Doctor Who @ 50

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

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…

Dodo is kidnapped by a Monoid in The Ark
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023 The Ark

I started watching Doctor Who when Peter Davison was in his middle season.  Saw a lot of Doctors three, four and five before I got a chance to see the Hartnell stuff, and in all that time, I always wondered why we never saw repercussions of the Doctor’s visits. I know nuWho does that a…

William Hartnell and Peter Purves in Doctor Who: The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve
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022 The Massacre

Against a backdrop of religious persecution in 16th Century Paris, Steven is separated from the Doctor, who then reappears in the guise of an Abbott and is then murdered on the eve of a horrific genocide… The Massacre is a difficult one to review because, although its soundtrack thankfully remains, it doesn’t even have a…

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