Doctor Who Common Entries Contests

DWCE2: 18 March 2009

Results

54 people elected to play, exactly the same number as for DWCE1 (although not
exactly the same individuals). The winner was DoctorBrownCoat who scored around
1.5 trillion, less than 10% of the theoretical maximum of 17 trillion – a slightly
lower percentage than the top score on DWCE1, lending credence to the speculation
that this contest was harder. (This theoretical maximum is a fantasy number
obtained by taking the highest scores actually obtained for each question and
multiplying them together.) Vislor was close behind DoctorBrownCoat with Phil Evans
in third place. Congratulations to all three of them.

No other entrants cleared 4% of the maximum and none of the top placed finishers
last time made it into the top 10, but Wilf manages to regain a little dignity at
least by scraping in at tenth place.

Here are the top three answer slates.

     DOCTORBROWNCOAT        VISLOR                 PHIL EVANS             
0    Jon Pertwee            Peter Davison          William Hartnell       
1    Affirmative            Affirmative            Master                 
2    Davros                 Davros                 Davros                 
3    The Brigadier          The Brigadier          The Brigadier          
4    Mission / Unknown      Trial of a Time Lord   Mission / Unknown      
5    Neil Gaiman            J K Rowling            Neil Gaiman            
6    20th century           Victorian              The present day        
7    Kylie Minogue          Kylie Minogue          Kylie Minogue          
8    John Smith             John Smith             John Smith             
9    The Stolen Earth       Caves of Androzani #3  Caves of Androzani #3  

To review the scoring:
The scores on the different questions are MULTIPLIED to produce a final score for
each entrant. High score wins.

Here is the complete table of scores. Use a monospaced font to see proper alignment
(this may mean doing 'view source').

RANK             SCORE  ENTRANT             Q0 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9      RATIO

