Old Who’s Top Ten Cliffhangers
Old Doctor Who

Doctor Who as a child was the seemingly impossibly deadly situations the Doctor or his companion got themselves into prior to the credits rolling for that week.

The cliffhanger end to each episode left the viewer wishing they could jump into a Type 40 Tardis themselves and time travel forward to next week to see how it resolved itself.

There are so many to choose from. Here is some ten of our favourite cliffhanger’s.

No. 10) Sylvester McCoy. Dragonfire – 1987 – An ‘actual cliffhanger’.


Had to be in here. The infamous ‘actual’ cliffhanger moment, where Who got a bit too clever – by parodying itself.

The Seventh Doctor, whilst exploring an ice world; attempted to take a bafflingly dangerous shortcut from one platform to another lower one. By climbing over the side and dropping down. But he ends up dangling on his umbrella, as his hands slip down the handle. Silly.

9) Jon Pertwee – Colony In Space – 1971 – Attacked by a robotic lizard.


Odd entry this from a forgotten early Pertwee serial – but really memorable.

The Third Doctor, having gone to check out a mining outpost (where contact has been lost) discovers the place ripped to shreds and the occupants dead, with huge claw marks everywhere.

Wondering what could have done this, he turns around and a huge robot is standing in the doorway with massive claws and it advances towards the camera really quickly and the screen fades. Effective.

8) Tom Baker – The Deadly Assassin – 1976 – In A ‘Matrix’ Style Digital World, the badguy attempts to run the Doctor over – in a small train!


A tad ridiculous, as the Doctor’s boot becomes wedged in a train track as the bad guy steams around the corner in a toy train. The film is sped up like Benny Hill as the train careers toward the helpless Doctor. Silly – but memorable.

7) Tom Baker – Brain Of Morbius – 1975 – A blind Sarah Jane feels her way around, as the sewn together Morbius beast – lopes after her.


A tribute to Hammer horror, as the alien Frankenstein monster pursues the helpless blind victim. Riveting stuff!

6) Tom Baker – Genesis Of The Dalek’s – 1974 – Strangled by a Dalek embyro.


The Fourth Doctor, having gone back in time to Skaro – to stop the creation of the Dalek’s, is laying explosive charges inside the incubation room. Having ran some wires through the door, he reappears being strangled by a green snotty looking Dalek Embryo!

5) Peter Davison – Caves Of Androzani – 1984 – A WTF moment as the Doctor and Peri are executed by firing squad.


At the end of episode 1, the Fifth Doctor and Peri are hooded and taken to a room where they are brutally gunned down by an Uzi-toting Death Squad.

How did they get out of that situation?

Oh right, Sharaz Jek replaced them with robots whilst spiriting the Doctor and Peri to safety. It did look like the cliff-hanger they coudln’t come back from.

4) Peter Davison – Arc Infinity – 1983 – Davison is shot by his successor!


This is memorable, simply because Colin Baker stars in this as Captain of the Gallifreyan Guard and he shoots Peter Davison – as if staking his future claim on the role.

3) Tom Baker – Invasion Of Time – 1976 – Tom Baker stiff’s the Gallifreyan High Council and takes over, with his tin foil invasion force!


Tom Baker (up until Who) had made a career out of playing bad guys, and he was damn good at it.

So in this serial, the Fourth Doctor seemed to double cross the Timelord’s by persuading them to ‘drop the shields’.

This allowed a tin foil ghostly alien invasion force called – “The Vardan’s” to materialize in the council chamber, just as Baker sits in the empty Presidential throne and lets out the most evil laugh ever commited to celluloid.

2) Patrick Troughton – War Games – 1969 – Sent spinning into an abyss without a face.


Not really a mid-episode cliffhanger – as such, ‘Wargames’ marked Patrick Troughton’s final serial.

The Timelord’s had finally caught up with the Second Doctor and sentenced him to exile on Earth.

Worse, they induce his regeneration cycle and sent him spinning into a black void. What makes this a memorable cliffhanger, is that you can guess the Doctor is going to change; but you are robbed of seeing a quick preview of the new Doctor, until the following season.

1) William Hartnell – The Dalek’s – 1963 – Barbara is harrassed by a sink plunger.


It had to be there at no. 1. This cliff hanger, which happens in episode 2 has poor Barbara being stalked by an unseen foe. She runs away only to reach a dead end and upon turning around to view her stalker, is confronted by a sink plunger advancing toward her. With the camera taking the viewers POV.

Its simple stuff and paves the way for the introduction of the Dalek’s, for the first time, the following week.

Which was your most memorable Who cliffhanger?

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