Ye Gods! Where do I start? Perhaps, with a disclaimer.. "And, I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to..."; no, wait, DISCLAIMER. Not a bloody Proclaimer! Though I shall, no doubt, as I wade through the poll, do plenty of proclaiming, exclaiming, expleting, opining, and more expleting. So. Disclaimer. This is my OPINION. Nothing more. Nothing less. Some of it is based on personal preference, some on past polls, and most simply on whatever pours out of my brain. It will almost certainly contain a LOT of swearing. If this offends you, stop reading now. No. Really! If you're easily offended.. fuck off..!
It is said that profanity is the weapon of the witless. I don't agree, and whoever spewed forth that particular apothegm was talking out of their arse. When used to be cruel or deliberately malicious, the quote has merit. When used for humour, it can be very, very funny. I find it so. I have a crude side to my humour. If this offends you, you should have stopped reading a paragraph prior to this one. You have been warned...
I'm going to start at the bottom of the poll and work upwards. Why? Because I want to. Because the shorter answers to the poll questions lie there, and because it will give my brain time to formulate something vaguely resembling cogent sentences for what lies ahead in the full episode poll.
So, we begin with the first (or rather, last) category. Companion. The winner of this category was, frankly, a no-brainer. Had anyone BUT the magical Sarah Jane Smith won, I would be spitting feathers. There could be no other winner. She was, quite simply, "My Sarah Jane". And probably yours too. I don't know by what margin she won, but I suspect it was a comfortable lead. Deservedly so.
Second place is an interesting choice.. Donna Noble. She wouldn't be my second place, personally, but I fully understand why she's there. She was bloody brilliant, that's why. I don't need to opine on her merits. Suffice to say, when I heard Catherine Tate had been cast as a companion, I was horrified. In much the same way I was horrified when Billie Piper was announced as the first companion to board the TARDIS upon the series' resurrection. I was wrong about her as well. Both had qualities and capabilities, both as actors and as companions, which far exceeded my expectations. Tate, in particular, became my favourite of the New Era companions, and remains so. She is, quite simply, very likeable. Add her relationship with Wilfred into the mix and you've got a winning combination before you set foot aboard the TARDIS.
Moving further into the list proves to be disappointing, particularly for an "old school" fan like me. Clara "interesting as plankton" Oswald takes seventh place, above Jo Grant, Leela, The Brigadier and Barbara Wright. REALLY? Clara above ANY of those esteemed characters is just wrong (my opinion.. don't like it, feel free to comment. Or to fuck off. Your choice!). Barbara is, was, and always will be the "First Lady" of time travel. Much as Moffat has sought to shovel Clara into every aspect of the Doctors existence, is she really worthy of a place higher than companions like Barbara, the incredibly endearing Jo Grant, or the superb Brigadier, now, sadly relegated to the role of a fucking Cyberman. Thank you, Mr Moffat.
I can't move away from the companion poll without commenting on the bottom place. Tegan Jovanka. Presumably, Nyssa, Adric, Zoe, even Susan were not placed highly enough to even make the top 15. For shame. That Clara bloody Oswald would best any of them is a mystery to me. But Tegan? I loved her to bits. She was grouchy, irascible, bad tempered.. oh, Christ, she was ME..! No wonder I liked her! The idea that her place in history is bettered by Rose Tyler or Clara "I have the personality of a coffee table" Oswald, fair boggles the mind. Oh well. There's no accounting for taste!
The next category is, arguably, the most contentious. A category which never fails to divide.. 'Favourite Doctor'. I'll lay my cards on the table and state that I'm always torn. Tom Baker was "my Doctor"; my formative years, as a child and as a Doctor Who fan occurred under his tenure. That said, I have, as many of you are aware, an extraordinary fondness for the Pertwee era. I am a big fan of the UNIT stories, I adored The Brigadier, so, of my dvd collection, his era is probably the most viewed. The poll, rightly, I think, places Tom firmly in top place. As the longest serving, and probably most memorable actor to take the lead role, his position was, I thought, perhaps, only threatened by David Tennant. Tennant has an incredibly loyal fan base. There's no denying he is exceptionally popular. Understandable. He was bloody good. It is, therefore, curious that he was beaten into third place, by Matt Smith.
