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Top Ten Companions by Richard Radcliffe 30/5/03

This is a list that has been running about in my head (very dubious what us DW fans think of in our spare time, isn't it!) for some time. Looking through the pretty good Companions book by David Howe got me thinking I should really share what I think about the Doctor's friends. With nearly 40 years of companions (I counted 42 official, whatever that means, including TV, Books and Audio) it was quite a feat to bring it down to my favourite 10.

The list is dependent on character mostly. Of course the actor/actress playing them (in the TV and audio case) contributed a lot to this, so it is a judgement on likeability of the person too. Script writers helped and hindered some companions. It was hard to restrict it to 10.

You may be surprised at some of these choices. It does feature audio quite a bit, mixed with TV. I am not a great fan of the new companions that the book have introduced though. Benny was fine, but not as good as any of the below. The rest, particularly the terrible Sam Jones and Compassion, are the reason I don't buy as many 8th Doctor books as Past Doctor books. Saying that though Fitz and Anji are creeping their way up the companion tree, but still remain significantly outside.

My worst companions? Sam Jones, Compassion, Susan, Liz Shaw and the after Dalek-War Ace. I wasn't a great fan of Tegan either really.

The lower reaches of such a list took some thought therefore. Steven Taylor was close, Jamie McCrimmon was almost included, the hapless Jo was nearly there too, and both the Romanas have a great deal to like about them. But the page on this website is Top Ten, and I will adhere to the rules, almost. Here we go then in reverse order:-

Nearly - Sara Kingdom - Listening to this story recently brought home just how much of a tragedy it was that she got killed at the end of Dalek Masterplan. She would have made a brilliant addition to the crew, but the 10 episodes we have of her are very good.

10 Turlough - A momentous beginning where it really seemed he would be a nasty piece of work, he settled down to being the Doctor's shadow on TV. The audios have brought out another side of his character, a great foil for the 5th Doctor - they're like 2 mates going on adventures.

9 Harry Sullivan - The bumbling, yet likeable Harry was one of the most unassuming chaps you were ever likely to meet. Played with understated heroism by Ian Marter he provided much to the golden age of Who.

8 Ace - Ridiculed more than she is lauded these days, Ace was still one of the best companions on TV (and in Perry and Tucker books). Her chemistry with the 7th Doctor was wonderful, and the first few books of the NA's and the PDA's show her to be one of the best. The only companion you have to qualify though, it's the before the Dalek War Ace I like.

7 Charley Pollard - India Fisher has brought much to the new 8th Doctor audio range. Her enthusiasm and vitality are infectious. Her character is the same, proving the perfect foil for the 8th Doctor (much better than Grace in the film), and proving to be one of the strongest companions, and most interesting of the lot.

6 Brigadier - Isn't it great when the Brigadier meets with the Doctor again! It's like meeting an old friend who you have not seen for a while, you like them even more, and realize just what sound people they are. Starting off as rigorous military type, he thankfully mellowed, providing the series with one of it's legendary characters.

5 Leela - A wonderfully different kind of companion. Mellowed considerably over her TV stories, but when written as the beautiful but deadly member of the Sevateem, rarely bettered.

4 Izzy - The comic strip companion succeeds where many of her book, TV and audio counterparts fail. She is recognizable to fans all over the world, being one herself. This is the kind of girl you knew would be your best mate, regardless of sex. Her personality also goes through massive transformation, yet still emerges as the perfect companion for the 8th Doctor.

3 Peri Brown - With the 5th Doctor she was brilliant, with the 6th Doctor someone we adored. The prettiest of assistants was always near the top of my companion list, I fancied her massively. Initial lust has now been partly replaced with a great deal of affection. I thought she was wonderful, and the 6th Doctor/Peri team remains one of my favourites.

2 Evelyn Smythe - I am so glad the audio range decided to create their own companions for some of the Doctors. Evelyn is the best. Providing an even better companion for the 6th Doctor than Peri, she is so likeable and friendly. Like your favourite auntie who you always want to sit next to at family parties, Evelyn's personality wins out over everything.

1 Sarah-Jane Smith - A recent watching of the later Pertwee years and early T Baker years proves that she is number one, beyond any doubt. The ultimate girl next door, and someone you just liked so much as a kid. She still comes across as charming and vivacious now. She remains the best.

Top Ten Spin-offs by Richard Radcliffe 3/6/03

I have recently been looking at the massive amount of spin-off products that Doctor Who has spawned. I'm talking here about the side-steps that feature elements of the series, but are not in the realms of "proper" Doctor Who. I don't want to get in the discussion about what is canon or not, that's up to the individual. But there definitely seems to be things that are DEFINITELY Who, and things that are NOT QUITE Who. I include in this list companion books and audios (Benny or other), BBV products, and other products that are sufficient side-steps for the purpose of this list.

I am continually discovering very good spin-off products so this list is changing all the time - but here it is as of May 2003.

10. Skywatch 7 - The best Doctorless strip DWM produced. If they were all this good, this strip would still be included in DWM.

9. Oh No It Isn't! - Audio Version of the Benny story. A laugh a minute pantomime. Lisa Bowerman brilliant. Mark Gatiss superb. Nick Courtney great but different.

8. Punchline - McCoy's essentially Doctorish Dominie is flung into sitcom land to hilarious and enlightening effect.

7. Auton: Sentinel - Secluded island, Autons scarier than ever. Great characters.

6. Airzone Solution - All the Doctors in one dramatization. Mark Gatiss provides great script. Great to see so many in 1 place.

5. Barnacled Baby - BBV recreate Edwardian England with flair. Traditional story, with wonderful characters, building on one of the best monster races on TV.

4. In Memory Alone - Plundering the Sapphire and Steel atmosphere genre, this is the best Stranger video. Very creepy, great performances from Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. Maybe I just like old train stations though!

3. Birthright - Benny's best. Great book adapted supremely well to audio.

2. Republica - The closest thing you are going to get to real Who, without it being so. Professor and Ace in their best BBV Audio.

1. Who Killed Kennedy - Brilliant book all about Doctor Who, but seen from the outside looking in. The best kind of spin-off, and unlikely to be bettered.

Top 10 Favorite adventures by Bob Aylward 20/6/03

  1. The Caves of Androzani
  2. The Robots of Death
  3. The Talons of Weng-Chiang
  4. Revelation of the Daleks
  5. Genesis of the Daleks
  6. City of Death
  7. Attack of the Cybermen
  8. The Tomb of the Cybermen
  9. Spearhead from Space
  10. Enlightenment
Just missing the 10 top are (in order): Mind of Evil, Mawdryn Undead, Earthshock, Inferno, Logopolis.

The Ten Worst Scenes In Doctor Who by Ed Swatland 23/6/03

For no reason whatsoever, except my own enjoyment mainly, here are indeed ten of the worst moments Doctor Who has ever decided to produce. They're not in any order either, because I'm a rebel, me.

  1. Warriors of the Deep
    Why on earth does a doctor, a doctor, of all people decide to engage a giant, electrified, bright green pantomime horse in martial arts? Any sensible person would run off, or laugh in this case - but the classy way in which Ingrid Pitt does it is just hilariously, sidesplittingly, screamingly funny. And the music doesn't help either. Dung-a-dung-a-dunga... And as such it's cringe-inducing.
  2. The Mark of the Rani
    The tree! It's shite isn't it? Something that could have easily been borrowed from Dick Whittington down at Oxbury rep. And then it bends its branch to save Peri, cue gaffaws from all present in the room. And of course the Doctor gets trapped in between two trees. So funny it hurts.
  3. Time and the Rani
    "Leave the girl, it's the man I want!" More priceless Pip 'n Jane dialogue interspersed with the TARDIS arriving on Lakertya via a rainbow, and the dire regeneration. Tellingly, it's the best part of the whole story, next to the "I'll smash it to pieces!" scene.
  4. Battlefield
    The entire scene towards the end of part one where Ancelyn has a terribly unconvincing "fight" with some armoured goons whilst Ace recounts a thrilling tale of her callously destroying a load of kids' pottery to a mesmerised Shou Yuing. Then they decide to lisp "Boom!" to each other for ages as Ancelyn is lifted into the air very slowly by an explosion and propelled seemingly miles into the air to crash through the roof of the brewery. Cut to comedy hole with smoke coming out of it. Terrible yes, but brilliant at the same time.
  5. Spearhead From Space
    Oh no! The Doctor is being attacked by a box of tentacles... cue much gurning and funny noises from Pertwee. And some say this story is "gritty" and "adult". Yeah, in the parallel universe where Pyramids of Mars is considered an all time classic, mate.
  6. Timelash
    The TARDIS seatbelts! Then there's the scene in which Peri is chained to a pole by her neck and menaced by a giant turd. Her screaming actually makes lines on the screen. Give me strength.
  7. The Seeds of Doom
    As this is one of the best Doctor Who's ever made, and miles better than Genesis of the Daleks and Pyramids of Mars, it gives me no pleasure to condemn the ending. "Are we already here... or... Are. We. Yet. To. Come? Ahahahahhahahahahaha!". Next.
  8. The Two Doctors
    In which Peri demonstrates how completely and totally useless she is, by falling over whilst being chased by a bloodthirsty cannibal. Of course this always leads me to scream "God, get up woman!" at the TV. At least she doesn't fall down a slight hill, like Sarah Jane has the habit of doing in more than one occasion.
  9. Attack of the Cybermen
    Gosh! Marvel at the well 'ard Cybes as one flaps his arms to get his companion out of the room with the rapidly heating explosive vastial! Gasp as a Cyberclot attempts to put out his burning arm with his gun! Laugh long and hard as a mighty cyborg is pushed down a hill with his legs flailing wildly!
  10. The Trial of a Time Lord Part 13
    Not a bad scene in this per se, but Mel's dialogue! Every line she utters is the epitome of terrible - "I'm about as truthful, honest and as boring as they come". Who would say that? Who?! And then, "That's it Doc, now we're getting at the dirt!". Woeful. And of course, "How utterly evil!". Nurse! The cyanide!

Top Ten Dalek Stories by Brad Phipps 3/7/03

Bubbling Under: Day of the Daleks, Planet of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks

I have nothing against these stories, it's just that there are only ten slots and these didn't quite make it. Destiny is puke though.

10: Genesis of the Daleks

OK, I don't really like this one, but it does deserve a top ten berth because of it's historic nature. The one that created Davros and thus ensured forever that the Daleks would be reduced to mindless automatons.

09: Death to the Daleks

The infamous power-draining city that zaps the Dalek's weapons yet leaves them enough power to talk and move. Hmmm...

08: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The survival instinct of the first story is replaced with pure and evil cunning, and the Nazi parallel runs very deep. Nation's scripts are tight and concise, and betrayal on more than one occasion by the locals of the era highlights human nature at it's worst.

07: Revelation of the Daleks

The only true gem of Colin Baker's tenure. Davros continues to formulate his plans of becoming Emperor and the creation of the new 'breed' of Daleks are an interesting change of direction in the zenophobic aspect.

06: The Evil of the Daleks

David Whittaker's excellent tour de force and final Dalek story for 5 years is something of a let down. Why, when the Daleks clealy had a working time machine in The Chase, do they try and go to such great lengths to acquire the Doctor's TARDIS when they've failed against him every time. That said, the final two episodes are superb.