    17,189,181,434,880  MAXIMUM             26 41 23 23 21 14 15 16 16 27 
 1   1,485,484,815,360  DoctorBrownCoat     13 41 23 23 21 14 10 16 16  7    8.6420%
 2     935,465,656,320  Vislor              26 41 23 23  2  8 15 16 16 27    5.4422%
 3     773,996,912,640  Phil Evans          10  9 23 23 21 14  8 16 16 27    4.5028%
 4     503,712,276,480  magicbaboon         10 41 23 23 21  8  8  4 16 27    2.9304%
 5     159,159,087,360  NathantheWhovian    26 41 23 23 21  8 15  7 16  1    0.9259%
 6     127,327,269,888  Iceduck             26 41 23 23 21  8  4  7 16  3    0.7407%
 7     116,933,207,040  Blowfly             13 41 23 23  5  8  8 16  3 27    0.6803%
 8     100,092,283,200  Paul Campbell       26 41 23  3 21  2 15 16  5 27    0.5823%
 9      70,064,598,240  Gervase Fen         13 41 23  3 21 14 10  3  8 27    0.4076%
10      53,716,191,984  Wilf                13 41 23 23 21 14  1  3  8 27    0.3125%
11      28,470,693,888  Fortmap             13 41 16 23  8  4  8  7  3 27    0.1656%
12      27,078,105,600  Jonathan Morris     26 41 16  5 21 14 15  4  6  3    0.1575%
13      17,577,181,440  TheMonitor          26  9 16 23 21  1 15  3  8 27    0.1023%
14      16,323,379,200  Llama Roddy         10 41 16  3  8  1 15 16 16 27    0.0950%
15      16,202,833,920  stevall583          26  9 23  6  5 14  4 16 16  7    0.0943%
16      11,677,433,040  Simon Kinnear       13 41 23  1 21 14 15  1  8 27    0.0679%
17      11,372,804,352  Barnaby Salton      13 41 16  6 21 14  4  7  1 27    0.0662%
18       6,929,375,232  DalekJim            13 41 23 23  3  4  8 16 16  1    0.0403%
19       6,672,818,880  Lee Johnson         26 41 23  5 21  1  1 16  6 27    0.0388%
20       6,631,372,800  Froo                26 41  5  8  8  1 15  3 16 27    0.0386%
21       3,295,219,200  Nsullivan           26 41 16 23 21  2 10  4  5  1    0.0192%
22       2,965,697,280  Gordon Ridout       26 41 23  6  8 14 15  4  1  3    0.0173%
23       2,636,175,360  asmoranomardicodais 26 41 23  6  8  1 10  4  8  7    0.0153%
24       2,332,001,280  Doyle                2 41 23 23  1 14 15  4 16  4    0.0136%
25       1,779,418,368  Trollface           26 41  2 23  3 14  4  1  8 27    0.0104%
26       1,562,416,128  Hotmissile          26  9 16 23  8  1  2  7  6 27    0.0091%
27       1,203,471,360  hcd199              26 41  1  1 21 14 15 16 16  1    0.0070%
28         707,346,432  ElectroBoy          26 41 16  8  3  1  1  4 16 27    0.0041%
29         661,340,160  Luke Curtis         13  2 16 23  5  4  8 16  1 27    0.0038%
30         470,745,600  Andrew Hodson       26 41 23  5  2  4  2 16  5  3    0.0027%
31         396,264,960  Binro The Heretic   26  1 16  1 21  8 10  7  3 27    0.0023%
32         339,480,000  JCCMMBailey         10 41  5 23  5  2 10  3  6  4    0.0020%
33         272,056,320  Biggles             10 41 16  8  2  8  1  2  6 27    0.0016%
34         271,724,544  Ged Sweeney         26  9 16  8 21  1  1  2  8 27    0.0016%
35         248,841,600  Aloysius            10  1 23 23 21 14 10  1 16  1    0.0014%
36         221,045,760  Chriskelk           26 41  2  5  8  1  4  3  8 27    0.0013%
37         145,566,720  HolmesBaker         13  9  5  8  8  4  2  3  6 27    0.0008%
38         136,028,160  Dan Stimson          3 41  1  8  3  4 15 16 16  3    0.0008%
39         130,134,000  Mark Welsh           2 41 23 23  5  4 15  1  5  2    0.0008%
40         111,213,648  David Ainsworth     13 41 23  1  1 14  8  3  1 27    0.0006%
41          58,945,536  Regenerator         26 41 16  1  1  8  4  4  1 27    0.0003%
42          44,513,280  Beyondthevoid       10  9 23  8 21  2  4  4  2  2    0.0003%
43          41,328,000  Vegetables          10 41  1  6  5  1 15 16  2  7    0.0002%
44          38,021,760  Starfighter Pilot    3 41 16 23 21  1  2  1  5  4    0.0002%
45          32,952,192  Carl Wood           13 41  1 23  3  1  2  4 16  7    0.0002%
46          26,404,000  Will 'OZOO' James   10 41 23  5  5  2  2  4  1  7    0.0002%
47          11,571,840  John Dorney          3 41 16  1 21  1 10  4  1  7    0.0001%
48           8,634,600  Daniel McGrath      26 41  5  1  2  1 10  3  1 27    0.0001%
49           7,845,760  Gavin Morgan        26 41  1 23  5  4  1 16  1  1    0.0000%
50           1,225,900  WhoBoy93            13 41  1 23  5  2 10  1  1  1    0.0000%
51           1,137,240  Ed Rackstraw        26  9  2  6  1  1 15  1  1 27    0.0000%
52             895,440  Trevor Gensch       26 41  5  8  1  1  1  7  1  3    0.0000%
53             179,712  Martin Ingham       26  9 16  1  3  1  4  1  1  4    0.0000%
54              25,600  Peter Scandrett     10  2  2  1  5  1  8 16  1  1    0.0000%

Of the 540 answers submitted, 77 were unique (scoring 1 point). Of 54 entrants, 15
managed to avoid scoring even a single 1 and another 19 got away with only one 1.

Despite some concerns from some correspondents, the answer “Tegan Jovanka” was only
ever given twice, both times in answer to the same question. 

Here is the complete list of answers given. Each list shows correct answers in the
order best to worst (most to least popular).

0. Name an actor who has played The Doctor, other than Tom Baker or David Tennant

26 Peter Davison
13 Jon Pertwee
10 William Hartnell
3 Patrick Troughton
2 Christopher Eccleston

As with the similar question in DWCE1, entrants were very obedient and the two
“outlawed” answers were not given by anyone. As a result, most answers were divided
between Peter Davison and Jon Pertwee, with Davison getting the upper hand by 2-1.
William Hartnell also fared well. Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann were
not given by anyone. Davison was second-best after David Tennant in the DWCE1
question which asked for any Doctor except Tom Baker, and this no doubt influenced
his success here, with one-or-two entrants explicitly confirming that this was in
fact their reasoning.

