NuWho 10th Anniversary: What Is Your Favourite Series 5 Story?

July 23, 2015

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 Eleventh Doctor is here, running across time and space, being daft and fixing things. But the universe is cracked, the Pandorica will open, and Silence will fall. Joined by Amy Pond and Rory Williams, they face sexy fish vampires, Silurians, Weeping Angels, Daleks, and, uhm… old people who aren’t just old people. They’re very old people. All of time and space; anything that every happened or every will… Where do you want to start?

Philip Bates: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang

11th Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith Pandorica Opens

I’m making no secret of this: to me, Series 5 is the best series of Doctor Who ever. You’d think that would make ‘favourite story of your favourite series’ extremely difficult. Not so. Fortunately, my favourite Doctor Who of all time occupies a vital place at the end of this run.

The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang was the sum of the whole series, making it the ideal finale and a thrilling reminder of past glories. There’s a magic underpinning the show, and even in the darkest hour, an optimism that perfectly captures who the Doctor should always be. And there are so many wonderful ideas, and joyous surprises that put the audience on the back foot: the alliance shoving the Doctor in the Pandorica; Amy being shot; Amy turning up in the Pandorica in The Big Bang; and that wonderful feeling of having Rory back – terribly heightened by the realisation that Amy doesn’t know who he is. The dialogue and plot are superb. So is the direction. And of course all the performances.

Frankly, an explanation of why it’s so fantastic doesn’t do it justice at all.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. Instead, I’m spotlighting the three moments that never fail to make all the hairs on my arms stand on end, something very few serials can do. First is the speech. You know it. We all know it. Matt Smith never ceases to amaze; how he infuses each line with something new, something refreshing, something unexpected. “Now my Doctor,” River promised in Silence in the Library, “I’ve seen whole armies turn and run away.” This could apply to The Pandorica Opens just as much as A Good Man Goes To War. My Doctor is that good.

Then the final scenes of The Pandorica Opens: the Doctor is dragged into the Pandorica, Rory has just shot Amy, unable to stop his programming kicking in, and River is inside the TARDIS as it erupts into flame. Murray Gold gives us The Life and Death of Amy Pond, genuinely one of the most beautiful and affecting pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It brings tears to the eye. The Doctor screaming for them all to listen to him, while the universe around him ends, sends chills down my spine.

Finally, to saying goodbye. This was the first time the whole TARDIS team stayed on for a series end, and it remains exciting. River saunters off into the sunset, promising mystery and endless adventure, while the Doctor, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams disappear from 26th June 2010. Vworp! Vworp! Next stop: everywhere.

Katie Gribble: The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone

Flesh and Stone Octavian

This story has been a favourite of mine since it aired and is, I think, one of Matt’s best performances as the Eleventh Doctor. By this point in the series, we’re over the regeneration with the new Doctor finding his feet and now the Doctor has a sure footing and is starting to run.

It is the Eleventh Doctor’s first interaction with the terrifying Weeping Angels which makes this episode so memorable. I remember there being a lot of hype at the time for what was to be only the second time out for the Angels. However, I still think that this is the best story to include the stone clad sprites. Don’t get me wrong, Blink is a cracking episode but I think people put too much on it. For one thing the Doctor isn’t really in it, so this two part epic is the first time we have him actually come up against the Weeping Angels on screen.

As the Angels became more and more popular and used so frequently, I found that their use actually made them less terrifying. In this story, little is known about the Angels and the possibilities for Moffat to play with viewer uncertainty are at their peak. The Angels are still malicious with the tempting of Christian, Angelo and Bob into the darkness showing their cunning and delight in toying with the inquisitive humans. However, when Angel Bob reveals that the Angels want the Doctor and company to know that he died in pain and fear, that the Doctor made him trust and then let him down, the tables turn and the story places the Doctor on a war path.

This war path, fighting the Angels and refusing to let another man die, is rudely called to an end in Flesh and Stone. The death of Father Octavian is one of the most moving of Series 5. As soon as the Angel has its arm around Octavian’s neck, we all know his fate. It’s seeing the Doctors reaction and the tears welling in his eyes as he knows that by averting his gaze, Octavian will die. Responsibility weighs on the Doctor’s shoulders throughout but it is this scene which shows the impact on a man who has still only just started running. This scene holds so much in balance not just for the rest of the series, or even of Matt’s tenure as the Doctor, but it shows the burden which the Doctor hides most of the time. We get to glimpse, just for a moment, the reality of what life gallivanting through time and space has on the Doctor.

