Any list which purports to enumerate the ‘Best X (of Y–insert your own integers here) of All Time’ should, by necessity, start humbly and build to (hopefully) a momentous finish. There should, indeed must, be room for stories, especially at the bottom of the list, which have elements which make them distinctive and memorable in the best way. With that said, off we go.
#60 — Planet of Fire — The placement of this story is no accident in this respect. It was also at the bottom of the 50 for 50 list. Perhaps lost in esteem because it was part of a run of really good stories in Season 21, the opinion here is that Planet of Fire is a good, though not great story. But my goodness it had so much to accomplish (Turlough and Kamelion out, Peri in, the Master) that if it didn’t make sense at all it would be understandable. But it did. For that alone it’s an underrated gem.
#59 — Gridlock — Another perhaps overlooked story from the gem of a Series which was Series 3, any story which produces an emotional reaction from the Tour Honchos, specifically when the singing occurs and when the Doctor reminisces about Gallifrey, must be noted and remarked upon. That’s good enough for us.
#58 — The Web of Fear — Not included for the 2013 list, this 1st UNIT story has been helped enormously by having been recovered and made available for everyone to see. There are so very few examples of Troughton (relative to everyone else) to look at that is raises the profile for the survivors. It would take until The Invasion to get UNIT to be more of a presence, which we’ll note later when that story is discussed.
#57 — Mindwarp — Along the same lines as PoF above, this middle child of the misbegotten Trial Season 23 had so much to do and should be notable for this alone–not to mention is was also the best story in its Season. But what elevates it for the Tour is that it has one of those oh-so-rare ‘magic moments’ in classic Who when the Doctor is pulled out of the story near the climax. This was the point where the gravity of the Trial really hit home.
#56 — City of Death — The Tour has a ‘peculiar’ position about City of Death, at least relative to overall fan opinion. Although it is the shining jewel of Season 17, we think this is a story to primarily be enjoyed, perhaps admired, but not loved. The sly smile which washes through the proceedings never goes away, then reduces to next-to-nothingness once over. Demonstrating that the crew actually went to Paris can only go so far.
#55 — The Enemy Within — So many moving parts in terms of the interests behind reviving Doctor Who for 90’s and beyond, this story actually in sentiment set the template for 2005 and beyond. The money is all there on screen, but the lofty expectations which came with it ultimately meant this was something of a missed opportunity. Paul McGann would’ve been a great Doctor if only given the chance.
More to follow …