BONUS: The First Doctor Retrospective




 

It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard. Time to review the highlights and low-points of The First Doctor.



In the words of The First Doctor, ‘it all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard,’ and that’s precisely where we kick off this bonus retrospective.

Much like we did in our Ninth Doctor Retrospective when we’d reviewed Eccleston’s series at the start of the Doctor Who Revival, here we sit back and discuss the very beginnings of Doctor Who as a whole. Who Back When wrapped up William Hartnell’s run a little while ago, and so we decided – having reviewed all 27 of his serials, all 134 episodes (!) – to discuss, laud, rate (or berate, whatever the case may be) the highlights and lowpoints of The First Doctor.

In this retrospective, we also rank…

  • The top 5 William Hartnell Doctor Who serials
  • The bottom 5 William Hartnell Doctor Who serials
  • The First Doctor’s companions
  • The greatest First Doctor quotes
  • Our favourite line flubs
  • The best and worst creatures
  • The greatest foe
  • The most horrendously inadequate enemy
  • and, as per the recommendation of one of our listeners…

  • The best Who Back When nicknames for Doctor Who characters

Oh, and in the end, there’s even a First Doctor Quiz, just for good measure.

Despite him missing his lines on occasion, and our sometimes derisive attitude toward his antics notwithstanding, we loved William Hartnell as The Doctor. So listen to our Hartnell retrospective and let us know what you think in the comment section below. Would your rankings differ from ours? We want to know!

If you haven’t listened to our reviews of the individual First Doctor serials, what are you waiting for? Click HERE for the full list!

#DoctorWho #DrWho #ClassicWho #WilliamHartnell #FirstDoctor

Here's what we think

Ponken

@ponken

Marvellous!
Wonderful!

Here's what you think

2 Responses to “BONUS: The First Doctor Retrospective”

  1. Gina Guerrero | @ginaguerrero1

    Watching the 1st Doctor’s tenure with WBW, I gained an appreciation for William Hartnell and his doctor. His doctor did not start off the way we know the Doctor to be now. Grumpy, selfish and an alleged kidnapper. It took a season for him to smooth out and become a caring and somewhat selfless Doctor. Hartnell was amazing as the Doctor. Even in the stories where he was on vacation for a few episodes, his presence was missed.
    When thinking of my favorite episodes with the 1st Doctor, I had to choose Edge of Destruction. After rewatching it recently, it is still a batshit crazy episode. However, the actors did their best to sell a story which the main antagonists are paranoia and stuck switch. Other favorite episodes for me include the Time Meddler and The Romans.
    I don’t think of anyone would disagree that the worst episode still goes to The Web Planet and it awful story, irritating bleeping and horrible costumes.

    In looking at the companions, my favorites are still the OGs BI (Barbra & Ian). Barbra displayed a quiet strength and intelligence without always being the damsel in distress. She didn’t mind messing up her perfectly coiffed hair. Ian was a great leading man being both a fighter and voice of reason for the Doctor. And I still believe that his strength came from those cardigans he wore. My favorite moments were when they were questioning and challenging the Doctor and his plans(much to his chagrin). I can admit that sometimes Barbra made irrational decisions and Ian couldn’t tell the difference between stone and metal. But they still hold special place in my heart. Worst companion goes to the most useless companion ever Vicki.

    Here are my fave 1st Doctor quotes:
    The Doctor: Alright? Of course I’m alright, my child. You know, I am so constantly outwitting the opposition, I tend to forget the delights and satisfaction of the gentle art of fisticuffs. (The Romans)
    The Doctor: I made some cocoa and got engaged (The Aztecs)
    The Doctor: How dare you, young man! HOW DARE YOU, SIR! I didn’t invite you into the ship in the first place! You both thrusted yourselves upon me! (The Chase)

    Lastly, the thing that I will miss most about the 1st Doctor is the flubbed lines. The classic “We are at the edge of descrustion—destruction” & from the Keys of Marinus “ I cant improve….I cant prove”.

