Doctor Who (1963–1989)
8.6/10
230
5 user 1 critic

The War Games: Episode One 

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe realise they have arrived in the trenches of the First World War, where the sinister General Smythe accuses them of espionage.

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Zoe
Jane Sherwin ...
John Livesey ...
German Soldier
David Savile ...
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Brian Forster ...
Noel Coleman ...
Hubert Rees ...
Esmond Webb ...
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Storyline

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe realise they have arrived in the trenches of the First World War, where the sinister General Smythe accuses them of espionage.

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Release Date:

19 April 1969 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time of its production, this 10-episode serial was the second-longest story, behind "The Daleks' Master Plan" (a 12-part serial beginning with Doctor Who: The Nightmare Begins (1965). These epics would stand as the longest serials until the season-long 14-parter Doctor Who: The Trial of a Time Lord: Part One (1986), nearly 20 years later. See more »

Goofs

Just after Major Barrington answers the telephone, Lady Jennifer walks through a boom microphone shadow. See more »

Quotes

[to the time lords]
The Doctor: All these evils I have fought, while you have done nothing but observe! True, I am guilty of interference. Just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!'
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Connections

Featured in Highlander: The Jamie McCrimmon Story (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Momentous, historic, fabulous epic which starts a lot of the series' mythology.
19 September 2014 | by (South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

Review for all 10 episodes:

This is an epic of a story as it spreads across a huge 10 episodes. Much more than that though, this has truly epic importance in the history of Doctor Who! There a number of reasons why this is one of the most important and pivotal stories in the whole series.

Firstly, it finally reveals that The Doctor's own people are called Time Lords and it introduces them as a society for the first time. This, after 6 whole series, finally removes a little of the mystery of the show by telling us something of The Doctor's origins. It also tells us that The Doctor has run away, stealing his TARDIS and that he is at complete odds with the way in which their society behaves. He is shown to be quite terrified of the Time Lords, in fact.

As well as these hugely important revelations it also has the major event of the end of Troughton's tenure as The Doctor with him being forced to regenerate. This is not only the second ever regeneration, it has the added impact of being done as a punishment for him refusing to conform to Time Lord rules and running away with the TARDIS. It changes the course of the series as well because they also exile The Doctor to late 20th Century Earth. This is done in order that the series can have a period of purely Earth based adventures with a team of regular 'helpers' (in the form of UNIT).

As if that isn't enough it features the emotional departure of Jamie and Zoe. This is done in a heartrendingly sad way which involves wiping all memories of their time with The Doctor apart from their first meeting.

Even though these massively pivotal aspects occur in this story the most striking thing of all about this story is the brilliance of it as entertainment. It involves a plot where the TARDIS arrives in what appears to be a purely historical setting of the First World War trenches but then has the twist of slowly introducing science fiction aspects leading you to believe it is a 'pseudo-historical' story with alien intervention in Earth history. It then twists again to show they are, in fact, surrounded by many historical periods of war going on at the same time. Soldiers have been removed unknowingly from various wars on Earth to take part in 'War Games' which are being manipulated by an alien force to create perfect soldiers.

The whole 10 episodes are thoroughly enjoyable, superbly written (by Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks), acted, directed (by David Maloney) and presented. Troughton is fantastic (although his finale where he has to pull faces to show the effects of his regeneration are a shame, I wish they had done that differently), Frazer Hines is at his absolute best as Jamie and Wendy Padbury has a good send off too. All the guest cast (including Patrick Troughton's son David) and especially Philip Madoc and Edward Brayshaw as a renegade Time Lord, excel in their roles. For its importance and its exceptional quality this is one of the best stories of all.

My Ratings: All 10 Episodes 10/10

Despite this and The Invasion both being all-time great stories, disappointing stories The Dominators, The Krotons and The Space Pirates dragged the Season down to just medium quality for the series overall.

Average Season 6 Rating: 8.27/10


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