Ranking Doctor Who Season 1 Episodes


Arguably, Doctor Who is the most popular British TV Show and has been since its first broadcast in 1963. It is probably the only TV Show in the world able to get away with recasting its main character over 10 times and still have a dedicated, loyal fanbase. I had never seen Doctor Who before, so I thought I’d give it a go to see what all the hype was about. Now that I have finished the first season, I am hooked. Here is my ranking of all the episodes in the first season of the revival series of Doctor Who from worst to best.

10. The Long Game (Season 1, Episode 7)

As The Doctor, Rose and Adam land on a space station in the year 200,000 it is clear that there is something wrong. It is soon revealed that a villain called ‘The Editor’ played by Simon Pegg is working for an evil alien force, attempting to control the human population through the News. It is up to Rose and the Doctor to stop him.

This episode is last on our ranking as the episode was quite predictable, the story seemed to drag even though it was only a 45-minute episode, and the acting of The Editor was quite pantomime (even though Simon Pegg is usually a great actor). As well as this, the episode fails to delve deep into the mythology of the Jagrafess and its intensions for wanting to take over the human race. The episode was still enjoyable to watch as the chemistry between Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper goes unmatched, however it’s just a shame that the storyline and plot was underdeveloped.

9. Rose (Season 1, Episode 1)

This is where it all started. As mannequins come to life in London and start threatening the population of the city, The Doctor meets Rose and they work together to stop the plastic monsters from killing the whole of London’s population- leading to Rose becoming The Doctor’s first companion of the revival series.

Although this episode was the start of the friendship between Rose and The Doctor, it is clear that the show was only just starting to find its feet. The acting of Christopher Eccleston in this episode came across as quite annoying, but improved later in the season, and the plastic monsters just seemed quite unserious and didn’t come across as a big enough threat for the first episode of the season. The episode took place entirely in London, so it lacked a lot of the elements of time and space that makes the show special. All this being said, it was still an interesting episode and a great first introduction to the character Rose Tyler, earning this episode the nineth spot on our ranking.

8. Dalek (Season 1, Episode 6)

When The Doctor and Rose find themselves in a collector’s museum in Utah in 2012. This museum is full of elements of alien life and evil entities that The Doctor had once faced. When they come across a stationary Dalek, Rose’s touch activates it. As the primary purpose of a Dalek is to cause pain and destruction, it is up to The Doctor and Rose to stop the Dalek before it kills everyone in the museum and escapes into the open world.

This episode was really interesting as its one of the first time we have seen The Doctor look genuinely scared for his life and the life of his companions. This episode was also gripping as it delved deep into the backstory of both The Doctor and the Dalek. The episode also gave Rose a lot of character development because before this point, it was mainly The Doctor having to save her, but this episode put Rose in the middle of the plot. Although this was a decent episode, the fact that it all takes place in the same location becomes quite tiring and comes across as slightly boring, and the chase between the Dalek and the humans dragged and felt like it went on for way too long.

7. Aliens of London/ World War 3 (Season 1, Episodes 4 & 5)

This was the first double episode of the season, meaning that one story was covered over the space of two episodes rather than one. These episodes saw an evil Alien family known as the Slitheen kill and impersonate the most important figures in British politics in an attempt to take over the country. Once again, it is up to The Doctor and Rose, along with the help of backbencher Harriet Jones to defeat these Aliens and save Britain.

This episode had a brilliant storyline and showed the relationship between The Doctor and Rose as strong as ever. Even the Slitheen were a great villain for The Doctor to face off against. One of the only issues with this episode is that it could have been covered in one episode and did not need an hour and a half as a lot of the filler scenes were unneeded and broke away from the main plot, but as a whole, the episode was great.

6. The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances (Season 1, Episodes 9 & 10)

When Rose and The Doctor travel back to the era of World War Two they realise that the town of London is being terrorised by the ‘ghost’ of a child, wearing a gasmask who was supposedly killed by a German bombing. Once again it is down to The Doctor and Rose to find out what is happening, and how to stop it before someone else gets hurt.

