Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 1

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Doctor Who TV is kicking off a new series pitting all the revival episodes against each other to decide your dream run. This will be done on an episode by episode basis, starting with all the openers of each of the seven series so far.

Note: Splits are not counted Specials will have their own categories at the end.


Introduction by Mark McCullough.

Today’s Candidates

  1. Rose (2005)
  2. New Earth (2006)
  3. Smith & Jones (2007)
  4. Partners in Crime (2008)
  5. The Eleventh Hour (2010)
  6. The Impossible Astronaut (2011)
  7. Asylum of the Daleks (2012)

What makes a good Episode One?

The series opener is an important episode for any show. As such, in Doctor Who it is written by the current head writer. Reintroducing the show to the audience after a long time off-air is no easy feat. For this reason, Episode Ones are usually very strong with a relatively simple storyline. The idea being that the viewer is hooked and tunes in for the rest of the series. For Doctor Who, it is usually also the introduction of a new Doctor or companion due to the changeable nature of the show.

Predicted Winner.

Episode Ones of New Who have been very strong indeed. Despite this, I would guess that we have to look no further than The Eleventh Hour to find the winner. The episode introduces the audience to a new era of Doctor Who. Featuring not only a new Doctor, but a new companion joining him, it was the biggest change since the show returned. Not just this, but a new head writer at the helm of the show. The result was an episode which felt fresh on initial viewing, rekindling all that is good about Doctor Who and making it feel more magical than ever before. Even now the episode is extremely re-watchable and filled with nostalgia. The Eleventh Hour is a true Doctor Who master class, one which seems to have the majority of fans singing its praises (evidenced by its recent placing in the Best of Matt Smith polls).

The Dark Horse

When it comes to series openers, one of the more underrated offerings is Partners in Crime. Donna Noble’s reintroduction perfectly complements her character and her relationship with the Doctor. As a perfect blend of humour and poignant moments, Partners in Crime is a brilliant example of a fun episode. It has a unique storyline playing upon the growing obesity epidemic, yet still possessing possibly the cutest aliens ever to grace the small screen. Again this episode is easy to watch over and over again, always giving its viewer an emotional lift. It is also the episode I use when trying to encourage friends to get into the show. Unfortunately the episode does not seem to get the praise I feel it deserves.

Writer’s Pick

My favourite start to a series is The Impossible Astronaut. An episode which felt different from other series openers was always a risk. Thankfully it was filled with fantastic ideas and concepts which typify Moffat’s writing. The Silents are an incredible creation preying on a primitive human idea, which is that anything could happen when you’re not looking. As the first series opener to have the same cast as the previous finale, Moffat had to think outside the box to captivate his viewers. How he did this was totally unexpected, the Doctor’s death came as a shock. Location and characters played a major role in my enjoyment of the episode. The scenes in Utah were breathtakingly stunning and Canton was one of the best received one-off characters in the show. The story worked extremely well and held a tense atmosphere throughout. An episode certainly deserving of any praise it gets.


You’ve heard Mark’s thoughts, but what about your own? Which one tops your list? Vote below.