Wednesday, May 09, 2007

David Tennant On The Friday Night Project – March 2008

I don't usually do reviews for shows like this but this is a one off as it was quite a hilarious episode. I've been watching it again on YouTube.

Well The Friday Night Project is by far the funniest in terms of both a skit show and a chat show series. Since 2006, both Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins have taken over the reigns and elevated the series' popularity even more than usual. Not that the original hosts weren't
any good but Carr and Collins' have had a natural chemistry that makes this such an irresistible watch.

One of the many highlights of the previous seasons has been the relentless teasing of Big Brother contestants but because the sixth season of The Friday Night Project has started weeks before BB9, this series has had to improvise a little.

The opening episode with Elle McPherson was pleasant enough and like many shows like this, the enjoyment largely depends on who is guest hosting. Some guest hosts' work well, other fall flat and really excellent ones come back for seconds.

David Tennant is a good example of the third outcome. He wowed audiences last year when he presented the opening episode of the fourth season so pulling him in for episode 2 of Season Six seems a smart choice.

For Tennant, his stint came a week before Doctor Who came back to our screens so it was one of many shows in which he could plug the new season. Alan and Justin seemed to have fun about the idea of Catherine Tate perhaps playing her character Donna like her iconic swearing Nan and David did spill the already established spoiler that Season 4 would be a hot bed of companions. And with the uses of Dave Ross, maybe a certain Dalek creator is coming back also.

As for the guest hosting, Tennant managed to better himself even more. Dressed in a sleek and sexy suit, we had Tennant play out a group therapy session with Alan and Justin which descended with the three of them going into Asda and declaring their love for each other. Trying to keep a straight face during that bordered on the impossible.

It also helped that the comedy came in thick and fast. The lead singer of the Wombats came out with some comment about his mum that David, Alan and Justin all misconstrued for something else and both obesity in Scotland, a pregnant transsexual and Camilla's anatomy can under fire during the news section.

Other highlights include the "Who Knows The Most About The Guest Host" bit. With Freema Agyeman and Suzanne Shaw doing their best to help Alan and Justin, the host with the most did manage to electric shock his fellow hosts. Actually Freema was the only one who managed to escape being shocked and she did hesitate at one point.

However we did get a pure silly moment in this spoof with Carry On Who. Seriously it's times like times where innuendos can go a bit too far but the Cyberman's baby a little cutie and Tennant played it up for laughs better than last time. Also the questions moments from the audience saw a defence of genetalia and a lucky woman ruffling Tennant's hair.

The big highlight of the episode though was the prank bit. All the celebrities resort to an extreme prank to scare the living daylights out of some ordinary person. Sometimes this person happens to be a fan of the guest host, but in recent instalments it's just been random
strangers. Either way it's one of the best parts of the episode.

In this episode it was the best thing full stop. Given that Doctor Who has got an obsessive fan base, it was thought that the sight of David Tennant bound and gagged to a bed in his undies being kidnapped by an obsessive fan would be the perfect recipe for some unwitting estate agent. Gee, not much stereotyping there then.

Granted the agent in question fell for the trick set up by David and the guy's boss but imagine if he had left David Tennant bound and gagged to the bed? Well apparently one of his mates did. When you think about it, the spoof is the type of peril situation that would've
been common on the old Doctor Who.

Overall as episodes went, this one was clearly the most inventive and filthiest of the bunch. We've had plenty of great hosts and gross out moments but this one really did take things that bit further. Does this mean that we can get John Barrowman for a second time, now?

- Freema Agyeman mentioned something about French Fancies to escape
getting buzzed at one point.
- The strangest place David was asked for an autograph was in a shower
at a gym.
- The nurse in the spoof for Carry On Who had a rude name and three
- We saw a clip from “Partners In Crime”.
- David looked horrified when Justin read out Doctor Who porn. Though
he did joke that the second one came from John Barrowman's blog.
- Suzanne Shaw once got mistaken for Hannah Spearitt.

Quote Of The Episode

David Tennant (bound/gagged to a bed to Barry): "This room here. In here please, hurry up. I'm in here. Please this fucking psychopath has had me here for two days. Please get me out of here. This fucking mental man, this fucking nutter has had me here for days and, and I've been fucking tied to this bed. He fucking kidnapped me in this house. Thank you for coming. Why are you here?"

