Out Now: Doctor Who – The Complete History #21

The latest issue of Doctor Who: The Complete History, the partwork that aims to be a definitive guide to the making of everyone’s favourite show, is out now, the third released to cover William Hartnell’s tenure as the First Doctor.

Volume 3 of the 80-part (at least) collection features three largely-underrated serials:

The Sensorites

The Doctor and his companions find the crew of a spaceship suspended between life and death, victims of the mysterious Sensorites. Taken by these aliens to the Sense-Sphere, will the time travellers be greeted by friend or foe?

The Reign of Terror

The time travellers find themselves in the middle of a bloody period in history – the French Revolution. Separated and pulled into a terrifying plot, can they escape the Reign of Terror before the guillotine falls?

Planet of Giants

When the TARDIS doors open in flight, the crew is shrunk to miniscule size. A rural back garden becomes a terrifying gargantuan world, whete the tiny travellers must foil a plot of murder and corruption to save Barbara’s life…

I rather liked The Sensorites on first viewing: admittedly, it’s not a thrill-a- minute, but the invention and thought behind the story and race is impressive. It remains basically enjoyable on rewatches, while episode 1 in particular is a science fiction marvel.

The second tale here is damaged slightly by being partly missing, but the animation on The Reign of Terror DVD is great. The ambition of the 1960s production crew has to be admired, regardless of how you feel about the tale.

And Planet of Giants is an odd one. There’s no other story like it. No aliens apart from the Doctor and Susan – just a murderer with his eye on profits. It might not be the most compulsive of viewing experiences, but there’s something very watchable about it. The best thing about it, of course, is the whistle that bloke gives off when he speaks thanks to ill-fitting dentures. Always makes me laugh…

Doctor Who: The Complete History #21 is out now, priced £9.99 in the UK or $24.99 in Australia and New Zealand.