1. Give something K9 might say

41 Affirmative
9 Master
2 Yes Master
1 Affirmative, Master
1 Mistress

Aren’t you a positive lot? “Affirmative” was the best answer in the whole quiz and
nobody gave “Negative” or any answer including it. There’s also a strong masculine
bias, with only one “Mistress”. I imagined I’d catch more people in different
combinations of “Affirmative/negative master/mistress” but most entrants wisely
opted to keep it simple.

“Affirmative” was the best-scoring answer in DWCE2, given by around 75% of
entrants. Only this and q9 had a top answer which was given by more than half the
field.

2. Name a mad scientist

23 Davros
16 Zaroff
5 Solon
2 Kettlewell
2 Lazarus
1 Harrison Chase
1 Maxtible
1 Professor Travers
1 Stahlmann
1 Taren Capel
1 The Doctor

Mad scientists again divided the field between two answers. The best answer was
Davros, a very popular recurring character, but one whose wizened appearance
doesn’t fit the usual mad-scientist archetype. This led to a strong second-place
showing for Professor Zaroff, a fairly minor figure in the Doctor Who pantheon,
but one who is very well known for his madness and his scienceyness. His famous
line at the end of The Underwater Menace episode 3 did not influence answers to
question 9 however.

3. Name a human character who isn’t a companion

23 The Brigadier
8 Benton
6 Jackie Tyler
5 Wilfred Mott
3 Harriet Jones
1 Cassandra
1 Francine Jones
1 Glitz
1 Isobel Watkins
1 Magnus Greel
1 Marco Polo
1 Mickey Smith
1 Mrs Ollis
1 Sally Sparrow

Now, here entrants were a bit less obedient. The Brigadier is considered a
companion by many sources, and is included on the list of companions on the
official BBC website. In the last revision to the Rare Entries rules, he is
included on my list of companions, and so he would certainly have been a wrong
answer there, but here there are no wrong answers, so as the human character who
has clocked up the most appearances, and over a huge span of time (forty-odd years
if you count his recent part in the Sarah Jane Adventures), The Brig jumps
immediately to mind. People who ruled him out, or didn’t consider him, went to
Benton, Wilfred Mott or Jackie Tyler next. In the also-rans, new series characters
were more likely to be mentioned, with a handful of mentions going to each of
Francine, Harriet Jones and last-human Cassandra, as well as companion Mickey Smith.

Again, I find some people’s answers baffling. With a conservative average of, let’s
say, eight human characters in each of 200 stories, what makes anyone think that
everyone else will also pick Mrs Ollis, Sally Sparrow or Isobel Watkins out 1600
possible choices?

4. Give a wrong answer to this question: what is the longest Doctor Who story?

21 Mission to the Unknown
8 The Dalek Master Plan
5 Genesis of the Daleks
5 The War Games
3 The Sontaran Experiment
3 Time Crash
2 Black Orchid
2 The Trial of a Time Lord
1 An Unearthly Child
1 Edge of Destruction
1 The Five Doctors
1 The Invasion
1 The Rescue

This is the kind of question I can pose in Common Entries but not in Rare Entries
so it was fascinating to see how entrants tackled it. The most popular option was
to see how wrong you could be, so a single 25-minute episode story is the obvious
choice and there’s only one of those, Mission to the Unknown, which was the runaway
best answer. Only Time Crash is shorter, but that’s not a canonical story, and
clearly you can’t bring the rest of the field with you if you pick a random thing-
which-is-short. Other people using this strategy went for one of the half-a-dozen
two episode classic series stories, but there are too many of these and they
divided the field.

Other people went for the near-miss, but here we encounter the fact that this is
not a question which has an indisputable right answer. Trial of a Time Lord was
broadcast with episodes numbered from 1-14, but it was commissioned, written, shot
and produced as four separate stories and subsequently novelised and released on
VHS and DVD as four separate stories, so there are plenty of people out there
(including Russell T Davies according to the last DWM) who tend to regard it as
four stories. Two such people submitted it as an answer here.

On the other hand, if Trial of a Time Lord is the correct answer because of the
numbering of the broadcast episodes, then the field is open for The Dalek Master
Plan to take the crown with its either 12 or 13 episode count, depending on whether
or not you count Mission to the Unknown, and a full six people submitted it as an
answer here. Following a similar strategy, a handful of people decided that the
correct answer was either Trial or Master Plan but couldn’t decide which, and so
went with the next-longest story – The War Games. One entrant even went for the
eight-episode The Invasion.

