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  1. #1
    Wayne Guest

    Default The First 'New' Doctor Who.

    The First 'New' Doctor Who.

    Back in 2003 on the Ezboard PS, as a relative newcomer to fandom, & a staunch fan of 70's (& to a fairly large extent 60's) Who. I decided to obtain & review all those 80's stories, most of which i'd never seen, in a series of 3 threads devoted to the era's of Peter, Colin, & Sylv. After being encouraged by so much response/feedback on the threads, i decided it would be fun to cover my personal nostalgia era: The 70's, & thus did threads for Jon & Tom's time. As those threads were equally popular, i decided i might as well go the full hog & do the 60's. The last EZboard thread that i did covered Billy's era, but the whole thing was lost in the big EZboard crash, i never got around finishing off with the Troughton era. I had originally planned to do it on EZboard before we moved, but with the announcement of 'The Invasion' dvd released this month, i decided to hang fire until it was out.
    So now the time has come for a look at the Troughton era. I hope people will share any views they have on each successive story as i get to it. I'll probably do 1 or 2 stories per week, depending on other committments. I tend not to write huge transvamp style reviews myself, but feel totally free to make any comments you have, as brief or as long as you like. All is welcome.

    Just over 40yrs ago, Patrick Troughton appeared on tv screens, fronting what was at the time, the revolutionary idea of casting a completely different actor to continue the role of the established main character of a popular tv series. I'm not totally sure if the concept was entirely new, (ie. Roger Moore wasn't the first 'The Saint', for instance) But whereas other shows may simply have been re-made, i think i'm right in saying that this was the first time it had been done whilst keeping the continuity & history of the character going. And of course, it introduced a major concept into the Dr.Who universe: Regeneration.

    My own history with the Troughton era begins as a 10yr old boy. In 1973, those of us not old enough to remember previous incarnations were introduced to them in 'The Three Doctors', & in my case there was also the 'Radio Times 10th Anniversary Special' with it's tantalizing look at the history of Doctor Who. I also became a keen collector of the Target Books; the first of which appeared that year, & i remember with affection the first Troughton Target: 'Doctor Who and the Cybermen'.

    As regards 'The Three Doctors', my first impressions of Troughton were laid out in my review of the story on my Pertwee era thread:

    "As a 9 going on 10yr old boy, i had little concept of the programme that started almost 10 years earlier. Yes, i knew there were 2 other Doctors before Jon, but all i had to go on was an old Hartnell annual that i'd inherited from my Uncle, & a couple of paperbacks like 'Dr Who & The Daleks' etc...etc... Even the 10th Anniversary Special, which in itself was unique at the time, wasn't out for another few months. So this concept of 'other' Doctor's was more or less a new thing to me.
    Anyway, I remember being most confused by Patrick Troughton. He interpretation of the Doctor was of course quite different to Jon's, & i found it very hard to take in, at the time. Because in some ways he plays it a bit 'Anti-Hero(ish) compared to Jon, i immediately thought of him as in some way inferior. He wanted to toss a coin because he didn't want to go into Omega's domain first, wheras my hero Jon, grabbed the coin in mid-air & goes in first, anyway. I didn't like the recorder playing business, & generally thought he was a bit silly. In short, i was not that impressed by my first encounter with the 2nd Doctor!"

    I got my first viewing of a 'proper' Troughton story when the BBC Videos started coming out. I can't remember what year 'Seeds of Death' came out, but that was the first one, & whilst i enjoyed it, i still felt some reservations towards Troughton's slightly whimsical/comedic content. I did buy the rest of his era that was available on video, but whilst i didn't actively dislike his portrayal; he remained my least favourite of what i considered to be the 'classic' Doctors. (ie. the first 4)
    I have heard most of the Missing story audios, & seen all the existing episodes, but the vast majority of the Troughton era, i have only ever seen or heard once, & most of that is long overdue a viewing by many years. For example, I haven't seen 'The War Games' since it's video release, & in the case of 'The Highlanders' - It's the only remaining Dr.Who story that i've never 'done'.
    So this thread will be a chance for me to give Troughton's era a proper re-appraisal, of both Pat Troughton's interpretation, & the stories themselves. And hopefully to get other people's take on the stories as well.
    I'll be posting my thoughts on 'Power of the Daleks' tomorrow night, but in the meantime:
    What was your first experience of Troughton? Was it the BBC video 'Seeds of Death'? Was the 'Five Faces' repeats on tv? What were your very first impressions of what you saw?

