When it comes to vast episodes of Doctor Who it’s very difficult to choose a favourite. In this article I will be narrowing down my personal Top 10 episodes from the classic era.
10) The Power of the Daleks– I know it’s odd to have an episode with all parts missing at number 10 on this list. But honestly this story is amazing. I listened to the episode from surviving audio clips and telesnaps and yet I still enjoyed as much as any other episode. The Daleks are incredibly sinister and creepy in this and is one of their best stories. It’s fascinating to hear the Doctor go through the effects of regeneration for the first time and for Patrick Troughton’s Doctor to come to life. It’s such a shame all this episode is missing. Not only is it the first 2nd Doctor story, it is the first post-regeneration episode and a remarkable Dalek story that will be truly missed. If this story is ever found I’m sure it will be known as one of the best episodes of all time. There’s still hope it may be out there…
9) The Tomb of the Cybermen– This is by far the best Cyberman story for me. NuWho haven’t really done the Cybermen justice; yet this story gets the Cybermen exactly right. The Cybermen are honestly terrifying in this episode. In my opinion the Cybermen in the ‘60’s was the scariest of all Doctor Who as they seem so much more human which makes it so much more disturbing than what seems to be merely a machine. The scene where a Cyberman is marching down the corridors or emerging from their tombs is truly frightening and does them justice and shows how scary they can truly be. Undoubtedly the soundtrack is one of the most recognisable in Doctor Who and has so many stand out scenes that are incredible to watch. The 2nd Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are so lovable in this story. It really breaks my heart a large amount of Troughton’s stories are missing.
8) Inferno– This story is an undoubtedly a classic from the 3rd Doctor’s era. It’s so amazing for Doctor Who to explore parallel universes and see how different UNIT are and the world as a whole. The episode is overall incredibly enjoyable with such high stakes. The directing makes the story feel so cinematic and the scenes of an apocalyptic world being created towards the end of the story look brilliant yet immensely dark. Plus, the Brigade Leader is awesome.
7) The Deadly Assassin- Yes, I know the Time Lords slightly lost their mystery up to this point yet it’s such a terrific story that explores more of Gallifrey and even has makes you question if the Doctor really assassinated the Lord President! The Matrix is such an excellent setting as the Doctor could face anything there. In this episode you really see the Doctor at his darkest and possibly most violent. This is the Doctor on his own without a companion by his side which makes the episode feel so unique and interesting compared to any other. I really hope to see more of the Matrix in future episodes. It was explored in The Ultimate Foe and pathetically in Hell Bent. It has so much potential without the restrictions the Classic series meaning it can do so much more!
6) Remembrance of the Daleks– This was my first 7th Doctor story and I’m so glad it was. The dynamic between 7 and Ace is only getting started yet they are such a perfect pairing from the beginning. Instead the typical Daleks fighting the Doctor, it is two Dalek fractions fighting each other which gives such a refreshing take on the Daleks. It’s also the first time seeing the Daleks go upstairs (however you do see a Dalek fly in Revelation of the Daleks if you look close enough). The plot twists and cliffhangers of each episode are jaw dropping and all the characters are enjoyable to watch especially the scene were Ace beats up a Dalek with a baseball bat like a total badass. The story also touches on opinions of the time which is interesting to see Doctor Who touch upon properly for one of the first times. And of course who can forget the beauty of the Special Weapons Dalek.
5) City of Death– Probably one of the most light-hearted episodes of classic who and a fan favourite. The 4th Doctor and Romana are a fantastic Doctor and companion pairing that are captivating on screen. All the characters are lovable and the plot its self is so witty and clever it never fails to put you in a good mood. The location of Paris makes it feel so cinematic compared to the enclosed studio sets which makes this episode really stand out amongst the rest. You can watch this episode so many times and still love it and its daft sense of humour.
4) The Curse of Fenric– What I adore most about this story is its concentration on character Ace. Learning more about her character and her backstory makes this story a heart wrenching watch and makes you really adore Ace and how much her character has developed. We see more of the 7th Doctor’s dark side and manipulative ways towards Ace. The story is genius especially how the vampires are scared of the person’s faith than anything else and the villain Fenric is one I definitely want to return. I’ve watch this episode countless times and still adore it so much since my first watch. I find this episode underrated and should stand out more with other stories. If I was to introduce anyone to Doctor Who this will be one of my main choices.
3) Genesis of the Daleks– Possibly one of the most important and epic parts of Doctor Who mythology: the creation of the Daleks. I can barely describe in words how incredible this story is. The introduction of Davros, the Thousand Year War, the Doctor contemplating his right to kill a species at the beginning of its life. This pushes the Doctor on who he is as a person and the decisions he has to make for the good of the universe and it is awesome! Michael Wisher as Davros is captivating and the cliffhangers are heart stopping with no idea what will happen next episode. Tom Baker is outstanding in this episode for a Doctor so early in his role and is an instant classic that any Whovian has to watch.
2) The Caves of Androzani– I can’t praise the director Graeme Harper enough for this episode. We mainly know the 5th Doctor as the kind pacifist Doctor yet he is pushed to his absolutely limit in this episode as he is placed in this war like setting. The direction is gorgeous and Peter Davison gives the performance of his career. Sharaz Jek is a great yet complex villain of the episode and stands out as the 5th Doctor’s best encounter. The scenes were the Doctor is running through a battlefield to save Peri is so incredibly epic and the scenes where he is carrying Peri’s lifeless body through explosions is so powerful and visually stunning. The script by Robert Holmes is one of the best he as ever written and has given the show one of the best episodes of the entire series.
1) The Seeds of Doom– Yes, I have a massive soft spot for this episode. It really doesn’t matter if this story is six parts long as the episode just flies by from the enjoyment of this episode. The 4th Doctor and Sarah are at their best in this episode a work wonderfully together. If you ever want to argue to someone who is the best Doctor/companion pairing, then this is the episode to show them. The cliffhangers have you on the edge of your seat. Instead of being enclosed in the Arctic for the entire episode which can get repetitive after a while; the story continuously changes location which makes it so much more exciting and unpredictable. The story can be witty or incredible intense the next. The 4th Doctor’s and Sarah Jane’s friendship projects off the screen and really makes you nostalgic of the long history they’ve had. For classic who the effects are pretty good and there are various scenes that are nail biting to watch. If you haven’t seen it yet I can’t recommend it enough.
So, that’s my Top 10 list of best episodes of Classic Who. To be honest, this article will never be my definitive opinion as it always changes. It may change around a bit from time to time but for the now being these are best episodes of the shows Classic era. What are your favourite classic episodes? Leave your comments below or tweet us at @GallifreyRchive.