Well folks, it’s getting closer to that special day. That monumental occasion that we’ve been building up to since Doctor Who started on November 23, 1963. We’re drawing ever nearer to the milestone of the show’s run: The 50th Anniversary.
As is customary when something reaches such a landmark, I will be going over and revisiting every Doctor from the 2005 episodes (know as New Who to fans of the show) onward. So, let’s not waste time!
The Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston (2005 – 2006)
The Classic Series of Doctor Who “ended” in 1989, with the made-for-TV-movie being released in 1996. Years passed, and after almost a decade, Whovians were beginning to lose hope. The series hadn’t seen any new material for nine years… would it ever return?
The answer, as you know, is yes. In 2005 the pilot episode of the revamped Doctor Who series launched, with Christopher Eccleston playing the titular role of The Doctor and Billie Piper playing the part of Rose, his companion.
The last we had seen of the Doctor was during the 1996 movie Doctor Who in which the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, was just beginning his life as the new face of everyone’s favorite Time Lord. But with the new start of the show came a new leading man and a plot device to explain the discrepancy. Fresh from the Time War, The Ninth Doctor sauntered onto the scene as a more dark and serious portrayal than the previous actors had used. The Ninth Doctor was very soldier-like and had a strong sense of right and wrong. In the episode “Dalek” we see him treating the lone Dalek as a very serious threat, even though he’s the last of his kind. He knows what they’re capable of, and is fully willing to destroy it to save the universe.
With this Doctor’s serious nature came a lot of new opportunities for the character to branch out and experiment with different “sides” of the Doctor. After thirteen episodes, the Ninth was dying. In “The Parting of the Ways”, the Doctor regenerates after saving Rose from the pressure of her absorbing the time vortex. The show had officially and successfully been revitalized. But with the new Doctor’s sudden change, we had to prepare for the Tenth incarnation.
The Tenth Doctor: David Tennant (2006 – 2009)
And just like that, after one series Doctor Who had reentered the public consciousness after almost a decade off the air. Under the eye of show-runner Russell T. Davies, the show thrived enough to produce another season — this time, with a new face playing the Doctor.
At the beginning of Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor, fans were left to wonder what this new Doctor would be like. In his first full length episode “The Christmas Invasion”, he was bed-ridden and recovering most of the time. However, for the bits that he WAS awake, fans got a glimpse of a happier, more playful and eccentric Doctor. And when he finally was ready to fight (with gusto, might I add) the nail was hit right on the head.
Audiences LOVED Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor, and he certainly did a fine job playing the part. For three and a half seasons we saw him go through different companions, meet old and new foes alike, and go through quite a bit of emotional stress.
Though this Doctor WAS quite playful and charismatic, he did have a dark side that was more hidden than it was in his Ninth incarnation. In the episode “The Runaway Bride”, Donna Noble brought the Doctor back from a trance-like state after he had destroyed the Racnoss. He was quite content to kill, but Donna brought him out of it and they escaped. If she hadn’t been there, it might have ended differently (as is illustrated in the episode “Turn Left”).
In 2009, Tennant decided to leave the show and vacate the role for someone else to fill. But who could possibly fill shoes that big…?
The Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith (2009 – 2013)
At the end of “The End of Time: Part Two” we were given a small glimpse of the Eleventh Doctor, but it was hardly much to go on. So we waited. And in the end, it paid off.
This Doctor, more child-like and eccentric than the others, offered us a slightly more reserved version of the character. He knew what he did during the Time War, but he used it more as a threat to those who challenge him (as seen in “The Doctor’s Wife” when he threatens House).
Perhaps this Doctor also had more mysteries to solve than any of the previous incarnations. In three series, we were finding out what the Pandorica was for, just who River Song was, what the Doctor’s name is, and many more things that had an overall impact on the plot. And at the end of this year, the Christmas Special for 2013, we will say goodbye to the Eleventh, and welcome into the show the Twelfth Doctor.
Let’s all hope he’s just as good as the men who came before.