Last time I spoke about Doctor Who, which was a couple of months ago, I sung the praises of the great Patrick Troughton, the sophmore incarnation of the Doctor. Today, I share my love for the final original run Doctor, the wonderful Sylvester McCoy.
When people think of classic Who, they'll remember the amazing run of Tom Baker or the boyish charm of Peter Davison. Unfortunately, the Doctors after Davison and before the mid-naughts relaunch were less universally beloved. McCoy genuinely got the short end of the stick, at the helm of the ship when it was sunk by a BBC executive. Like the Doctor before and after him, he did not get much screen time (42 episodes), and frankly the show looks worse than usual as I think it was recorded straight onto someone's VHS tape that had been sitting in a van in July, but I think McCoy's Doctor had quite a bit of charm. The 7th Doctor also was stuck with Mel, perhaps the least interesting companion of all time, and Ace, who likely wouldn't make my top ten list for companions.
Like Troughton, McCoy may have exhibited the Doctor personality of which I am most fond. Instantly warm and likable, yet dark and cunning, he exhibits a charm and wisdom that defines the greatness of Doctor Who. The 7th Doctor really found his legs towards the end of his limited run, and "The Curse of Fenric," the second to last story arc for this Doctor, is generally considered his best. For audio fans, McCoy's Doctor has had a large number of appearances in radio serials, so although his time was cut short, like the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann), McCoy continued his legacy in vintage radio form.
Of his audio and visual productions, though, "Fenric" stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the better Who serials. It's not an upper echelon story, but if you think about it, it was easily the best Who story released in a two decade period (1985-2005). Alas, those days are long behind us now, but let's journey back just for today and watch the "Fenric" serial, released 24 years ago this November.