So we’re five days into the Doctor Who marathon on Twitch, and we’ve already reached the final complete stories of the First Doctor.
As great as it would be to say that there really aren’t that many other stories for his Doctor, that’s far from the case. The last three stories today are all from his third season. They’re also the only complete serials from it.
All the other stories are missing at least one episode. Some in fact are completely missing, in quite a few cases. Even The Tenth Planet is missing an episode.
So those hoping to catch the first regeneration story, or even compare it to Twice Upon a Time, will be sadly disappointed that it’s not included in the marathon.
Still, we’ve got a handful of stories left, so let’s see what’s really worth watching.
But The Time Meddler is the first pseudo-historical – a story set in the past with some extra science-fiction thrown in. This kind of story is pretty common in Doctor Who, especially now. In fact, virtually every New Series story set in the past usually has some alien added to it.
But it’s even bigger than that. This is the story that introduced the Meddling Monk. He hasn’t been seen in the television series since 1966 in The Daleks’ Master Plan. But he’s an incredibly important character, as he’s the first member of the Doctor’s race, other than the Doctor and Susan, of course, that we’ve seen on the show.
Peter Butterworth is fantastic as the Monk. He clearly has a lot of fun in the role, and really brings a childlike appeal to the character. He’s not menacing or psychotic like the Master. He’s just irresponsible and reckless. The Monk is an interesting opponent for the Doctor, and one that would be great to see again on television at some point.
The Ark is a rather interesting one. It is a four-part story, but at the same time, it’s two very closely linked two-part stories, too.
The first half has the TARDIS landing on a ship in the far future, fleeing from the destruction of Earth. The traveller’s arrival on the Ark causes a plague to spread out among not just the humans, but also the alien race they’re travelling with, the Monoids. The form this “plague” takes is an interesting one, to say the least.
The TARDIS crew eventually leave at the end of the first half. However, they’re immediately brought back to the Ark 700 years later, and have to face the consequences of their actions.
It’s great to see the serial format used in a rather different way with this one. The two stories overall are very different, and it’s great to see the TARDIS crew face the consequences of their actions. Both the ones that are immediate, and even the consequences that are more long-term.
This isn’t the kind of story that’s regularly told. Even now in the New Series, with the exception of the episode Bad Wolf, you don’t often see the Doctor facing the long-term consequences of his adventures. So it’s interesting that we get such a story here.