This episode was gripping and interesting as I was genuinely scared for The Doctor and Rose’s lives. This episode also introduced the audience to Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman) who joined The Doctor and Rose as a second companion until the end of the season. Despite being an interesting episode to watch, this episode has only gained the sixth place on our rankings as the differing storylines between Jack, The Doctor and Rose in ‘The Empty Child’ felt quite choppy and messy, this being said, the storylines finally combined for the final fight at the end of ‘The Doctor Dances’.

5. Boom Town (Season 1, Episode 11)

In present day Cardiff, The Doctor and Rose discover that one of the members of the Slitheen have survived, and she has made her way up to mayor of Cardiff, aiming to create a nuclear power station to blow up and destroy the world for vengeance for what happened to her brothers in the episode ‘World War 3’. It is up to Rose and The Doctor to track her down and stop her before she puts her plan into place.

Despite the episode only earning the middle spot on our list, it was still a really enjoyable watch, which makes you unsure who to root for and feel sorry for. Ultimately, the episode ends in the most satisfying way without making either side punished too harshly. Although the plot is great, it just feels slightly too repetitive to gain a higher place on our ranking.

4. Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways (Season 1, Episodes 12 & 13)

In the season finale, Rose, The Doctor and Jack find themselves separated, forced to work alone and find each other, before fighting the most challenging villain they’ve faced so far: An army led by the emperor Dalek. The three heroes need to work together to find a way to defeat the army and the emperor before they make it to Earth and begin to destroy everything in their path.

This double episode was outstanding and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The whole season had been leading up to this episode and we finally found out why the clue ‘Bad Wolf’ was left across each previous episode. The only faults with these episodes are that the time split between Jack, Rose and The Doctor seemed quite disconnected, the fight sequences lasted slightly too long, and they had already faced a Dalek earlier in the season, so it felt slightly repetitive. That being said, the villains were adapted and made even more challenging to defeat than the first time around. These are ultimately two great episodes that show the main characters in an epic battle, gives Rose a chance to prove herself as a strong companion and finally introduce us to David Tennant’s era as The Doctor.

3. The Unquiet Dead (Season 1, Episode 3)

This spooky episode, set in South Wales in the 1860’s shows a haunted Undertaker’s where all the body’s sent there end up getting possessed by these ghostly extraterrestrial lifeforces. It is down to The Doctor and Rose to perform an exorcism and try to rid the world of these ghostly figures.

This episode was gripping from start to finish, delving into the supernatural horror genre for the first half of the episode before resorting back to science fiction. The story was compelling, and it even showed the challenges in power dynamic between Rose and The Doctor without taking away from the main story of the episode. This was a very enjoyable watch.

2. Father’s Day (Season 1, Episode 8)

When Rose convinces The Doctor to travel back to her father’s death, her true intensions for becoming The Doctor’s companion are revealed. When she goes against The Doctor’s orders and saves her father’s life, altering history, the lives of everyone are at risk. It’s a race against the time to try and un-do Rose’s mistake before everyone pays the price.

This episode was outstanding and had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. It was compelling to learn more about Rose’s character and why she joined The Doctor, and to see the lengths she was willing to go to in order to save her family. This episode was so close to gaining the top ranking of our list, the only reason it missed out is because the use of Dragons to punish Rose and everyone else didn’t really make much sense, but the rest of the episode was incredible.

1. The End of the World (Season 1, Episode 2)

On their first proper ‘out of this world’ adventure, The Doctor and Rose travel to the year five billion to watch the end of the world from a space station. Only for someone in the station to have sabotaged it in a way that would kill everyone on board. The Doctor must work with Rose to find out who sabotaged the station and how to stop them before the sun expands and they all die.

Wow! This episode was incredible. It’s the first proper mission between Rose and The Doctor, introducing alien characters while also exploring the early stages of friendship between the two main characters. This episode is such an amazing watch, and I’m sure any Doctor Who fan would agree that it’s one of the best episodes of the show.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments section below.