Calm, Collected, an ancient head on a young mans body, the 5th Doctor, played beautifully by Peter Davison, was the perfect follow up to the borderline insanity of Tom Baker. Sporting an equally out of place costume (and a decorative vegetable), the 5th Doctor faced some tough challenges, struggling through a failing regeneration, fending off the newly rejuvenated Master, loosing a companion and sacrificing his life to save another. Here are my personal top 3 5th Doctor adventures.
“Oh, marvellous. You're going to kill me. What a finely tuned response to the situation.”
Is anybody really surprised? Regarded by many as the best of Davison’s era, Earthshock featured the long awaited return of the Cybermen, with an iconic redesign and a deadly plan. A scientific expedition into a cave system on Earth is wiped out. As the Doctor and his companions investigate, the Doctor is shocked to discover the Cybermen behind the plot. Tracking them back to their point of origin, the Doctor finds an Earthbound Space freighter containing a secret attack force; their goal – Crash the freighter into Earth, wiping on all life (including the military council gathering for war against the Cybermen). With the future of the Human Race at stake, the Doctor and his allies must stop the Cybermen attack at any cost.
Earthshock is a landmark for many reasons; the iconic image of the Cybermen, the more violent moments and lack of camp humour the show had become known for, however the most important part of this story, the reason it sticks in so many minds, is the death of Adric, arguably the first companion to die in the shows history, certainly the first for almost 20 years (the Companion status of Katarina and Sarah Kingdom has long since been debated).
As the freighter heads ever close to Earth, the Doctor breaks free of the Cyber-Leader, stabbing him through the chest piece with Adric’s gold-plated badge but is too late to bring the TARDIS back. Adric uses one last trick, sending the Freighter 65 million years. The Doctor and his companions watch as the freighter collides with Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and their friend. Credits roll, silent, only the image of Adric’s broken badge remains.
Sure he was a pretty annoying character, but he was young, innocent and wanted to go home, yet he died a hero’s death, choosing to stay behind and try to save a planet that wasn’t even his own.
The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are shot out of the sky and forced to land on an undersea Nuclear Missile Platform in the midst of a cold war with an ‘opposing power bloc’ *cough*. Unfortunately, another species has their eyes on the station and it’s weaponry, the original inhabitants of Earth want their planet back…
OK, so it’s not the best episode, and yes it’s slated continuously, and yes, it did feature the most ridiculous looking monster ever (until the Kandyman came along…) but I like Warriors of the Deep for several reasons. Firstly, we have the return of the Silurians and Sea Devils (kind of), monsters we hadn’t seen since the early Pertwee days. Both look awesome despite their slightly Samurai redesign, both sound terrifying and both present themselves as formidable enemies. The references back to earlier episodes was a nice touch, as was the reflection of real world events and despite the rubber mound that was the Myrka and Ingrid Pitt’s dreadful acting, the story was well paced and rather thrilling. Not to mention the ‘everybody dies’ ending was incredibly dark!
Secondly, this was my first ever Doctor Who episode and as an eight year-old boy, watching the Doctor ‘drown’ in a vat of reactor fluid scared the shit out of me, even if Turlough didn’t seem to care!
Expecting Cave of Androzani, wasn’t you? Yeah, me too, but I just couldn’t let this one go. Resurrection of the Daleks defined what the Daleks were for me! They were terrifying, vicious monsters, unrelenting in their goals, and that’s before we see the disgusting Kaled in side!
Davros, the creator of the Daleks, has been imprisoned for 90 years aboard a human space station, however that soon changes as the Daleks come looking for their creator to resurrect their fallen army after their loss at the hands of the Movellans. The Doctor and his companions get caught in their nefarious scheme, being dragged through a time corridor between the Dalek ship and a warehouse in London where humanoid replicas defend Movellan gas samples. The Doctor quickly becomes embroiled in their schemes and, after learning of Davros’ true intentions, vows to do the one thing he’s put off for years and execute Davros once and for all.
Stein’s corruption from the good mannered hero to a Dalek puppet was horrible to see as a kid, the way the Daleks could bend your mind to their will was awful, and when we see the Doctor going through the same process we really do begin to panic.
Davros’ attempt to kill off the Daleks is another important point, continuing his goal to rectify his original mistake and create a superior, more obedient race of Daleks by modifying the Movellan virus to make it more effective, a plan which backfires and attacks his own travel machine. We see what we assume to be Davros’ final death as he, like the Daleks, begins to deteriorate. Down in the warehouse on Earth, the Doctor finally makes the right choice for the Daleks and releases the virus, destroying what is left of the Supreme Daleks army. After the carnage dies down, the Doctor and his friends inspect the death and destruction, Tegan finally realising that it’s become too much and leaving the Doctor for the final time.