Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

First Doctor celebration

It being the 48th birthday of Doctor Who today, I thought I would start a brief series of posts about my favourite stories in various media for each of the Doctors, which hopefully will encourage fellow fans to explore a few more books or audios (or maybe even check out some TV stories with a fresh eye).
1) TV

I have the unfashionable view that The Daleks' Master Plan celebrates a lot of what made Old Who great and also looks forward to later stories where the Doctor becomes a man of action. It has Daleks, pyramids, Mavic Chen, Sara Kingdom and Bret Vyon; and it has tragedy as well as comedy. Unfortunately three quarters of it has been burninated, but the BBC's narration with Peter Purves is well worth getting hold of. (Fan opinion differs from me: the poll I did a couple of years ago picked The Dalek Invasion of Earth, and both the Dynamic Rankings site and the DWM Might 200 picked The Daleks as the best First Doctor story. A common theme there.)
2) Books

No novelisation of a Doctor Who story is ever likely to be as good as the very first, originally published as Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure With The Daleks, by David Whitaker, now reprinted and available in the shops with a foreword by Neil Gaiman. Whitaker has to take the story from the start, from Ian's point of view, and injects darkness and romance into it, and is of course untroubled by dodgy special effects. Many Doctor Who book collections start here and it should certainly be in yours.
2a) Spinoff books

For each Doctor I will pick a favourite book and then also pick favourites from the various other categories of book available for that Doctor. Here, I'm going for Kim Newman's novella Time and Relative, published by Telos, set in a cold London winter shortly before An Unearthly Child and told very much from Susan's point of view. I tend to give extra marks to Who books which capture the characters well and which also tie into the mythology of Who (and indeed other mythologies), on top of their literary merits; I think this one scores on all those points.
3) Audio

It's an early one from the Companion Chronicles of Big Finish, But I particularly liked Marc Platt's Mother Russia on first listening, a story where Peter Purves explains what happened when he, Dodo and the Doctor got caught up in Napoleon's invasion of Russia. (Another early Companion Chronicle, also by Platt and set at almost the same time, is Frost Fire, told by Maureen O'Brien, which tells us how Vicki met Jane Austen.)
4) Dishonourable mention

To balance the picture I will mention a story from each Doctor which I cannot stand. Byzantium!, by Keith Topping, brings the Doctor, Ian, Susan and Barbara to the city of Byzantium. The Doctor ends up producing the Gospel of St Mark and Topping's research into names, languages and architecture is embarrassingly poor. He goes on and on about the city's minarets, which were not built anywhere for another 700 years and not in Constantinople until after 1453. So it edges out The Sensorites at the bottom of my list.

More tomorrow, possibly.
Tags: doctor who, doctor who: 01

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