ByLewis Jefferies, writer at
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Lewis Jefferies

Would you believe me if I told you that Doctor Who was originally a children's show? Well, it's true. Back when the show first began in 1963, Doctor Who was created as an educational children's television show on the BBC. Ever since then, it has soared through the years to become one of the most popular science fiction shows to date.

Many fans continue to tinker with lists of their favorite Doctor, and David Tennant usually tops the list. However, have fans ever considered ranking the Doctors in order of tone? It has recently been announced by the British Board of Film Classification that is officially the darkest Doctor since the show was revived in 2005. But why?

Peter Capaldi Has Completely Changed The Show, But Is It In A Good Way?

'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]
'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]

Before he made his proper debut appearance as the Doctor, Peter Capaldi appeared on Doctor Who during the 50th Anniversary Special, "The Day of the Doctor," as part of the Time Lords' plan to save Gallifrey. Since his first series in 2014, a number of episodes during his era as the Doctor have been rated "unsuitable" for children.

The BBFC, who rate each episode and series of the show, have consistently been rating Doctor Who as a PG — which stands for Parental Guidance — meaning it is suitable for young viewers to watch, but must have a parent watching with them.

On the other hand, a lot of Peter Capaldi's episodes have been rated a 12, which has rarely happened on the show since 2005. In the past, some of Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith's episodes have been given a 12 rating, but not as many as Peter Capaldi. An age rating of 12 simply means anyone under the age of 12 should not watch the content shown, are unable to purchase or rent them from stores, and are banned from cinemas if it is shown in theaters.

What does an episode rated a 12 consist of? If the episode is given a rating of 12, it means the episode contains mild threat and/or horror, violence, imitable behavior, and mild language, which children could potentially copy.

All Of the Episodes Rated A 12 Since 2005

'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]
'Doctor Who' [Credit: BBC]

Christopher Eccleston — who played the ninth Doctor in 2005 for one series — was the first Doctor of the revival to have episodes rated a 12. These are "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek."

David Tennant, famous for playing the quirky tenth Doctor from 2005–2010, finished his era as the Doctor with just four episodes rated a 12. These episodes are "Tooth and Claw," "Planet of the Ood," "The Doctor's Daughter" and "The Waters of Mars."

Matt Smith played the Fez-loving eleventh Doctor from 2010–2013 and again had just two episodes rated a 12. They are "The God Complex" and "The Angels Take Manhattan."

Finally, Peter Capaldi, who is departing as the Doctor this Christmas, has racked up a total of 12 episodes rated a 12. All of the following episodes have been rated a 12:

  • "Dark Water"
  • "Last Christmas"
  • "The Magician’s Apprentice"
  • "The Witch’s Familiar"
  • "Under the Lake"
  • "Before the Flood"
  • "The Zygon Inversion"
  • "Heaven Sent"
  • "The Return of Doctor Mysterio"
  • "Knock Knock"
  • "Oxygen"
  • "Extremis"

With all these episodes rated a 12, it makes Peter Capaldi's incarnation of the Doctor the darkest to date.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, none of this confirms that Doctor Who is no longer a children's show now aimed at older audience, but parents have been advised to let their children watch recent episodes of Doctor Who at their own risk.

Doctor Who Season 10 continues on BBC One and BBC America every Saturday until July. What has been your favorite moment from Season 10 so far featuring the new companion, Bill Potts?

(Sources: Radio Times)


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