10 Best Episodes Written by Russell T. Davies, According to IMDb

10 Best Episodes Written by Russell T. Davies, According to IMDb

From 2005 to 2009, Russell T Davies was the head writer and executive producer for Doctor Who. Working from the ground up to revive the long-dormant science fiction property, Davies did the impossible and turned the program into a mainstream success without stifling Doctor Who‘s penchant to be creative or push boundaries.

Now, almost 15 years since the talented writer left the series, Davies has returned to spearhead the show which he helped revive. In honor of this achievement and anticipation of his contributions towards the 60th anniversary special, here are the best episodes of Doctor Who to have Davies’ name attached to the writing credit, according to IMDb.


Utopia – 8.7

On a routine refueling trip, the Tenth Doctor suddenly takes the TARDIS to the end of the universe to avoid his former companion, Jack Harkness. Though the effort fails, the TARDIS team finds themselves in a new predicament concerning the fate of mankind and one Professor Yana.

Related: Which Doctor Who Companion Are You, Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Though largely acting as a standalone adventure, “Utopia” is remembered for the twist surrounding Professor Yana’s identity. The kindly old man who has no memory of his past is revealed to be the Master, and the damage he does across the next two episodes is enough to make many casual viewers wince, thus allowing this incarnation of the renegade Time Lord to live up to his name from him.

The Sound of Drums – 8.7

An image of The Master holding a sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who

Picking up where “Utopia” left off, the Doctor, Martha, and Jack teleport themselves from the end of the universe back to the present day, only to discover that the Master has taken over Great Britain. For the rest of the episode, they’re chased down by the might of the United Kingdom.

Put in a unique situation that has only been repeated a few times, the episode offers strong character moments between the Doctor and his companions while also giving a fresh explanation for the Master’s villainy. Beyond this quiet scene, the episode’s finest moment is at the very end when the Master kills the president of the United States and captures the TARDIS team, save for Martha.

The Waters of Mars – 8.7

The Tenth Doctor in a spacesuit in Doctor Who

The third of five specials released between series 4 and 5, “The Waters of Mars” finds the Doctor on Mars while the first human colony is overrun by an alien species known as the Flood. Knowing that the team, led by Captain Adelaide Brook, is supposed to die, the Doctor fights with his conscious on whether to save the day or let time be.

While the Flood makes for a creepy villain with their skin-cracked mouths which constantly spew water, the scariest part of the episode is when the Doctor comes back to the base to save what’s left of the team. The intensity in his eyes of him alone is enough to give chills, and the declaration that “the laws of time are mine” proves why the Tenth Doctor is one of David Tennant’s best characters.

The End of Time Part 2 – 8.9

The Tenth Doctor Regenerates in Doctor Who

The last episode to feature David Tennant as the current iteration of the Doctor, “The End of Time Part 2” is perhaps the perfect culmination of the entire Russell T Davies era. It features huge, bombastic action, a silly premise surrounding everyone turning into the Master, and weepy melodrama that goes on for an unfathomable period.

Related: 10 Reasons David Tennant Was The Best Doctor, According To Ranker

Though these qualities can be off-putting for some viewers, the huge personality of this episode is anchored by the pathos David Tennant brings to the proceedings. The actor nails every emotional beat the script gives him, and with the help of Bernard Cribbins, he can shape the bloated plot into something touching and heartfelt. An appropriate send-off for Davies’ first goes as showrunner.

Turn Left – 8.9

Donna surrounded by mirrors in Doctor Who

Dystopian in nature, “Turn Left” is among the darkest episodes of Doctor Who. Built around a what-if scenario, the episode shows what the world would be like without the Doctor saving the day, and the results are harrowing.

Despite being an episode where Donna Noble’s character is reverted to the state audiences first saw her in, she still goes through an arc that proves why she’s the best Doctor Who companion. Even without the Doctor, Donna Noble makes the ultimate sacrifice to right the wrongs of the universe, a choice that foreshadows her actual fate in the season finale.

The Parting of the Ways – 9.0

Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston The Parting of the Ways

Picking up from the cliffhanger from “Bad Wolf,” the Ninth Doctor and Jack fly toward the Dalek fleet to rescue Rose. From there, the trio works together to build a delta wave to wipe out the Daleks and prevent them from taking over the galaxy.

Perhaps the bleakest episode from Christopher Eccleston’s time as the Doctor, his incarnation of the Doctor is forced to not only witness the deaths of the people aboard Satellite Five but must also choose whether to kill the inhabitants of Earth to stop the Daleks or let them win . Chock-full of tearful and spine-chilling moments, “The Parting of the Ways” is the perfect send-off for Christopher Eccleston’s PTSD-stricken incarnation of the Time Lord, especially knowing that he finds peace in the end.

Midnight – 9.0

One of only a few episodes on this list not to act as a build-up for a season finale, “Midnight” offers up a horror story on a space bus where one of the passengers is possessed by an unknown entity. By containing the episode in a single location and focusing on the paranoia and interactions between the supporting cast, it watches like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

The thing that makes “Midnight” especially unique is that the script uses the Doctor’s strengths against him. His confidence and ability to command the room almost resulted in him getting killed by the other passengers on the space bus. This change in dynamic results in stakes that feel tangible, and make the episode a highlight of Doctor Who series 4.

The Stolen Earth – 9.1

Doctor Who Stolen Earth finale cast

Featuring the cliffhanger that put Great Britain on edge, “The Stolen Earth” sees the Daleks attempt their grandest scheme as they pull planets from across space to destroy the universe. It’s up to everyone the Tenth Doctor has met to stop the dastardly villains from succeeding in the unthinkable.

Related: Doctor Who’s 10 Memorable Dalek Variants

Though a set-up episode, “The Stolen Earth” works because it feels like anything could happen. The stakes are real, the threat is palpable, and above all, the characters think it might be the end. In one of the most chilling scenes in the entire franchise, Sarah Jane Smith and Captain Jack cower at the reveal of the Dalek message.

Journey’s End – 9.2

The conclusion to Doctor Who series 4, “Journey’s End” resolves the threat of Davros and the Daleks thanks to the power of DoctorDonna. It felt like a triumphant moment for a character who had largely been a nobody, but it would come at a cost.

In what is easily the saddest scene in the entire Russell T Davies era, the Doctor is forced to wipe Donna’s memories to save her life. The person she had become would be erased, leaving her as the shallow person she was before she met the Doctor. It’s this farewell to the best TARDIS team, in a scene that solidifies the stakes of the show, that elevates “Journey’s End” to classic status.

Doomsday – 9.3

Doctor Who Doomsday the Doctor is separated from Rose

The second part of the series 2 finale, “Doomsday” sees the Daleks battle the Cybermen in a bid to see who will take control of the Earth. Featuring loads of action, surprise reunions, and quirky hijinks surrounding 3-D glasses, the episode is one of the busiest in the entire series.

Despite all the nonsense elements vying for screen time, Davies can pull it all together by focusing on the central emotion of the piece. From the people of Pete’s world who have lost their loved ones to the Cybermen who have lost their dignity and humanity, the individual elements foreshadow the separation of the Doctor and Rose, leading to one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the show’s history, a scene which encapsulates Davies’ strengths as a writer.

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