Tom Baker might be the ‘definitive article’ as the Doctor, and David Tennant for me the best actor to have played the role (with the dearly departing Matt Smith a commendably close runner-up) but as far as I’m concerned my emotional ‘favourite’ actor in the role will forever be the the one who was in the role when I first watched the show as a young child – Jon Pertwee.
“Inferno” was the final serial from Pertwee’s first season as the Doctor and is the story after “The Ambassadors of Death”, which I reviewed about seven months ago when it made its bow on DVD. This was very much an experimental, transitionary year for the show as new producer Barry Letts decided to make it more serious, realistic and Earth-bound, and the Doctor closer to a Quatermass figure than the cosmic hobo of yesteryear. For me this produced one of the best-ever years of Classic Who with some top-notch stories, and judging from the way that current showrunner Steven Moffat has riffed off themes, ideas and even aliens from that year’s serials I’d say I’m not alone.
However the format change did soon develop a very big problem: take away the TARDIS and the Doctor’s ability to go anywhere in the universe and things can get very repetitive very quickly. In “Inferno” for example, we have a misguided piece of cutting edge science go disastrously wrong and unleash a deadly danger from primordial times from deep within the earth that threatens to wipe out all life as we know it. Sound familiar? It would have done at the time, since just two months previously the Doctor had been encountering the Silurians for the first time in very similar circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »