Doctor Who and the Story Titles

Why do people keep saying there are not proper names for multi-part Doctor Who stories in recent years? I don’t know what everyone is fussing about. The names are right there for all to see. The name of the recent series finale is called World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls. Perfectly good name for a Cyberman origin story, dont’cha know, although I also liked the earlier one about the Doctor visiting a parallel universe and encountering the creation of the Cybermen there. That one was called Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel. I mean, that’s what I hear everyone calling it, anyway. And it’s a perfectly fine story title. It’s right up there with The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances or Dark Water/Death in Heaven. The latter was even the name of a movie I went to see.

I was talking to a writer; he’s not a Doctor Who fan, so I had to school him. I was telling him about the cool Davros story from series 9, and he asked me what the title was. “The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar,” I said.

“No, no,” he replied. “Not the names of the individual episodes. What is the name of the whole story?”

The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar.

“That’s not a story title.”

“Yes, it is.”

“That’s just two episode names.”

I rolled my eyes. “I know the difference between an episode title and a story title. That’s why ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ is not a whole story. Neither is ‘The Witch’s Familiar.’ The story is The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar.”

“Do you mean The Magician’s Apprentice AND the Witch’s Familiar?”

“No. There is no and. It’s The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar. Don’t forget the forward slash. The forward slash is part of the name.”

“You’re crazy.”

Ignorant, huh? He just doesn’t get it. He left before I could tell him about Davros, and the Daleks, and Missy.

That Master story was good, but not my favorite. I still can’t figure out whether the best Master story is Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords or The End of Time Part 1/The End of Time Part 2. Which is yours? Oh wait, you prefer The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords over Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords? Yeah, I suppose that is a slightly different name for a slightly different story. 

You know what is an awful title? Human Nature. It’s the name of a novel by Paul Cornell. I am working up a petition to get it changed to its true and proper title, as seen in the TV series: Human Nature/Family of Blood.

So, in my mind, the argument over what the stories are named is completely unnecessary–kind of like the unnecessary argument the Doctor has with his companions in The Edge of Destruction/The Brink of Disaster. An oldie but a goodie.

Actually, my favorite story from the Hartnell era is World’s End/The Daleks/Day of Reckoning/The End of Tomorrow/The Waking Ally/Flashpoint. It’s a classic. To be sure, Mission to the Unknown/The Nightmare Begins/Day of Armageddon/Devil’s Planet/The Traitors/Counter Plot/Coronas of the Sun/The Feast of Steven/Volcano/Golden Death/Escape Switch/The Abandoned Planet/Destruction of Time is a close second, but I prefer World’s End/The Daleks/Day of Reckoning/The End of Tomorrow/The Waking Ally/Flashpoint just a little bit more.