Jeremy Remy: Vincent and the Doctor

Vincent and the Doctor - Amy 2

There are moments in Doctor Who, where the series becomes something greater than itself. Vincent and the Doctor is an episode which is more than a science fiction story—it is an examination of the invisible monster that is depression, with commentary on the importance and virtue of each individual’s life.

Tony Curran is brilliant as Vincent van Gogh, embodying the intensity and pain that defined the artist’s life. Bill Nighy frames the legacy of van Gogh with an impassioned adoration that steals the show whenever he appears on screen. And (in a rare occurrence) the Doctor and Amy don’t save everyone. The crack in time is briefly placed aside, and the heroes are shown during a moment of failure. Yet, through their inability to change history, while still embracing the fleeting joy of one life, a narrative on suicide and mourning is allowed to surface.

Vincent and the Doctor is a consistently re-watchable episode, that carries with it beauty and sorrow in equal measure. Not just my favorite episode of Series 5, it is one of my favourite episodes of any television series.

Connor Farley: The Vampires of Venice

The Vampires of Venice

I don’t consider Series 5 of Doctor Who to be anywhere near my favourite. In fact I’m not sure it’s close. However, it is, in my opinion, Smith’s most solid series as the Eleventh Doctor. One of the reasons of this was of the inclusion of my favourite episode, The Vampires of Venice.

Firstly, I find The Vampires of Venice to be an intriguing story because of the name attached to it, Toby Whithouse. Whithouse is a writer that so far in Doctor Who has never let me down. (He is looking to continue that trend in Series 9, hopefully!) Right from his first contribution into the Whoniverse with School Reunion, which saw the return of classic companion Sarah-Jane Smith in a beautifully articulated episode, Whithouse has managed to consistently write solid episodes that are fun for the viewers at home, with some very Who-like plots.

The Vampires of Venice was Whithouse’s second contribution after four years into the world of Doctor Who, and he delivers us a unique sort of historical, with a small subplot involving Amy and Rory. Throughout much of the episode, Rory is trying to come to terms with the admittance from the Doctor himself in the first five minutes that he shared a passionate kiss with Amy at the end Flesh and Stone. The added domestic elements made the episode a little more grounded. I mean, vampires in 1580 aren’t very emotionally driven on their own now, are they? This being the episode to start a love triangle that would span the next two series, it is incredibly significant.

Away from the subplot, the main plot itself was straightforward and well pieced together. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory travel to Venice in 1580 and discover that Venice has been quarantined in fear of a plague arising. On top of that, Rosanna Calvierri and her son Francisco are running a school with a difference. They are taking innocent unsuspecting girls, who are even given away by their equally unsuspecting parents in the hope of having a better life and being transformed into vampires, never to be seen by their loved ones again.

The monsters turn out to be a race known as the Saturnynes, amphibious predatory fish who use perception filters to fool their prey. A pretty good idea for a monster, as it seems to effortlessly combine the cunningness of a fish onto its prey with the use of the perception filter and well known characteristics of vampires, such as sensitivity to light. It’s a great mix of two forms of life and while I wouldn’t call them scary, they look fresh and different to what we have seen before.

I am a self confessed fan of historical episodes of Doctor Who. And while this is not a pure historical like those of the Hartnell era, it still provides us with references and strong glimpses into life in those times, which is what an historical with strong sci-fi elements needs to include. Having references of the plague adds to the atmosphere and makes you believe they are in Venice nearly 500 years ago. It’s all a lot of fun and very light hearted, something which historicals in modern Who seem to take on with relative ease.

The episode is a little bit of filler, and I know it isn’t for everyone. But I believe that Whithouse writes something that is fun, and something that can be watched on a Saturday night at home with the family that isn’t going to have people complaining afterwards, because it’s so splendidly simple and enjoyable. The episode also serves the purpose of further pushing other storylines that will last throughout Smith’s entire era, notably the crack and the Silence right at the end.

Alasdair Shaw: Amy’s Choice

Amy's Choice Pond Karen Gillan

When it comes to this season, there’s so many noteworthy episodes: the opening The Eleventh Hour starts things rolling and the roller coaster never stops until The Pandorica Opens and leads us into The Big Bang. The Doctor takes on Silurians, Daleks, James Corden, and mental health issues without the ride letting up at all.

Except right there in the middle lies Amy’s Choice and I never get tired of watching it.

Sure it’s got shades of Perception and other reality warping examples of the genre, but it also has something that is quite often overlooked: heart. And at that heart is the dynamic between the Doctor and his travelling companions. No, actually that’s not entirely true; it’s mostly about Rory and Amy’s relationship. This is the first time that we get an idea of just how Amy really feels about Rory and it’s as much of a revelation to her as it is to us and Rory himself.

