Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Doctor Who, where I over-analyse each of the Doctors to find out which is best.
The way this is going to run is very simple: I take ten categories and give each Doctor points 1 to 10 along the way. Now some of this may seem familiar since I will be repeating myself, but I plan to have this be a be all and end all look at my favourite fictional character. So join me each week as work out which of the Doctors in my absolute favourite.
It’s unfair that he’s often referred to as ‘bland’ by most of his other incarnations, and it’s not hard to see why. Despite being the second-youngest actor to play the role he seems to spend a lot of his time hiding in the background, being a somewhat passive character. He has a lot of good moments, but lacks a lot of energy. Good, but sadly forgettable. 6/10.
The Quintessential British Gentleman was the brief, and what’s more British than cricket? His crickety clothes and crickety shoes and a decorative vegetable (which finally is given a purpose in Peter Davison’s story since he wanted a bloody explanation for the stupid thing). The brief of this Doctor was flawed to start with but Peter Davison really manages to pull it off. It’s got some narm charm to it. Silly, but still functional as well. 6/10.
The Story: To describe the story of Castrovalva is to describe several all happening at the same time. It’s not until about halfway through that we actually reach the titular city; and even then the Doctor is a coma for most of it. The focus is mainly on the companions, which would be great… if one of them wasn’t the insufferable Adric and the other the annoying Tegan. There’s a story there, mixed in with clever science-fiction… It just takes a lot of effort to find. 3/10.
The Doctor’s Introduction: Well he spends most of the story in either a coma or being amnesiac, but we do get glimpses of genius here and there. The first is having the Doctor relive his old personalities in a line or two, which is a neat concept that they should totally do again at some point. The second is, after asking for the exit and having several different directions pointed out to him, having him snark â€œthat’s democracy for youâ€. Two good little moments… in a serial that has nothing else to really offer. 2/10.
Overall: The Fifth Doctor is, at a stretch, probably my ‘least favourite’ Doctor for no other reason than because he was always a bit bland… and this is the story that kind of proves it. Without anything to work with poor Peter Davison is left trying to think of something interesting to do with the little he has there. It’s not his fault, mind you… the script just failed him miserable. 3/10.
Final Verdict: 8/30 aka 2.7/10
Adric: Lets just say there’s a reason why people won’t entirely upset when this character was eventually killed off. He’s bratty, he’s annoying, he sells the Doctor out to the bad guys; and honestly it’s only his death that allows him to be remembered even in the slightest. 0/10.
Tegan Jovanka: What they were trying to do was an interesting idea. What if the Doctor and his companions didn’t get along? Interesting idea… terrible creation. Janet Fielding does her best, but the shrill Australian seems constantly miserable and would be happier in the TARDIS. She gets better when she comes back, but the character could have been written better. 3/10.
Nyssa: Again, another interesting idea. She’s not from Earth, so she’s more like Mr. Spock than Bones McCoy. But while Sarah Sutton also does a good job with the material, she’s ultimately left with not much to work with. The character is designed to be flat and boring, ergo watching her is kinda boring. 3/10.
Vislor Turlough: An interesting idea (I’m only gonna say that one more time, I promise), he was a companion tasked by one of the Doctor’s old enemies to kill the Doctor. While the drama sort of exists for a few episode, it quickly gets played out. After that we’re left with a companion who’s a bit of a coward, more concerned with saving his own skin than others. Again, great idea, but ultimately not explored well enough. At least not until Mickey Smith came along in 2005. 3/10.
Kamelion: The next robot companion, he was made non-operational when his creator unfortunately died in an accident. He was nothing more than a clunky prop. But hey, the story introduced that he can shape-shift into anyone. His final story does the same thing. So clearly they must have used him a lot, having him shape-shift into one-off actors on the cheap who could help the Doctor and save the day… and instead they chose to seemingly forget about him. A real shame, since it was an interesting idea with so much potential wasted. It’s not till the comics with the 6th Doctor that we get a shape-shifting companion. 0/10.
Peri Brown: She doesn’t appear for much, but she’s a good companion. Looks after herself, doesn’t get too annoying, shouts down the Master (and that’s points right there). What’s disappointing is that she works so much better with this Doctor than with Six. 5/10.
Final Tally: 14/50 aka 2.8/10
Honourable Mentions: The Five Doctors was some of the first Five Doctor I saw but, like I said, multi-doctor stories aren’t going to count in this category. Resurrection of the Daleks would also win on nostalgia value, but has some flaws that keep it from being truly great.
Story: The Caves of Androzani won best story in 2009, and it’s not hard to see why. However since it is a regeneration story I’ll talk about it at the appropriate place not to sound repetitive. Still a fantastic story though. 10/10.
Monster: Sharaz Jek is such a sympathetic character I’d be hesitant to say he’s the villain. He’s got a lovely complex backstory that shows that he’s not entirely in the wrong. He wears a mask most of the time, leaving only the actor’s voice as a way of portraying the emotion. And he does it perfectly. Add onto that some great make-up that isn’t seen enough, and you have a great baddie. 10/10.
Nostalgia Factor: Sadly I can’t give it many points in this regard, since I never saw this as a kid nor could I appreciate it when I saw it later. However I watched it back now and realised just how great the story actually was. 9/10.
Best Moment: The Doctor sacrificing his life for his companion. Again I’ll go into more detail a bit later on, but it’s such a brilliant â€œDoctorâ€ moment that it’s worth noting. 10/10.