05: Remembrance of the Daleks

The last Dalek story of all is one of the best. Two differing Dalek factions dueling it out, the Doctor reminiscing his past actions and it was nice to see the junkyard at Totter's lane one last time. It has to be said though; why did the Doctor hide a weapon of mass destruction on Earth in the first place?

04: The Chase

I've always had a soft spot for this one. It's a nostalgic slice of 60's culture, mixed in with a Dalek pursuit that doesn't take itself seriously. I always snigger at the point where Ian sings along to a song that was made two years after he left Earth!

03: Mission to the Unknown/The Dalek Master Plan

The largest single story in history, complete with it's own trailer episode. Six different time zones, five different planets, an excellent villain, two companions that don't survive, Daleks at their deadliest, William Hartnell at his finest and to top it off, a Christmas interlude half way through!

02: The Daleks

It's a classic, and rightly so. This single story is the sole reason we're still talking about Doctor Who after all these years. The petrified jungle, populated with 'hideous creatures'; the sinister Daleks that crave power; the very fact that they were characters in this story makes this one worthy of being in the top 3.

But the number one story...

01: The Power of the Daleks

It can't be surpassed. David Whittaker hits all the stops and creates one of the few six part stories that don't pad out. Patrick Troughton hits the ground running and doesn't look back, doing such a good job that by Episode 3 you forget that the Doctor has even regenerated. The Daleks retain their animal cunning and instincts for survival, absent since their first story 3 years earlier. The cliffhanger at the end of Episode 2 where the reactivated Dalek talks over the Doctor's warnings is probably the most memorable cliffhanger of the whole Troughton era. Of all the supporting characters, which they themselves are brilliantly written and portrayed, Lesterson stands out a mile as the paranoid scientist pushed to the edge of madness by literally seeing the horror he has unleashed on the very colony he was trying to enhance. The lack of a Black or 'leader' Dalek gives all the Daleks an equal and even share of the nastiness they portray. A true classic. 10/10.

Top Ten Doctors' Costumes by Antony Tomlinson 10/7/03

The Doctor has got through numerous outfits in his 900(ish) years. These are my top ten favourite costumes:

  1. Fourth Doctor
    Brown Velvet Coat and Red Necktie Combination
    (Pyramids of Mars - The Robots of Death)

    This design borrows much from the First Doctor's outfit, with its ribbon around the neck, waistcoat and frock coat. The brown velvet of the coat and the tweed of the waistcoat allow the Fourth Doctor to look both cosily casual and elegant at the same time. Completing the costume is the famous, Lautrec-inspired floppy hat and multi-coloured scarf. It's the perfect Doctor Who outfit (and is so much better than that red corduroy jacket, cardigan and disgusting neckerchief get-up that the Fourth Doctor wore in his first season).

  2. First Doctor
    Original Outfit
    (An Unearthly Child - The Tenth Planet)

    The original Doctor's outfit sets the style for future efforts. This elegant, but clearly comfortable apparel manages to be delightfully anachronistic without being utterly arcane. It is a very individual look, with its combination of black frock coat, cream waistcoat and checked trousers. Clearly, a good deal of attention was also given to the details of this costume - the monocle on a black ribbon, the blue gemstone ring, the black or white necktie and the spirally walking stick. The cape and astrakhan hat employed by this Doctor only add to the dignified look of the whole.

  3. Third Doctor
    Grey Jacket with Red Trimmings
    (Death to the Daleks)

    The Third Doctor's costumes were for the most part something of a cliché. It was as though someone had asked the costume department to come up with an outfit for "an eccentric, English adventurer" and - unsurprisingly - they produced something from Austin Powers. Nevertheless, the Death to the Daleks outfit is the best (and least derivative) attempt at the Third Doctor's costume. Central to the costume is the dark grey jacket with red trimmings - highly reminiscent (and a vast improvement on) the Fifth Doctor's costume. This is worn with a matching grey frilly shirt, black trousers and a dark red, velvet bow tie, creating a very distinctive (if short-lived) Doctor Who outfit.

  4. Seventh Doctor
    Linen Suit and Fedora
    (White Darkness - Return of the Living Dad)

    After years in a ghastly yellow jumper, this Doctor clearly decided that he needed to be taken seriously. Thus, he changed into a cream coloured linen suit, white fedora, white silk shirt and green, red or multicoloured tie. The only elements of his former costume that he retained were the natty black and white shoes and his red-handled "question mark" umbrella. This outfit was perfect for the scheming Seventh Doctor - a businesslike outfit, which fitted well with a character who wished to stay cool while exploring exotic climes. It is an anachronistic look that recalls 1930s American private eyes (compare it with Jack Nicholson's costume in Chinatown) and 19th Century European imperialists - both of which have similarities to the cunning, but morally suspect Seventh Doctor.

  5. Fourth Doctor
    Burgundy Outfit
    (The Leisure Hive - Castrovalva)

    A masterpiece of redesign, this outfit is a modification of almost every individual item in the Fourth Doctor's wardrobe, yet it maintains his fundamental look. The burgundy that pervades the outfit is gorgeous - particularly delightful is the new burgundy hat. Equally gorgeous is the incredibly long cavalry officer's coat that allows the older Fourth Doctor to disappear moodily into the folds of his costume. The britches and boots he wears on his legs give the impression of a nineteenth century adventurer. Nevertheless, the scarf is still there - now in red and purple. The "question-mark" lapels are also a nice touch (if only they'd been a one-off...)

  6. Sixth Doctor
    Red Necktie and Red and White-Checked Waistcoat
    (Trial of a Time Lord - Time and the Rani)

    I never had a problem with the Sixth Doctor's outfit. I love the patchwork coat - it fits well with the Sixth Doctor's character and is iconic for most fans (the first thought I had when I saw it was "I want one of those"). However, the brown waistcoat and blue tie of Season 22 were a mistake. They clashed horribly with the coat and yellow trousers, creating a vomit-inducing look. Fortunately, the problem was sorted out in Season 23. The brownish waistcoat was replaced with a red and white checked number that complements the dominant colours of the Doctor's coat. The red, polka dot tie also works well, helping to create a costume that suits the larger than life personality of its owner.

  7. Second Doctor
    Grey Shirt and Blue Bow Tie
    (The Two Doctors)

    This outfit sees the Second Doctor's costume reinvented. The oversized black tail-coat and checked trousers of the 1960s are still there. However, the Doctor has replaced his crisp blue shirt - which always seemed a little too neat for him - with a somewhat more crumply, flannelly grey number. On his neck he wears a distressed-looking, clip-on, polka-dotted, blue bow tie. From his top pocket emerges a patterned handkerchief - slightly more messy-looking than his previous red-polka dotted number. In all, the Second Doctor is made to look scruffier than ever - and a good thing too.

  8. Eighth Doctor
    (TV Movie - ?)

    The Eighth Doctor's outfit - like the Third's - is something of a cliché. This Doctor has basically been shoehorned into the same outfit as every other tussle-haired hero in American movies about "the olden days" (see The Time Machine, Bram Stoker's Dracula and From Hell). Nevertheless, this does not stop it from being a beautiful set of clothes. The long, dark velvet coat (which is apparently green) flows beautifully from McGann's shoulders, while an elegant silver waistcoat and cravat shine from beneath the coat's lapels. The wing collars are also a nice touch, recalling the look of the First Doctor's outfit. It is a gorgeously well-tailored look that I will remember to imitate next time I go to a wedding.

  9. Seventh Doctor
    Tweed jacket and Velvet Waistcoat
    (Return of the Living Dad - TV Movie)

    Another hit from the TV Movie (well, all that money had to go somewhere, I suppose). This is a redesigned version of the Seventh Doctor's Season 26 look. However, the brown jacket has been replaced with a nice tweedy number, while the horrible, clashing, pus-yellow, "question-mark" tank-top has been erased from time and replaced with a lovely, red, crushed-velvet waistcoat. The costume also goes with Sylvester McCoy's trademark panama hat. The Seventh Doctor never looked so distinguished. It's a shame, then, that he was about to be shot.

  10. Sixth Doctor
    Blue Outfit
    (Real Time - ?)

    The audio stories now have us imagining the Sixth Doctor in a light blue outfit. We are helped to visualise this costume by the pictures included in BBCi's Real Time and the excellent cover to Big Finish's Project Lazarus. Essentially, the Sixth Doctor's new outfit is an exact copy of the Sixth Doctor's season 23 outfit, but in blue. What this costume emphasises is the strength of the original design, regardless of the distracting colours. The long lapels and flowing felt of the coat gives the Doctor a real presence (even in blue) and the stripes of the trousers and cuffs and the blue checked waistcoat are very stylish. This is the costume of a man who still demands attention, but is also capable of expressing himself in calmer tones.

(Runners up: the Fourth Doctor's 'oatmeal' Season 16/17 look, the Third Doctor's green outfit)

Ten Whojamawhatsits, Thingumajigs and Yokeymebobs of Rassilon by Mike Morris

Rassilon. The founder of Time Lord society has been portrayed many ways, from engineer to demi-god with the gift of immortality, from half-vampire to clumsy shortarse to Brian Blessed to someone who looked a bit like Brian Blessed. He is famous for many things; but most famous of all is his materialistic nature. While Omega really only had one little trinket to speak of - the Hand of Omega (although it wasn't actually his hand or that wouldn't be much of a possession at all) - Rassilon appears to have owned all sorts of stuff. Here are ten of his better-known possessions.

