Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Top 7... 70s Dr Who

Our latest project was to find our favourite stories from the Pertwee and "classic" Tom Baker years, spanning 1970 to mid 1977. It initially seemed like we might struggle to find seven we could agree on, as Martin loathes all of the Pertwee era and I'm not too keen on most of the early Bakers, but in the end we discarded The Mutants and The Seeds of Doom to end up with...

1 The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977; DM) - Yes, we can be conventional at times; though this wasn't actually top of any of our lists, it's the only story to be in all our top 3s. Oozes mid-late Victorian atmosphere and has one of the most popular supporting casts ever in the redoubtable Jago and Litefoot.

2 Pyramids of Mars (1975; MI) - a moody Doctor, Sarah-Jane at her most appealing and robot mummies to boot, along with Gabriel Woolf as a superbly evil Sutekh.

3 Inferno (1970; MI) - the top-ranked Pertwee in the list and again no departure from fan orthodoxy there, but for two of us at least this is right up there in the lexicon - parallel universe, dirty great  mineshaft, and a very real sense of danger. And an eyepatch of course...

4 The Robots of Death (1977; MI) - "Please do not throw hands at me" - almost certainly the best of Who's occasional stabs at an Agatha Christie pastiche, this also takes advantage of the standby budget saving "Base under Siege" trope to provide excellent drama and makes a star out of new assistant Louise Jameson.

5 Carnival of Monsters (1973, TC) - for me, a Troughton story that crossed the striations of the timeline, this is by far my favourite Pertwee (and even Martin's least disliked one!) Dry wit, topical humour and a neat idea combine with unusually good acting performances for the time.

6 The Green Death (1973, TC) - our second pick from Season Ten, and Jo Grant's last story, as we invstigate giant maggots and green slime in a Welsh coal mine. By turns gripping, touching and corny, it gets away with it all by dint of the sheer force of will of a team determined to go out on a high.

7 The Deadly Assassin (1976, DM) - truthfully not in the top seven for two of us, but the closest we could get to agreeing one, this is a tour de force of innovations, some of which work (decaying Time Lord society) and some of which don't (the Doctor usually has a companion for a good reason) but if nothing else it was disliked at the time both by the NVLA and DWAS, which can't be a bad thing...

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