Forty weeks of doggedness, cunning, and nifty writing by the 50 for 50 Countdown Team have all led to this, the final ten stories in the Tour’s 50 for 50 Countdown of the Greatest Stories in Doctor Who History.
To begin with this is the story which started the Time War, believe it or not, but when the Time Lords elected to interfere, with the Doctor as their instrument, in 1975’s Genesis of the Daleks, this was the first salvo in a story fragment which resonates all the way down to the 50th Anniversary.
Of course Genesis of the Daleks was a pivotal story in series history for so many reasons. For those (including myself) who found the Daleks to be uninteresting, the introduction of Davros literally gave a face (or sorts) to the Daleks which was extraordinarily well-realized both in story and in the performance of Michael Wisher. It would be a very, very long time before there was another Doctor Who story which didn’t feature Davros (2005: Dalek).
At six episodes Genesis of the Daleks gives viewers at home an opportunity to see a world in utter decline from multiple points of view, Kaleds and Thals, scientists and rebels, and it all works. As the stakes get raised and the travelers lose their lifeline in the form of the Time Ring, the desperation on the part of all parties move the Doctor to that pivotal ‘crossed wires’ point. In putting forward the arguments to Sarah Jane about what he should or should not do, Tom Baker encapsulated the whole of possibility for Doctor Who in general. You can’t change history? This was not just one line, but whole encyclopedias, and it was incredibly well-earned.
Like many of the stories written about recently, this story is not my actual #10 but rather #9. Which story will be designated an all-time classic next week? — David