Top Ten (Classic) Doctor Who Stories

Doctor Who celebrated 10 years since it’s revival yesterday, so i thought it would be good to celebrate with my 10 favourite who stories, moments and companions. But i then thought it would be better to split that list: my ten favourite stories from the new (2005-2015) series tomorrow, today here are my ten favourite stories from the classic (1963-1989) series (which every Who fan should watch – if you don’t like these, stick to the new series.)

Warning: Minor Spoilers!

10. The Invasion: (2nd Doctor, 1968) The first appearance of UNIT and the second appearance of the Brigadier marks the best Patrick Troughton story. Despite being a whopping 8 episodes long, it somehow works, mainly down to it’s villainous duo of Tobias Vaughn and his security chief Packer, who are a joy to watch. The trio of the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Zoe is also one of the best combinations in the series. One of the most famous Who monsters make their appearance half-way through, and episode 6 has one of the most iconic cliffhangers as the monsters march down the streets of London…

9. The Curse of Fenric (7th Doctor, 1989) 4 episodes of near perfection as Sylvester McCoy locks horns with a malign viking curse and a horde of vampiric/zombie creatures from the future. The story belongs to his companion Ace though, as it is a major coming of age story for her. The cliffhangers aren’t very good, but if you watch the feature length edition (included on the DVD) this isn’t a problem.

8. The Green Death (3rd Doctor, 1973) A story with a moral message about both pollution and corrupt industry, it’s one of the most adult stories in this era. UNIT regulars are all present, the cliffhangers are all good, and it’s contains Jon Pertwee’s finest moment as the 3rd Doctor, clearly heartbroken, bids farewell to his longest serving companion. Some dodgy special effects and stereotyping of the welsh are the only drawbacks.

7. The Ribos Operation (4th Doctor, 1978). Probably the best ‘opening episode’ to a DW series ever. The fourth Doctor is given an important mission to recover the Key to Time and has a new time lady as his assistant. K-9 also is present, all very well as the Doctor faces a pair of charismatic con-men trying to sell a planet to an unstable warlord. Written by Robert Holmes, the man who created the Autons, the Sontarans and wrote the majority of the greatest who stories i.e. the Steven Moffat of his day.

6. The Seeds of Doom (4th Doctor, 1976) Doctor Who does Day of the Triffids. Boycie from ‘only fools and horses’ even shows up as a memorable henchman named Scorby, working for insane botanist Harrison Chase, who unwittingly unleashes a carnivorous plant life-form which starts to grow at an alarming rate…

5. The Caves of Androzani (5th Doctor, 1984) Robert Holmes again delivers with Peter Davison’s final story. An immense bloodbath with a multitude of villains follows: Crazed drug-runners, vile soldiers, corrupt businessmen and a deformed terrorist who forms an attachment to the Doctor’s companion, all are here: this is one battle even the Doctor can’t win… also features my favourite regeneration sequence. Even beat Blink in a poll to find the best story!

4. The Talons of Weng-Chiang (4th Doctor, 1977) Doctor Who does Sherlock Holmes in 19th century London, with savage companion Leela as his rather naive Watson. Robert Holmes’ best story with some of the best supporting characters in the series history (seriously, 2 of them, Jago and Litefoot, even got a audio spin-off series!). Some rather unconvincing giant rats are the only low-point as the Doctor faces chinese opium gangs working for a deformed war criminal from the 51st century…

3. Earthshock (5th Doctor, 1981) The best — story. Why —? Because it’s a massive cliffhanger when the monsters make their appearance at the end of part 1 and i don’t want to spoil it. The fifth Doctor is clearly out of his depth the whole way through, as he desperately attempts to stop the destruction of the Earth. There are slightly too many characters running around (though plenty get killed), but the script, direction and soundtrack all come together. The sense of foreboding and desperation gradually increases until the final five minutes deliver a massive gut punch as despite breaking his own rules and even using a gun, the Doctor fails to save the day… the series at it’s boldest.

2. Genesis of the Daleks (4th Doctor, 1974) The Daleks’ origin story. The first (and best) Davros story. Includes some great cliffhangers and Tom Baker’s best performance in two iconic scenes, one of which is the 4th Doctor debating whether he has the right to wipe out the Daleks and change history. Davros and his Gestapo-esque assistant Nyder are two of the finest villains in the series history. Dark, Grim and remorseless, this comes together beautifully. But still not quite as good as…

1. Remembrance of the Daleks (7th Doctor, 1988) The best Dalek story and one of my favourites marks the shows 25th anniversary. Two Dalek factions battle over stolen time-lord technology in 1963 London as the 7th Doctor plots to wipe out the Daleks once and for all. The Daleks even finally show they can get up stairs. Featuring a great script and some decent special effects, this is the best 1980’s who ever managed.

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