You know what I’m talking about, those unique moments, those very Doctor Who~ey moments when your jaw drops to the floor and your mind is scrambled with a revelation so trouser~tighteningly amazing that the only way to express yourself is through exasperated gasps, flailing arms and dolphin-like squeals. So here are Blogtor’s particular favourite Whaaa?? moments, all ten from “new” Who incidentally.
10. Melody Regenerates in Let’s Kill Hitler
The Doctor Who Series 6, Part 2 opener was full of surprises but none more so eyebrow-raising as newly-introduced character Mels regenerating. And not only that, she only went and regenerated into River flippin’ Song! This, of course, led to more shocks and questions (like how did she get to be Mel in the first place and hang out with the Ponds and how come her clothes changed size, etc…) but as a Whaaa??, it was a doozy.
9. Oswin Oswald in Asylum of the Daleks
How did they manage to keep this quiet?? The Whaaa?? here isn’t so much the character Oswin, but who was playing her, Jenna-Louise Coleman. We all knew, sorry thought, that The J-LC was making her debut in the Christmas Special (which, in a way, she did – but, in another more accurate way, she didn’t) and yet here she was, prettying up the screen as a deranged soufflé-loving Dalek. The joy at the reveal was proof that secrets are best kept to oneself.
8. Four Knocks in The End of Time Part Two
The sadness! The feels!! Yup. That moment we had been preparing for since Easter the previous year came but no-one saw the heartbreak that it would cause. Most assumed the four knocks would originate from The Master (even The Doctor did in Part One), and he would bring everyone’s favourite Time Lord’s demise – not lovable old Wilf! The sound of his pathetic knocks still ring in the mind as Davey T suddenly realises his recent survival at the hands of his friendly Gallifreyans was about to come to an end. A powerful blow to the stomach.
The opening two-parter in 2011 had plenty going on, The Doctor’s own regeneration in The Impossible Astronaut (though this surprise was blown by the BBC who released promo pics of the moment on the day, *coughs*), all the groovy Silence action, the origin of Nixon’s taping and the gang all “dying” at the start of this episode (though there’s only so many times you can watch Rory die and take it seriously) but the regeneration after everything had been “solved” was a real Whaaa?? moment that was the tasty topping to a juicy story.
6. “I’m Regenerating!” in The Stolen Earth
It’s amazing to think that Doctor Who was all over the media in 2008 during the week between this episode and the Series 4 finale, Journey’s End. It even made the news as secrecy was so hot – was The Doctor about to regenerate??? Of course, those paying attention had seen the filming pics from that year’s Christmas Special but still, even I had to wonder what audacious trick Russell T Davies had pulled. Was he actually going to regenerate? We know he didn’t but, with all that was going in in the final moments of the episode, it was a helluva cliffhanger.
5. Donna Noble in Doomsday
The tears were still rolling down our collective cheeks when the UK’s top comedienne in The Noughties suddenly appeared, almost ghost-like, in the TARDIS. I don’t know who was more shocked, Donna, The Doctor or the audience. Given just how big Cathy T was, it’s genuinely amazing how they kept that quiet (as revealed some time later, very few people knew of this scene with only a few involved in the scene’s filming in the know, as the Series Two wrap party was taking place). The episode also gave rise to the now much-missed “What? What? What???” trope.
4. Rose Returns in Partners in Crime
I remember watching this one banging the floor (with my hands, you dirty lot) in amazement when the blonde turned round and it was good ole Billie Piper. Like Oswin up top [steady – Ed.], we were all prepared for Rose to return later in the series, so Rusty D’s coup, shoehorning in her appearance in the Series 4 opener with utmost ninja-like precision, not even letting the press see these moments. Best of all, Rose’s return begged so many questions that frazzled the brain cry (in a good way).
3. The Daleks in Army of Ghosts
Even though I had read some time before that the intergalactic pepper~pots would be back (and even the previous week’s “Next Time” trail had actually shown a Dalek lazer-death – nice one Beeb), I was still completely blindsided as The Cult of Skaro came flying out of the void ship in the Series 2 finale. I’d completely forgotten, so engaged in the return of the Cybermen and the introduction of Torchwood was I. It’s only brief Whaaa?? as the episode closed pretty damn quickly but the surprise reveal of Skaro’s finest lives long. A treat and a half from the production team.
2. Bad Wolf in Turn Left
If I was banging the floor for Rose’s return in Partners In Crime, I was positively digging through to Australia in sheer brain~scratching astonishment. Like a few stories here, we get the main thrust of the episode and seemingly everything is over (and I should say Turn Left is one of my very favourite Doctor Who stories ever) and then creeps in that moment. When Donna says, “Bad Wolf” it still makes my body shake with paroxysms of bewilderment; just thinking about it makes me quiver. And then we get the end of the universe! Blimey!
1. The Master in Utopia
For me, it’s tight between this and number two but I’ll give it to Utopia for being and first and for its sustained level of Whaaa??~ness. The throw to the Series 3 finale kicks off impressively with Captain Jack’s pre-titles return, a TARDIS ride to the end of time (well, end of humanity at least) and the wonderful Derek Jacobi as a doddery old man. But then, oh Rusty. Dear old Rusty whacks us in the face with the biggest shock in the series’ history.
The fob-watch reveal of The Master is so well and thoughtfully constructed (building on the magnificent Human Nature two-parter) and so exquisitely played-out that one sweats in excitement simply from memory. But it’s not just one moment, it’s about fifteen minutes of palpable adrenalin as we discover who he is, watch him hiss with sublime evil, “I am the Master!” as he kills his buddy off whilst Team TARDIS are helping the remnants of the human race reach the stars as a bunch of Duran Duran video extras (along with Annie Lennox) attack the base that houses them.
And then he flippin’ regenerates into John Simm and takes the bloody TARDIS! I cannot imagine any other show, or film, evoking such pleasure, wonderment and stupefaction as this wonderful episode. This is pure Doctor Who. Utterly, utterly perfect.