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'Doctor Who's best ever cliffhangers: Friday Fiver

By and Chris Allen
Amy Pond in Doctor Who S06E07

© BBC

To mark the occasion of this Saturday's Doctor Who mid-series finale, this week's Friday Fiver is our pick of the show's greatest ever cliffhangers.

And before you ask, we've kept it simple and stuck to the new series (2005 onwards) for our five choices, but those of you looking for a heavy dose of nostalgia can check out our 'honourable mentions' for the classic series below!

Also, we've taken 'cliffhanger' to mean a shocking episode ending that is resolved in the following instalment, so twists like the little girl's regeneration in 'Day of the Moon' don't make the cut! With that said, take a look at our picks below and let us know if you agree with them!

Selections and commentary by Chris Allen and Morgan Jeffery

Bad Wolf (First aired: June 11, 2005)
MJ - With all the Tennant and Smith hype, it's easy to forget that one-year wonder Christopher Eccleston was a pretty great Doctor too. 'Bad Wolf' isn't the strongest episode of his tenure - let's not forget the Trinny and Susannah robots - but you'd be hard-pressed to fault the climax, in which our Doc faces the terrifying realisation that his greatest foes have returned en masse.
CA - Defiant, terrifying and massively-eared, this is electrifying Eccleston's finest hour. Rescuing his best friend from the heart of an enemy army with no weapons, defenses or plan restates the Doctor's creed perfectly to a new generation. It still makes me blub.

Watch the cliffhanger to 'Bad Wolf' below:


Utopia (First aired: June 16, 2007)
CA - The last two Time Lords in the universe meet again. A stunning accumulator cliffhanger that lasts a good ten minutes, 'Utopia' has you on the edge of your seat throughout. Jacobi's hissing scorn, the screaming regeneration and the Master forcing the Doctor to use his name are wonderful moments.
MJ - This frankly bonkers final sequence lifts 'Utopia' from a fairly average episode into something altogether different. No sooner do we learn that the cuddly Professor Yana is the Doctor's oldest foe than he's been offed by his faithful assistant, and reborn as a manic and wild-eyed John Simm. A superb cliffhanger.

Watch the cliffhanger to 'Utopia' below:


The Stolen Earth (First aired: June 28, 2008)
MJ - "I'm regenerating!". RTD pulls his cruelest trick yet, as we appear to lose David Tennant's Doctor just moments after he's reunited with Rose. With David Morrissey having been announced as the 'Next Doctor' for the upcoming Christmas special, this was a fantastic publicity stunt and a great cliffhanger.
CA - Yes, it's all a big cheap trick, but boy did it work! For seven days, fans were beside themselves, and due to a media blackout, even hardened journos started to wonder whether RTD had recast his lead on the sly. It's a stunt that the series can only ever pull once, and it is extraordinary in its audacity.

Watch the cliffhanger to 'The Stolen Earth' below:


The End of Time: Part One (First aired: December 25, 2009)
CA - Cunningly, the media were shown an edit that concluded with everyone becoming the Master, so imagine our surprise when Timothy Dalton appeared on Christmas Day. It's a gorgeous, heart-pounding moment as the first Time Lord collar hoves into shot. They're back, they're bad and they're taking the Doctor down...
MJ - The addition of Timothy Dalton automatically makes anything better, so it was a real thrill to see him pop up here as Rassilon, a villain worse even than the deranged Master. These final shocking scenes left us (and Dalton himself) positively salivating for more.

Watch the cliffhanger to 'The End of Time: Part One' below:


The Almost People (First aired: May 28, 2011)
MJ - A phrase like 'game-changing' gets thrown around too often, but the cliffhanger to last week's Who works brilliantly on two levels - it changes everything you thought you knew about the latest series, and it's damn creepy!
CA - Amy is "properly properly scared" and so are we. The coldness in Matt Smith's eyes is truly frightening, as is the revelation that Amy has been in another place for some time. So many questions and so few answers! Altogether now: POOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSHHHHHH!

Watch the cliffhanger to 'The Almost People' below:


And a few classics...
To satisfy classic series fans and prove our Whovian credentials, there's just room to mention a few of the old-school cliffhangers. Our nods go to the end of 'The Tenth Planet' (the first regeneration!); Part 9 of 'The War Games' (Time Lords!); Part 2 of 'Spearhead from Space' (The Auton springs to life!); Part 1 of 'Earthshock' (Cybermen!) and Part 1 of 'Remembrance of the Daleks' (Dalek goes up stairs!).

What's your favourite Doctor Who cliffhanger of all time? Let us know below!

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