10 Worst Episodes of Doctor Who

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Doctor Who TV guest writer James Wynne counts down the 10 worst standalone Doctor Who episodes since 2005.

Note: the list does not include episodes from the Series 6, or any Christmas specials.

10. Gridlock

For the second time since the series revival, the Doctor takes his companion to the distant future on their second adventure. The episode wasn’t a memorable one, in fact, I find it hard to remember much about it, even after multiple viewing. That’s because the episode as a whole was nothing special. The plot was weak and had some really childish themes – a human and human/cat hybrid produce kittens? I don’t think so. The highlight of the episode was the return of the Face of Boe and his message – You are not alone.

9. The Idiot’s Lantern

This episode promised a lot – with an alien capable of removing your face from within the TV – but failed to deliver on every level. It was borderline boring; there was no real excitement or humour in the script; and it had no pace. It’s just another really forgettable story. This is one of the episodes that will always be skipped past on the DVD; at least that’s what I do.

8. New Earth

Human/Cat hybrids… Need I say more? This episode was a real shame for David Tennant, as his real introduction as the new Doctor. The villains were ridiculous and the story so poor, that had there been no Cassandra comedy, the episode would have lasted 20 minutes. And 10 of those would have been the resolution. The other main downer for the episode was the unnecessary re-appearance of Cassandra, aka the Human Trampoline.

7. The Doctor’s Daughter

With possibly the most exciting title since the revamped Doctor Who began, we were expecting a lot. Did it deliver? Afraid not. With a rushed scene of the Doctor’s hand being shoved inside a machine creating his “child”, we were introduced to the Doctor’s Daughter… Fully clothed? Where did they come from? But never mind that, the episode itself was a huge disappointment. There are crummy looking aliens, that look like humans with fish heads, who blow bubbles to communicate. Then we have a supposedly endless war that resulted in the death of the Doctor’s ‘daughter’. Or did it? No, she came back and flew off in to space to fight evil. Will she be getting her own spin-off too?

6. The End of the World

The introduction of Cassandra, the Moxx of Balhoon, the forest of Cheem, and weird blue people: all contributed to a very poor episode. Shock, the human trampoline turns out to be the real villain of the episode. And that’s the problem; the bad guy should be frightening or at least respectable, but she was just laughable. Russell, what on earth were you thinking?

5. The Fires of Pompeii

I’m all for the TARDIS translation software, but someone in Pompeii using London slang? That’s a step too far in my opinion. The story is one of the most ridiculous with stone circuit boards, stone people and a really modern-day family back in first century AD. Oh, and a water pistol to hurt these statues, or Pyrovilles, if you like.

4. Fear Her

This was an episode where the script should never have seen the light of day. Doctor Who should not be dull, but this was without doubt the dullest episode of new Doctor Who. Scribbles are not scary. This episode was aimed at children, but I would be insulted if I were a child. It’s not exciting enough for anyone at any age to enjoy in my opinion.

3. Partners in Crime

What a mess of a series opener. It was funny, but an episode of Doctor Who shouldn’t rely just on humour and that’s why this episode fails so drastically. The main villain, Mrs. Foster, was ridiculous and so were the Adipose. Possibly the worst Who creation of all time? Not quite, but right up there.

2. Victory of the Daleks

Oh dear. Where to start? So many problems with this episode. Why would Daleks, supposedly the most intelligent life forms in the universe, need colour to identify each other’s ranks? How did Churchill get those Spitfires space ready and packing lasers in about 30 seconds? How did the pilots know so quickly how to fly a Spitfire in space? How would the Daleks know how to construct a robot with emotion when they have no concept of emotion? All these plot holes, along with an unnecessary Dalek redesign, make this is one of the worst episodes of the revived Doctor Who.

1. Love & Monsters

Yeah, you guessed it. Never let a Blue Peter contest winner dictate your episode is all I say. It was just poor in every way and felt more like a soap with an alien thrown in just for comedy purposes. Not Doctor Who. End of.

That concludes my countdown. Feel free to comment and list your own.