  1. The Sash of Rassilon. A technological masterpiece that prevents its wearer being sucked into a black hole. The sort of thing that isn't all that handy usually, but when you're a stellar manipulator it makes a certain amount of sense. The Sash looked rather cool as well - except for a bit in The Deadly Assassin when the Master swings his arms a bit too vigorously and you can see the cloth holding it together at the back. That's Doctor Who for you.
  2. The Great Key of Rassilon. It's an epolyte Rod carried by the President... oops, sorry, it's an actual key. What a silly fool I am. The Great Key of Rassilon is the main component of a Demat Gun, or something. Quite why a key should be a component of a gun I don't know, but that's what happens in Doctor Who. Presumably it's possible to make a Chubb lock into an M16 if you know how.
  3. The Rod of Rassilon. It's an epolyte Rod carried by the President... hey, hang on a minute! Rassilon's Rod (hee hee, sounds a bit rude) doesn't do much in The Invasion of Time, although in The Deadly Assassin it does prove quite useful, misnomers aside. It can be used to release the black hole that sustains Gallifrey, destroying hundreds of planets in the process including Gallifrey itself. Hmm, the Time Lords might want to lose that, it sounds a bit dangerous. Their excuse is that they didn't know what the Rod was for, and never wondered why the Panopticon had a big rod-shaped hole in the floor.
  4. The Wisdom of Rassilon. Not a possession as such, just something which fixes everything at the end of The Invasion of Time for no apparent reason. Handy, that.
  5. The Ring of Rassilon. Hee hee, also sounds a bit rude. Something Lord President Borusa used to hypnotise the Doctor. This has, apparently, fuelled much debate amongst fans as to whether it is related to the ring the First Doctor wore (which was shown in The War Machines to have hypnotic powers, being used to deprogram Dodo). This would tie in with the later theories that the Doctor was in fact a contemporary, in some way, of Omega and Rassilon. My own theory is that, erm, I don't care all that much and rings are for girls.
  6. The Black Scrolls of Rassilon. They contain forbidden knowledge from the dark time. Oh yes they do. I don't know much more about them, but pretty much everything about them is stupid. Why would anyone make black scrolls anyway? It would just make them hard to read. And if they're so dangerous why do they still exist? They can't be lost because everyone knows what they are. Anyway, to put them out of their illogical misery, Borusa burns them by lighting them, placing them in a box and closing the lid. Borusa's presumably not so great on combustion theory.
  7. The Game of Rassilon. Initially, rumour has it, Rassilon found Connect 4 very entertaining, and was a dab hand at Grand Theft Auto. Eventually his tastes expanded a bit. It'd be great, being invited round to Rassilon's house. 'I've got a new game. We timescoop loads of races into the Death Zone and watch them kill each other'. I know I'd play, and use the footage as an all new reality TV show; I'm a Monster, Get Me Out Of Here or something. Still, it's a bit showy on Rassilon's behalf; even Fenric was perfectly happy with a spot of chess.
  8. The Harp of Rassilon. He was musical too, in fact he played support to Hendrix at Woodstock and co-wrote Blonde on Blonde. Other instruments kept off-screen were the Stylophone of Rassilon, the Hammond Organ of Rassilon and the miniature drumkit of Omega (who was always a bit jealous).
  9. The Tomb of Rassilon. Even when he died he had to stake a claim on stuff. If you go to Rassilon's tomb you can claim immortality, although you kind of have to spend it encased in stone in a living death. I can't help thinking that's a bit harsh. Rassilon's tower also has a sort of chessboard-trap thingy, and a few ghosts - including a ghost of Rassilon himself who speaks like he's been down the pub quaffing brandies for the afternoon.
  10. The Image Consultancy of Rassilon. I'm just naturally assuming this exists, as his many merchandisable possessions show he's the first Time Lord to really grasp the potential of marketing. A bit like George Lucas, maybe. After all, we've probably heard of relatively little. Think about it; The T-Shirt of Rassilon. The Biscuits of Rassilon. The Spirograph of Rassilon. The Seal of Rassilon - hey wait a minute, that one's real!

Top Ten most overrated Doctor Who TV Stories by Antony Tomlinson 17/7/03

  1. Pyramids of Mars
    (see my review)
  2. Ghost Light
    (see my review)
  3. The Curse of Fenric
    (po-faced, self-important bullshit)
  4. The Robots of Death
    (the most average Doctor Who story ever)
  5. Tomb of the Cybermen
    (absence makes the heart grow fonder...)
  6. The City of Death
    (it's OK, but it's not that good)
  7. Kinda
    (giving people Buddhist surnames does not automatically make something profound)
  8. The Sea Devils
    (classic Pertwee [unfortunately])
  9. The Demons
    (more of the same)
  10. Revelation of the Daleks
    (why does this story escape the criticisms levelled at every other grotesque, violent, over-the-top, continuity-obsessed Season 22 nightmare?)

The Mathematically Perfect Top Ten Doctor Who Classics by Mekel Rogers 20/7/03

This list is special. An extensive effort was made to research the ten best Doctor Who serials of all time based not on my opinion or yours, but on the mass consensus of opinion from every publication or outlet I could find. Research includes: the Peter Hanning books, the Doctor Who Handbooks, Doctor Who episode guides, DWAS polls, internet reviews, professional critic reviews, cast and crew interviews, convention interviews, and a host of other sources. The result is a list of the ten Doctor Who television stories that scored the highest percentile of positive vs negative reviews (at least 90%) in every outlet of commentary (fans, cast, crew, critics, etc). Some stories scored above 90% but were omitted from the list since they were not in the top ten (these stories are mentioned in the commentary). In the case of the Hartnell/Troughton stories, both selections on the final list are serials that no longer exist in the BBC archives, therefore, an alternate selection of a serial that does exist is included.

The final top ten serials are listed in order of transmission:

  1. Marco Polo - research shows that Hartnell's first year was his most popular, and that the early historicals were considered his best. Marco Polo is the epitome of the Hartnell historical and rates the highest of all the Hartnell stories. The highest rated Hartnell story that still exists in the BBC archives is The Aztecs, followed by The Crusade (both scoring above 90%).
  2. Evil of the Daleks - the highest rated Troughton story, and the favorite of the regular cast. It was also the first DW story to be selected for repeat transmission. Placing slightly lower is Tomb of the Cybermen, the highest rated existing Troughton serial, followed by Fury from the Deep.
  3. Spearhead from Space - the story that introduced so many new concepts to Doctor Who: adult themes, earthbound adventures, UNIT as a full-time entity, color, and of course, Jon Pertwee. A major turning point in the history of the series.
  4. The Sea Devils - this large-scale production with outstanding location work is the epitome of the Pertwee era. With good monsters, good morals, and Roger Delgado at his best, this story slightly edges out The Daemons and Terror of the Autons. Placing slightly lower is The Curse of Peladon.
  5. Genesis of the Daleks - the three year period in which the team of Baker, Sladen, Hinchcliffe, and Holmes turned out one superb production after another is commonly referred to as Doctor Who's "Golden Age". The first year gives us what is arguably the best Dalek story ever. Michael Wisher's Davros is still regarded as the best interpretation of the character.
  6. Pyramids of Mars - Right in the heart of the "Golden Age", Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen give what is regarded by many as the best team performance in Doctor Who's history. Also one of Tom Baker's favorites, this story just slightly edges out the also wonderful Seeds of Doom.
  7. The Talons of Weng-Chiang - wrapping up Doctor Who's "Golden Age" is a Robert Holmes masterpiece, capturing the ambiance of Vicorian London with stylish location work and attention to detail. Cited by Baker, Jameson, and Hnchcliffe as a personal favorite. Other high ranking Tom Baker serials include: The Masque of Mandragora, City of Death, and The Keeper of Traken.
  8. The Caves of Androzani - another Robert Holmes classic and unquestionably the best story of the Davison era. No other story in the Davison era comes close to the heights attained by this story, although Snakedance is a distant second, with The Visitation trailing a little further back.
  9. Vengeance on Varos - the only Colin Baker story to place above the 90% mark. This story is cited by Baker, Bryant, and JNT as the best story of the 6th Doctor's era. Sil is easily one of the greatest monster creations in Doctor Who's history.
  10. Remembrance of the Daleks - the highest of the three Sylvester McCoy stories that placed above the 90% mark (the other two being The Curse of Fenric and Ghost Light). This story marks the first of McCoy's darker "masterplan" stories that became the highly successful trademark of his era.
So there you have it. You've got your top ten list and I've got mine, but this one is about as mathematically accurate as I could possibly get. Disagreeing with any selection isn't wrong, it's simply an opinion in the mathematical minority. But diversity is what makes us (and Doctor Who) so great. So above all, have fun making your own list... I'm done!

Ten Doctorly reviewers on this site by Rob Matthews 23/7/03

I got to thinking recently about which Doctors some of the reviewers on this here Guide remind me of. The results prove intriguing...

(no offence to anyone here, I hope!)

  1. Joey Ford: The Eighth Doctor - Exuberant, fun-loving, a right sweetheart
  2. Tim Roll-Pickering: The Second Doctor - Unpredictable! You never know what he's going to do next
  3. Mike Morris: The Sixth Doctor - Passionate, forceful, erudite and impossible to argue with. MM's not too keen on the Sixth Doc, but... he is him!
  4. Me: The Fifth Doctor - Well-meaning but a bit of a blunderer. And I often curse myself as an imbecile too. I'm not too keen on the Fifth Doctor but... I am him!
  5. Terrence Keenan: The Seventh Doctor - A bit mercurial, turns up now and then and causes a right stir with a few small action. Terrence isn't too keen on the Seventh Doctor etc etc.
  6. Antony Tomlinson: The Richard Hurndall First Doctor - Crotchety on the outside but... even crotchetier on the inside! (great review of season 5, I'd better add)
  7. Finn Clark: The Fourth Doctor - Prolific, dependable, and you can't imagine the Guide without him
  8. Brett Johnson: The Valeyard - He only turned up once, but by gum it was effective!
  9. Richard Radcliffe: The First Doctor - Covers a more varied terrain than anybody else
  10. Robert Smith?: The Doctor. Of The Infinity Doctors - he's The man!

Top Ten Fifth Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 31/7/03

Peter Davison became the Doctor just as my Fandom started increasing. He was a wonderful Doctor - the one I could most identify with, the most human if you like. His TV stories were dominated by blasts from the past, but he made his own mark on the show - and is very popular even today. Comics, audios and books have fleshed out his character a lot. Here then are the Top Ten 5th Doctor stories (Five Doctors would be included, it is more 5th Dr than anybody else, but it's multi-Doctor, therefore not included:-

10 Spare Parts - The Genesis of the Cybermen, with the Doctor playing a really significant part. Davison rarely better.

9 Black Orchid - The main reason why DW should have done far more 2-part stories. A little gem.

8 Eye of the Scorpion - Peri's best story, the best example of the tragedy of not having more 5th Doctor and Peri TV stories.

7 Tides of Time - Epic comic strip from DWM. It showed just how much the comics can add to the DW mythos.

6 Church and the Crown - Romantic musketeer drama, full of charm and humour.

5 Loups Garoux - Densely plotted, superbly acted. The more mature 5th Doctor excelling with werewolves.

4 Stars Fell on Stockbridge - A gloriously simple tale showing the magic of spending time with the Doctor.

3 Sands of Time - One of the best. A sequel that is as good as the original. Heroic 5th Doctor at his best.

2 Phantasmagoria - The best Big Finish. Brilliant story, brilliant 5th Doctor, expertly crafted all round.

1 Caves of Androzani - Davison's finest hour was the last. I agree with virtually everyone else on this.

Top Ten Seventh Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 15/8/03

With only 12 stories on TV, it was the New Adventures that promoted this Doctor to greatness. 60 adventures that gave many talented writers the chance to give us some classic tales. With so many, it is easy to see why some of this Top Ten to follow is taken from the NA's. But I got bored with this broader and deeper Doctor, and only a few are included. Many more will have a Top Ten list for this Doctor dominated by the NA's.

The fact is that this Doctor, well written, is good in any medium. The TV show was consistently better in the last 2 seasons it was on air, than at any time since the 70s. The most written about Doctor (8th is amazingly catching him up fast though), the most stories, one of the most mysterious of all the Time Lords. I give you the 7th Doctor Top Ten:-

10 Claws of the Klathi - Brilliant Comic Strip. Just a rollicking good adventure.

9 Evenings Empire - Superbly drawn, massively atmospheric, adult story by Cartmel.

8 Timewyrm: Exodus - The 3rd World War Two 7th Doctor story. It seems he is quite a home in this period. Terrance Dicks' first and best original novel.

7 Curse of Fenric - Another WW2 one. Brilliant script, supremely acted, Dr Who combining with mythology to great effect.

6 Human Nature - Dr John Smith becomes a fully fleshed-out human being. Affectionately written, closest Who ever got to a romance.