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Into Space, Time And Beyond Imagination - Why I Love Doctor Who

Martha (re The Doctor): “His name is The Doctor. He has saved your lives so many times and you never even knew he was there. He never stops, he never strays, he never asks to be thanked. But I’ve seen him. I know him. I love him and I know what he can do” – Last Of The Time Lords.

It’s a mouthful but it’s certainly a nice way of describing the undeniable awesomeness of this particular show. I knew of the original series but it was something that bypassed me. Thanks to this series however I’ve amended that mistake and have been hunting for certain stories but when it comes to the new series of Doctor Who, I was hooked instantly. I didn’t need a few episodes or nagging from certain people because everything about the opening episode “Rose” pulled me in.

We had a strange man in a leather jacket and Northern accent with two heartbeats and the ability to travel through time and space in a police box and the sad knowledge that a Time War eradicated his species.

As for our gateway into this crazy environment we got a 19 year old in a dull shop job who was drifting through life looking for a reason to feel alive and a part of something important. In fairness that’s pretty easy to relate to, I’ve done a fair amount of drifting myself so in some ways I could relate to that myself. I think many people can, have and done, which is why for this series Rose works so well as a companion. She may not be the best companion in this series history but as gateways go, she played an essential part in the phenomenal second time success for this series.

In some ways it’s amazing that Doctor Who is a success the second time around. You’d think people wouldn’t have the time for a series with a less strenuous plot compared to the likes of Lost but sometimes the most simple of premises can be the most effective ones. Also much as I love the new Battlestar Galactica, it would be kind of a shame if it was the only other series that had success second time round. Russell T Davies more or less has said in some of his interviews that many people would jack in their lives for the opportunity to travel in time and space – I know I certainly would and as a hero, there’s something pretty unconventional about The Doctor. He’s not necessarily a lady killer (despite the fact we’ve seen him smooching Rose, Martha and Captain Jack) but this is a hero who has gone from looking like an elderly gentlemen like William Hartnell to more prettier (and nubile) specimens like Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. He’s also opposed to violence and in nearly every episode; he’s even given his adversaries a chance to redeem themselves.

Of course many of them have been stupid to decline that generous offer and during moments of devastation, The Doctor can exact some pretty extreme judgements. In “The Runaway Bride” he slaughtered The Empress Of Racnoss’ kids and in “The Family Of Blood”, he gave the psychotic family their wish to live forever as long as they didn’t mind being trapped in every mirror and being used as scarecrows. Eccleston’s Doctor had angst; Tennant’s despite the charm could almost you sorry you were even born. He didn’t react too well when Harriet Jones tried to defend earth by nuking the Sycorax’s ship in “The Christmas Invasion” and in possibly a moment that makes The Doctor come across as being a bit of a dick, he tried to avoid Captain Jack by going to the end of the universe in “Utopia” (though going that far was more TARDIS involved). Plus he was pretty hot and cold with the brilliant Martha Jones in some episodes of Season Three.

Either way, he makes for a refreshing hero – noble in one sense but also capable like any hero of falling into the darkness. Some of the dark moments make this series as the series’ ability to blend humour and scares is what separates it from most UK TV.

It also helps that the production team are actual fans of the former series. Both Billie Piper and new cast member Catherine Tate may not have been avid viewers but the likes of Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson grew up with this series as did David Tennant and John Barrowman and from a crew perspective, a show like Doctor Who has to be one of the more intriguing jobs to be on.

Over here, it’s become every bit as tabloid fodder and scrutiny as likes of soaps and reality and often the clever plots and dialogue and powerhouse acting serve as a reminder of how futile those particular genres are now becoming. This is the closest to a detailed series over in terms of plotting, characterisation, internet fan base, DVD sales and heck, actual episode titles. It’s weird that many UK shows don’t do that with their dramas.

Unfortunately there is a flipside to all that scrutiny and that mainly means plots being largely revealed months before we actually see new episodes. We all knew when this series would return that influential villains such as the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master would be popping up and thanks to the likes of The Sun, we got perhaps too spoiled. Season Four looks set to bring back the Sontarans and the rumours of Dalek creator Davros returning have also surfaced.

We also knew in the first week of the series arrival that Christopher Eccleston was leaving and that David Tennant was replacing his as The Doctor. In June 2006, Billie Piper’s exit from the series as Rose Tyler was announced as was the arrival of Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones in the show’s third season.

