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Analysing The Top Doctor Who Stories (DWM 1998)

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

genesis-of-the-daleks-dvd

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

tom-baker-tardis

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...

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150 comments
Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

Mr Tardy, Mr Flowy, Mr MrRazza,.....can I just say that I've thoroughly enjoyed tonight's proceedings. Its been a while since I laughed this much on this site,.....so thank you. 

You're all delightful chaps. 

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

I need to watch some of Colin Baker, he's the only Doctor I haven't seen anything of...but I'm a bit apprehensive...I've heard a lot of...well...unpleasant things... o_O



MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday
MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday

I can't help but think this comments section must be what a Doctor Who old people's home would be like. Some slightly eccentric conversations, outdated cultural references, moaning about decade-old episodes...

"Do you remember the Zarbi? They were annoying" ... "What about that Tony Blackburn?" ... "How rubbish did you think this was?" ... "Brucie from STRICTLY!? You wippersnapper!" ... "Of course, my favourite was always..." 

Anyway... Nurse! Nurse! It's time for my nap!


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Also, I don't understand why McCoy doesn't get that much love for his portrayal of the Doctor, from what I've seen of the fandom anyway; I think he's absolutely brilliant myself. I love his dark and brooding demeanour, his astute comedic timing, and his wonderful relationship with his companion and friend, Ace. He's definitely, as good ol' Brucie from Strictly would say, my favourite! 

Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

Er.....hello.....couple of quick queries. Firstly, who here has seen 'Timelash'? And secondly, just how sh*te did you think it was? 

I'm sorry, I realise every story is defined by the talent/budget/technical limitations/creative ethos of its time - and therefore can't necessarily be judged exclusively by modern day televisual standards - but, blimey, 'Timelash' is just astronomically, awful, bad and awful. And bad.

Dull meandering plot. Boring uninvolving alien culture. Tired clichéd characters. Ham fisted direction. Bad acting (yes Herbert I mean you). Tinsel. Superfluous "I've been here before" sub-plot. And the absolute worst ever use of "I'll explain later" as a means of conveniently side stepping a sodding great "How the f*ck did he get out of that?" moment. 'Timelash' is, for me, 'Doctor Who' at its worst. 

Apart from the make up for the Borad. 

That was quite good.

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

So far the Classics I've really, really enjoyed are: The Edge of Destruction (9/10), The Tomb of the Cybermen (9/10), Frontier in Space (9/10), Genesis of the Daleks (10/10), Terror of the Zygons (9/10), The Deadly Assassin(10/10), The Talons of Weng-Chiang (9/10), The Caves of Androzani (10/10), Remembrance of the Daleks (10/10) and Battlefield (9/10). I can't wait to watch more (as soon as I get more money that is!).

Unibot
Unibot

I've heard before that The City of Death was originally panned as "too silly" and only developed a good reputation years later. As for the pace of episodes, one of the list of Hartnell episodes to watch, people seem to always recommend his historicals and such or The Unearthly Child. The latter has a slow pace to the first episode (although some famous dialogue) and the other episodes of that story are weak. I found I really, really enjoyed Hartnell's Dalek Invasion of Earth and would recommend it: faster pace, interesting developments, great dialogue, grand scope. I have to agree with a lot of the ordering of these lists - especially the list of Doctors (I would have Hartnell higher and McCoy and Davidson lower) and the list of Regeneration Stories (I would have War Games higher - introducing Gallifrey was a brave move and well conceived ). I often find nowadays we tend to praise Troughton so much to the detriment of Tom. Pat was great and deserves his second spot here, but Tom was possibly the only incidence where The Doctor elected to play himself in the role!!

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

I really want to keep watching more Classic Who, but I resolved to watch them all in order from here on out and The Highlanders bores me.

MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday
MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday

Every countdown or list was read out in my head by Tony Blackburn to some groovy 1960s instrumental music. It's late and it's definitely retro.

Fan-tastic pop pickers!


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Very interesting article too! It's interesting to see how everything compares from viewers responses in the 90's! 

Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

@Sir James Bond

@TardisBoy It's another case of the actor being blamed for the EPISODES being bad (or in McGann's case, episode). In all honesty Colin Baker's Doctor is actually quite good, just as good as most of the others, anyway. Or at least his portrayal was. He was let down by the writing, and some of the asinine decisions made about his Doctor on his behalf - the most obvious being the outfit. Baker himself loathed that outfit (of course he did, he had to wear the bloody thing), but it was forced upon him by the show runners, and of course HE got the blame for it.


His Doctor was also surprisingly dark; his regeneration went "wrong" and he was left with mildly psychotic tendancies as I remember rightly, which was something new and interesting. 


He also had the smokinest companion EVER; Peri :) . Seriously, his episodes are worth watching for her and her outfits alone....

PK-S
PK-S

Ha - the below conversation was hilarious. You three ought to form a sort of commenter comedian troupe..