5 Fires of Vulcan - Showing the 7th Doctor doesn't need Ace to produce a classic. One of Big Finish's best.

4 Fellow Travellers - A superbly drawn evocative comic strip. The perfect continuation of TV Ace and 7th Doctor.

3 Matrix - Dark, sombre, moody novel. I was transfixed throughout. Dark DW at it's best.

2 Ghost Light - Complex, multi-layered tale showing the 7th Doctor to be the most manipulative of them all. Glory in its majesty.

1 Nightshade - One of the best books ever written, full stop. Certainly the best Doctor Who book. Faultless.

Top Ten Eighth Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 18/8/03 We have so many to choose from now, and they don't look like stopping soon. At this rate the 8th will have the most stories under his belt than any of them - I wonder if he will make the 100! Dominated by the books, with a couple of audios thrown in too. The best stories the 8th Doctor is involved in.

10 The Fallen - Comic Strip that told a great story, effective sequel to the TV Movie also.

9 Stones of Venice - An elaborate script fitting the splendour of the canals beautifully.

8 Casualties of War - A wonderfully well realized tale of strange goings in the countryside - building upon the previous Burning.

7 Eater of Wasps - Makes complete use of its village setting. Quite horrific, but great to read.

6 The Burning - A new direction is ushered in masterfully. The start of something brilliant.

5 City of the Dead - A dark, gothic piece about New Orleans. More magic than ever seen in a DB novel, and better for it.

4 Father Time - A remarkable book about the Doctor having a daughter. Done with charm and care. Parkin's best book to date.

3 Camera Obscura - 8th Doctor magnificent, Sabbath magnificent. The best one on one ever!

2 The Banquo Legacy - Richards and Lane combining magnificently to produce the ultimate horror Who. Page turning, spine chillingly brilliant.

1 The Chimes of Midnight - The definitive 8th Dr story, the best audio. Enthralling and exciting, simply brilliant.

Top Ten Seventh Doctor Stories: Take 2 by Antony Tomlinson 23/8/03

I've been rather enjoying Richard Radcliffe's lists of top ten stories for each Doctor. However, I was rather staggered to see his list of Seventh Doctor stories. Reading it, I realised that I disagreed with almost all of his choices.

This is clearly indicative of two things. Firstly, that there are so many damn Seventh Doctor stories to choose from; secondly that there is a wide range of outlooks from which writers have approached this very versatile character. Perhaps mine and Richard Radcliffe's choices reflect two such approaches.

Anyway, here are my top ten Seventh Doctor stories:

10. Nemesis of the Daleks

The one in which the mushroom-headed Dalek Emperor and his friends from TV 21 take on Abslom Daak and a wonderfully melancholy looking Seventh Doctor in a race against time reminiscent of... well, every Dalek story prior to 1975. The result goes "KA-BLAAM! ZAP! BOOM! KADAKADAKADAKA!" Brilliant (Does anyone else read comics for fun?)

9. The Happiness Patrol

I know that I will be derided for including this tale, but I think I have valid reasons. The Happiness Patrol looks garish and over the top and as such has been dismissed as typical 1980s pantomime. However, this is one story where the garishness is central to the message - that happiness cannot be supplied merely via the provision of pleasurable stimuli. The story appreciates the fact that we also require the freedom to look the sadder elements of the world in the face. And, between the silliness of the Kandyman and Gilbert M there are deeply powerful scenes - Helen A's final tears, the useless census taker's roll of the dead, Priscilla P's "she didn't join in" fanaticism and the "look me in the eye" scene. Powerful stuff, really.

8. The Highest Science

This is probably the only Doctor Who novel I've read twice. The first time I read it I thought it was a crappy and rather confusing Douglas Adams rip-off. The second time I read it, I thought it was an absolutely brilliant and very clever Douglas Adams rip-off. Asides from that the book is full of lovely characters such as the wonderfully suicidal Cell creature and the utterly evil Sheldukher. There is also a brilliant punch-line. I'm glad that I gave this book a second chance.

7. Timewyrm: Exodus

This story is very highly rated, despite the fact that it seems to lack all those elements of seriousness and self-importance that most fans look for in Seventh Doctor "classics". Maybe it's just because it is just such damn good reading. There is very little to think about in Exodus. Anyone who has read Fatherland or The Man in the High Castle will be familiar with the set up, and the Doctor is his old self - getting locked up and impersonating important people. At the same time, the occult stuff and the villains are pure B-Movie fare. And it's a sequel. This has got to be the ultimate "trad" Doctor Who book - and all the better for it.

6. Storm Harvest

The best of the Perry/Tucker "Season 27" books. Reading this is like being on holiday. It's got beaches, it's got sunshine, it's got dolphins. The Doctor and Ace have meals out and get to know each other better than ever. It also provides a great plot, has two varieties of killer aliens, ancient underwater ruins, a base under siege, intrigue and buckets of action. What more do you want?

5. The Fearmonger

I love the idea of Season 26 - a dark and very human world in which a shadowy alien manipulator tries to sort thing out for the best. However, the realisation of this vision never really came together in the confused TV tales. It did, however, come together for this audio-drama. The Fearmonger is everything that Season 26 was meant to be. It is deeply political, examines the darker elements of human nature and sees the Doctor (literally) presented as a potential monster. It is very disturbing. Nevertheless, it ultimately stands up for those values of friendship and innocent pleasure that underlie the entire Seventh Doctor era.

4. The Shadow of the Scourge

This story is a brief triumph of the audio medium over the books. The story keeps all the "depth" and "adult tone" of the New Adventures. It also gives us the troubled Benny, the insane older Ace and the super-manipulative NA Seventh Doctor. However, the performers inject so much humour and compassion into the roles that we feel closer to them then we do to the rather miserable characters that often sit so flatly on the page. And the "more tea" scene in the hotel room is a McCoy classic.

3. Love and War

It may be controversial to prefer this Paul Cornell book to Human Nature, but I do. It is just so much more epic (and it actually has the Doctor in it, rather than just being about him). There are so many wonderful characters and settings in this and the thing is full of terrific images - usually on a very grand scale (they'd need CGI or a cast of millions to make this one). The Hoothi are also the best aliens that I can remember in the books and the twists in the story are utterly thrilling. It also sees the introduction of the delightful Benny. Overall, it's a breathtakingly rich book.

2. Conundrum

This is the best Doctor Who sequel ever - it takes all the ideas of a previous story and examines utterly new ways in which they can be realised. The story is full of wonderful characters and centres around a terrific mystery that is revealed bit by bit in blood-chilling episodes. It manages to balance the humour and tragedy of a very disorientating and surreal situation perfectly. Utterly brilliant.

1. Remembrance of the Daleks I'm sorry - I know that this story is often accused of being overrated, but I just cannot find fault with it. Everyone in this production is utterly dedicated to its realisation - McCoy acts like he has never acted before, Ace is (surprisingly) a pleasure to watch, the supporting characters give it their all and the sets, props and costumes help create the ultimate Dalek battleground. But best of all is the script - the dialogue is inspirational and witty - "your career is magnificently irrelevant", "life's like that - best thing to do is to get on with it", "blobs?" etc.. The pacing is also perfect and the story sees a twist that inspired half a decade of books. It is a little continuity-heavy I admit, but it is otherwise perfect.

Top Ten Bootylicious Companions by Terrence Keenan 1/9/03

Even though we try not to talk about it all that much, bootyliciousness counts in companions. Trust me, part of the fun in watching Who during those teen years is watching the companions in some really outrageous outfits that sometimes leave little to the imagination.

Before we move forward, honorable mentions need to be awarded to Turlough and Jamie. My preference is women, so the list is female exclusive. But I would be remiss to not give credit to these two guys for studliness. If I was into guys, they would top the list.

Now the countdown:

10: Leela -- wore very little. Also insouciant of how the opposite sex thought about her.

09: Zoe Herriot -- The Cat Suit in The Invasion.

08: Victoria Waterfield -- You just want to take care of her, y'know?

07: Tegan Jovanka -- Her personality was cringeworthy, but she did make a miniskirt work.

06: Melanie Bush -- I Like redheads. Nuff said.

05: Polly -- Swinging Sixties blonde. She also wore a miniskirt well.

04: Dr. Elizabeth Shaw -- She ruled the miniskirt. Best legs. Also a bit of a redhead. That and brains.

03: Sarah Jane Smith -- In terms of the actual booty itself, hers was tops. Also awesome personality, attitude. She would go pubcrawling with you.

02: Romana 1 -- The White Dress, the Red Dress. Those eyes, that wonderful sarcastic earnestness.

01: Romana 2 -- The schoolgirl uniform. Those eyebrows. That beautiful long blonde hair. Fuck it. Everything about her was awesome.

Top Nine Sixth Doctor Stories by Antony Tomlinson 8/9/03

The Sixth Doctor's era is thought to have taken up about 50 years of the Doctor's whole life. It reality it has gone on for 18 years, has included at least five companions and is still going strong. Here are my top nine stories from it.

(I couldn't think of a tenth suitably great Sixth Doctor tale. Then again, I haven't heard Project: Twilight or Jubilee, and I haven't read Business Unusual. For Revelation of the Daleks and The One Doctor, please see my reviews).

9. The Shadow in the Glass

I don't know how they resurrected the old 'Hitler is alive' plot without being utterly banal, but somehow they managed it. This is a wonderful thriller, with the Doctor and the Brigadier running around through time and space like two rather plump James Bonds, searching through secret records, dressing as enemy generals and legging it across the English countryside. Terrific fun.

8. Whispers of Terror

The Doctor dabbles in politics, confronting the chillingly realistic politician, Beth Pernell, with his assertion that democratic elections do not give the office-holder the right to do whatever the hell they like (hmm, it brings to mind a certain manically grinning, jug-eared British Prime Minister.). Colin Baker takes on this serious and intelligent script with breathtaking intensity.

7. The Ultimate Foe

The Doctor meets his evil self from the future while at the same time attempting to deal with the Master, Sabalom Glitz and a council of corrupt Time Lords. He then dashes off into a surreal world of Kafkaesque bureaucracy, Dickensian grime and a blasted wasteland in his attempt to stop his future self's plots. This is a wonderful end to the epic Trial of a Time Lord, which sees Colin Baker give the best performances that he ever achieved on television. It is also the most successful encounter that the Doctor had with his own future (at least until Alien Bodies) and it sees the development of many of the key themes that occupied the ongoing Sixth Doctor adventures. In many ways, this was the true beginning for the Sixth Doctor.

6. The Shape Shifter

The Sixth Doctor's comic strips tended to be either anti-climactic (Kane's Story) or overly surreal (The Voyager). The Shape Shifter, however, is a wonderful little thriller that sees the introduction of the delightful Frobisher, and which makes the most of his wicked sense of humour. It also has some great Sixth Doctorish locations - a futuristic bar, a futuristic private eye's office, a futuristic business park etc..

5. The Marian Conspiracy

The return of the historical sees a story that deals with profoundly philosophical issues - the clash of opposing belief systems and the question as to whether good intentions excuse tragic consequences. Colin Baker deals with these issues with great compassion and power. There is also plenty of humour, largely supplied via the interaction between the Doctor and his new companion (the most challenging to date), Dr Evelyn Smythe.

