As I mentioned when I talked about DWM #468 there must be something to say about The Time of the Doctor signalling 800 transmitted episodes of Doctor Who. This is that very article. And yes, if you click out the image on the left there are 800 copies of the TARDIS; and yes, it would have been more effective to re-colour some of them to write ‘800’ in the middle of the picture. Sadly I didn’t.
Meanwhile, back at the article…
Reflecting on 800 episodes
After some consideration I have decided to talk briefly about every 100th episode using the numbers from the free poster in DWM #468. I will give a sense of what each is about then consider the episodes together and join up whatever dots emerge. Number 800 will be a noted episode – how do the rest stack up?
The x00 episodes
#100 Escape Switch: and I get a result with the first selection in an episode of the First Doctor classic The Dalek’s Master Plan. Back in the day each episode had a specific title something once abandoned and now returned with the naming of episodes in recent years. What more can you ask from a story? Ten parts, great companions, Daleks and a romp through space and time.
This is one story I suspect most fans would like to have re-discovered.
The BBC’s micro synopsis is:
Steven and Sara are held hostage by the Daleks who demand that the Doctor hand over the vital taranium core, or his companions will be exterminated.
How much is hidden in these words; we get the taranium core and the companions named. Happy days!
#200 Fury from the Deep (episode 3): the one with the intelligent seaweed, this is a very John Wyndham influenced Second Doctor story with Jamie and Victoria. A tale of a refinery that sucks up a strange weed with telepathic powers allowing it to control minds. The resolution would be the scream of the companion which I remember my parents thinking was a bit weak (not the actual words). Six episodes in total, the final episode would see Victoria leave the TARDIS.
This did of course leave room for a new companion.
The BBC has this to say:
Despite the mounting evidence, Chief Robson refuses to acknowledge that matters have escalated beyond his ability to control them.
Tension is definitely building though it takes three more weeks to resolve matter
#300 The Daemons (episode 2): another good one in my view, this is my favourite Third Doctor story and one of my favourites of all. A real Wynhdam / Quatermass influenced gem with plenty to enjoy including Morris dancing. We have the Master in great form, witchcraft and demonic aliens.
Stir in a dash of UNIT and you have a great story.
The BBC’s brief summary is:
Devil’s End is sealed off from the outside world by a heat barrier. The Doctor and Jo return to the barrow where they are confronted by the gargoyle, Bok.
With all that we also have the archaic spelling of Daemons over Demons. Does life get any better?
#400 Revenge of the Cybermen (episode 3): just a few episodes past Genesis of the Daleks we get a sold Fourth Doctor story. We have the cybermen, space station Nerva, Sarah Jane and Harry. Plenty to get our teeth into. We have plenty of transmats and cybermats; we even have the gold allergy of the cybermen. We have a time ring with the TARDIS only appearing at the end of the story.
The BBC’s distilled wisdom is:
Nerva Beacon is invaded by the Cybermen who are intent on destroying Voga.
Who’d be a Vogan! (As opposed to Vogon). As to the cybermen this would be their last appearance for seven years.
#500 The Armageddon Factor (episode 1): another Fourth Doctor story and the one that would conclude the Key to Time series and bring us Lalla Ward as Princess Astra acting against Mary Tamm’s Romana. I have plenty of good memories of this story and the Key to Time as a whole.
This time the BBC sums things up nicely:
Looking for the final segment of the Key to Time, the Doctor and Romana arrive on the planet Atrios which is in a major nuclear war with the neighbouring world of Zeos.
This episode has a bit of K9 and the frequently used mistaken identity device. Those were the days!
#600 The Kings Demons (episode 1): and we move onto the Fifth Doctor along with Tegan and Turlough. The enemy is The Master and this is also the story that introduced Kamelion. This was almost a pure historical story. A couple along was The Five Doctors – never mind we came close.
The BBC’s view is:
The TARDIS appears at a medieval joust between Frenchman Sir Gilles and Hugh Fitzwilliam. But King John seems more curious than alarmed, as is Sir Gilles…
This pretty much sums up the whole story – some jousting and some people in disguise. Maybe not the most remarkable but of interest nonetheless.
#700 Aliens of London and disconcertingly we are suddenly in with the Ninth Doctor. Along with Rose we meet the Slitheen and get an accidental link to Torchwood. This also introduce Harriet Jones to the series.
A short BBC take:
The Doctor takes Rose home. But when a spaceship crash-lands in the Thames, London is closed off, and the whole world goes on Red Alert.
While the Doctor investigates the alien survivor, Rose discovers that her home is no longer a safe haven. Who are the Slitheen?
We were still relishing the return of the show and put up with flatulent aliens. Plenty to like though maybe not a classic
I enjoyed that romp through the past and am surprised at how many great moments a handful of random episodes can conjure up. Maybe I will do a random romp another time.