Speaking of Freema Agyeman, the week of “Human Nature” being aired and after a fantastic interview with Jonathan Ross, The Sun told us she had been axed. To make things even nastier, they claimed it was on the ground of her character not working. Some lies are easy to catch out – Freema’s chemistry with David was perfect and Martha as a character. Granted people weren’t crazy about Martha having a crush on The Doctor but people didn’t hate her for it (I certainly didn’t) and after the transmission of “Last Of The Time Lords”, the actual truth was that Martha’s role would be reduced to five episodes which would suck if we weren’t going to be seeing her in three episodes in Torchwood’s second season so either way, in 2008, we’ll be getting a more mature Miss Jones both in the hub and in the TARDIS. For Freema, that’s a bit of a sweet gig.

Also it’s not like The Doctor will be riding solo for Season Four as Catherine Tate’s gobby Donna Noble will be the full companion for next year along with Martha for the latter half of the season.

Of course with so many rumours, there are a few that are false too – We aren’t meeting the Ice Warriors just yet, David Tennant’s not quitting and the series hasn’t been axed. A few specials in 2009 and a fifth full season in 2010 with Tennant more or less on board should kill that particular recurring.

More interestingly was the rumours of a big battle in the fourth season which would see The Doctor, Donna and Martha united with Rose, Mickey, Jackie, Pete, Captain Jack Harkness and Sarah Jane Smith against Davros. Well 2008 does represent the show’s 45th anniversary and excluding Tylers, it’s perhaps possible that there could be some truth behind this one. I did say possible!

So counting the upcoming Christmas special “Voyage Of The Damned”, how does the new compared to the old series? Well the effects are obviously better and the writing can be even more zeitgeist than before (especially episodes like “Blink” and the love of DVD Easter Eggs and such) but to me one thing that makes this series better than the old one is the structure. 14 episodes, with 3 two part stories (or in Season Three’s case two 2 part stories and a 3 parter for the finale) allows the stories and arcs to be more consistent and if you despise a particular villain like the Slitheen in “Aliens Of London”/“World War Three” or the Abzorbaloff in “Love And Monsters” you don’t have to put with them for too long.

As for the DVD’s, the show is glorious in that arena. Not only do you get commentaries for every single episode but some of them for Season Two were in-vision and there’s something very great about the condensed Doctor Who Confidential as well as video diaries on all three seasons box sets from Russell T. Davies, Mark Gatiss, David Tennant, Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman but the plethora of trailers, the Pudsey cutaway (Children In Need) scene, the 2006 Music and Monsters concert on the Season Three set as well as that brilliant interview with the gorgeous John Barrowman on the Season One set, this is a show built for DVD and not even the absences of TARDISODES or the cool 90 second trailers for Season Three fails to kill the buzz surrounding this show’s DVD treatment.

So far we’ve only dealt with two incarnations of The Doctor on this series. To say I prefer David Tennant’s Doctor is obvious but out of 42 episodes, he’s been in 30, affecting every televised season so far and the fact that this guy is every bit as much as a Doctor Who fan as I have become and millions of people way before me has helped. Eccleston’s Doctor was brilliant and it was a pity he only lasted a season because episodes like “The End Of The World” and “Dalek” showed his impressive range as an actor.

The companions have been more plentiful too. A great return from Sarah Jane Smith in Season Two’s “School Reunion” showed not only how brilliant she was as a companion to The Doctor but also the intrinsic flaws of being with The Doctor as well. For the first two seasons, Rose Tyler was in love with The Doctor and Billie Piper’s chemistry with both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant was electric but their relationship was never going to last as long. The hints in the latter episodes ushered her and The Doctor’s separation and by “Doomsday”, it was her being stuck in a parallel with on/off boyfriend Mickey, mother Jackie and an alternative version of her father Pete that would peek more interest that a battle between the Daleks and the Cybermen. Then again that episode had me balling like a baby so I can talk.

