Doctor Who Extended Media Review – The Complete History Volume #23

Doctor Who The Complete History was a series of hardback volumes which came out every two weeks and covered 3-4 stories each. These were in-depth volumes covering the production of each episode from the first in 1963 to the end of the Peter Capaldi era of the show. In addition to the extensive production notes there were also merchandise and publicity updates and actor profiles. The quality of each volume was exceptional overseen by several different editors. The volumes were only available in the UK and Ireland so were difficult to obtain in other locations. I am more of a Watsonian fan but if you are a Doyalist you will greatly appreciate these books. Even so I give the entire series a solid 8 out of 10. I will rate each episode covered below.

The Phillip Hinchcliff era of Doctor Who is considered by many to be pinnacle of Tom Baker’s tenure and of the series itself. After a brief flirtation with The Third Doctor in 1976 my local PBS station began stripping Baker’s first four seasons Monday through Friday at 7:00 PM. We also could receive the PBS station from nearby New Hampshire and they were running the same four seasons at 7:30 PM. I must have watched every episode of these four seasons a dozen times during my high school and college years.

Genesis of the Daleks is a great story combining a Nazi allegory, mutant results of a generational war and horrific war-torn landscapes into an exciting adventure. Terry Nation with just a little push developed the Daleks into truly frightening menace and created one of the icons of the program in Davros. Michael Wisher‘s performance is exceptional and his maniacal reaction to the Doctor’s hypothetical virus scenario is one of the most memorable in the entire series. Great performances by Marter, Sladen and Baker combine with great character actors like Peter Miles, Dennis Chinnery and Guy Siner light up the screen. 10 out of 10.

Revenge of the Cybermen sees the return of the metal cyborgs for the first time since the Second Doctor adventure The Invasion. The first half of the story with the Doctor, Harry and Sarah returning to Nerva Beacon and encountering what appears to be a disease outbreak is very good. The story loses some steam when the Planet of Gold Voga and the Cybermen come into play. We do get the classic line “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile” during this story 7 out of 10.

We are back to another great story with Terror of the Zygons. It took a long time for the Zygons to return to the series only making their second appearance in the 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor. Great use of the Brigadier and UNIT with the Scottish highlands an interesting (albeit not on location) backdrop. John Woodnutt is a wonderful guest star as both the Duke of Forgill and the Zygon Broton. Direction by Douglas Camfield and written by Robert Banks Stewart earn a rating of 10 out of 10.