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My Top 5 Doctor Who Episodes

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am a Doctor Who fan through and through. Regardless of who is the doctor and how questionable the writing is, I’m in it for the ride. So here’s my top 5 Doctor Who episodes. These are all episodes from the New Who run. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched any Classic Who and I have no way to re-watch the classic episodes at the moment, except for the few I had on DVD.

5. Fugitive of the Judoon

Admittedly, I was quite confused watching this episode. But it had such amazing potential, which is common in a lot of 13th Doctor stories. Jodie Whittakers run as the Doctor received a lot of negative and mixed reviews for various reasons. It easily had too many forgettable episodes and not enough amazing ones. This episode, however, stood out to me, and not just because of John Barrowman’s cameo. Jo Martin is Ruth/The Fugitive Doctor was a brilliant performance and the episode itself had a good plot with a red herring set up well.

The biggest let down of this episode was what came afterwards. There were so many possibilities on where The Fugitive Doctor fit on the timeline, was she secretly between the War Doctor and 9? Or 2 and 3? Or better yet, was there some sort of bizarre plan where a Time Lord believed they were the Doctor? Calling back to The Next Doctor where Jackson Lake was given the Doctor’s memories?

While there are some issues logistically, as well as canonically with the TARDIS, this is a well-written episode that stands out amongst other 13th Doctor episodes.

Jodie Whitter and Jo Martin as the 13th and Fugitive Doctor respectively. Source: IMDb

4. The Day of the Doctor

For the show’s 50th anniversary, the exploration of what the Doctor did to end the Time War is fascinating. Multiple doctors appear and every Doctor Who fan I knew was eagerly waiting. The hype around the anniversary cannot be easily understated, with lots of people across the world going to cinemas to watch the episode be broadcast live. Even people I knew who weren’t huge fans of the show wanted to see what exactly it was all about.

The episode has some amazing parts. John Hurt as the War Doctor? Brilliant. Three Doctors interacting with the War Doctor being the grumpy grandad-type character? A cameo from Tom Baker, one of the most beloved doctors from the Classic era? Billie Piper returning alongside UNIT, the Time Lords, Zygons and so much more?

Matt Smith, John Hurt and Davidd Tennant as the Doctor for The Day of the Doctor. Source: BBC

There is very little not to love in The Day Of the Doctor. Personally, the only let down for this episode was how focused it was on the modern era of Doctor Who and Clara, who is my least favourite of all modern era companions. For the more recent doctors who were missing from the show, The Five-ish Doctors was a fun watch.

Overall, The Day of the Doctor is a fun and epic celebration of Doctor Who to return to and re-watch.

3. World Enough and Time

Peter Capaldi was never my favourite as the 12th Doctor. But when Bill joined him as the new companion, I loved the episodes. There was brilliant chemistry with Nardole as comic relief and the culmination of several story threads in this episode was wonderful. Missy imitating the Doctor with Nardole and Bill as companions, only for Bill to be injured. The reveal of John Simm’s version of the Master returning only added to the situation and Bill’s upgrade to a Mondasian-style Cyberman? Terrifying.

The tension and also comedy that comes with Bill being in a different time zone to Doctor is just right. And the interaction between Missy and the Master have their own weird tension to them.

For once, the follow up episode, and subsequent finale for Series 10 is less of a disappointment than other episodes that are the last part of a mutipart story leading to a finale. The Doctor Falls is full of heart, emotion and some good action.

World Enough and Time – Bill, Missy and Nardole. Belongs to BBC/BBC Worldwide Photographer: Simon Ridgway

2. The Stolen Earth

An ambitious companion-packed episode with an amazing cast of companions and a formidable first appearance of Davros. The joy of seeing Sarah Jane and Luke on the screen at the same time as Torchwood’s Gwen and Ianto is something I cannot put into words.

With all those companions, it was only fitting that Russel T Davies had the Daleks return, this time with their creator: Davros. This episodes builds excitement and anticipation as the Daleks close in the the Doctor and his companions. The emotion Elizabeth Sladen portrayed as Sarah Jane Smith, terrified for her son, knowing exactly how dangerous the Daleks can be, was harrowing. The episode has some great jokes, especially from the beloved Wilf, played by Bernard Cribbins, and even some unexpected returns from characters like Harriet Jones (former Prime Minister) and Jackie Tyler.

The episode ends with a shocking cliff-hanger and while the following episode, Journey’s End, is slightly anti-climactic, it is still fun and doesn’t ruin the previous episode until some later multi-part finale stories. For the companions and their interactions alone, I adore this story.

The Doctor and Companions in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. Source: Radio Times

1. Dalek

When done well, the Daleks are a formidable force and at worst, a joke. Written by Robert Shearman, Dalek introduced a classic Doctor Who villain to a modern audience in a fearsome fashion. This Doctor Who episode is my all-time favourite. It’s also the first episode I ever watched. While I have strong nostalgia for this episode, there are many reasons that make it fantastic.

This is the first Doctor Who episode in the New Who run to have the Daleks, a classic and recognisable villain. It made one Dalek an intimidating and dangerous villain, ruthlessly killing while feeling lost as the last known Dalek to survive the Time War. It also combatted the joke of a Dalek being defeated by stairs as Rose points out that exact thing, only for the Dalek to hover and follow them.

Rose and the Dalek from Dalek (2005), from IMDb.

The episode has heart-racing stakes and the Dalek having conflict stemming from mixing with human DNA is a great idea.

The episode has some things that aren’t as good compared to the rest of the episode. Henry van Statten as a character or the set up of Adam as a companion retroactively fall flat. But my favourite part is easily the Doctor.

Christopher Eccelston’s performance as the Doctor in this episode is some of the best acting in this season, if not all of the New Who run, alongside the Doctor’s ‘coward or killer’ section with the insane Emperor Dalek. He conveys the anger and turmoil perfectly, and even the fear of being first presented with the Dalek.

For all these reasons, makes Dalek my favourite and best Doctor Who episode. I have rewatched it more times than I can count.

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