Tell Me About the Doctor

I got sick last week. Nasty yucky sore throat laryngitisy thing followed by a disgusting cold. What that meant was that on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday I was lolling around watching shows instantly on Netflix. I’d already watched all the Inspector Alleyn and the Inspector Lynley, so after I finished the Lord Peter Wimsey shows, I was a little at a loss.

When I was a kid, I remembered seeing Doctor Who very quickly before I changed channels or turned off the television. But I never actually watched the Doctor. So I picked an episode at random, and was really disappointed at how much it totally sucked. Then my husband came into the bedroom, and told me that I was watching the wrong doctor. He guided me to Tom Baker, and I watched the Key of Time season (16, I think), and it was good. And then I decided to check out the first season of the new series, and it had Christopher Eccleston and his beautiful grin, and it was very good. So I’ve added seasons 2 and 3 of the new series to my queue.

Tell me, though, which doctors are your faves? Which seasons/episodes are must-sees? Which are must-misses? What are your favourite quotations or moments in the Whoniverse? Please educate me. (For the record, I did a search, but Doctor brought up a whole lot of unrelated threads, and who is, well, a 3-letter word! gasp!:eek:)

To be perfectly honest, I have never watched a single episode of the old series (pre-8th doctor TV movie). I was introduced to the new series by a friend and was likewise hooked by Mr. Ecclestone. Yum. Ecclestone is definitely my favourite, but I quite like Tennant as well.

Some of the early William Hartnell episodes were well-written, even if they were shot on a shoestring budget. I have fond memories of the Aztec episode. (OK, you have to suspend disbelief while watching gringo actors play Aztecs with British accents, but the script itself was pretty good.)

The second Doctor (whose name escapes me at the moment) also had good scripts.

The third Doctor was, in my opinion, a better actor than the first two, although the writing was not as good.

As for Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, some episodes were awsome, and some were dreck.

Tom Baker will always be my Doctor. I don’t remember any specific episodes, but I cried when he regenerated. Romana was my fave companion. I quite like Ten(nant), the current Doctor on BBC America. His personality is a great blend of nice and nasty, and he’s quite easy on the eyes. I didn’t watch enough of Eccleston to get a feel for his interpretation of the character. Many of the stories are very intricate and require a suspension of disbelief, but they are always entertaining.

Douglas Adams wrote the second story and took over as script editor for the six-part finale.

My favorite Doctor is Peter Davison, who rose above some drecky material and as the first actor to grow up as a fan, purposely imbued the character with some of the tetchiness of William Hartnell (#1), the curiosity of Patrick Troughton (#2), and the heroic dash of Jon Pertwee (#3). And he moved away from the over-the-top silliness of Tom Baker (#4), which can only be a good thing IMHO. (Baker gets on my nerves … heresy, I know!) Plus Davison adds charm, innocence and vulnerability of his own. Also? Cute as hell.

Pertwee is my second favorite. Plus he has the wonderful Brigadier and the UNIT team to play off of. Definitely recommend both of these.

Funnily enough, a series that’s also on Netflix but you haven’t mentioned seeing – and which I think you might enjoy if you love classic British mysteries – is Campion, which just happens to star the aforementioned Peter Davison. Who is perfectly cast. In fact, I remember envisioning Davison in the role when I was reading the Campion books (by Margery Allingham) back in the late-'80s. And then the books were turned into a TV show and he was cast in it! The first and only time that my ideal casting choice came through.

Netflix’s Watch Instantly is a godsend, isn’t it? Awesome little treasures hidden there.

I can only tell you how I met the Doctor. Early 80’s…Doctor Who used to come on TV onn a a local PBS station around 6 or so. They played the episodes as part of a serial so they were only the 30 minutes. I could not figure out what the heck was going on.

But a buddy at school told me to watch it and tried to explain some things about the Doctor. I was still unimpressed but they started playing entire Doctor Who adventures on Saturdays in the afternoon. So I watched it. The first full episode I saw was Tom Baker and Sara Jane against “Eldrad” (going from memory here, I can’t remember the name of the episode. He was some silicon based life form dictator) It was great. Cheap sets, but entertaining and thats all that mattered. So I started watching it regurlarly.

Eventually they ran out of Tom Baker episodes so they started again from the Pertwee era. Still good. I enjoyed Pertwee’s doctor, he was much more action oriented. And when they got to Tom Baker again and then to Peter Davidson, I still enjoyed it.

This is just my opinion, but you see, I enjoyed the imagination in each of the doctor’s stories. I enjoyed the way the Doctor was enigmatic, clever, and sometimes arrogant, but still very kind and human (even if despite the awful US movie, he wasn’t. ) It was the same reason I guess I liked Blakes Seven when I first saw it. Yeah, the cheap SFX and sets were hokey but the character interaction carried those shows IMO.

Favorite episodes? Well, I always liked the Pertwee episodes of “Claw of Axos” ansd “Inferno”. But I liked a lot of Pertwwee episodes. Tom Baker I always enjoyed “Genesis of the Daleks” and most of the episodes with Romana in them.

