Starring William Hartnell as The Doctor
with Maureen O'Brien as Vicki, Peter Purves as Steven Taylor, Adrienne Hill as Katarina, Jackie Lane as Dodo Chaplet, Michael Craze as Ben Jackson and Anneke Wills as Polly Wright

18 Galaxy 4

A deeply tedious morality tale about not judging on appearances that plods along, oblivious to the fact the Drahvins are blatant villains right from the start. Even the Doctor twigs right away, and yet this is spun out for four mind-numbing episodes. The Chumblies are cute, but not enough to save the rest of the thing. Star Trek-level tackiness meshes with no drive, no suspense and no charm.


19 Mission to the Unknown

Famous because of its' weird format (one episode, no regular cast members, a prelude to a story that wouldn't be shown for a month), "Mission to the Unknown" actually isn't half bad. Marc Cory is an engaging character, and the episode has a fabulous atmosphere. After "The Chase" it's great to see the Daleks being treated as a serious threat once again, and the story has a hard, sinister feeling and - shock horror - the Daleks actually win one.


20 The Myth Makers

High comedy from Donald Cotton, which once again brings out the best in William Hartnell. Sure, there are a few too many jokes after death scenes, but it's rather winning, and the one-liners stop the thing from being too brutal. A couple of historical clichés are trotted out, but the story is never dull thanks to the corking script and wholehearted performances from the cast. Vicki gets a much better exit than such a trite character deserves too.


21 The Daleks' Masterplan

Somewhat surprisingly, this galactic epic comes fairly close to justifying its' mammoth length. The Daleks are still on form, Mavic Chen is played with real conviction by Kevin Stoney, the SSS agents add decent, capable guest protagonists to the miss, Katarina gets a fabulous exit, the Meddling Monk's back and both Hartnell and Purves excel. Even the infamous Christmas episode has its' charms and presents a welcome break from a surprisingly gritty main storyline.


22 The Massacre

Continuing in the more serious bent, "The Massacre" treats its' plot with unswerving sobriety, and is as fine as any other story from the era. Given the real central role, Peter Purves gives a truly astounding performance, while Hartnell does well in the double-role and the guest cast is one of the best assembled. It's not an easy story to watch due to the serious subject matter, but it's a marvellous piece of drama.


23 The Ark

While the format of a two-parter followed immediately by a two-part sequel is a neat approach, neither of the narratives are all that interesting, and the Monoids are hard to take seriously. Plus both scrape the barrel on the inventiveness front - the super-advanced crew catching a cold and the invisible people are both very poor ideas, and the reduced screentime means none of the guest characters are around enough to make an impression.


24 The Celestial Toymaker

Much like "The Time Meddler", the story benefits from having an adversary with highly advanced powers squaring up to the Doctor. However, the show's low budget nature means the potential of the individual games doesn't really come across, and they're often a bit annoying. Still, it's a bit different from aliens being out to enslave the human race.


25 The Gunfighters

Another Cotton comedy, though this one's a bit broader than "The Myth Makers". Still, there's a plot full of colourful characters to enjoy, and it chugs away happily (by this stage pacing is less of a problem, with the move towards four-part stories as a base). But aside from a handful of smart lines there's not a huge amount to make it stand out as anything more than a fairly competent story.


26 The Savages

A very unusual story, with the Doctor and company arriving and for once not being treated with suspicion. That there's a massive downside to the Elders' utopia is predictable, but the way the story unfolds isn't. The great Frederick Jaegar gives an excellent performance as Jano, and while much of the resolution can be worked out well in advance the script finds some interesting ways of getting there. And Steven's send-off really is superb, and very ahead of its' time in terms of the Doctor's role in it. A forgotten gem.


27 The War Machines

While the basic storyline is a radical change of direction for the show at the time, with its' present day setting, "The War Machines" is a terrible story. The Doctor spends much of his time pontificating with civil servants, the War Machines aren't remotely convincing and the whole idea of a mad computer taking people over by phone is terrible stuff. Neither Ben nor Polly make a particularly strong debut, and the thing's just too boring to even be amusing.