I wanted to do something to mark the anniversary of the shows 50th but I didn’t want to write an overview of the series (what a nightmare that would be, and because I have kind of done my own spin on that with my ‘why I love Doctor Who’ article). Instead I thought I would assemble my top 50 moments from the classic series and add to the piece, once a day, leading right up to the anniversary. I would have included the new series – but I have already completed a ‘favourite NuWho moments’ article here, and I will include that at the tail end of this piece. The scenes/moments I have chosen aren’t always the show stopping ones (although sometimes they are) or the transitions between Doctors and companions (although sometimes they are) but moments in the series that make it unique and magical for me. Originally I was going to take the list and try and put it in some kind of order but that was proving impossible, I couldn’t determine which of these choices should be more important than the others so instead I have shoved the lot in a cup and I am going to be pulling them out randomly. This will (hopefully) give an interesting overview of the series. Feel free to agree or disagree but I hope through this list you can see why I adore this crazy old cult TV show so much and why I am so happy that it reached such a landmark birthday…
50 - The Five Doctors ‘I’m definitely not the man I was…thank goodness’
One of those stories that it is impossible not to overlook it’s scant faults and simply bask in the nostalgic glory of the piece, The Five Doctors is a riotous anniversary party where every man and his dog from the shows past turns up to celebrate.
I could have chosen so many scenes from this story, because there are lots of lovely moments that make you beam with fanboy delight – the first Doctor, Susan and the TARDIS in the same shot, the second Doctor and the Brig with Cybermen recalling The Invasion, the third Doctor meeting the Cybermen and tidying up that little gap plus his and Sarah’s magical meeting with Ainley’s Master (lovely to see Pertwee and Ainley meet and Sarah only missed a meeting with the Doctor’s arch enemy by three stories at one side of her tenure and one story at the other), Susan seeing the Master is another great moment as is the second Doctor, the Brigadier and the Yeti (the conditions under which they first met), the first Doctor seeing the Cybermen is like a portent of his own death, even though they are phantoms its wonderful to see Mike Yates and Liz Shaw together only missing each other by one story in the Pertwee era, the meeting between Tegan and Sarah is unfortunate however as the dazzling past meets the unfortunate present (although neither of them is especially good at pretend silent chatting), the Brigadier meeting Sarah and Tegan shows how long his association with the Doctor has been and it wouldn’t have been quiet right had Pertwee and Courtney not had a moment together…oh and the Brig gets to punch the Master.
It’s a delightful story, but what I was waiting for was the scene where the five Doctors all come together and wisely Terrance Dicks saves that for the climax. After the battle of wills between Doctors 1,2,3 and 5 with Borusa we are left with a plethora of characters all standing around waiting to be dispatched to their proper time and place. Terrance Dicks thrives on this kind of nightmare assignment and scripts a scene where pretty much all of the characters interact in some way, dishing out witty lines and basking in the sentiment of having so many collective Doctor Who treasures together for a unique occasion. It would certainly never happen quite like this again (except perhaps the upcoming Big Finish adventure, The Light at the End). Troughton and Pertwee indulge in their comedy feud, Sarah Jane is confused, the Brigadier has a sentimental moment being surrounding by so many versions of his closest friend, Susan gets to see how her Grandfather turns out and the current team of the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough get to play act the same sequence of events that lead to the Doctor on Earth in An Unearthly Child. ‘You mean you’re deliberately going on the run from your own people in a rackety old TARDIS?’ ‘Why not? After all, that’s how it all started…’