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Doctor Who: The Gunfighters (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Gunfighters originally aired in 1966.

Everything excepting that rattlesnake friend of yours Holliday blew in this mornin’. Who’re your friends, Wyatt?

Well I, er–

Oh, quite, quite so. Allow me, sir, to introduce Miss Dodo Dupont, wizard of the ivory keys, and er Steven Regret, tenor. And lastly sir, your humble servant Doctor Caligari.

Doctor who?

Yes, quite right.

– Masterson, Wyatt Earp and the Doctor

I am hesitant to turn my trip into the history of Doctor Who into a series of articles about fan opinion or consensus. If I like a story, or dislike a story, I have my reasons that I will often try to explain away. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of context. It is handy, for example, to know that I like The Talons of Weng-Chiang just a little bit less than most fans seem to. The Gunfighters is an oft-maligned serial. It is part of the show’s troubled third season, building – as it did – off the show’s generally quite solid second year. However, I actually enjoy The Gunfighters for what it is, which is a knack I seem to have for a lot of the stories from William Hartnell’s era.

People would try to convince you that it's like pulling teeth...

People would try to convince you that it’s like pulling teeth…

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