CultBox asked you to vote for your favourite tear-jerking moments in the show since its return in 2005…
#1: With 28.9% of the votes, Rose says goodbye to the Doctor at Bad Wolf Bay (‘Doomsday’)
David Lewis writes: “The Cybermen and Daleks have been destroyed (until next time). The Doctor has saved the world and everything’s back to normal. Except, of course, Rose Tyler is trapped in a parallel world – separated from the Doctor permanently. Harnessing the power of a star (‘I’m burning up a sun just to say goodbye’), he projects an image of himself onto a desolate beach to say a final goodbye – and, perhaps, something else…
“For two years, we’d watched the universe from Rose’s perspective. Now, for the first time, we see it from the Doctor’s side as well, his two hearts breaking. Unable to hold each other one last time, Rose tells the Doctor she loves him, in Billie Piper’s finest moment. The Doctor opens his mouth to reply… but he fades away. He’s back in the TARDIS alone; his final words left unsaid.
“We know what he was going to say, though, and that’s why it’s such a tear-jerker. In a perfect example of Russell T Davies shamelessly tugging at the heartstrings, we’re not just empathising with the Doctor’s loss – we’re seeing the things that we never said. The scene’s impact may have been lessened by Rose’s reappearance in Series 4, but we’re still left with an emotional crescendo of epic proportions.”
#2: With 21.3% of the votes, Donna loses her memories of her time with the Doctor (‘Journey’s End’)
Amy Lofthouse writes: “After becoming trapped in the TARDIS during Series 4’s manic finale, Donna accidently touches the Doctor’s severed hand, ingesting his knowledge and ultimately saving him (and the rest of the world) from Davros. However, it soon becomes apparent that Donna’s human brain cannot handle the sheer amount of knowledge that a Time Lord’s can. The Doctor must wipe her mind of him and their travels.
“Catherine Tate, who was met with some scepticism at the start of Series 4, is heartbreakingly brilliant as Donna realises what the Doctor is about to do to her. ‘I was going to be with you… forever’, she quietly tells him, before begging him to stop: ‘I can’t go back, don’t make me go back’. The emotion on the Doctor’s face as he holds her limp body and the realisation that she must never remember any of the good that she did is what makes the scene so poignant and tragic. As he later remarks to Wilf, ‘for one shining moment, she was the most important woman in the whole wide universe’.”
#3: With 17.7% of the votes, the Tenth Doctor regenerates (‘The End Of Time: Part 2’)
Joe Thomson writes: “What’s so powerful about the tenth Doctor’s final moments is how the scene throws us for a loop. After seeing the Doctor making peace with all the people who meant the most to him, we are led to believe he’s resolved and ready to move on to his next incarnation. So when David Tennant lets out that half-whimper – ‘I don’t want to go’ – it absolutely catches us by surprise.
“The genius of what Russell T Davies does with the Tenth Doctor’s exit is to portray the regeneration process as a death – the end of a character, as opposed to a simple recasting device. What really makes it work, reducing us all to a bunch of weepy messes, is the fact that the Doctor’s last lines are also representing everything that we, the audience, felt about the situation. Tennant was a great Doctor and it was truly a shame to see him go. Allons-y!”
#4: With 13.7% of the votes, the Doctor discovers that Reinette has died (‘The Girl In The Fireplace’)
Eve Moriarty writes: “Told within a regular 45 minute episode in Series 2, the Doctor and Reinette’s love story is heartbreaking, simply because it hardly gets a chance to happen. The pair are a meeting of minds; identically clever and identically lonely. Following several encounters over the course of her life, Reinette (Sophia Myles) effervesces with excitement and happiness at the prospect of seeing space and the Doctor’s enthusiasm is heart-warming to watch.
“Of course, all this adds to the emotional blow upon his return, when we learn from the grieving King (wonderfully subdued acting from Ben Turner) that Reinette has died at only 43 is enormous. Murray Gold’s score is beautifully wounded and fragile as the Doctor reads Reinette’s letter, with the faith and love she had for the Doctor only heightening the poignancy of her death and of the opportunities both have missed. Tennant’s performance is one of his best here, his grief and disappointment palpable as he pilots the TARDIS in an empty control room, alone once more.”
#5: With 9.6% of he votes, John Smith must choose between Joan Redfern and being the Doctor (‘The Family Of Blood’)
Joseph Rowan writes: “Rarely has the pain of the Doctor’s inability to live a ‘normal’ life been so emotionally dealt with as in the climax of Series 3’s ‘The Family Of Blood’. Jessica Hynes (Spaced) is sublime as the wounded Nurse Redfern and David Tennant gives a terrifically understated performance as John Smith, a temporarily human form of the Doctor.
“Forced to make a heartbreaking choice that he doesn’t fully understand, the confused school-teacher must decide whether to live out a happy life with the woman he loves or return to the lonely life of the Doctor and thus save her. Of course, he makes the right choice, saves everyone and returns to his solitary existence, but not until many, many tears have been shed.”
#6: With 8.8% of the votes, Amy forgets that Rory ever existed after he is shot and dies (‘Cold Blood’)
Cliff Shephard writes: “From the start of Series 5, it was all about Amy and The Doctor – the spark, the frisson, the chemistry between the two. Then along came Rory, the drippy boyfriend. After Mickey Smith, did we really want another ‘third wheel’ companion getting in the way of it all? Not really, no.
“Until ‘Cold Blood’, that is. In a few mere minutes, we saw Rory heroically sacrifice himself for the Doctor, shot by vengeful Silurian Restac and absorbed by a crack in time. Amy’s pain as she realises that all too quickly her fiancé would be forgotten, erased from her memory forever, is played beautifully by Karen Gillan. But that wasn’t even the clincher. The sucker punch is the reaction from Matt Smith, as the Doctor realises what he must carry as a consequence – that he will remember Rory, and remember Amy loving Rory.”