Aug 24 2012 11:00am

Our Doctor Who Wish List

Here on Earth we haven't seen the Doctor since Christmas, but he’s still running around in time and space, fighting monsters and being—let’s be honest—pretty sort of marvelous. With the premiere of the seventh series/season now officially only a week away, Doctor Who fever is on full blast. The trailers look great: gunfights, Daleks, dinosaurs, heroics, and heartbreak! But what else? What do we the fans want from the future of Doctor Who?

Below is a wish list of things the staff want to see in Doctor Who, no matter how unreasonable these requests might seem. (We did however try to limit ourselves to things the show actually could do, so things like The Doctor meeting the Ghostbusters were nixed.)

Check out what we came up with and give us your thoughts below!



I'm pretty psyched that there are going to be dinosaurs in the new season, as the Doctor hanging out with dinosaurs seems like something that should have happened a long time ago. I also did want the Daleks to return (specifically the style of Daleks from the Eccleston/Tennant era) so I'm happy about that too. What else? Here's a short list:

  • I like the Doctor Who stories that take place on a space station or space outpost and a strange, alien thing happens. Like “The Impossible Planet” or “The Waters of Mars,” or “42.” I feel like the Matt Smith stuff is more surreal, like “The God Complex.” I like those, too, but straight up horror/science fiction would be nice.
  • I haven't gotten a sense for what happens on present day Earth in a while. Is our reality/history constantly in flux because of all the stuff with the Silence? Does Amy remember the Dalek invasion from “Journey's End” now? Just what version of events are we living in now? I'd like maybe a reference or two to reconcile the old pre-Matt Smith Earth with the new one.
  • I want another episode with Craig (James Corden). I think those episodes are the best.
  • I'd love to see the Doctor fly a spaceship that is more traditional. Like a rocket ship or a space fighter. If not the Doctor, maybe Rory or Amy.
  • I'd like to see a concrete moral dilemma created by a time travel paradox. Lately, paradoxes have been solving problems. I'd like to see one create a problem. (Sort of what they did in “The Girl Who Waited.”)
  • Underwater episode. 
  • Another episode where they meet a historical author. Conan Doyle? Cumberbatch can play him? I mean, why not?
  • A NEW love interest for the Doctor. Yep. Even if it's fleeting.



The trailers for the next season look amazing and I am cautiously cautiously hopeful that this might end up being as great, as firing-on-all-cylinders as the show's fourth season. Daleks, dinosaurs, cowboys, noir-y River Song? COME ON.

Still, there are some things I'd love to see the show tackle:

An episode where the Doctor interacts with The Beatles: This is a wish definitely inspired by this picture. I understand why you would want to avoid messing with big personalities from recent history, but it's not like the show wouldn't treat this kind of material without respect and accuracy. Really all you need is love actors who can play the Beatles accurately enough that you're not focusing on their performances. This is not impossible, it's just challenging, and what is Doctor Who if not a show that accepts challenges?

(Also it's high time Paul and Ringo had guest cameos on the show.)

An episode that is solely a single-room dialogue drama: I was bored shirtless by last year's Christmas episode, especially in comparison to the tremendous Christmas episode before it, and especially in comparison to the great, small scene we got with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory at the end of “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.” I wish the episode had been entirely them sitting around the dinner table, just talking.

I'm basically advocating that the show create an episode that's a stage play. The closest we've gotten in the series has been the utterly engrossing Tenth Doctor episode “Midnight” but remember how awesome that episode was? The show should go further with that. Give Matt Smith, Arthur Darvill, and Karen Gillan something whip-smart, dramatic, and tense to play with. A story where all the turns are in the dialogue, where no one leaves the room, where Matt Smith as the Doctor performs a tour-de-force of being dissembling, joking, accusing, revealing, possibly all in the same sentence. It'd be a trick that the show could only pull off once a Doctor, but it would be something you'd remember for a long, long while.

A multi-Doctor episode that has an emotional throughline: We all want a multi-Doctor episode, but the real barrier to such an episode isn't getting everyone to come back. Rather, it's writing an episode that illuminates the character of each Doctor in a way that their original episodes didn't.

That is a frightening hurdle to overcome and one that Steven Moffat is all too aware of. Even in his 8-minute short “Time Crash,” he takes a time out from cracking jokes so that the Tenth Doctor can let the Fifth know how inspiring he was, even to himself, giving the Fifth Doctor something new to think about in regards to his own character.

