What are the Doctor’s top 25 adventures to date?

October 28th, 2013

We’re about to step into the final leg of our 50th anniversary countdown and we will be building up to the momentous day by revealing the best Doctor Who stories of all time!

With some 798 episodes to choose from, hand-picking a tiny selection certainly is a mighty task but we will be wading our way through the Doctor’s tremendous history to give you 25 of his greatest on screen adventures to date.

The countdown will take us up to The Day of the Doctor

Which serials/episodes should make the cut? Post your suggestions below or tweet them to us throughout the countdown via the #DWTop25 hash tag. We hope our selection will serve as a small representation of all the joy and excitement that Doctor Who can offer.

#25 – The Hand of Fear

The Fourth Doctor, Broadcast 2nd-23rd October 1976, Buy on DVD

The TARDIS materialises in an English quarry where Sarah Jane is involved in a rock fall. When she is rescued, she is clutching a stone hand, which takes control of her and forces her to take it into the core of a nuclear reactor. The Doctor arrives too late to stop the hand from regenerating into an alien lifeform known as Eldrad, who demands to be returned to her home planet of Kastria. The Doctor obliges, but all is not as it seems with Eldrad.

#24 – Vincent and the Doctor

The Eleventh Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 5th June 2010, Buy on DVD

In 2010, the Doctor and Amy visit the Musée d’Orsay museum in Paris, where, in the Vincent Van Gogh gallery, they spot a mysterious face in the window of his painting, The Church at Auvers. Confused and intrigued, they travel back to Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890 to speak to the man himself.

#23 – The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

The Seventh Doctor, Broadcast 14th December 1988-4th January 1989, Buy on DVD

Although Ace hates clowns, the Doctor decides to take his companion to the Psychic Circus on the planet Segonax. There they find a group of scared performers who live in fear of the sinister and creepy Chief Clown. But what is so dangerous about this particular circus, why is there such a small audience and will Ace be able to overcome her fear before it’s too late?

#22 – The Mark of the Rani

The Sixth Doctor, Broadcast 2nd-9th February 1985, Buy DVD

In 19th century England, the Doctor finds himself facing two competing enemies: his old adversary the Master and the Rani, another Time Lord with a sinister plan. The local population are turning violent and unpredictable and, with a major meeting of the brains of the Industrial Revolution due to happen in the village soon, the Doctor must work out what exactly is causing all the problems…

#21 – Earthshock

The Fifth Doctor, Broadcast 8th March-16th March 1982, Buy DVD

A fateful landing on Earth in the 26th Century finds the TARDIS deep within a system of subterranean caves and even deeper within the mystery surrounding the brutal murder of a group of geologists working there. Who is controlling the androids guarding the hatch in the rock face? More importantly, what lies beyond the hatch? The answers provide a serious threat for the Doctor as the time and place is set for an encounter with his old arch enemies. The Cybermen are well and truly back and the Doctor and his companions could well be counting the cost in truly personal terms.

#20 – The Fires of Pompeii

The Tenth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 12th April 2008, Buy on DVD

When the Doctor and Donna arrive in 79AD, they discover psychic powers and beasts of stone running riot in the streets of old Pompeii. The time-travellers face their greatest challenge yet – can established history be changed, or must the Doctor let everyone die?

#19 – Spearhead from Space

The Third Doctor, Broadcast 3rd January-24th January 1970, Buy on DVD / Blu-ray

The TARDIS arrives on Earth in the middle of a meteorite shower and the Doctor is found by UNIT troops and taken to a nearby hospital. The Brigadier is faced with having to cope not only with the mysterious meteorites but also with Ransome, an ex-employee of a local plastics factory, who claims he has seen a walking mannequin.

#18 – An Unearthly Child

The First Doctor, Broadcast 23rd November-14th December 1963, Buy DVD

The Doctor takes schoolteachers Ian and Barbara back to the dawn of human history after they discover his TARDIS time machine. There, they become embroiled in a dangerous conflict between groups of cavemen who have lost the secret of making fire.

#17 – Father’s Day

The Ninth Doctor, Saturday 14th May 2005, Buy DVD

Rose travels back to 1987, to the day her father died. When she interferes in the course of events, the monstrous Reapers are unleashed upon the world, and a wedding day turns into a massacre.

#16 – The War Games

The Second Doctor, Broadcast 19th April-21st June 1969, Buy on DVD

The TARDIS arrives on a planet where a race known only as the Aliens have gathered soldiers from a number of different wars in Earth’s history, brainwashed them and put them to battle. Their aim is to form an invincible army from the survivors and use this to take over the galaxy. The War Lord is assisted by a Security Chief and a War Chief, the latter of whom the Doctor quickly recognises as a member of his own race, the Time Lords. The War Chief has provided the Aliens with the time vessels, SIDRATs, that are essential to their scheme; but he secretly plans to double-cross them and seize power for himself.

