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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 528 > Think of the Children!

Think of the Children!

“Let’s not dwell on horrid things.” The Time Team tackles three of Doctor Who’s most controversial and complained-about episodes.



This issue’s Time Team: Beth Axford, Gerard Groves, Kezia Newson, Luke Cutforth and Sam Saffold

“Of course it’s no longer a children’s programme,” argued Doctor Who script editor Robert Holmes in a notorious 1977 interview with the Daily Express. Parents would be “terribly irresponsible” to let young kids watch, he insisted. “We’re not in the business to harm children. We learned our lesson years ago.” He’s referring to his own 1971 serial Terror of the Autons, which “caused screaming nightmares” with its everyday items that sprung to life and suffocated people.

But had the show learned its lesson, Bob? Had it really? Let the Time Team be the judge of that…

In a living room in South London, the Team is about to watch three of Doctor Who’s most controversial episodes; the ones that, just maybe, went too far…? Kez, Sam and Beth peep out from behind cushions. Luke’s wearing a Drashig hand puppet for comfort. (He found it in the toy box.) If he gets scared, Gerard can hold Luke’s other hand. Brace yourself, Team.

From Holmes’ 1971 Auton adventure, to Steven Moffat’s Dark Water (which, in 2014, became the most complained about episode since the show’s 2005 revival), these three serials raised parents’ eyebrows, courted tabloid outrage and caused moral guardians to cry: “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” Now it’s the Time Team’s turn…


“Strewth!” exclaims UNIT’s Sergeant Benton. “There’s gonna be some complaints about that, you know, Doctor.” The Third Doctor, who’s exiled to Earth and working for UNIT, has just thrown a bomb out of a window.

Luckily, his lab faces the sea (KEZ: “UNIT HQ’s on the coast? Since when?”), and the explosive plunges into the waters below. Disaster averted. No thanks to Jo Grant, the Doctor’s new assistant, who set off the device at the end of Episode One. She’d been hypnotised by the Master – the original Master, appearing in Doctor Who for the very first time.

Kezia, Sam, Beth, Luke and Gerard settle down to watch some unnerving episodes of Doctor Who.

BETH: “He always uses other people to do his dirty work. It’s the Master’s ‘thing’.”

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About Doctor Who Magazine

• In his Production Notes showrunner Chris Chibnall recalls recording the Thirteenth Doctor's special reveal scene last July • 40 years on from his Doctor Who debut, we pay tribute to Douglas Adams, “the greatest writer ever to have turned his genius to Doctor Who” • A look at Douglas Adams' notebooks reveal more about his creative process • Peter Purves answers questions from DWM's TARDIS tin • A blast from the past as DWM investigats the Sky Ray ice lollies which were enjoyed by Doctor Who fans in the summers of 1967 and 68 • The story of IDW's distinctive range of Doctor Who comics in America • DWM chats to graphic designer Lee Binding about the packaging for the Season 12 Blu-ray box set • Part Five of The Clockwise War, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • The Time Team tackles three of Doctor Who's most controversial and complained-about episodes • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2017 Twelfth Doctor story Empress of Mars • Seventh Doctor cosplay with Jamie Lenman • Previews, audio reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!