“The Hand of Fear”.

I started watching, the first time around, in the Jon Pertwee era, but Tom Baker really won me over; when I think of Doctor Who, his is the first face that springs to mind. Though I think all of the various Doctors have their strengths (yes, even Colin Baker - he definitely tried to bring something to the role … )

Yes, the early versions of the show are frequently hampered by ridiculously tight budgets, and by over-ambitious ideas imperfectly realized. Sometimes the plots make no sense, the dialogue is putrid, and the strings on the model spaceships are all too visible. But you always get the sense that Doctor Who, as a series, is trying to be something special - trying to explore an infinite universe of time and space, filled with wonders and dangers that we can’t imagine; a place which is full of that “sense of wonder” which, for many people, is what science fiction is all about. It tries very hard, and sometimes - often enough, I think - it succeeds.

I tend to favor Tom Baker – the first doctor I saw (which is generally the case – the first actor you saw in the role is usually your favorite), but I do like Tennant a lot. And Eccleston was also great. After those, I’d go with Sylvester McCoy, then Jon Pertwee.

ETA: Nevermind, my point was made above and I didn’t notice. :slight_smile: Nothing new to add!

I’ve seen most of them, but some were a very long time ago. 40 years or so ago actually, so I don’t remember much about them. Tom Baker was my favourite then and in many ways still is. CE did a great job, edging him out of my top spot and DT has edged higher - but they both have the advantage of slightly higher production values :smiley: and consistently better scripts.

fave eps - The Empty Child and Blink.

It is generally agreed that the finest writer on the original Doctor Who series is Robert Holmes. He was also the script editor for Tom Baker’s first three seasons, which, again, are generally agreed to represent the show’s creative peak. (I expect a few dissenters there though.) His motto was “Let’s scare the little buggers [children] to death” – you gotta love a guy like that.

A good place to start discovering the original series might be some of the stories he wrote: Terror of the Autons, The Time Warrior (Jon Pertwee); Pyramids of Mars, The Deadly Assassin, The Talons of Weng-Chiang (his masterpiece) and The Sunmakers (Tom Baker); and his final high point for Doctor Who, Peter Davison’s farewell story The Caves of Androzani.


I’m not a Dr. Who fan. But if, by this, you mean that you’re looking for some quality British TV, may I suggest (all excellent, and IIRC all available on DVD):

House of Cards: Ian Richardson is brilliant as an evil, scheming but suave MP who’s willing to do anything to become Prime Minister. Anything.

Cranford: The ups, downs, lives and loves of the residents of a small English village in the early 1800s when the railroad, and modernity, threaten to sweep away all they hold dear. A great ensemble cast.

Prime Suspect: Helen Mirren as a tough-as-nails but inwardly vulnerable police inspector, hunting down criminals. Great drama, great police procedural.

Sharpe’s Rifles: Follows a squad of put-upon British soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars. Sean Bean (Boromir in LOTR) stars.

Great suggestions! I think however s/he was looking for something available via Watch Instantly on Netflix. Of the above, only House of Cards (which is indeed excellent, by Andrew Davies before he plummeted into suckitude) is available to watch instantly. But if it’s DVDs the OP wants, I agree those are all quality recommendations. Especially Prime Suspect. :slight_smile:

Ah, you never forget your first Doctor…mine was Tom Baker. I missed most of Davison’s years, and didn’t see any Doctor till Eccleston took up the role. Now I’ve been going back and seeing what I missed, which is going to take me probably a year or so, which will do me just fine.

All time favorite episode? Huh. That’s tough. I guess I’ll go with “The Empty Child” for the simple fact that it scared me shitless. :eek:

I have been watching Campion, actually. I like him quite a bit, and I adore Lugg.

I agree with you on the godsendiness of Netflix’s Watch Instantly. I’ve watched shows I’ve never even heard of before out of sheer boredom.

Yay! Lots to watch. I’ll add the ones not available instantly to my queue. I do loves me some good British TV. Thank you.

Blink was on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspenseful! I loved that ep. It’s the only one I actually know the name of.

chalk up another one who first started seeing this way out-there-scifi show on pbs in the early 80s. tom baker was my doctor for thirty years, and he still holds a special place in my heart.

with the new series premiering on bbca, i fell instantly in love with eccleston’s charactization and i was crushed that he only did the one year. i thought he was terrific. i was unimpressed with tennant at first - didn’t watch any more - until skiffy started running the series. i decided to give the show another chance, and by golly, watch it for what it was, not *who *it was. :stuck_out_tongue:

once i started paying attention to tennant’s portrayal, i realized he’d brought something really special to the part and i was hooked all over again. i’ve not seen all of his episodes as the doctor, so it’s catch-up time on skiffy.

recommends like everyone else: empty child and blink. i thought the last dalek featured some darn fine acting, as did gridlock, human nature, midnight, family of blood, silence in the library and forests of the dead.