The first three serials. An Unearthly Child has a spooky first episode followed by three middling ones set in the stone age, The Daleks is iconic but overlong and The Edge of Destruction a bit of a curio, being as it is entirely set in the TARDIS. Well worth it just to see how the show started.
Though the format has varied considerably over the years, there have been several guiding principles behind Doctor Who. One of these is that characters should never change history, and it is this dilemma that serves as the core for The Aztecs, a fine serial that is to a certain extent the truest expression of the show's early educational slant.
The most memorable early Dalek story, chiefly for its spirit of the Blitz atmosphere. Fans will also remember it for featuring the first companion departure, as the Doctor's kooky grand-daughter Susan decides to shack up with a fey looking Scottish resistance fighter.
Once memorably described by a Doctor Who fan as like a Czechoslovakian school play on crack. If it had turned out right, we'd be remembering it as the only Doctor Who story to feature a completely alien cast of supporting characters; as it is, we remember it for the ridiculous insect costumes and Billy Hartnell's baroque line fluffing. He spends one abortive scene giggling like a little schoolgirl. Strangely enough, a heavy source of reference in the New Series.
Doctor Who - The Web Planet
(1965) Starring:William Hartnell Director:Richard Martin Certificate:
Another adventure for everyone's favourite time traveller. The Doctor (William Hartnell), Ian, Barbara and Vicki land on the planet Vortis, where a war is raging between the ant-like Zarbi and the butterfly-like Menoptra.
When this was returned to the archives in the early 90s fandom let out a collective sigh of disappointment. Far from being a taut base under siege thriller, Tomb of the Cybermen turned out to be a slightly daft runaround with dodgy racial undertones.
Much of Patrick Troughton's era is missing from the archives, and what is left largely comes from his third and final series, which is variable in quality. The Mind Robber is one of the few left. It's ingenious enough but lacks in depth, and Troughton himself is somewhat over-rated.
The Cybermen return in an action-oriented serial that acts as a trial run for the Pertwee years. The DVD features two animated episodes to replace those missing from the archives- and very good they are too.
For completists only, this is an odds and sods collections of surviving episodes from otherwise missing Hartnell and Troughton serials.
Doctor Who - Lost In Time
(1963) Starring:William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton Certificate:
A collection of previously lost, now restored episodes - known by fans as the 'orphaned' episodes - from the legendary Doctor Who series. Episodes are: 'The Crusade' (1); 'The Crusade' (3) - with commentary by Julian Glover and Gary Russell; 'The Daleks' Master Plan' (2) - with commentary by Peter ..read more »