Maybe you could do a multi-Doctor episode where the Eleventh Doctor encounters a situation very similar to something he encountered as the Eighth Doctor. Maybe he goes back in time and asks for counsel from his former self. An “I made this mistake once. Should I make it again?” sort of plot.

But that in itself is tricky. You also don't want a multi-Doctor episode that's all about wallowing in self-pity! Still, you want the Doctor, or your Doctor, or the Doctors to have learned something new about himself/themselves by the end of the episode.



An episode that deals with ancient history: Doctor Who was originally designed to teach children about history, but the show has gone pretty light on that for a long time. We see plenty of past eras from small rooms, and the Doctor interacts with certain historical figures in a wink-wink-nudge-nudge sort of way, but we don't get into depth for the most part. I want research! Scope! Some accuracy and maybe an epic battle sequence! Have the Doctor end up stuck in the middle of Alexander the Great's campaign, or send him to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Play with myth and legends, and see how he treats those moments. In fact, I would love an episode that deals with these things and maybe no aliens or monsters. Let the Doctor and his companions just enjoy history.

An episode on another planet where a different race and/or culture is really fleshed out: I'm tired of humans. If all of the Doctor's companions are going to continue being human, then I want them to interact with more aliens. I want them to spend whole episodes on other planets and interact with aliens who think they're strange and/or upsetting order. I know we're the Doctor's favorite, but we know he goes to see the wonders of the universe on a daily basis. So where are they? No more empty libraries, or empty holiday planets done in by plagues, give us an entire episode of that planet where the Doctor and Donna were wandering in a flea market knocking back questionable frothy drinks in “Turn Left.”

An episode on the TARDIS: We keept getting teases of this, but it never truly happens, not even in “The Doctor's Wife,” though we do see more of the ship then. Make them incapable of leaving the TARDIS. Steven Moffat has said that he never wants to keep the Doctor there, but that's what I want to see. I want to see people making meals in the kitchen and running for their lives into rooms they didn't even know existed. I want to see what it's like to live in that maze of a ship.

More companions: I always really liked Five's row of ducklings, and I would love another Doctor to have a full house. It was always fun to watch how companions from other times and places interacted with each other, and how that could things both easier and harder for the Doctor. It couldn't go on forever, but just a season or so with the Doctor plus a trio of very different people would be such a treat to watch.



I agree and second many of the suggestions above (More history! More interactions with famous authors! Bottle episode!), so the rest of my list boils down to (possibly weird) personal preferences:

Give The Doctor a proper nemesis: I miss The Master, and would love nothing more than for John Simm to return to the show in all his over-the-top, demented glory. If there are solid reasons why that can't or won't happen (and there may be, but I am stubborn), then perhaps a new incarnation of the character is in order—how about a female Master? (Tilda? Are you busy?) Barring that, then I'd just really love to see The Doctor meet his match in someone delightfully, psychotically clever and evil this season (not some new humorless Big Bad). I'm all for a new love interest, too—but a proper nemesis can be way more fun.

More talking to babies: I'm still not over Stormageddon, the Dark Lord of All. Maybe there's a planet of terrifying baby warlords somewhere—I don't know if I need a whole episode there, but maybe they could stop for directions or something. But Matt Smith and the writers did a great job of taking something that could have been saccharine and making it warped and hilarious and perfect. So good.

An episode built around a heist/caper: I have an addiction to the heist format, and I'd love to watch The Doctor, Rory, and Amy (and I think River would have to be involved, under the circumstances) pull off some kind of complicated caper to help out some poor planet. Maybe John Rogers could consult? All I know is that there's more than just a bit of the con man to The Doctor (especially back in the Tennant days), and I'd love to see that element put to good use again.

And, finally—The Doctor goes to Hollywood: I know this premise probably seems somewhat perverse, but there it is. I want to see The Doctor and his faithful companions navigate Tinseltown (I have a preference for classic 1930s or even 40s-era Hollywood, but I think the location could work well in various eras). We got a two-minute taste of this in A Christmas Carol, but if done with a whole episode there would just be so many opportunities for layered meta-references and amazing in-jokes. Maybe too much Community and Inspector Spacetime is to blame for this particular obsession, but I'd love to see the show deliver some Sullivan's Travels-style commentary about the movies' ability to change the world for the better: the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism, in other words. In any case, I cannot wait for this season.

Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Stubby is sad no one wants an episode based on a sassy rocket.

Doctor Who Series 7: index | next ›
1. catterpillarboy
Re: the Doctor meeting the Beatles- it’d be totally awesome if Eccleston portrayed Lennon…because he already did…
Emmet O'Brien
2. EmmetAOBrien
Ryan; have you not seen Invasion of the Dinosaurs (Three, Sarah Jane, 1974) then ? it came out on DVD in January.