Don't misunderstand me. I liked Smith, for the most part. I found him endearing, although his flapping, flailing and childish nature could grate at times. It surprises me that he beat Tennant. It irritates me that he beat Pertwee. Frankly, it irks me that Tennant is placed above Pertwee. Or Troughton. He was good, but was he really better than EVERY classic series Doctor, bar Tom Baker? In my opinion, and since this is my blog, no he bloody wasn't. It saddens me that Hartnell always fares so badly in the polls, managing to secure ninth place this time around. Yes, he fluffed his lines from time to time. Yes, he was crotchety, on and off screen. But he was also the First Doctor. The definitive article, one might say.
I can only surmise that a vast majority of people voting have never heard the Big Finish audio stories. If they had, I firmly believe Paul McGann would have fared better than tenth place. Stories such as 'Chimes of Midnight' or the 'Dark Eyes' series demonstrate his capability as an actor beautifully. Which brings me to the bottom of the poll. With the inclusion of John Hurt, dear old Colin Baker is, this time, at least, elevated from last place. Hurt did a fine job in Day of the Doctor, but beyond that, his role is fairly Insignficant in the annuls of Who history. Personally, I would have much preferred his role to have been played by McGann, but that's a whole other conversation. Back to Baker...
Colin is, I believe, one of the most overlooked, underrated actors to play the Doctor. Treated abysmally by the BBC, he stll continues to pour his heart and soul into the role of The Doctor, perhaps moreso than any other actor to take the role. Some of his on screen adventures were less than sterling, but anyone who's ever heard him reprising the role in the aforementioned Big Finish plays knows how capable he truly is. That Matt Smith is placed higher than him indicates many more "Nu Who" fans voted than "Classic". If only they would take the time to enjoy stories such as 'The Reaping', 'Spectre of Lanyon Moor' or 'Jubilee', he might have fared better.
With Colin, to all intents and purposes, at the bottom (yes, I know,, John Hurt.. Not counting him!) I suspect many Classic era fans will be understably piddled off. Tennant fans will be equally irked at Smith's ranking. And every "Nu Who" fan on earth is doubtless highly pissed off that Sylvester McCoy ranked above Chris Eccleston. Personally, I am delighted to see him above Eccleston. Baffled that he ranks above McGann, but again, I suspect the "Big Finish" factor is again at play. With that said, the Big Finish audios serve McCoy well, and while perhaps not in quite the same league as Colin Baker (for me), they do give us the pleasure of more time in the company of the Seventh Doctor. If you haven't listened to any of the Big Finish audios, you really are missing a treat. To digress from the poll for a moment, they really are worth hearing. They offer extensions to all of the Classic Doctors, from Tom Baker to Paul McGann, and surely, spending some more time in the company of any of those Doctors can't be a bad thing. They also greatly expand the Who universe, with epic stories such as the Dalek Empire saga, Gallifrey, UNIT and Counter-Measures, which continue the adventures of characters first established in 'Remembrance of the Daleks'. I cannot extol the virtues of Big Finish enough. Frankly, I should be on bloody commission!
The next category is 'Best Nu Who Series'. Taking the lead, rightly, is Season Four, so I have nothing complain about there! The rest of the poll is a bit of a mess, frankly. That Season Seven managed to beat ANYTHING, much less Seasons Two and Six, is a fucking miracle. That Season Five beat Season Three is questionable, and that Season Two ranks in seventh place is a bit of a mystery. Fuck me, what a lot of numbers to digest! As you're probably bored off of your tits after "Season this and that", here's a picture of a cat wearing a fez.
Moving swiftly on.. Next up is 'Best Nu Who Episode'. Predictably, the top spot is taken by 'Day of the Doctor' and followed by 'Blink'. Both hugely popular episodes. And both bloody overrated in my opinion (my blog, my opinion!). 'Empty Child' manages a respectable third place, although I would place it above the two aforementioned stories. By a LONG way. It pleases me to see 'Vincent and the Doctor' so highly ranked (8), likewise, 'School Reunion', both stories which dealt much more with emotion and personal relationships than with the threat of alien incursions. Dont worry.. I'm not going to go through every episode, one by one. Otherwise this is going to get very boring. If you aren't asleep already.
Highly ranked at 13 is 'The Doctor's Wife'. A hugely popular story for reasons I will NEVER understand. I fucking hate the damn story. I hate the Doctor's Wife almost as much as I hate MY (ex) wife! Still, at least, unlike her, it only drones on for 3/4 of an hour. 13 bloody years.. Never mind. That's another story!