  2. #2
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    I'm like you, The 3 Docs was my first sight of Troughton that I'm aware of, but I really had to wait until the Five Faces season in 1981 to get my first proper look at him in The Krotons.I thoroughly enjoyed this story (and Pat's performance) at the time, and even though the story isn't a fan favourite, I remain fond of it today. It certainly whetted my appetite to see more of the series history, but it was many years until I was to get the chance again.

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    I first saw him The Krotons in November 1981. I can remember really liking his Doctor straight away and I'm really fond of the story to this day, despite it being nearly 10 years before I saw the final part, which we missed due to power cut!

    Of course, I knew all about him, as my Mum had read some of the Target books to me by this point and we'd done a couple of his stories. At that time he was my Mum's favourite Doctor, so there was alot of talk between us about his stories- Yetis in the Underground and the Cybermen in their tombs being the main things. I'd seen lots of pictures in Doctor Who Monthly too- in summer 1981 they had a Troughton special with lots of pictures and a Tomb archive (for a while I was sure that the Cyber Controller had been Cyberised wearing a stove pipe hat, it's true!!), so I knew quite a lot about the second Doctor, despite him being the "forgotten" Doctor at the time for some reason.

    The Five Doctors a couple of years later only cemented my love for his Doctor!

    Si xx

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    I first saw him The Krotons in November 1981.
    Si xx
    That would of been The Five Faces of Doctor Who anniversary special - That was all so the first time I had seen a Patrick Troughton and in truth the first time that i really became aware that there had been other Doctor's before Tom Baker.

    I have to be honest and say he is one of my least favourite Doctors - not because I don't like him but because I find with so much of his stuff missing I just find it hard to take to him.

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    My first viewing of him was definitely 'The Three Doctors', at the age of five. He's possibly my favourite Doctor, up there with Hartnell.

    the 'classic' Doctors. (ie. the first 4)
    “If my sons did not want wars, there would be none.” - Gutle Schnaper Rothschild

  6. #6
    Wayne Guest

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    Thanks folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Vale View Post
    My first viewing of him was definitely 'The Three Doctors', at the age of five. He's possibly my favourite Doctor, up there with Hartnell.

    @Perry

    I did say: what i considered to be

    Funnily enough, sidestepping just slightly, I gained a far more favourable impression of Hartnell's Doc as 10yr old watching the 3 Docs. Perhaps 'coz he came across slightly more similar to Pertwee's Doc, in that he was a bit 'bossy', & authoriterean(sp).
    Last edited by Wayne; 29th Nov 2006 at 6:04 PM.

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    My first time I saw Troughton in the role is the same as Larry's and Si's. The Five Faces extravaganza that gave us the Krotons as the Troughton offering. I was less than impressed with the story, but loved Troughton in the role. It was about this time that I also got my first 2nd Doctor Taget novelisation, Ice Warriors. I hated it then and don't think much better of it now.

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    it was a bit unfortunant that the first two Troughton stories I saw were The Krotons, and then The Seeds of Death , when I bought the unedited video in the late 80's. When you are trying to form an opinion of just how good some one is in the part these are perhaps not the best of stories that you should be watching..

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    Although I had watched the series since 1964, and have particularly strong memories of seasons 2 and 3. Hartnell's "kindly uncle" Doctor shone through for me, and I loved stories like The Web Planet, Galaxy 4, Dalek Masterplan etc. But my memories of latter Hartnell's, and early Troughton, are, for some reason rather vague. I remember the cybermen in Moonbase, and know that I must have seen Tenth Planet as I knew they looked different. I recall nothing at all of Hartnell's regeneration, or of Power of the Daleks, nor of The Highlanders, episode one of which was transmitted on the day of my 11th birthday.
    I might have been watching Land of the Giants over on ITV, but saying that, I'm sure The Munsters was on before or immediately after Who as everytime I see the Troughton titles I get this vague memory of watching The Munsters.
    My earliest memory of Troughton is The Moonbase. I wonder if the reason this one sticks in my mind is because I remember guessing that the cyber virus was in the sugar, anyway, this story became one of my favourites and has always been a source of disappointment to me that two of the episodes are missing.
    Over the years I've caught up with the Troughton era on video/DVD/audio, and what a revelation, there are so many classics there, The Macra Terror, The Abominable Snowmen, I remember the cliffhanger to the first episode as Jamie and Victoria are trapped in the cave, Tomb of the Cybermen, great Radio Times feature, wish I still had it, Fury From the Deep, The Ice Warriors, The Invasion. Great stories from a sadly depleted and forgotten era.
    I'm looking forward to Wayne's travels through the Troughton years, and will try and add input where I can.

