Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who reveal tops list of 2017’s biggest TV moments

The Thirteenth Doctor's debut came out on top ahead of the kids who interrupted their dad's BBC interview and a University Challenge showdown

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Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the Thirteenth Doctor has been voted the top TV moment of 2017.

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Casting the first female lead in Doctor Who was always going to be big news so it’s little wonder that TV fans considered her first appearance on screen to be the TV event of the year.

Whittaker’s debut immediately after the Wimbledon men’s final took the crown ahead of Professor Robert Kelly’s hilariously interrupted BBC interview and University Challenge rivals Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull’s final showdown on the popular quiz show.

More than 2,000 RadioTimes.com readers selected their favourite from a list of 30 of the most momentous, heartbreaking and hilarious moments broadcast on television over the past 12 months.

The Top 10 featured a mixture of dramatic scenes, news stories and tear-inducing moments, including Ted Hastings’ dramatic showdown with a masked man in Line of Duty, the Election Night broadcast that surprisingly predicted a Hung Parliament, Ariana Grande’s emotional One Love Manchester performance and the pilot whale mourning the loss of her baby in Blue Planet II.

Check out the full list – and re-live some of those rather special moments – below…

Top TV Moments of 2017

1. Doctor Who’s Thirteenth Doctor is revealed (July) 

Who could possibly follow in Peter Capaldi’s shoes and take over the Tardis? That was the question on everyone’s lips in July when the BBC teased the reveal of a new Doctor following the Wimbledon Men’s Final. It felt as though Sue Barker might never stop talking, but then the time of the Doctor arrived and a dark figure dropped their hood to reveal Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth – and first female – Doctor we’d been waiting for. 

2. Children interrupt their dad’s BBC interview (March)

Professor Robert Kelly faced some very unexpected gatecrashers during his live BBC News interview: his own kids. Firstly Kelly’s young daughter swaggered into his study unannounced, closely followed by her younger brother aboard a baby walker. Fortunately wife and mother Kim Jung-A bundled in the room to scoop up the children seconds later, but it was too late: the sweetest viral clip of the year had been born. 

And yes, as Kelly later revealed, he was wearing trousers during the interview.

3. Monkman v Seagull on University Challenge (March)

You’ve heard of the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thriller in Manilla. Well, this contest was dubbed the Tester in Manchester as two big personalities and their rival Cambridge colleges finally came face to face – the dapperly-dressed and gorgeously-monikered Bobby Seagull versus Eric Monkman, whose ferociously intense answers lead host Jeremy Paxman to compare him to “a revivalist preacher”. The battle was fierce, but outside the arena, the pair showed they were still best of friends.

4. Ariana Grande sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow at One Love Manchester (June)

When Ariana Grande took to the stage One Last Time during her One Love Manchester benefit concert at Old Trafford, she did so in front of the biggest TV audience of the year so far. Just two weeks on from the terrorist attack at her 22ndMay gig, which killed 22, Grande and her team gathered together a line-up that included Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Liam Gallagher and stood defiant in front of thousands of fans. As she walked out to sing her emotional rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, there was barely a dry eye in the house.

5. Drogon roasts the Lannister army in Game of Thrones (August)

Game of Thrones season seven was jam-packed with memorable moments, from Olenna Tyrell’s death to Viserion’s resurrection, Jon and Daenerys’ family connection, and the fall of The Wall. But if there was one moment we’d class as the game changer it was Drogon’s roasting of the Lannister army in The Spoils of War. The Mother of Dragons’ biggest baby let rip on the battlefield in terrifying, exhilarating scenes of fiery combat. TV doesn’t get bigger than this.

6. Victoria says goodbye to Lord M (September)

Lord M

We didn’t want to say goodbye to Queen Victoria’s former Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), but sadly historical reality ruined our fun. By series two, Lord M was living out his final days at Brocket Hall, tending to his orchids and staying well away from Buckingham Palace. But Jenna Coleman’s spirited Victoria couldn’t resist paying him a couple of visits for the sake of their friendship – and there was an emotionally-charged moment when they bade each other farewell, knowing it would be for the last time. The real Lord Melbourne died in 1848. 

7. Car Share’s John and Kayleigh live happily NEVER after (May)

Not since Tim and Dawn has a sitcom couple kept us guessing with such heart-rending pathos as Peter Kay and Sian Gibson’s John and Kayleigh. A nation cheered in the final episode of Car Share, when John finally clambered over Manchester’s stationary traffic to sweep up his supermarket sweetheart – only to be heartbroken seconds later when it transpired it was all a dream and Kayleigh was being driven off in the back of a taxi. Kay then gave us a real-life will they/won’t they, after he announced we were never ever getting any more episodes… before finally reneging.

8. Line of Duty’s Ted Hastings shoots to kill (April)

Ted Hastings Line of Duty (BBC)
Ted Hastings Line of Duty (BBC)

Line of Duty may have welcomed Hollywood royalty Thandie Newton, but the final stages of series four belonged to Adrian Dunbar’s Ted Hastings. Faced with an armed stand-off at AC-12, with Jamie Desford and an armed balaclava man waving their guns around, Ted proved he’s still a dab hand with a firearm, coolly peeling off one of his assailants with a single shot. But with nerves as steely as that, the question remained: could Ted Hastings – the drama’s moral core – possibly be the mysterious and corrupt H?

9. Blue Planet II’s pilot whale mother mourns her dead baby (November)

This series has given us so many amazing moments – from the deep-sea fish with the transparent head to the deadly Bobbit worm – but the mourning pilot whale mother forlornly carrying her dead baby, poisoned by plastic pollution, was the one that had viewers holding back tears and hammered home Blue Planet’s all-important environmental message.

10. The Election Night Exit Poll predicts a Hung Parliament (June)

10pm, 8th June: the moment that all-important exit poll would reveal Jeremy Corbyn and Labour would be wiped out by a landslide Conservative victory. Well, that was the prediction. Instead, the general election poll forecast that Theresa May’s party would still be the largest – but one without a majority. Surely a hung parliament prediction was off? Absolutely not: overnight May’s “Strong and Stable” slogan was torn to tatters, fired chancellor George Osborne enjoyed some on-air schadenfreude and Corbyn cemented his place in the political landscape.

Top TV Moments of 2017 continued…

11. Poldark’s Demelza and Hugh Armitage have a roll in the sand (August)

12. Sherlock’s sister Eurus reveals her true identity (January)

13. BBC’s Hospital staff deal with the aftermath of the Westminster attacks (June)

14. Mark Bonnar’s Unforgotten series finale speech (February)

15. Strictly’s Craig pulls off a flawless Bruno Tonioli impression (October)

Craig Bruno Impression Strictly
Craig channels Bruno on Strictly Come Dancing (BBC)

16. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement interview (November)

16. I’m A Celebrity’s #StrawberryGate (December)

18. Brenda from Bristol reacts to the news of another General Election (April)

19. George Gently’s death (October)

20. Emmerdale’s Ashley passes away (April)

Gemma Collins Teen Awards 2017 (Getty, EH)
Gemma Collins Teen Awards 2017 (Getty)

21. Gemma Collins falls down a hole at the Radio 1 Teen Choice Awards (October)

22. The Broadchurch Reveal (April)

22. Offred watches the Commander’s wife with her daughter (July)

24. Mo Farah wins the 10,000 metres at the World Championships in London (August)

25. EastEnders Ronnie and Roxy drown on New Year’s Day (January)

25. Huw Edwards sits silently for four minutes during a BBC news broadcast glitch (June)

27 .Theresa May coughs through her speech at the Conservative Party Conference (October)

28. Doctor Foster breaks the Fourth Wall (October)

29. Bethany’s abuser Nathan is found guilty (October)

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30. Laura finds Liar Andrew’s recordings (October)