Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 2

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Doctor Who TV is running 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. Today we continue with the 2nd episode 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. The End of the World (2005)
  2. Tooth & Claw (2006)
  3. The Shakespeare Code (2007)
  4. The Fires of Pompeii (2008)
  5. The Beast Below (2010)
  6. Day of the Moon (2011)
  7. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012)

What makes a good Episode Two?

The second episode of a series is always an important one. The fact that someone has tuned in to the next episode either means they are a fan, or the series opener the previous week did its job. That said, most people will give a show a second chance before making a judgement. This increases the importance of the role of episode two, to keep the viewer invested. How it does this, is by building on the characters and what has already been established. As such for Doctor Who, the second episode in the series usually focuses on the companion and their first proper journey with their Doctor.

Predicted Winner

Series Four is one of my all-time favourites. The strength of the TARDIS duo of the Doctor and Donna Noble is a real highlight of the series. Donna is a wonderfully strong companion conveying a range of emotions from her audience. Her relationship with the Doctor was a refreshing one, the previous two companions had a more romantic relationship with him, and so Donna’s friendship made for a welcome change. The Fires of Pompeii was one of the real strong points of Donna’s story. A narrative where she convinces the Doctor to save someone, who should not have been, shows what type of a woman she is. Her actions here typify her character and present her as a relatable character. The use of the most infamous volcanic eruption in human history, and then having the Doctor as cause of it was a fantastic idea. The episode also stunned visually and musically whilst sporting an incredible guest cast (including current Doctor – Peter Capaldi). The Fires of Pompeii is amazing episode which would be a worthy winner.

The Dark Horse

From one of my favourite series to another, this time all the way back to Series One. The End of the World was my first TARDIS trip as a fan and as such holds enormous nostalgic value. Where is a better place to start than right at the end of our planet? Strangely enough it is an episode I have come to appreciate more on re-watch and now find it to be one of the most underrated stories of the revival. Filled with wonderful character moments and featuring lots of alien species, it set the tone which the rest of the series would follow. Cassandra typifies the faults of humanity and their desire for survival. We also see some excellent development for both the Doctor and Rose which gives the series a strong platform from which to strive. This is an episode which is certainly capable of pulling off a shock victory.

Writer’s Pick

Episode Twos across all seven series of the revival of Doctor Who have been of a very high quality. As such the decision between them is a difficult one. It is no huge coincidence that all of my choices come from my three favourite series. Series Five is often describe as having a fairy-tale feel to it; this description is also apt for The Beast Below. This is a story full of character foils and moral questioning decisions. I have always seen the Star Whale as a mirror to the character of the Doctor, impossibly old, and the last of his kind. This comparison took even more poignancy when the Doctor saved his home planet for the sake of the children, just like how the Star Whale could not stand to see children cry. The strong focus on Amy and having her go against the Doctor’s advice, was to me a defining moment for her character. The Beast Below is marvellous episode which is often overlooked by fans.


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