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Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic

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2001-08-07 Daily Express.jpg



THE show which caused children up and down the land to cower behind their sofas in terror has been heralded the greatest cult television programme ever made.

Despite featuring distant planets which looked suspiciously like a quarry in Reigate and baddies who ruled the universe but could not climb the stairs, Doctor Who heads a new list of influential television classics.

The list, which was compiled to mark the release of reference book The Penguin Television Companion, has tried to pin-point the 20 programmes which continue to exert a hold over their fans, even though they may have long disappeared from our screens.

Many of the shows — such as the original Star Trek, at number three and The Prisoner, at number five —command an almost fanatical following with hundreds of websites and conventions devoted to them.

Others such as Fawlty Towers have had a cultural impact far beyond their original scope and can be quoted verbatim by large numbers of enthusiasts.

Jeff Evans, who wrote the encyclopedic reference book and devised the list, says that while many programmes have been enjoyed and are fondly remembered by millions, those in his list have something extra. "It's a quality that can grip people and in many cases see them devoting large chunks of their time to either watching or celebrating the programmes," he says.

"I took my son to the annual Doctor Who convention at Longleat earlier this week and there were a large number of grown adults dressed as cybermen, the Master and the various incarnations of the Doctor. It's hard to credit that grown people live like this but it shows the power of the programme.

"I think it's because it ran for 26 years, it's highly escapist and everyone has their favourite Doctor, enemy, assistant or story."

Although the inclusion of Only Fools And Horses and Boys From The Blackstuff may seem to be anomalies, Mr Evans says they have many of the

attributes of cult shows. He said: "Only Fools and Horses bucks the trend if you judge it by the criteria of viewing figures — it is one of the most popular shows ever — but it also attracts a hardcore following who go to the conventions and dress up as Del Boy or Uncle Albert.

"Cult programmes set fashions, they generate merchandise and inspire conventions — Only Fools And Horses did all these."


1. Doctor Who

2. Fawlty Towers

3. Star Trek

4. Monty Python's Flying Circus

5. The Prisoner

6. The X Files

7. The Magic Roundabout

8. The Simpsons

9. Thunderbirds

10. Only Fools And Horses

11. The Young Ones

12. Blake's 7

13. Kung Fu

14. The Avengers

15. Father Ted

16. Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased)

17. Twin Peaks

18. Boys From The Blackstuff

19. Red Dwarf

20. Bagpuss


THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO: The boys at International Rescue

CULT FIGURES: Tom Baker as Dr Who and his arch enemies, the Daleks

THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT: Dougal and Mends made it on to the list

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  • APA 6th ed.: Jagasia, Mark (2001-08-07). Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic. Daily Express p. 5.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Jagasia, Mark. "Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic." Daily Express [add city] 2001-08-07, 5. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Jagasia, Mark. "Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic." Daily Express, edition, sec., 2001-08-07
  • Turabian: Jagasia, Mark. "Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic." Daily Express, 2001-08-07, section, 5 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic | url= | work=Daily Express | pages=5 | date=2001-08-07 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=6 December 2023 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr Who tops the lot as a timeless classic | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=6 December 2023}}</ref>