4. Millennial Rites

This story sees all the themes that occupied the Sixth Doctor's era coming together in a final confrontation. The story begins with intrigue as the Doctor and Mel race around London, trying to stop an alien invasion. During this time the Doctor is a very compassionate character, whilst Mel is examined in more depth than ever. The second half of the book turns into a surreal nightmare, where the more unpleasant elements of the characters are made explicit. This is a very affecting book, and is a very worthy ending to the Sixth Doctor's era.

3. Vengeance on Varos

My favourite TV Sixth Doctor story actually features a rather unappealing performance from Colin Baker. However, when Martin Jarvis is supplying this much gravitas, and Nabil Shaban so much humour, it scarcely matters. This is a terrifically intelligent story that deals with a whole range of issues - the pliability of the masses; the shortcomings of democracy; the means by which markets can be used to exploit whole populations. It is a wonderfully dystopian vision, that makes Vengeance on Varos the 1984 or the Brave New World of Doctor Who.

2. Grave Matter

This story has it all. Zombies; Midwich Cuckoo-like children; a Wicker Man-like island community; a man from the ministry; a mysterious house; secret experiments. It is the perfect Doctor Who horror tale, and features the Sixth Doctor at his most cuddly and Peri at her most sympathetic. The story begins with a wonderful holiday feel, sinks into a web of intrigue and eventually resurfaces as pure pulse-racing adventure. Utterly brilliant.

1. The Holy Terror

What a tale. This story starts off as a Pythonesque medieval romp and turns into a moving tale in the best science fiction traditions. It is a beautifully intelligent and well paced script. Furthermore, the performances are stunning, and the final scenes had me sobbing with emotion. Astoundingly good - what more can I say?

Top Ten First Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 10/9/03

The first era of the show is one that is often overlooked, in favour of the more glitzy later stories. It contains more historical stories than any of the other eras put together, and the authors of both Missing Adventures and BBC Past Doctor Books have reflected this. There are plenty of historical stories that come out under the 1st Doctor banner. My top ten list reflects this. With no less than 6 historicals, I prefer the Hartnell historicals to his futuristic fare. Maybe the futuristic stories have dated, the historicals certainly have not.

There are plenty of reviewers on this site who adopt the chronological approach to Doctor Who. Start at Unearthly Child and go through one episode at a time. Certainly with every story now available in some form or another, this is a credible and rewarding undertaking. I have always preferred to jump around. Here then, following on from previous Top Ten Doctor stories lists, is the original Doctor's Top Ten - heavily reliant on those forgotten historicals.

10 The Gunfighters - An extremely funny romp, with Hartnell at his most mischevious.

9 The Daleks - It launched Doctor Who into the mass market, and even today stands as a fine piece of adventure story-telling.

8 Time and Relative - A marvelous homely tale from the very beginnings.

7 The Witch Hunters - The most serious historical of them all. Well researched, always interesting.

6 The Dalek Masterplan - An epic story with so many things to enjoy. Great novelizations by John Peel too.

5 The Myth Makers - Another historical to be taken lightly. The Target Book is sheer heaven.

4 Marco Polo - A fascinating voyage with an intelligent script. Excellent.

3 The Dalek Invasion of Earth - Always liked this one. Daleks never better than in war-ravaged London.

2 The Time Meddler - The first and one of the best pseudo-historicals. Has it all.

1 The Crusade - Yet another historical, noted for it's supreme acting and fascinating story.

Top Ten Serial Villains by Terrence Keenan 12/9/03

There are always bad guys in Who. Comes with the territory. Most of them rarely rise above dog-kickers, wannabe Nazis, or boo-hiss types.......

However, there are those special ones that will chill your bones, or make you sympathize with, or at the very least, understand.

10. Count Grendel (The Androids of Tara) -- To him, it's all about politics. He's charming, witty and ruthless. Plus he lives to fight another day.

09. The Mara (Kinda and Snakedance) -- a creature of fears who lives in dreams. Imagine if your phobias took on a physical and mental presence.

08. Light (Ghost Light) -- What makes him so interesting is that despite all his power, he's a bit dense.

07. Xoannon (The Face of Evil) -- Combine Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now with HAL from 2001, A Space Odyssey.

06. Kaldor City Robots (The Robots of Death) -- Taren Capel is just another loony. It's the robots who are the real menace. And so well spoken too....

05. Commander Linx (The Time Warrior) -- A warmongering Sontaran who only wants to return to his fleet, by any mean necessary.

04. Scaroth (City of Death) -- Too charming, too witty. A 'Man' on a mission that has dire consequences.

03. Sutekh the Destroyer (Pyramids of Mars) -- The real Evil from the Dawn of Time.

02. Harrison Chase (The Seeds of Doom) -- A complete Loon, and also a true believer.

01. Davros (Genesis, Destiny, Resurrection, Revelation, Remembrance) -- Another true believer, with the power (Daleks) to back it up.

Top Ten Second Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 13/9/03

No original audios, a great amount of his stories lost, very few can write a decent book for this Doctor either. That would be the 2nd Doctor then. BBC Audio Collection have supplied the soundtracks though, and they are excellent. Re-discovering the early stories of Who is marvelous, and it's turned Pat Troughton into one of my favourite Doctors. Someone please write a classic book about him!

10 The Roundheads - The only book worthy of Troughton's top ten. Gatiss pulls of an entertaining historical.

9 Tomb of the Cybermen - Troughton's monsters - the Cybermen - in their most atmospheric story.

8 War Games - A story you can really get your teeth into, because of its length. Troughton bows out with a flourish.

7 Foreign Devils - Extremely good story, with a wonderful supporting cast. Telos showing BBC how to proceed.

6 The Abominable Snowmen - Wonderfully atmospheric tale set in Detsen Monastery. Eerie, creepy, great story.

5 The Ice Warriors - Scary monsters, perfect isolation, likeable companions, distinctive look. Excellent.

4 The Invasion - A great UNIT story, one of the best they ever did for this organization. Great portrayal of Cybermen, an army ready to invade.

3 Fury From the Deep - Troughton's second season was one of the show's best. A very credible threat, and wonderful sound effects throughout.

2 Evil of the Daleks - An excellent story containing all that is great about the menaces from Skaro.

1 The Web of Fear - Would have been the best story of many eras - the most interesting Troughton tale. One of the best of the entire series.

Top Ten Third Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 15/9/03

At a recent convention Jon Pertwee got the biggest cheer, when everyone was asked who was their favourite Doctor. My wife adores him. I think he is great, a very good Doctor. His top ten is dominated by TV stories (his 2 audios leaving a great deal to be desired, and his MAs being on the whole average). Here it is then the top ten of the 3rd Doctor:-

10 Terror of the Autons - Introduction of Delgado's Master brings out the best in Pertwee. Great story

9 The Sea Devils - One of the best monsters of Pertwee's time on Who. A fun tale, with the Master excelling along with the Doctor.

8 The Green Death - One of the best UNIT stories, enjoyable throughout.

7 Rags - Not your typical Pertwee story, but a terrific read all the same. Horrific, anarchic, one of horror Who's best.

6 Carnival of Monsters - a lovely little story, with Pertwee at his best.

5 Spearhead From Space - The Auton threat is still one the best the programme ever produced. A return in the books, please!

4 Amorality Tale - A superb combination between reality and fantasy. Recent history coming alive.

3 Who Killed Kennedy - Not technically a 3rd Doctor story, but totally inspired by his era. One of the best books written about Who, full stop.

2 Last of the Gadarene - Gatiss gives us a traditional 3rd Doctor tale, with everything that was likeable about the Pertwee era.

1 The Daemons - All the cast like it the best. I agree with them. The best of all the 3rd Doctor Stories.

Top 10 Stories that I Like to Pretend Didn't Happen by Daniel Callahan 22/9/03

  1. Silver Nemesis
    From lines like "Just like you nailed the Daleks!", to the inane plot, to the multiplicity of villains (which the writer clearly did not know how to handle), to the trumpted-up BS about the Doctor's origins, this one just stinks. There's nothing in it worth remembering... well almost ("Social workers!") Forget about this one and a whole lot of bad tinkering with the DW back-story goes away, and the Doctor stops being a transdimensional whatsit and returns to his best form: a fallible science prof turned crusader who doesn't realize how badly he dresses.
  2. The TV Movie
    Just the "half-human" part. The rest works considering the political hurdles the production had to clear to reach the screen. But please... if the Doc is half-human, shouldn't the Doc have just six or seven regenerations, or at least a weakness for pizza?
  3. Warriors of the Deep
    Not for the pantomime, electrofied Myrka, not for obviously 80's design and makeup, not for the fact that it rips DW & The Silurians to shreds... just for its cruelty. Everyone dies, nothing good comes out of the carnage, it's 100 minutes you wished you spent elsewhere... and it proved to me that DW's biggest script problem at the time was that Eric Saward was a sadist.
  4. Resurrection of the Daleks
    See above. Eric "The Sadist" Saward strikes again.
  5. The Underwater Menace
    "Nothing in ze vorld can shtop me now!" Shure... Still, I wish this script had come in the mail during Douglas Adams' tenure as script-editor. If it had, it would have been rewritten and probalby be considered now as an all-time classic.
  6. Shada (the original footage)
    Forgetting about this one makes room for the McGann version, which is (mostly) superior as well as complete.
  7. Day of the Daleks
    Utter crap. Unless you like sand pits and bad saxophone scores...
  8. The Invisible Enemy
    Just forget the physics in this story... it has as much to do with reality as the new Star Wars movies have to do with entertainment. One example of many: if you shrink a clone's volume, you don't necessarily shrink it's mass. If the mass is the same, it weighs the same, so dropping it into someone's eye would have the same effect as a bullet wound. If the mass dropped proportionally, the clones would lose so much brain mass that they'd die, to say nothing about losing everything else.
  9. Trial of a Time Lord episode 14
    The second half, i.e., the happy ending. Saward and Holmes' original idea worked better: the Doctor and the Valeyard are locked in mortal combat and sucked into a plot device, leaving the audience hanging for a year while the BBC figured out whether or not to cancel the show. At least it would have made Sylvester's intro more plausible.
  10. Ghost Light
    This is the only DW story I've seen/listened to just once. Maybe I shouldn't include it on the list because my memories are over a decade old, but I remember it at the time as unpleasant with a lot of unnecessary character deaths. Almost as if Saward was back in his old post...
Ten Notable Sets of Legs by Mike Morris 23/9/03
  1. Alpha Centauri's Legs. Or rather, lack of legs. The natives of Alpha Centauri are strange creatures; quite how in the name of all that's sensible they evolved with six arms and no legs is beyond all reason. Instead, Alpha Centauri had to bounce along on a sort of squishy blobby thing at its base. Presumably the production team felt it didn't look enough like a penis already.
  2. The Eight-Legs' Legs. Oh all right, spiders then. On Metebelis III it seems that most creatures were identified by how many legs they had. Perhaps this was why the colonists left Earth in the first place; the profusion of four-legged animals must have been insanely confusing.
  3. Liz Shaw's Legs. Long before Peri's breasts became companions in their own right, Liz Shaw's legs achieved similar independence. There was a nice gratuitous shot of them fairly early on in Spearhead from Space, and from there they became the star of the show; Liz shattered the record for television's shortest skirt in Doctor Who and the Silurians, then bested that record in The Ambassadors of Death. Their last hurrah was in a short-skirted fascist 'getup' with knee-length leather boots. Of course, there was nothing sexist about this at all; Liz's legs were given such focus simply to show how she never fell over or twisted her ankle, marking her out as the Doctor's most independent bit of totty yet. Mould-breaking stuff.
  4. The Wirrn's legs. Ooh, the Wirrn were scary weren't they? Oh no, wait a minute, they were crap. Particularly crap were their legs, which struggled to open a simple cabinet door at one point. There's a blissful moment in the story when Sarah Jane is caught by one of the Wirrn's legs and has to struggle against it. Lis Sladen deserved a BAFTA just for not laughing.
  5. Season One's Legs. There's a fairly strong message running through Season One; alien races all have something wrong with their legs. First up were the Daleks, who had no legs at all. Daft as this seemed - legs are pretty useful, all told - at least they had the guts to go all the way with the concept. The Sensorites, by contrast, all had rather useless legs with big circular feet, and had somehow defied natural selection by not tripping themselves to extinction. As if this weren't enough, we were also presented with the Voord, who had a similar problem to the Sensorites and frequently fell over their own flippers; and that's before we get started on the Doctor's companions and The Peril Of The Twisted Ankle. The moral of the story is; if a lifeform can't travel up stairs without difficulty, it's got problems.
  6. The Opteras' Legs. Most of the monsters in the Hartnell era must surely have been cooked up under the influence of some wonderful drugs. The mutated cousins of the Menoptra are no exception; they have one big leg and have to hop everywhere. Brilliant! I reckon they were inspired by the sign for women's public toilets (does anyone know why these things depict women as having a single huge central leg?), and they are just about the daftest creature to appear in Doctor Who. Except for maybe the Zarbi. I do love The Web Planet.
  7. Tegan's Legs. Because she was just a mouth on legs, you know. Big mouth. Great legs. Best companion ever. Enough said.
  8. Stike's Legs. One of which suffered something of an amputation after a mistake with a Kartz-Reimer time capsule which attempted entry into the Time Vortex without a Briode Nebuliser symbiotically primed with the necessary Rassillon Imprimature. Gosh, that's what I call accessible family drama. However, Stike's detached leg is just one of a number of scenes in The Two Doctors that revolves around legs. The Doctor is wounded by Shockeye in the leg; the space station computer tracks the Doctor and Peri by their feet; Jamie's legs are tenderised by Shockeye; and Dastari gives a metaphorical 'leg up' to the Androgum's evolution. It's possible that Robert Holmes was using legs as a telling metaphor for life and self-preservation, symbolic as they are of the instinct for flight and by extension survival (Disclaimer; it's also possible he wasn't).
  9. The Giant Robot's Legs. When the Brigadier used that ray-gun thing on the K1 robot, he didn't bargain on it causing the robot to grow to gigantic proportions. But then, the robot probably didn't guess it would make his legs disappear intermittently. The K1 robot got a bit of a raw deal really, all it did was take a shine to Sarah Jane and play with toy tanks, sins that most young male viewers would have pleaded guilty to, and as a result got reduced to a pile of rust. A harsh lesson; but the robot's vanishing legs are perhaps symbolic of the impotence and alienation caused by the insecurities of the adolescent male in an unsympathetic world. Maybe? No? Oh, fine...
  10. Billy's Legs. Over the years, many people have questioned why, in Delta and the Bannermen, Billy turns into a Chimeron after eating some of their food. Presumably no-one's noticed that the script explains it in a perfectly lucid fashion. I have reached breaking point; so, for the inattentive among you, here's a brief recap:-