Quite how 'Time of the Doctor' fared better than anything amazes me. Even 'Fear Her' which takes pride of place at the bottom of the poll (almost where it belongs.. but, as you'll see, not quite!) was better than 'Time'. Staring at a fucking coffee table for three hours was better than 'Time'. Personally speaking, I would have placed 'Time' in the second from bottom place. Just ahead of the interminably dreary, lacklustre, steaming, fetid pile of shit that makes up 'Nightmare in Silver', a story which has few, if any redeeming qualities. It is a story which, until 'Forest of the Night' came along, would have ranked as one of the worst stories ever. Thankfully, 'Forest' isn't in the 2014 poll, or this page would have so much swearing in, it would read like 59 Shade of Grey, without the sex. Neil Gaiman is a talented writer, but, for the love of all that is sane, keep him the hell away from Doctor Who. Please!
The remainder of this particular poll question is pretty hit and miss. 'Let's Kill Hitler' ranks above '42' so I can only assume the cat pictures above was randomly stabbing at a keyboard for six hours to illicit that particular ranking. 'Midnight', an outstanding epsiode, is served fairly well at 18, although the equally superb 'Planet of the Ood' scrapes in at a meagre 49. *sigh*
The Classic Series poll does, for a short time, appease my irritation, with Season Seven at the top spot. This pleases me immensely, both as a Pertwee fan and as a fan of Liz Shaw, a companion who, I believe, is woefully overlooked. A lot of people talk about Ace being the first "feisty" companion (a term, incindetally, which I detest, as each companion has their own, respective merits). However, Liz was more than a match for the Doctor, particularly one as vibrant as Jon. She was intelligent, brave, rational, sceptical.. Strong characteristics lacking from even some present day companions, in a time when we are (allegedly) more enlightened in attitudes toward women. A female scientist in the 1970's, while not groundbreaking, was unusual, and a welcome addition to the series. So to see S7 take the top spot satisfies me greatly.
I'm not sure how I feel about Season 13 taking second place, while Season 12 resides at seventh. Season 13 is, undoubtedly, outstanding. After all, it contains 'Terror of the Zygons', 'Pyramids of Mars' and 'Seeds of Doom'. Perhaps it deserves its ranking. Season 12, however, contains 'Genesis of the Daleks', which surely must rank it higher than 7th place. The biggest problem with ranking the classic era by season is that each series contains some very strong episodes. With Season 3 containing only 3 extant episodes, none of which are stellar, it is no surprise to find it in 24th place. Colin Baker fares marginally better here, although still close to the bottom. 'Trial of a Timelord' is, I believe, worthy of a higher place than 25th. The bottom position goes, unsurprisingly, to Season 24. Any season which contains 'Time and the Rani' (which I don't mind.. much!) and 'Paradise Towers' (which I'd rather gnaw my own legs off than watch) is never going to fare particularly well.
I confess a fondness for 'Delta and the Bannermen'; I find the setting, the music, the whole 50's holiday camp "vibe" rather charming. But, this is a season containing, what is, I believe, the single biggest pile of excrement ever committed to video (at least until 'Forest of the Night' came along). I bloody loathe 'Paradise Towers'! I'm sorry, if you happen to be one of the four people on earth who likes it. I don't. It's shit. Grade A fertiliser. Dung. Crap. Turgid, tedious, silly, tiresome rubbish. In case you haven't gathered from my astute assessment, I don't like it very much! For that reason, S24 is welcome to the bottom spot. And 'Paradise Towers' is welcome at the bottom of a pit.
And so, I am concluding, for the moment, here. This post is already quite long enough, and frankly, if you've managed to stay conscious throughout it's entirety, I'm impressed! Tomorrow, I'll be looking at the remainder of the poll, which focuses largely on individual episode rankings.
Until then, I welcome any comments, dissenting or otherwise. And please, bear in mind, all of this is only my opinion. It isn't right. It isn't wrong. It's simply the musings of one individual. There is no "right and wrong" when it comes to Doctor Who. We like what we like, and that's fine. Unless you place 'Paradise Towers' as the single, greatest episode ever. If that happens to be the case, you're probably a complete twat...! ;)