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The Hartnell & Troughton Stories

Reviewed by Gerald Joblin

An Unearthly Child: Different from anything else ever made and a perfect way to begin Doctor Who.

The Edge of Destruction: The plot is a complex masterpiece and a rather well-paced story.

The Aztecs: Much of the dialogue had very Shakespearean qualities about it, especially those between the Aztecs alone. The BBC seems far more at ease with historical stories.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth: The original Doctor Who alien invasion story, and in my opinion the most realistic in terms of characters and settings, London had a very World War Two feel about it. It was well drawn out and interesting. The mystery is established from scene one, with the Roboman committing suicide and the excitement continues throughout.

The Chase: Two top notch episodes (The Death of Time and The Planet of Decision) against four dull ones.

The Time Meddler: Unlike its predecessor it holds the viewer's attention throughout, without once letting up. And what a cliffhanger and revelation when it's discovered that the Monk has a TARDIS! The scene with the explanation of the faulty chameleon circuit is a brilliant mix of continuity recapping and foreshadowing. The story still compares favourably today.

The Tomb of the Cybermen: On a par with any other existing Troughton story. It has an atmosphere of cold and claustrophobia.

The Dominators: The Dulcians seem to be Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman's answer to the ThaIs. Suitably the students acted as though they were performing in a 1970s post-apocalyptic SF film, while the elders reminded me of the Time Lords from The Deadly Assassin. I loved the contrast between the ruthless Rago and sadistic Toba and the irony at the end when they are destroyed not by armed retaliation but by the Doctor turning their own power against them. As the production team of the day's season opener, this story strongly represents the general classic feel of Season Six.

The Krotons: Starts off straight away with Robert Holmes use of ideas he would reuse in later stories. The Gonds' self-perpetuating slavery is totally believable. When my brother and I first watched the story we didn't notice that the rockslide at the cliffhanger of episode 3 was foam rubber — we were riveted!

The War Games: Makes out ten episodes with no padding at all and a whole lot happening, with the Doctor and friends trying to convince people they are not spies. The plot itself is marvellous, a rather inspiring story in a rather inspiring last season for the Second Doctor and the sixties.

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).