This year, Doctor Who has been back on our screen ten whole years. It feels like yesterday that the TARDIS materialised once more; suitably, it also feels like forever.
So join us as we celebrate a decade with the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors. Let’s find out which serials are our favourites, and shine a light on the underrated ones too. Watch us run.
And then vote on your favourites. At the end of the year, we’ll find out which serials showcase our beloved show at the height of its game.
The Doctor has a new face. Series 2. Rose Tyler carries on through time and space with a man who has regrown his hand, likes his teeth, and has really great hair. They’re off to New Earth; see an old friend; crash into a parallel world; fight a scribble monster; and come face-to-face with the Cult of Skaro. How long is she going to stay with him? Forever. Apparently…
Alex Skerratt: The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit
The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit has to be one of the Series 2 highlights, in my ‘umble opinion. Although to call it a ‘highlight’ is slightly disingenuous, as it’s actually one the darkest stories of the season, if not the entire Who canon!
But I admire its bravery. I think it pushes the boundaries of horror to the limit, following in the footsteps of such flicks as Event Horizon and, dare I say it, The Exorcist. As a Christian, I also find it refreshing to watch the Doctor tackle some of those bigger questions, such as does God exist, does Satan exist, and did anything exist before the creation of the Universe? Plus, the story features the surreptitious and seductive tones of Gabriel Woolf, who delivers a truly terrifying performance as the voice of the Beast. Nine year-old me would have been sleeping with one eye open!
Becky Crockett: The Girl in the Fireplace
Favorite story? Same one a lot of people will mention – The Girl In The Fireplace. There’s just so much about it – the insane combination of a spaceship and the French royal court that completely makes sense, the creepy, very sci-fi idea of being able to fix a spaceship using human body parts, the time travel WITHOUT the use of the TARDIS, and that for a change, the Doctor is so overwhelmed by someone else instead of being the one that confounds people. He just can’t help but want to be with Reinette. And then there’s that kiss…
Scott Varnham: Army of Ghosts (but not Doomsday)
You know, Doomsday gets all the hype (coming top in lists of emotional moments and whatnot), but for me it’s Army Of Ghosts that’s the better story of the two on offer here. Ol’ Rusty turns what should’ve been a fairly dull build-up episode into the more interesting of the two (admit it, there are only two reasons to watch Doomsday: Stephen Hawking vs. the Speaking Clock, and That Bit On The Beach).
Army Of Ghosts gives the concept of hauntings the interest and exploration it deserves and sustains a well-plotted mystery, which really helps to make this episode one of the more interesting ones under Davies’ reign. (Although it’s not my favourite; that honour is reserved for Utopia…)
Jonathan Appleton: The Girl in the Fireplace
No doubt this choice makes me a sentimental old fool, but I find this beautifully told, elegant story endlessly re-watchable.
We didn’t really need reminding by this point that the revived Doctor Who was prepared to do stories that the old series would never have gone anywhere near, but this tale of the Doctor finding and then losing his one true love certainly provided confirmation. The scene where Rose visits Reinette to warn her just how much danger she’s in is one of my favourite scenes in pretty much any series of anything. Rose’s moment of realisation that, however strongly the Doctor may feel about her, it’ll never match the feelings he has for this remarkable woman (“He was right about you…”) is truly wonderful stuff, even if it was rather undermined by all that blubbing in Bad Wolf Bay later on.
James Lomond: The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit
This is perfect Doctor Who. There are no campy winks to the audience, no design mistakes, and no dialogue disasters. Just good characters, good drama, a good story and some of the best and most haunting music Murray Gold has written on Who.
The Ood, before the shades thrown on them by later capers and silliness, were perfectly introduced and used to optimum sinister effect.
