Top Ten Deep Breath Moments in Doctor Who

The first episode of ‘Doctor Who’, Series 8, airs on BBC1 at 7:50pm today with ‘Deep Breath’ and will introduce Peter Capaldi to the world in his first full episode as the Doctor.

It isn’t, however, the first time that ‘deep breath’ has featured in Doctor Who. Let’s look back at  some ‘deep breath’ moments in the show…

10. “Shada”. This Tom Baker tale was, unfortunately, never finished due to industrial action. In one dramatic scene the Doctor is about to transfer Cambridge post-graduate Chris Parson’s intelligence into a “brain-drained” neurologist. Parsons exclaims, “I just hope you know what you’re doing” to which the Doctor replies, “So do I. So do I. Now, take a deep breath!”

9. “Turn Left”. In this RTD Doctor-lite gem from Series 4, a mysterious fortune teller attempts to change Donna’s past. The clairvoyant first probes our heroine to discover how she met the Doctor. In the dark incense-filled room Donna is instructed to ‘breathe deep’…

8. Some fans are asking if the ‘tricky’ Twelfth Doctor will be a more successful reboot of Colin Baker’s bold and brash Sixth Doctor. In his first adventure, “The Twin Dilemma” the colourful Sixth Doctor lands the Tardis on the planet Jaconda and strides out confidently. His eyes closed, arms crossed and nose upwards and he savours the planet’s air with a ‘deep breath’.

7. Tom Baker’s second story “The Ark in Space”, hailed as a classic by fans, was a smash hit with the viewing public. The crew of the Space Station Nerva oversleep by millennia and when their captain, Noah, is resuscitated, he – yes, you’ve guessed it – takes a ‘deep breath’.

6. It’s back to the Doctor and Donna again for Series 4 adventure, “Silence in the Library”. As our heroes enter the book-filled establishment, the Doctor comments, “51st century. By now you’ve got holovids, direct to brain downloads, fiction mist, but you need the smell. The smell of books, Donna. Deep breath!”

5. In Jon Pertwee’s “The Green Death” – you know, the one with the Giant Maggots – Jo Grant finds herself down a maggot-infested mine. Jo complains to ‘Bert the Miner’ that the air feels stuffy and he encourages her with the words, “Take deeper breaths now. That’s better. Come on!”

4. In “Utopia” Captain Jack has been clinging onto the Tardis for dear life as it travels through the time vortex. After Jack’s ordeal, Martha sees him lying on the ground and thinks him dead. The intergalactic Lothario surprises Martha and wakes up. Believing Jack to be a little worse for wear, Martha reassures her new-found patient, “Just breathe deep. I’ve got you.”

3. Back into the black and white days we go, as we venture onto “The Wheel in Space”. In this encounter with the deadly Cybermen, Jamie McCrimmon, to the delight of female fans, bares his manly chest. He’s having a check-up and on-board medic Gemma Corwyn instructs him, “Breathe in again. Out. In again please. Out. Now, I want you to take a deep breath and exhale as slowly as you can. Good. You can dress now.” And all the ladies in the audience sigh a deep breath of disappointment! 

2. Tonight’s episode isn’t the first to feature the word “deep”. Peter Davison’s final season opened with “Warriors of the Deep”. The underwater adventure featured Sea-Devils, Silurians and the infamous and somewhat comedic Myrkka beast. It was played by the pantomime horse artists from “Rentaghost” – sad to say, but as Dobbin they were much scarier! And what of the commander of the underwater military base, Vorshak? Thirty seconds before missiles are launched, the word ‘simulation’ appears on the screen and he breathes a deep sigh of relief and, quite appropriately, observes, “We can breathe again.”

1. Yes, it’s the first story ever to feature “deep” in its title and one which is, frustratingly, missing from the archives. Sigh! We are talking about ‘Fury from the Deep”. In the cliffhanger to ‘Part One’, Victoria is attacked by gas-emitting seaweed monsters. The Doctor pulls her away and tells Victoria, “Deep breaths. Take deep breaths!”
In ‘Doctor Who’ history we have witnessed ‘deep breath’ in a variety of situations. From anticipation to resuscitation. From medication to enjoyment and relief. But what does the title of tonight’s episode “Deep Breath” actually mean? In a few hours we will find out. For the moment we wait with baited breath!


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