The threats to multiple realities, the cold burning stars and Mrs Poggett  are all thoroughly entertaining, but are ultimately window dressing in what is a lovely little character piece. Why hasn’t Simon Nye written more Who?

Drew Boynton: The Lodger

The Lodger 3

It’s absolutely one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes of all time. In fact, I would probably be embarrassed to find out how many times I have actually watched it, although I’d guess less than 5000 times. The plot of The Lodger, written by Gareth Roberts, is pretty irrelevant:  a camouflaged sentient spaceship (a TARDIS?) searches for possible prospective pilots… in the least effective way possible.

The real magic of the story is the chemistry between Matt Smith and James Corden, and their Odd Couple-like pairing. The Doctor tries to act as a normal roommate (if it’s even possible for anyone to have a “normal” roommate) to Corden’s Craig Owens, but mostly fails in his attempts at being a regular guy. Corden and Daisy Haggard (as Craig’s, er, friend Sophie) are instantly so likeable and charming that I found myself wishing that they would replace Amy and Rory, who I always found to be a bit bland. We also see the Doctor get a job, make dinner, play football, and take a shower–things that people do every day but he doesn’t have much experience with at all (hopefully the TARDIS is equipped with a shower). The Lodger excels when it showcases the Doctor being “a bit weird”, and it’s all the better for it. Who needs normal when weirdness is so much fun?

Joe Siegler: The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour

This was a tough call, there’s a lot of good stuff in this series, and to be honest, I almost went with Vincent and the Doctor. But The Eleventh Hour gets the nod for me, because it has the job of setting up a new companion (not to mention Rory), and a new Doctor at the same time. It pulls it off beautifully. With most Doctors’ “first story” you usually leave still needing to see another tale or two before you totally get into it. Not this one. By the time Matt Smith walked through the special effect showing a montage of the old Doctors (which I’m a sucker for), he had nailed it. When he said “Hello. I’m the Doctor”, I bought it. That was it – Eleven was sold to me at that moment.

It wasn’t just that. I loved the concept of meeting a companion at an earlier point in their life before they became the companion. I loved that angle. The whole thing with “Amelia” was very well done. The scene with the food (“You’re Scottish, fry something”) worked well for both a funny scene and for the usual “Doctor is mentally frazzled right after regeneration” bit. Plus, of course, Karen Gillan in that outfit. Can’t go wrong there.

Prisoner Zero itself wasn’t that big a deal really, despite the concept of it taking different forms. But this is one of those stories I can rewatch again and love it just the same. Are you not going to turn your back? Nope…

Also, what the heck was with that small duck pond? Always hoped it would be followed up on.

Alex Skerratt: Amy’s Choice

Amy's Choice Dream Lord Toby Jones

Series Five isn’t a great one for me. I found many of the stories hard to sit through and sleep-inducing. As such, it is ironic that my number one episode is, in fact, about sleep! Well, dreams to be precise. I find the whole premise of Amy’s Choice really captivating, as the characters struggle to make sense of what is real and what isn’t. Then there’s the mystery of the Dream Lord, who sadly didn’t turn out to be the Valeyard, but (spoilers!) he actually sort-of-was, if you think about it. So yeah, that’s pretty cool!

Plus it’s got menacing old ladies, so there are some mildly comedic / horrifying chase sequences, as one would expect from a seasoned sitcom writer such as Simon Nye. All in all, it’s a bit of an odd-ball episode, but it’s definitely a highlight for me (in an otherwise ‘soporific’ season…!).

Richard Forbes: The Beast Below

The Beast Below

When even Steven Moffat calls the episode one of his weaker efforts, I’ve got my work cut out for me to defend Series 5’s The Beast Below. The episode, in my mind, captures the ‘science fiction fantasy’ theme of Series 5 beautifully – Amy Pond absconding on her wedding night to outer space in her nightie, not far from another British classic, Peter Pan and its sweet Wendy; both plucked from bed and brought to a strange yet oddly familiar world. Starship UK, however, is no Neverland. It’s the UK (sans Scotland)’s booth from Epcot shot into space; an emergency lifeboat for future Britons facing the end of the world.

The secret to The Beast Below is that it almost completely sheds the ‘Monster of the Week’ format and yet, proving the strength of the new showrunner, it soars despite a departure from form – there are some creatures who pose a ‘threat’ for Amy and the Doctor, the Smilers, but largely they’re nothing more than a face (albeit a two-faced one, har har har) of contemporary British tyranny for the audience. Really, instead of facing off against a ‘Monster of the Week’, The Beast Below is a dystopian story of a post-apocalyptic, police state Britain. While Classic Who often portrayed dystopian societies, The Beast Below is a rarity in those regards for the revived series.

