I don’t know about you but I am very excited for the 60th anniversary episodes of Doctor Who coming very soon! In preparation, here is my list of 10 Doctor Who Episodes You Have to Watch Before the 60th Anniversary Specials.
You can watch all these episodes on BBC iPlayer.
#10 – The Christmas Invasion
Go right back to the beginning of David Tennant’s run with The Christmas Invasion. This is a classic of the modern era of Doctor Who, and is one of the best introductions to a new regeneration of the titular character.
This episodes shows us 10’s quirky and fun side, serious and powerful side, and even a bit of sexiness! This is a must-watch before the 60th anniversary episodes, as it shows this face at its newest and freshest, giving you a starting point to see how far this regeneration has come.
#9 – School Reunion
As these 60th episodes are going to be specials, we can be sure to see some old faces from classic Who, such as the Toymaker! School Reunion brought back Sarah Jane Smith, one of the most beloved of the Doctor’s companions (originally travelling with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker’s incarnations).
This episode is certainly one for those who grew up watching Sarah Jane on screen back in the day, but it also brings her character to a new, younger audience, setting up the wonderful Sarah Jane Adventures which many of us NuWho fans watched alongside the main show growing up.
#8 & 7 – The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky
It is no secret that we are going back to UNIT in the 60th anniversary episodes, so why not rewatch the first time UNIT was brought back to the show for new audiences? This is an epic two-parter seeing Tennant’s Doctor, alongside Donna Noble and Martha Jones, facing the seemingly unstoppable threat of a Sontaran invasion.
Back in the office, working for UNIT once again, the Doctor slips back into his typical derision of formality, harking back to Tom Baker’s interactions with the Brigadier. It is a joy to watch and one of the most exciting stories of the modern era.
#6 & 5 – The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End
Talking of bringing classic villains into NuWho, in this two-parter, where the DoctorDonna plot climaxes, we are reintroduced to Davros! However, this is an essential watch before the 60th anniversary episodes because this is when Donna’s mind is originally wiped by the Doctor.
You can be sure that having this background information handy will make watching the DoctorDonna running about together once more a lot easier to get your head around!
#4 – The Waters of Mars
Perhaps a bit of a controversial episode, The Waters of Mars sees the 10th Doctor lose his mind a little bit. He becomes so overwhelmed by his own power over time that he goes too far, and by the end of the episode we can see him realise that, finally accepting his fate. He realises that he can’t save everyone, including himself, every time.
This is arguably the 10th Doctor at his lowest, and is an important slice of his story to understand when seeing this face once again in the 60th anniversary episodes.
#3 & 2 – The End of Time Parts 1 & 2
This two-parter is the end of the 10th Doctor’s run, ending with him sacrificing himself for the beloved Wilfred Mott, who does indeed knock four times.
As this is the end for this incarnation of the Doctor (although he pops up in the 50th, that is set earlier in this incarnation’s life), it is only fitting to rewatch it before seeing the 14th Doctor sharing the same face in the 60th anniversary episodes.
#1 – The Day of the Doctor
And finally on this list of 10 Doctor Who episodes you have to watch before the 60th anniversary specials, we have The Day of the Doctor. This is the 50th anniversary episode, seeing Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor in the titular role, alongside his previous incarnations, the 10th and the War Doctor.
Watching this episode is important for a few reasons: it is another episode with UNIT; Tennant’s 10th Doctor is present; and perhaps we can expect to see as many easter eggs in the coming specials as we got in this one-off?
When Do the 60th Anniversary Doctor Who Episodes Air?
The 60th anniversary Doctor Who episodes are set to air on 25 November, 2 December, and 9 December. The episodes are titled “The Star Beast”, “Wild Blue Yonder”, and “The Giggle”.
All episodes will air on BBC One in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and on Disney+ internationally.