Of course two of my favourite companions have been pivotal. “The Empty Child”/“The Doctor Dances” debuted Captain Jack Harkness, a bisexual 51st Century conman/Time Agent who may or may not be the Face Of Boe but who has definitely had two years of his memory removed and currently runs a version of Torchwood. Jack is a cute little puzzle and easily the most sexualised of companions for this series and perhaps one of the most universally loved ones too. John Barrowman is not only hot to look but he’s made Jack into such a charming character, he even upstages The Doctor and like Tennant, Barrowman has chemistry with just about anyone he encounters. Plus Jack can be loyal judging by his willingness to die in battle with the Daleks in “The Parting Of The Ways” and also in his determination to help The Doctor and Martha with The Master in “Last Of The Time Lords”. But also Jack is loyal to his Torchwood team and even turned a chance to go back travelling in the TARDIS to help Gwen, Owen, Toshiko and Ianto deal with monsters in Cardiff. Let’s just hope his zesty, flirty humour also remains intact.

Then there’s Martha Jones - another gorgeous medical student played by relatively then unknown actress Freema Agyeman but a bit like Captain Jack, while The Doctor did care about Martha, a part of you felt she almost had to work extra hard for him to really notice her. She was willing to stay in an era where both her race and gender could be used to discriminate her in “Human Nature”/“The Family Of Blood” in order to protect The Doctor and she travelled through every part of the world as a fugitive in “Last Of The Time Lords” in order to stop The Master’s reign of terror. Plus her exit upon rewatching is dignified and poignant. She loves The Doctor, he does not feel quite the same and she recognises that and realises that things need to change. So she left to help her family recover with the solemn vow of returning.

The girl had me from the first five minutes of “Smith And Jones” and by the end of the season she instantly became one of my all time TV characters. Her return in Season Four with a mature outlook should be fun but it might the dynamic between her and Donna that could be more fascinating. Whether or not I will be enamoured with Donna Noble in Season Four remains to be seen but I have confidence that the writers will try and make me care about Donna as a character and if Catherine Tate can avoid going OTT, the chances of me liking could be good. This show works more effectively with The Doctor and two companions a lot of the time.

However every good show needs better villains and in terms of the original ones, creatures like the Gelth (“The Unquiet Dead”), Reapers (“Father’s Day”), Krillitaines (“School Reunion”), Clockwork Droids (“The Girl In The Fireplace”), The Ood (“The Impossible Planet”/“The Satan Pit”), Carrionites (“The Shakespeare Code), killer scarecrows (“Human Nature/“The Family Of Blood”) Weeping Angels (“Blink”) and the Toclafane (“The Sound Of Drums”/“Last Of The Time Lords”) are definitely effective and the treatments of the Daleks in the three seasons aired so far has been great. Okay so “Daleks In Manhattan”/ “Evolution Of The Daleks” deserved a stronger plot but their invasions/body counts in “Bad Wolf”/ “The Parting Of The Ways” and “Army Of Ghosts”/ “Doomsday” were thrilling as was the moral dilemma in “Dalek” when The Doctor’s emotions were used against him. The Cybermen so far have only appeared in Season Two’s “Rise Of The Cybermen”/ “The Age Of Steel” as well as “Army Of Ghosts”/ “Doomsday” and are still physically threatening but they need a bigger storyline in the future. As for The Master, well having two excellent actors in both Derek Jacobi and John Simm playing him and the homoerotic relationship with him and The Doctor fleshed out in “Utopia”, “The Sound Of Drums” and “Last Of The Time Lords” certainly made Season Three my favourite season. He’s still psychotic and even more ruthless in his attempts of victory and his for now death was incredibly sad.

Other former villains like the Autons and the Macra have only gotten an episode each such as “Rose” and “Gridlock” but with Season Four definitely returning the Sontarans and more than likely Davros as well, the ties between both the old and new series are nicely maintained. Overall this is pretty much the best thing on TV at the moment and here’s to many more glorious seasons to come.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Previous Eight (1963-1996)

First Doctor

Portrayed by William Hartnell
Tenure 1963–1966
First appearance An Unearthly Child
Last appearance The Tenth Planet (regular)
The Three Doctors (played by William Hartnell) The Five Doctors (played by Richard Hurndall)
Number of series 4
Appearances 29 stories (134 episodes)
Companions on television: Susan, Barbara, Ian, Vicki, Steven, Katarina, Sara, Dodo, Ben, Polly

The First of our Doctors but not necessarily my favourites (though it should be pointed out that there aren’t any I detest), Hartnell’s rather old Doctor was a cantankerous so and so with a young granddaughter in Susan and a bigger desire to get rid of the two teachers who more or less became a part of his first adventures. An Unearthly Child was a rather modest way of opening a series that would have a 40 plus year history but it was also a nice way of establishing the show’s concept about travelling and in Hartnell’s era we did see Cavemen, Marco Polo and King Richard and he was also the same Doctor that gave us both the Daleks (both on Skaro in The Daleks and invading London in The Dalek Invasion On Earth) and Cybermen, with the latter’s introduction in The Tenth Planet signalling Hartnell’s exit from the TARDIS. Plus one of the companions also died during his tenure as Time Lord. Doctor Number 1 did also pop up to help/antagonise his successors in both The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors as well.

