Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tearjerker / Big Finish Doctor Who

Go To

"People die, and the Doctor moves on... But not this time"

    open/close all folders 

The Monthly Range

    Fifth Doctor 

  • "Spare Parts" — The scene with the description of a Christmas tree on Mondas. Yes, the Cybermen homeworld. It Makes Sense in Context, and it is sad.
    • The scene in which Yvonne, half-converted into one of the prototypical Cyberman and for all intents and purposes lobotomised, is taken home by her family for the Mondas equivalent of Christmas. Her cries are deeply, deeply disturbing. And the poor girl crying, in that machine voice... The whole thing really, when you get the sense that no, there's no hope for the people of Mondas.
  • Big Finish gave Adric a second Heroic Sacrifice death in "The Boy That Time Forgot." The sacrifice itself is more of a Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming (done in a flashback at the very end where Adric uses the last of his life energy to rescue the TARDIS and pass on the mantle of lonely-orphan-boy-companion to Thomas Brewster), but the scene before his death is absolutely heartwrenching. Nearly 30 years since his on-screen death, all the fan-hate, all the trauma he's been through, and we're left with the audio-spurred image of a dying old man in an armchair by a window, watching the Victorian London spring roll in, and singing mathematics to the insects in the walls. This isn't Alas, Poor Scrappy anymore, it's just... "alas poor..." *weeps*
    • Also, his last words in the audio echo the reverse of his last words in the show. Where "Earthshock" ends with the remorseful "Now I'll never know if I was right," Big Finish gives him the triumphant "I did it, Doctor! I managed to find it!"


    Sixth Doctor 

  • "The Holy Terror"; another Sixth Doctor serial. It's got Frobisher, who's a shapeshifting penguin in his first (and only in the main canon) audio appearance. He sounds a bit like he's from the Boston area of America. It's about a world where successions of emperors/kings gets taken the mickey out of, with cliché evil High priests and brothers of crown princes wanting to dispose of him because they HAVE to. It's always been this way! You catch glimpses of something lying underneath at one point when the Doctor meets up with an unimportant scribe. It then suddenly (after gradually getting more serious and less comical, and after the deaths of five main characters) goes full swing the other way: the world is a Dream World, a prison set up for some reason for some person because of his biggest crime he's committed; taking the life of his child. The guilty father is confronted by this form of Ground Hog Day Loop and is encouraged by the Doctor to not kill his son this time; he can break the loop, he can redeem himself. Eugene, the unimportant scribe, hands his son the knife he used to kill him with and has him kill him (Eugene) while the Doctor is unable to stop them. The world ends and the Doctor and Frobisher end in a landscape of static, while Eugene's son cries out his father was like a God to him and dies as well. Wow.
  • "Jubilee" has its fair share of tear jerking scenes. Special mention must go to when Evelyn finds out what happens to the Doctor who saved the world back in 1903. He's been imprisoned in the Tower of London for 100 years, and had to bear witness to him losing his Evelyn, his legs, and his sanity. Honestly, his reminiscing about how if he closes his eyes, he can travel through time and space... *sob*.
    Parallel!Sixth Doctor: I wish you were Evelyn, you know. Just so I could say sorry. For failing you. for letting you die.
    Evelyn: It wasn't your fault! All this, it's not your faul-
    Parallel!Sixth Doctor: Just so you could forgive me. I could bear my imprisonment if I knew that.
    Evelyn: Doctor, I forgive you. Of course I do! You're my dearest friend! Still the best thing that's ever happened to me! The places you've taken me, the wonders you've shared...I know that whatever happened to me along the way, even death, it was worth it.
    Parallel!Sixth Doctor: ...thank you my dear.
    • The fate of the alternate Sixth Doctor in "Jubilee". To see such a strong, intelligent, arrogant and yet kind man being be reduced to a mindless, crippled, and utterly broken figure is bad enough, but when he attempts to come to grips with the death of alternate Evelyn in front of him, and Real Evelyn tries to reassure him about how grateful she is that she met him and how she forgives him for not being able to save her, his one moment of lucidity in thanking her just makes the scene so much sadder.
    • This audio makes one feel pity for a Dalek of all things. The pathetic, shambling Dalek the British have kept imprisoned for a century escapes and visits the Doctor, who's not really any better off. The desperate Dalek offers to make the Doctor its commander, whimpering how he's the only person on Earth to understand what it means to be a Dalek. And Six just cackles in sheer despair and insanity, rejecting the Dalek's offer and mocking it for its utter inability to do anything other than obey orders, comparing it to the people of the English Empire. The horrible, grating noise that is Six's laughter suddenly stops with a gunstick firing, leaving the furious, yet now utterly lonely Dalek to its Despair Event Horizon, only wanting to go to the Jubilee celebration and get itself killed once and for all.
  • Cassie's death in "Project: Lazarus". How callous and quickly Nimrod was when he did it, how helpless the Doctor was to stop it and how utterly distraught Evelyn is when she finds out makes it even worse.
  • Not only the ending of "Legend of the Cybermen", when the Doctor returns Zoe to her home period, and she forgets him again. Made even sadder by the way it is done: Zoe narrates being returned to her home period and drifting off to sleep, and then the Doctor says the last few words, "...and then, her memories shut down for the final time, and I was lost to her again.", but also the revelation that Jamie is not real at the end of part two, but also his reaction to this.
  • "The Wrong Doctors" An older, wiser, kinder Six tries so hard to comfort a younger, amnesiac and terrified Mel. Then he makes a promise to her in her last moments which neatly slots his BF adventures into place:
    Young Mel: I-I liked his [younger Six's] coat.
    Older Six: Then I shall wear it again, for you.

