Monday, 13 January 2014
Will The Caves of Androzani Come Out Tops Again...?
DWM has conducted two major polls during its long run - the last being the "Mighty 200" in 2009, coinciding with the broadcast of the 200th story (Planet of the Dead). Both times, The Caves of Androzani came out top. Might it be time for a change?
If you have bought the most recent issue of the magazine, you will know that we now have the chance to vote again. Readers are being invited - until April 1st - to vote marks out of 10 on all 241 stories to date. Now is the chance to put the whole Matt Smith era into some kind of context.
I am a little bit concerned about this - as young folk have the annoying habit of voting for the current or most recent of anything. DWM have a plan to get a better idea of how readers view the older stories - especially the lost ones - by asking voters to either go by what is known (soundtrack / images) or by leaving these scores blank.
I'm old enough to comfortably cast votes against all the stories. I've got all the lost story soundtracks, all the telesnaps, and (though you'd never guess from this blog sometimes) have a very good knowledge of the entire series from 1963 onwards. If you are a younger reader of this blog, I would urge you not to vote for any story you don't know that much about. Don't just go by previously published opinions by other people. Take a look at The Enemy of the World. Until October last year, that story was generally vilified - thanks to that one orphan episode. (I gave it a 5 in 2009 - it's now a 7). Now that we have had a chance to see the entire story, it has gone up in a lot of people's estimation. It works both ways, of course. Before 1991, Tomb of the Cybermen would have got a guaranteed 10 out of 10. (I've given it an 8).
I think it is time for people to acknowledge the Magma Beast in the room. I love Caves and think it is a brilliant story - but a 9 out of 10 at best. I just posted on The Talons of Weng-Chiang - and that is also a brilliant story, but with a dreadful giant rat costume (plus the racial stereotyping). Terror of the Zygons has the Emu-like glove-puppet Skarasen. For me, these things knock a point off the top score.
I've given only eight of the 241 stories a 10 mark. Caves isn't one of them. (No, I'm not going to say what the eight are. At least not at the moment.). I've given only four stories a 1 out of 10 score - but there are a heck of a lot of 2's and 3's.
That's the other thing about this poll - is The Twin Dilemma still the most reviled story? Seeing what people think are the worst stories I find more morbidly fascinating than the favourites.
The poll also invites you to vote for the top three Doctors and companions, and the three most significant contributions to the programme over the last 50 years. (They really ought to have just printed Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman in the top two slots and left the third one empty for your votes).
You need a hard copy of the magazine to vote, so if you are one of those annoying cheapskates who stand for three hours in the newsagent reading it for free, try putting your hand in your pocket for once...