Doctor Who is back this week, and we’re in a celebratory mood. Still, for all that we like the new series and are generally glad that Doctor Who still exists in 2013, we must confess to being much bigger fans of the original than the 21st-century reboot. With this in mind, we got our biggest Doctor Who fan — namely music editor Tom Hawking — to sit down with Doctor Who FAQ author Dave Thompson and pick out a selection of episodes from the classic show that latter-day fans should check out. Of course, this is only a very cursory examination of 25 years of goodness, and there were plenty of other favorites that we had to leave off, so let us know your picks.
The War Machines (1966)
Getting a hold of episodes from the earliest days of the series is difficult due to the BBC’s policy of wiping and reusing old tapes. Happily, though, some serials survive pretty much unscathed, including this four-part romp, which finds the Doctor battling a self-aware computer that has decided to wipe out humanity. (It’s kinda fascinating how much of this plot turns up in Terminator 2, by the way.)
Dave Thompson: “It just has that wonderful mid-’60s London feel to it, without getting into, you know, groovy dolly birds at the disco. Most shows from that time seemed to fall into those clichés, and this one didn’t. It’s a great story and the computer is really cool — it lives at the top of the post office tower and sends cardboard boxes to kill tramps.”