Analysing The Top Doctor Who Stories (DWM 1998)

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Guest contributor Thomas Capon analyses the top episodes according to DWM from 1998.

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The results are in and soon Doctor Who Magazine will announce the outcome of their survey to find the fan favourite Doctor Who episode of the last 50 years. In the run up to this I thought that it would be interesting to look at previous results of DWM surveys in order to gain an insight into what episodes are loved universally by fans and which ones are least loved. Let’s start with the classic series, and dissect the results of the 1998 survey from DWM 265.

The Top 10

  1. Genesis of the Daleks (4)
  2. The Talons of Weng-Chiang (4)
  3. The Caves of Androzani (5)
  4. Pyramids of Mars (4)
  5. The Robots of Death (4)
  6. Remembrance of the Daleks (7)
  7. City of Death (4)
  8. The Tomb of the Cybermen (2)
  9. The Evil of the Daleks (2)
  10. The Web of Fear (2)

Back in 98, it is clear that they loved Tom Baker. 50% of the top 10 are 4th Doctor adventures with the only non-Tom story in the top 5 being Peter Davison’s The Caves of Androzani. Patrick Troughton puts up a good fight with 3 stories and McCoy’s Remembrance of the Daleks completes the top ten.

The Bottom 10

  1. The Twin Dilemma (6)
  2. The Space Pirates (2)
  3. Timelash (6)
  4. The Underwater Menace (2)
  5. Time-Flight (5)
  6. Time of the Rani (7)
  7. Underworld (4)
  8. Paradise Towers (7)
  9. Delta and the Bannermen (7)
  10. The Gunfighters (1)

Clearly 1998 was not a good year for season 24. Three of the 4 stories of that season make the bottom 10 (Dragonfire ranks not much better at 124 out of 156 stories). While McCoy is clearly having a bad time, Troughton and Colin Baker also have multiple stories in the bottom 10 with Colin Baker’s The Twin Dilemma given the title of the worst Who story of the Classic Series. Hartnell and Tom Baker also contribute to the bottom ten with Underworld and The Gunfighters.

Average Rankings

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Below are the calculated average placing of a story from each Doctor’s era:

Doctor

Average Ranking

4th

67

2nd

70

3rd

72

5th

78

8th

88

7th

91

1st

96

6th

97

Note: Multi-doctor stories and Mission the the Unknown as part of the era of the incumbent Doctor at the time of airing.

Not surprisingly the fan favourite Fourth Doctor leads the pack with a nice low scoring 67 while Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor finishes in last place with an average score of 97.

Regeneration Story Rankings:

The-Caves-of-Androzani-d

  1. The Caves of Androzani (3)
  2. Logopolis (19)
  3. The Tenth Planet (26)
  4. The War Games (31)
  5. Planet of the Spiders (68)
  6. The TV Movie (88)
  7. Time of the Rani (151)

Note: Brackets show the story’s overall ranking out of 156.

Season Average Ranking

In this section, we’re going to look at each season and find the average ranking for a story in that season.

Top 5 Seasons

Doctor

Season

Average Ranking

3rd

7

32

4th

14

35

4th

13

40

2nd

5

45

7th

26

50

While Tom Baker continues to dominate, it is Jon Pertwee’s first season which takes the prize here. Also the last classic series of Doctor Who manages to creep its way into the top 5 with an impressive average score of 50.

Bottom 5 Seasons

Doctor

Season

Average Ranking

7th

24

143

6th

23

111

1st

2

108

1st

3

103

4th

17

103

I admit that seeing Douglas Adam’s Season 17 on this list took me by surprise. Perhaps it’s because The City of Death is the most noteworthy story in that season and we saw earlier that it made it into the top 10 stories. Still it seems that it isn’t enough to save the rest of Season 17 from sliding into the bottom 5.

While it’s sad to see Season 2 and 3 also make the list, it should be noted that seasons back in the 60s often had eight or nine stories (in comparison: season 7 had just 4) meaning that the probability of having more below average stories is higher.

Full List

Doctor

Season

Average Ranking

5th

(The Five Doctors)

23

3rd

7

32

4th

14

35

4th

13

40

2nd

5

45

7th

26

50

4th

12

57

3rd

10

58

4th

18

58

3rd

8

73

5th

19

73

1st/2nd

4

75

1st

1

80

7th

25

80

5th/6th

21

83

6th

22

84

8th

(The TV Movie)

88

2nd

6

90

4th

15

91

4th

16

92

3rd

9

93

3rd

11

96

5th

20

100

1st

3

103

4th

17

103

1st

2

108

6th

23

111

7th

24

143

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found that interesting. Tomorrow we’ll look at the 2009 results and see how the fanbase’s taste has change over time as well as discovering how successful the new Doctors (9 and 10) are in comparison with the Classics.

Step back in time...