50 for 50 — The Greatest Stories in Doctor Who History — #18

In the realms of ‘classic’ Doctor Who there is the notion of the ‘big five’ classic Doctor Who monsters, these being (in order in appearance) the Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Ice Warriors, and Sontarans.  These monsters made their first appearance in Seasons 1, 4, 5, 5, and 11 respectively.  While it’s debatable whether these are the best five monsters in the whole of classic Who is up to the individual, but there is one thing they all have in common…. They all made multiple appearances in the series, and that is perhaps the main reason why, for instance, the Ice Warriors became indelible, and eventually made their way into nu-Who.

In the category of one-off monsters however, there are many contenders for the throne of ‘best remembered’ but clearly only one rises above the fray, so much so that their inclusion in the upcoming 50th Anniversary Special was cheered.  They are the Zygons from Terror of the Zygons, #18 in the countdown.

Director Douglas Camfield’s next-to-last Doctor Who effort, and technically the next-to-last UNIT Story, this was a stylish, almost ethereal tale of the Zygon shape-shifters, beloved because of their organic design and the human-sides of nature, most importantly the Duke of Forgill played by John Woodnutt.  The location filming worked beautifully and captured the strangeness of the Scottish seaside.  Seeing Tom Baker in tam and kilt was something to behold.  The seminal remembered moment in the story was Tom Baker throwing the homing beacon back into the mouth (essentially) of the Skarasen, or Loch Ness Monster.  To be charitable this was not a special effects triumph, but to this fan he thought the SFX were there to be laughed at.  Well this is how we learn.

Originally Terror of the Zygons was intended to finish Tom Baker’s first season (12) but was held back to begin the all-time classic 13th.  That’s the reason Harry left the Tardis at the end of the story, though he would be back later in the season.  The Zygons will be back in November 2013.  It’s been too long.  — David

Alan’s #18 — A Good Man Goes to War
Andy’s #18 — Kinda
Steve’s #18 — The Claws of Axos

#17 Next week…