My Top 9 Doctor Who Episodes

List items

  • People talk a big game about “Blink” and it’s definitely great for first-timers, but “Midnight,” for me, is the real MVP. There’s humor, relatable characters, quiet moments of intimacy — and then abject, mysterious terror and an insidious (?) villain who’s never explained. No matter how any times you watch, it’s always perfectly chilling.

  • This is, without doubt, the cleverest episode of Doctor Who since it was revived. It's also a contender for the scariest, giving a very definite challenge to last years The Impossible Planet. When I saw that Steven Moffat was writing this one, I knew we were in for a treat, since he wrote arguably the best episodes of the previous two series. But I never thought for a second it'd be that good.

  • The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was met with huge fanfare and the pressure was on Steven Moffat to produce a feature-length special worthy of such a big event. On that, he did not disappoint. Bringing together three generations of the Doctor, we got to see Matt Smith and David Tennant act alongside each other, as well as the hitherto unseen War Doctor, played by John Hurt. Set on the last day of the Time War, we learned the War Doctor's dark secret as he prepared to destroy Gallifrey to stop the invasion of the Daleks. But, with the help of Tennant and Smith's Doctors (and all the other Doctors), he managed to rewrite his time line and instead hide Gallifrey somewhere else in time and space.

  • The Doctor takes Donna to the greatest library in the universe, a planet-sized version in the 51st century but which is curiously empty of people. He received a mysterious summons on his psychic paper to go there, and when he and Donna meet a team of archaeologists investigating why the library sealed itself a century ago it emerges that it was one of them, River Song, who sent the paper. She knows the Doctor but he does not know her – future meetings between the pair will be in her past. The library was taken over by the Vashta Nerada, voracious microscopic creatures who lurk in shadows, who claimed it for their own when the books stored there were made from the forests of their home planet.

  • The Earth vanishes from Time and Space, and in trying to establish what has happened the Doctor and Donna go to the Shadow Proclamation where they discover it is one of 27 planetary bodies that have vanished this way. On Earth chaos has broken out, and then the Daleks invade. The barriers between the universes begin to break down, the Doctor is gunned down by a Dalek, The TARDIS and its occupants are captured and taken to the Dalek Crucible, where Davros has developed a means of destroying the multiverse, leaving the Daleks as the only creatures left in reality. And that’s only the half of it.

  • The Doctor and Rose chase a mysterious metal cylinder through the Time Vortex which lands in London in 1941. While searching for it the Doctor meets up with a girl called Nancy who leads a group of children who eat dinners left standing during air raids. Meanwhile Rose gets entangled in the ropes of a barrage balloon and drifts across London before being saved by a former Time Agent calling himself Captain Jack Harkness. Captain Jack is using the cylinder as part of a scam with the Doctor and Rose the intended targets. Wandering the streets of London is a boy in a gas mask who is repeatedly asking the question “Are you my mummy?” Nancy warns the Doctor he is an “empty child” and he seems to be the source of an infection through which people’s faces become combined with gas masks

  • The TARDIS arrives in an underground facility owned by magnate Henry van Statten, a collector of alien artefacts. One of these has been christened a Metaltron, but the Doctor discovers it is in fact a Dalek which has escaped the Time War. Accidentally revived by Rose, the Dalek goes on the rampage in the base, but it has also absorbed some of Rose’s humanity; realising it is no longer wholly Dalek, it commits suicide.

  • The TARDIS lands on Mars, and the Doctor realises that he has arrived at Bowie Base One on the day it is destroyed. Members of the crew are being infected by an intelligent water-borne virus and despite the crew and the Doctor’s best efforts to counteract it, the base has to be destroyed to prevent it infecting Earth. Although its destruction is a fixed point in time, the Doctor decides to rewrite history and rescue the last three survivors of the crew. Depositing them on Earth, Captain Adelaide Brooke, having discovered the Doctor’s knowledge of the outcome of that day, disagrees with his intervention and shoots herself to preserve history. A shaken Doctor wonders if he has gone too far…

  • Every so often, a Doctor Who story comes along that is like no other. This episode (the only one to date to be written by Richard Curtis) barely seems like part of the canon, so keen is its emphasis on human emotion (odd for a sci-fi show) and the restorative power of art. When he becomes intrigued by a figure in a Van Gogh painting, the Doctor takes Amy back in time to visit the tortured artist who is being plagued by an alien called a Krafayis.