If there’s one thing Doctor Who fans love, it’s a rewatch, especially when there’s a big anniversary coming up.
And with over 800 episodes of Doctor Who programming now on BBC iPlayer, it’s easier than ever to marathon the greatest show in the galaxy.
However, in order to watch everything between now and the 25th November, you’d need an actual TARDIS (or no sleep for weeks).
To that end, we’ve put together a curated watchlist for the 60th anniversary specials – from landmark moments for the Doctor and Donna, to those stories that showcase what Russell T Davies and his team are capable of.
Although this list will only contain NuWho picks, honourable mentions must go to the following classic series stories: The Celestial Toymaker part four (we would recommend the other three instalments too, but the BBC junked them); Terror of the Vervoids, which was Mel’s first encounter with the Doctor (sort of); and the comic-strip on which the first special is based, The Star Beast.
With that down, let's start with an episode that might just be RTD's finest work on the show...
RTD is probably best remembered for his bombastic Christmas specials and series finales. Though his era contained many examples of more contained chamber pieces, they were usually written by other people.
But Midnight is that rare example that was penned by the man himself.
Largely comprising a single, 40-minute scene in one room and with the same eight characters throughout, Midnight is unlike anything else in the first RTD era. With its unrelenting psychological horror, it left a massive impact on viewers – very impressive when you consider that it was written in a matter of days, as a replacement for another script. Talk about diamonds forming under pressure!
It’s also a brilliant showcase for David Tennant, just as the episode that follows it, Turn Left, is a brilliant showcase for Catherine Tate.
Upcoming second special Wild Blue Yonder has recently been described by Tennant as “Russell off the leash”, and Midnight and Turn Left are probably the closest we’ve got to this so far. Though it sounds like he’s going even further this time, which is very exciting.
Time will tell whether Wild Blue Yonder is as crazy as Midnight or not. But as an example of what RTD can do when he’s at the top of his game, it doesn't get much better than this.