3. The War Games (1969)
John Partwick from Patrick Troton
Because Patrick Troughton left after three years, working on Doctor Who By about 40 weeks of the year, he was exhausted. Behind the scenes, stories were passing, so the two stories designed to fill the six-episode slot couldn’t work, nor was story editor Derrick Sherwin’s final four-part. This required another Doctor and his colleague Jamie to write ten episodes with the need to write, set a new Earthbound format for the next season and that too – at Sherwin’s suggestion – the discovery and introduction of Doctor’s People. Writing began in late December 1968, Wendy Pedbury decided not to return for the next season in January, i.e. Fellow Zone had to write as well, and filming began in March 1969 for a broadcast starting in late April.
So it’s a miracle that ‘The War Games’ are just as good. It pulls at some point, there are a lot of capture and escape and long beefing scenes, but it’s very forgiving. ‘The War Games’ is superb when it’s at its best. Co-written by Malcolm Hulk and Terrence Dix, there is a political subtext attached to a strong science fiction concept (there is anger at senior officials who sent men to their deaths, support for subjugated people, acknowledgment of what the limits are. Doctor Who Can: Doctors can’t save a day here alone; It cannot stop the horrors of war, only limits it).
Here is a strong understanding of the trivialities of evil: the war chief and the security chief, the two aliens who are hosting the title war games, quarrel and snip trivially at each other. The God of War is a middle-aged man with a calm, steady, aura of wrath. He is very quiet about what they are doing, and so are Time Lords. When they appear and sentence War Lord to extinction, to send Zoe and Jamie back to their respective timelines (where the latter will most likely die), they almost rumble their instructions.
It is against these vast systems, capable of quietly erasing life without a hint of moral uncertainty, that another doctor defeats himself. Trouton gives a wide sense of indifference here, understated but assures the audience of his loss. This feeling of melancholy then sends Trotton to zero and rumbles when he disappears.
2. Caves of Androzani (1984)
Colin Baker from Peter Davison
The ‘caves of Androzani’ – except for the fact that the seemingly terrifying magma creature looks like a tiny dragon in a starchy cap – are wonderful. The only reason he is not at the top is that the number one story slightly rejects the reasons for the revival while making ‘Androzani’ unbelievable which is completely refuted by the story that follows him.
In the context, the final fifth Doctor story comes after the death of one of his colleagues (Edrick), another goes to work in a medical facility from which he may not return, after his longest serving partner tries to kill him Davros. Leaves in resentment, and in his last story the master apparently burns to death in front of him when he kills another fellow at his own instruction. Plus Recently there were two stories where almost every non-regular character died.