    Earlier on Billy and Goronwy are talking about bees, and Goronwy tells him how the Queen Bee is an ordinary worker bee when young - until she's fed with Royal Jelly, her physiology changes, and she turns into a Queen.

    Billy then says pointedly, 'It's that simple? A change of diet?'

    He goes off and starts guzzling the food which Delta has fed to the child. The child, you might remember, was an ordinary slimy green Chimeron when young - until she was fed with the special food which changed her physiology into that of a Chimeron Queen.

    So, not surprisingly, when Billy eats the same food, his physiology changes and becomes similar to that of Delta and the child. Because THAT'S WHAT THE FOOD IS FOR!

    Is it really so difficult to grasp?

    Okay, so that's got nothing much to do with Billy's legs, but I just needed to clear it up. In fact there's very little in Delta and the Bannermen connected with legs, unless you count the suggestion of some unkind people that by then the show was on its last legs. But I don't. So there.

Top Ten New Doctors by David Massingham 29/9/03

I've just picked myself off the floor - the Beeb have finally pulled their finger out, and Doctor Who is to return to our screens. I love it when things just pop out of thin air, surprising the socks off me! I knew it would be back, but not this soon... but it's bloody fantastic.

Of course, now the speculation runs rampant, but here' my ten cents... my casting wish list for the new series of Doctor Who (I just love the way those little words connect... "new Doctor Who"!)

Here we go...

10. Alan Cummings

We'd get a very different portrayal from this guy. Something particularly quirky, a bit mysterious, but highly energetic. I can just imagine the enthusiasm on his face as he explains his cunning plans to his companions. He'd probably make a more outlandish Doc, and like predecessor Tommy B, he'd be a true wanderer through space and time.

9. Rik Mayall

A somewhat left-of-field choice, some might say, but I suspect he'll bring some very interesting things to the table. For those afraid of a pure comedic and unlikable Doc, I'd have to disagree - some of his performances have hinted at a dramatic potential as yet untouched. This is a Doctor who won't be afraid to tell his foes what he REALLY thinks of them - he'll tell Davros to "spack off" before running from the room, pouring acid all over the scientist's evil Doomsday device, thus frustrating his nemesis immensely. But I still suspect he would keep that indefinable quality that makes one a Doctor. Rik would make a very interesting choice.

8. Michael Gambon

A distinguished, yet humanitarian Doctor, Gambon would be a true battler of evil. Investiagting the histories of various planets, jet setting about the cosmos, his companions may find this version aloof, eccentric and imposing, but within his chest beats two hearts of gold.

7. Alan Davies

Davies seems to be the most popular "likely" selection at the moment, and although this actor has yet to prove his performance range, his Jonathon Creek has been an excellent audition piece. For years I have thought that he would be a great choice. Fans say that Davison was a old man in a young body - he's nothing compared to Alan Davies. This would be a good Doctor to watch work out a problem, to see confront the villains, to join to explore new worlds. Plus there would be a nice touch of meloncholy to his portrayal.

6. Ian Richardson

He'd make such a fantastic older Doctor. He's completely out of reach of the BBC, but imagine him telling off his companions; he'd be a return to the tetchy, cranky Doctor of old. We'd see more than a bit of Hartnell and McCoy in this incarnation, plus the guy is quite spry for his age... he'd be able to evade those Daleks, no problems.

5. John Cleese

A more comedic Doctor, and one who'll infuse the TARDIS with a huge sense of unpredictability. An audience that travels with John is an audience that will laugh til they wet themselves, but this is an actor who will really be able to portray the gravitas of a particular situation very well. Imagine his horror as the latest villain launches his/her evil plan... the final moments of John Cleese episodes will be fast paced, action packed, as his Doctor runs furiously to stop the nefarious plans of the enemy...

4. Johnny Depp

The only American I'll accept for the role of my favourite character (that said, he'd better put on a British accent...). For anyone who scoffs at this choice, take a look at Sleepy Hollow - the best audition piece for Doctor Who that I've ever seen. That said, Depp wouldn't have to play the Doctor as a easily frightened hero, like his character in the aforementioned film; this actor is talented enough to do anything with any role. He's one of the most endlessly creative performers in the world today, and he could certainly come up with something priceless for a Doctor Who portrayal. However, the chances of the Beeb getting him are beyond unlikely.

3. Richard E Grant

A name being bandied about a fair amount these days, and there's a damn good reason - he'd be superb. A regal elegance, along with a nice sense of wit and charm, will secure his performance as a Doctor for the ages. Even if he doesn't get the role (which seems to be growing more and more unlikely), we'll still get to see how he might have fared with The Scream of Shalka.

2. Stephen Fry

This man has been my number one choice for years, probably nearly a decade. Why? He's got everything - wit, charm, intelligence, gravitas, a bizarre eccentric touch about him... and he has the best voice in the world. Fry's Doc would have a burning desire to see everything and do everything, and if my number one choice isn't cast, then hopefully he WILL get to see and do everything...

1. Paul McGann

... but if McGann doesn't get it I'll be very disappointed. Let's face it, the likelihood of seeing his face step out of the TARDIS in 2005 is quite low, but to ignore this version would be a crime. I was blown away by McGann's performance in 1996, by far and away the best thing about the TV movie, and I have been yearning to see him back at the console ever since. Yes, we had the great EDA version of the eighth Doctor, as well as the Big Finish appearances... but it just isn't the same for me. Paul McGann proved to have a very interesting interpretation of a classic role, and brought something very new to his performance. And I feel he deserves the chance to explore it, and the audience needs the chance to see it.

The major argument against McGann seems to be that his casting means there would be more continuity left over (presumably from the EDA's/Big Finish audios), and that a new Doctor would be "wiping the slate clean" or "a fresh part". Why is this the case? All you need to bring in for a new series is the TARDIS and Paul McGann, at least initially. You don't need to bring in any of the developments of the EDA's or so on. Just a good actor with some good scripts. How would this be different from other popular choices like REG or Alan Davies? For me, Paul McGann hasn't had the chance to really perform yet, and I believe he has a persona which the public could really warm to. I could see him becoming as big as Tom Baker.

But whatever happens, the important thing is that Doctor Who is coming back. Christ, even if Ricky Martin was playing the Doctor I'd tune in, and I'd even enjoy it if it were absolute rubbish, so long as it maintained that little something that makes it feel like Doctor Who. That said, I don't think it's going to be rubbish, and I have the utmost confidence that Russell T Davies and BBC Wales will put together something fantastic.

However, it WOULD be nice to have McGann, guys!

Top Ten Favourite TV Stories by Paul Rees 30/9/03

  1. Caves of Androzani
    A predictable choice, admittedly. But this story has got everything: great music, great cliff-hangers, a great cast, great special effects, a great baddie and a regeneration. Peter Davison gives probably his best ever performance here.
  2. Genesis of the Daleks
    Another old favourite. This is a true classic - we get to see the creation of the Daleks and (of course) Michael Wisher is the definitive Davros. Tom Baker's performance isn't too shabby either.
  3. Kinda
    Wow. Big concepts, big ideas. If Dennis Potter had written a Doctor Who story, it would have been like this: multi-layered and fascinating. Just ignore the snake.
  4. Pyramids of Mars
    Another classic from Hinchcliffe. Sutekh must be the best villain ever - and you've got to love those robot mummies, haven't you?
  5. Doctor Who and the Silurians
    Most stories would sag if stretched over 7 episodes, but not this one. The Silurians are a credible race, and by now Pertwee has hit his stride. The Doctor's denunciation of the Brigadier at the story's conclusion is devastating.
  6. Curse of Fenric
    Not sure if it all makes perfect sense, but who cares? Nicholas Parsons is a revelation as the pacifist vicar, and Ace has grown up at last. Great music, too.
  7. Talons of Weng-Chiang
    A poor ending mars what would otherwise be the perfect story. Victorian London! The Doctor plays at being Sherlock! Leela puts some clothes on! What more do you want? Apart from a good ending, obviously.
  8. Web of Fear
    Of course, we're at a disadvantage with this one, seeing as it doesn't exist anymore. But it sounds fantastically claustrophobic, with a great supporting cast. The Welsh reporter is very endearing, isn't he?
  9. Ribos Operation
    Not everyone's cup of tea, apparently, but I love it for its characterisation and sparkling dialogue. Ribos' culture is wonderfully convincing.
  10. Tomb of the Cybermen
    Has it stood the test of time? Well, it isn't perhaps the all-conquering classic it was once reputed to be - but it's still fantastic. Wonderfully directed, with an epic feel to it.

