The Blue Box Blog

Emma Lou's adventures in Doctor Who fandom

Influential Who – A Top Ten

Posted by emmahyam on September 30, 2010

OK, here is a topic for everyone to mull over, what do you consider to be the most influential episodes of Who? Not necessarily
the best, but the ones that changed everything we thought we knew about Doctor Who, so here’s my go, the top ten in order. I hope
I’ve come with up some interesting choices, I’d like to hear what everyone thinks and I’d especially like to see what you guys
think are the most influential stories….

10. Utopia/The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Timelords: OK RTD has stated this isn’t to be considered a 3 part story but of
course it really is, why did this change everything? Well for me it changed the scope and ambition of NuWho, for two stories The
Doctor comes as close to losing as we’ve ever seen, for once The Master’s plan succeeds and he actually becomes The Master of
Earth, how the hell is he getting out of this one? OK the denouement isn’t all we hoped for but it changed everything we thought
we knew, and everything that was to come.

9. Earthshock: It showed us after all the years Doctor Who had been on that not everyone is going to have a happy ending, by
killing off Adric Who entered new territory, regardless of what you think of J-NT’s decision to kill off a major character changed
everything, now, no-one is truly safe…

8. Dalek: The episode that convinced me that NuWho might just work, the preceding 5 episodes were OK, I liked the effects, sets,
music, hell I was even warming to Eccles n Billie but Dalek was the kick up the bum that propelled series 1 from good to truly
great. I think it showed everyone what Who could do and what it was all about, maximum respect to what had come before but with
the budget to do everything the old series could only dream of. So why is it influential? Again it is a question of showing what
RTD’s ambitions were, it set the bar, it said “right, here is what Doctor Who is now, beat that”.

7. The Daleks: Yes I know its only the second episode and all but its importance really can’t be overstated, it gave us The Daleks
for goodness sake!

6. The Trial of a Timelord: Regardless of whether you like this epic or not its importance to the story of Doctor Who is something
that is, to my mind, irrefutable. The combination of tumultuous behind-the-scenes fall out between main players like Eric Saward
and J-NT, the Suspension Crisis, the rise of the Fan-Professional and their influence and the aborted other-season-23 hoo-ha lead
to what we see today, (I’d advise anyone who hasn’t done so to check out the documentaries on the Trial box-set which explain it
all much better than I can). Tat Wood in his About Time series proposes the idea that the series in the Sixth Doctor era is when
the general public decided the Doctor Who wasn’t being made for them but for ‘someone else’ and stopped watching it. Its my
opinion the Trial was the beginning of the end of the classic series and therefore, changed it all

5.The Deadly Assassin: I picked this because it changed all our ideas of what we thought we knew about The Doctor, his home planet
and his people. By trying to show Tom Baker that he was wrong and Doctor Who couldn’t just be the Tom Baker Show, the producers
and writers inadvertently gave us one of the most seismic episodes of Doctor Who made. Also it has the apperance of the creepy
beyond belief Crispy Master!

4.Tenth Planet: Well, it gave the concept of regeneration for a start, event thought its not referred to as such, your lead actor
getting increasingly grumpy and hard to handle? Get shot of him and replace him with another chap! It also gave us the Cybermen
and our beloved ‘base-under-siege’ story type, seen as recently as “The Waters of Mars”!

3.Spearhead from Space: You don’t get a much more dynamic shift in tone is a series than the transition between “The War Games”
and “Spearhead from Space”. UNIT appear as regulars for the first time and The Brigadier comes to stay. Doctor Who explodes into
colour, the Doctor becomes an action man, racing around in Bessie and kung-fu-ing the baddies. Doctor Who undergoes a reboot,
changing it from series about a wandering traveller made to educate the kids about history and science to an Earth-
Bound Avengers-esque action serial.

2.Rose: Well it had to be here really, if Rose hadn’t been successful, pulling in 10 million viewers, then NuWho would have died
on the vine, 4 days after broadcast a second full series was commissioned. Doctor Who was pushed back into the popular
consciousness, there to stay for the next 4 years and hopefully for the future beyond that. In terms of story, the introduction of
a loose over-arching storyline in the form of Bad Wolf influenced the whole rest of the RTD era.

1.The War Games: The story that truly changed it all, after 6 years of watching the series we finally get some insight into why
The Doctor fled his people, that in fact he had a people! We see the as yet unnamed Gallifrey, the Timelords themselves, what a
unchanged TARDIS looks like and its the last story made in black and white. This story represents the end of era in alot of ways
and it enabled Doctor Who to move forward into the time of colour TV in a post-moonlanding world. Oh and pretty sure it influenced
RTD, just check out the ‘saying goodbye to the companions scene’ towards the end of episode 10, remind you of anything?

So there you have it, tell me what you think!

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One Response to “Influential Who – A Top Ten”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dean Burns and Laura Eydmann, Shane Thomas. Shane Thomas said: RT @emma_lou1983 I done a new blog post check it out y'all: https://emmahyam.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/influential-who-a-top-ten/ […]

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