The strength of the episode for me was its depiction and understanding of children, a strong suit of Moffat’s in general – only the Doctor could deduce from one girl crying, a girl who cannot stop crying, that the world around her had turned cruel with the acceptance of their awful fate. The comedy with Liz 10 is a gas. The poetry, a beautiful bookend. But the real payoff for the episode comes with the tragic story of the episode’s starwhale and the moral dilemma faced: a sappy defining moment for both the Doctor and Amy, especially for newer viewers and a couple of twists which had surprised me. After all, there’s nothing wrong with ‘sappy’ if it’s paired with a moment, as The Beast Below demonstrates, that brings us closer to the characters involved.

Becky Crockett: Vincent and the Doctor

Vincent and the Doctor 3

Here’s the thing – I knew about the episode even before joining the ranks of the Whovian fandom, because I love Van Gogh. He is my favourite painter, one whose works I’ve studied, and one whose works mean a great deal to me. It’s not for nothing that I wish I could have met the man. Yet I never watched the episode until I became a fan, and I’m glad I didn’t because that made it even more special to me. It’s the point where I knew I had crossed over from thinking the show was good to loving it. I think the episode encapsulated a lot of what Doctor Who is about – not just time travel and history, but the Doctor doing whatever he can to help people, doing his bit to add to the good things in people’s lives, even though he knows the outcome will remain the same. Some might say that doing such a thing is pointless, insane even, but giving people happiness and hope is never pointless. And we all know the Doctor is insane!

James Lomond: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang

The Big Bang 11th Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith Amy Rory Karen Arthur

My favourite of Series 5, and of almost ALL of NuWho is The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang. Though The Time of Angels/ Flesh and Stone runs a very close second. But the finale rehabilitated the Cybermen as a plausible scary monster so it wins.

The setting and set-up were perfect and the drama unfolding in front of me was so wonderful.

River Song’s entrance, the inclusion of characters and moments from throughout the series, and a top-notch Moffat mystery surrounding the perfect prison had me hooked. The reveal of the Doctor being the terrible, mythical occupant took me absolutely by surprise. It was all designed, written, and performed so well I didn’t mind the silliness of a mass-alliance of villains, including the Fatleks. Then upstairs we had a Nestene replica that believed it was Rory in the throes of his girlfriend’s Cosmic Amnesia, all done with complete conviction but just the right amount of warmth and humour too. The cliffhanger of River trapped in a dying TARDIS, the universe ending, Amy dying and the Doctor being powerless to help while all of his enemies “win” was both utterly compelling Doctor Who and satisfied all of my childhood fan-fiction daydreams.

Then we get a Moffat U-turn with a fantastic time-farce, mini-base under siege in a slowly evaporating reality with an impromptu fez. Loved it. This is topped with the Doctor doing something so completely preposterous yet utterly glorious and both totally out of the blue but entirely logical within the story’s reality… and it’s a very Doctorly self-sacrifice that he makes. And THEN we get the neatest and most astounding narrative shenanigans where the Doctor we saw in an earlier episode having a conversation we thought we understood was in fact something completely different. Bravo. And *THEN* the TARDIS is brought back into reality with something else borrowed from our cultural subconscious as the “blue” item from the marriage rhyme.

This was a tour de force with top performances from the writer, director, and cast – so much so that, for once, I really wasn’t bothered about any plot holes there may or may not have been.

An imagined production conversation about The Big Bang:

“We messed up a bit with the new Dalek design, didn’t we?”

“Yeah. A bit.”

“How about we make them into stone – that’d be cool…”

“Stone? Ooh. Yeah, stone Daleks. That’d be awesome!”

And it was.

Those are a few of our favourites from Series 5. Now it’s your turn! Vote below for your favourite, and we’ll find out the overall winner later this year…

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47 comments on “NuWho 10th Anniversary: What Is Your Favourite Series 5 Story?

  1. TimeChaser Jul 23, 2015

    This was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I think this was, for all its flaws, one of the better first seasons for a new Doctor that we’ve had in the history of the show. I wound up going for The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, because there are so many perfect moments and scenes in those two episodes, so many I won’t go into them because it would be a very long list!

  2. Edward Delingford Jul 23, 2015

    Still the best series new Who has to offer with an embarrassment of riches from which to choose. I find it hard to choose between The Eleventh Hour simply because it just hits the ground running and completely wipes away any bad lingering aftermath of the woeful End of Time and Big Bang/Pandorica. Of course these are bookends and part of a beautifully realised story arc.