#15 – The Talons of Weng-Chiang

The Fourth Doctor, Broadcast 26th February-2nd April 1977, Buy on DVD

With the help of Professor Litefoot, the Doctor investigates the gruesome murder of a cabbie and the mysterious disappearances of young girls. Whilst being chased by giant rats and forced to pit his wits against an evil doll and a merciless illusionist, he comes face to face with his most deadly enemy to date: Magnus Greel – a fifty-first century war criminal posing as Weng Chiang, an ancient Chinese god. Can the Doctor thwart his dastardly plans before Leela becomes his next victim?

#14 – The Girl in the Fireplace

The Tenth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 5th May 2006, Buy on DVD

Madame de Pompadour finds the court of Versailles under attack from sinister clockwork killers, and her only hope of salvation lies with the man who has haunted her dreams since childhood – a mysterious stranger known only as the Doctor. But can a broken clock summon the Lord of Time?

#13 – The Visitation

The Fifth Doctor, Broadcast 15th February-23rd February 1982, Buy on DVD

When the Doctor tries to take Tegan back to Heathrow Airport, the TARDIS arrives in the 17th century instead of the 20th century. The time-travellers discover that a space capsule has landed nearby and its alien occupants intend to wipe out life on Earth by releasing rats infected with a great plague.

#12 – Doomsday

The Tenth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 7th July 2006, Buy on DVD

It’s the end of an epic journey as two mighty armies wage war across the Earth, with the human race caught in the middle. But as an unstoppable terror emerges from beneath Torchwood, the Doctor faces an even greater dilemma – does saving the world mean the death of Rose Tyler?

#11 – The Robots of Death

The Fourth Doctor, Broadcast 29th January-19th February 1977, Buy on DVD

The TARDIS, carrying the Doctor and his new companion Leela, arrives aboard a huge sandminer on a deserted world. The small human crew rely almost entirely on robots to carry out their every task and whim while they mine the planet’s rich minerals.

#10 – Survival

The Seventh Doctor, Broadcast 22nd November-6th December 1989, Buy on DVD

The Doctor and Ace battle against the Cheetah People who are abducting people from all over West London and, with the help of the Doctor’s nemesis the Master, taking them to a distant planet.

#9 – City of Death

The Fourth Doctor, Broadcast 29th September-20th October 1979, Buy on DVD

The Doctor is enjoying a holiday in Paris with Romana when, armed with several Mona Lisas, he uncovers an alien conspiracy that could result in the loss of all life on earth.

#8 – Dalek

The Ninth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 30th April 2005, Buy on DVD

Beneath the Salt Plains of Utah, billionaire collector Henry Van Statten holds the last relic of an alien race. When the Doctor and Rose investigate, they discover that the Time Lord’s oldest, and most deadly, enemy is about to break free…

#7 – Terror of the Zygons

The Fourth Doctor, Broadcast 30th August-20th September 1975, Buy on DVD

Answering the Brigadier’s space/time telegraph, the Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry arrive in the village of Tulloch, near Loch Ness. A series of attacks have taken place on local oil rigs, and many are blaming the legendary monster. The Doctor discovers the creature to be the Skarasen – cyborg pet of invading aliens the Zygons. Their own planet having been destroyed and their spaceship crippled, these deadly shape-shifters are now intent upon taking control of planet Earth.

#6 – Midnight

The Tenth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 14th June 2008, Buy on DVD

The Doctor is trapped, alone, powerless and terrified, on the planet Midnight, and soon, the knocking on the wall begins. Only a woman called Sky Silvestry seems to know the truth, but as paranoia turns into a witch-hunt, Sky turns the Doctor’s greatest strengths against him, and a sacrifice must be made…

#5 – The Five Doctors

The Fifth Doctor, Broadcast 25th November 1983, Buy on DVD

All five Doctors and many of their old companions are taken out of time and deposited in the Death Zone on Gallifrey. There they must battle not only the Master, but the Daleks, Cybermen and Yeti in order to reach the Dark Tower and discover the Tomb of Rassilon.

#4 – The Caves of Androzani

The Fifth Doctor, Broadcast 8th March-16th March 1984, Buy on DVD

Deep within the titular caves the disfigured, masked antihero Sharez Jek and his regiment of androids are locked in conflict with an army unit and a group of smugglers. At stake is control of the life-extending Spectrox, with plenty of subplots involving espionage, betrayal and revenge as well as big-business corruption, political assassination and silly looking reptilian monsters. When the Doctor and Peri enter this labyrinth they immediately become victims of deadly Spectrox poisoning.

#3 – Journey’s End

The Tenth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 5th July 2008, Buy on DVD

The Doctor is helpless, and even the TARDIS faces destruction. The only hope lies with the Doctor’s secret army of companions – but as they join forces to battle Davros himself, the prophecy declares that one of them will die.

#2 – The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The First Doctor, Broadcast 21st November-26th December 1964, Buy on DVD

The TARDIS materialises in London sometime after the year 2164. Dalek invaders are now ruling the Earth with the aid of humans converted into zombie-like Robomen, but they are opposed by a group of resistance fighters led by the wheelchair-using Dortmun. The travellers discover that the Daleks have established a huge mine in Bedfordshire, their aim being to remove the Earth’s core using a huge bomb and replace it with a powerful drive system so that they can pilot the planet around the galaxy. Ian manages to create a barrier in the shaft in order to intercept the bomb. The resulting explosion destroys the Daleks and their mine and creates a huge volcanic eruption. Susan has fallen in love with resistance fighter David Campbell, and the Doctor decides to leave her on Earth to find a new life with him, while he continues on his travels with Ian and Barbara.

