Series 1-7 Face-Off: Episode 9

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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 9th 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 Ed Goundrey-Smith.

Today’s Candidates

  1. The Empty Child (2005)
  2. The Satan Pit (2006)
  3. The Family of Blood (2007)
  4. Forest of the Dead (2008)
  5. Cold Blood (2010)
  6. Night Terrors (2011)
  7. Hide (2013)

What makes a good Episode 9?

Five out of the seven episode 9s here are one part or another in a two-part story and as we know, two-parters are great because they allow enough time for a story to be expanded greatly. When it is the first part of the story it has to establish a solid plot with a good cliff-hanger, when it forms the second part it needs to neatly conclude the story and tie up any loose ends. Also, by now, we’re a good way in to the series and getting closer to the series finale, so they need to have some little teasers for the final stories to make viewers excited and want to watch through to the dramatic series ending. Episode nines are often standalone stories (or part of a standalone two-parter).

Predicted Winner

Looking above, episode 9 is an incredibly strong category, the first four contenders are loved by fans alike, but I think that The Family of Blood is our predicted winner. A story set on the brink of war, this story contains absolutely everything a good Doctor Who episode should have: the villains are perfect, menacing and terrifying which supplements the emotional plot well, and that’s the great thing about this episode. The whole thing oozes emotion. The love story between John and Joan handled perfectly, with some bittersweet and poignant moments, for example, when Joan is trying to convince the Doctor to open the watch. John’s horror at the thought of becoming this Doctor, a lonely traveller who never even thought of falling in love. The narrated montage, where the Doctor gives the Family what they want, the ability to live forever. This story is genius, and one I would recommend to any new viewer of Doctor Who.

The Dark Horse

When I think of episode 9, I think of The Family of Blood, The Empty Child, Forest of the Dead and The Satan Pit, those four blockbuster episodes loved by many, however, one that is commonly overlooked is the underrated gem, Cold Blood, which I think is our Dark Horse here. It is often only remembered for the interesting Silurian redesign, Rory’s death and the fact that it’s the second part of a story supposedly very similar to Doctor Who and The Silurians, however, the episode is so much more than this! It’s a thrilling tale about the humans and Silurians negotiating peace and the humans having 1000 years to ‘prepare’ the planet for the Silurians return. The performances are brilliant, the sets are magnificent and combine all that with a fantastic plot and a suspenseful ending and you have a cracking episode! And you must admit, it is hard to reintroduce a loved monster after 24 years!

Writer’s Pick

I think my choice has to lie with The Satan Pit. The religious ideas behind the Beast are interesting an unnerving. It believes that it was the source of every manifestation of the Devil ever and that it has some kind of biblical relation, calling itself several different religious names, and I find this frightening. This creature is the exact opposite of everything the Doctor is.  As well as the deep religious meanings this episode is packed full of action, the scenes where the Ood chase the crew through the air vents are tense and thrilling, and I always remember used to terrify me when I was younger (who am I fooling, they still do!). All the supporting cast are utilised well, none of whom feel like a waste of space which I often feel is often a danger in a ‘base-under-siege’ story. The episode was lightly paced, quick, and punchy, captivating the audience from the start, and once again, Murray Gold gave the story a creepy presence with his beautiful score. Overall, it’s a meaningful, deep and scary episode, one that I can rewatch dozens of times without getting bored of it!


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