Doctor Who’s most controversial episodes


The Doctor has lived for greater than 2,000 years, and never all of them have been good – in reality a few of them have been downright controversial. From violence to undesirable telephone calls, complaints have dogged Doctor Who because the earliest TARDIS journeys, some extra justified than others.

However that are the most-complained about and controversial episodes? Which bits are prone to be unnoticed of the 5 Hundred-12 months Diary?

Listed here are among the moments that precipitated headlines and complaints.

The Time of Angels (2010)

Doctor Who – The Time of Angels (Graham Norton graphic)


The tense cliffhanger to Matt Smith’s fourth episode noticed the Doctor going through down a whole military of Weeping Angels… and Graham Norton. On the vital second, a cartoon model of the speak present host marched out onto the display screen in a banner advert for expertise present Over the Rainbow. Doctor Who followers weren’t completely satisfied, to say the least, with greater than 5,000 writing to the BBC to complain.

The Company apologised and claimed the advert had by chance run too early. Norton is definitely a long-time enemy of the Doctor, although. Attributable to an analogous mix-up, his voice was heard bleeding into the opening seconds of Rose, the primary episode within the new-Who period.

Can You Hear Me? (2020)


Whereas the current sequence’ episode was applauded for tackling psychological well being themes, a scene in the direction of the tip – the place Bradley Walsh’s Graham confessed his fears over his most cancers returning, solely to be rebuffed by an apparently detached Doctor – precipitated complaints, with some pondering Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord appeared detached to his fears.

Nevertheless, the BBC stated that was not the intention, as an alternative hoping that “by exhibiting the Doctor struggling to seek out the appropriate phrases” they’d convey sympathy for individuals who would possibly discover themselves in an analogous state of affairs.

“We by no means got down to upset our viewers with what we present and this episode tackled some delicate themes,” the BBC stated in an announcement.

“The episode used desires and nightmares to discover the interior lives of the companions.

“Because of Zellin’s nightmare powers, Ryan, Yaz, and Graham have been compelled to confront their worst fears, lots of which relate to the best way touring with the Doctor has modified their lives.

“When Graham opened as much as the Doctor about his worry of his most cancers returning her response was by no means meant to be dismissive. The Doctor’s pal was scared, and we see her struggling to cope with the severity of the state of affairs.”

The assertion continued: “The intention of the scene was to acknowledge how onerous it may be to cope with conversations on this material. When confronted with these conditions, folks don’t at all times have the appropriate phrases to say on the proper time, and this will usually result in emotions of guilt.”

The Lethal Murderer (1976)

Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin


The Doctor has by no means had a extra implacable foe than Mary Whitehouse, the British ethical crusader who spent many years preventing towards smut and violence on TV. Doctor Who was a frequent goal of the Clear-Up TV stress group, particularly throughout Tom Baker’s period, when it should be stated the present was significantly bloodthirsty.

Whitehouse was most upset by the cliffhanger ending to episode three of The Lethal Murderer, which ended with Tom Baker’s head underwater, moments from drowning. Whitehouse claimed “the programme accommodates among the sickest and most horrific materials ever seen on kids’s tv” and stated it represented “a brand new barrier damaged.”

Deep Breath (2014)

Neve McIntosh

Peter Capaldi’s very first episode triggered a lot consideration on Twitter, and 6 complaints to Ofcom, for a kiss shared between Madame Vastra and her spouse Jenny Flint. Viewers complained in regards to the “blatant homosexual agenda” – however have been barely much less bothered that one half of the couple was a space-lizard from the daybreak of time.

Dalek (2005)

Billie Piper Dalek

Daleks are a rum lot, however the British Board of Movie Classifications (BBFC) felt sorry for one when releasing their first new-Who look on DVD. Awarding the episode a 12 score – which means solely kids 12 and older ought to watch it – the BBFC objected to a scene the place Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor tortures the captive Dalek with electrical energy.

Of their assertion, the organisation stated: “We’re involved about position fashions for kids utilizing the type of techniques that Doctor Who used towards the Dalek. If that was transferred into the playground it could be one thing we’d need to sort out.”

The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)

Talons of Weng-Chiang

Casting white actors as different ethnicities was surprisingly widespread just some many years in the past, although at present The Talons of Weng-Chiang – which noticed white actors use make-up to painting Chinese language characters and accommodates using racial slurs- is one in every of Who’s most controversial episodes.

And actually, in 2020 BritBox added a set off warning to the serial, noting that it “accommodates stereotypes that some might discover offensive.”

A BritBox supply advised“BritBox supplies all kinds of programming from completely different many years for our subscribers to select from.

“A few of this content material displays the occasions and attitudes of the time through which these programmes have been made.

“Acceptable warnings are on the positioning to flag delicate materials and allow our subscribers to make their very own decisions as to what they watch.

The Stolen Earth (2008)

The cast of Doctor Who (BBC)

The solid of Doctor Who (BBC)

You don’t get extra ex-directory than the TARDIS, so followers have been thrilled when its telephone quantity flashed on display screen on this David Tennant episode.

Greater than 2,500 folks supposedly tried to name the quantity – 07700 900 461– anticipating to be put by means of to the Time Lord. Sadly for them, it was chosen from an inventory of ‘secure’ disconnected numbers, which means all they obtained was a dial tone or automated message. Boo!

Vengeance on Varos (1985)

The Doctor has a darkish aspect, after all – however ought to she or he ever mete our dying?

Loads of followers didn’t suppose so after this serial noticed a few guards tumble right into a vat of acid, with Colin Baker’s Doctor partially responsible as he quipped “Forgive me if I don’t be a part of you.”

This scene – in addition to scenes of genetic experiments and tried hangings – led to loads of complaints to the Radio Occasions letters web page and Factors of View, with Mark Campbell’s Doctor Who – the Full Information later describing it as “infamous” and “deeply problematic.”

Darkish Water (2014)

Peter Capaldi and Michelle Gomez in Doctor Who (BBC, HF)

One of many darkest controversies got here when Michelle Gomez’s Missy revealed dying was…effectively, a destiny worse than dying. The implication that each corpse remained acutely aware and able to experiencing ache –together with its personal cremation– was off-putting to say the least, and triggered a whole lot of complaints to Ofcom. “Doctor Who’s a household drama with a protracted custom of tackling among the extra basic questions on life and dying,” the BBC stated in an announcement.

“We have been conscious of the themes explored in ‘Darkish Water’ and are assured that they’re applicable within the context of the heightened sci-fi world of the present.”

And right here we thought it was about bow ties and technobabble.

This text was initially printed in 2014

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