A lot of people think it's cool to disrespect the Fifth these days. I spent the last 20 years (not all of it, obviously) rewatching a few stories about Mr. Davison's Doctor (Earthshock, Five Doctors, Resurrection of the Daleks and caves of Androzani) and so I'm left with the impression he was damn fine. I recently started to collect the rest of his era and while he had his ebbs and flows (like all the Doctors) he just never ceases to impress with that cool, charming, dashing Cricketer who has a vulnerable side and yet a hard edge as well. When I got round to Castrovalva, his debt story, I found it one of the most entertaining and well crafted stories of the lot, a real gem, and endlessly rewatchable. I especially love the way the Doctor goes all eccentric after regenerating and starts to behave like his former selves. When he's in a wheel chair and points skyward like a general ordering the troops to charge and cries, "Go softly on!" it cracks me up every time. And his first Doctor impression is a hoot. The Master is used to a bare minmum which makes his much more effective here, but despite his presence, a mere reminder that this is still the same series depite Tom Baker's absense, the rest is strikingly original. First a close encounter with the creation of the Galaxy which produces a very tense dramatic moment of Russian Roulette with the Tardis. Then a phantom city which seems to be a paradise but harbours a dark secret. Overall, this is superior TV SF and Davison does his thing brilliantly. He deserves to be recognised as one of the greats if not the best Doctor of them all. This leaves many other Doctor Who stories standing still. Overall: A true 80s masterpiece.
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