As a Doctor Who fanatic, it always seems treacherous to admit that the William Hartnell era of the series is something I can take or leave. He is, after all, the first Doctor, and without the groundwork he laid through his portrayal, the show may not have lasted a season, never mind 46 years (and counting). Nevertheless, you’ll rarely find me waxing rhapsodic about the early years, because they were so very clearly aimed at children, and the pacing and production values reflect a series that was typically doing little more than entertaining the young ‘uns every Saturday afternoon. This was how Doctor Who started, and I understand that, but the truth is much of the Hartnell era is not particularly engaging TV by today’s standards. (Of course, I also understand that some would argue nothing within the first 26 years of the series is engaging by today’s standards, but they are, of course, wrong.)
Why all the qualifiers? Because “The Romans” reaches for something greater than most of the era in which it was produced.
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