Doctor Who @ 50

Reviews of the classic series of Doctor Who from 1963 to 1996.

Doctor Who: The Highlanders
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031 The Highlanders

Received wisdom has it that The Highlanders is the first story to feature Jamie as a companion and the last “pure” historical until Black Orchid, way in the future (as far as these reviews are concerned) at the start of the Peter Davison era. Neither of these things are particularly true. For a start, Jamie…

Doctor Who? The Power of the Daleks changed the series forever
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030 The Power of the Daleks

On the human space colony of Vulcan, a coup is being planned by rebels who want independence from their current masters, while factions within the rebel camp are making plans for their own gains.  Meanwhile, the colony’s leading scientist has unearthed a long-hidden space capsule from the mercury swamp – a capsule containing Daleks who have…

We meet the Cybermen for the first time in The Tenth Planet
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029 The Tenth Planet

The Tenth Planet…. Or, the ninth planet, now that Pluto has been reclassified. Or would it be Niburu/Planet X, the “Wandering Planet”? If it’s not, strictly speaking, part of the solar system, can it really be assigned a numeral? Can we, in fact, get past the name of the story to actually talk about it,…

The Doctor is threatened by Cherub in The Smugglers
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028 The Smugglers

This series of reviews has given our contributors the chance to cast an unfamiliar eye on some classic Doctor Who stories as we head to the show’s 50th anniversary. I daresay few will be as surprising as The Smugglers, a late Hartnell-era adventure that is quite unlike most adventures before or since… As befits a…

The War Machines introduces Ben Jackson and Polly Wright, played by Michael Craze and Anneke Wills
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027 The War Machines

Doctor Who’s first producer, Verity Lambert, said in interviews long after she left the show that she didn’t approve of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, that he’d made the character part of ‘the establishment’, something which William Hartnell’s Doctor would never have done. She clearly never watched The War Machines. This 1966 tale, near the end of…

Doctor Who: The Savages
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026 The Savages

Writer Ian Stuart Black’s first story for Doctor Who contains a pure science-fiction premise as straightforward as they come. The Doctor, Steven and Dodo visit a seemingly-idyllic, advanced society on a distant world, only to discover that it’s maintained by foul means: the sophisticated, highly intelligent Elders live in comfort thanks to the life-essences they extract from…

The Gunfighters 3
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025 The Gunfighters

It may seem unremarkable, but The Gunfighters is important. Why? Oh, so many reasons, layered on top of one another to provide a fun, twisting adventure instantaneously and a fulfilling, satisfying story in retrospect to leave viewers with a smile on their faces. It’s notable for being one of only two on-screen serials in Doctor…

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