Second Doctor

Portrayed by Patrick Troughton
Tenure 1966–1969
First appearance The Tenth Planet
Last appearance The War Games (regular)
The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors (guest star)
Number of series 3
Appearances 21 stories (119 episodes)
Companions on television: Ben, Polly, Jamie, Victoria, Zoe

Would you believe that he’s one of my favourites? A rather happy, manic guy with a penchant for a recorder, Troughton brought some more humour to the role than his predecessor upon his debut in The Tenth Planet and we also got two of the best companions in both genius Zoe and Highlander Jamie as well as epic moments involving the Daleks in The Power Of The Daleks and The Evil Of The Daleks and the Cybermen in both Tomb Of The Cybermen and The Invasion as well as a memorable confrontation with The Ice Warriors and the Macra as well. Like Hartnell, Troughton’s duration on the series would only be for three seasons and his exit in The War Games is memorable for the callous way the Time Lords erased both Jamie and Zoe’s memories and their own particular punishment of the Second Doctor himself. It also didn’t stop him from popping up in The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors where where he offered his help to Doctors Three, Five and Six. It’s also around his era that UNIT would pop up to occasionally help The Doctor as well.

Third Doctor

Portrayed by Jon Pertwee
Tenure 1970–1974
First appearance Spearhead from Space
Last appearance Planet of the Spiders (regular) The Five Doctors (guest star)
Number of series 5
Appearances 24 stories (128 episodes)
Companions UNIT, Liz, Jo, Sarah,

Another incredibly strong Doctor, Jon Pertwee’s era represented an impressive lot of firsts for the series as a whole. Aside from the fact his lasted five years as The Third Doctor (along with Bessie the dream car), his era also saw the debut of some of the series most impressive of villains with the Autons in Spearhead From Space, rogue Time Lord The Master (played by Roger Delgado) in Terror Of The Autons and the Sontarans in The Time Warrior. This was also the very era that debuted many pivotal and fan favourite companions into the mix as well come to think of it. Cool, calm and collected scientist Liz Shaw made for a welcome relief of the more screaming assistants we had in the past and it’s a pity that she departs after the seventh season. Jo Grant is by far the most important companion of the bunch and perhaps the first in which The Doctor really showed feelings for. Her departure in The Green Death even saw The Doctor unable to celebrate her engagement to Cliff Jones and she’s the only companion to have lasted three full seasons during the Pertwee era of the series. Then again sassy Uber-feminist and journalist Sarah Jane Smith would then go on to be one of the most enduring companion and a lot of that is down to Elisabeth Sladen’s magnificent performance as well Sarah’s abilities to show her cunning, notably during her debut in The Time Warrior. Also 34 years after her first appearance on the series has her own series called The Sarah Jane Adventures. UNIT also played a prominent role in the Third Doctor’s largely earthbound adventures. Both The Brigadier and Sergeant John Benton had been familiar with the audience from the Second Doctor but here both men formed a close friendship with The Doctor and were able to get him out of many a tight predicament. The most interesting member of the UNIT bunch however was Captain Mike Yates. Aside from the fact his debut episode Terror Of The Autons was the same episode to debut both Jo Grant and The Master, Mike Yates may have featured less than The Brig or Benton but he was given some pretty interesting character development (when he wasn’t getting kidnapped half the time). In The Green Death he succumbed to being hypnotised by the BOSS computer and even betrayed UNIT during Operation Golden Age during Invasion Of The Dinosaurs through a misguided attempt to help the world. That resulted him being forced to retire from UNIT. The writers did give the man some redemption in Planet Of The Spiders when he alerted The Doctor and Sarah Jane to the goings on of a creepy cult in the Meditation Centre he happened to be staying in. He might also be the first gay companion if certain rumours are to be believed as well. It’s also worth noting that from here on in the show went from black and white to colour and even had The Doctor involuntarily bound to Earth as punishment from the Time Lords. The show also celebrated itself tenth anniversary in The Three Doctors with exiled Time Lord Omega attempting to become corporeal by using The Doctor and the rivalry between him and The Master surfaced throughout several episodes such as The Mind Of Evil, The Daemons and The Sea Devils as well as our favourite deranged pepper pots wreaking havoc in the likes of Day Of The Daleks, Planet Of The Daleks and Death To The Daleks as well as the brilliant alternative reality episode Inferno before departing in Planet Of The Spiders. To me this was definitely the best era in the old series history. We got the best Doctor, Villains, Companions and a lot of these stories just stand up better than later versions of the Time Lord.

