It’s November. This means one thing. The day we’ve all been waiting for will soon be upon us. THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR.
To commemorate the 50th I have compiled a list of my personal favourite episodes from the new run of episodes – one from each series along with my much-loved Christmas special. Cue the haters!
1×08 – Father’s Day
Once you get past the time travel, the Reapers, the paradoxes and the echo of the man destined to murder Rose’s father, Father’s Day is a story that puts the science-fiction to the back and allows the emotional impact of what Rose has done come to the forefront. Before this episode Rose was the perfect companion and Father’s Day shows that maybe she wasn’t; Rose was selfish in saving her father’s life as she endangered the rest of humanity, but who can honestly say that they wouldn’t do the same if they were in her position? The themes of loss and wanting more time with someone you love are something that I, and I’m sure a lot more, empathise with. It’s an emotional episode that hits deep, and it’s superb.
2×05/06 – Rise of the Cybermen & The Age of Steel
This two-parter is very divisive amongst the fandom, but I think it’s a perfect reintroduction for the concept of the Cybermen. I would have, along with a lot of others, preferred the return of the classic Mondasian silver menaces but this is an interesting take on an old classic; Lumic’s motivation is believable and the new Cybermen looked beautiful. These episodes also saw the introduction of Rose’s exit storyline (i.e. the parallel world with her father being alive and well) and a lot of moral questions on whether or not to kill the Cybermen as they were effectively a new living race. I feel like aside from this story the Cybermen haven’t really been represented well in the new series so hopefully they can be redeemed in the future. But this is what a true science-fiction story should be: a human-related threat, parallel worlds and a doppelganger of one of our heroes. It’s definitely the best of Tennant’s debut run.
3×11 – Utopia
Doctor Who got back to its basics with Utopia: a dirty and wet quarry masquerading as an alien landscape but it works. Utopia saw the return of the fabulous Captain Jack Harkness, (John and David’s chemistry instantly sparkles), the reveal of the Face of Boe’s lingering last message and the return of the Master, stunningly played by Sir Derek Jacobi and John Simm respectively. It set up a fantastic premise for the series finale even if its resolution was ultimately a bit of a let-down.
4×12/13 – The Stolen Earth & Journey’s End
I’m not a big fan of the Dalek’s personally (I happen to believe they have been overused, but I’m sure I read somewhere that the only way the BBC could get the rights to use them again was on the promise that they would appear in every series – correct me if I’m wrong?) but this two-parter is amazing for the sheer number of returning characters, along with the successful crossover appearances of Gwen and Ianto from Torchwood and Luke from The Sarah Jane Adventures. The destruction of the Dalek’s was a massive let down but Julian Bleach was fantastic as the deranged Davros and Donna’s departure was stunning, heartfelt and emotional all at the same time.
5×12/13 – The Pandorica Opens & The Big Bang
The Pandorica Opens set up such a tantalising premise for the fifth runs finale and The Big Bang was completely different in direction. But it works. Oh does it work! A dozen foes return (even if most of them are only fleetingly seen) but Smith gives a stellar performance (again), Rory returns from the dead (again) and River gets some amazing one-liners (again). It also saw the end of the crack in time arc (well, not really…) along with the introduction of the “silence will fall” arc and Rory joining the TARDIS full time.
6×00 – A Good Man Goes To War
After that cliffhanger the only way to follow it up was… to have Smith MIA for the first part of this episode. But we barely miss him as Vastra, Jenny and Strax are formally introduced and River and Dorium are reintroduced. But when he returns we get an epic speech, an epic fight and an epic reveal as we finally learn who River is. Surely you all know by now? SHE’S ONLY AMY AND RORY’S FLIPPING DAUGHTER!
7×13 – The Name of the Doctor
After a rather lacklustre run of episodes The Name of the Doctor is a stunning final, both revealing who Clara really is and depicting all eleven Doctor’s on screen with the use of some clever CGI and editing skills. Seriously, I would doff my fez to you (if I wore one that is). Clara’s conversation with the First Doctor was goose pimple inducing – who ever thought we would see the First Doctor (as played by the brilliant William Hartnell) in a NEW SCENE (well, newish)? The opening scene is brilliantly executed, the Doctor and River’s goodbye is emotional and the final moment is jaw-dropping. Roll on the 23rd!
Christmas Special – A Christmas Carol
As a special little mention I just have to mention A Christmas Carol. It is beautiful; Michael Gambon in exceptional, the narrative style is unique and the ending is tear-inducing. It’s certainly worthy of the recognition it received!