    Push comes to shove, I’ll go with Big Bang/Pandorica. There are so many exquisite moments, particularly from Matt who started out brilliantly with his first appearance (I gather in filming order that is Flesh and Stone?) and just got better and better, completely nailing this most likeable of doctors. Any interactions between Matt and children are always gold as unlike Chris and David, you can see he actually *gets* what they are thinking both as an actor and more importantly as the ancient man in the body of a sometimes child-like alien and seeing him with Amelia and then Amy in Pandorica is simply glorious. Pandorica also has lots of action, River being sassy and brilliant, Rory being heroic and topped by the amazing speech given by Matt’s doctor which sits up there with all of his terrific speeches (was there ever a doctor/actor better than 11/Matt at giving those?). I also love how Moffat brings everything back to the first episode again in tying it all together beautifully. That’s probably why it’s the most completely satisfying of series, slight loose ends and all, as it really knows where it is going and where we are going to end up. I wonder if the extra time Moffat had due to the hiatus in 2009 allowed him more time to really nail down this aspect of the writing and plotting for the entire arc.

    Lastly, series 5 simply looks stunning in a way the show had never before with the dark fairy tale colours of deep blue, purple and rich red, there is so much more inventiveness behind the lens that we have had before and just so much confidence coming at us from the cast and crew – really still amazing given it was everyone’s first series.

  3. Doctor Moo Jul 23, 2015

    I think series five was the best season since the revival (until eight arrived) and so choosing one favourite is tough. I absolutely whole-heartedly love The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Lodger, Amy’s Choice, The Vampires of Venice and The Eleventh Hour. I don’t love but do really like The Time of Angels/ Flesh & Stone and The Beast Below. While I’m less keen on Vincent & the Doctor, The Hungry Earth/ Cold Blood and Victory of the Daleks they do still have their moments.

    But if I have to pick a favourite it must be The Eleventh Hour. It introduces the 11th (and IMHO the best) Doctor. The Atraxi vs Prisoner Zero storyline is enthralling television that can be watched and rewatched time and time again. The way 11 is introduced to Young Amelia and then almost immediately to Adult Amy is pure genius in that he’s not even an hour old but has already made a huge impact. The crack in time arc (and to lesser extents the Pandorica and Silence) gets set up nicely. In short it’s the single best debut story for a Doctor in the whole of Doctor Who. This is a perfect jumping-on point for newcomers, after all it was this episode that made a young man looking at this show with curiosity turn into the diehard fan who writes this sentence. And I’ve never looked back.

    • Steven B Jul 24, 2015

      Series 5 is the strongest end-to-end we have had since the restart, and is probably the best season altogether since Season 14, to my mind.

      It baffled me to discover people don’t like Series 5, but just put it down to people who are perhaps too wed to the Tennant days (which were so much fun), but maybe a little unwilling to let go and accept that inconstancy is the very essence of the programme.

      I also voted for “The Eleventh Hour”, which is the best reboot/regeneration story we’re likely to have in some time and have ever had. It is perfectly-made television, entirely adept with its medium and balancing its past and pending like some splendid universal equation.

      An honorable mention for the neglected “The Beast Below”, though, which (as a quieter episode amongst a very brash series) is, in comparison with other episodes of its status in other seasons and series, as good as any – and better than most.

      • Edward Delingford Jul 24, 2015

        I’m pretty sure most polls would have series 5 as the best and most consistently good since the reboot and it continues to be the yardstick against which ever series in new Who is measured. There really aren’t any clangers, it has the best opener and finale combination of any series, a satisfying story arc, Matt absolutely on fire and something for everyone in the range of stories within the dark fairytale, plus some of the best guest stars ever ( Tony Curran, Toby Jones, james Cordon and Helen McCrory are the standouts). It also marks the growing up of the show into the ‘proper’ BBC drama stream, rather than just light family entertainent. This was acknowledged when Matt became the first actor playing the Doctor nominated as best drama lead onUK television in the 2011 BAFTAs.

      • Rick714 Jul 24, 2015

        I agree that some folks were still stuck on Tennant–I think it was probably tough for some nuWho fans to accept the whole regeneration thing after getting used to Tennent for 3 years plus specials. Sure, they experienced regeneration before with Chris but having been there for a scant 13 eps, I don’t think nearly as many nuWho fans got as attached. Hopefully by now, most folks are in the groove with the somewhat regular change over.

