Wrong place. Wrong time. Again.

'Spearhead from Space'
'Caroline John's Third Doctor was accompanied by Jon Pertwee's ham-fisted bun vendor, UNIT caretaker Mr Smith'

Yerse...Coincidentally shot entirely on film due to circumstances beyond production's control this is a slick beast indeed. Very obviously a retooled Great Intelligence/Yeti story (substitute Nestene Consciousness/Autons) this sees Robert Holmes really starting to blossom as a key 'Who' contributor. Sadly Derek Martinus's last contribution to the series as director. Significant as both the first colour 'Who' and the debut of Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor but also really outstanding in and of itself. Serious all time Top 20, if not 10 'Who' for meself.

'Doctor Who and the Silurians'
'Carrie Jon Down the P(l)ot-hole'

A seven parter that actually sustains its length dramatically over the long(er) run. A very intelligent, exceptionally well-characterised first solo contribution to 'Who' from Malcolm Hulke, perhaps the writer most key to the era alongside Barry Letts as Producer/Writer. A very thoughtful moral, wider perspective(s) contributor through and through. His Targets are the ranges greatest for sure, despite stiff competition from messrs Dicks, Whitaker and Marter. As to the TV story here, simply outstanding. Pertwee really came out the gates blazing didn't he?

'Terror of the Autons'
'Mr Smith's hilarious hi-jinks with the phone cord led to the characters quiet removal'

A story that can divide but I'm in the outstanding, plastic fantastic tartrazine overdose blue screen dream camp. As it were. Also a bit of a game changer in introducing us to Roger Delgado's superlative (and arguably unequaled) first take on the Doctor's ever recurring Bette Noire/Bromance, The Master. Possibly also meta-significant for some quite magnificently rubbish CSO- Mrs Farrel's Kitchen, I'm looking at you. (And looking away again quickly.)

'The Daemons'
'Damaris Hayman's Fourth Doctor was characterised by a need to stop off for a quick Gin with companion John Benton, nephew of the erstwhile Mr Smith'

Now speaking of meta-significant...I'm including this for entirely unintentional significance but significant it is. In revealing the oftimes cosy reality of the Pertwee era, held in unassailable high esteem through to the early 90's. I'm a big fan of the '70-'74 'Who' vintage, subjectively Pertwee is probably my favourite but the rather safe reality of what's on screen is at odds with some past plaudits of (sorry) 'gritty' and 'hard-hitting'. This era can certainly turn its hand to both of those very effectively but is also frequently quite cosy'n'safe.

'The Three Doctors'
'Rex Robinson's Dr Tyler was a companion able to meet plucky Fifth Doctor Katy Manning at a similar level of engagingly gormless yet endearing characterisation.'

Continuing with the meta, I can only point you to 'Tomb of the Anorak' 's review of this one- the difference between reality and cherished memory deftly skewered, as always. But it makes a game-changing contribution to this list in showing that different incarnations of our title character can meet up. Sometimes delightfully, sometimes dodgily, sometimes a combination thereof. Also for the, erm, (non) corporeal introduction of stellar engineer and shouter, Mr Omega,without whom...

'Carnival of Monsters'
'A twinge of conscience from Michael Wisher's Kalik. Or possibly mild indigestion.'

An absolute, utter, compelling and hilarious outstanding sequence of 'Who'. Bob Holmes deriding reality TV and the soulless net eyed dead before the true arrival of either. You can give us a spade but we'll look for the jack. And so on.

'The Time Warrior'
'Ruthlessly intelligent, contemptuous opposition. Nice stuff from Kevin Lindsay.'

Bob does it again but hugely, hugely significant for the introduction of Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith. And throwaway first mention of the name of the Doctor's home planet, Gallifrey.

'Invasion of the Dinosaurs'
'Oh. And Crikey.'

Significant in an unfortunately meta sense: I include it as a prime example of 'Who's' ambition tragically exceeding its budgetary reach. Yes, I guess I could've played this card with 'Web Planet' and Hartnell but I think 'Dinosaurs' exceeds it for sheer, embarrassing ineptness- altogether now, 'ROAR! (TILT. SHUFFLE.)'

