A Tale of Three Doctors
written by Chuck Carte
It is no surprise if you have been reading this blog for a while or even if you have known me in the past but, I am a huge fan of the new Doctor Who series. I was a fan of the old series, Sylvester McCoy being my favorite with Tom Baker as a close second. There is something transcendent about the tale of the Doctor, the traveler of the stars and of time…
I enjoy the television show for a myriad of reasons. I love the sense of story telling that the show exemplifies through its rich development of plot and mythology. The story of the Doctor and the people he encounters is one that encompasses all elements and genres. Whether its the dramatic elements of the Ninth, the romance of Rose Tyler and the Tenth, or the quirkiness of the Eleventh, the stories are rich and well developed.
I have liked all three Doctors in the revived series though, in different ways. At first, I did not like Christopher Eccleston, the actor who played the Ninth. He was not the kind of Doctor I thought would be associated with the show. After seeing Peter Davidson, McCoy, and both Bakers, it was hard to see Eccleston in the role. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Eccleston as an actor; I had seen him in other things before and had liked him. For some reason, I did not see him as the Doctor.
With Tennant, I knew he was the Doctor. He had the polished yet brash presence of the Doctor that I had grown up on and had come to expect. Tennant was quirky, serious, and even to a degree funny. He had the feel of the Doctor that I knew. His ability to feel so much as a character and convey it to an audience is still one of the best I have ever seen. Without expressing in words or really through much exposition, the audience knew that it broke both of his hearts when he and Rose were separated.
Tennant was and still is my favorite Doctor of the new series and may eventually be my favorite Doctor period. His connection to the audience and work as the Doctor wasn’t just good acting, it was organic. He seemed like he was the Doctor and not just a man. I felt the opposite way about Matt Smith, the latest Doctor… at first. I had a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t like him but, despite my best efforts, did in the end.
Well, in the end is a bit extreme. I liked him but from the word go but didn’t know how much until the Star Ship UK episode. It was when he yelled at Amy and told her that she was to go home after that ordeal. For whatever reason, I felt like that was the appropriate response of the Doctor. He held some of that bitterness of the late Tennant and at the same time had begun to move past it and had his own challenges ahead to deal with. The change from Tennant to Smith was an organic one for that reason and for that reason I began to reexamine the way I viewed Eccleston.
Whenever I think of Christopher Eccleston now I think of the episode where Rose finally gets the Doctor albeit in human form. Eccleston wasn’t the Doctor but was a wounded man who did something unspeakable and was just trying to get back. At the end of his reign as the Doctor he had made it back to the other side in terms of story and it was time to return to the grace and glory of the Doctor.
For their faults and for their caveats, each Doctor has been unique to the show and has made it something I enjoy watching and look forward to every day that I have time to watch an episode. Everyone has their own favorite Doctor and has their own view of the show. I just hope that here, I did both my view and the show some justice.