I'm wondering whether there will be any sly Primeval allusions in the dinosaurs-on-a-spaceship episode, myself.
3. Dr. Cox
Yes, it would be nice to see more history. And more companions.
And what about an alien companion? Cf. the Fifth Doctor's episodes where Aldric, Nyssa, and Turlough were aliens.
Of course, we don't know anything yet about the new companion who will appear in the Christmas episode . . . I haven't seen anything on the 'net anyway and no I'm not starting rumors--I'm just typing in my thoughts :).
Fredrik Coulter
4. fcoulter
"An episode that deals with ancient history"

An interesting take on this would be a remake of one of the early, lost episodes.
5. Futurewriter1120
Re: Emily, I think an episode on the TARDIS would be neat. maybe have a 'ghost in the machine' that unleashes all types of kookiness and horror upon the Doctor and his companions.

How about an episode where the Doctor goes back to 1963 or 62 where he inspires the original writers of the show.
An episode in a theme park would be awesome. Could you imagine the doctor waltzing around Alton Towers historic castle?
An episode taking place at the time of Queen Elizabeth's coronation.
An alternate earth episode would be interesting by having them change one small thing that wasn't so small as thought in the grand scheme of things.
An episode on a planet where everyone has ruined their appearances through plastic surgery to the point they look like they have orange skin, duck lips, almost no nose, barely any hair, etc...
A planet where one of our 'minor' religions is the main religion to teach about how fallable faith is.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
6. pnh
Chris almost certainly knows this--as will many readers of this thread--but Verity Lambert actually tried to get the real Beatles to do a cameo in the 1965 Doctor Who episode "The Chase." She wanted them to perform "Ticket to Ride" as old versions of themselves. Supposedly the band were chuffed by the idea, but Brian Epstein vetoed it.

Instead the episode features the Doctor and others watching them perform "Ticket to Ride" on a 1965 Top of the Pops via the Time-Space Visualizer. And as it happens, that's the only piece of that particular Top of the Pops episode that survives to today, the BBC having been no better at archiving Beatles performances than they were at keeping track of Who episodes.
Bridget Smith
7. BridgetSmith
I particularly love the idea of a stuck-on-the-TARDIS episode. I'm showing my roots here, but the TARDIS is similar to Hogwarts in that they're endless settings, full of cool new things to discover and places that constantly change. But since we were mostly stuck at Hogwarts, we got to see a lot of it: the third floor corridor with the puzzle rooms underneath, the Room of Requirement and the secret passageways, the dungeons, the kitchens, the Great Hall and the dormitories (three of them, even though our heroes were all in the same one), and of course the grounds. Rowling had a lot of fun playing with that setting, and thus it was a lot of fun for the readers. The TARDIS has that too! Rooms that move around, a library with a swimming pool, whatever you need when you need it, places you'll never find again. But we only see the control room. I'd love to explore the whole thing. Why not take advantage of it?
8. Rancho Unicorno
I've got one last thing I'd like to add - a bit of a return to the old Doctor fear. As of the last couple of seasons, it seems that the show has embraced it's fans that were kids and are now adults, and is catering to them at the expense of losing it's original "family entertainment" mission. I'd just like to see more Who that I can watch with my kids and not have people look at me like I'm a bad parent. Right now, the 5yo is entering the nightmare phase, so she's cutting back; the 2yo runs around yelling "Estermates!", so he still watches.

Yeah, I know it's an old complaint. Yeah, I know that shows change. But, there is something to be said for embracing your original vision.
9. rushmc
Emily has the best ideas, by far.
10. Jeff R.
I just want a companion from somewhere other than present-day Earth. Is that really too much to ask for?
F Shelley
11. FSS
@ 5 - "An episode taking place at the time of Queen Elizabeth's coronation."

