SFP Top Tens: Classic ‘Doctor Who’ Stories That Are A Must Watch For The New Fan

It is our hope that this list of stories gives new fans something to watch before the series returns in August. Most of these are available on iTunes and some have even aired on the UK horror channel.

With over 50 years of history to its name. Asking the average new ‘Doctor Who’ fan to look back at some of the important stories from the classic era to give them some sense of where certain monsters come from and how they came about can be a daunting task.

It is a task that my friend Raissa and I were all to happy to undertake. So without further ado we give you our top 10 of what we consider to be the most important stories from ‘Doctor Who’s’ classic series. And we have even included a few honourable mentions.

It is our hope that this list of stories gives new fans something to watch before the series returns in August. Most of these are available on iTunes and some have even aired on the UK horror channel.

If you don’t agree with any of our choices feel free to comment. We’d welcome your input.

10. An Unearthly Child: This was the story that launched the series back in 1963 and pretty much established the Doctor and his companions and the fast and loose rules of time travel.

9. The Edge Of Destruction: This first Doctor Who story is perhaps Doctor Who at its darkest, but it also gives us the first indication that the TARDIS is a self aware organism.


8. The Tomb Of The Cybermen: This was Patrick Troughton’s first run in with the Cybermen and the episode also did much more to establish the Cybermen than ‘The 10th Planet’ did. The episode also features some iconic imagery, which was later ripped off by ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ with the Borg.

7. War Games: This epic ten part story was the last hurrah for Patrick Troughton’s second Doctor, but the last two episode introduced us to the Time Lords and the Doctors home planet. Up until this point in Doctor Who all we knew was that he was a time traveling alien.

6. The Three Doctors: We have to give this a mention because it was the very first multiple Doctor story, which was done to celebrate ten years of the series. It was also the final appearance of William Hartnell as the first Doctor, and provided us with some mythology from the Doctors home planet. Plus a great villain in Omega.

5. Terror Of The Autons: This story is important not only because it was the second story to feature the Autons, but it was also the first appearance of the Doctors arch enemy The Master, who was back then very much the Moriarty to the Doctors Sherlock Holmes.


4. Genesis Of The Daleks: This classic Tom Baker episode saw the Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and Harry being sent on a covert mission by the Time Lords to destroy the Daleks. The episode is did much to establish Dalek mythology, but is most noted for the introduction of their creator Davros, who was played by Michael Wisher.

3. Caves Of Androzani: This was Peter Davison’s final story and arguably one of the last really good episodes of the series before the dip in quality. It was also one of the last stories to be written Robert Holmes, who many cite as one of the very best story editors and writers on the classic series.

2. Remembrance Of The Daleks: This is a story from the penultimate series of ‘Doctor Who’, which had the brilliant Andrew Cartmal as script editor. This story was one of the ones that put ‘Doctor Who’ back on track and it also featured the first ever scene of a Dalek going up the stairs. Something which was later utilized much more often by Russell T. Davies.


1. Pyramids Of Mars: This Tom Baker story cemented how alien the fourth Doctor was in terms of his responses to us trivial human’s. It also featured another brilliant villain in the form of the ancient Egyptian god Sutekh.

Also fun to note that Sutekh will be returning in a new series of ‘Bernice Summerfield’ adventures, which will be released in the summer by Big Finish.

Honorable Mentions: There are literally dozens more stories that we could mention, but give that we are only allowed to use ten. We decided to add a few stories that we did consider putting on the list.

City Of Death: Shot on location in Paris and written by the Douglas Adams. This story combines both mystery and horror and was a precursor to the Impossible Girl story arc, which was so conveniently ignored in the last series by Steven Moffat.

The Aztecs: This first Doctor story is significant because it featured the first major discussion about the moral implications of time travel and the damage that interfering with time can do. The discussion comes up when Barbra becomes the human avatar of an Aztec God and tries to alter their cultural path by introducing modern morality.

Battlefield: This 7th Doctor story not only made great use of Arthurian legends, but it also featured the very last appearance of Brigadier Leftbridge-Stewart.

Doctor Who The Movie: We only mention this because it was the final appearance of Sylvester McCoy’s seventh Doctor and the only televised appearance of Paul McGann as the eighth Doctor, who wasn’t seen again until ‘The Night Of The Doctor’, which was only seen via the internet and BBC iPlayer. We also think that McGann was a huge missed opportunity in that he really should have had a series of his own, but alas we only really got to appreciate his portrayal post movie via the great folks at Big Finish audio.

We hope you all enjoyed our list of choices. As said at the start. We welcome your input and suggestions and are more than happy to discuss any of these stories with you. So please feel free to comment.

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: ian@scifipulse.net
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