Analysing The Top Doctor Who Stories (DWM 2014)

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Guest contributor Thomas Capon offers an in depth analysis of the top episodes from DWM’s recent poll.

caves-day-genesis

Previously we’ve considered the 1998 DWM survey and the 2009 DWM Survey. Today the results of the most recent survey were released and are viewable here on DWTV. We’re going to look at the results in a bit more detail and at the same time do some comparisons to the results of previous surveys from both DWM and here at DWTV.

Top 10 Comparisons

You’ve no doubt already seen and analysed the results of the top 10 stories and the bottom 10 stories. Rather than look at them in any detail, here’s some tables for comparison:

Best

2014

2009

1998

The Day of the Doctor

The Caves of Androzani

Genesis of the Daleks

Blink

Blink

The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Genesis of the Daleks

Genesis of the Daleks

The Caves of Androzani

The Caves of Androzani

The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Pyramids of Mars

City of Death

The Empty Child

The Robots of Death

The Talons of Weng-Chiang

Human Nature

Remembrance of the Daleks

The Empty Child

Pyramids of Mars

City of Death

Pyramids of Mars

City of Death

The Tomb of the Cybermen

Human Nature

The Robots of Death

The Evil of the Daleks

Remembrance of the Daleks

Bad Wolf

The Web of Fear

Worst

The-Twin-Dilemma-dvd

2014

2009

1998

The Twin Dilemma

The Twin Dilemma

The Twin Dilemma

Fear Her

Timelash

The Space Pirates

Time and the Rani

Time and the Rani

Timelash

Timelash

Underworld

The Underwater Menace

Time-Flight

Time-Flight

Time-Flight

Underworld

The Space Pirates

Time and the Rani

The Space Pirates

The Underwater Menace

Underworld

The Dominators

Paradise Towers

Paradise Towers

The Rings of Akhaten

Fear Her

Delta and the Bannermen

The Space Museum

The Dominators

The Gunfighters

Average Rankings

Below are the calculated average placing of a story from each Doctor’s era. This time I’ve converted these numbers into an index so that they are comparable with the other surveys.

Doctor

2014 Average Ranking

2014 Index

2009 Index

1998 Index

1st

148

0.61

0.61

0.62

2nd

111

0.46

0.49

0.45

3rd

99

0.41

0.46

0.46

4th

112

0.46

0.47

0.43

5th

135

0.56

0.56

0.50

6th

170

0.71

0.72

0.62

7th

145

0.60

0.66

0.58

8th

152

0.63

0.68

0.56

9th

95

0.39

0.37

X

10th

109

0.45

0.39

X

11th

121

0.50

X

X

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

Looks like the different Doctor’s era rankings are fairly consistent. Most noticeable increase is the +0.12 jump between 1998 and 2009 for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor and the most noticeable decrease is the -0.06 for the Seventh Doctor between 2009 and 2014.

Let’s compare how the Doctor’s eras rank (from the 2014 survey) against the actual Doctors (using the Favourite Doctor results from the same survey)

50th-anniversary-doctors-hurt

Doctor

Rank by Doctor

Rank by era

1st

9

9

2nd

4

4

3rd

5

2

4th

1

5

5th

6

7

6th

11

11

7th

7

8

8th

10

10

9th

8

1

10th

3

3

11th

2

6

This produces some surprising results. Eccleston’s 9th Doctor did fairly poorly in the Favourite Doctor survey despite the fact that his era as Doctor is ranked as the best while both the Fourth and Eleventh Doctors did well in the Favourite Doctor survey despite their eras doing less well in the story survey.

‘Spearman’s rank coefficient’ is a mathematical method of measuring correlation. It gives a value between 1 and -1 where 1 is total agreement and -1 is total disagreement. Using this, we discover that the correlation is 0.58 which makes sense. There is a bit of correlation but also clear signs of variation.

Regeneration Story Rankings:

  1. The Day of the Doctor (1)
  2. The Caves of Androzani (4)
  3. The War Games (12)
  4. Bad Wolf (13)
  5. The Stolen Earth (35)
  6. Logopolis (62)
  7. Planet of the Spiders (81)
  8. The End of Time (82)
  9. The Tenth Planet (85)
  10. The Time of the Doctor (95)
  11. The TV Movie (152)
  12. Time and the Rani (239)

Notes: Brackets show the story’s overall ranking out of 241. The Stolen Earth and The Day of the Doctor have been included on this list even though they weren’t strictly speaking a ‘Hand over the key to the TARDIS’ episode.

Has The Caves of Androzani finally been beaten as the ultimate regeneration story? Not really if we’re honest. Just because the story has a regeneration doesn’t really make it a ‘regeneration story’. Let’s do a little comparison between the classic regenerations (as the 1998 survey obviously doesn’t have the newer regenerations) to see if there has been much change in the fanbase’s taste over time.

Regeneration

2014 ranking

2009 ranking

1998 ranking

The Caves of Androzani

1

1

1

The War Games

2

2

4

Logopolis

3

3

2

Planet of the Spiders

4

5

5

The Tenth Planet

5

4

3

The TV Movie

6

6

6

Time and the Rani

7

7

7

Correlation with 2014:

0.96

0.82

It is clear that there is a strong correlation over the years with tastes having changed very little in the past 16 years and virtually not at all in the last 5.

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

48

4th

13

54

4th

14

62

3rd

10

79

2nd

5

81

The Baker, Hinchcliffe and Holmes combination again dominates this list with two of the top three seasons being from their era but this time misses out again to Season 7. Interestingly New Who fails to get into top 5 this time.

Bottom 5 Seasons

Doctor

Season

Average Ranking

7th

24

225

6th

23

168

5th

20

160

1st

3

159

6th

22

158

While Douglas Adams manages to escape the bottom five, yet again both of Colin Baker’s seasons also make this list along with McCoy’s first season. Season 20 also retains its position with newcomer season 3 completing the list.

Full List

These results are particularly lengthy, so click to expand show

Again there is strong correlation between now and 1998 with even stronger correlation between now and 2009.

Overall correlation between surveys

I’ve made a table for you to see the overall correlation between the surveys:

1998

2009

2014

1998

X

0.95

0.92

2009

0.95

X

0.97

2014

0.92

0.97

X

This shows that the 2005 reboot has done very little to change fan tastes. Rather newer fans tend to agree with the fanbase as to which stories are exceptional and which are poor.

DWM and DWTV: Best of Matt Smith

best-of-matt-smith-day

Recently as a community DWTV carried out a survey/poll and came up with a ranking of Matt Smith’s episodes. Let’s compare those results against DWM’s.

Again due to length please click to expand full results: show

I work the correlation out to be 0.93 which indicates that there is a strong agreement between the readers of DWM and DWTV concerning Matt Smith’s era as the Doctor.

Me and DWM

For those interested further in my views, I also worked out my correlation with the readers of DWM which came out as 0.69. So I’m in general agreement with some noticeable differences. If you want your Spearman’s rank coefficient to be calculated: email me your story rankings: [email protected] (I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a reply. Depends how many people email me their rankings and how clear your rankings are.)

Conclusion

I hope you’ve found these set of articles interesting and fun. There’s always more you can do with numbers so what are you waiting for? Open up a spreadsheet and start calculating. We ranked the stories by Doctors, why not try companions, enemies or setting. Go experiment!

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