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Old 24th November 2021, 12:40 PM
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To celebrate Doctor Who's 58th birthday yesterday i watched The War Machines. A classic slice of sixties Doctor Who and in some ways the birth of what was to come in the show from the oncoming second Doctor era to it's revival in 2005.

It's the first story to be set purely in contemporary Britain, has the Doctor helped by the military and also friendly politician Sir Charles Sumner - certainly at odds with the bumbling bureaucrats seen during the third Doctor era who were always a hindrance rather than any sort of help.

We don't have any sort of story where the Doctor isn't believed or the military capture him as a spy or the usual stuff that happens in later series of this ilk, no The War Machines is straight in with it's plot of super computer WOTAN and it's attempt to take over the earth from it's Post Office Tower base using hypnosis and the building of small tank like War Machines.

Hartnell is terrific, exuding both authority and mischievous playfulness from the start and he immediately strikes up an excellent chemistry with soon to be new companion Polly (Anneke Wills) as the Doctor is thrust into London's swinging sixties club scene. There are no fluffs of line reading either to say Hartnell's health was slowly on the decline although as a sign of what was to come in the seventies he did start to say "Reverse the polomint...eh?...what is this rubbish,...better leave this stuff to Peewee the dandy, mmm" (This might not be entirely true ), he is in short superb in his portrayal of the original Doctor in what is a beautifully paced, interesting and often exciting four part story.
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