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I Just Wanted to Say "Hello" | The Most Heartbreaking Doctor Who Moments

By Courtney Enlow | Lists | September 27, 2012 |

By Courtney Enlow | Lists | September 27, 2012 |

This weekend, we bid a fond farewell to the Ponds. I know some of you heartless fools weren’t wild about Amy and Rory (AHEM), but I, never one to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion of the companions, loved them dearly and will miss them, and will most likely be a mascara streaked mess Saturday night. With that, I thought we should all mentally prepare by re-experiencing all the other moments that left us in fetal position, clutching our K-9 dolls. Measured on a scale of one to five crying John Smiths. Obviously.


Forget hiding behind the sofa. These are the moments that had us sobbing into the cushions.

(Please note: I chose to limit this to “New Who” as it’s a bit more universal, and because I am sadly not as complete in my Whovian viewership as some of you, and to limit to “New Who plus Doctors 4, 5 and 7” seemed awkward.)

10. Sally Sparrow misses her chance.
Every other scene on this list involves at least one character we’ve loved or at least come to know well over the course of a season or two. But, in this scene, we have Sally Sparrow and Billy Shipton, two characters we’ve known mere minutes. And it still has the power to leave viewers in a puddle of tears, snot and broken hopes. “I have until the rain stops.” THE RAIN ON MY FACE MAY NEVER STOP, OLD BILLY.

Sadness score: 3/5 Crying John Smiths

9. The death of River Song.
At the time, of course, this was sad enough. But, now, having spent the past few years getting to know River along with the Doctor, to go back and watch this two-parter again is a gutpunch. Because, not only do we feel the weight of her death, but we can see just how hard it is for her to have finally hit the moment where the Doctor doesn’t know her at all.

Sadness score: 3/5 Crying John Smiths

8. Reinette is left behind.

WHY DOES HE EVER SAY HE’LL BE RIGHT BACK EVER? It’s like horror movie rules times watching paint dry.

(just GIFs because YouTube is letting me down today)

My dear Doctor: the path has never seemed more slow, and yet I fear I am nearing its end. Reason tells me that you and I are unlikely to meet again, but I think I shall not listen to reason. I have seen the world inside your head and know that all things are possible. Hurry though, my love; my days grow shorter now, and I am so very weak. Godspeed, my lonely angel.

Sadness score: 3/5 Crying John Smiths

7. “Have a fantastic life.”
This may be some kind of blasphemy, but I wasn’t a huge fan of Eccleston’s Doctor. It was always just slightly off. A bit too goofy, while still a bit detached. It just didn’t work for me. That said, the whole first series following the show’s return to television didn’t work for me, and I think this is the only DVD set that I haven’t watched in its entirety, only watching most of the episodes in their initial run. But “The Parting of the Ways” was one of the few non-Moffat bright spots. And this moment, far more than the regeneration itself, did me in.

(start at 5:47)

Sadness score: 3/5 Crying John Smiths

6. John Smith has to die.
This is apparently where RTD learned that David Tennant was such a contagious cryer, he chose to just turn the guy into a human face fountain for the duration. But this, when John Smith finds out what he really is, is pure weepy excellence.

Sadness score: 4/5 Crying John Smiths

5. Donna loses everything.
I can’t imagine that I was alone in my apprehension when I heard Catherine Tate would be the new companion for the fourth series. The Christmas specials had been fairly hit or miss in my opinion, and “The Runaway Bride” featured her at her very shrillest. So I wasn’t particularly stoked about a Donna-ful season. But I was gleefully wrong. I came to truly adore Donna Noble, and for her to lose her entire memory of all of the time she spent with the Doctor, all of her time being special when all she ever wanted was to matter, was tragic (and not tragic in the way that I viewed the rest of that episode, but I’ll get to that later). Forget Rose and her one-hearted consolation prize; all I wanted was for Donna Noble to be saved.

Sadness score: 4/5 Crying John Smiths

4. Rory dies, is erased from history.
Can you tell I am an unabashed lover of Rory Williams Pond? Someone who began as a mildly cuckolded wimp has over time become one of the most powerful, most selfless characters in the show’s history—at times, even more so than the Doctor. And this, the moment where he’s not only killed (however temporarily) but erased from Amy’s memory, is just brilliantly sob-inducing.

(Just…god dammit today, YouTube. You are ruining EVERYTHING.)

Sadness score: 5/5 Crying John Smiths

3. The TARDIS says “hello.”
There’s no video, just maudlin shipper vids, because sometimes the internet is bullshit, so here’s gifs instead—just watch the whole episode again. You’ll never convince me otherwise—the TARDIS is the only “woman” the Doctor ever truly loved.


Idris: I’ve been looking for a word. A big, complicated word but so sad. I’ve found it now.
The Doctor: What word?
Idris: “Alive.” I’m alive.
The Doctor: Alive isn’t sad.
Idris: It’s sad when it’s over. I’ll always be here. But this is when we talked. And now, even that has come to an end. There’s something I didn’t get to say to you.
The Doctor: Goodbye.
Idris: No. I just wanted to say… hello. Hello, Doctor. It’s so very, very nice to meet you.

Sadness score: 5/5 Crying John Smiths

2. David Tennant says goodbye.
As the seasons wore on, the Tenth Doctor grew increasingly wimpified. And that’s not David’s fault of course; it’s the fault of Russell T. Davies. I generally feel the same way about RTD as I do Ryan Murphy—a great idea man with an excellent sense for casting. But, for the most part, for the love of god, keep him away from the writer’s room. So, as bothered as I was by the Doctor—the most selfless man in the universe, basically Jesus—crying the whole episode at the idea that he might die, then throwing a tantrum that he had to save the life of an old man, it was still damn near impossible to watch David Tennant leave.

Sadness score: 5/5 Crying John Smiths

1. Rose is sent to a parallel universe.
This moment was completely destroyed by the end of Series 4. Also, I watch this in the mindset that he was going to say, “Rose Tyler, I love you. TOTALLY AS A FRIEND, GUUUUURRRLL.” But, if you pretend that whole clone doctor mess didn’t happen, which is what I do always, this is still absolutely devastating. There was a lot RTD did wrong. But when he got it right, he nailed it.

Sadness score: Jesus god.