Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Blogtor Who Top 50 - No. 32

Here it is! Blogtor's personal countdown of his 50 favourite Doctor Who television stories, one a week till the big day in November 2013. Now, just to point out, this choice is purely my own. So don't expect reasoned debate or objectivity. Or even the need to please every fan out there. This is my list, and I stand by it. I will also add that I've seen every Doctor Who story released (at least twice), so I feel like I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, enough chittle of the chattle, let's begin...

DALEK
First broadcast 30/04/05 starring Christopher Eccleston

As some of you regular blog~a~trons might know, I am no fan of the Daleks. Never have been. As a child I feared the Cybermen more than these fascistic pepperpots from Skaro. When Doctor Who returned in 2005 I audibly groaned when it was announced that these mad little bastards would also be making an appearance. For me, they were a symptom of one of Who's failures - returning villains and monsters; their currency weakened with each return.

Anyway, as you can no doubt tell, as this beauty is resting in the Top 50, I didn't let my personal feelings get in the way (and I should point out there are more Dalek stories to come in my rundown). 

To reinvigorate such an icon and one quite heavily derised in popular culture, was an impressive feat - and one still worthy of applause and many tasty biscuits. Within the space of forty-five minutes, the Daleks were THE enemy, with no contestation. Russell T Davies and writer Rob Shearman had concocted an episode so vital, and so damn dramatic, that it was unbelievable to think Skaro's finest were ever anything other than the universe's best baddies (or worst depending on how you calibrate your scale).

Just one Dalek seemed like it could destroy the world (or any world, for that matter) and the episode wonderfully played out  its journey going from tortured captive to a supremely intelligent world-ending tank.

But, it's not all about the titular traveling machine (though the scene where it dispatches the troops in one sodden swoop is most surely one of Doctor Who's best moments) - you've also got Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston doing their actoring to a very top level. Just check out chipmunk cheeks (that's Billie, in case you were in any doubt) and her inherent goodness and sympathy when she first meets the Dalek. A truly emotional and personal journey for the one-time shop girl, who was unafraid and simply wanted to help. This is why Rose was/is one of the best "companions" to travel in the TARDIS.

Counter that with Eccleston's anger and hatred -  "I made it happen!" he spits venomously at the chained captive when discussing the Time War. Whereas in the past, The Doctor could be almost playful with his bumpy enemies, here the Gallifreyan breaks down, revealing his emotions for all to see. His gun-wielding tactics towards the end also display a very different side to our "hero". Very un-Doctory. Perhaps Eccleston's finest performance in the show (to date).

Also "un-Doctory" [who writes this stuff? - Ed.], was the sight of the Time Lord topless and tortured; so glad Mary Whitehouse wasn't around to catch that in her mind's eye. But that was typical of this unusual, almost brutal episode. A simple story that revealed much about the players. (In fact, so good a story that the current production remade it as Cold War.)

From regarding the Daleks with contempt, bored of every return to anxiously/excitedly awaiting their next appearance - that's the power of Dalek.

And I managed to get through this without saying how bloody awful Adam was!

Oops.


See Nos. 50-33 HERE

2 comments:

Jack Bowman said...

"...(to date)"?

JohnB said...

(In fact, so good a story that the current production remade it as Cold War.)

Oh you are awful, but I like you!