Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Doctor Who's Greatest Moments: Part One - The 60s

Doctor Who has had many a memorable moment over the years and, this month, in a new series of posts dedicated to the series' best bits, we're looking at the show in its first decade of life; the swinging sixties! Moments like the ten below lodged themselves in viewers' heads, turning a generation of children into fans of this peculiar, sometimes silly, always wonderful programme. Some of those watching at this time, kids such as little Russel T Davies and miniature Steven Moffat loved the show enough to grow up and make it! So there we are, these moments that you are about to read about helped ensure Who is still with us today. Not bad for a show originally conceived as a children's educational series. Although it quickly grew into something much bigger. Bigger on the inside, you might say...                                                  

10. The First Moment - An Unearthly Child

The very first shot ever in Doctor Who is so indicative of the programme. As the chilling theme music fades out for the first time we are shown a out-of-place Police Box (still a familiar item to viewers at the time) standing in a junkyard, with a strange hum coming from inside...
Such an iconic image, the TARDIS returned to the same junkyard under the control of the Sixth (in Attack of the Cybermen) and Seventh Doctors (Remembrance of the Daleks) and it landed in a junkyard planet in the more recent The Doctor's Wife but this original moment is by far the most spine-tingling. Only a few seconds into the first episode and already we have the alien mixed with the everyday - the stuff Doctor Who is made of!

9. Cybermen from the Sewers! - The Invasion

In this Second Doctor adventure, present-day Earth is being invaded once again by the deadly Cybermen. The Cybermen had faced the Doctor already several times before (see Number 2) but this story features perhaps their most famous moment. Rising from the sewers of London, the metal men stride down the steps by St Paul's, ready to take the planet. Of course, they don't and, in a few episodes time, they're sent packing but in this moment the Cybermen seem a terrible threat. One of the original and best Behind-the-Sofa moments for which the show is so famed.

8. Time Can't be Rewritten - The Aztecs

In the early years of the show, the Doctor vehemently enforced the rule that you could not interfere with history. Many episodes saw the TARDIS crew witness history happening rather than getting stuck into it themselves. However, in The Aztecs, the Doctor's companion and history teacher Barbara tries to change history for the better by posing as an Aztec Goddess to stop them sacrificing people. Unfortunately, her efforts only cause more trouble and the Doctor gives her a stern talking to. Long before Moffat's timey-wimey plotting and Davies' character-driven stories, this is one of the show's first forays into the opportunities of time travel and also the effect it has on the Doctor's friends.

7. Mind Robbed! - The Mind Robber

In the climax to the opening episode of The Mind Robber, the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are stuck in the TARDIS as it falls out of time and space and into nothingness. The Doctor's machine breaks apart and sends its insides - including the console and its adventurers - out floating into a black void until they are engulfed into a thick smoke. Expertly directed and scored with some throbbing, eerie music, sixties Doctor Who was never more psychedelic than in this moment which shows just how the series stretched and explored itself back in its first few years.

6. 'Nobody in the universe can do what we're doing...' - Tomb of the Cybermen

In the middle of this magnificent serial (Matt Smith's favourite classic Who story, don't you know) involving adventuring archaeologists and legendary Cybermen rising from their tombs comes a tiny moment between the Second Doctor and his new companion, Victoria, who is reflecting on the loss of her father (killed by Daleks in the previous story). Comforting her the Doctor tells her of the memory of his own family and how the life the TARDIS offers will help ease her grief, as there will be 'so much to see.' It's a terribly sweet scene that has nothing to do with the overall story but proves that the classic series can do moments of heart every bit as well as the modern series can.

5. 'No regrets, no tears, no anxieties.' - The Dalek Invasion of Earth 

And, just because I'm trying to get you crying, here's another tear-jerker. The Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, is torn between going with her grandfather or to help rebuild a Dalek-ravaged future Earth alongside David Campbell, a man she has fallen in love with. Making the decision for her, a hurt Doctor closes the TARDIS doors then gives her a farewell speech from inside. First Doctor William Hartnell usually hated giving long speeches but here he delivers every line with aplomb, putting a stiff-upper lip on as the Doctor tells Susan that she is a girl no longer and cannot travel with him anymore. It's the first exit of a companion and it is still one of the best.

4. Dalek! - The Daleks

In just the second story of Doctor Who ever, the Daleks make their first appearance. However, our first glimpse of the Dalek is not so much a great  reveal but more of a tantalising tease. At the end of the opening episode of the story, Barbara is wandering through the corridors of the Dalek's metallic city on Skaro when she encounters one of the creatures for herself. All we see, though, is her pinned to the wall by a sink plunger-like arm. There's not even a cry of 'exterminate.' A simple, suggestive and rather brilliant entrance for the Doctor's eternal worst enemies.

3. Trial of a Time Lord - The War Games

Nowadays, even casual viewers of  the series know a few basic things about the Doctor; and one of those is that he is a Time Lord. However, it wasn't until the Second Doctor's final episode, six years into the show, that the name of his race was revealed. Kidnapped by his people, the Doctor is accused for leaving his home planet and meddling in time - his punishment: he will be exiled to 20th century Earth and forced to change his face. It's a real turning point for Doctor Who; finally, we know something about the Doctor and it neatly sets up the premise of the Third Doctor's tenure. The show wouldn't be the same again.

2. 'It's far from all over...' - The Tenth Planet

The jaws of many viewers at home must have hit the floor when they saw this for the first time. After his first meeting with the Cybermen, the Doctor, old and tired, falls to the ground. Surrounded by his friends, Ben and Polly, the Doctor seems to be dead - but, wait -  in a flash of light, the old Doctor is gone and the Second Doctor is born. Watching this scene back now just reminds you what a fantastic idea that of regeneration is. Not only because it keeps the show going but also for its dramatic potential; Can Ben and Polly trust this new man? Can he really be the Doctor? Fab stuff.

 1. The First Journey - An Unearthly Child

Twenty minutes after Number Ten on this list, we follow Ian and Barbara as they follow their oddball student Susan home - to an out-of-place Police Box in a junkyard. Inside, they discover a gleaming console room of a spaceship and that Susan and her crotchety grandfather are actually time-travelling aliens. Believing that Ian and Barbara would tell his secret, the Doctor takes off from Earth, bringing the school teachers with him. As we hear the familiar wheezing noise for the first time, the TARDIS materialises in a prehistoric landscape. Just as a shadow passes over it. It's a simply sublime moment, taking us from an ordinary junkyard to millions of years into the past in an instant. It's bread and butter Doctor Who but here it really does feel brand-new; no other scene of the TARDIS disappearing one place only to reappear somewhere else is as enthralling as this one. No wonder Messrs Moffat and Davies were inspired.

Return next month for more of Doctor Who's Greatest Moments!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...