  10. #10

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    I collected all the video releases as they came out, but I couldn't bring myself to get anything that was in Black & White for ages, until a time came where they were the only ones I didn't have, and I had birthday money to spend!

    So I invested in "The Seeds of Death" and "The Mind Robber", the latter of which became the first Troughton I ever saw. I really can't remember my reaction to seeing him (the last "new" doctor to me, having seen "The Daleks" from the video rental shop).

    Today the black & white era is my favourite, I raced through it (including all the missing episode audios) in the space of about 3 months earlier this year, but watching the colour episodes has been much more of a stop-start thing unfortunately.

    I would agree that the first four doctors are the classic doctors and that none has lived up to them since.

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    The first Troughton story I saw was, like Si and others, "The Krotons" in 1981, followed a fortnight later by his return in "The Three Doctors" - and as an aside, in this video/DVD age, it's hard to explain just how exciting it was to get to watch these old, old stories. But my first taste of the second Doctor was through the Targets - I think I'm right in saying that by the time "The Krotons" was repeated, they'd still only adapted six or seven Troughton stories (The Moonbase, Tomb, The Abominable Snowmen, The Ice Warriors, Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear, and possible The War Games), and I'd read them all avidly. So I kind of 'knew' what to expect from the second Doctor when I finally got to see him.

    In fact, it's very hard to get into that mindset which would have been the case in 1966, of just how different the second Doctor is to the first, and also how brave an idea it was to change him. It could have been a 'jump the shark' moment for Who, but because it's done so totally for real, and because Troughton is just so watchable, it not only worked, but really revitalised the programme.

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    My reply is a carbon copy of Andrew's really - The Krotons 25 years ago this month (jeez!) followed 2 weeks later by The Three Doctors. Plus I was aware of him in the mid 70s thanks to the Targets of the likes of The Ice Warriors, Abominable Snowmen, Web of Fear and The Cybermen.

    I'm currently doing the whole Troughton era an episode at a time, having done part 3 of Evil tonight (Wayne will overtake me soon!) - S4 is superb and probably better than the somewhat over-rated S5. So sad that so much of S4 is missing, especially Power but more on that later...

  13. #13
    Wayne Guest

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    Interesting reading already, guys.

  14. #14

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    Good to see this thread finally up

    My first sight of Troughton I can recall was in 1973 with the Three Doctors and I remember reading the 10th anniversary special with great interest to see who had come before my Doctor.

    There wasn't much to see though before he was gone and then not until 1981did I see anything of him again.

    I think the Troughton era does look one of the most interesting - I find also his Doctor grows on me - certainly as a 10 year old, like Wayne I wasn't impressed much by this clownish Doctor. It's fantastic to see these black and white stories getting restored. Invasion was great to watch. I'm looking forward to this thread with anticipation - keep up the good work Wayne!
    Last edited by Ralph; 30th Nov 2006 at 12:22 AM.

  15. #15
    Wayne Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph View Post
    Good to see this thread finally up

    keep up the good work Wayne!
    Thanks Ralph. I'll be starting proper, tomorrow. I've got the last 3 eps of 'Power' to watch.

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    As I was still in nappies when the Five Faces season was broadcast , my first Troughton story was The Seeds of Death in 1987 (or whenever it was). To be honest I cant remember my precise reaction to his Doctor, but I certainly didnt dislike his portrayal, and for a long time Ive regarded him as one of the best.

    I like his serious approach to things which belies his slightly comical appearance and sometimes flippant reaction to people, and Im fortunate (or unfortunate, whichever way you look at it) to really never have seen him in any other role, so for me he will always be The Doctor and nothing else.

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    Its odd that so many people aren't fans of his Doctor. I always thought he was one of the more popular Doctor's overall! It's obviously just these Pertwee fans who can't take a Doctor who's not obviously the centre of attention in every scene!

    Si xx

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    Like Ralph and Perry, I first saw Pat in The Three Doctors; I was only two at the time and couldn't understand why there was someone else calling themselves the Doctor, not knowing any different; so what little I remembered of him was mostly negative.

    Then I saw the repeat of The Krotons, and i fell in love with B&W Who in general, and Pat in particular, and he stayed my favourite Doctor til the Hartnell stories started coming out on video. Things weren't great at home at the time, and Pat made me laugh, and it was obvious from watching him even then what a great actor he was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    Its odd that so many people aren't fans of his Doctor. I always thought he was one of the more popular Doctor's overall! It's obviously just these Pertwee fans who can't take a Doctor who's not obviously the centre of attention in every scene!

