For their respective Moments of Awesome, please refer to the individual pages:
- Classic series
- New series
- Big Finish Doctor Who
- Doctor Who Magazine
- Doctor Who New Adventures
- Eighth Doctor Adventures
In a discussion as to who was the best companion in Doctor Who, there were a surprisingly large number of votes for Ace. When someone asked why, everyone gave the same reason: she once beat the crap out of a Dalek with a technologically-superpowered baseball bat. Because it called her "small". In fact, Sophie Aldred herself mentioned in a DVD documentary that, after her marriage and her children, the greatest moment of her life was the fact that she beat the crap out of a Dalek using a baseball bat. And she would carve it on her tombstone. Sophie, if you're ever going to read this, we encourage you to do just that. Not that we want you to die any time soon, of course...
- Incidentally, this is what inspired the creation of the Crowning Moment Of Awesome article in the first place. Click here to see the awesome in action.◊ Or here.
- This also inspired the creation of the Ace Test for the evaluation of the physical badassness of companions. Basically: "can you see this person clobbering a Dalek with a baseball bat?"
- The first Doctor looks and acts like he's 60+ years old (he's actually about 400). So when he's challenged to a kung fu duel in The Eleventh Tiger you expect him to come up with something brilliant and avoid the fight. He doesn't. Instead he physics the arrogant thug into submission. He uses his momentum from an attack to flip him onto his back. To prove he's not a one hit wonder, he does it again. THEN when the thug pulls out his "breaks clay jars, and heads are softer then clay jars" kick, the Doctor stands in classic "bring it on" pose and catches the light with his sapphire ring, temporarily blinding the thug. The kick still connects. With the pole the Doctor was standing in front of. All the Doctor did was tilt his head. He then sets about tending the thug's wounds. Ian and Barbara are stunned into silence. If they weren't paragons of '60s virtue they'd have both said "ohh hell yes." As it is, they eventually respond by reciting the lyrics to Kung Fu Fighting.
- Illegal Alien (originally a PDA):
- The Seventh Doctor not only manages to reprogram the Cybermen, but he makes them attack the Nazis that were storing them. That's right, Cybermen. Fighting. Nazis. Guess who won? Bonus points for the Cyberleader taking one look at Captain Hartmann, throwing him across the room and later shooting him in the face. They also make a MG42 machine gun explode by simply grabbing the barrel, heat up a Tiger Tank, destroy all the Nazis and generally be badass. To top it all off, unlike what the cover of the Monster Collection edition shows, they're not the "Nightmare in Silver" Cybermen or the Cybus Cybermen - they're Mondasian Cybermen who look◊like◊ this◊. And yet they're terrifying enough to make a SS Commander shit his pants.
- The human characters still have loads of CMOAs, and are all pretty damn badass. The most shining examples are, naturally, Ace, who hits a Cyberman hard enough to make a huge dent in one of its "Handles", Cody McBride, who attacks the Cybermen with a oxycelatene torch and manages to saw off the arm of one of them, Mama the bartender who blasts a Cybermat with a double-barreled shotgun, Colonel Schott, the WWI veteran who decides to keep on fighting the Cybermen (which he isn't scared of at all) with a Luger and a Tiger's main gun while the driver is dead and the arrogant SS Commander is busy crapping his pants, and Colonel George Lazonby, who goes down fighting the Cybermen with a Bren Gun.
- The fact that the reprogrammed Cyberleader scans Ace, George Limb and Captain Hartmann, then decides to ignore the other two completely and attack Hartmann. This, and the subsequent attack on the Nazis, can be interpreted as evidence that even the Cybermen hate Nazis, probably because the Nazis stand for everything the Cybermen don't - the Cybermen convert to survive... the Nazis exterminated millions; even the Cyberman can't stand for that, it's not survival.
- It's also a meta-moment of awesome: The Nazis think of themselves as being the Übermensch, but nope, the Cybermen see them for who they are—just another bunch of humans.
BBC New Series Adventures
- "Winner Takes All": The Ninth Doctor disarms a knife wielding Darren Pye with ease and then stares him down into a retreat.
