5for5 NuWho At 10: 5 Heartbreaking Episodes

With the 10th anniversary/birthday/celebration of NuWho now officially underway, we felt it a perfect time to look back on a decade worth of stories and open up a proper debate about how these episodes stack up side by side.

We’ve already poked a bit of loving fun at the series increasingly complex plotlines, and instead of just posting a list of our own best or worst episodes, we’re excited to launch an entire series of 5for5 post examining NuWho from various angles.

What episode was the most original? The most memorable? The most disappointing? We’re looking forward to your feedback and reading/hearing your own lists, so please comment, share, tear a shred off our picks and get involved in the chat!



If there’s one thing the new series of Who has done consistently well, it’s portraying the Doctor in a very human light by examining the emotional toll his adventures have on his psyche. Whether it was Christopher Eccleston’s manic fear of facing the enemy he thought he was finally free of in Dalek or David Tennant’s virtual deathbed plea to not go in the End of Time, the writers have never shied away from attacking the Doctor in his most vulnerable spot; his hearts. Here’s 5 of the best/gut wrenching moments from NuWho.

ANGELS OF MANHATTAN – The final chapter in the Amy/Rory arc is a fairly controversial story among NuWho fandom, and has been accused of being non-sensical and even lazy in its writing, but there is no doubting its emotional impact as we watched the Ponds final journey in the Tardis end with Amy leaving the Doctor to be with Rory. The message? True love conquers all, but leaves the Doctor bleeding on its battlefield.


JOURNEY’S END – There was no hint of romantic feelings between the Doctor and Donna Noble, but there was no shortage of sibling-esk love between the two as they travelled together during series 4, making for some of the more memorable stories of the entire series. The season culminated in a touchingly sad yet triumphant adventure in which Donna merged with the Doctor’s clone to become the DoctorDonna and rose to heights she never dreamed possible, then fell back to Earth (literally) to be confined to a comfortable yet mundane life in which she had to forget her time in the Tardis. How could anyone not feel for her as she pleaded with the Doctor to stay…”I was going to travel with you forever”


HUMAN NATURE/FAMILY OF BLOOD – When the Doctor and Martha were forced to hide from the Family of Blood, the Doctor took the unprecedented and extreme step of transforming into a human to ensure his anonymity. Every bit of his Time Lord self was washed away, leaving a thinking, feeling human named John Smith in his place. The only problem was that John Smith fell in love, and that was simply not to be. As the Matron Joan Redfern put it…”The Time Lord has such adventures, but he could never have a life like that.” We all knew what the Doctor was going to to do, but it didn’t make it any less heartbreaking to watch.


FATHER’S DAY – This wasn’t a particularly well received episode, mainly because it introduced a never seen before or since plot device of flying creatures who sweep into “fix” temporal paradoxes. But ignoring that discontinuity, it is a touching story about sacrifice and forgiveness that tugs at the heartstrings. Rose’s Dad Pete proves his courage to Rose (and himself) by giving up his life to save his family. The final shot of Rose comforting Pete, then joining the Doctor and walking somberly back “home” to the Tardis are perfectly understated.


DOOMSDAY – Rose and the Doctor say goodbye at Bad Wolf bay. There are no words…just watch.


BONUS HEARTBREAKER! – David Tennant’s final adventure in the 2 part classic End of Time is, for our money, about as good as Who has gotten, like EVER. So instead of limiting it to one category, we’re going to share moments from that story across all of our lists. For this section, we thought the revelation of the one who knocks four times was just about the saddest/most brilliant scene in the episode. And maybe in Tennant’s entire run. You had to go in there, didn’t you Wilf! We may never forgive you…





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