And now on with the second half of our detailed "Elite 8" thingy:
#1 seed) SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE Vs. #2 seed) THE GREEN DEATH
#1) SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE - The luck of the draw has brought two Pertwee stories into head-to-head conflict!
#2 ) THE GREEN DEATH - Ranked also at the relatively low (for its showing in this field of 64 anyway) ranking of #39 in the "Mighty 200" poll.
Clifford Jones who is convinced local Global Chemicals' new process to increase the yield of oil is causing naughty things to happen i.e. a glowing green dead miner. Once down in the mines,
The importance of this story is manifold. Not only does it mark the departure of Katy Manning
THE WINNER: SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE
#1 seed) PYRAMIDS OF MARS Vs. #2 seed) GENESIS OF THE DALEKS
#1) PYRAMIDS OF MARS - Ranked at # 7 in the DOCTOR WHO magazine 2009 "Mighty 200" readers poll. Everybody involved puts in a top-flight performance here, so much so that this may be the story which sums up Tom Baker's Doctor (or, at least, people's memories of him) better than any other." The flexibility of Doctor Who's format, or more specifically its ability to subsume any genre it plunders, allows PYRAMIDS OF MARS to disguise its sometimes implausible story beneath a superficially faithful adaptation of Hammer horror. (Robert) Holmes would revisit the same territory in THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG . . .PYRAMIDS and TALONS both discard their gothic trappings for a resolution that sees the Doctor employ cunning pseudo-science to rout the menace. Unlike the Hammer Horrors, there is no place for magic in DOCTOR WHO. Wherever the (Philip) Hinchcliffe stories too their window-dressing from, they remained ultimately faithful to DOCTOR WHO's enduring principals. Our continued appreciation of these episodes is therefore multi-layered, with scenes evocative of the films that scared us as children, fantastical science-fiction plots and the ultimately reassuring presence of Uncle Tom Baker to wrap the whole thing up."
#2 ) GENESIS OF THE DALEKS - Unsurprisingly ranked at the # 3 spot in the "Mighty 200" poll.
Indeed it isn't for most of those concerned. After a lengthy absence from the series, Daleks creator Terry Nation was invited back by producers Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks to write another story but they found his first draft to similar to past stories. The suggestion was made that Nation should write an origin story which he did; however by the time the story was finished Letts and Dicks were leaving the show and transferred the project to their successors Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes who encouraged a "darker" tone to the proceedings. The bloody great cast is headed by Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter who as usual are absolutely perfect. The moral of GENESIS OF THE DALEKS is this: Daleks -- 'can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em'. " Alan Barnes opens his write-up of GENESIS in DWM's "Mighty 200" issue, "For the Doctor, for the character whose adventures in time and space we've followed for 12 long years to this point, 'can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em' amounts to a revolutionary insight, a man at last understanding the purpose of his seemingly random adventures. . ." Barnes brings us into Joseph Campbell territory as well: "...the hero's journey is about the gaining of wisdom, a wisdom won by passing a number of trials and ordeals. For me, GENESIS OF THE DALEKS is all about the Doctor's journey. It begins with a Time Lord inviting the Doctor to undo or amend the creation of the Daleks. It's never stated, but were the Doctor to succeed, he'd be undoing or amending his own personal past -- wouldn't he? The stakes could not be any higher: the Doctor has the chance (at last?), to play God. . .You know what? I don't believe that Time Lord is serious. . .I think: this is a story about the gods tormenting the hero. The mission itself is a trial: the possibility of success a punishment. And the Doctor knows it. . .GENESIS OF THE DALEKS isn't about the Daleks. It's about the Doctor -- about his mission, his trials, his choice."
THE WINNER: PYRAMIDS FROM MARS
So there we have it: the final four has been established. Probably not a surprise that there is a heavy "Philip Hinchcliffe-era" presence in the top stories chosen. Perennially a fan favourite, these darker, more gothic-flavoured stories have long been considered the apex of DOCTOR WHO's long run and I'm inclined to agree with the majority of fans who, for instance, placed more Hinchcliffe stories in the "Mighty 200" fan poll than any other producer. When asked about this, Hinchcliffe himself said: "Well, I'm very pleased that a number of my stories are still all-time favourites and not yet completely supersede by the new ones! My personal favourites are also ones that come high in the poll; TALONS, PYRAMIDS, GENESIS, ROBOTS. I think they had good scripts and the production elements and direction came together well without any obvious failures."