    Seventh Doctor 

  • In 'The Fearmonger', after 7 and Ace being awesomely cool and basically at their best- comedic and otherwise- it all goes wrong when Ace attempts one of the Doctor's 'pull the trigger, end a life' speeches in order to stop a gunman from firing on them. It doesn't work. She gets shot through the shoulder. The Doctor's anguished cry of 'Ace!' is completely heartbreaking. Also, five seconds later, you can hear him trying to stop her from going into shock by muttering 'it's all right, Ace. It's all right' repeatedly.
  • When Ace finds out that she has a brother in "The Rapture". At first, she refuses to believe it since it sounds ridiculous. But as Liam continues to explain what happened and why she's only just now finding out, her resolve is beginning to break. Until finally, he gives her a letter from their father and she hesitates before beginning to read it out loud... And she barely makes it past the first line before bursting into tears.
    • Things only get worse when we find out that Ace has decided that she wants nothing to do with Liam, greatly hurting his feelings. Thankfully, by the end, things are much better between them.
  • The Seventh Doctor story "A Death in the Family" has its share of depressing bits, being the culmination of a plot arc that in and of itself was a tearjerker. Ace and Hex's individual reactions to the Doctor's death hit hard (even without their sudden separation across centuries and space). Ace's especially, as she spends huge amounts of time and money fighting to bring the Doctor back from the dead; once she finally realizes it isn't possible, she has a complete, hysterical, sobbing breakdown and it isn't pretty. But the death of Evelyn at the end is a killer, as she essentially narrates it herself. "As the lights grew faint around her and the Word Lord paced the shrinking room in silence, Evelyn Rossiter sat quietly without fear, thinking about her friend the Doctor. Her Doctor, with his bright coat and bravado, and all their wonderful adventures together in time and space." Harsher in Hindsight following the death of Maggie Stables (Evelyn).
  • Hex's death at the end of Gods and Monsters. Ace is inconsolable and refuses to let the Doctor calm her down.
  • The entirety of 'Afterlife'; in the wake of Hex's death, Ace has turned on the Doctor for his many plans, deceits and games, the Doctor is unable to placate her and only seems to make her angrier with every attempt he makes, and everyone is grieving. The story is a dour deconstruction of what kind of damage a Heroic Sacrifice can leave, especially when said death happens to a time traveler who's family is unaware of his actions. The Doctor shows just how painfully alien he is by being unable to reconcile himself with the humans around him, and just how scary and vindictive he can be when one of his friends is played with. Ace herself shows how badly she copes at losing someone important to her, especially when that person appears right in front of her without any memory of her.
    • Even worse is the fact that the Doctor just wants his friend back. But Ace is refusing to listen to him, and has barricaded herself in Hex's room, breaking down utterly. The Doctor tries everything to cheer her up- he even goes and makes pancakes (which are rebuffed) and attempts to play the spoons. A spoon solo has never sounded so damn mournful.