Other entrants simply went for a story significant in other ways and ignored the
rest of the question. This was not a good strategy, with the best score being just
5 for – you guessed it – Genesis again (although this still did as well as The War
Games). Other notable stories mentioned were The Five Doctors and An Unearthly Child.

5. Name someone who ought to be asked to write for Doctor Who

14 Neil Gaiman
8 J K Rowling
4 Joss Whedon
4 Stephen Fry
2 George Lucas
2 Paul Cornell
2 Steven Moffat
1 Charlie Brooker
1 David Renwick
1 Ian Levine
1 JJ Abrams
1 John Scalzi
1 Joseph Lidster
1 Lawrence Miles
1 Me
1 Me (=Chriskelk)
1 Me (=Ged Sweeney)
1 Me (=John Dorney)
1 Me (=Lee Johnson)
1 Me (=Llama Roddy)
1 Me (=Trevor Gensch)
1 Paul Abbot
1 Philip Pullman
1 Terrance Dicks
1 Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman, who has been rumoured to be writing for Doctor Who pretty much every
year since 2004 is the best answer here, though still picking up votes from only
about a quarter of the field. J K Rowling, who was approached to guest-star in, but
never as far as I know to write, an episode makes a strong second place showing,
and Stephen Fry, who actually was commissioned but whose episode never made it to
air, comes in joint third with Buffy scribe Joss Whedon.

Down the bottom end of the answer-list I was amused to see people who have written
for Doctor Who, including classic series stalwart Terrance Dicks, 80s “continuity
advisor” Ian Levine (who at least claims to have written parts of Attack of the
Cybermen), Paul Cornell and new show-runner Steven Moffat who presumably will be
writing quite a lot more scripts from now on.

This question also requires me to exercise some judgement about what are and are
not equivalent answers, since seven people submitted the answer “me”. Now, in a
Rare Entries contest, I would probably mark these wrong since “me” is not a name,
but I don’t get to mark answers wrong here, so I need to consider whether these
are equivalent answers or not. Well, I’d certainly mark “J K Rowling”, “Jo
Rowling” and “Joanne Kathleen Rowling” as equivalent, and probably “her who wrote
Harry Potter” as well, since they all refer to the same writer. In other words,
answers which refer to the same person I regard as equivalent whether or not they
are rendered in the same way.

Following this logic, it seems fair to conclude that answers which do not refer to
the same person should not be considered equivalent, and so when Chriskelk submits
“me” as an answer, I regard that answer as referring to Chriskelk and would mark
it equivalent to an entrant who submitted “Chriskelk” (or “Chris Kelk”) as an
answer, but not equivalent to another entrant who also submitted “me” as an answer.
For this reason, each entrant who submitted the word “me” as an answer has been
deemed to have submitted an answer identifying a different writer, and so these
are all separate answers.

The seventh entrant attempted to get around this and answered as follows “Me. That
is, 'me', not '[ENTRANT’S REAL NAME]'. If you see what I mean.” But since they
were the only entrant who took this approach, they still score 1, as they would
have if I’d marked their answer as referring only to them.

See question 8 for more of this – in Stephen Fry’s phrase – “auto-omphalic
scrutiny” (i.e. navel-gazing).

With 18 one-point answers this was the hardest question in DWCE2, and I rather
like the irony in that, as putting your own name on the exam paper is usually the
one thing all students get right. Had I (wrongly) marked all the “me” answers as
equivalent, then there would have been 11 one-point answers here which would still
have been the highest tally in DWCE2.

6. Name a period in Earth history which the TARDIS has visited

15 Victorian
10 20th century
8 The present day (= modern day)
4 Roman times
4 World War II
2 100,000 BC = Stone Age
2 21st century
2 1963
1 1970s
1 1980s
1 70s or 80s
1 79AD
1 Early 21st century
1 French Revolution
1 The future

Again some issues of equivalent answers. If your answer referred to the same period
in history, then it didn’t matter if you put “Victorian times”, “Victorian era”,
“Victorian London” or even “1837-1901” (although nobody gave the last one). 

Slightly more controversially perhaps, “Modern times” and “Present day” I marked as
equivalent, figuring that they each meant “Set at the time of broadcast” which I
regard as a different choice from, say, Remembrance of the Daleks being set in 1963.
One entrant shot themselves in the foot however by answering “Present day Earth.
Early 21st Century if you want something specific,” which I felt forced to mark as
being “early 21st century” and thus worth a single point, instead of “Present day”
which would have been worth 9. “20th century” is thus at best a more specific
variant of “Present day” (since only some stories set in the 20th century are set
in the present day) and so this has been marked as a separate answer, and the same
goes for “21st century”.