Fourth Doctor

Portrayed by Tom Baker
Tenure 1974–1981
First appearance Planet of the Spiders (Episode 4)
Last appearance Logopolis (regular)
The Five Doctors (archive footage)
Number of series 7
Appearances 41 stories (172 episodes)
Companions on television: Sarah, Harry, Leela, K-9 (Marks I and II), Romana(I and II) Adric, Tegan, Nyssa

Tom Baker was certainly a force to be reckoned with and regardless of on set antics, there’s no denying no matter how a particular story in his era was, his presence could be felt in outer space. For a lot of people, he is the Doctor and in the seven years since his first full story in Robot, Baker’s Doctor had both Sarah Jane and Harry for the first year and a half when the latter left in Terror Of The Zygons and the former was abandoned in The Hand Of Fear. The main villains of the series had some interesting outings but after the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master, another long lasting big bad emerged in Dalek creator, Davros. Every bit fuelled with hate as his creations Davros schemed against The Doctor/Sarah Jane/Harry in Genesis Of The Daleks (which is possibly the best story in the series’ history) and Destiny Of The Daleks. Our pepper pots also caused their fair amount of chaos in both these instalments and the Cybermen also re-emerged in Revenge Of The Cybermen. When Sarah Jane departed, Leela had been the next main girl before the sixteen season had The Doctor travelling with Time Lady Romana Mark 1 for the season’s 26 episodes/6 stories. Played by Mary Tamm, Romana was another companion written to intellectually equal The Doctor and her second incarnation played by Lalla Ward both encounter Davros in Destiny Of The Daleks and married Tom Baker in real life. Her tenure was also significant for the introduction of K9 and an unaired episode called Shada in which bits would be used for The Five Doctors. The Master who hadn’t been seen since 1973 would also return aged and decayed in The Keeper Of Traken and then rejuvenated and played by Anthony Ainley by the time of Logopolis. The Master’s latest form would look like that of one of The Doctor’s companions Nyssa’s father before The Doctor himself would regenerate in this particular story. By the last season in his tenure, The Doctor had three companions including the reserved Nyssa, unfairly loathed by some Adric and mouthy air stewardess Tegan Jovanka.

Fifth Doctor

Portrayed by Peter Davison
Tenure 1981–1984
First appearance Logopolis (Episode 4)
Last appearance The Caves of Androzani
Number of series 3 Appearances 20 stories (69 episodes)
Companions on television: Adric, Nyssa, Tegan, Turlough, Kamelion, Peri

By far the younger cast of the Doctors, Peter Davison was a strapping 29 year old when he bagged the role as Time Lord and his debut in Castrovalva had him in yet another one of The Master’s elaborate traps and their rivalry would certainly escalate in the 19th season’s convoluted finale Time-Flight which also saw a temporary departure for Tegan. Not that she could be missed as she appeared in the opening episode of the twentieth season Arc Of Infinity, which was also significant for the return of Omega. Maybe it’s me but there’s some rather unsatisfying about Omega’s return and some of the stories in Davison’s tenure aren’t quite as strong, despite him being a wonderful Doctor. A lot of the departures however are incredibly powerful such as Adric’s sacrifice against the Cybermen in the glorious Earthshock or Tegan’s realisation that’s it’s no longer travelling with The Doctor in Resurrection Of The Daleks, another episode that would see the return of Davros. Nyssa’s in Terminus is more downbeat and creepy school boy’s Turlough is okay enough. Another significant moments from the Fifth Doctor’s era includes the show’s twentieth anniversary special The Five Doctors which not only had the first five time incarnation of The Doctor together but it also was the only story to have the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master together as well as several returned companions like Susan, Jamie, Zoe, Sarah Jane. Other companions in this time included Kamelion and botanist Peri Brown, the show’s American companion whose debut in Planet Of Fire saw a fiery death for The Master and the show hit a dark moment in The Caves Of Androzani when The Doctor suffered one of his most violent regenerations. Post onscreen action, Davison has reprised the role of The Fifth Doctor for audio CD’s thanks to Big Finish and for the 2007 Children In Need scene called Time Crash, he will end up meeting David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor.