- "Something Borrowed": When the guards at the wedding refuse to let Peri in after she asks nicely while trying to explain the situation, the Doctor just walks up and barges his way in.
The Adventure Games
- City of the Daleks: The Doctor walks through a room full of Daleks who've just been blinded and are spraying gunfire nonstop to save the Daleks exterminating humanity and Amy from being erased from time. And of course then has to run to the top to escape the explosion.
- In The Gunpowder Plot, Rory, stuck in orbit around Earth within the Houses of Parliament of 1605, armed with an EMP generator and a Dennis the Menace slingshot, takes out as many Rutans and Sontarans as he can. That's right, two species locked in war for millennia can't take down the Lone Centurion. Rory's made more badass with this glitch.
- In the stage show Doctor Who Live, there was one very awesome moment where the Cybermen and the Daleks have a rematch. Only unlike last time, it's the Cybermen that got the upper-hand. And keep in mind in the context, these Daleks are supposedly a lot more powerful than the ones in "Doomsday" and managed to outwit the Doctor TWICE in a row. Watch the whole battle here.
- Midway through his career as the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee put the Doctor Who theme to words in the form of "Who is the Doctor?", spoken more or less in-character. Among other things, the results stand as a powerful challenge to the dominance of the Villain Song.As fingers move to end mankind, metallic teeth begin to grind
With sword of truth, I turn to fight the satanic powers of the night!
- The Third Doctor regularly had fight scenes, mostly because Jon Pertwee liked them. He also did all of his own stunts, which is pretty awesome on its own, especially when you consider that he did the majority of them while suffering through well-nigh debilitating back pain.
- And the reveal that he used to be an intelligence agent during World War II, reporting directly to Winston Churchill himself.
- For getting the Sixth Doctor Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in the audio dramas. Whereas the Sixth Doctor is usually the least popular to TV fans, he is the most popular to audio drama fans.
- Getting elected President of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society.
- He is, to date, the only actor to play the Doctor and have written his own Doctor Who stories.
- Similar to McCoy's and McGann's cold readings of Doctor Who speeches, we have Colin Baker doing a cold reading of the Doctor's speech from "The Rings of Akhaten".
- The Seventh Doctor's Unflinching Walk in "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" was pretty awesome for Sylvester McCoy too: the explosion was somewhat bigger than the special effects crew were expecting, and it doesn't faze him at all.
- He has said he was fully expecting to have scorch marks on his back afterwards, but he knew there could be no second take so he simply went on with the shot.
- In the filming of "Battlefield", Sylvester McCoy arguably saved Sophie Aldred's life when he noticed a watertank used for a booby-trap holding Ace was about to crack and pour water onto a floor covered in electrical cables; in a second, he managed to get the stage hands to pull her out just before the glass broke.
- Sylvester playing the spoons to an upbeat version of the Doctor Who theme. He really gets into it.
- His cold reading of the Eleventh Doctor's speech from "The Pandorica Opens".
- Akin to McCoy's cold reading of Eleven's speech, here's Paul McGann's cold reading of the First Doctor's "One day, I shall come back" speech from "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".
- Returning after seventeen years to play the Eighth Doctor once more in "The Night of the Doctor".
- John Hurt puts such weight and gravitas into his performance you might forget the episode's about three Doctors.
- In a matter of three appearances, John Hurt effectively filled an enormous gap in the Doctor's life that had been ignored for a long time, and with a performance that is done masterfully.
- The full list recounted to Martha in "Human Nature". Since David Tennant was required to ad-lib about a minute of footage that would be fast-forwarded, he just rambled on aimlessly a bit before jumping right back into character at the end. The bit about pears isn't an ad-lib, though; it's from the novel that the episode was based on.
- Tennant married the daughter of the man who inspired him to go into acting in the first place, Georgia Moffet, daughter of the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. And thanks to Steven Moffat, he got to perform with his idol in the role that he wanted to play one day... The Doctor. Promoted Fanboy, thy name is Tennant. Also a Heartwarming Moment that there's such love and devotion between two people.
- Pranking Freema Agyeman on Virgin Radio and managing to keep up the masquerade for a minute.
