It’s February, so it’s the Second Doctor theme here on Red Rocket Rising, and how better to discuss the cosmic hobo than to ask the Monty Python Romans question: What did the second Doctor ever do for the show? It’s 2019 now and Patrick Troughton’s main run as the Doctor was 1966-1969, almost 50 years!
If pushed, the Second Doctor is my Doctor (whatever that means) and I think he cemented the show in our hearts and minds. I’ll explain why…
The Second Doctor
The most important thing was to manage the transition from Tenth Planet to The Power of the Daleks. Patrick Troughton stamped an identity and the producers were cunning in starting immediately with the Doctor’s greatest enemy. This is really a production note not am in-series point, so I’ll move on. I’d like to pick up the idea of judging him by the quality of his enemies (with apologies to Oscar Wilde).
The enemies of the Second Doctor
Let’s just list them, story by story:
|The Power of the Daleks||Daleks|
|The Highlanders||English soldiers|
|The Underwater Menace||Atlantean Priests|
|The Macra Terror||Macra|
|The Faceless Ones||The Chameleons|
|The Evil of the Daleks||Daleks|
|The Tomb of the Cybermen||Cybermen|
|The Abominable Snowmen||Great Intelligence, Yeti|
|The Ice Warriors||Ice Warriors|
|The Enemy of the World||Salamander|
|The Web of Fear||Great Intelligence, Yeti|
|Fury From the Deep||Intelligent Seaweed|
|The Wheel in Space||Cybermen|
|The Dominators||Dominators, Quarks|
|The Mind Robber||Land of Fiction characters|
|The Invasion||Vaughn, Cybermen|
|The Seeds of Death||Ice Warriors|
|The Space Pirates||Space Pirates|
|The War Games||The War Lord|
I’ll gloss over the Krotons and Quarks, and focus on what I think are the three key villains: Cybermen, Great Intelligence/ Yeti and Ice Warriors.
The First Doctor‘s time was heavily punctuated by Dalek stories, and while the Second Doctor faces them as well, it’s more than fair to say his major opponent was the Cybermen. Many people (me included) list Tomb of the Cybermen as a favourite episode, a plaudit given to other adventures as well. The Cybermen have been a major part of the series return in 2005, alongside the Daleks. They’ve yet to meet Jodie Whittaker but they did cause Capaldi’s regeneration.
The Web of Fear is another notable story and gave a second outing for the Yeti and Great Intelligence. Yeti have yet to come back and we’ve had one Great Intelligence thread in modern Doctor Who leading to the events of Name of the Doctor. It’s a villain best used sparingly but noted all the same.
Finally the Ice Warriors, noble warriors of Mars, one of the few villains to be allowed to evolve in the show’s history and become goodies under the Third Doctor (tbc). Modern Doctor Who has been varied for the Ice Warriors: perhaps the only strong story being Empress of Mars.
The Mind Robber was brilliant though a one-off and I’d love to see the missing intelligent seaweed episodes restored.
So my thought is the Second Doctor gave room for the Cybermen to develop and in a short burst of notable episodes brought us other great villains.
Do you agree? Let me know in the comments!