    Eighth Doctor 

  • "The Chimes of Midnight" — Hearing of Edith's miserable life and how she killed herself after Charley apparently died because she felt Charley was the only person who cared about her. This makes the part at the end where the butler is convinced to complement Edith a Heartwarming Moment.
  • The fact that in "Zagreus", after Rassilon tells the Doctor how proud he is of him in "Neverland", he is revealed to have been manipulating the Doctor into becoming his agent. At the end the Doctor talks of how all his Time Lord heroes have proven to be villains.
    • It gets worse when you read Engines of War and see the full extent of Rassilon's malice at work.
    • And we should remember that the Doctor is highly likely to join the roster soon. Remember Valeyard? It's Twelfth Doctor now...
  • "Scherzo", in which the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard actually decide to talk about their feelings for each other. Up until that point, Eight had made a good show of ignoring Charley's obvious crush on him. For his part, he loves her very dearly, but just not in that way. Talking about it... does not go well.
  • Charley's last adventure with the Eighth Doctor, "The Girl Who Never Was", ends on a similarly depressing note. The Doctor loses all memory of their "last lap of glory", not realising that Charley has been stranded on a desert island some-when and believing that she had simply stormed off after a botched attempt at a proper farewell. The bitterness in his voice after reading the note Charley had left for him earlier just says it all, really.
    Hotel Receptionist: Sir? Are you alright? Doctor?
    Doctor: I'm fine. Here, you can bin that.
    Hotel Receptionist: Sir? Are you leaving? Sir?
    Doctor: You work in a hotel. You should know. Everybody leaves.
  • The Silver Turk is written by the same person who wrote Spare Parts, and while it's nowhere near as heart-breaking as that story, it still has its moments, such as when Mary finds a disoriented Cyberman, one like those from the Tenth Planet, who has crashed on Earth. Hearing it speaking in that weird sing-song voice, mixed with the effects used for more modern Cyberman voices, and getting increasingly terrified, because it thinks it's back on Mondas and has no idea what's happened.
    • It gets worse: There's two Cybermen, and both are very badly hurt not just from crash-landing but from being tortured by the human who found them. The first tries desperately to save it's comrade, to the point of getting them struck by lighting. The first turns to the second, who just makes these truly wretched gurgling noises, and then... it's gone.

Other ranges

    New Eighth Doctor Adventure's 

  • The end of "Vengeance of Morbius" where Lucie thinks the Doctor has died with Morbius and Straxus tells her they can't bring him back as his fight with Morbius enabled Morbius' defeat.
  • "Death in Blackpool": Lucie tells the Doctor she's staying on Earth and gives him back the parabolic diverter— rejecting his offer to come back to her if ever she calls.
    Lucie: You're the Doctor. You're brilliant. And it was great, I mean really bleedin' great. And ... Well ... that's how I want to remember it. That's how I want to remember you.
    Doctor: So I'm just a memory now.
    Lucie: Yeah. The best memory I've got.
    The Doctor rises, walks to the TARDIS, and leaves without another word.
  • Lucie Miller's parting speech to the Doctor at the end of "Death In Blackpool" — both of them nearly in tears, while Lucie explains that she has to leave so she can remember him as she wants to, as a good man. All while "In The Bleak Midwinter" soars in the background. Actress Sheridan Smith was actually in tears throughout the whole thing.
  • "Lucie Miller". The whole damn thing is one long case of Kick the Dog for everyone involved, but especially poor Lucie herself. She contracts a plague while on holiday with Alex in Thailand. The plague leaves her blind in one eye and dependent on leg braces to walk. Interwoven through the episode is a kind of Apocalyptic Log she's recording for the Doctor, and it's absolutely heartbreaking. Sheridan Smith deserves some kind of award for that one.
    • It went From Bad to Worse in "To the Death". Both she and Alex die, while the Doctor's helpless to save them and has to actually watch. Unsurprisingly, he hits some Heroic BSoD, and by the end of the audio is completely broken. Listening to him rewind and replay Lucie's log is just heartbreaking.
    • He doesn't just replay it. He mimics having a conversation with her, pausing the recording each time she comments about what he might say in this hypothetical situation, and quoting the dialogue himself. It's a conversation about accepting Lucie back aboard the TARDIS as his companion.
    • He has a Harsher in Hindsight with her, too: in her first episode, she says that her middle name is for her to know, and him to find out. He never does.
  • Pretty much the entirety of "To The Death" is one long breaking of the Doctor and Susan as literally everyone they love is slaughtered by the Daleks. First the Doctor awakes to find not only have the Daleks launched a second invasion of Earth led by the Dalek Time Controller, but Lucie was left on there fighting an increasingly nightmarish war against them, leaving her half blind and handicapped due to the Dalek's bio-weapons. Tamsin is gunned down by the Daleks despite the Monk desperately pleading for her life, Alex sacrifices himself to give Lucie a chance to defeat the Dalek's plan and is exterminated in front of Susan who becomes completely hysterical after seeing her son die, and finally Lucie performs another Heroic Sacrifice to defeat the Dalek Time Controller. In the end Susan is left completely alone on a desolate earth and the Doctor is driven near insane with grief and rage, promising to annihilate the Daleks should he ever get the chance, seriously contemplating breaking the rules of time, and outright declaring that he wishes to be as cold and heartless as he was in "An Unearthly Child" when he attempted to murder a wounded caveman to save himself. Foreshadowing both the Time War and the "Time Lord Victorious" and helping to explain why he eventually became the War Doctor.
    • The Doctor arrives to comfort a crying Susan and his response is to order the Daleks to be quiet and let him hug Susan because they're all probably going to die anyway.
    • Even the extremely amoral and cowardly Monk is shown to be utterly horrified and guilt-ridden over all the suffering he caused and is nearly sobbing when Tamsin is killed.
    • The Doctor bellowing at the Monk to get out of his sight while choking back tears when he learns everything that happened was his fault.
    • This is an even sadder finale then all the New Who finales.
    • The Doctor brokenly replaying Lucie's recording in his TARDIS so much he's reciting everything Lucie expected him to respond with. Over... and over... and over...