    Si xx
    I think Si, it's not a question of not being a fan or not liking Troughton, but just like me finding it hard to take to him when there is so little of his era remaining in the archives. All of his best stuff from season 5 are sadly gone and when you are left with stories like The Krotons, The Dominators and Seeds of Death, it's hardly supprising people will have a negative view of him.

    I'm sure that if we had most of season 5 in existance my opinion and certainly those of many others on Troughton would change and he would become much more popular.


    I all so find this is a problem that is clearly highlighted in the MA and PDA books featuring the 2nd Doctor, you never have the right feel for his era in the books. This is unboubtadly because the authors find his books the hardest to write for as there is so little tv material to go on I've never read one of his book and thought to my self I can see Troughton doing this.

  20. #20

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    First picture I saw of him would have been the original Three Doctors cover probably. Then a few pictures in DWM, the first one of his stories I read was Abominable Snowmen (hence to this day the story always reminds me of when I was about 9), and the first story of his I saw on Television was, as with several others here, the Krotons. His getting their test wrong is one of my earliest memories of him.

    My Dad was never keen on him at the time apparently, thougt he was too silly, and preferred Jamie. Myself, I love the fumbling quaintness and vague quality he brought the series. One of my favourites now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    I think Si, it's not a question of not being a fan or not liking Troughton, but just like me finding it hard to take to him when there is so little of his era remaining in the archives. All of his best stuff from season 5 are sadly gone and when you are left with stories like The Krotons, The Dominators and Seeds of Death, it's hardly supprising people will have a negative view of him.
    I'm sure that if we had most of season 5 in existance my opinion and certainly those of many others on Troughton would change and he would become much more popular.
    I've had as much to go on as you have Larry and I've always found he a remarkably likeable Doctor in any story. I like Seeds of Death and The Krotons, and despite what their reputations suggest I find them very watchable and likeable stories- especially in comparison with the rather dull and tedious base under seige stories of season 5. Troughton might have been happier with those scripts, but I don't think there's anywhere near as much imagination on display that year as there was in either season 4 or season 6.

    I know what you mean about there being a sad lack of exisiting stories Larry- it's such a great pity. I know you're not a fan of the audios really either, which is a pity as I'm sure you'd find there's a wealth of neglected gems in this era that outweigh the more regarded of his stories.


    Si xx
    Last edited by SiHart; 30th Nov 2006 at 4:43 PM.

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    Personally I think that if all Troughton's stories existed then season 4 would be seen as Troughton's best. But that's just my opinion.

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    My first experience of Troughton was in The Three Doctors book, where I was convinced he was the one with silver hair and a big nose until about chapter 10.

    I think I was aware that people were saying how brilliant he was, my cousin certainly was delighted by his copy of Seeds of Death and I enjoyed it too. Back in the day! It was DWM who told us that he was fabulous and apart from a few dips in Fury From The Deep, he's never given me any reason to reconsider. A fun, playful Doctor, but still remarkably intelligent. You can see it in his eyes, as Dominator Toba comments.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  24. #24
    Wayne Guest

