Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Doctor Who: The Best of the Best

There were some surprises here, most of all the surprise that more people voted than in the previous poll. Myself, I find it much easier to decide which story I like least than which I like most; perhaps I am unusual in that regard.

Anyway, as before, going in order of decreasing consensus by Doctor.

Ninth Doctor: The runaway winner - by a far greater margin than for any other Doctor - was Steven Moffat's The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances with 43 votes out of 63 (including mine). A very long way behind came Dalek with 7 votes, then Father's Day with 5, Rose and Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways with two each, and Boom Town with one. (And three saying they were all brill.) This basically isn't surprising, though the margin of victory perhaps is.

Father's Day thus establishes itself also as the most polarising Who story ever, coming third in the vote for Best Of Nine and joint third in the vote for Worst Of Nine; apart from the special case of the TV movie, it was the only one to get four or more votes in both polls.

Fifth Doctor: The Caves of Androzani has a pretty commanding lead, with 18 votes out of 47 (including mine). In joint second place, though a long way behind with 4 each, are Kinda, Earthshock and The Five Doctors, with Castrovalva, The Visitation, Black Orchid and Enlightenment on two each and a vote for each of Arc of Infinity, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Warriors of the Deep, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire. And two saying they were all great. Again, I can't say I am surprised by this outcome.

Kinda turns out to be another polarising story, joint second in the poll for Best Of Five and third in the poll for Worst Of Five. Black Orchid also scored notably in both. It is notable that the Worst of Five poll produced the most decisive result, and the Best Of Five the second most decisive. When they got it right in those days, they got it right; and when they got it wrong, they got it wrong.

First Doctor: The Dalek Invasion of Earth, with 16 votes out of 48; more than twice as many as the second placed story, The Aztecs which got 7 and The Daleks with 4. Three votes go to both The Romans and (my own choice) The Daleks' Master Plan, with two each to An Unearthly Child, The Edge of Destruction, The Keys of Marinus and The Time Meddler and single votes for Marco Polo , The Chase, The Myth Makers, The War Machines and The Tenth Planet (and also for each of the "all great"/"all terrible" options). I can understand the winner, which is the best of the surviving longer First Doctor stories; but I really think that if you like The Dalek Invasion of Earth, and are prepared to submit to the tyranny of the audio format, you will love The Daleks' Master Plan; I know I did.

Interestingly An Unearthly Child got two votes in both polls. You either like it or you don't (though I question whether any of those who voted it as Worst Of One had actually seen The Chase). I cannot quite believe that anyone voted for The Chase as Best Of One who has seen any other First Doctor story (bar The Sensorites).

Sixth Doctor: Revelation of the Daleks is the winner here with 14 votes out of 43. There is then a fairly neat gradation: The Two Doctors gets 7, The Mark of the Rani 6, Vengeance on Varos 4, Mindwarp 3 (including mine), and, rather incredibly, two votes go to each of Timelash (the winner for the Worst Of Six poll) and The Ultimate Foe. Four hated 'em all, one loved 'em all.

I don't really understand this, to be honest. Neither of the top two stories seems to me at all special, except that they are not quite as bad as the worst of the Six era. I stand by my own choice of Mindwarp as the most interesting and innovative Six story.

Seventh Doctor: Remebrance of the Daleks squeaks it over my own choice, The Curse of Fenric, by 13 to 12 (out of a total of 47). Incredibly, Battlefield came third with 6, then Dragonfire, The Happiness Patrol, Ghost Light and Survival with three, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy with two and Paradise Towers with one. (Likewise one for "All terrible".)

As with the Worst Of Seven poll, I find these results utterly incomprehensible; how anyone can rate the cheap and shoddy Remembrance and rambling Battlefield over the masterful Fenric and subtle Ghost Light is beyond me.

Fourth Doctor: Genesis of the Daleks is narrowly ahead of City of Death by 13 vote to 11 (out of 49); and in fairness, it is a tough call. Some way behind are The Talons of Weng-Chiang with 6, The Robots of Death with four, and Pyramids of Mars and (my own choice) The Deadly Assassin with three; scattered individual votes for The Ark in Space, The Android Invasion, The Brain of Morbius, The Masque of Mandragora, Image of the Fendahl, State of Decay and Warriors' Gate, with two for "all great".

With slight reservations for a couple of the last group, these stories are all fantastic. Terry Nation becomes the first of two writers to win two of these polls.

Second Doctor: The Mind Robber has it with 11 votes out of 46. It is followed, in neat descent, by The Tomb of the Cybermen (8), The Invasion (7), The War Games (5), The Evil of the Daleks (4), The Highlanders (3) and (as qatsi points out) The Web of Fear (2) with scattered votes for The Faceless Ones, The Ice Warriors and The Wheel in Space. (And two for "all good", and one for "all bad".) Although my own vote was for The War Games, all the top five picks are memorably excellent. I am a bit surprised by the popularity of The Highlanders.

Third Doctor: Inferno is well ahead of the opposition, with 11 votes out of 48, more than twice as man as its nearest rivals, Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Dæmons which both got five. They are followed by The Three Doctors and The Green Death with four each, Terror of the Autons and The Claws of Axos with three, Spearhead from Space, The Mind of Evil, Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Planet of the Spiders with two each, and single votes for The Ambassadors of Death, Day of the Daleks, my own eccentric choice The Curse of Peladon, The Sea Devils and Frontier in Space. Uniquely, nobody went for either the "all great" or "all terrible" options. My own tastes are clearly well out of whack with the rest of fandom here.

Tenth Doctor: It is not surprising that Blink, my own choice, won with 14 votes out of 62, giving Steven Moffat his second victory (and thus level with Terry Nation). I was surprised, though, not just by its relatively low score - this was the least decisive of the nine serious contests - but by the following placings: Human Nature / The Family of Blood with 11, The Fires of Pompeii with 7, The Girl in the Fireplace with 5, and Midnight with 4. The two most recent season finales, Utopia / The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords, and Turn Left / The Stolen Earth / Journey's End each got three, with two for two-parters The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit, Army of Ghosts / Doomsday and Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead and individual votes for the Children in Need Special (which I suspect is an error for Time Crash), Love & Monsters, The Shakespeare Code, Time Crash in its own right, The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky and The Unicorn and the Wasp, with three diehards insisting they were all good. There were a couple of odd omissions - was nobody as impressed with School Reunion or The Doctor's Daughter as I was? And I am struck by the convincing lead of The Fires of Pompeii over Midnight, which I would have put the other way round. But chacun a son goût.

Eighth Doctor: 10 out of 54 of you voted for the TV movie. The other 44, including I should say myself, thought it was a stupid question.

So that's it. Thanks for playing, and I shall probably do the same this time next year or thereabouts.
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