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

As are you Mr Bond! And yes, I've enjoyed it very much tonight as well, thank you all :P


Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

@TardisBoy It's another case of the actor being blamed for the EPISODES being bad (or in McGann's case, episode). In all honesty Colin Baker's Doctor is actually quite good, just as good as most of the others, anyway. Or at least his portrayal was. He was let down by the writing, and some of the asinine decisions made about his Doctor on his behalf - the most obvious being the outfit. Baker himself loathed that outfit (of course he did, he had to wear the bloody thing), but it was forced upon him by the show runners, and of course HE got the blame for it.


His Doctor was also surprisingly dark; his regeneration went "wrong" and he was left with mildly psychotic tendancies as I remember rightly, which was something new and interesting. 


He also had the smokinest companion EVER; Peri :) . Seriously, his episodes are worth watching for her and her outfits alone....

NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@TardisBoy Try 'Vengeance on Varos'. 

A great story and which quite accurately, way ahead of it's time, predicts today's TV voting culture.

Plus it's got 'Sil', who is wonderfully hammy but slimey, and certainly overdue for a reappearance.

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

And that accent! Who can forget those scrumptious rolls on the r's! 

Chris502
Chris502

@TardisBoy He is seen as the man who ended the show, which is just unfair. His more clown approach in S24 is sometimes what he is defined by, which is just unfair. And sometimes people just focus on his bad stories, guess what that is..yep, unfair. Imagine juduging 10 based on fear her, love and monsters and new earth! Stories that aren't the best for his era.

MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday
MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday

@Sir James Bond It's so reassuring to hear someone else say this. 

I voluntarily subjected myself to it online not too long ago, which meant I also got to enjoy the bar at the bottom taunting me about just how much of it I still had to watch. I was bored out my head (forgettable to the degree that until I read the word 'Borad' I didn't think I had seen it), and spent most of it picking the crumbs out from under the keys of my laptop keyboard. 

Personally, 97% sh*te, 3% good makeup.

NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@Sir James Bond Agreed Mr Bond.

'Timelash' is absolutely awful, apart possibly from the Borad and the random Jon Pertwee mural.

But you did neglect to mention the glove puppet aliens ...

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

And my favourite Classic Serial out of them all is Remembrance, I love me a good Dalek ep! They're my favourite monster after all. 


chrisew
chrisew

@Unibot The only Hartnell historical that has aged well for me is The Aztecs. It's faster paced at only four episodes, and there's some nice character stuff in it. And it deals with the issue of meddling with time far more than any other Hartnell story. By Reign of Terror, I find myself dreading the historicals. I'm actually up to The Highlanders in my watching of all the stories, and I find myself both happy that it's the last historical, and dreading sitting through it.

Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

@MrRazza Ah Tony Blackburn.....he'd have been a great Doctor. The age defying clobber; the otherwordly stare; the strange alien life form on his head. "





Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

@TardisBoy In the 1890s? It would be good to see what Captain Latimer and the Paternoster Gang  think (said he daring to intrude with his imprudent New Who joke in this page of Classic Who nostalgia!)

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Is that the one with Clara's gran? Sheila Reid? Might give it a try soon...


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Oh I know he's been on many other things such as "Play Your Cards Right", "The Price is Right", and "The Generation Game". It's just he used that particular catchphrase on Strictly quite a lot, and it's the show most people would recognise ;)


NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@Chris502 @TardisBoy Absolutely. 

Sylvester was a temporary sticking plaster on an already condemned show. 

It really wasn't his fault. He did his very best. 


Sir James Bond
Sir James Bond

@TardisBoy I love 'Remembrance'. A very special story, and one that turned me from a mere 'interested viewer' into a fully fledged card carrying fan (you had to back in those days). 

'Remembrance' holds a special place in my heart. 

Whereas 'Timelash' holds a special place in my arse.

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Seem's I'm the butt of the jokes tonight for some reason :P


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

90's as in the decade...I thought that was clear :P


NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@TardisBoy Yep, that's the one. She plays 'Etta' and she is very good! 

Go for it, i don't think you'll be disappointed :)

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

I'll see what's lurking on DailyMotio- I mean...the DVD store....the next time I'm around there... *cough* 


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

More salt should do the trick! 


TardisBoy
TardisBoy

Plus it had the Special Weapons Dalek! A complete badass! I'm shocked it hasn't made a triumphant return in New Who yet, although I did see him trying to peak his cannon round the corner in Asylum


NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@TardisBoy My apologies. 

The end of a long day, and i was unfairly short with you :) 

TardisBoy
TardisBoy

I appreciate you changing your comment to something less rude than the original. :P 


NeutronFlow
NeutronFlow

@TardisBoy  That was clear Mr TB, as my like of your comment was supposed to suggest. 


Sorry my attempt at humour was lost on you, ill try harder next time :)

MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday
MrRazza, Awaiting Results on Thursday

@TardisBoy NeutronFlow is clearly in a cheeky mood this evening. 

We could always try and sort that out by reversing the polarity of NeutronFlow... *Points sonic screwdriver with raised eyebrow*