So much worked brilliantly in this episode. An ancient underground civilisation, Rose and Ten awkwardly pondering a mortgage, the dwindling crew trapped on the brink of oblivion and the Doctor engaging in a real and believable existential conversation without treading on any religious egg shells. There were some wonderful performances here, notably from Clare Rushbrook and a gutsy, satisfying ending. The script, actors and direction manage to convey a real sense of loneliness and fear while never letting the story lose pace. Brilliant. Loved it. Love it. More like this, please!
Drew Boynton: School Reunion
In a series full of entertaining winners like The Girl in the Fireplace and Tooth and Claw, not to mention the two-part emotional rollercoaster that is Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, I will take School Reunion every time. Every time.
From the introduction of Sarah Jane and K-9 to a new generation of Whovians, to the sneering Master-like villainy of guest star Anthony Head (loved him on Buffy and Merlin!), to the hilarious-yet-poignant realization by Mickey Smith that HE’S the modern day “tin dog,” to the heart-stopping scene in which Sarah Jane stumbles upon the TARDIS in a darkened school basement, to the tear-inducing finale (Spoilers, sweetie!) when it turns out that the Tenth Doctor has given K-9 a new leash on life, School Reunion is fantastic. It is simply one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes ever.
Philip Bates: The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit
Forget favourite of Series 2: The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit is one of the best serials ever.
Everything about it is stunning: its themes, ideas, CGI, dialogue, design, direction, and music. Heck, even its lighting is superb. And it’s packed with spine-chilling moments, lines that could wake you in the middle of the night. Just like Midnight, we don’t know the threat. Not really. It’s the Beast. Is that the Beast? Is that a pretender? It doesn’t matter: he’s terrifying, even when confined. This is the tip of the iceberg. The things we don’t know – primarily about the ancient race that lived on Krop Tor – are incredibly enticing. Then there’s the Ood. Love an Ood.
The Pyramids of Mars villain Gabriel Woolf returns, giving a petrifying smoothness to every speech, one of my favourites being: “You know nothing. All of you: so small – the captain, so scared of command; the soldier, haunted by the eyes of his wife; the scientist, still running from Daddy; the little boy who lied; the virgin… and the lost girl, so far away from home. The valiant child, who will die in battle so very soon.”
And on top of all this majestic terror, we have one of my favourite lines accompanying one of my favourite deaths. I can forgive writer Matt Jones for killing off the lovely Scooti Manista (MyAnna Buring) because he does it brilliantly. Impossibly, Toby is standing on the surface of the planet, defiant and peaceful against the raging storms, revelling in his first taste of freedom in centuries. “He bathes in the black sun.” And Scooti reaches out to him, the temptation almost too much. She pulls away, but she can’t escape. The hull is breached. Chaos. Scooti’s missing, and the Doctor finds her, drifting towards singularity. Murray Gold’s score echoes the chilly abandonment, and David Tennant’s eyes are the very picture of sorrow.
I could write a 10,000-word dissertation on how good The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit is. But I don’t need to. Because if you’ve seen it, you already know.
James Whittington: The Girl in the Fireplace
After the emotional pull of School Reunion, Series 2 (or whatever we called it back then) decided to try something a bit different to get our emotions running and introduced copious amounts of time travel to the core of the story.
Well, that’s what they appeared to do on the surface but scratch underneath and what we really have here is a delicate love story, one that is bigger than the series itself and tugged at everyone’s sentiments. Come on, admit it, when you knew the Doctor was falling in love with Madame de Pompadour you felt good and those final moments as he watched her coffin being driven away was just amazing television drama. The episode contains some of Steven Moffat’s most considered writing and gave David Tennant more to do than just play a slightly arrogant Time Lord with a self-satisfied demeanour.
Let’s not forget the Clockwork People, a great idea that helped pave the way for other robot foes to come along. Oh, and Billie who proved that she could do more than look doe-eyed at her Doctor; instead her green-eye of envy was perfectly played.
It’s a shame such a strong story was followed by the rather dull Rise Of The Cybermen adventure.
Those are a few of our favourites from Series 2. Now it’s your turn! Vote below for your favourite, and we’ll find out the overall winner later this year…