er - Ten and Rose did that in Season 2, or do you mean Liz the first?
Rob Hansen
12. RobHansen
pnh@6: If memory serves, there are 106 currently missing episodes of DOCTOR WHO (it was 108, but two more turned up recently - these were not episodes o fthe missing stories fans most want found, alas). However, while many episodes are missing, we have a complete set of soundtracks for all of them and set photos for most, which at least holds out the posibility of future cgi reconstructions if and when this becomes economically feasible.
Douglas Freer
13. Futurewriter1120
@FSS I don't know all the episodes since I haven't yet seen the show so I didn't know they had an episode during the queen's coronation.
I only really know the basics and of some episodes so forgive my ignorance.
@RobHansen I hope they recreate those lost episodes through CGI or something since i find it silly to release the incomplete stories.
Ashley Fox
14. A Fox
I am loving Chris's Single Room Dialogue. Through in a like setting/tension from An Inspecter Calls and it could be very gripping.
15. Rancho Unicorno
@12 - Why bother with CGI? The animation that they used to fill in the missing Invasion episodes would work for me. I have no way of knowing whether or not the scenes were filmed the way they were animated, but the soundtracks+animation were authentic enough for me.
16. ravenlunatick
I want a new GD Doctor! That's my wish. Even my 13 yr old daughter would make a better Doctor than Matt Smith. Plus she's ginger. :)
Alan Brown
17. AlanBrown
I will be happy with the Daleks, dinosaurs, Nefertiti and cowboys we have seen in trailers. I am also delighted the Victorian Silurian ninja and her companion are back. I like Rory and Amy, but a new companion will be fun. Oh, and Weeping Angels. Oh, and more River Song.
Come to think of it, what we already know about the new season warms the cockles of my SF-loving heart.
I also would vote for a return of James Corden and young Stormageddon. And some visits to historical times. And some visits to alien worlds and meeting new races. And meeting the previous Doctors.
alastair chadwin
18. a-j
re: TARDIS based episode. I've got in mind that Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) was always keen to do one.
A return to the 'cosmic hobo' and less of the 'lonely god' stuff.
Christopher Eccleston to return to be rude about 10 and 11 (see The Three Doctors to find out how that can be done)
Oh, and bring back the Ice Warriors. I always liked them.
Douglas Freer
19. Futurewriter1120
Thought of another one.
How about when we get around to the 13th doctor have a story arc be a problem that would require all of the doctors. I know that a couple of the docs are dead but they could get some stand-ins to portray them from behind.
20. Frank H.
1. I would love an entire episode of two doctors talking together in the TARDIS while playing chess. I have this vision of them talking about past events and we get flashbacks. Maybe make it an epsisode for newer fans who are not familiar with the older stuff.

2. More episodes like Gridlock. I loved that episode and I love New Earth.
21. Dani Marie
yeah, i'm super ready for new companions. amy and rory are nice, but they're so predictable. rory dies or gets hurt, amy gets emotional and yells at stuff.
22. Seryddwr
Eleventh Doctor, meet the Eighth Doctor.

Will someone PLEASE tell Moffat and co. to get Paul McGann in (and preferably McCoy/Baker/Davison etc.) on a multi-doctor episode?...
23. Akerasi
What I really want to see is something done with the Time War storyline, and to see what became of Ace. Heck, bringing back Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy would work surprisingly well for a multi-doctor story, as there is no reason they couldn't have travelled together for any period of time, making the change in the ages of the actor and actress irrelevant. For a really cool multi-Doctor story, they could even introduce the Twelfth Doctor early as a surprise shocker to everyone; have him/her in that one story, and not again until the Eleventh regenerates.
24. JohnnyB
I'd really like to see some episodes that focus on the insane responsibility of being a timelord. It's great that the Doctor gets to be the hero, but it's been awhile since we've seen him do something seemingly unforgiveable because it had to be done to preserve the timeline. Maybe killing a companion who tries to kill Hitler or stopping the destruction of a peaceful civilization because it was needed to cascade to other events. Eccleston really conveyed that weight of responsibility and I'd like to see an occassional return to that reminder of who and what the Doctor is. A really nice dramatic episode with tantrums over petty human concerns, limited perspectives and reminding everyone that it's his decisions, his mistakes to make and that the rest of the universe doesn't get to have an opinion.
Steve Lord
25. Wybaar

I like the idea of a flash-forward, but it would require a ton of planning. You could reduce the amount of planning necessary if the story just implied that the character was Twelve. They would know more than they should about the Doctor, the TARDIS, and his current companion(s) but refuses to say how they know. Perhaps drop hints that the stranger is the child of River and the Doctor. At the end of the story he or she snaps their fingers as they're walking to the TARDIS doors and the doors open. When the Doctor & companions pick their jaws up off the floor and rush to the door, the stranger has disappeared (perhaps with the traditional TARDIS screeching sound fading out.)

If they approached it this way, they have an out: if it turns out that when Smith wants to leave the show that actor or actress no longer wants the role of Twelve, you could just leave it a mystery.
26. SG
I really would love for Ace to come back. I get the feeling she and Amy would get along well.

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