#1 – Blink

The Tenth Doctor, Broadcast Saturday 9th June 2007, Buy on DVD

In an old abandoned house, the statues wait. And when Sally Sparrow starts to recieve a series of cryptic messages from a mysterious stranger called the Doctor, she soon realises that she holds the key to defeating the Weeping Angels.

And thus ends our countdown! The Day of the Doctor will premiere worldwide TONIGHT.

Share your 50th anniversary hopes and dreams in our dedicated discussion…

17 comments on this article
  1. Wolfoe
    October 28th, 2013 at 11.29pm | #1

    I think that the End of time parts one and two have to be on this list, its my favourite episode ever

  2. The 13th Doctor
    October 28th, 2013 at 11.32pm | #2

    Genesis Of The Daleks
    The Eleventh Hour
    An Unearthly Child
    The Daleks
    The Tenth Planet

    Just some off the top of my head

  3. Bailey
    October 28th, 2013 at 11.50pm | #3

    Pandorica episodes

  4. Profzed
    October 30th, 2013 at 2.47am | #4

    Off to a great start with “Hand of Fear”. Yes, one of the best.

    My picks for Best BC and AP (Before Christopher/After Paul):

    Horror of Fang Rock
    Vincent and the Doctor

    “Vincent and the Doctor” isn’t just an outstanding episode of Doctor Who though. It’s an outstanding example of Television as a whole.

  5. Freddy Jones
    October 30th, 2013 at 1.26pm | #5

    The City of Death has to be in there. D:

  6. Steve
    October 31st, 2013 at 11.31am | #6

    @Profzed Have to disagree with you on “Vincent and the Doctor”. When the monster is killed, the Doctor appeared not to care less. It is out of character, completely.

    Most of my Top 25 are going to be from the classic series with a few from RTD era. Steven Moffatt has not been able to give anything really worth being anywhere near the top 10 while he has been “head writer” !

  7. Steve
    October 31st, 2013 at 6.47pm | #7

    There is absolutely no way Vincent and The Doctor is better than the Hand of Fear. In anyway shape or form!

  8. Patrick
    October 31st, 2013 at 7.54pm | #8

    Vincent and the Doctor imo should be higher on the list but I’m glad its within the top 25; most definitely one of the Doctor’s best adventures and Karen was outstanding.

  9. Wolfoe
    November 1st, 2013 at 1.42am | #9

    Yay, it’s great that Vincent and the Doctor got in! Love that episode

  10. Patrick
    November 2nd, 2013 at 12.39pm | #10


    Obviously the majority including myself do think that but at least Hand of Fear is in the top 25!

  11. Patrick
    November 2nd, 2013 at 12.40pm | #11

    *think that Vincent and the Doctor is better

  12. Profzed
    November 2nd, 2013 at 8.51pm | #12

    While “Mark of the Rani” and “The Two Doctors” tie for my favorite Colin Baker stories, I don’t think either of them would be in my own “Top 25″. If I had to include at least one story from each Doctor in a Top 25, then I suppose I would include “Mark of the Rani” as Colin’s best.

  13. Profzed
    November 2nd, 2013 at 9.19pm | #13

    I can see from your post that you are quite biased against anything from the Moffat era. There’s certainly nothing wrong with you feeling that way and having your opinions.

    I’ve never taken it that the Doctor had no feelings for the death of the monster. The Doctor bends down next to it and with caring eyes, listens to it as it struggles with it’s last words, “I’m afraid.”. He gently touches and strokes it and assures it with, “There, there. It’s O. K. It’ll be fine.” The Doctor then bows his head and wipes his eyes in sadness.

    However, for a good example of the 11th Doctor not caring about the death of others, watch the end of “Power of Three” when he makes absolutely no effort whatsoever to get all the unconscious humans off the alien ship before it explodes. Amy and Rory could have been getting the humans out of there during the Doctor’s entire confrontation with the Shakri dude. That scene is incredibly disappointing to me.

  14. Grace
    November 3rd, 2013 at 9.02pm | #14

    The Hand of Fear is one of my favorite but considering its Sarah Jane Smith and Tom Baker that’s no surprise! Somewhere on my list is Silence in the Library, Turn Left, and The Waters of Mars.

  15. Clara Evans
    November 4th, 2013 at 11.15am | #15

    Let’s kill Hitler
    A Good man goes to War
    partners in Crime
    the nightmare in silver
    Remembrance of the daleks …. and many more

  16. &
    November 23rd, 2013 at 1.08pm | #16

    The Caves of Androzani for sure.

  17. Clara Evans
    November 26th, 2013 at 10.01am | #17

    I don’t even know if this episode counts but “An Adventure is Space and Time” Should also be one of the top 25 – I cried so hard :-)

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