Honorable Mention: The Curse Of Fatal Death
We can’t include this in our ranking properly as it doesn’t count as canon, but this 1998 Comic Relief special is so good it deserves a mention. Written by future showrunner Steven Moffat, “The Curse of Fatal Death” is ostensibly a spoof of Doctor Who but it’s too full of love for the series to offend Whovians.
The central joke is that the Doctor uses up his remaining regenerations in the span of 20 minutes, meaning a roll call of famous British actors get to try their hand at playing the character. To begin with, Mr. Bean himself, Rowan Atkinson portrays the Time Lord, before he regenerates into Richard E. Grant, Hugh Grant and finally, Joanna Lumley.
Ironically, Moffat would later reuse many of the ideas from this spoof during his tenure in charge of the show. For instance, the Doctor getting married, falling in love with his companion, the time travel humor, some dialogue, even the hinted romance between the Doctor and the Master. Likewise, Moffat’s predecessor Russell T. Davies thought Hugh Grant was so good in his short spell as the Doctor here that he asked him to play the role when the show came back in 2005, though the Love Actually star turned him down.
If you’ve never seen “The Curse of Fatal Death,” do yourself a favor and watch it in its entirety above.
8) Dimensions In Time
That’s the weird thing about Doctor Who canon. Even though “Curse” is fantastic, we can’t count it as it doesn’t fit within the confines of show. “Dimensions in Time” is total garbage, however, but we kind of have to accept it as canon as it roughly sits neatly in the series’ timeline. Lots of fans like to forget it ever happened, though.
Though Doctor Who was off the air by 1993, it was revived for a Children in Need special to mark its 30th anniversary. And it was primed to be a very special special, too. Every living Doctor was involved. Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy…even Tom Baker. What’s more, a bunch of the most beloved companions from across the classic series were on board, and fan favorite foe the Rani returned as well.
However, where it all fell down was in the story. Despite a runtime of 20 minutes, “Dimensions” attempts a convoluted time travel tale in which the Doctor’s timestream is altered so he keeps slipping into different regenerations. The icing on the cake, though, is that – for some unfathomable reason – it’s also a crossover with long-running British soap opera Eastenders.