'Planet of the Spiders'
'Some spiders dwell on the back, some in the mind. Really alarming huge bas***ds dwell at the top of a marble staircase with a sumptuous sapphire headset.'

Significant on two counts, most importantly as the curtain call for the Third Doctor. And it's not a bad one though I couldn't honestly push it to outstanding. But also again in a meta sense for emphasising the tiredness of the six part structure in 'Who', as well as over familiarity of some of the Pertwee era chase/action/stultifying exposition tropes. ('Mutants', 'Planet of the Daleks', 'Monster of Peladon' in particular take a bow.)

So yes, an interesting era. Tonally very different to what came before and after. Really solidified and built upon the UNIT format. Some laudable eco and enviromental awareness/themes plus some good old fashioned moral conundrums for frilly cuffs boy. Brought us the Master, multi-Doctor hi-jinks and Omega but also emphasised the danger of too much of a good thing/repetition in the format. But I'd have cosy and familiar with occasional archness/acerbic Doc' in the house as by no means a bad thing. Stroll on- Queens Road/Carnaby Street preferable.


'The Power of the Daleks'
'Oh for more than 30 odd seconds Reverend!'

Both significant in being the first story for our first new Doctor and game-changing in that it's the first time the stunt's been pulled. Plus outstanding into the bargain. One of the genuine contenders for 'Greatest TV 'Who' Ever' and it doesn't exist bar scant clips. Not entirely sure it was well served by a mildly rushed animated version but nice to have all the same but heck...Somebody find the film cans in a Ghanaian/Singaporean/Venusian broom cupboard post haste innit Reverend?

'The Highlanders'
'Anarchy, sedition, covert and overt mockery of the power mad/bad- yes, yes, run 'em all up yer meaningless flagpole'

Significant in a low key way in being the last of its kind, um, ever, thus far in televised 'Who'. Yes, more a romp/genre pastiche but it still stands as the final outing for yer 'pure' historical, unsullied by Monkery or other alien tomfoolery. Book-ending 'Tenth Planet' and 'Power' with 'Smugglers' it's more than a little unfairly overlooked too in me humble. Yerse, a format I hope Mr Chibnall has the brass to return to in Whittaker's tenure, feel it could work blindingly there...

'The Tomb of the Cybermen'
'Good night- sleep tight, no-one in the world can do what we're doing' ( Deborah Watling: Respect)

Now this is the first of a very meta-significant Season 5 triptych. Significant for being the missing episode poster boy up unto its late '91 discovery, early '92 reveal and...It's really not all that. Died in the wool Troughtonite that I am (It's kind of like a horizontal stalagmite/stalactite, you'll find me jutting out of a rock surface at Wookey Hole) I can't find it in me heart to mega-big this. Some wonderful moments, as illustrated above, first half a lot stronger than the second but really stands as a testament to 'The Memory Cheats/Careful What You Wish For'.

'The Enemy of the World'
'Looking at me looking at 'Who' '

And again with the meta-significance but some added outstanding. The sleeper hit of Season 5/Troughton's tenure, a bit of a stealth stunner whose reputation was growing inch by inch, to utterly ace it on discovery...Expectations can be exceded and then some. Interesting also in some of the Bondian tropes David Whitaker is playing are really stretching 'Who's' tea-time format (the episode 2 infiltration shenanigans with Jamie are particularly inept/kiddy-land) but stunning overall nonetheless.

'The Web of Fear'
'Marvellous to hear you drew the long running recurring character sir. No hard feelings, buying it in episode four's not so bad'

And once more with feeling on the meta-significance. As well as plain and simple significant for the introduction of the inimitable Nicholas Courtney as currently Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.Plus, okay, a very qualified outstanding. Yes, it's got the (just) superior direction, although Barry Letts gives Douglas Camfield a very close run for his money but ooh no Reverend...Look how it runs on the spot and then out of puff in the final third. If you're telling me it's a timeless stunner to beat all comers and 'Enemy' ain't it's equal (if not better) you're yanking me chain...

