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Christmas Gift Guide

"An Unearthly Child"

"An Unearthly Child"

"An Unearthly Child"

"An Unearthly Child"

"Remembrance of the Daleks"

"Remembrance of the Daleks"

"Remembrance of the Daleks"

"The Tenth Planet"

"The Tenth Planet"

"The Tenth Planet"

"The Tenth Planet"

"The Tenth Planet"

"Genesis of the Daleks"

"Genesis of the Daleks"

"The Daemons"

"The Daemons"

"The Caves of Androzani"

"The Caves of Androzani"

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang"

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang"

"The Curse of Peladon"

"The Curse of Peladon"

"Vengeance on Varos"

Season 10

The original episodes of sci-fi sensation "Doctor Who" are now available online on Britbox. Here's our pick of the essential adventures to get you started.

The first ever episode, entitled "An Unearthly Child", saw a pair of curious teachers investigate a mysterious pupil and her crotchety grandfather -- a man known only as "the Doctor".

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The Doctor, played by William Hartnell, turns out to be an alien time traveller. He whisks the teachers away on an adventure in time and space. The magic of the show is evident from the very first notes of the terrifying theme music, making this an obvious starting point.

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Now obviously "An Unearthly Child" -- broadcast on 23 November 1963 -- is from a very different time. The TV of yesterday looks quite quaint to our eyes, but even so there's mystery, charm and often a genuinely sinister edge to early "Who".

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Season 10 opener "The Pilot" calls back to "An Unearthly Child" -- see if you can spot Susan in the new episode.

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From the very beginning, to what looked like the end. Decades later, seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy celebrated the 25th anniversary of the show with this rip-roaring adventure.

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"Remembrance" is "Who" firing on all cylinders: an all-action plot with explosive special effects, new companion Ace creating the template for today's no-nonsense sidekicks, and a subtle call-back to the show's storied history.

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Sadly, the show was not to last much longer, but McCoy's era shouldn't be blamed. Episodes like "Remembrance", "The Curse of Fenric" and "Battlefield" had ambition and excitement in spades.

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Season 10 of the new show will see current Doctor Peter Capaldi face the Cybermen, but not the Cybermen we've seen in the revived show so far.

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Instead, we'll see the return of the original fabric-masked cybernetic horrors, as first seen in "The Tenth Planet" in 1966.

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The story is a notable example of early "Who" for a couple of other reasons. The final episode was lost back in the days when repeats didn't exist and broadcasters simply wiped their old shows.

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But it has since been recreated in animated form, which has restored several of the show's missing episodes including the story that followed this one, "The Power of the Daleks" (pictured).

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"The Tenth Planet" was also the final adventure starring William Hartnell as the Doctor. Instead of ending the show, the creators hit on the novel concept of using our hero's Time Lord physiology to explain a transformation into a new body, a process now known as regeneration. The second Doctor was played by Patrick Troughton.

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Now we're talking. Considered by many fans to be the finest "Who" adventure ever, "Genesis" sees fourth Doctor Tom Baker arrive at the inception of his greatest enemy to face a mortal moral choice. The philosophical depth of the story perfectly shows why the Doctor is such a compelling character, using intelligence and compassion to defend against evil.

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"Genesis" also introduced the character Davros, adding an extra dimension to the Dalek mythos in terrifying style.

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In season 10, the Doctor seems to have given up wandering in time and space for a post at a university. Only once before has the Doctor settled in one place, when he was banished to Earth for third Doctor Jon Pertwee's swashbuckling tenure. "The Daemons" is one of the best stories of this excellent era.

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Luckily for us, adventure was never far away: it seemed like every week evil lurked in a quaint English village, where the Doctor and his alien-fighting military chums UNIT must save the day. Meanwhile, as in the current show, the Master was never far away...

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Peter Davison's fifth Doctor and companion Peri land in the middle of an alien political battle that turns into a Shakespearian tragedy of betrayal and revenge.

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It's gloriously tense stuff, from which no-one emerges unscathed -- including the Doctor.

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Longest-serving Doctor Tom Baker takes on an terrifying alien menace in fog-shrouded Victorian London in this much-loved serial. In many ways it encapsulates "Who": the Tardis arrives in a historical setting, rendered with the peerless period expertise of the BBC; it includes both sinister villains and engaging secondary characters worthy of their own show; and classic story tropes -- in this case from "Sherlock Holmes", "Fu Manchu" and "The Phantom of the Opera" -- given an exhilarating sci-fi twist.

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And of course, the most classic "Who" element of all: various gloriously terrible special effects.

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Season 10 will feature classic aliens the Ice Warriors in a story set on their home planet of Mars, written by Mark Gatiss. In their earlier stories the Ice Warriors were depicted as menacing monsters, but the 1972 serial "The Curse of Peladon" subverts and transcends such simplistic storytelling.

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"Curse" is a great example of how sympathetic "Doctor Who" often is towards those who appear different or threatening, and why the Doctor shows compassion no matter who plays the role.

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It's only fair to mention each of the original seven Doctors, so we've thrown in this 1985 political satire to represent Colin Baker's sixth Doctor. But between you and me, it's OK to turn this off and watch a Tom Baker one instead.

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With 26 seasons of classic "Doctor Who" available on Britbox, that should keep you busy until season 10 materialises on 15 April.

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