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    Power of the Daleks

    It must've been really intriguing for audiences who had seen the Doctor apparently change at the end of The Tenth Planet, & who were now tuning in to learn more about this new face of the Doctor.
    This early second incarnation seems to have retained a few First Doctor-esque elements, such as when he snaps: "Come Here!", at Polly, but clearly this imp-ish character with his recorder playing, & stove-pipe hat, has some eccentric traits of his own, & i can empathise with Ben's impatience at the Doctor's continually recorder playing.
    A good first part of Ep.1 naturally deals with the immediate post regeneration scenes, but by the time we're half way through the ep, the story is beginning to set itself up, as we meet the characters on the planet Vulcan.
    Just to mention at this point that my source material for 'Power' is an excellent quality recon on disc, that has the audio release narrated by Anneke Wills as the soundtrack along with the telesnaps. (Cheers Pip) I've only previously heard this story once before, when the the audio was released in the 'Dalek Tin', & this is the first time i've realised that Bragan is played by Bernard Archard, who plays one of my favourite characters from 'Pyramids of Mars' - Marcus Scarman. He makes an excellent job of Bragan, & the other characters are similiarly effective, especially Pamela Ann Davey as the conniving Janley. Robert James proves to be rather OTT as Lesterson, but it's not an un-entertaining performance!
    The first really good Troughton moment comes towards the end of Ep.1, when the Doctor is brooding over the pieces of metal in Lesterson's lab, & he seems clearly uneasy with the familiarity that they have for him. Just building up to the Ep.1 cliffhanger; that sense of uneasiness permeates into the overall atmosphere of this story as the Doctor, Ben, & Polly are creeping around the seemingly deserted space capsule, & they discover the dormant Daleks covered in cobwebs, & as the eerie incidental music adds to the dark atmosphere; a dalek mutant scuttles across the floor..... A great first episode!
    As Episode 2 progresses, we learn that Lesterson has a third dormant dalek hidden away in a secret compartment. Troughton's interpretation of the Doctor is proving to be quite mercurial. One minute he's doing the 'Lesterson Listen! Lesterson Listen' sillyness, (in other Doctor's i've always put this down to the usual post regeneration quirkiness, but Troughton retains this element to his portrayal, i think) & the next minute he's quietly spoken & deadly serious when he finds the listening device, & explains the Ben & Polly how the Daleks are so terribly dangerous that they have to stay, for the sake of the colonists.
    Meanwhile, Lesterson begins to experiment on the inert Dalek, feeding it with power until the point where it kills one of Lesterson's assistants. Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that Janley hides the body, & lies about his condition. It becomes more clearer that something further is underfoot at the colony.......
    Later, Lesterson has removed the Dalek's gun, & brings the half powered Dalek to show to the governer. The Dalek appears to recognise the Doctor, indicating that the Daleks have encountered the Doctor in his future. As the Dalek speaks it's first words: 'I AM YOUR SERVANT!', Episode 2 comes to a close.
    In Episode 3, the plot regarding Bragan & Janley's bid to take over control of the colony starts to come to fruition, & Lesterson and his team learn that the Dalek has the ability to think & reason, after it pledges itself to serve Lesterson after it ignored the Doctor's 'order'. Also, there's another curiously Hartnell-esque moment from Troughton when he congratulates Ben for using his brain & realizing that the Daleks are "most important thing!".
    Later, Lesterson is performing tests on the Dalek, & we begin to see it's cunning, as it manipulates Lesterson into leaving it alone in the lab whilst he gets materials and a further power source, then it increases the power control to the Dalek space capsule, & before long 2 more fully armed Daleks appear, & later disarm themselves to futher deceive Lesterson.
    I did feel that Episode 3 did get slightly slower, towards the end, & i also felt this about Ep.4 to an extent, But i've no doubt that if this was a complete story, that that wouldn't really've been a problem. For me, it always takes that little bit more effort with a Missing story. At any rate, the latter part of Ep.4, where the increasingly suspicious Lesterson spies on the activity inside the Dalek capsule, firmly re-establishes the sense of foreboding, when he sees the extent to which he has been manipulated, as a new 'race' of Daleks is being produced, in a scene that makes for another classic cliffhanger!
    In Episode 5, Bragan's ambitions to take over the colony are realised. (albiet not for long!) I quite enjoyed the confrontation scene between him & Governer Hensell, which ultimately ends with the Dalek killing Hensell, & Bragan, drunk with power, believes the Daleks are merely doing his bidding. Meanwhile the Dalek asks a question of Bragan, which i'm sure many of us often wonder: 'WHY DO HUMAN BEINGS KILL HUMAN BEINGS?' - Bragan doesn't answer.......
    By the end of the episode, the cunning of the Daleks has become more than evident. They plan to help the human factions wipe each other out, & the daleks will destroy any survivors. 'DALEKS CONQUER AND DESTROY!'
    The exciting final episode sees Bragan's meglomania escalate to the point of ordering the death of his own people, whilst a reluctant Janley eventually concedes,unwittingly playing into the Daleks'.... erm..... 'hands'. The Daleks relish playing both sides off against each other, & taking part in the death & destruction.
    Meanwhile, Lesterson's mind has completely broken down, & i enjoyed the 'Man's Had His Day' speeches. Soon, Janley is killed by the Daleks, & eventually after the colony is vitually wiped out, Lesterson is also coldly exterminated, just before the Doctor causes the power surge which destroys the daleks & their equipment, before returning to his recorder.
    As the Tardis dematerializes, a dalek's eye stalk looks up, as if to watch it leave....... I'd like to've seen that moment 'for real'. A subtle reminder that the Dalek's are never defeated.

    So, the first Troughton story, & a fine one it is too. It has a great atmosphere, & i really like Troughton's quieter, more serious moments. I'd kind of forgotten that he had them, & it makes the 2nd Doctor seem like a more multi-dimensional personality than the more just the clown-esque elements of his portrayal that he oftens gets remembered for.
    A good start then! I look forward to hearing any thoughts from anyone else.

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    Perhaps it's because it was a recon, but I found Power of the Daleks to be a slow and rather uninspiring story. The Daleks were obviously a way of keeping things afloat while the audience got used to a new Doctor. It's still at the lower end of first stories for each Doctor list.