  4. John McJohnson Jul 23, 2015

    This is tough! But in the end I’ve gone with “Victory of the Daleks”.
    What?! Why?!
    I’ll tell you: it’s because this was the episode where Matt(hew) Smith managed to get me on his side. It’s his confrontation with the Daleks that made me think of Christopher Eccleston in “Dalek”. I think there’s something nice and dare I say comforting about seeing the Doctor face Daleks, regardless of the story surrounding it or the new designs. Also a story of note for being one in which the Doctor doesn’t *really* win as the Daleks escape at the end.

  5. TimeChaser Jul 23, 2015

    Rainbow Daleks… How the inside of the saucer looks like an unfinished office building… Why does the Doctor just wail on Bracewell like that?… Yeah, definitely not one of Gatiss’ stronger episodes.

    • Doctor Moo Jul 23, 2015

      Gatiss’s strioger episodes are very few. The Unquiet Dead, Night Terrors, Cold War. That’s it (maybe bits of The Crimson Horror but not overall) which is a shame considering his clear talent. Just look at his contributions to Sherlock and An Adventure in Space and Time.

      • TimeChaser Jul 23, 2015

        Yeah, he’s done some brilliant work throughout his career, from the NAs to now, but no one has a 100% hit record, so I can forgive him for that. I think what disappointed me about Victory was I expected it to be much more like a Power of the Daleks for the new generation, but the interesting story was abandoned very early for FX thrills.

        And then the bloody Spitfires came back to ruin A Good Man Goes to War! Argh!

        • Doctor Moo Jul 23, 2015

          The New Dalek Paradigm: Victory of the BBC Merchandising Department.

        • Edward Delingford Jul 24, 2015

          Gatiss is also a terrific actor, so quite the multi-tasker. I saw an early preview of the latest thing he’s in at The National Theatre (not sure many theatre fans here so won’t bore you) and he’s great as usual in that and as an actor both on stage and television, he’s always in demand. He was excellent recently in Wolf Hall and of course also has his Game of Thrones, League of Gentlemen and Sherlock parts for extra genre credentials. BTW John Simm is the star of the play in which Gatiss co-stars. I’ve seen pretty well all of the surviving doctors on stage too at various times (excepting both Bakers) and have to say that Gatiss and Simm are probably the best theatre actors out of the lot with the possible exception of Eccleston, who I’ve only seen once but he was bloody marvellous. (Funnily enough Capaldi is probably the one I’d say I thought the least effective on stage, followed by Tennant who as you’d imagine just does his usual Who shtick. I’ve seen both Simm and Tennant in Hamlet and Simm simply blows Tennant out of the water in the part as he has a natural sort of melancholy about him which the more genial Tennant simply doesn’t have. Tennant wasn’t that bad, just the wrong fit for such a complex part). The other eye-opener for me was how good Billie Piper is on stage – really a complete natural for the stage.

          • Doctor Moo Jul 24, 2015

            You’re right about Gatiss, he is a bloody good actor (at least in the things I’ve seen him in). Look at him as Mycroft Holmes or Richard Lazarus, that’s just for starters. In fact I’m not against the idea of him being the 13th Doctor, he’s on my shortlist (though Sean Pertwee is higher on it).

          • Edward Delingford Jul 24, 2015

            I think he might pick up another Olivier nomination for his part in Three Days in the Country on the back of his stunning turn in Corialanus the year before. I feel a bit guilty about bagging Peter’s stage credentials slightly but to be fair, it was a farce – The Ladykillers – a genre of which I am not fond and checking the reviews at the time, he got complete raves and an entire article in the Telegraph devoted to waving a fist at the Olivier judges that year for overlooking his performance. So, obviously, it’s not Peter just me! Stand by the rest, even high praise for Billie; obviously bad writing in Who made Rose so appalling, not Piper’s acting ability.

  6. John McJohnson Jul 23, 2015

    True. But I like to look for the silver linings and this was the episode the saw Mr Smith become THE Doctor for me. He’s my overall favourite and that started there.

  7. Kiera DeCanio Jul 24, 2015

    The duck pond was mentioned again, though. It was a clue to the crack erasing things from existence. The doctor brings this up later(I cant remember which episode). The gist is that Amy knows it’s a duck pond even though there aren’t any ducks, and the doctor asks how. She said she just knows, and it’s implied that the ducks have been erased.

  8. Rick714 Jul 24, 2015

    Series 5 was definitely one of the most solid seasons of nuWho. Victory of the Daleks was maybe the only dog in the bunch but Pandorica/Big bang, Vincent, Lodger, Amy’s choice, the Angel two parter, Eleventh Hour, wow, you tend to forget just how many strong eps you had in that season.

