10 Doctor Who Controversies That Divide Fans

From Genesis of the Daleks to The End of Time, Doctor Who has plenty of controversies to its name.

Doctor Who the Daleks
BBC Studios

Doctor Who has one of the most passionate and enduring fanbases in the world. Millions of Whovians have stuck around through hiatuses, cancellations, wilderness years, and two or three rough patches in terms of the main show's quality. Like the Master and the Daleks, this fandom just never seems to die, and with the excitement surrounding Russell T Davies' return in 2023, it only looks set to grow.

Like any fandom though, Whovians also have those issues that they just can't seem to agree on. While the vast majority of Doctor Who stories are well-liked and don't cause much of a stir among fans, there are certain episodes - or certain scenes, characters, and storylines - that aren't so lucky.

There are moments like these littered across the classic and modern eras - those controversial deaths, insane plot twists, and major retcons that are noticeably divisive within the fandom, inspiring debates that are much more frequent (and much more heated) than your average episode will draw.

Should the Daleks go away for a while? What was the Fourth Doctor's biggest mistake? Was Hell Bent a stroke of genius, or a disappointing mess? Depending on which Doctor Who fan you ask, opinion on these issues could swing either way...

10. Was The End Of Time A Satisfying Sendoff For The Tenth Doctor?

Doctor Who the Daleks
BBC Studios

With David Tennant dominating Doctor Who news cycles as of late, it's a good time to revisit a topic that has seen much debate in the years since he left the show: was his final story, The End of Time, actually any good? Or was it a hot mess that didn't give arguably the most beloved Doctor of all time the sendoff he deserved?

You'll often find people saying that The End of Time has a bunch of terrific moments peppered throughout (the four knocks, the Rassilon confrontation, the Doctor's "a Time Lord lives too long" speech), but that the Master plotline is far too silly, the Doctor's farewell tour is self-indulgent and drags on way too long, and that sub-villain Joshua Naismith is a complete waste of screen time.

Elsewhere, some find that the Tenth Doctor's final line "I don't want to go" veers heavily into cringe territory, while for others, it instantly triggers the waterworks.

In general, it's the story's emotional beats that people praise the most, from the Doctor's realisation that Wilf is trapped in the radiation booth, to Geoffrey Noble lending the Doctor some money for a lottery ticket. Top bloke. Thanks to Bernard Cribbins and David Tennant's incredible performances, there's a massive beating heart (or hearts) at the centre of The End of Time that does paper over some of the cracks - but coming off The Waters of Mars's thrilling, complex storyline, it's hard not to wish that Ten's conclusion was a bit more engaging in the narrative department.

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Writer and video editor WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.