Ranking: If I had only twelve episodes of Doctor Who to watch, and I had to rank those twelve from best to worse, this would be number nine (shocking I know, but nostalgia is a huge factor remember and that still makes it my ninth favourite story out of 243), giving it a score of 2/10
Final Verdict: 41/50 aka 8.2/10
Dishonourable Mentions: Black Orchid is a pure historical story… that’s as boring as all sin. Meanwhile The King’s Demons involves the Master having the brilliant plan… to replace King Richard with a shape-changing robot… Yeah and that’s not the stupidest thing he’s done.
Story: Time-Flight is… I think the best way to sum this episode up is that a Concorde aeroplane accidentally flies into prehistoric times and is confronted by a stranger sorcerer… who turns out to be The Master in disguise for… well, for no real reason at all whatsoever. Honestly the story is just so goofy it’s kind of endearing in its own little way. 6/10.
Monster: Well the monster is The Master, who is awesome… Batshit crazy, yes, but still kinda awesome in his madness. 6/10.
Guilty Pleasure Factor: It’s such a goofy little story that it flies straight into the ‘so bad it’s good’ territory. I can’t hate a story that just tries so hard and yet fails so miserably. If you want to have a good laugh to see where all the bad parts of Doctor Who live, it’s this one. 7/10.
Worst Moment: The Master is disguised… for pretty much his own pleasure it seems, since he doesn’t need to wear it when the Doctor is about. It’s both incredibly stupid and incredibly funny at the same time. 6/10.
Ranking: Ranking these twelve episodes from favourite to less favourite, this one comes in at number three, giving it a final score of 8/10.
Final Verdict: 33/50 aka 6.6/10
Best Speech/Moment(Television only)
Now this Doctor, like some of the others, wasn’t known for his grand speeches. However there are two that stick out to me. The first is in The Caves of Androzani, when he plans to crash a ship into a planet since he can’t land it, refusing to give any quarter:
â€œ(As the planet grows larger on the monitor, Krelper makes quick work of cutting through the metal door.)
STOTZ [OC]: That’ll do.
(The hole is too hot to go through, but Stotz has a clear shot at the Doctor in the pilot’s seat.)
STOTZ: All right, snoop. Hands in the air and over here.
STOTZ: Because I’ll kill you if you don’t.
DOCTOR: Not a very persuasive argument actually, Stotz, because I’m going to die soon anyway. Unless, of course
STOTZ: I’ll give you to a count of three.
DOCTOR: Unless, of course, I can find the antidote. I owe it to my friend to try because I got her into this. So you see, I’m not going to let you stop me now!
(As the planet surface fills the screen, the Doctor shuts his eyes.)â€
It’s a very good moment that shows the Doctor’s determination. It was a fantastic cliffhanger. However the second comes from Earthshock, when he confronts the Cyber Leader.
â€œLEADER: I see that Time Lords have emotional feelings.
DOCTOR: Of sorts.
LEADER: Surely a great weakness in one so powerful?
DOCTOR: Emotions have their uses.
LEADER: They restrict and curtail the intellect and logic of the mind.
DOCTOR: They also enhance life! When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?
LEADER: These things are irrelevant.
DOCTOR: For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!â€
It’s that last line there that really makes me like this Doctor. Sure most of his stories are irrelevant, but it’s the small, beautiful events in them that make them all that great. 7/10.
Now here’s a Doctor that only benefited from being expanded upon. The Fifth Doctor will probably forever be doomed as being ‘the nice one’, which is a shame considering Peter Davison’s talents. And while his TV stories often put him on the wrong foot, standing in the background passively, the audio dramas and books are a different matter. Here we get more of the Doctor, a greater depth to him. For one he’s much funnier, snarking at times and pointing out his weariness with the world at others. They have more fun with his boyish looks than before, giving him that sense of an old man in a young man’s body. A lot about him in the expanded universe is interesting and fun. He gets more to do now then he ever did on TV. 7/10.
The Story: Ultimately this is a story that doesn’t so much feature the Doctor, but rather involves the Doctor just trying to get away as fast as he can after he and his companion get poisoned. He also inadvertently sets off a civil war while doing this. This story topped the list as ‘best story of all time’ five years ago and still sits in the top five… and it’s not hard to see why. This is Doctor Who at its best. While I could go into great detail, I’ll leave it to you to find out for yourself. 9/10
The Final Moments: The Doctor carries his companion back to the TARDIS and gives her the last remaining antidote, leaving himself to die. As he lies there his past companions encourage him to live while the Master encourages him to die. If that sounds somewhat familiar it’s because Moffat and Gatiss used the concept in the Sherlock episode â€œThe Last Vowâ€. Sure they did it better, but it works great here. The Doctor’s last words, â€œAdric?â€, sum it up beautifully. But more on that in a moment. 10/10.
Overall: The defining moment of the Fifth Doctor’s run was that Adric was The Companion Who Died. He’s remembered now more for that fact than whatever he did in life. It was an earth-shattering twist that no one expected. So come a few years later and what happens? The Doctor once again leads his companion into a deadly situation. And spends the entire episode trying to save a woman who, lets face it, he has only just met. Because that’s what this entire story is about: Redemption. It’s the Fifth Doctor atoning for his sins by giving up his very life to save his companion. It’s often overlooked but very much an important part of the character’s story. The Fifth Doctor lost a companion, ergo it’s only right that it should end with his thematic saving of one. Honestly it really is one of the greatest closures to a Doctor’s run out there. 10/10.
Final Verdict: 29/30 aka 9.7/10
There’s very little in this run to recommend to the average viewer. A lot of what gets done here is repeated better elsewhere in the history’s run. The companions are annoying, the Doctor is somewhat boring and the stories run the course of good to awful. The good moments are great, the bad moments are rather hilariously bad. 5/10.
Final Verdict: 61/100
So there you have it. My look at this Doctor. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Tune in next week for my take on the next Doctor on the list. Till next time.