'The Mind Robber'
'Magic. Utter. Spellbinding. Magic.'

Whereas this truly is a timeless, magical, otherworldly, outstanding stunner. 'Who' making a massive virtue out of necessity following the collapsing acrimony of the previous story, a sly fairy-tale for the dark ages to come and then some. Mass Production. Repeat. Fade Out.

'The Invasion'
'Seconds away from it occurring to someone to suggest someone else lays on a jeep'

Hugely significant for the introduction of UNIT proper. A format that's gonna' serve the next era majorly and recur throughout 'Who's' history so I'd say quietly game-changing (in advance of the full monty) in and of itself.

'The Krotons'
'Yes, yes, here's sixpence- go down the tuck-shop and buy yourself some sweets Jamie'

'The Krotons'?!!! What are you on Gantry? Well dodgy monsterdom? Er, no, the Krotons are superb and long overdue a budgeted up TV return in me humble. Go on Chris...take Jodie back to Gond World! The budget and some (some, not all!) wooden performances cause it to slip and skitter uncertainly, direction point indeed but...Bob Holmes. Massive significance for the first TV credit for a writer who'll cast a looooonng shadow over 'Who'. In a good way for meself, shadows are good. Plus well eerie soundwork, occasionally inspired direction from David Maloney and, as said, a conceptually uber-great foe...Significant factors transcend the scantness Reverend.

'The War Games'
'A career in the civil service, posting to Earth, arse end of the 20th Century? Oh stuff that. With knobs on.'

Significant as another Doctor bows out and we also don't get the on screen reveal. Very spooky, downbeat ending actually...But absolutely game-changing in introducing the Doctor's own race, the otherworldly and currently deeply sanctimonious Time Lords.

So a second era that's perhaps not as wildly varied or experimental as our first but introduces both Lethbridge Stewart/UNIT and the Time Lords, all of whom will be returned to time and again. Plus, it must be said, a central performance from Patrick Troughton that seems to have become a template and inspiration for many of those that followed him...

Yerse...Following me last ruminations and with one eye to Xmas I was possessed with the desire to trawl through the 'Who' backstory in search of moments ......
A) Significant : Maybe it's an important character/foe/location, something, somewhere, someone that'll be returned to more than once.
B) Game Changing: Okay, yeah, similar to A but this goes quite massive on the actual mythology/background/base style of the show and really alters/rearranges things.
C) Outstanding: Immensely subjective I know. There may be little that's groundbreaking but I personally think it's an astonishing piece of 'Who'/TV in and of itself. Subjectivity all over the shop granted.

And yeah, okay, the whole caboodle's pretty darn subjective...You could argue for the entire first season being significant, 'Marinus' our first out and out cock-up, 'Sensorites' yer first curate's egg but hold steady Gantry, this is me personal pick. First up, naturally, Mr Hartnell...An era that stands very much alone, truly bold and experimental, finding its feet as it finds the way forwards/sideways/beyond...A main man whose health ultimately failed him but whose take is likely a lot more studied and deliberate than sometimes given credit for amidst some oftimes admirable/hysterical fluffs. Pass the radiation gloves vicar...

'An Unearthly Child'
'To go home and mark 2B's homework or not to mark 2B's homework?'

I know it's become quite common of late to divorce the first episode from the next three, stellar opening plus 'Caveman Runaround' but I think it does the whole a disservice. Obviously significant as the first ever story, without which I wouldn't be wibbling now. But it's a superlative intro from messrs Whitaker, Lambert, Hussein, Newman and Coburn behind the cameras, Hartnell, Russell, Hill and Ford in front of them. Both significant and outstanding.

'The Dead Planet'
' 'Five Hundred Eyes', 'The Wall of Lies' and 'The Dancing Floor'? I'll give you ten bob for the lot, no, hang on, you can keep 'Dancing Floor', I'm not in it.'

Yep, it's a teensy weensy bit overlong but hugely significant for the introduction of the Daleks and Terry Nation's is a name that looms large in the history of 'Who', whatever your take on him. (To go off at an utterly random, Joy Division tangent, Nation is kinda' the Tony Wilson of 'Who' for meself, which is to damn neither with faint praise. Geezers.) Significant and then some.

