‘Modern’ Doctor Who is a mindset which gained particular purchase almost ten (gasp!) years ago when the new series, and RTD’s involvement in the launch, were first announced. And certainly thinking of the Hartnell era, ‘modern’ isn’t exactly the adjective which springs to mind. But Doctor Who, as we all know, is about change, even during the Hartnell era. Production techniques were, given the overall production load and time constraints, always in evolution. But ‘modern’ in the context of #34 in the Top 50 Countdown, is what I consider to be the first truly modern Doctor Who story, one which, believe it or not, laid the groundwork for the UNIT era of the seventies.
#34 — The War Machines
Coming in nearly at the end of the Hartnell era this story takes place in modern day London and with Polly coming aboard in her first story, it suddenly felt like Doctor Who had made a crucial pivot turn (under the producership of Innes Lloyd) to a different sensibility in storytelling. This was a story where you saw the Doctor interacting, much like Pertwee would do years later, with people and characters who were pushing the bounds of earth-bound science (such as in Inferno or The Mind of Evil). And it all felt very modern.
Of course the story is not without it’s problems. Poor old Dodo simply disappears halfway through the story. Very odd. And WOTAN, as should be thoroughly expected, hasn’t dated well at all.
DOC-TORRR WHO IS RE-QUIRED.
The Top 50 Countdown is already one-third over. We soldier on with #33 next week.