- Tennant did a tribute video with the cast and crew at the end of his run for a party, set to the Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". The Proclaimers themselves merrily join in. Warning: MAJOR EARWORM
- To top it off, behold the Ballad of Russell and Julie about Doctor Who's revival, as sung by David Tennant, Catherine Tate and John Barrowman. Epic Awesomeness.
- Sladen's reaction to Sontaran general Styre in "The Sontaran Experiment" was enough to have the director leaping up and down with joy - actually running up the West Country equivalent of a mountain to congratulate her on the scene. And these moments are only added onto with the second season premiere of The Sarah Jane Adventures when Sarah Jane sees a Sontaran space pod, and knows exactly how screwed they are.
- In "The Stolen Earth", she achieved levels of fear with a tiny little tremble and a pale face that would take screams on a King Kong level from lesser actresses.
- A posthumous moment of awesome for the late actress: the fact that almost nobody had any clue she was ill until she had already passed. It's a testament to her sheer professionalism and love for what she did, because she never saw it as being about her, it was about making great television that entertained fans. Lis, we love and miss you, and the world's a little darker now you're gone.
- Lis's magnificent career renaissance. She became so beloved by fans that her departure was headline news, a first for any Companion. And then, thirty years after she was last seen on Doctor Who, she made a one-off appearance on the show that made her famous, and was so popular she earned her own spin-off. A spinoff aimed at children who largely had no idea who she was, which went on to earn critical raves and a high audience for its channel. Name another actor or actress who has made that kind of comeback on television, ever. And she did it all without a fuss. But then, that was Lis Sladen for you. Oh, Lis... we will never, ever forget you.
- Actually, just before she got back on TV, she made two series of AWESOME audio adventures for Big Finish, which is kind of a company that makes stories for fans of Old Who. She also returned in radio plays with Jon Pertwee. If anything, it just kind of shows how great her devotion to her character and giving the fans even more really was that she could return, first 20 years after her time, then thirty, and still just be her character like she's been living it all along.
- At the end of "Bad Wolf" we see thousands and thousands and thousands of Daleks all chanting EX-TER-MIN-ATE. For the first time, the show was able to transcend budgetary considerations and deliver not just a tabletop full of dapol toys, not just cardboard cutouts propped up in the background, not just three Daleks driving around in a circle trying desperately to look like many, but a proper, honest-to-god army to be feared.
The show itself
- Really, with a show that has run for thirty-three seasons over fifty years and counting, contains two MoA goldmines in the Doctor and the Master, as well as many other characters with more than a few moments themselves (Daleks, Davros, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) Doctor Who itself is a Moment of Awesome for The BBC.
- The fact that a show that was simply intended to be a cheap way to fill an empty block between the kids' shows timeslot and the football match is remembered and loved by audiences fifty years later.
- In 2005, accepted wisdom in the British television industry held that the family TV genre was dead. The audience simply wasn't there; families didn't watch TV together anymore. Something like the revived Doctor Who wasn't going to last long.
Doctor Who promptly proceeded to demolish all those assumptions. It regularly got ratings higher than those of most other dramas, its average audience staying stable in defiance of the general TV decline. It was repeatedly acclaimed by public, critics, and TV professionals alike. It quickly established itself as a centrepiece of the BBC's Saturday night schedule, heralding the revival of the family TV genre, and becoming a justification for the BBC's continued existence. Doctor Who became a crowning achievement for the BBC, and for British television in general.
- The Davies/Gardner production team have several MoAs themselves, including:
- Bringing the show back to be one of the BBC's big hitters.
- Using the BBC's rival network ITV to break the news of David Tennant's departure. Even better, they had no idea it'd even work. They had a backup plan but they bet their chips that Tennant would win the award and be able to drop the bomb during his acceptance speech.
- Producing Journey's End, where 10.57 million viewers watched in the UK, making it the highest rated show for the week, the first and only time the show has ever achieved this rating in its history and the first sci-fi show to do so in 32 years. Made sweeter by the fact that it demolished Soap Opera rival Coronation Street at its timeslot, all while Michael Grade was head of ITV at the time. All while ensuring Doctor Who got the last laugh.