    Favorite nicknames : Vapor Rub (Vicki), Hunk #1 & 2 and Dalek 347 (The Daleks)

    Thanks and miss you!

    Reply
  2. Steven | @sgamer82

    It’s a bit sad that when you ask most people “Who is your favorite Doctor?” few, if any, will say the First Doctor, William Hartnell. Even in my own case, my top 3 are Smith, Pertwee, and McCoy (Eleventh, Third, and Seventh respectively). Despite that, Hartnell’s Doctor is perhaps the single most important of them all. Doctor Who as we know it would simply not exist had Hartnell not been there do his part at the beginning. Based on what I’ve seen and read about him I like to that think part of the reason is that, as cantankerous and difficult as he may have been towards the end of his time on the show, Hartnell truly believed in the series.

    The First Doctor did not start out as the heroic character we imagine when we think of the Doctor. But in those first three seasons we saw him transform from a cowardly adventurer who would leave others behind to save his own neck, to the cranky grandfather who would help people simply because it was right to do so.

    Favorite Episode: The Daleks’ Master Plan
    I confess to a lot of bias on this one. The Daleks’ Master Plan has its flaws, not least of which being Terry Nation’s apparent inability to differentiate between galaxies and solar systems and an entire set of characters serving absolutely no purpose. I am, however, an utter sucker for epic-scale storylines and, as the longest Doctor Who serial, spanning nearly half a dozen worlds and giving us the shock of our first companion deaths, this story fits the bill without question.

    Least Favorite Episode: The War Machines
    Granted, I never got around to watching the Web Planet or the Edge of Destruction. Yet no matter how bad they may have been The War Machines commits a much more serious sin in my eyes by giving Dodo the dildo and preventing her from getting a proper farewell, instead having it delivered secondhand by her replacement. As I said at the time and hold to now: “whether you hated her or only mildly disliked her, Dodo deserved better.”

    Honorable Mentions:
    The Space Museum – Because it contains my favorite quote of Hartnell’s era and my favorite Who Back When nickname, which is probably the moment the podcast truly won me over.
    The Time Meddler – For adding to the lore of Doctor Who by giving us our first Time Lord outside of the main cast before we even had the term “Time Lord.”
    The Savages – Because its setting has cave people like An Unearthly Child, it demonstrates best just how much the Doctor has changed in the time between those two stories.

    Favorite Companion:
    Barbara Wright. She set the standard for female companions to follow by rarely being a damsel in distress, often finding ways to save herself or others, and running down a Dalek with a truck. That last feat would not be matched until 1988, when a companion would attack a Dalek with a baseball bat.

    Least Favorite Companion:
    Dodo Chaplet. I certainly won’t be alone here. While I have no special dislike for Dodo, she was definitely the weakest of Harntell’s companions, falling short of Barbara’s standard. Even Katarina, had she lived, could have been more interesting as we watched her adapt to the strange sights she saw as a TARDIS traveler.

    Favorite Quotes:
    My favorite quotes were typically those that, by obvious accident, fit perfectly or became amusing with the benefit of hindsight. My absolute favorite being from episode 2 of the Space Museum, said by Barbara and acting as a perfect description of the Doctor from Hartnell to Capaldi: “The Doctor’s curious. That means we stay.”

    Because it’s funny in hindsight, the Doctor admonishing his companions in the Gunslingers with “Why can’t you wear inconspicuous clothing like I do?”

    And the Doctor’s monologue at the end of The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, in which the Doctor expresses sentiments that wouldn’t be out of place if said by his modern-day counterparts.

    Favorite Line Flub:
    The Smugglers: “See that scanner over there? That is what I call a scanner.”

    Finally, my favorite Who Back When nickname during the Hartnell era:
    Referring to Barbara, Ian, and Vicki as “Notorious B.I.V.”

    Reply

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