The following commentary is part of a tribute article for ihogeek.com to the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. My personal pick is The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. To get fellow writers Leia Caleron’s and Jen Schiller’s tributes to Ten and Eleven, check out the full article at ihogeek.com/2013/07/14/my-doctor.
Compared to other voracious followers of the trio of “new post-Time War era” Doctors, I’m a relative newcomer, and only this year began watching — and getting hooked on — Time Lords.
Years ago, my official “first Doctor,” was the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, and in my mind he will always be the man worthy of the title THE Doctor, the quintessential poster boy for the show’s legacy. However, he isn’t My Doctor, that honor caught me and my solitary heart quite unexpectedly off guard, when the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, first invited me (okay, and Rose Tyler), to join him.
To think we almost skipped him, due to suggestions that “Ten is the Favorite” (and rightly so, Tennant is excellent in the role). Had, I done that, I would have missed the first (and still my favorite, so far), leg of the journey.
Now I have to give credit where credit is due: no one handled the role with more energy and character than David Tennant. He’s an incredible, crazy, wild-eyed loon with whom I seem to personally share much in common; from his love of Star Wars to his favorite bands to his wardrobe choices (actually, I’m not so sure he isn’t dipping into my closet when I’m not looking and stealing my shirts and Converse). Matt Smith has also won my respect for his treatment of his fan base, particularly when it comes to his thankful acknowledgement that they are the ones to whom he owes his fame. I love his handling of his youngest fans in particular. To both these men, I say “job well done, indeed.”
But Christopher, in my opinion, just doesn’t get the credit he deserves, from the obvious — he started the “new era” of The Doctor for an entire generation of fans — to the more subtle nuances of bringing a diversity of expression and emotion that could be downright goofy with spot-on slapstick timing, sometimes eerily dark and predatory, awkward and nerdy as a love struck teen, and a diehard action hero badass.
I was also weirdly surprised, I might add, at how incredibly appealing — and incredibly sexy — I found his look. While every other Doctor before, and since, veered from the eccentric butler to a hipster Pee Wee Herman (love ALL those looks, I promise), the post-war leather-and-tight-jeans made him not only someone I could follow to the next planet system in the vortex, but hop on the back of a vintage Indian Chief motorcycle heading down the highway blaring psychobilly — not that I’ve actually had that thought, mind you. Well, not more than three, maybe four times, tops.
His tenure as The Doctor was passionate, energetic and just plain fun. I’m not planning on getting into the politics of his departure (although I have found him to be very diplomatic on the issue), except to say it was far, far too soon for me. Just thinking of “The Parting of Ways” from Series 1 sends an unrelenting shiver of sadness through me.
I realize each Doctor has, and deserves, his day, but I know I’m not alone in wishing, Nine would step from the TARDIS, extend his long arm, gaze intently into our soul with those piercing blue eyes and ask in his Northern accent, “Would you dance with me one more time?”
The 50th Anniversary show of “Doctor Who” airs on BBC One Nov. 23, 2013 with Matt Smith’s final episode just in time for Christmas.