On November 23, 1963 at 17:15 GMT, the BBC transmitted the first episode of “An Unearthly Child”, the debut serial of a little SF show (then) starring William Hartnell you may have heard of…Doctor Who.
Happy Who Day!
In celebration of Who Day, I will highlight three episodes from each Doctor that I find favor with:
First Doctor (William Hartnell):
First, and still strong.
The Daleks–The episode that made the series. I think this, as a strong second episode, helped make the series happen.
The Aztecs–a strong historical episode, where the Doctor first comes up against the prospect, and the dangers, of trying to change history.
The Chase–although I haven’t seen this one in years, the idea of two time machines in a chase is an irresistable one.
Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)
It’s a pity so few of his episodes still exist in full, darn it.
The War Games–Troughton’s swan song, as well as his companions, as they take on a renegade Time Lord and the race who he is helping to use humanity as fodder for conquest.
The Mind Robber–one of the weirdest episodes of Doctor Who, as they travel through a land of fiction. But the episode works and is a delight!
Tomb of the Cybermen–Remember how Tennant said he didn’t like archaeologists in the episode where he met River Song? This episode, with overly curious archaeologists awakening the Cybermen, is the reason why. Plus its the only full episode with Victoria in it.
Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
I have a real appeal for Pertwee’s interpretation of the Doctor. It’s hard to limit myself to three here,
The Three Doctors–Troughton, Pertwee, AND Hartnell. Plus Omega. Who could say no to THIS?
Inferno–The Doctor’s attempts to escape his imprisonment nearly get him killed on a parallel Earth–but also give him a clue to save his own Earth from destruction
The Time Warrior–The Doctor takes on a Sontaran–in the middle ages. Also, first episode with the stalwart Sarah Jane Smith
Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
Until the new series, he WAS the face of the Doctor for almost everyone
Pyramids of Mars–without question, my all time favorite episode. Doctor Who and Sarah Jane versus Sutekh and Robot Mummies!
Talons of Weng Chiang–The Doctor brings Leela to Victorian London!
Genesis of the Daleks–We learn at last how the Daleks began–and are introduced to the one and only Davros
Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)
Following Baker was a hard act, but Davison did try–and tried to make the character his own
The Five Doctors–Silly, strange, full of anachronisms, and yet it was the first Doctor Who episode I bought to own.
Resurrection of the Daleks–The Doctor takes on Davros yet again, and shows a rather bloodthirsty and merciless side. Last episode for Tegan, too.
Earthshock–More Cybermen, and the sad, tragic end of Adric.
Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)
I admit. I don’t like him. Never had, never will. The episodes of his that I can tolerate are because of other characters and actors, NOT him.
Revelation of the Daleks–Davros in a funeral parlor. An old “Knight of the Order of Oberon”. And an alien DJ with an American patter.
The Two Doctors–The last episode with Troughton, and Jamie in the bargain! And Jacqueline Pearce puts in an appearance too.
The Mark of the Rani–The Rani, the Rani, the Rani. Kate O’Mara makes a wonderful villain in this one
Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)
Never saw any of these episodes except on DVD and on the suggestion of good friends who liked his work.
Curse of Fenric-The Doctor as scary chessmaster against an evil older than time.
Battlefield-The last episode with the Brigadier. Not even Morgan Le Fey was willing to take such an adversary, even aged, lightly!
Remembrance of the Daleks–floating Daleks. Heavy Weapon Daleks. And the most awesome baseball bat killing of a Dalek in series history.
Eighth Doctor (McGann)
The movie has lots of problems and isn’t even in circulation.
Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)
The Streetwise young man Doctor, survivor of the Time War
Rose–“Run for your life!” The Doctor gets off on the right foot.
Father’s Day–A different sort of episode about Time Paradoxes
Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways–The Doctor proves why Daleks fear one Doctor more than 5 million Cybermen. Eccleston’s swan song
Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)
Future Doctors are going to have a pretty high bar to meet, thanks to Tennant. Like Pertwee, difficult to limit me to three…
Fires of Pompeii–Ancient Roman times, plus Aliens. How can I say no to THIS?
Blink–Scary quantum locked Angels. Moffat reinforces why he is a great DW writer.
The Girl in the Fireplace–“I’m the King of France.” “And *I* am a Lord of Time.”
How about you?