    Other Eighth Doctor ranges 

  • The opening of "The Great War" shows the Eighth Doctor's not recovered from after the events of "To the Death". Instead, he's slipped further away and gone genuinely insane, seriously considering a trip to the end of the universe. Simply put: he's steering his TARDIS straight into oblivion, as fast as it can go. And it seems to be helplessly objecting to his actions. Then, when another Time Lord drops in unexpectedly to halt the TARDIS so that Time Lord rules about visiting that far ahead in time aren't broken, Eight goes berserk.
    • He ends up crash-landing on a WWI battlefield, falling down in trenches repeatedly as he stumbles around like a newborn calf, slopped in gobs of mud with bombs exploding all around him, checked out of the deadly reality around him. All the while humming a tune insanely.

    Special Releases 
Sixth Doctor
  • The ending of "The Brink of Death" qualifies for this in spades. After a lengthy chase by the Sixth Doctor to prevent the Valeyard from replacing him and every other Time Lord, the Doctor realises that the only way to stop him is to go through the Time Lord-unfriendly radiation circling the nearby Lakertya. The Valeyard's plan hinges on using the Sixth Doctor's brainwaves to succeed, and is foiled if this Doctor became another one. Considering the distance this Doctor has gone in being saved from the Scrappy Heap by Big Finish, it's heartbreaking to hear his final moments before dying.
Seventh Doctor
  • In the adaptation of Love and War, Sophie Aldred's performance when she walks out on the Doctor after he gets Jan killed is hard to listen to.

    New Eighth Doctor Adventures 
  • "Dark Eyes 4" starts with a very sad one for Kitty Donaldson, the childhood friend of Molly O'Sullivan. Molly has left after a trying war, with Kitty having no idea where her friend has gone, her bother is having many symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and has lost a leg, and then a strange man named the Doctor starts making enquiries. Then killer robots start hunting her brother, people are hurt, and her home ends up being ground zero of a time bomb her brother makes a heroic sacrifice to keep localized. The Doctor leaves to catch up with his stolen TARDIS and she has no idea what has happened.

    The Companion Chronicles 
Second Doctor
  • "The Glorious Revolution:" Long after getting his memories erased, Jamie is visited by a Time Lord who restores them temporarily in order to get information on a disturbance in time. Initially, Jamie is angry that the Time Lords would erase his memories without asking. At the end of the audio, the Time Lord offers to let Jamie keep his memories permanently. After some consideration, Jamie decides to forget the Doctor again, because remembering him and the adventures they had would make living a normal life too hard.
  • The part near the end of "The Suffering", when Vicki and Steven are stating what Suffragettes went through in prison. Maurine O'Brien and Peter Purves' sorrowful performances are what made it even more heartbreaking.
Sixth Doctor
  • Peri's had her fair share of Tear Jerker moments, but the real kick-in-the-gut ones come hard and fast in "Peri And The Piscon Paradox" and "The Reaping". It's possible there's a version of Peri out there that's had a perfectly happy life, but Big Finish sure doesn't include them.

  • A fridge example brought on by the Night of the Doctor mini-episode in which Eight remembers Charley, C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, and Molly as his companions from the Big Finish era.
  • The Eighth Doctor audio drama "Casualties Of War" was one of John Hurt's final works (the other one being the film "That Good Night") before his passing on January 2017.
  • Jacqueline Pearce's death in September 2018; dying from a form of cancer much like John Hurt before her.

Example of: