Doctor Who : The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances 1.09, 1.10

Here is the Guide for Parents!!!

This is the one that clinched it.

I was a casual viewer, watching more to join my roommates than for my own pleasure. We started with the revival series. I liked them all okay. Father’s Day was the strongest so far, the Slitheen struck me as pretty weak. Then we watched this episode. For the first time, Doctor Who made me sit up. This wasn’t the cheapo running-down-corridors show I watched a few times as a kid (and have since grown to love). This wasn’t simply some sci-fi comedy like I’d believed the new series to be.
Before this episode, you could have taken Doctor Who away from me and I wouldn’t have even noticed. And now…well now, I write a blog that is 1/3 about the Doctor Who. Now I’m writing after just reading a couple Doctor Who comic books. Reading the spin-off stuff graduates a fan to a whole new level. I just finished watching every TV adventure of the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Doctors.

I am a Whovian. And it all started here.

With which episode did you first learn that Doctor Who was something really special?

This is a pretty accessible story too. Doctor Who can be pretty intimidating to new viewers. I would recommend showing this to a friend you’d like to introduce the Doctor to. Treat it like a movie (it runs about an hour and a half altogether). Say something like, “The Doctor is the last survivor of a race of time travelers.  His spaceship is a blue box. Rose is his newest friend; she’s from nowadays. And he’s sometimes pretty sour over his world ending. They travel through time and space and have adventures.” Then press play.

This story is just told so well. It’s one of those few sci-fi mysteries that has a solution that actually lives up to the intrigue of the set-up. Captain Jack’s introductory story serves him better than any of his future appearances on this show (I admit to not watching much of his spin-off show Torchwood; though I’ve heard it’s good.)

Part of this story’s enduring charm is its transcendence of the dull old Who/New Who debate. It is firmly planted in both series. The pacing is like the new show, but the exposition is like the old. The situation is world-shattering and deadly like the new show, but the Doctor’s the hero, not the one facing an existential dilemma like he wouldn’t have in the old show.

And it’s funny. From the opening joke (“It’s mauve!”) to the closing scenes with Richard Wilson’s old lady patient (“Well there is a war on. Is it possible you’ve miscounted?”) And the funniest ever resolution to a cliffhanger.


The kid is restored by knowing who his ‘mummy’ is. The alien stuff made him and all the others in town sick, with the gas mask stuck on their faces. Once Jamie discovered who his mother was, he was able to be healed correctly. The image of his true parent was brought out in him. The Doctor used the glowy-nano-healing-tech on the rest of the infected people. With a clear vision for what a human is, the glowy stuff covered everyone and restored them – even restored them to better than what they were before!

Just this once

Lego Ninth Doctor/

Lego Ninth Doctor


2 thoughts on “Doctor Who : The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances 1.09, 1.10

  1. You’re right, this is probably the best and most accessible of the early episodes. It’s also the first episiode in a long time where no-one dies, which I love about it – it saves the show’s fundamental optimism, which makes it special for me. Moffat is my favourite nuWho writer.

    • It’s between Moffat and Cornell for me. If Paul Cornell wrote more than two stories, I think he would easily pull in the lead for best nuWho writer.

      But y’know…for all his faults, RTD really hit a couple of pretty big homeruns. Midnight, Turn Left, New Earth, etc.

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