Here it is! Blogtor’s personal countdown of his 50 favourite Doctor Who television stories, one a week till the big day in November 2013. Now, just to point out, this choice is purely my own. So don’t expect reasoned debate or objectivity. Or even the need to please every fan out there. This is my list, and I stand by it. I will also add that I’ve seen every Doctor Who story released (at least twice), so I feel like I know what I’m talking about. Anyway, enough chittle of the chattle, let’s begin…

First broadcast 14/05/05 starring Christopher Eccleston

Strange to think, for those of us at a certain age, that a story set in The Eighties is regarded as going back in time, but Paul Cornell’s heart-breaking time travel story did exactly that. Father’s Day was an exquisite exploration of that age-old question about changing the past and its future ramifications.

Oddly, for a time travel show, this was one of the few times (up until that point) that time-busting had been explored. The sight of The Doctor and Rose watching past versions of themselves (which we witnessed but seconds earlier) was shocking and also eerie as we know that sort of thing shouldn’t really happen, and then further compounded when Miss Tyler decides to intervene and save her dad.

Eccleston’s controlled rage as the Time Lord is wonderful here, and definitely one of his best outings. His sullen silence is broken when the Gallifreyan reveals his disgust for his companion at changing the course of history; seeing The Doctor properly angry at a friend doesn’t happen too much and this is a moment to savour.

There’s no doubting Rose did mess up, but we sympathise and Billie Piper, too, is on top form as the girl who just wanted to feel the love from her daddy once more. The man in question, Pete Tyler, is played with enormous likability by Shaun Dingwall becoming an instant one-off favourite. Of course, his popularity would mean a helluva dramatic return just one year later.
The three get such a fine script and ideas to deal with, morally complex and emotionally charged. Father’s Day was a huge indicator that Doctor Who had moved on in so many interesting and positive ways. Stuck in the fabric of the story’s notions, beating like a black heart, were The Reapers (brought into play as a direct result of Rose’s tomfoolery).

Design-wise, they’re terrific – full of horror, fear and otherness – and their CG realisation is still an utter treat to watch. The Reapers are a classic Who monster and genuinely scary with an impressive backstory. A real shame they weren’t brought back again when time was messed with (having said that, they’d probably be back every other week). Their eerie quality was evoked in other parts of the episode, such as the modern day sounds on the radio or the sound of the first telephone call. Incredibly touches from the production team.

On the face of it, Father’s Day is nothing more than your normal base~under~siege type story (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but the moral complexity of the tale, not to mention the fantastic emotional edge, make it so much more. And a story that doesn’t have a happy ending.

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Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.



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