The Eleven Faces of Doctor Who

The Five Faces of Doctor Who was a series of repeats organised by John Nathan-Turner, broadcast in November 1981. He chose five of the adventures from the first four Doctors. The stories he chose were:

An Unearthly Child (William Hartnell’s first story from 1963)
The Krotons (Patrick Troughton, 1968)
Carnival of Monsters (Jon Pertwee, 1973)
The Three Doctors (Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell, 1972)
Logopolis (Tom Baker’s final story – included because as of that time it was the only one to feature a glimpse of the new Doctor Peter Davison, 1981)

Since we are celebrating the grand 50th anniversary of Doctor Who this year my friend Philip and I decided to while away a long car journey last week by debating our Eleven Faces of Doctor Who in the hope that Steven Moffat decides to resurrect this innovative way to run repeats. These are my choices and alongside my own personal choice, I’ve also documented what I think the BBC will probably run with.

FIRST DOCTOR (William Hartnell) The BBC would have to run with An Unearthly Child because it’s where it all started. Personally I’d love to see The Time Meddler, it’s a very alien tale and great fun.

SECOND DOCTOR (Patrick Troughton) It will be hard for the BBC to resist The Tomb of the  Cybermen, it is a fantastic tale and Troughton at his best but for me it’s The Seeds of Death. It was the first video I ever purchased and a great opportunity to show the Ice Warriors.

THIRD DOCTOR (Jon Pertwee) In this anniversary year the BBC will incorrectly choose The Three Doctors as it was broadcast for the 10th anniversary in 1973 but viewers would appreciate The Daemons more which contains all of the successful hallmarks of the Pertwee era and Roger Delgado’s Master at his macabre best.

FOURTH DOCTOR (Tom Baker) In my opinion Genesis of the Daleks is a mediocre story with a stand-out scene but this won’t stop the BBC from showing it. Why not show City of Death instead? It contains a wonderful Baker performance and was scripted by a team that included Douglas Adams.

FIFTH DOCTOR (Peter Davison) If the BBC overdo the celebration theme we’ll get The Five Doctors which served at the 20th anniversary story and not really a Davison story. I’d suggest Earthshock for it’s shock value and glass-jawed Cybermen.

SIXTH DOCTOR (Colin Baker) The link is a little more tenuous but if they show Three and Five Doctors then I defy the BBC not to show The Two Doctors, a triumphant return for Troughton in a story wanting for plot. Showing Vengeance on Varos would show new Doctor Who audiences just how dark the show could be and in Sil a terrifying villain.

SEVENTH DOCTOR (Sylvester McCoy) Silver Nemesis was the 25th anniversary story and continuing the theme the BBC will act as expected; it’s a story that has had a fair amount of criticism but one I am still fond of. However I’d choose Remembrance of the Daleks, a smashing echo from 1963 with a strong cast and plot.

EIGHTH DOCTOR (Paul McGann) TV movie. That is all. But if you allow me to go outside the box then I’d recommend the recent Big Finish release Dark Eyes which takes McGann and gives him new direction and depth.

NINTH DOCTOR (Christopher Eccleston) The BBC will opt for the place it all started again with Rose but we all know it really started again with Dalek which stands alone as one of the best Doctor Who stories of all time.

TENTH DOCTOR (David Tennant) I think we’d all like to see Elisabeth Sladen again in School Reunion which was as emotionally draining as it was wonderful but in storytelling terms it doesn’t hold a torch to Blink. Sadly Blink doesn’t include a whole lot of Doctor which would make it a poor choice for Tennant fans.

ELEVENTH DOCTOR (Matt Smith) The Doctor’s Wife is steeped in Doctor Who history and expounds on the myth of the Doctor’s longest serving companion, it was well received and the BBC wouldn’t go far wrong it picking this one. I love Vincent and the Doctor, simply, it’s perfect Doctor Who.

No doubt you are reading this and vehemently disagreeing with my choices so I’d urge you to leave your own choices in the comments section. I look forward to reading them.


3 Comments on “The Eleven Faces of Doctor Who”

  1. Philip Edmundson says:

    OK, challenge accepted! I totally agree with your Beeb choices. This set is purely based on my love for them.

    Billy: ‘The War Machines’ – end of ep. 3 – epic confrontation from The Doctor with the machines that no other Doctor would have achieved. A Dalek story, possibly ‘The Daleks’ would be alternative.

