Saturday, 28 March 2015

Doctor Who: The 10 best moments of New Who

On Thursday of this week, "New Who" became ten years old! 

In 2005, a TV show that had all but faded into a distant memory within popular culture made a return to screens that many people didn't think would amount to much. Ten years later and the show has become an international phenomenon and enjoyed a come back beyond anyone's wildest expectations. I myself am a fairly recent convert to the show's deep mythology, having only hopped on the band wagon as David Tennant prepared to leave the role in late 2009, but once this show gets its claws into you, one is hard pressed to ever wrestle free of its allure and I've been hooked ever since!

As the show enjoys its tenth year since returning to the airwaves, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what I think are the ten best moments of New Who!

#10 - The Eleventh Doctor Arrives

Back in 2010, the new creative team behind Doctor Who had a hell of a task before them. With a new head writer, new producers, a new companion and a new Doctor to introduce, Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and the team had everything to play for and could have easily faltered with such a huge challenge. Fortunately for them, their hard work paid off and, after a gripping adventure in sleepy Leadworth, the new Doctor finally arrives and makes his introduction in style by kicking an alien race off of planet Earth.

#9 - Are You My Mummy?

As a fan primarily of New Who over Old Who, 2005's two-parter The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances was my first introduction to just how scary this show could be. Steven Moffat's debut story as a writer on the show was full of suspense, terror and most importantly had a spine-chilling threat in the eponymous child in the gas mask searching for his "mummy". There are so many terrifying moments in this story, it's hard to know where to begin, but the moment that Dr Constantine transforms still sits with me to this day. 

#8 - "You Were Fantastic"

After all too brief a tenure on the show of just one full series, the Ninth Doctor's journey came to an end in series finale, The Parting Of Ways. Companion Rose Tyler awakes on board the TARDIS after being rescued by the Doctor's noble sacrifice and is confronted with a friend in his final moments. Still joking and reassuring so close to his end, it's a truly heart-wrenching moment where we said goodbye to a character taken long before his time. But do not despair, for this is also the moment that David Tennant stepped on board the TARDIS and took on the beloved role of the Tenth Doctor.

#7 - "I just wanted to say...Hello"

Fans of the show could not have been more excited in 2011 when incomparable Sci-Fi and Fantasy author Neil Gaiman's debut Doctor Who script, The Doctor's Wife, finally hit the air. And what a story it was! Faced with a being that strips TARDIS's of their consciousness in order to consume them, the Doctor is finally brought face to face with his oldest and most constant of companions when the being, House, deposits the TARDIS's essence within the body of a young woman. Bringing a touch of his undisputed genius to world of Doctor Who, Gaiman posed the question "If the Doctor and the TARDIS could talk, what exactly would they say to one another?". After a fun and original adventure full of inspired dialogue, the Doctor is forced to say Goodbye to the personification of his one true love. Their final moments together are beautifully moving and hence my pick for number 7.

#6 - Amy and Rory's departure

If you're anything like me, the love story between the Eleventh Doctor's inaugural companions really appealed to you. Amy & Rory's story was really the heart of the show for Matt Smith's first two and half series. You can argue that series 6 became a lot more about the Doctor and his secrets, but at it's core, the story was all about Amy Pond growing up. The Doctor was her imaginary childhood friend come to life, whilst Rory represented a grounded, stable and, most importantly, loving future that awaited her in adulthood. The drama was always rooted in whether Amy would ultimately choose the Doctor or the Last Centurion. For two and a half years, she walked the tightrope between them, seemingly unable to decide. When a Weeping Angel cruelly snatches Rory from her and strands him in the past for good, Amy is finally forced to make her choice. It's an utterly heartbreaking moment for everyone involved, so I hope you brought your hankies.

Note: Apologies for the really poor quality clip. I'm working on sourcing a better one soon!

