Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 3

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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 3rd episode of each of the seven series so far.

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


Introduction by Lewis Hurst.

Today’s Candidates

  1. The Unquiet Dead (2005)
  2. School Reunion (2006)
  3. Gridlock (2007)
  4. Planet of the Ood (2008)
  5. Victory of the Daleks (2010)
  6. The Curse of the Black Spot (2011)
  7. A Town Called Mercy (2012)

What makes a good Episode 3?

After the first two episodes riding on the hype of the show’s return to screens, it’s up to the third episode to convince viewers to keep watching. They are standalone stories that have very little impact on the series arc, apart from a few exceptions like Gridlock and Planet of the Ood. It’s also worth noting that Episode Three is most often the first “normal” episode of the series, with Episode One usually an introduction to a new Doctor/Companion and Episode Two being their “first trip”. Episode Three is the first normal trip where hopefully audiences are used to the new characters thus being the first episode where the plot is in huge focus.

Predicted Winner

David Tennant’s first Series as the Doctor may not be my favourite, but I can’t deny that School Reunion is a magnificent episode. Featuring the return of Sarah Jane and K9, this episode featured a lot of nostalgia for older viewers as well as tempting younger viewers to pick up the Classic Series. Sarah Jane’s emotions upon seeing the Doctor again still get me today. The episode is also brilliantly plotted and paced featuring perhaps one of the best New Who villains to date. Mr Finch (played by the stupendous Anthony Head) is truly magnificent. It’s hard to imagine the episode being the same without him. It certainly wouldn’t be as memorable in my eyes. Another excellent part of the episode is Murray Gold’s brilliant music and his excellent action theme for the episode which sadly still hasn’t seen an official release. But all in all this is an excellent episode and if it wins, it will have deserved it.

Dark Horse

Matt Smith’s first Series as the Doctor is still one of Doctor Who’s best, even if some episodes are still criminally under loved. One such episode is Victory of the Daleks. I often feel that a lot of the criticism towards this episode come from the designs of the Paradigm Daleks, which in my opinion are not that bad especially after their slight repaint in Series 7. But after looking at this episode, I struggle to see what makes people dislike it so much. It’s a very fun episode that makes great use of its period setting. Sure, its conclusion is a little cheesy but it’s still very good throughout. Winston Churchill is a great character with some excellent lines. And come on, Spitfires in space? What’s not to love? And I know I’m not the only fan of this episode so I’ll tell my fellow Victory of the Daleks fans to “KBO”.

Writer’s Choice

Planet of the Ood is probably one of my favourite episodes from the entire Russell T Davies era of Doctor Who. It’s very rare for big issues like slavery to be handled in the show but Planet of the Ood handles it perfectly. It’s one of the very rare episodes where Humanity is portrayed as the villains. The thought that humans can take defenceless creatures like the Ood and effectively lobotomise them to make them willing slaves is horrible, but it’s all played brilliantly. It’s an episode that never fails to make me cry. The scene in which the Doctor and Donna venture into the cells and discover the truth about the Ood is extremely powerful which is certainly helped by Murray Gold’s excellent Song of Captivity. Planet of the Ood is a pretty much perfect episode that I often feel is overlooked and under looked but I for one think it’s one of Doctor Who’s best.


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