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We did our very best not to get upset with this episode, but do sincerely wish that you’d recycle nonetheless.

Graham’s in his Speedos, so like it or not, that giant post-coital squid tentacle will have to remain rotting on the TARDIS floor until the fam get back from holiday at the Tranquillity Spa, an off-world fake-cation resort where the sentient squirrel staff don’t look askance no matter what you pull out of your friend’s steam room.

What on earth? Our heroes’ repose is obliterated by a twin onslaught of overlooked autochthons and daughters. But who might they be, and is there any chance these fanged, ferocious beasties harbour a dark secret of their own? The fam may not get the holiday they expected, but perhaps they’ll get to the bottom of this mystery by searching for a kidnapped codger who this craptastic chronicle constantly clarifies is called Benni. 

Here's what we think of N158 Orphan 55

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Here's what we think of N158 Orphan 55

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken


Drew | @drewbackwhen


Here's what you think 7 Responses to “N158 Orphan 55”
  1. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    The Fam are going on holiday what could possibly go wrong? It’s Doctor Who – so literally everything! Haven’t they watched the show before?

    Ryan and the Hopper virus and its aftermath, also his lame flirting with Bella

    Did they run out of money for the costumes? Hyph3n looks like she’s just come from a panto – not a patch on the cat people from 7th Doctor story Survival! Also putting a green Halloween wig on people doesn’t make actors look alien!
    Benni’s proposal before asking someone to kill him – really??? Also, Vilma’s constant calling his name really grates after the first time.
    Bella – she’s pissed at her mum so she becomes a terrorist? Also, apparently Kane left her to build this place but she’s a security guard too? I mean I bet Elon Musk isn’t patrolling the Tesla factory when he’s not in the boardroom!
    Orphan 55 is actually the Earth! We’ve just reviewed The Mysterious Planet in Classic which is a waaaay better story

    So, all in all it’s basically a story that suffers from too many plot lines and ultimately fails to satisfactorily deal with any of them. Then there’s the environmental message – as with many Chibnall era stories the way the message is delivered (to paraphrase Hitch-Hikers) – is like having your brain smashed out with a slice of lemon…..wrapped around a large gold brick! There is just no subtlety.

    Is it awful? No, but it’s just not good. I award this 2.3 emergency evacuations out of 5

  2. Daniel McGinley | @danieljmcginley


    Is the reputation as worst episode of New Who deserved?

    If giving a one word review, it would be stupid:

    • Excited for a holiday. They’re in the greatest travel machine in the universe

    • The costumes. Dog lady. Green hair.

    • Gormless thumb sucking.

    • Deus ex hopper virus.

    • Bella thinks Ryan is pretending to be stupid. Shade thrown He’s definitely regressing. ‘We both have dead parents’. Clunk.

    • More unnecessary sacrifices. Though Vilma’s was a blessing. Her acting was atrocious and grating. Says a lot when the kid – green Billy Eilish – gives a better performance.

    Graham once again a shining light. Speedos, sunbathing in a cardi, cockle and ‘are you having a laugh mate, I’m a bus driver’ all highlights. He had the right idea, go sit elsewhere for three hours.

    Did Jodie jump the shark by saying she doesn’t need two for a conversation then giving an expositional monologue?

    After a few episodes break, Chibers is back to tell us how to behave with the mother of all moralising lectures. The final minute, almost at camera is the most haranguing we’ve had. Deserves more than a single count but it’s only one of three. Era total 22. Thankfully I won’t be doing a BENNI count again. Thirty three in 30 minutes was enough for one lifetime.

    I’m not going to dump on this story because of its context. Yes it’s not great, but it’s hardly worse than a lot of the tripe we’ve been served by the showrunner. Inferior to Tsuranga? Hardly. All the wearisome tropes are there but it’s still an average base under siege runaround with ok monsters. A product of its era. 1.8/5

  3. Justforwhoo

    FRIENDS! HOW I’VE MISSED YOU! Just caught up on both parts of Spyfall, what an energetic two-parter! It can only go up from here right!? Well …

    In 2020, when I first watched this choppy 46 minute futuristic doco series on why people suck, I was upset that they failed to carry out the high that was left from spyfall. But was Orphan 55 really that awful?

    – Yaz acknowledging the doctor’s mood shift
    – The Dreggs and the visuals
    – The fam splitting up and getting much needed character development
    – The doctor being snappy and angrier
    – Releasing Orphan 55 is earth (especially the reveal)
    – Ryan getting the hopper virus and the doctor getting it out of him (super doctor-y scene)

    – “BENNI! WHERES MY BENNI?” x 4938483949939939393939 times,
    – Kane & Bella vs Nevi & Sylas, parent/child relationship parallel, can Ed Hime only write about questionable parenting skills?

    – The end speech. I didn’t mind the little speech at the end. Yeah ok it was very on the nose and a bit OTT, but my main problem with it was that it definitely oversimplified how complicated it is to try to resolve global warming. “People can save planets or wreck them” that’s great for a message but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

    This one’s a 2.9/5.0!


  4. GP Haynes | @FindingGspots (Insta & YouTube)

    It’s not too bad. Production, sets and costumes are fantastic
    Yep, even Hyp3n..

    I love the fact that Graham wants a holiday, and using coupons!

    Ryan chases a girl! Good on him! Not sure a thumb is what I’d be wanting to sucking on…but hey…whatever licks your….er

    And Yaz! What’s she do again? I’ve forgotten already….

    Why the hate for this? Is it because of the end message?

    I too, thought it was slightly on the nose when I first watched it. Now I say, good on you Doctor Who!

    Not enough is being done in the world to combat climate change, among other things.

    Politicians aren’t really saying something has to be done.
    Scientists are now too scared to say, something has to be done.

    It’s being left to teenagers, who are hated and vilified.

    Why not Dr Who? Is it really so bad that our favourite show wants change for the better?

    I, and a good chunk of our listeners won’t be around when things get really bad. But our children? Our grandchildren?
    Our younger friends? Our younger heroes? They all might be. We’ve know about this for decades, and still humans drag their feet.

    OK, off my soap box now.

    To conclude, I’m really digging the Hitch-Hikers vibe with such messages as:

    “ Consider urgently refilling this canister”
    & “ Welcome to the Tranquillity steam room, please leave immediately”

    Douglas Adams would be so proud!!

    Rating: 3.6 Free Fakations

  5. Maxwell Rayner | @thetruemisty

    It’s here (did you like that? I did continuity better than doctor who). Orphan 55. The most hated Doctor Who episode alongside The Timeless Child, and I’m gonna watch it.

    Transport cube was a very cool idea. Oh and here’s Benni, oh my why and how was this character created. I do love the doctor knowing about the hopper virus. It’s very good. Ryan being socially awkward will always be a fun experiment from the writers. The doctor asking all the questions was decent writing and gave us all false hope for the rest of the episode. The monster’s design is very cool, but the green haired dudes (which is what I’m calling them officially) are just another let down for this episode, damn this list of shit characters is getting longer. Then Velma’s freakin hat and GOD DAMN BENNI. ARGHHH.

    Ryan’s team on the other hand was a highlight to this episode so yay. Not even halfway through and there’s so much more to say. FUCKING BENNI, I swear if I hear that name one more time I might just turn off the episode, plus I’ve only got like fifty words left. No, Benni I will not marry you, but I will shoot you gladly just so I can stop hearing your name. Wait, I recognise that tunnel that they’re in, is that the zygons lair, or the train tunnel from flatline? The orphan planet is earth wow I’m so surprised, I said sarcastically as I watched the episode. How are the green haired dudes still alive? Am I allowed to punch a child, just curious cause the green haired kid is now on my list. And I’ve run out of words.

    In conclusion, dumb characters, decent monsters and an iteresting story, I give this episode a 1.7/5 giant exsplosions that don’t kill anything and a person that magically is still alive to save the day and a dumb monolog about humans destroying the earth. Up next: a personal favourite of mine from Jodie’s ever closer to finishing era, Nikola Tesla’s Night Of Terror.

    Total word count: 347 words (I’m so sorry, to much to say)
    Please note: I would never hit or hurt a child in any way, no matter what the situation. All my words of violence are fiction.

    Maxwell the very harmless person that means no harm.

  6. Kieren Evans | @kjevans2

    Hi folks

    Ok, it’s this one. Is it as bad as the reputation?
    A dumb corporation putting their theme park on a world full of angry flesh eating monsters? What is this? A Jurassic Park rip-off? Kind of actually. And yeah, I’m not sure it’s quite as terrible as everyone seems to think. It’s not good, but not bottom. People who say it is probably haven’t watched a lot. The first 10 mins are actually fairly decent.
    Monster design…yeah nah. Too overdesigned. The teeth and mouth look goofy half the time. The name is a bit of a clue ain’t it? The gang were very slow on the uptake this week.
    I did actually like the Doctor dealing with Ryan’s Hopper virus. Felt very python/Douglas Adams.
    Vilma is annoying, very annoying.
    ‘We’re using too much oxygen’ Yes, we know, shut up! I find the mother/daughter pair annoying and Bella did cause the dregs to get in didn’t she? Definitely a lot of blood on her hands.
    The Doctor’s monologue to camera at the end is very unnecessary as it’s repeating what is discussed several scenes earlier when the Doctor talked to the Alpha Dreg. Or could have been sprinkled in the main story more.
    So what to give it. Well it didn’t offend me so it can’t be lower than a 1.3/5 The intelligence rating for the people who decided it was a good idea to put a holiday resort on an Orphan planet.


  7. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club


    The ‘Oh my god I was wrong, it was Earth all along’ twist. And bravo for the slick scheduling – there’s an identical tube station twist reveal in The Mysterious Planet!

    The Dregs look pretty awesome. Though would have been better if they did more apex predator stuff, instead of just standing about roaring.


    Saving Private Benni. Worst Plan Ever, Doctor. You are the Liz Truss of Doctors. How are people still obeying your orders after the 20 minute mark. Everybody died! Like, EVERYBODY. 37 minutes in, ‘Let’s fix the transport’ – WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    The lack of a slow-burning ‘something ain’t right here’ creeping dread that we get in the, say, similarly themed (luxury-gone-bad) Seventh Doctor story Paradise Towers (now only a few Who Back When reviews away! Wooooooooo!).

    Why is Hyph3n’s makeup half-finished? Was it a practice for the dog bloke in Flux?

    In the steam room bit, why is Ryan cowering behind a wall with giant holes in it?

    Rating: 3.6/5 hapless spa people munched on by post-apocalyptic tree people. Worst Space Centre Parks Holiday Ever.

    (To caveat, I’m watching this drunk in the bathtub, which probably explains why I enjoyed it much more second time round).

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