Welcome to Old who’s, top-ten worst episodes countdown.
In 26 years of the original series. Classic Doctor Who spawned many cult serials, including; The Dalek Invasion Of Earth, Tomb Of The Cybermen, The Three Doctors and Pyramids Of Mars; to name but – a small few.
However, for every classic episode – and season defining story. There are others, which are effective filler episodes and others – which are just head-scratchingly bad.
Whether, due to just a poor story or acting. Or a good story or concept, marred by poor execution. Classic Doctor Who, has seen it’s fair share of stinkers – in the long original series run.
Here’s our top-ten countdown.
10)The Romans – Season 2 – First Doctor
The Romans – is the first period drama – in the First Doctor’s run which doesn’t work. After acceptable period pieces, such as Marco Polo and Reign Of Terror; which were historical, educational and sometimes humourous; The Romans comes across as a talky bore-fest.
The Doctor and companions, decide to hideout at a Roman villa. To catch a break from adventuring but they eventually get drawn into a plot surrounding Emporer Nero.
That makes it sound way more exciting, than it actually is. The Romans was so boring, I nodded off mid-episode and had to rewatch it again – just to finish it.
It just doesn’t utilise any of the rich backstory of Roman civilisation; to make an interesting adventure. How about the Coliseum? Or even Pompeii?
9)Leisure Hive – Season 18 – Fourth Doctor
Extremely bizarre and dated ‘colony-under-siege’ type affair, which gives Tom Baker a chance at flexing his acting muscle – by playing an ‘old’ version of the Fourth Doctor.
The Doctor and Romana, take some time out – at a future Earth leisure colony. Only to uncover a plot to kill everyone there.
Crap visuals, poor plotting and badly designed alien costumes. Make this play more like a poor episode of 60’s Star Trek – TOS; than Doctor Who.
This showcases everything wrong with the new JNT-era of Classic Doctor Who. Poor writing, removes K-9 from the story; by having the super intelligent robot-dog – improbably chase a throwball; into the sea and blow-up.
The beginning of the end, for Tom Baker’s brilliant Fourth incarnation – and a sully on his classic turn.
The Leisure Hive?⚪⚪⚪⚪
8)The Smugglers – Season 4 – First Doctor
Another period mis-fire, from the First Doctor era. The Smugglers captures the period when Hartnell is practically -unresponsive and uninterested; in the role of the First Doctor.
Not helped by a plodding story. In which, nothing of interest happens. Even a Who period piece, can have some high stakes.
The Smugglers (missing) ??⚪⚪⚪
7) Androids Of Tara – Season 16 – Fourth Doctor
The Androids Of Tara, features as a part of a season-long arc – in the ‘Key To Time’ retrieval story.
It’s the weakest episode in the whole season (which itself when reviewed – is a bit hit-and-miss anyway!).
Whilst travelling around the cosmos – and looking for ‘Key To Time’ segments. The Doctor and Romana, land on planet Tara; which is inhabited by lifelike androids – living in medieval castles.
Aside from the fact, that Romana finds the ‘Key To Time’ segment, almost straight away – in episode 1 (and is harrassed by the worst looking bear ever commited to celluloid). Little else happens – in Androids Of Tara, to justify four more episodes.
Androids Of Tara ??⚪⚪⚪
6) Underwater Menace – Season 4 – Second Doctor
Doctor Who meets the people of Atlantis, on paper at least; sounds like a corker. In practice – however, we get this.
With stupid costumes and design. No plot is discernable, amongst the bizarre set – and costume design.
The Atlantian fish-people, piroetting about like ballerinas and synchronised swimmers, just kill it stone-dead.
Their were production issues and it was eventually rushed to completion. And that shows, in the finished product.
The Underwater Menace (parts 1 & 4 missing)?⚪⚪⚪⚪
5) Terminus – Season 20 – Fifth Doctor
Early suspense and promise, eventually give way to a dull talky-episode, set aboard a space-station.
Some good ideas on paper, are horrible executed. Including; the Cerberus ‘devildog’ – guarding the metaphorical gates of hell; ‘The Garm’. Which in execution, is a large man – in a bad dog mask.
This episode should have been called “Terminal” instead of Terminus. Due to the terminal boredom experienced, from watching it.
4) Happiness Patrol – Season 26 – Seventh Doctor
Homicidal, drooling ‘Bertie Bassett’/’Mr Blobbie’ on speed (the Kandyman), who kills the prisoners of leader Helen B (by melting them with sweety gunge). Tears the integrity and impact out of a story, which was a thinly veiled (and could have been very effective) protest statement – on Thatcher’s 80’s Britain.
The Kandyman character was quietly dropped, after (Bertie) Basset sweets threatened legal action.
The Happiness Patrol?⚪⚪⚪⚪
3) Mysterious Planet – Season 23 – Sixth Doctor
The last full story, written by Who writing supremo Robert Holmes (prior to his death). Sadly, fails to live up to his legacy – or set the Trial Of A Timelord – season 23 – on fire.
Not helped by a poor turn, from Carry-On‘s Joan Sims; horribly miscast – as a ‘Bodicea’-type warrior queen.
2) Time Flight – Season 19 – Fifth Doctor
Time Flight can probably be measured, as one of the most anti-climatic season finales – in Who history.
A concorde airplane goes back in time to a prehistoric era. With a ridiculous turn from Anthony Ainley, pretending to be a Chinese mystic, in bad rubber make-up – and an even less startling reveal; as the Master.
Another JNT helmed mis-fire, which undermined the talents of the Fifth Doctor; Peter Davison. By continuing the trend for average and un-memorable – Fifth Doctor adventures.
Not worthy, of a mid-season filler episode. Never-mind, the climax of season 19. The far superior Earthshock, would have made – a far better season 19 finale.
1) Survival – Season 27 – Seventh Doctor
The decision to make Survival, the season 27 finale – and the finale to the previous 26 years of Who; is – one of the worst decisions of the JNT era.
Not worthy, to represent or sign-off the legacy of original Doctor Who. Survival plays – as it was written; an experimental episode – by an untested Who writer; Rona Munro.
A pointless and hammy turn, by Anthony Ainley (in his last original series appearance) – as a cat-possessed Master; fails to raise proceedings – and infact detracts further.
The Doctor and the Master are supported by the cast of the musical; Cats. Or at least, it feels that’s where the inspiration for them, was ‘borrowed’ from.
Weird turns – by popular 80’s comedians ‘Hale-And-Pace’ – also increase the bizarre tone of Survival, along with the worst looking animatronic black cat; ever shown on TV.
Such a shame, after the previous episode Curse of Fenric; which would have made – a far superior finale and send-off to 26 years of Doctor Who. An absolute disaster.