Published on August 22nd, 2014 | by Brad0
Doctor Who – The Eleven Best Eleventh Doctor Stories
And, no sooner had the Tenth Doctor whimpered “I don’t want to go” than in exploded the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. If David Tennant was a young unknown, then Smith was a baby plucked from the deepest depths of obscurity. And he was brilliant. An old soul behind the young face, the Eleventh Doctor could goof around like no one’s business, then in an instant reveal that he’s been cooking up your total annihilation. In equal parts the lightest and darkest of the new Doctors, the Eleventh is my favourite so far. This was really tough to narrow it down to eleven, with twenty stories having been considered as pretty damn special. But I imposed the limits, so here we go – the Eleven Best Eleventh Doctor Stories;
11. The Girl Who Waited
So let’s start with an Amelia Pond story. The best period for the Eleventh Doctor was the one which featured Amy and Rory with him, and this one sees the Doctor take a backseat to their relationship. The Doctor, Amy and Rory are trapped on a quarantined planet, with a virus which is deadly to Time Lords but not humans. Due to a time-shift, Amy gets separated, and has to survive alone for 36 years before Rory is able to get to her. Karen Gillan gives a fantastic dual-performance as young and old Amy, and Arthur Darvill was always great as Rory.
10. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
A future version of the Doctor is killed right in front of Amy, Rory and River by a mysterious figure in a 60s astronaut suit. They must then unravel the mystery without telling the current Doctor about his impending death. What really happened in July 1969? Who is Canton Everett Delaware? And why are there tally marks appearing on their hands? This is a superb start to the Eleventh Doctor’s second series, introducing a brilliant new monster, and putting into place the mysteries to follow.
9. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
This is just bonkers. Seemingly written by free-association, this sees the Doctor, Amy and Rory on a spaceship with an Edwardian hunter, Queen Nefertiti, a variety of dinosaurs, Rory’s dad, bickering robots voiced by Mitchell and Webb, and David Bradley as Peter Stringfellow as a space pirate. It’s the kind of mad romp which you can only get on Doctor Who, and it’s a blast.
8. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
A second go around for the immensely popular Weeping Angels after their debut in the Tenth Doctor episode Blink, as well as reintroducing River Song from the Library two-parter. The Doctor discovers a message in Gallifreyan left in a museum, summoning him to rescue River from a crashing spaceship with a particularly deadly cargo on board. Aliens to Blink’s Alien, we get to know more about the mysterious Angels, without ever losing their mystique. There’s also a little glimpse into just how cleverly plotted the fifth series was, involving a jacket, which led to the most stunning amount of speculation.
7. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
The fifth and, to date, best series of NuWho closes out in pretty spectacular fashion. The Pandorica is a thought-to-be-mythical prison, containing the deadliest, most powerful creature in the universe. And it has been discovered. The Doctor, Amy and River have to get there first, before the stars go out. Everything comes together, it’s very clever, and superbly entertaining. “It’s a fez. I wear a fez now, fezzes are cool.”
6. The Time of the Doctor
“We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people, all through our lives. And that’s OK, that’s good, you’ve got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this. Not one day. I swear, I will always remember when the Doctor was me.” Matt Smith’s final episode sees the Doctor confronting his death in typical fashion – triumphant defiance, with a smile on his face. The Doctor’s decision to spend the rest of his life defending a small town in which he knows he is destined to die is perfect, and the episode is a very fitting end to a fabulous era.
5. The Day of the Doctor
Saturday 23rd of November 1963. Given what happened on the Friday, the fact that Doctor Who is still here fifty years later is pretty astonishing really. Day of the Doctor is a spectacular celebration of thirty-four interrupted years of television in-between then and Saturday 23rd of November 2013. From the opening recreation of the beginning of the First Doctor serial An Unearthly Child to the return of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor to the resolution to the Time War threads which were running right from the Ninth Doctor’s debut, to the cameos shouting out to both the future and the past, this is bloody brilliant.
4. A Christmas Carol
My goodness me, a good Christmas special! Can’t really go wrong with adapting A Christmas Carol mind, it’s probably my favourite story ever written. The idea of casting Michael Gambon as Scrooge, and the Doctor using time travel to bring Christmas Past, Present and Future to bear on him is just genius. Gambon’s performance is incredible (of course it is) and it’s got a surprisingly good performance from Katherine Jenkins, making her acting debut. This is the standard to which any Christmas special should aspire. Absolutely brilliant.
3. The Doctor’s Wife
I love Neil Gaiman. This episode sees the soul of the Doctor’s ship the TARDIS ripped out and placed in a mortal body. This allows for the Doctor to spend the episode talking to his oldest, dearest companion, and for the one and only time, she can answer him. It’s absolutely beautiful. Suranne Jones plays the host for the TARDIS, and her scenes with Matt Smith are wonderful. It’s a great tribute to the longest-running partnership on television. Great episode.
2. Amy’s Choice
A being who identifies himself as the Dream Lord presents the Doctor, Rory and Amy with two alternate realities; in one, they are on the TARDIS with no power, about to crash into a cold star, and in the other, Amy and Rory are happily married, Amy is heavily pregnant, and they are being attacked by aliens disguised as old people during a visit from the Doctor. If they don’t work out which is the dream and which is reality, they will die. Brilliant premise, and the exploration of the Amy and Rory relationship is marvellous. Toby Jones plays the Dream Lord with relish, marking one of the show’s best one-off villains. Absolutely sensational episode.
1. The Eleventh Hour
First impressions are everything. Everything about Matt Smith’s first episode is brilliant. The friendship with the young Amelia, fish fingers and custard, the crack in the wall, Prisoner Zero, everything. It’s funny, it’s exciting, you get a sense of the hidden darkness and mysterious nature of the Eleventh Doctor, as well as his goofy, child-like exterior. The perfect introduction to my favourite Doctor.
Thoughts, agreements, disagreements? I know Steven Moffat’s time on the show has been a touch polarising. Maybe there are some Clara fans out there who think I’ve put on too much Amy and Rory? Doctor Who returns tomorrow on BBC One and in cinemas at 19:50, as we get to welcome the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi. I will see you on Monday with the review.