- There's the fact that the work of the new production team (along with the later work by Moffat, of course) has caused an explosion in the show's popularity across The Pond in the US. Sure, DW had fans in the US in the past, but it never truly approached the level it reached during the BBC America years.
- Back in the 1980s, Sylvester McCoy's era was scheduled against UK soap Coronation Street, and got clobbered, getting some of the lowest ratings in Who's history. Fast forward twenty years: "The End of Time" Part Two was scheduled against Coronation Street, and won (10.4 million to Corrie's 8.6 million on overnights).
- Steven Moffat turning the series title into a nearly 50-year old Arc Word.
- The special effects team during "The Girl in the Fireplace". Apparently they decided that the iconic Doctor-astride-a-horse-through-a-mirror-into-a-ballroom shot was quite literally impossible to produce. After episode writer Steven Moffat threw, to quote the man himself, "the biggest queeny strop yet done on Doctor Who" and cried like an infant, the team basically decided to give "impossible" the finger and do it anyway. And it was awesome.
- A collective CMOA goes to the show's makers, and the few fans and members of the press in on it, for successfully keeping the secret that actress Jenna Coleman, publicized to be the Doctor's next companion starting with the 2012 Christmas Special, had a role to play 3 months earlier in the series 7 premiere, Asylum of the Daleks. The premiere was actually shown in 4 semi-public screenings for fans in 4 countries prior to its televised debut and practically no one from the audiences in those screenings spoiled the secret online before the episode aired.
- The show also gets another CMOA over the only constant in the series: the TARDIS itself. When the BBC registered the TARDIS as a trademark in 1996, the Metropolitan Police challenged it, as the TARDIS is based on the police box they used in the 1960s. The Patent Office ruled in favour of the BBC, as the role of Doctor Who in the British collective psyche was so great that people identified the police box symbol with the series rather than with the police.
- The fact that no British holiday season would feel complete anymore without the show's annual Christmas Episode, which inevitably warms viewers' hearts and caps off family gatherings on a high note, deserves special props. Eat your heart out, Call the Midwife!
- In America, the Series 7 Part 2 Blu-ray was given to several hundred people in error before the airing of "The Name of the Doctor". Normally revealing a finale early is disastrous, but Moffat managed to keep fans quiet by promising a release of an interview of David Tennant and Matt Smith if the fans were good. The fans kept the secret, and Moffat complied.
- On November 25, 2013, "The Day of the Doctor" grossed $4.8 million. In 660 theaters. In. One. Night. Two days after it premiered on BBC America. For perspective, it was number two behind The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that day. It made more than The Fifth Estate did in its entire run and almost as much as the 3D run of The Wizard of Oz. Again, in one night. Not too shabby.
- November 23rd, 2013 was a Saturday, just as November 23rd, 1963 was.
- Any time a lost episode, episodes, or rarest of all, complete serial that was thought to be junked by the BBC turns up. You've got maybe one very precious remnant of something that's been AWOL from television upwards of four decades. On a feather and a prayer, through one magic discovery, be it in a rubbish bin, a garage sale, a dusty backlot of old celluloid in Hong Kong or Nigeria, or even pure dumb luck, another missing link is completed. And as soon as the film goes digital, it will proliferate the internet, whereupon the episode will be copied by those wishing to market or share the piece of Doctor Who history- countless backups from one reel of old weathered film!
- How about finding nine lost episodes, including the entirety of the long-lost "The Enemy of the World", in 2013?
- Not to mention the other story they found in near entirety, "The Web of Fear", which features the first ever appearance of beloved companion Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
- To put it in perspective as to how amazing these finds are, it's considered very lucky to find even audio of lost episodes, let alone an entire episode. To find this many tapes, containing an entire missing story and all but one part of another, is a spectacular find.
- A collective decade of awesome for a small handful of fans (nearly all of them children at the time) who managed to make complete audio recordings of every single episode from The '60s. So even though to date 26 serials and nearly 100 episodes (until 2013, it was over 100) are now missing, thanks to these fans, and with a little help from narrated CD, telesnaps, and animation (a few animated reconstructions being officially sanctioned by the BBC), it's now possible to "watch" all 97 missing episodes of Doctor Who.
