How Do Viewers Rate Doctor Who 2023 Episodes Among Other Modern Era Specials?

How Do Viewers Rate Doctor Who 2023 Episodes Among Other Modern Era Specials?
Image credit: BBC

Has Russell T. Davies managed to repeat the success of Steven Moffat's 50th anniversary specials?


  • All three Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials have landed on the streaming platforms.
  • Now we can compare the modern era specials based on the ratings given to them by IMDb users.
  • The ratings show that the new episodes rank between Chris Chibnall's 2022 specials and Steven Moffat's iconic 50th anniversary stories.

The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials, which ran for three weeks on Disney+ and BBC from November 25th to December 9th, have become an exciting event for all Whovians out there.

The three iconic players of the new Whoniverse, Russell T. Davies, who penned all three 2023 specials, David Tennant, who portrayed the fourteenth incarnation of the legendary Time Lord, and Catherine Tate, who reprised her role as headstrong companion Donna Noble, managed to create an impressive buzz around the big date.

As well as the emotional reunion between the Doctor and Donna, the three standalone specials featured three stories introducing three new modern era adversaries: a classic Doctor Who tale about a cute alien turned dictator, a horror flick about an unknown race dubbed the Not-Things, and the bizarre episode that brought back the classic era villain, the Toymaker, to play more games with the Doctor.

The third special also introduced a surprising development for the Doctor's arc. It turns out that instead of regenerating into the next incarnation, the Doctor can somehow split into two in a process called 'bi-generation'. Now David Tennant's Doctor exists simultaneously with Ncuti Gatwa's fifteenth incarnation.

How do the new episodes compare to other New Who specials?

Now that all three 60th anniversary specials have arrived, we can compare them to other modern era specials (excluding the Christmas ones), the most popular of which are probably Steven Moffat's 50th anniversary episodes, which premiered ten years ago, in 2013.

Let's look at the IMDb user ratings from worst to best.

  • Legend of the Sea Devils (2022) - 4.6/10
  • Eve of the Daleks (2022) - 6.7/10
  • The Star Beast (2023) - 7.1/10
  • Planet of the Dead (2009) - 7.4/10
  • The Power of the Doctor (2022) - 7.6/10
  • The End of Time - Part One (2009) - 8.2/10
  • Wild Blue Yonder (2023) - 8.4/10
  • The Time of the Doctor (2013) - 8.4/10
  • The Giggle (2023) - 8.6/10
  • The Waters of Mars (2009) - 8.8/10
  • The End of Time - Part Two (2010) - 8.9/10
  • The Night of the Doctor (2013) - 9.0/10
  • The Day of the Doctor (2013) - 9.3/10

The Conclusions

As you can see, Chris Chibnall's 2022 specials, which ended the tenure of Jodie Whittaker's Time Lord, are at the bottom of the list, which is to be expected considering that fans were not thrilled with the stories given to the thirteenth Doctor.

The new episodes, in contrast, have very different rankings. The Star Beast is one of the three worst, proving that adapting the story of the Meep was a challenging task. The Giggle is in the top five, indicating that viewers loved the bi-generation twist.

However, all in all, Russell T. Davies' specials fall short of Steven Moffat's 2013 episodes, which tackled the challenges of the Time War and included numerous exciting guest star cameos.

Hopefully, the next specials of the new Davies era will find their way to the top and into the hearts of the viewers.

Doctor Who returns to Disney+ and BBC on Christmas Day, December 25, with the special episode The Church on Ruby Road.

Do you agree with the IMDb rating?