10 Most Controversial Doctor Who Episodes Of All Time

Shocking Doctor Who moments that are impossible to forget.

Doctor Who Colin Baker The Twin Dilemma strangle Peri
BBC Studios

Doctor Who has been around for nearly 60 years and throughout this time it has gone through some incredible highs and all-time lows; from the glory days of Tom Baker and his long scarf to the show's cancellation at the end of the '80s. The show's revival in 2005 was a welcome return to form but in recent years the show has been somewhat neglected and taken on a bumpy ride.

Throughout the show's history it has been subject to moments of controversy, varying from complaints about 'graphic' scenes of torture in Dalek or a smattering of idiots being offended by a brief same-sex kiss in Deep Breath, but occasionally this outrage is extended to a whole episode. Whether it was due to tampering with the show's long established mythology or an entire story which has aged badly, these episodes have entered the hall of infamy for their controversial content.

From Colin Baker's violent (and extremely brash) entrance in The Twin Dilemma to the more recent and polarising reveal in Jodie Whittaker's The Timeless Children, here are the 10 most controversial Doctor Who episodes of all time.

10. The Deadly Assassin

Doctor Who Colin Baker The Twin Dilemma strangle Peri

During Tom Baker's third season as the Doctor the show began testing the waters regarding how far it could go which resulted in a story called The Deadly Assassin. This four-parter was flagged by one outraged critic, Mary Whitehouse, who claimed it showed excessive graphic violence being dished out and received by the Doctor.

Whether it was the Doctor appearing to shoot the Time Lord President or the Master appearing as a horrific rotten skeleton in what one critic called one of "the most revolting images presented on teatime TV", the show had certainly taken a darker turn. This is perhaps best encapsulated by the infamous cliffhanger of the Doctor being held down in a river on the verge of drowning before cutting to the end credits.

The last image of the Doctor being essentially waterboarded was deemed so controversial that after Whitehouse publicly campaigned against it the BBC issued an apology and cut out the sequence in repeats. While it may have been pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable for primetime television it is also worth noting that Whitehouse was guilty of pushing her own agenda in the form of her ultra-conservative and bigoted views during this era.

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An avid cinephile, love Trainspotting (the film, not the hobby), like watching bad films ironically (The Room, Cats) and hate my over-reliance on brackets (they’re handy for a quick aside though).