Sixth Doctor

Portrayed by Colin Baker
Tenure 1984–1986
First appearance The Caves of Androzani
Last appearance The Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimate Foe
Time and the Rani (Replaced by Sylvester McCoy)
Number of series 3
Appearances 11 stories (31 episodes)
Companions on television: Peri Brown and Melanie Bush

Quite possibly my least favourite Doctor from the ten there has been on TV but nevertheless poor Colin Baker was a good example of doing the best he could with what he had. He wasn’t quite as awful as you’d think but sadly he came onto the show at a time when the people behind the show weren’t supporting it enough. He’s also been the only person cast as The Doctor who has played another role in the series, such as Maxil in Arc Of Infinity. The Twin Dilemma is a decent enough debut but the return of the Cybermen in Attack Of The Cybermen is easily one of his best stories from the series as well as the forced team up between The Master and rogue Time Lady The Rani in Mark Of The Rani, set during the Industrial Revolution. One of the things that bugged me is that Baker’s Doctor could often be too shouty or overly aggressive towards Peri. Granted Peri can be quite annoying but it’s still a shock to see him try to strangle her in The Twin Dilemma and while Timelash is one of the worst episodes in the show’s history, there’s another interesting Dalek/Davros confrontation in Revelation Of The Daleks as well as the meeting of the Second and Sixth Doctors against the Sontaran in The Two Doctors. Halfway throughout the series, Peri then left and The Doctor wound up with high screamer Melanie Bush with a very OTT performance and once again, The Doctor ended up facing trial in Baker’s last season. Thanks to the joys of Audio CD, Baker has gotten the opportunity to continue his role as The Doctor.

Seventh Doctor

Portrayed by Sylvester McCoy
Tenure 1987–1996
First appearance Time and the Rani
Last appearance Survival (regular) Doctor Who (guest star)
Number of series 3
Appearances 13 stories (43 episodes)
Companions on television: Mel and Ace

Heading into the last three years of the show, despite producers being interested in the series, it seemed the poor show had even less support, which is odd given how interesting a lot of the stories in the era really are to a point. Time And The Rani was a good way of introducing Sylvester McCoy as well having a return for Kate O’Mara’s bad girl Time Lady but the season’s finale Dragonfire ditched us of annoying Mel and debuted IMO the original series’ best companion to boot Ace. A volatile girl with an aptitude for explosives and out dated phrases, Ace’s dynamic with The Doctor is something that would definitely be influential to the likes of Rose, Captain Jack and Martha but here it’s more father/daughter than lovers and as a results, it’s perhaps more effective. Ace goes through personal journeys in the likes of Battlefield and The Curse Of Fenric and even has the pleasure of physically assaulting a Dalek in Remembrance Of The Daleks, which would be the last story for both them and Davros as well as meeting the Cybermen in their last tale, Silver Nemesis. In the series finale, Survival, Ace would then have an encounter with The Master as the series then wrapped up with The Doctor musing about work that had to be done. The show’s cancellation may have came out of nowhere but it didn’t kill McCoy doing Audio adventures like Peter Davison and Colin Baker.

Eighth Doctor

Portrayed by Paul McGann Tenure 1996
First appearance Doctor Who: The Enemy Within
Last appearance Doctor Who: The Enemy Within
Number of series None
Appearances 1 story (1 episode)
Companions on television: Grace

The shortest running of the Doctors with only the 1996 TV Movie as a credit, McGann’s adventure with doctor Grace against The Master (played by Eric Roberts) was the Beeb’s first attempt to resurrect the series and while it may have it’s flaws, it’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve seen. McGann was great but perhaps the most vulnerable of our Time Lords and his credibility is cemented due to an image of him in the Tenth Doctor episode Human Nature. We’ve also gotten more adventures for him via Big Finish and the wonderful world of comics.