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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Doctor Who named cult favourite
Sylvester McCoy
Sylvester McCoy recently reprised his role online
BBC science fiction programme Doctor Who has taken the number one spot in a top 20 list of cult television programmes of all time.

The series ran from 1963 to 1989, with a TV movie starring Paul McGann in 1996.

Top 5 Cult TV
1. Doctor Who
2. Fawlty Towers
3. Star Trek
4. Monty Python's Flying Circus
5. The Prisoner
Other entries on the list include Fawlty Towers, Star Trek, Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Prisoner.

TV critic Jeff Evans compiled the top 20 list to herald the publication of his book, the first edition of the new Penguin TV Companion.

There are some surprising inclusions further down on the list such as Only Fools and Horses and The Simpsons, which regularly generate spectacular viewing figures. Bagpuss is bottom at number 20.

Asked to explain why he chose the Time Lord to occupy the number one spot, Evans told The Express: "I think its because it ran for 26 years, it's highly escapist and everyone has their favourite Doctor, enemy, assistant or story."

'Cult' viewing

Star Trek's Mr Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy
Star Trek came third on the list
Asked about the definition of "cult" television, Evans told the Daily Mail: "It is hard to define a cult but it is more than just getting good viewing figures. Cults engender a devoted following and go beyond mere popularity.

"They set fads and fashions, generate merchandise, inspire fan clubs and conventions or pervade the national consciousness to some degree," Evans said.

He added: "Sometimes they can be immensely popular too, such as Only Fools and Horses which gets tremendous viewing figures but does inspire conventions of fans who meet in pubs called the Nag's Head and wander round dressed as their favourite characters."

Time Lord online

Fans of Doctor Who recently greeted the Time Lord's return in a new drama broadcast on BBC Online.

Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner
Number Five on the list: Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner
Sylvester McCoy reprised his Doctor role last played on TV in 1989.

McCoy told BBC News Online: "These are good original drama stories which is rare these days.

"I think the fans will be delighted with this project but they will never be fully satisfied until the Doctor is back on TV."

In the first three days, the BBC Online Doctor Who site received 1.5m page impression requests for the Death Comes to Time real audio files.

Richard Fell, Head of Fictionlab, whose team produced the interactive event, said: "The response from users has been overwhelming and clearly shows that there's a thriving Doctor Who community on the Net.

"The pilot has worked extremely well and we are delighted with the results to date. Doctor Who fans should keep watching this space!"

See also:

10 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
German Basil avoids 'war'
11 May 01 | TV and Radio
Scott Bakula takes Star Trek helm
05 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Fawlty Towers tops TV hits
03 Sep 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
Number's not up for The Prisoner
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