What is the Most Doctor Who Story?

Not your favourite, not the best, but which episode(s) absolutely encapsulate everythng that DW is to you? Which episode is the most Doctor Who-iest episode that has ever existed?

I had to think for a while for myself, but I think for me it’s The Daemons for Classic, and The End of the World for Revival.

The Daemons I picked because it has a cult, it has silliness, the Doctor is so Doctory in it, and if you dig into it a little you can make it as deep or not as you want. I think I like it when DW is silly and spooky at the same time.

The End of the World is similar on that front - I nearly picked The Pilot, but there’s something about the joy and the grief all that the same time in TEotW that encapsulates it for me.


This is an excellent question and one which I will have to think about. I’m not actually sure I agree with either of your picks!


Interesting question. My first thought is The Beast Below. They arrive on a strange spaceship with a big mystery and a government that hides something from the people. The solution to the problem is to be nice and that is something that the Doctors companion realizes by observing the Doctor.


That was nearly one of my picks too, I love that episode and again, it’s got all those juxtapositions that make DW really interesting


I want an explanation on why you don’t agree :slight_smile:


That is why I love The Claws of Axos so much - it is the very essence of Doctor Who for me condensed into a four part serial.

It is not the best, but it has absolutely everything I love about Who in it!


I’m ruminating but I’m getting a headache, the class are working on art are noisy at the best of times. I’m trying to write their reports at the same time.


I think it breaks down into general eras. These are sort of the milestones of my understanding of Doctor Who. They sort of build on each other to give me the view I have now. They are my touchstones.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth - Sprawling, ambitious with the right amount of jank. One wrong move, and it will all fall apart.

Early Colour
Genesis of the Daleks - Moral with no clear ‘good’ answer.

Late Colour
The Five Doctors - A celebration of the show.

Early Revival
Midnight - Not everything is going to be OK. Sometimes you can’t ‘win’.

Late Revival
The Day of the Doctor - See the Five Doctors.


Going with a specific definition of the Most Doctor Who story: Power of the Doctor. It’s got the past. It’s got not-technically-the-future-but-space-in-a-futurey-way. It’s got the Daleks. It’s got the Cybermen. It’s got the Master. It’s got UNIT. It’s got old companions. It’s got old Doctors. It’s got triumph. It’s got heartbreak. It’s got camp. And it’s got technically three regenerations. How much more Doctor Who can you really get in 90 minutes?

To answer in a more real way in the spirit of what you’re asking, I think I wanna go with Mummy on the Orient Express. It’s a fun adventure that’s sort of simultaneously got historical and futuristic elements, and shows off the Doctor being simultaneously brilliant and flawed. And most importantly, I think it’s an episode that is really heavily about the relationship between 12 and Clara, and I think fundamentally the show is about the relationship between Doctor and companion far more than it is about any adventures they go on.


If I’m just going for one story, it’d have to be Under the Lake/Before the Flood for me

Brilliant cliffhanger, time travel is integral to the plot, interesting and mysterious monsters, great setting(s), and if you’re going for the most doctor who ever, it’s got to be a base under siege


I think I’m erring towards @BillFiler’s vibe with The Claws of Axos (although not that story specifically). A story which is very middle of the road and doesn’t involve something inherently different to the majority of the show (which would rule out suggestions like Midnight, The Five Doctors or even Genesis, for me).

I’m thinking it needs to be a story which has the following:

  • The Doctor and companion arrive in the TARDIS in an unusual environment.
  • There is a mystery, probably involving the deaths of guest characters, which the Doctor needs to solve.

I’m thinking something maybe like Planet of Evil, The Sensorites, Fury from the Deep, Death to the Daleks or Pyramids of Mars.

I don’t know if this is even what I’ll settle on, it’s just what my gut is telling me :slight_smile:


Pyramids I would also agree with you on - I like your two conditions, that seems very right to me


Sounds like Robots of Death to me.


Seconding Pyramids of Mars for the classic series. Such a classic.

As for the revival… I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Rings of Akhaten. I know it’s a controversial one but it’s a real checklist of all things New Who — vibrant alien world, bizarre side characters, an emotional hook (Merry Gejelh) that gets the companion embroiled in an Evil Scheme (trademark), a crazy chase scene, an evil from the dawn of time, a big Speech (trademark), and the companion saving the day in a heartfelt and triumphant way.

Also, Akhaten is really good! I’ll die on this hill!


Where is this hill? Just so I know where not to go😉


Seconding Akhaten as a good episode! The song is a bit naff, but truly the whole epiosde is full of heart, it was another of my near picks too


For me - at least in the classic era - I’d say City of Death because it feels like the absolute distillation of classic era iconography and Douglas Adams involvement.

For the revival, I’m not as sure, but Silence in the Library’s a pretty good bet. Great ideas, great style, great characters, filled with recognisable imagery and moments, written by one of the most popular writers from the new series, with an iconic antagonist, character introduction and a simple but effective story.


I’m going to suggest for classic “The Face of Evil”. Set in a far future colony with cargo cult descendants of a survey team, we have the fourth Doctor, easily the most recognizable classic Doctor, threatening people with jelly babies.

The actual villain is a malfunctioning computer, and it’s not really their fault. And the whole problem at had was originally caused by the Doctor botching helping them on a previous visit we never see!

And we get an iconic companion forcing her way into the TARDIS team rather than face a fate worse then death; being elected leader of all these guys…


Akhaten rocks and way underrated! A solid choice for quintessential Doctor Who.

Others that come to mind are The Daleks, Spearhead from Space, and even something like Oxygen.


I honestly think Rose does a tremendous job of encapsulating the revival, or at least, RTD’s first era of the revival. I feel like it tells you exactly what to expect from the show going forward, and the show delivers.