'The Edge of Destruction'
'Dawning realisation that this crew is a compliment of five'

Again, yeah, it falters and fumbles, the core cast by turns stunning and stumbling but extremely significant, perchance a little game changing in being the first story to hint at some form of consciousness for the TARDIS itself.

'Marco Polo'
'One day, my dear, we shall come back' (OHM! OHM! OHM!)

Meta-significance all over the shop. Here by virtue of being the first (and completely at that) missing story. Which has turned into a cottage industry/rumour mill to outlast the ages. So significant (in an unfortunate way) and likely outstanding if it's ever discovered.

'The Aztecs'
'Lyrical...simply lyrical...'

I just think this is a thing of utter, savage beauty. Hartnell is awesome but Jacqueline Hill owns the screen. You go (and then some) big-cardi girl. Outstanding.

'The Dalek Invasion of Earth'
'Three revolutions before breakfast- bare minimum dear boy'

Significant in seeing our first companion exit, with Susan (Carole Anne-Ford) departing. The mold of this show can and will be broken.

'The Rescue'
'Hello, I'm Sandy Sand Beast, this is my cave- come in, make yourself at home, mind where you put your cap gun'

Significant as above, this time for the arrival of first new crew member, Maureen O'Brien's criminally underrated Vicki. Nifty enough tale in and of itself but also significant for the behind the scenes departure of David Whitaker as Script Editor.

'The Romans'
'A midsummer night's Empire will lead us a pretty dance...'

Outstanding. 'Who' nails the humour take. Joyous.

'The Time Meddler'
'All great nations end up deserving war....There's something hollow in this Magpie philosophy'

The Monk. The Monk's TARDIS. The Doctor is not alone. The TARDIS is not home grown. Significant in terms of being our first pseudo-historical, a trope that'll serve 'Who' well over the years. But absolutely game changing in the introduction of the Monk and his TARDIS.

'The Daleks' Masterplan'
'Not everyone gets out of here alive'

I guess kinda' significant for being our first out and out uber-epic (with Doctor-less prologue 'Mission to the Unknown'). But chargedly significant for showing that companions/close associates of the Doctor ( Katarina, Brett, Sarah) can die very abruptly.

'The Tenth Planet'
'Relationship of mutual disgust'

Significant and game changing if maybe not quite outstanding. Significant for the introduction of the Cybermen and game changing in the loss of William Hartnell and establishing the (as yet unnamed) ability to regenerate.

So yeah, an opening era that establishes the core cast is ever mutable, up to and including lead character. Introduces two uber-significant foes and sketches in some background for our main time traveller but keeps it deliberately very sketchy. And also quite ruthless with support cast on occasion, there really ain't no safety net at present...in three words, old but bold gold. Ooh yerse indeed.

'I'm sick to death of this particular self. I want another.'

Soooo....The lie of the land. As it were. Some wobbles, yer,but nowt that really strikes me as fault lines**. I mean, okay, Ian's decided it's not gonna' be his best Xmas present ever after all. Someone who's done good things for 'Who' in terms of missing episodes, whose passion can be simultaneously admirable/amusing but honestly guy...As our main man had it, and by no means unique, 'A classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain' on occasion. Plus a spectacular ability to put foot in said mouth. Although, granted, he's by no means alone.

'For it was this mixture in him of male and female, one being uppermost and then the other, that often gave his conduct an unexpected turn.'

And yes, Peter Davison, I absolutely agree, 'It might be more helpful to be encouraging, and not simply scornful, of fans who are uncertain about change.' Although I think there's a limit to the length of the olive branch. Things can get very toxic/Troll very quickly: No excuse, ever, for spiteful, spineless, casually soulless sexism. Experience'n'background perceptions may mark ya' but you've always got a choice. (Portentous Sanctimony Major, Class of Whenever.) But yeah, arse-hattery has a fair few champions at this hour in me humble. I'm also very much with Colin Baker's 'Cannot deny that I am amazed by the 'never watch it again' reaction from some viewers. (I hesitate to call them fans.) Very sad.'
Although I'm certainly not amazed and yep, they're fans Colin, like it or no. (Although here we do stray into that 'loving something so much you think you own it/mistaking devotion for love' chestnut.) Ultimately I'm with Paul Cornell, this is what 'Who' is for. As a very wise woman once said mentalgen, 'Mind your privilege. Listen.' Oh indeed yes Reverend.

