Doctor Who – The War Machines

BBC DVD / Region 4

Featuring William Hartnell, Peter Purves, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze

One of the final William Hartnell stories and the final story for the third season of the show, this is classic era Who at its very best, a brilliant story by Ian Stuart Black (based on an original idea by Doomwatch creator Kit Pedlar). This was actually the very first Who story set in the present day. In it The Doctor is battling a super computer known as WOTAN, which is kept in London’s Post Office Tower, it has sinister plans for world domination.

WOTAN (which stands for Will Operating Thought ANalogue) is due to be linked to a group of other super computers, has apparantly decided that humans are no longer good enough to run the planet and that he should now be in charge.

There is some great glimpses of swinging London in this crisp and still exciting serial, with mentionings of “fab gear” and nods to shows such as The Avengers (which was huge at the time). We also get the departure of one companion (Jackie Lane as Dodo) and the arrival of two new ones who will go on to make quite an impression on the series. These two Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben help bring a nicely modern sixties touch to the series.

A must have for fans especially including as it does the great array of extras that always accompany these doctor who releases, including snippets from the venrable Blue Peter, a Now and Then location feature, a look at the restoration of the serial, radio times pdf billings and photo galleries.