- David Holman, in particular, recorded every episode from Marco Polo to (probably) The Three Doctors by putting the microphone to the speaker and managing to keep everyone quiet during recording. He kept going even until he lost interest!
- Graham Strong deserves a mention, too. He managed to directly connect his tape recorder to the television, managing to make "crystal clear" recordings, sometimes managing to trump the BBC's recordings in terms of quality!
- Steven Moffat managed to weave a whole new Doctor out of the gap between Eight and Nine and come up with a perfect reason to not upset the numbering; have the "8.5 Doctor" simply not call himself the Doctor.
- The very inception of the War Doctor into Doctor Who opens up a whole new avenue for storytelling potential, and finally lets writers cut loose and deal with the long untouched history of the Time War, because it was unclear which Doctor fought in it. Now we know.
- The War Doctor's regeneration was only shown half-completed. We didn't see his full transition into Nine because Christopher Eccleston declined to return for the 50th and Steven Moffat wanted to respect his decision, on the grounds that making it appear that an actor was in something they did not want to be in without their consent would be unethical. But some fan decided to extend the regeneration into a complete version... With fantastic results.
- "The Day of the Doctor" winning a Guinness World Record for being the biggest simulcast in television history to that point, transmitted in 94 countries.
- John Hurt being knighted in the 2015 New Year's Honours List, making him the first actor to play the Doctor to receive that honor.
- The fact that a show once best-known for its cheesy bubble-wrap space monsters can now get the likes of John Hurt, Derek Jacobi, or Timothy Dalton to portray its greatest hero or most dreaded villains as The Cameo. And not even as a promotional Stunt Casting gimmick, but as an unadvertised surprise for the fans!
- Michael Grade may have screwed over the show in the 80s, but Doctor Who fans got the last laugh by far. How so, you may ask? Grade is the only BBC Controller to never receive a knighthood, because HM The Queen is a HUGE fan of the show.note
- In 2016, the BBC commissioned an entire lost story to be reconstructed in animation. Which story? Why, "The Power of the Daleks", the first story of the Second Doctor era! OK, so it was limited animation but you have to give them credit for doing it in black and white and color!
- In 2017, after years of hoping that the role of the Doctor was opened to more diverse casting, we finally got our wish as Jodie Whittaker became the Thirteenth Doctor.
- The Teaser deserves special mention: The new Doctor being hidden in a hoodie as we see them walk into the woods, before holding out the TARDIS key and the TARDIS being heard materializing before taking off their hoodie to reveal Jodie as the new Doctor, who then goes onto her next adventure.
- Whittaker also quickly started tackling the inevitable backlash to her casting head on, mocking everyone complaining for being frightened of her gender.
- Not to be overlooked, lots of actors from the new and classic series immediately took to Twitter to express their whole-hearted endorsement of Whittaker, with comments ranging from Billie Piper's simple "YES!", to Colin Baker's pride that his own daughters will now have a female Doctor to admire. Other actors like Sylvester McCoy, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Aldred, Janet Fielding, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Freema Agyeman, Alex Kingston, John Barrowman, Pearl Mackie, and Mark Gatiss all welcomed Whittaker to the Doctor Who family.
- The BBC was also quick to confirm that Whittaker would be getting the exact same paycheck as Capaldi, at a time when it was under intense scrutiny for its gender pay gap.
- After months of speculation on how a female Doctor would affect the ratings, and insistence from a certain segment of the fandom that they'd never watch again, the Series 11 premiere got among the highest ratings the series has ever had, and almost double Twelve's debut episode. Score one for the She's My Doctor crowd.
- While the ratings took the expected drop that always happens after premires, Series 11 still has higher numbers than Series 10 ever got, even with some harsh competition in its new Sunday time slot (including Formula 1 racing, which routinely wrecks the ratings of every show opposite it).
- Jodie Whittaker's casting wasn't the only long-overdue milestone provided by Series 11, as the crew were so determined to do "Rosa" properly that they brought in Malorie Blackman to co-write it with Chibnall, making her the show's first ever non-white writer.