Season 4: The Smugglers & The Tenth Planet


The Smugglers as one of the last historicals feels more like a pastiche of those done under previous production teams but it’s a nice little story and rattles along with Ben and Polly settling in well. Such a shame this is another with not even one episode in the archives.
The Tenth Planet ends the era and this time we have a Troughton base under siege story coming in early as the template for many of the stories to come is set. The Cybermen debut and I do think these more human looking ones are actually a bit more chilling than later versions. The multi-cultural cast must also be commended,  certainly a rarity in this period of the show.
How mind blowing must the regeneration have been for those watching back in ’66 and it’s done so well. The idea was inspired and I may be wrong but this makes the character unique in that the actor change is part of the narrative and negates the need for reboots. I love the fact that basically Peter Capaldi is playing a much older version of William Hartnell and if needs be can directly reference these stories.
So we come to the end of the Hartnell era and whenever I watch the show in chronological order it’s always sad to get to this point. I’m not sure any era was ever as varied, I suppose a sign of a show trying to discover its formula.  William Hartnell is a fantastic Doctor without whom the show would’ve died within six months. Whilst undoubtedly he was a hard man to work with he created this magical character and his Doctor has plenty of wonderful moments.
People in interviews state how sure he was the show would be a success and last many years. How right he was!

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