'By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. 'Tis the waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life.'

'Who' has always evolved and mutated naturally, as many have observed. No reason under the sun why Jodie Whittaker can't take on our eccentric genius outsider archetype. Not even a stretch, let alone a stretch too far for meself. Although I do get the frustration of some of the naysayers, I really do. I don't, personally, agree right now, but I get it.Yep, hands up and bang to rights, I've split hairs/been uncertain on this in the past: Particularly around the golden classics of 'Yeah, but we've had 54 years of bloke Doctor' and 'Shame to lose such a singular male role model' but ultimately, nah...That's feeling, not reason. (Said Cyber-Leader Gantry.) I currently find meself absolutely tickled and really looking forward to it.

'You're putting me on Sarah Jane! Really?!?'

As to natural 'Doctorish-ness', really only Tom Baker has been born to it in me humble. The other previous incumbents have been skilled, eccentric, charismatic to one degree or another, some combination thereof and I'm excited to see where Whittaker takes it. Lawrence Miles was interesting as always, I agreed a lot although not sure about the 'timing being wrong', Tennant should've gone female eight odd years back. I don't think the timing'll ever be right for some on this and fair play, it's a free cosmos (probably). F'sure, there are politics, commercial factors in play here but duh...when were there ever not? (No, that simpler, halcyon daze never existed fanboy, that's yer childhood- put it down/let it go/pick it up/rhapsodize feverishly as required.) Remains a great call in and of itself for meself. As it were.To be idiot prosaic, 'cos, y'know, ultimately we're all gonna' die and the sun'll burn out- it really doesn't matter if the Doctor's a man or a woman. S/he's for everyone. Now, always'n'forever Ma'am.

I only know Whittaker from the Black Mirror 'Complete History of You' episode, 'Attack the Block' and 'Broadchurch' 1 through 3. All of which make me extremely interested/hopeful. Chibnall too I think it'd be utterly wrong-headed to dismiss/diss at this juncture. His two 'Life on Mars' episodes, series 2 'Torchwood' stuff (actually I liked 'Countrycide' a fair bit too), 'Dino's' and '3' from 'Who', 'Broadchurch', especially the first and third series. He can do human, intense, dark and funny...There's a lotta' reasons to be hopeful here. Sure, to take stating of the obvious to a blinding new level, it may not work and all end in tears. But I hope not and I think it could be glorious. Imagination can rewire reality. And so on...

'Keep on keeping on'

*With ongoing apologies to Virginia Woolf

**Erm, yeah...oookaay....The inevitable addendum, all of just over a week down the line at 25/07/17. To quote Nyssa from 'Earthshock'- 'Oh dear,it's all getting rather silly isn't it?' As a final caveat at present, this could be one of fandom and 'Who' 's finest hours: Or it could be when the blinkered brigade on either side let 'emselves and everyone else down rather badly. There's a heck of a lot of reasoned responses out there but strewth, the Pro 'Point, laugh and smirk sanctimoniously' faction and the Anti 'Rage, throw toys and get myopically misogynistic' camp are getting woefully embarrassing. It is what it is, it'll be what it'll be (heck, Wittgenstein and Goethe got nothing on this, I'm on fire) and until such time that we've actually got some episodes to ruminate over, chillax innit? Time out Reverend.
Simply that, really.....


Very good call indeed Mr Chibnall, fingers crossed this is as stellar as I truly think it could be. More excited about 'Who' than I have been in some considerable time: Jodie Whittaker and Mr Chibnall, you have my full and undivided attention...
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Kert Gantry

Author:Kert Gantry
Loving the Who from a very early age and invariably banging on about it. Hence the blog.

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