Doctor Who: Every Revival Episode Rated (Series One)
When Doctor Who returned in 2005, it needed a huge opening statement to stamp its mark on television. And that it did. With Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper leading the travels, Series One has stood the test of time.
Series One is notable for its restrained, buttoned-down, working class approach. This puts character and interaction above goofy space adventures. The revived show could not ask for a more efficient start.
Rose – 5/10
A passable springboard for the series to jump off. Eccleston and Piper make do with some horrifically aged effects and decision-making. Plastic Mickey nearly kills the show before it begins but the intrigue holds us firm.
End of the World – 8/10
Colourful creatures and an exciting mission pale in comparison to a rather beautiful ending. Bold of the second episode in the show to be as introspective as it is over-the-top. This episode sold it for me as a child.
The Unquiet Dead – 4/10
The most forgettable episode of the first series. Simon Callow steals the show as Charles Dickens but not nearly as spooky or funny enough to be memorable. Cardiff is pretty though even if I was sick of it by 2010..
Aliens In London – 5/10
A slow but down-to-earth first-parter that is almost ruined by farting aliens. I enjoy the emphasis on real-life consequences of travelling with the Doctor than any of the political commentary. One of the few episodes that really does feel its age.
World War Three – 6/10
A much more balanced episode. The Slitheen are all sorts of entertaining and the episode’s climax is so ridiculous that I can’t help but smile every time. Davies’ dialogue is sublime. Also, Mickey saves the day. Nice.
Dalek – 10/10
The best Dalek episode of all time. Eccleston at his darkest combined with an enthralling dissection of the inner workings of the universe’s most dangerous monster make this one of the all-time greats. Truly a game-changer.
The Long Game – 5/10
Not nearly as clever or as relevant as I wish it was in 2021. Utterly wastes Simon Pegg as a guest star in favour of a goofy CGI monstrosity and clunky writing. At least Rose is coming into her own.
Fathers Day – 9/10
A dark, tragic tale of the dangers of time travel. Only gets better the more I watch it despite how melancholy it is in design. One of the most hopeless situations the Doctor has ever been in. Still waiting for the Reapers to come back.
The Empty Child – 9/10
Almost everything about this episode excels. The acting, pacing, writing and of course, the scares. I don’t know anyone who was not freaked out at that little boy for years. Also can we talk about that production design? Absolutely fantastic. Really sucks you into wartime London in the 1940s.
The Doctor Dances – 10/10
Moffat’s triumphant two-part story remains one of the most perfect stories in all of Who. As terrifying as it is heart-warming, it is an absolute pleasure from beginning to end. Also one of the funniest scripts that’s ever been produced, making me wish we saw more of the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack together.
Boom Town – 8/10
Massively underrated story. The Slitheen’s transformation into sympathetic, three-dimensional characters shows just how much care was put in here. Also, Rose and Mickey’s characterisation is pretty stellar. You should really give this one a revisit.
Bad Wolf – 7/10
If you can get past the cheesiness of the game shows, this episode turns into an intense, ponderous mystery that keeps the audience really intrigued. Rose’s plight is nerve-jangling while Jack’s is juvenile. Slightly better in the satirical element than others in this series but clearly occupied with setting the stage.
The Parting of the Ways – 9/10
A sobering, majestic finale which saves Eccleston’s best material for last. The only downside is that it reminds me of how short-lived his time in the TARDIS was. The Dalek Emperor is as intimidating now as he was then. Jack goes out fighting, the Doctor gives up hope and Rose saves the universe. All culminates in my second-favourite finale of the show. Wonder how the next guy is going to be received?
Recommended Reading: Let’s talk ‘Doctor Who’ Series 11