    The season hit you on different levels, too. Whether it was intense, human emotion with smaller stories like Vincent or the Lodger or huge epics like Bang/Pandorica, almost everywhere you look, between Matt and the Moff, you usually were in for a treat. I still maintain that this was the magic time for Smith, who was still exploring the character and hadn’t quite settled into his mannerisms–he wasn’t quite done “baking” yet and I think that’s when any Doctor is usually at his best. And we shouldn’t forget the Christmas Carol special that year. Definitely my favorite Xmas special of the Smith era. 2010 was a great year for Doctor Who.

  9. Rick714 Jul 24, 2015

    See, this is the type of thing that baffles me. It’s Doctor Who. Why CAN’T there be Spitfires in space? As for the color coded Daleks, yeah, they did not work. And no, the Doctor going off on Bracewell was weird. And Amy yelling at Churchill “Oi!”? C’mon, that was kind dumb. But as far as mechanical and scientific design, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the Daleks couldn’t have the hardware to provide Spitfires in space. With everything we’ve seen, we really can’t get close minded on points like these.

    However, if memory serves, it seemed to take about five minutes to adapt and outfit all these planes and get them into orbit—which would be ludicrous…..

    • TimeChaser Jul 24, 2015

      Precisely, and it wasn’t as if they were already retrofitting those Spitfires for an operation against the Nazis. The major issue I have is that the story could have been so much better if it was more like Power of the Daleks and less going for easy thrills. I’d be the first to admit how cool the idea of Spitfires in space is, but I just don’t know if it helped or hindered the story. Another case of the story idea being too big to properly condense down into the new single episode format.

    • FrancoPabloDiablo Jul 24, 2015

      And what about the pilots? Previous experience in warfare in space have they???

  10. James Guthrie Jul 24, 2015

    But there’s no other programme on telly that could do Spitfires in Space – that’s what’s so fun about it – it’s pure, silly, brilliant Who!

    • Doctor Moo Jul 24, 2015

      I know, and I liked the concept of them a lot. I’ll willingly bet there wasn’t a kid watching it who didn’t love that bit. It’s just so… random, for want of a better word, and the suspension of disbelief had already been pushed to breaking point that episode before they showed up. Look at their cameo in A Good Man Goes to War (one of my all time favourites) when they appear to storm Demons Run. It’s not as jarring in that episode because AGMGtW was a bit more “out there” than VotD.

      • James Guthrie Jul 24, 2015

        I’ll concede a good point, well made (even though I still love them – spinoff please – Biggles In Space!)

  11. James Guthrie Jul 24, 2015

    Vincent and the Doctor – perfection from beginning to end.

  12. TheLazyWomble Jul 24, 2015

    You’ve left out Victory of the Daleks. That makes 8 stories. His hit rate is therefore less than 50%. If one accepts Dr Moo’s assessment of which are hits, that makes his comment sustainable.

    • James Guthrie Jul 24, 2015

      I did, but put Night Terrors in twice – just replied to Dr Moo above – so it’s still seven, and a 50:50 hit rate.

      Mark Gatiss’ eighth script comes this year – I wonder where it’ll feature in everyone’s list?

  13. Doctor Moo Jul 24, 2015

    (you listed Night Terrors twice)

    For me from best to worst it goes:
    The Unquiet Dead (good)
    Cold War (good)
    Night Terrors (good)
    The Crimson Horror (mixed)
    Robot of Sherwood (bad)
    Victory of the Daleks (bad)
    The Idiot’s Lantern (bad)

    So that’s about 50:50 so far. Not a bad rate until you realise he’s so prominent, featuring every year since Moffat took over. For someone recurring so much as him it really should be a better track record!

  14. Ranger Jul 24, 2015

    Hmm. It’s a case of torn between 3 stories for me – The Eleventh Hour, Vincent and The Lodger. The Eleventh Hour because it got my hopes up that Matt Smith would be a good Doctor. Discount it, because it was a false hope. Vincent, because it was a vehicle that allowed Curran and Nighy to go to town and had great emotional impact. Lodger because Cordon made me laugh. Gone with Vincent. All the rest of the episodes in the series were constantly dragged down by Matt Smith’s Doctor and the tart that was Amy. Only Rory any good.

    Series 5 overall OKish if I am in a good mood, better than 6 and 7 which in future polls I will have severe difficulties in finding anything positive to say about. It was because I am such a DW fan that I managed to get through them with gritted teeth and the mantra “it will get better, it will get better” thank god to be rewarded with Capaldi and series 8.

