Children (singular: child) are physically immature people between the life-stages of "birth" and "being too old to to watch a televised children’s programme;" stunted growth in mental maturity may prevent that final stage from occurring and remain permanently out of reach for some poor souls and Paul McGann fans. As presented on Doctor Who, the lives of children are often fraught with such dangers as to make rescue by the Doctor exigent, because children are so fucking lazy and can’t even do anything themselves. Children are always said to watch Doctor Who “from behind the sofa,” probably referring to their cringing at the production values, dialogue, stage direction, lighting, and special effects. Mary Whitehouse made a career out of being a campaigner for media's lack of morality and decency and their effect on children, frequently singling out Doctor Who for its violence and frightening scenes, most notably in Genesis of the Daleks where she complained about the Nazi-themed porn segments and in The Deadly Assassin, in which the Fourth Doctor was apparently pegged.
Having children actors appear on Doctor Who is itself fraught with dangers as well, their presence somehow tainting any episode they’re cast in, like raisins in cookies, posting an actual photo of yourself on your Grindr account (that’s what a friend told me anyway), or Doctor Who on an American television network. It’s interesting to note that the classic series, although primarily just a children’s programme, mostly eschewed casting them but for small non-speaking roles, perhaps remembering W.C. Fields’ famous actor’s adage to “never work with children or animals;” the programme has a long history of well-placed real live animals, but children not so much.
The following list documents many such occasions when children appeared on and doomed their programme. (Compiler’s Note: this list also primarily focuses on children rather than teens, which are also capable of destroying any chance at an enjoyable experience, but that’s another page for another time.)
Episodes Ruined By Children Edit
- An Unearthly Child - The Doctor swoops in to save two school teachers from an actress born in 1940 trying to pass herself off as a “child” in 1963. No actual children appeared, yet many fans still regard this, the first episode of Doctor Who, as a mistake that set the stage for the ongoing fifty-four years of mistakes.
- The Twin Dilemma - The Doctor swoops in to save to two boys from being forced to appear in a Colin Baker episode but fails. Widely regarded as the worst Who ever.
- The Curse of Fenric - The Doctor swoops in to save a baby from an evil bottled spirit and finds that Ace hates the baby. Fortunately, the baby only appeared for perhaps three minutes of screen-time, helping save this episode.
- Father’s Day - The Doctor swoops in and Rose spoils everything by being a baby.
- The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances - The Doctor swoops in to help a little boy who can’t find his mummy. Considered one of the better NuWho stories, perhaps because the child wore a gas-mask covering his face until the very end.
- School Reunion - The Doctor swoops in and saves Sarah Jane Smith from a whole school of evil, dangerous monsters and some bat-like aliens.
- Boom Town - The Doctor swoops in to save some kittens. Can’t argue with kittens, they didn't ruin this one.
- The Idiot’s Lantern - The Doctor swoops in save a little boy from the evils of terrible children’s programmes on telly.
- The Girl in the Fireplace - The Doctor swoops in and rescues a young girl from not being old enough for sex yet. Actually brety gud, despite the child being in it.
- Fear Her - The Doctor swoops in the save a little girl who can neither draw nor act well. Or something like that. It’s been a few of years since I last saw it and there’s no way you could get me to sit through it again.
- The Eleventh Hour - The Doctor swoops into a little girl’s bedroom to examine her crack with his sonic screwdriver. A rare outlier that fans mostly regard favorably.
- The Beast Below - The Doctor swoops in to save a little girl’s friend who has been eaten by a space whale. Often described as the only real clunker in series five, even Moffat didn’t care for this one - and he made it.
- The Impossible Astronaut/Day Of The Moon - The Doctor swoops in to save Richard Nixon from River Song’s prank phone calls and a little girl who can’t hold all this time. He manages to stop the phone calls, but fails to stop the little girl from growing up to become River Song.
- Night Terrors - The Doctor swoops in to save a little boy from bedtime. It’s a pretty pedestrian script by Mark Gatiss, but I repeat myself.
- A Good Man Goes To War - The Doctor swoops in to save series six from a baby who grows up to be River Song. He failed again.
- The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe - The Doctor swoops in to save two children and their mother from a lack of lemonade and the prospect of a decent Doctor Who Christmas special for goddamn once (spoiler: he succeeded on both counts.)
- Nightmare In Silver - The Doctor swoops in to save two children from the worst babysitter in the universe. Not even Neil Gaiman could escape the event horizon of a children-focused episode.
- The Rings of Akhaten - Clara swoops in to save a little girl who messed up her song in front of a lot of people and an angry jack-o-lantern god-planet, who are all very disappointed with her. For once the child actress was decent; the episode itself however was not.
- The Day of the Doctor - The Doctor mentions having swooped in and killed 2.47 billion children, who again do not appear on screen.
- Listen - The Doctor swoops in to save himself as a little boy who apparently wets the bed a lot. Surprisingly, it also features the Doctor swooping in to save Danny Splink as a little boy from the dangers of motorways. Despite having two children in it, it’s another outlier in that it’s considered decent.
- Kill the Moon - The Doctor swoops in to save a young girl who stupidly thinks the moon is an egg. One of only two despised episodes from series eight (see next entry for the other).
- In the Forest of the Night - The Doctor swoops in to save a group of school kids from some trees. One of only two despised episodes from series eight (see previous entry for the other).
Other Notable Children On Doctor Who Edit
- The Nightmare Child - Often refers to any child actor cast on Doctor Who; the official creature itself has wisely only been spoken of, never actually portrayed on screen during The Stolen Earth.
- Children in Need - The doctor swoops in momentarily to help some children who are apparently in need, but can’t be bothered to stick around for longer than maybe fifteen minutes if they're lucky. These are often entertaining, probably because of their notable lack of actual children.
- Adric - Despite straddling the line between child and young teen, he simply must be included here due to his outsized effect upon the programme as one of the new changes to the show that kicked off the JNT era. The Doctor failed to swoop in and save him or the show.