Just missing out on my Top Ten:

Spearhead from Space, Carnival of Monsters, The Ark in Space, Planet of Evil, Seeds of Doom, Enlightenment, Deadly Assassin, Terror of the Vervoids.

Top Ten Fourth Doctor Stories by Richard Radcliffe 1/10/03

Not surprisingly, the emphasis is on the Hinchcliffe Years, the early years of Tom Baker. The TV show was never better, and there has never ever been such a good consistently brilliant run of stories. Tom Baker's lack of interest in the audios (a sad shame, that is severely denting the adulation that I once had for the man) gives us just the TV and books. The books have been all over the place for this Doctor. He remains the most popular (judging by how many authors have written books about him), but too many have been poor. Only 1 non-TV makes the list.

10 Brain of Morbius - A wonderful take on the Frankenstein legend. One of Uncle Terrance's best.

9 Stones of Blood - A brilliant story concentrating on lore and mythology to great effect. Nice change of scene half way through too.

8 Image of the Fendahl - The last great Gothic story. Brilliant script, great performances, marvelous setting.

7 Horror of Fang Rock - Atmospheric, claustrophobic tale in one the great Who locales the series offered.

6 Genesis of the Daleks - That Tom Baker gives such a performance so soon is amazing. Davros dominant, Daleks re-invented magnificently.

5 City of Death - A perfect example of how a Doctor and companion team should work. Douglas Adams' best contribution to the series.

4 English Way of Death - All Gareth Roberts' 4th Doctor and Romana books were great. Only the classic nature of so many TV stories prevents more in the Top Ten. The best MA.

3 Seeds of Doom - One of the best monsters to emerge from Doctor Who - the Krynoid. Scary and a rattling good adventure.

2 Talons of Weng-Chiang - Magnificent evocation of late 19th Century, one of the good Doctor's best stories in any format.

1 Pyramids of Mars - Showcasing Holmes' and Hinchcliffe's mastery of adapting legends and myths, and grafting them onto Who - with startling effect.

Top Ten costumes by Joe Ford 17/10/03

Did you honestly think I was going to drivel on about how bad Colin Baker's costume was? Naaah, 'course not! It was fab! Loud and brash just like the great man himself. No, this silly review is a testament to all those lovely ladies on the show who have worn some fabulous outfits during their hair raising adventures. I won't put in any of the blokes because they all wore pretty bland stuff (pyjamas for Adric, duffle coat for Harry, kilt for Jamie...). So get ready to re-watch all those old stories lads as I remind just how gorgeous those girls could be...

10) The Ribos Operation (Mary Tamm)

Don't have a lot of time for the actress but Rob Matthews is perfectly correct when he says she's stunning and the wonderfully fluffy, white snowball coat the Doctor gives her practically glows on the screen. For a supposed strong woman she sure dressed up and this costume suited her the best because it was as uncompromising and attention grabbing as the character. Plus she looks so cute with the hood up.

9) The Mind Robber (Wendy Padbury)

Yes, it is the curse of the spangly catsuit, a costume so outrageous it could only have walked out of the sixties. Tiny elfin Zoe looks gorgeous in this figure hugging suit, it suggests the brainy astrophysicist actually has a bit of a kinky side to her. After all who else would actively choose to wear something so provoking in supposedly 'innocent' adventures. She really looks like she's going to a dinner party dressed to KILL.

8) The Aztecs (Jacqueline Hill)

Oh come on you don't think she looks striking in her Yetaxa garb? I was going to suggest the cardies as they are extremely functional as well (Ian unravelling them at any opportunity the kinky bastard) but this just knocks spots off the usual dull garb they usually thrust her into. Even in black and white it looks beautiful, the feathered hat and jewellery encrusted robes looking painfully detailed and expensive. But in colour it is even more impressive, a shocking tangerine colour that literally takes your breath away.

7) Revelation of the Daleks (Nicola Bryant)

Well, she had to get a look in somewhere didn't she? Nicola has gone on record saying she hated the outrageously sexist costumes she was forced to where during her time on the show and she has a point. The leotard and shorts look just leaves far too little to the imagination (yeah yeah I know you guys don't think that's a bad thing!). But I prefer a woman to dress a bit more sophisticated and it is to Nicola's credit that when they decided to cover her up a bit she did in fact look alot more appealing. Her velvet purple costume in this story is a triumph, adaptable to practically any situation (be it discussing funerals, running away from Daleks or dealing with perverted morticians) and extremely stylish to boot. Bravo.

6) Enlightenment (Janet Fielding)

It pains me, honestly it does, but Ms Fielding looks wonderful in her spruced up Edwardian dress. She glitters with jewels, and the silk dress billows out so much she has to hold it while she runs! She even has a (bomb fuelled) tiara, the icing on the cake. Even the wig, a wicked indulgence if ever there was one, gives her an extra air of sophistication. Which makes the Doctor's complete non-reaction to her sudden magical transformation all the more hysterical (and revealing).

5) The Time Warrior (Lis Sladen)

I'm sorry folks but I just have a thing about women in suits! Sarah looks butch as hell in her first story and it just looks wonderful! Her (extremely well ironed) brown trouser suits matches her no-nonsense personality perfectly. Since flares are back in fashion (or at least I seem to be seeing a lot of them about these days) I can only congratulate the designer of this costume for making the hugest pair ever, the literally swamp her shoes! It is a Godsend to see Sarah had an initial sense of fashion because later on her time travelling adventures took their toll and she was lolling about in Andy Pandy dungarees and combats (although they have a certain appeal too...)

4) The Green Death (Katy Manning)

Try hard as they may the designer spent three years trying to deck Katy Manning in gear that stole the attention away from Jon Pertwee's dandy-ish frilly shirts and velvet jackets and it wasn't until this, her last story they actually succeeded. That frilly white jacket she wears whilst travelling to the Nuthutch! The beige jacket with the HUGE collar. Or even better the delicious pink dress she wears by the fireside as she indulges in a spot of romance with Cliff Jones. Katy Manning has a gargantuan sized personality and finally they managed to address that in her clothes. What a hippy!

3) City of Death (Lalla Ward)

This young lady was fortunate enough to be around when costumes were still changeable between stories (the JNT single marketing costumes really brought up the issue of hygiene as so many of his stories led into each other) and she experienced a number of gorgeous outfits. Her silver buttoned jacket in State of Decay. Her striking red blouse in Warriors' Gate (with the HUUUGE sleeves that billowed as she walked). But this, her school girl outfit has to be the single naughtiest thing ever worn by a Who girl (until you get to number one). If the criminally 'appeal to men's base desires' look of the outift doesn't please you then you have to admire the way the straw hat clings to the back of her head. It's just magical.

2) Paradise Towers/The Celestial Toymaker (Bonnie Langford/Jackie Lane)

I kid you not!!! Why not? Because they are complete fashion victims? Because these costumes have huge hoops and polka dots all over them? Because they are two of the worst companions ever and the outfits match their characters? But therein lies the genius my friends. I too cannot fathom what sort of mind bending drugs these designers were on but somehow, somehow they managed to design something so out of this world it approaches genius. Who on earth would where these clothes? I haven't a clue but for all the Dodos and Mels of this world I say... embrace your independence and continue to wear attention grabbing garb because clearly you don't give a shit what the world thinks of you. And like the sixth Doctor's coat agrees, that is a fine message indeed.

1) Robots of Death (Louise Jameson)

Kinky stuff! Was there ever a Doctor Who girl who was more primed for the testosterone fuelled male audience (ah and any lesbians out there who happen to be reading!)... and not hired by JNT too! A shammy leather hunter's garb that exposes enough arm, tits and thighs for anyone inclined to come over all funny (ahem). Seriously though it is astonishing how much confidence and strength Louise Jameson managed to get across wearing this (lack of) costume. It doesn't really matter though because she's sexy as hell so it is fabulous to have a bit of eye candy to go with one of the show's most interesting companions. The perfect costume for the (near) perfect companion.

This was just a bit of fun and there is no offence intended. The girls of Doctor Who are justifiably famous for showing off a bit of leg and it is worth noting that they did that job extremely well!

Ladies and gents... I give you Doctor Who... the sexiest show in town! (But when will they give us the droolable male companion/costume? I suppose I'll have to stick with Paul McGann's dashing outfit won't I?).

Top Ten Outfits by Rob Matthews 20/10/03

I'm nicking another of Joe's ideas here, but let's face it, a mere top ten can't even begin to cover the fabbo gladrags we've seen in Who over the years. So while I don't quibble with his taste (Peri does indeed look great in Revelation), this is my own, additional, sartorial decalogue:

  1. Sarah Jane Smith in Pyramids of Mars
    In what must be an inaugural piece of fanwank, Sarah spends the whole story running around in one of Victoria Waterfield's 19th century creations. At the other end of the scale from her, ahem, 'butch' outfit in the Time Warrior, and she'd be well advised not to turn at up at an NUJ meeting in it, but gorgeous nevertheless. Plus she manages to keep it utterly spotless despite spending a whole afternoon battling an All-Powerful Evil. Classy.
  2. Romana I in The Stones of Blood
    Not her Sybil Fawlty outfit from the opening episode, obviously. I mean The Red Dress. Tear your eyes away for six consecutive seconds. Go on, just try. Perfectly complements that lovely flollopping hair too.
  3. Romana I in The Armageddon Factor
    Hey, you're just lucky she wasn't in enough stories to take up the whole list. This snow white cleavage-heavy affair is quite classical-looking, but the skirt and boots add that cheesy seventies sci-fi feel. All in all like a sexed-up Ep 4 Princess Leia.
  4. Nyssa in All of Season 19
    The 'trouser suit' version of her tactile Trakenite outfit puts Tegan, her competitor for Miss Purple 1981, right in the shade.
  5. Jamie in general
    I like lads in skirts, okay?
  6. Romana II in Shada/The Five Doctors
    I'm not particularly lenient on the cobbled-together Five Doctors, but one of its greatest achievements is that it allows lovely Lalla's bohemian getup into the canon. The hat alone is fantastic, so Romana that it hurts. She's like the cool, sexy yet laid-back lecturer you wish you'd had at university.
  7. Romana II in Meglos
    And here she is again; one of many variations on the long skirt-type outfit, but overlooked because, well, it's in Meglos.
  8. Ace in Ghost Light
    More skirt-hoisting Victoriana, but she does look great out of the bomber jacket.
  9. Romana II in The Horns of Nimon
    A hat-trick for the lovely Lalla, but come on - just watch her her easing her red gloves on as she makes her entrance in episode 1; the gal's a star. Her outfit here could be the eccentric ensemble of a female Doctor. Which is what she is by this point really.
  10. Jo Grant in The Sea Devils
    Oh, this is true sartorial greatness, and would be tha shit even today. If you popped into Urban Outfitters tomorrower you could probably pick up something like this fab flared creamy-coloured trouser suit. And all those hippy-chick rings... I often think there's more of Katy Manning than there is of Jo Grant in this particular costume. And after her performance as Iris Wildthyme, I only wish we could have seen a lot more of Katy Manning in poor dizzy Jo.
Additional note: Terrence Keenan's recent top ten of bootylicious companions really brought it home to me that I'd missed out on something growing up with Who, namely fancying someone, anyone at all, in the show. Hopefully the upcoming new series will feature a boy companion just as bootylicious as the girl one, and I'll be able to write a top ten list of guy companion outfits one of these days... come on man, twenty-six series and absolutely zero eye candy for me? I reckon I deserve a break...