    • Doctor Moo Jul 24, 2015

      That’s a different picture you’ve painted there to what we see in the other comments above. Funny how we can see exactly the same stuff but come to such polarising opinions!
      I hope you don’t mind my asking: What was there about it that makes you not like it?

      • Ranger Jul 25, 2015

        But wouldn’t it be boring if we all agreed all the time? There are many factors which contribute to my feelings on series 5, some of which, I admit have come about with hindsight. Mostly it is my dislike of Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor, he had no gravitas or any dignified air to him, even with the big serious scenes such as the challenge to the massed ranks of his enemies at the end of the series, it felt like a little boy play-acting. And it just got worse in the subsequent series’ which now colour my views of series 5 to an even greater extent. To be honest, I wasn’t happy during the original run, but I was still optimistic. Secondly, I think I was expecting too much from Steven Moffatt – his previous stories were so good, that I was very excited about his appointment. That’s on me, not him. But I genuinely feel that he became too caught up in making things too complicated and self-reverential in 6 and 7 and the seeds were sown in 5. Thirdly, I disliked Amy; true she’s not as bad as Rose, but I loved Donna, and here we are back to the companion lusting after the Doctor and jerking around a good man at the same time. For pity’s sake, get your own ideas for a companion, don’t recycle RTD’s.

        I could go on, but it’s quarter to midnight and I’ve got some Star Trek Voyager to watch before I go to bed (ssh, don’t tell my husband, otherwise I’ll have to clear up his drool over 7 of 9! Lol).

        • Doctor Moo Jul 25, 2015

          Thanks Ranger. I was just curious since it seems we both see it completely differently to each other!

          P.S. Original >>> Voyager

          • Ranger Jul 25, 2015

            I am aware I am the lone voice in the wilderness, about Smith, but there you go. I also infinitely prefer classic to anything nuWho has come up with, so I am the definite odd-ball!

            I adore all the star trek franchises with ds9 being the weakest IMO.

    • TimeChaser Jul 24, 2015

      I like “the tart that was Amy” way more than the tart that was Rose, I’ll say that much.

      • Doctor Moo Jul 24, 2015

        That’s like saying “I like being happy more than I like being murdered” it shouldn’t need saying.

  15. TimeChaser Jul 24, 2015

    Amy and Churchill were trying to think of a way to help the Doctor and they went to Bracewell. He mentioned having had the idea of the anti-gravity bubbles, but they didn’t actually apply them to the planes until just then, so I don’t believe it was something they were already working on.

  16. Mrs F Jul 25, 2015

    From season five it has to be The Web of Fear.

    • That’s season five. This is about series five. Not the same thing! (I love Web too but prefer Enemy of World)

      From series five I went with the finale, nothing not to love there and an astounding cliffhanger.

    • Doctor Moo Jul 25, 2015

      I liked The Enemy of the World better but almost everything from that season was a classic, complete with the Doctor rocking the bow tie before it was cool.

      However, this is about series five and not season five. I’m all for discussing the classics but that’s not what this is about.

      • TimeChaser Jul 25, 2015

        I believe Mrs F is the one who consistently pulls this joke every time we have these articles. 😛

        • Doctor Moo Jul 25, 2015

          If it’s funny once it’s funny every time apparently.
          FLAWED LOGIC!

          • TimeChaser Jul 25, 2015

            Sometimes, as long as it keeps being funny to the one telling the joke, that’s enough for them. I however tend to agree you.

          • Doctor Moo Jul 26, 2015

            Right! It’s just got silly now though.

  17. how do you choose just one? S5 is the perfect sandwich; delicious, fresh, crusty satisfying bread either side – 11th hour and pandorica/BB, and packed full of mouth-watering fillings – from Vincent’s deep, savoury, tear-jerking mustard and crisp, cool salad zest of Amy’s choice, to certain elements of ham and cheese best not mentioned. The skittle Daleks should not be served with either fish fingers or custard though.
    I’m disappointed by Beast Below’s oversweet ketchup, as the moral challenge is so much better in Ursual le Guin’s original here:
    All in all though, it’s such a great opening season for a newly regenerated Doctor, only bettered by Jon Pertwee’s first.

  18. The Earl Fleabag of Turdshire Jul 25, 2015

    Really not a fan of Series 5 or 6, but I am fond of Vincent and The Doctor. The ending is fantastic and it’s got Bill Nighy!

  19. Vader the White Jul 27, 2015

    Series 5 is my personal favorite series as there aren’t really any missteps. Every story is top notch. My favorite is easy: The Eleventh Hour. This was the episode that made me a Whovian and remains my favorite story to this day.

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