#5 - The War Doctor

In 2013, fans were buzzing when it was announced that legendary actor John Hurt was to appear in the upcoming 50th anniversary episode. But who exactly would he be playing? The internet speculation went into overdrive and the rumours seemed endless, that is until the series 7 finale, The Name of The Doctor, in which Clara enters the Doctor's timestream to save his entire existence. Among the many Doctors of the past, Clara is confronted by a shadowy figure that has never been seen before. After an intense confrontation with the Eleventh Doctor, the figure turns to camera to reveal John Hurt and a text appears on screen that introduces him the Doctor! Like every other fan I've ever met, my mind was blown by the very idea of a previously unseen Doctor and my anticipation for the anniversary special reached all new heights. 

#4 - "I Am The Master"

By the time series 3 rolled around in 2007, we'd spent over two years believing that the entire Time Lord race had been wiped out along with the Daleks (with an ever growing list of caveats to the latter) in the Last Great Time War. However, as series 3 went on to show us with spectacular finesse, the Doctor was not alone. Travelling to the end of the universe in the year 100 trillion, the Doctor finds the last remaining humans in all of creation along with the kindly Professor Yana. Unknown to everyone however, including the man himself, was that the Professor held within his fob watch a terrible secret. As the Doctor realises far too late who the Professor truly is, the watch opens and the Doctor's greatest nemesis is awakened! Derek Jacobi gives a truly menacing performance as the revived Master and I think it's a real shame that we didn't get to see more of what could have been one of the greatest Masters of all time.

#3 - Bad Wolf Bay 

For two full series, we watched the relationship between the Doctor and companion Rose Tyler develop from a wonderful friendship into something a whole lot deeper. Whilst fans of the show knew that they had grown to love each other in a way we hadn't seen before, the pair were clearly unable to acknowledge it to one another. At the end of 2006's Doomsday however, with Rose stranded forever in a parallel universe, the Doctor is given one last chance to say goodbye. Rose seizes the opportunity to finally declare her love for the Doctor but, as the Doctor seems poised to reciprocate, his chance to admit his feelings is mercilessly snatched away and he is left heartbroken and alone. The lack of true closure to the story is what makes this series finale so terribly bitter and fans everywhere were left crushed in its wake. 

#2 - The Cult of Skaro

For 50 years, fans of Doctor Who would argue: Who would win in a fight - The Daleks or the Cybermen? Now, after so many decades of speculation, 2006's Army Of Ghosts gave us all what we so desperately wanted. We may have had to wait until the following episode to see the two iconic villains finally clash, but this was the moment that set every fanboy's pulse racing. After spending the entire episode believing that the Void ship was part of a Cybermen trap, the sphere opens and we are greeted by The Cult of Skaro!

#1 - "I don't want to go"

Yep. You had to know it was coming. Sorry for being predictable, but there's no escaping it. The Tenth Doctor's departure was a moment that kicked every fan square in the groin. David Tennant's tenure as the Doctor was so beloved by this time that he had become a national icon in the role, even ousting perennial favourite Tom Baker in many polls of the fans' top Doctor. His end had been heralded many months before in Planet of The Dead and finally, on 1st January 2010, the Doctor is forced to sacrifice himself to save the life of a dear friend. The ensuing regeneration that followed broke the hearts of fans the world over and gets my pick for the number 1 best moment of New Who. 

So what do you all think? Did I get it right? Or are there any moments you felt that I should have included but didn't? Post a comment below and tell us your thoughts! 

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  1. Christopher Ecclesdoctor was gone way too soon. And as we all know, every planet has a north!

    Also, I loved the Don't Blink episode, with Carey Mulligan and the weeping angels. There's so many new classics from the new Doctor Who that some of them even eclipse many episodes of the old series!

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      I agree, Ecclestone could have done so much more in that role. He's actually my number two in terms of favourite Doctors (David Tennant is still top for me). Another great moment that almost made the list is when he's discussing the ethics of delivering Blon Fel-Fotch back to Raxacoricofallapatorius to her execution.

      Blink was a great episode as a whole, but it was really tough to think of a singular great moment from the episode, so it was left out. But I absolutely agree that it's a modern classic. It's just a shame that the Angels are a little over-used now.

  2. One of my fave moments from New Who is "Here....Come....The DRUMS!!!"


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