    Pat: ‘The War Games’, by a country mile. Invasion with missing eps animated a close second.

    Pert: Spearhead from Space – Bob Holmes, Autons and the first colour episode. Not a fan of the third or the overarching establishment stooge that the Doctor appears to be. This era goes down from this point, no more so than this season. A close second would be ‘Terror of the Autons’.

    Tom: I agree with the ‘City of Death’, but much love for ‘Pyramids of Mars’, ‘Robots of Death’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken.’

    Davo: Earthshock, because… possibly ‘Frontios’ or ‘The Visitation’ as close contenders.

    B2: There is only Varos – and that’s how I like it.

    Sylv: ‘Ghost Light’ or ‘Fenric’. Season 26 has always been a high point, in my mind.

    McGann: – for one night only….

    Eccles: ‘The Empty Child’ or as you have said, Kris, ‘Dalek’.

    Tensquee; ‘Human Nature’ or ‘Girl in the Fireplace’. Both excellent sci fi concepts explored well.

    Shoeface: I watched ‘The Pandorica Opens’ a few days back – this has to be a great example of getting it right, although I think ‘The Eleventh Hour’and ‘Time of Angels’ are the best this era have produced.

    Now, if I came back in a month, would these remain the same?

  2. Paul Smith says:

    I’d stick to four-parters or their equivalent, and even join/split them into two 45-minute episodes for consistency across all eras and possibly make them more attractive to casual viewers. So 45/50-minutes slots stripped Monday-Thursday at 6pm on BBC2:

    1st: Stick the first episode on after the docudrama so we needn’t bother with the rest. The best of the remaining surviving 4-parters are ‘The Aztecs’, ‘The Time Meddler’ and ‘The War Machines’ — I’d go for that first if you want a historical or, preferably, the last as closer to how we now think of Who.

    2nd: Not much choice — ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’ or ‘The Krotons’ — so let’s go with the former.

    3rd: ‘Terror of the Autons’ has all the Third Doctor elements, as does ‘Claws of Axos’ if picture quality becomes an issue (‘Terror’ is a little ropey in places, even after restoration). I’d consider ‘Day of the Daleks’ too.

    4th: Tons of choices here. As we’ve just seen UNIT, I’d avoid the otherwise worthy ‘Terror of the Zygons’, so ‘Pyramids of Mars’ sums up the classic early Fourth Doctor era well. Given his longevity, there’s scope for two Baker entries, so I’d pick ‘City of Death’ as the best of his later era.

    5th: We’ve had Cybermen already so I’d avoid ‘Earthshock’. ‘The Visitation’ is fun but I’d pick ‘Frontios’ as a good one for Davison’s Doctor.

    6th: The parts of his Trial season don’t stand alone, so we’d have to pick from Season 22. I’d go for ‘Vengeance on Varos’ over ‘Revelation of the Daleks’.

    7th: ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ perhaps but I’d favour ‘The Curse of Fenric’.

    8th: The TVM obviously. Is there a suitable point halfway-ish through to split it?

    9th: Of the two ’90-minuters’ ‘The Empty Child’ is clearly preferable to the Sltheen romp, and is a good one for Eccleston’s Doctor.

    10th: ‘Human Nature’ is good but not that typical of Tennant’s era (and arguably doesn’t feature the Doctor much). We’ve just had a Moffat tale so I’d rule out ‘Silence in the Library’ and we should have a Russell T Davies showing, so I’d go with ‘The Stolen Earth’.

    11th: Hard to pick a two-parter that isn’t tied up in season arcs. ‘The Time on Angels’ perhaps but I’d go for ‘The Impossible Astronaut’

  3. Martin says:

    Hmm, I’d go for…
    1st Doctor – The Time Meddler
    2nd Doctor – The Mind Robber
    3rd Doctor – Spearhead From Space
    4th Doctor – Horror Of Fang Rock
    5th Doctor – Caves Of Androzani
    6th Doctor – Vengeance On Varos
    7th Doctor – Remembrance Of The Daleks
    8th Doctor – The TVM
    9th Doctor – Bad Wolf & The Parting Of Ways
    10th Doctor – Human Nature & The Family Of Blood
    11th Doctor – any really. They’re all recent and in heavy repetition anyway, so it doesn’t matter so much what they pick. Same with 10th to a degree as well.

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