“100,000 BC” is rather more specific than “The Stone Age” (which refers to a period
lasting around 2.5 million years), but rather than marking this as a more specific
variant (and thus a separate answer) I’ve marked them as equivalent on the basis
that they both refer to whenever it was the TARDIS landed at the end of the first-
ever episode.

No other answer scored better than 4.

7. Name a guest-star

16 Kylie Minogue
7 Derek Jacobi
4 David Morrissey
4 John Simm
4 Ken Dodd
3 John Cleese
3 Michael Sheard
3 Michael Wisher
2 Beryl Reid
1 Anthony Ainley
1 Catherine Tate
1 Lindsay Duncan
1 Nerys Hughes
1 Nicholas Courtney
1 Peter Kay
1 Roger Delgado
1 Terry Molloy

Some people’s idea of what constitutes a guest-star differs from mine. Especially
in the context of a series like Doctor Who, I think a guest star is somebody who
brings a certain amount of fame and maybe even an established persona to the part,
rather than simply a popular actor. With the possible exception of favourite
returning characters, I don’t regard actors who became popular through Doctor Who
as guest-starring in Doctor Who, so it was no surprise to me to see the likes of
Terry Molloy or Michael Wisher faring poorly. I also wouldn’t count cameo
appearances such as those by John Cleese and Ken Dodd, although this is more
marginal.

I also wouldn’t count Catherine Tate as a guest-star, post her contributing a
full season of episodes. Guest-stars need to get in and get out again. John Simm,
and Peter Kay are more reasonable answers, although not necessarily high-scoring
ones, but it’s Kylie who takes the crown, with Sir Derek Jacobi making a good
second, a nice example of someone who just about crosses the boundary from popular
actor to guest-star.

8. Give your own name

16 John Smith
8 Your own name
6 Wilf
5 Tom Salinsky
3 Tom
2 Tegan Jovanka
1 Dan *
1 Dave
1 David *
1 Ed Rackstraw *
1 John *
1 Lenny *
1 Me
1 No
1 No. Why? 'Shant!
1 Peter Morris
1 Spartacus
1 The Doctor
1 Trevor *
1 Will *

This was a question which I very nearly excluded on the basis that while it made a
good Common Entries question, it wasn’t such a good Doctor Who Common Entries
question. I should have had more faith, as the collective wisdom of the players
generated a Doctor Who specific answer and pushed it to the top of the list – the
Doctor’s Earthly pseudonym of choice, John Smith. Other entrants took the question
literally and gave “your own name” which turned out to be the second-best answer,
and several entrants gave either “Tom” or “Tom Salinsky”, which I elected to mark
as separate answers (it’s not a given that “Tom” refers to me after all).

Seven entrants actually did give their own names or part thereof, and these answers
are indicated with a *. All were unique answers. However, some entrants gave names
of past DWRE or DWCE contestants that were not their own, with one entrant naming
Peter Morris and six naming Wilf (neither Peter nor Wilf named themselves, Peter
because he didn’t enter).

“Spartacus” was a good gag, but not a high scoring answer.

9. Pick an episode with an exciting cliff-hanger ending

27 Caves of Androzani #3
7 The Stolen Earth
4 Bad Wolf
3 Dragonfire #1
3 Utopia
2 Caves of Androzani #1
1 Earthshock #1
1 Genesis of the Daleks #5
1 The Daleks #1
1 The Empty Child
1 The Rescue #2
1 The Sound of Drums
1 The War Games #9
1 Tomb of the Cybermen #1

And finally, it seems as if “Nothing in the world can stop me now!” is a bust but
“So you see, I’m not going to let you stop me now!” is our collective idea of what
makes a really good cliffhanger. The Doctor’s near-miss regeneration last year and
The Master’s revelation in 2007 are also strongly remembered, but nothing tops
Peter Davison hurtling towards Androzani Minor. The only really odd choice here
was the two entrants who named Caves of Androzani part one and, no, that’s not a
typo (at least not by me). Only a few people were tempted by the literal
cliffhanger in Dragonfire part one, which I had expected to do better here, although
one entrant picked the also near-literal cliffhanger at the end of The Rescue
figuring that its recent DVD release made it a shoe-in.

Cheers

Tom

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