Top 10 Favorite Televised Moments by Daniel Callahan 29/10/03

A while back I wrote out my list of Top 10 (Televised) Stories that I Like to Pretend Didn't Happen. Now, I'd like to address the other side of the equation.

10. The Rescue
Doctor: "You're insane!"

This line doesn't meant anything without Hartnell's delivery. Go forth and watch it again. Cool rage, moral revulsion and indignation, comtempt, all neatly delivered. Granted, it's three seconds in an otherwise mediocre story, but it's great three seconds.

9. The Power of the Daleks
Troughton's characterization.

My first real encounter with this story was on cassette. Even without seeing Troughton's physical performance, what I heard (or didn't hear, as Troughton was adept at playing the silences) was intriguing, enchanting, bewitching, bemusing... in short, if he hadn't already grown on me, he would have again.

8. Meglos
Lexa [pointedly to the Doctor]: "I think you're a fraud and a liar."
Doctor [with anger]: "Well that [explanation] makes even less sense!"
Lexa [daring the Doctor to contradict her]: "Oh? Why?"
Doctor: "Well... " [beaming a very pleasant smile] "because I just don't do that sort of thing!"

Being an American, you expect the TV Hero's final rejoinder to be an expression that's at the least withering, if not downright insulting. A response that's in-your-face, establishing unquestionable dominance, the verbal equivalent of a punch in the nose. Instead, a not-quite modest statement about the limits of the Doctor's character: there's no need to shout, I really am on your side, now let's forget all about your ridiculous assertion and figure out a solution to the problem. And Tom Baker delivered it perfectly. You just don't get that on American TV. Which is one of the biggest reasons I love Doctor Who.

7. Earthshock
Reviewing the Cybermen's files on the Doctor.

In the age of video and DVD, this might seem dated. (OK, fine, it is dated!) But when this moment first reached WHRM in Wausaw, WI, there was no such thing as Doctor Who on video for 99% of the population; nor had a Hartnell or Troughton story ever been transmitted in the US. This was our first glimpse of another Doctor besides Tom Baker and Peter Davison. (And the Hartnell clip was really good....) It left us for an incurable hunger for every surviving story of the first three Doctors and may have helped build the demand that eventually brought those stories to America. Magic, in its day.

6. The Daemons
The showdown between the Doctor, the Master, and Azal.

That is, up to the point where the writers throw up their hands and have Jo save the day by confusing a 100,000 year old being through self-sacrifice. (Like he's never seen that before?!) That aside, The Daemons gripped me from the beginning, and the conclusion paid off well. Perhaps what made it great is that the Doctor's only weapon is himself: no Venusian Aikido, no gadgets, no comic relief. It's a flat-out verbal duel between him and the Master with a being who can literally destory the world yet doesn't have any sense of morality (giving the Master an even shot at winning). It's down to wits, intellect, and heart, and there's nothing that force can do. No, the scene isn't perfect, but it's moments like this that made Doctor Who my favorite TV show for decades.

5. The Keys of Marinus
The whole thing.

An unapologetic romp through more locations that any sane designer could have wanted, with more on-screen goofs that some fan films, and containing more fun moments than most stories produced after 1983. Put the adult brain away, laugh with the snafu's, and enjoy. This story is some of the best innocent entertainment ever produced for children-at-heart.

4. The Five Doctors
Doctor: "One day, I shall come back...."

It was the perfect clip: the perfect dialogue, the perfect shot, and a perfect performance by William Hartnell. Any skeptic who believes that Hartnell's success wasn't deserved is directed to watch that clip ten times in a row. Ardent skeptics are asked to duplicate his performance. He's a master at work, and the clip is great way to kick off a 20th anniversary special.

3. Caves of Androzani
Regeneration scene.

What frightened me most about this sequence: "I might regenerate... I don't know." And then: "Feels different this time...." We're saying goodbye to the actor who got us over missing Tom Baker, and suddenly his character is informing us that now there are no guarantees. With this two subtle lines, the single best regeneration of the entire series begins. It was so riveting at the time that I must have rewatched the sequence ten or more times that day and the next. The SFX were worth watching all by itseld. The cameos by the Doctor's former companions fit well, dramatizing the fight the Doctor was losing to stay alive. Adric's cameo was especially poignant, because the fifth Doctor was about to join him. But then, just as if the Doctor might still pull through, the Master signals the end, and the entire era of the fifth Doctor disintegrates and vanishes. Finally, a regeneration that shouts Death until the very last moment. Powerful stuff. Peter Davison got the best exit of all.

2. The Talons of Weng-Chiang
The Doctor's summary of future history

A pig-brained toy that almost caused World War VI? The final assault of the Filipino army on Rekjavik? The discovery of the double-nexus particle leading to a technological cul-du-sac? Where did Robert Holmes come up with this stuff?! (In other words, how late at night and after how many cups of coffee?) Still, these are the lines that show Doctor Who had more imagination in its throwaway lines than most shows had in their plots, and why we kept coming back for more.

1. Robot
Brigadier: "The only country who could be trusted in such a role was Great Britain."
Doctor: "Naturally, I mean the rest were all foreigners!"
Brigadier: "Oh, exactly." [Stops and realizes what he just agreed with.]

A wonderful bit or surrealism that would have done Spike Milligan proud. How much praise can you heep on a perfect gem?

The Top Ten Potentially Perverted moments by Terrence Keenan 1/11/03

Even in wholesome family entertainment, like Doctor Who, some things slip by that will get that inner perv in all of us running wild. These are the biggest ones.

10. The Curse of Peladon/Monster of Peladon -- Alpha Centauri is a schlong in a cloak

09. City of Death -- Romana runs around in a school girl's uniform

08. Revelation of the Daleks -- The scene on top of the wall. Listen to the dialogue. Guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows.

07. The Time Monster -- The TARDIS sniffer-outer

06. Kinda -- Nyssa spends the whole story in her room with the sonic screwdriver. Nuff said.

05. The Three Doctors -- It looks like Pertwee is the dark side of Omega's bitch after the battle of wills....

04. The Tomb of the Cybermen -- Look at Klieg after each time his ego is stroked....

03. The Claws of Axos -- Axos itself looks like quite the joy toy.

02. The Mind of Evil -- The Kellar Machine (One of these days someone will write a piece on the use of phallic symbols during the Pertwee Era)

01. The Creature from the Pit -- Intimate oral communication between the Doc and Erato.

Top Ten Target books by Richard Radcliffe 12/11/03

I'm doing this list for 3 reasons:-

  1. Plenty are interested in TARGET books.
  2. My TARGET book collection is my number one DW collection.
  3. I'm intrigued how this list will change after re-reading the whole range.
The foolhardy task I have set myself is to start from An Unearthly Child, and read the TARGET books in TV chronological order. How long this will take me, I couldn't possibly estimate. There's so much else to read after all, and I'm not going to read just TARGET books - that would be silly. Mix it up I will. All I know is that I have started, and after 12 books I am enjoying it far more than I even thought I would. Just before I started this nostalgia trip to my childhood and teens, I compiled a Top Ten TARGET book list, and it is this list I now present for your amusement and entertainment.

In other words here are the TARGET books I remember the most, the ones that bring that smiley face on whenever they are mentioned. They are no particular preference, so I'll stick to TV order.

The Crusade - David Whittaker
Read this during a few dinner hours when I was about 12. I would retreat the Park next to the School, which was totally off bounds (so I knew it would be quiet), find a secluded spot under a tree and read. Read quite a few books in this place, but none stand out as much as this. It remains my favourite 1st Doctor story.

The Myth Makers - Donald Cotton
I always liked Doctor Who books, smiled at the Doctor's jokes etc etc. But DW was never this humourous! I can only recall bursting out laughing on a bus three times, and this was the only DW book responsible.

The Web of Fear - Terrance Dicks
One night we had to travel to London, from Manchester. We set off at 12:00 midnight, to arrive there around 6:30. I just knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, so I took some books. I started to read this book half way down the Motorway, and I then didn't want to sleep. I had never been through London before, and I was reading about the goings-on underneath it, whilst travelling through it. Brilliant!

Fury From the Deep - Victor Pemberton
This book came out just after I was 18, and it was very much for my age. Longer than normal, the story was better and more involving than usual. Constantly voted one of the best TARGET books, it really is.

The War Games - Malcolm Hulke
What to do when you are off sick. Most of the time you're too sick to do anything, but this one ill day I was feeling much better by dinnertime. Too late to go to school then, and so I started the epic 10-parter, condensed to Target length. A couple of hours later it was finished, and I was fascinated by it. I'm convinced even now that's where my World War One and Two fascination was born.

Spearhead From Space - Terrance Dicks
One of the first novelizations I read, and also one of the best. Enshrined Uncle Terrance as a writer to adore. Just a fascinating introduction to Doctor Who in so many ways.

Robot - Terrance Dicks
Had to include this one, because this really was the 1st Doctor Who book I bought and read. A holiday in the Oulton Broads when I was 7 brought out the giving nature of my Grandad, and with 50p he gave me, I was on the DW bandwagon (and still enough money for a Chocolate Bar too!)

Black Orchid - Terence Dudley
The books were growing up with me. A 2 parter fleshed out magnificently into a brilliant novel. Loved the TV story, loved the book even more. Awakening got close to this list too by the way.

Delta and the Bannermen - Malcolm Kohll
Cries of derision reign down upon my head with this inclusion I expect, but I really do adore this novelization! I left home when I was 19, at the end of 1987. I stopped collecting Target Books just after (a foolish rebellious phase thinking I was all grown up). Then at the start of 1989 I spied lots of DW books in WH Smith, that to me were new. I couldn't resist and bought a few. Delta was the first one I read, and within weeks I had the full set of TARGET novelizations all over again. A wonderfully entertaining Welsh Holiday Camp romp!

Remembrance of the Daleks - Ben Aaronavitch
Comprehensively brilliant throughout, this remains one of the finest DW tales ever told. Pointing the way forward for the New Adventures happened later. When it was issued, and I had read it in a few days, I knew this was possibly the best TARGET book there was.

So there we are. 10 reminisces from my childhood, and so many DW fans like to do that. Looking forward, looking back Doctor Who will always be a source of magic and wonder - and the TARGET books epitomize this more than anything else in DW.

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