The 13th Doctor, played by Jodie Whittaker, had the distinction of being the first canon female incarnation. 13 was for me the ultimate “your mileage may vary” Doctor. As some people adored Whittaker’s portrayal while others loathed it. However, the actor herself was unquestionably a great ambassador for the show. The 13th Doctor was also notable for being the first version of the character to have a sapphic romance. With her companion Yaz (Mandip Gill). Here are five Whittaker episodes that we think are the best.
Arguably the best of the Weeping Angels episodes. Village of the Angels was everything that’s great about Doctor Who. The Angels’ threat was present at all times and built into an explosive climax which saw the Doctor herself transform into a Weeping Angel. I was almost tempted to include War of the Sontarans instead of this outing. As I feel that episode was Whittaker’s strongest performance as the Doctor bar none. Village of the Angels trumps it though for sheer thrill power. 13 played well off Claire (Annabel Scholey) in the scene where the Angel spoke through her. And it was awesome to see the Lonely Assassins’ new abilities ie the fire Angel and the Angels displacing the village itself from time.
This adventure introduced the Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin) who rocks. Although the wider cluster of episodes that Martin was part of turned out to be a convoluted mess. It was still great to see a Black woman take on the Doctor’s role. Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) also returned here which was cool. Warning the Doctor of the Lone Cyberman. It pains me to say it but Martin out-Doctored Whittaker in all of their scenes together and it’s a shame that the first Black Doctor was used as a supporting character throughout this era. The Fugitive Doctor exuded strength and authority and absolutely stole the show.
Spyfall was an epic Jon Pertwee style thrill ride which introduced a brand new version of the Master. Played magnificently by Sacha Dhawan. There was a genuine threat to Earth as well as to our heroes. Also great were the Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry cameos. The scene where the 13th Doctor looks upon Gallifrey’s destruction was brilliantly acted by Jodie Whittaker. Indeed, 13 and Dhawan’s Master bounced off each other well. Dhawan owned the screen and brought real menace to the Master’s role. While some may have thought it un-Doctory for Whittaker to have knelt to the Master. I get the feeling that Chris Chibnall was going for a Peter Davison style incarnation with 13. To subvert the attack-eyebrowed force of nature that was Peter Capaldi‘s 12th Doctor.
Certainly a fan favourite episode. The Haunting of Villa Diodati saw 13 and her fam drop in on Mary Shelley (Lili Miller) at Villa Diodati on the night she invented Frankenstein. This episode is great because the Doctor is faced with an impossible choice; let Percy Shelley (Lewis Rainer) die to save the future, or give the Lone Cyberman the power to resurrect the Cybermen. Whittaker’s performance was strong here. I enjoyed when 13 shut down Lord Byron’s (Jacob Collins-Levy) attempts to hit on her. The spooky house’s whole atmosphere and the sense of unreality when the rooms shifted was brilliant. The 13th Doctor continued to channel the 5th Doctor here, giving the villain what they wanted to save one person’s life.
In my opinion, this was series 11’s standout episode. During this adventure, the Doctor and her friends travel back to India in 1947 to the British partition of India and Pakistan, and also to Yaz’s grandparents Umbreen (Amita Suman) and Prem (Shane Zaza). Who is engaged to be married despite the carnage that is very sadly about to engulf them. This was a great episode because it showed a lesser known side of British history as well as telling a bittersweet love story. Also here was the major Doctor Who theme of helping just one person always be worthwhile. As 13 does when she rescues Umbreen and her mother (Leena Dhingra). The Doctor’s line “Love, in all its forms, is the most powerful weapon we have, because love is a form of hope and, like hope, love abides in the face of everything.” was beautiful. As was Graham’s (Bradley Walsh) line “All we can try to be is good men.”
Which 13th Doctor episodes were your favourites? Do you agree with my list. Please leave a comment and remember, I eat danger for breakfast. I don’t. I prefer cereal. Or croissants.
*I know that’s technically 6 episodes but you won’t tell anyone, will you?