance and these measures might just save the world.
  10. Could you put the Master in it somewhere? Anywhere will do. Don't worry about logic or motivation, we'll, er, work that out later. Honest.
Signed, Baz and Tel. Oh, and if you know of any vacant positions going for a producer or script editor, please let us know. Please. Anything will do. Anything at all

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