Doctor Who: 15 Most Tear-Jerking Moments

He’s been around for 50 years, and he’s been known to put us through the emotional wringer once or twice.

Mark White



With great comedy, thrilling drama and fantastically intricate plots comes tragedy: a loyal, but often unwelcome companion of Doctor Who. The Doctor’s never very far away from losing absolutely everything. That’s the curse of travelling in a little blue box across all of time and space, visiting the most dangerous places that the universe has to offer, and taking people that he’ll outlive by centuries.

While no fan enjoys watching the Doctor suffer, there have been some beautiful moments in the show’s history that have moved us all to tears. It’s one of the less obvious facets of the show – we all tend to think of the adventure, the excitement and the wit – but Who can’t escape the fact that it revolves its cast members every couple of years; it was a whole six series into the revival that a showrunner didn’t get rid of the companion, the actor playing the Doctor, or both.

Let’s have a look at some of the most tear-jerking moments in Doctor Who’s history, from the heartbreakingly sad, to the deftly poignant. Which are your favourites? Comment below!

Honourable Mention: Torchwood, ‘Exit Wounds’


Somewhere in the BBC, someone decided that Torchwood, the Doctor Who spinoff, should be broadcast to more viewers. Much of the sex that drove the show – monsters often wanted to conquer the world via sleeping with the team – was gone, replaced with a more mature tone.

No one really remembers much about Torchwood these days, except to mention how awful Miracle Day was, but Series 2 delivered one of the most moving episodes in Whoniverse history. Owen Harper died mid-series and was resurrected, but he was simply a consciousness in a dead body for the rest of his time on the show; when he realises that the nuclear plant he’s trying to save is going into meltdown, he panics, screaming at Tosh on the other end of the line – who’s been mortally wounded – about how he’s about to die again. Tosh urges him not to shout at her, because it’s breaking her heart. The pair calm down and die together; it’s a painfully tragic finale.

This would be the last proper series of Torchwood before the five-part Children of Earth changed the script for the show. It wasn’t just shocking to kill two major characters, it pretty much forced the show to evolve. That’s one hell of a damning conclusion.