Who’s the Best Who?
I love sci-fi. Well, some sci-fi. I sit here in my best writing chair, watching Dr Who and wondering what direction it could possibly go in next. Those of you who love sci-fi may also be into Dr Who. The show originally aired in England on November 23rd, 1963 and was played by William Hartnell. It received mixed reviews from critics but soon gained a massive fan base. It was famous for its creaky scenery and dodgy props, but people loved it. In 1966 William Hartnell was replaced by Patrick Troughton in the first ever replacement of a living actor on TV. The idea to keep the Doctor going resulted in decision which as yet unprecedented. He would regenerate. This became part of the Doctor’s life and history and when Patrick Troughton left Jon Pertwee took over the role from 1970 through 1974.
Enemies of the Doctor
By then, the graphics were in color but still as comical as ever. The story lines were so engrossing that fans had no problem ignoring the little faults of the show. The Doctor faced many enemies, but none scarier than the Daleks. In 1963 the Daleks made their appearance, during the second season. Children all over the land hit behind the sofas on a Saturday, covering their faces with their hand. However, they were still morbidly fascinated enough to watch between their slightly opened fingers. Another of the Doctor’s mortal enemies are the Cybermen. The particularly creepy thing about the cybermen is that they used to be human. They retain their human brains but their entire skeletal systems are replaced by cyborg parts. Their feelings are also removed, which makes them especially frightening enemies.
Of the many enemies the Doctor faced, the cybermen and the Daleks have remained his main two nemesis’, with the exception of The Master. First appearing in 1971 and played by Roger Delgado—until his death in 1973—The Master is also a Time Lord. However, unlike the Doctor, the Master is a renegade and totally insane. His quest to destroy the Doctor ended with actor Anthony Ainley, in 1989, when the series was cut from the BBC schedule. No Dr Who fan ever expected the show to be dropped, but owing to low audience viewing figures, the BBC decided it was time to put the Time Lord to bed. After Jon Pertwee (1974), came Tom baker, Peter Davison, Colin baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann.
In 2005 Russell T Davies, a long-time fan of the show attempted to woo the BBC with a revived, up-to-date version of the Doctor. He wrote cleverly calculated scripts and had some bright new ideas about graphics and scenery. The entire show was brought into the 21st century and beyond, with stunning locations and exceptionally brilliant plots. The first revival Doctor was played by Christopher Eccleston, who excelled at playing the part. His role rekindled the old generation of Dr Who fans, as well as creating a brand new generation of loyal followers. New enemies, like the Slitheen were brought in, as well as a host of massive TV personalities, queuing up to get a part on the show. Billie Piper played Rose Tyler, who meets the Doctor when the store she works at is attacked by plastic window dummies. Rose and the Doctor become travelling companions—much to the chagrin of Mickey, Rose’s long-suffering boyfriend. Eccleston only wanted to do one series of Dr Who, for fear of getting typecast. Another actor was needed to fill the charismatic role. Enter the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Rose watched as Christopher Eccleston started to fade away. His face altered slightly and went a little blurry. Suddenly there was a tremendous bang and the Doctor’s arms spread out wide at exactly the same time his body was engulfed in a sort of weird flame. He howled in pain for a moment and then the fire stopped. There stood a stranger. “Now, where was I. Oh! I know! Barcelona!” he said. He examined his new teeth, his new voice, his new hair and complained that he never ended up ginger. He and Rose had some fantastic adventures and Rose eventually fell in love with him. The sad ending for the Doctor and Rose came in a two-part epic battle set in Canary Warf, London, between the Daleks and the Cybermen. Rose was transported into the rift and the rift was sealed, ending her partnership with the amazing Time Lord.
Still mourning the loss of Rose, the Doctor ended up chasing an alien in a hospital. There he encounters Martha Jones, a trainee Dr, who is astonished to end up with the whole hospital building being transported to the moon, by the Judoon. He and Martha shared one entire series before Martha decided that her unrequited love would be the end of her. Once again, the Dr travelled alone. However, it wasn’t long before he bumped into his Partner in Crime, Donna Noble. He had briefly encountered her in a Christmas special called Runaway Bride—played by Catherine Tate—and when they met up again it was fight the flab in the episode with the Adipose.
Again, just one series but this enduring partnership was probably, for me, the best one. Donna was cheeky, took no prisoners and gave the Doctor some proper lip, but she had a heart of gold and they made a brilliant team. Her sad demise came in Journey’s End—having been predicted by Dalek Khan—where she took on the characteristics of a Time Lord. This being an impossible act, Donna was doomed to die unless the Doctor took swift action. His answer was to wipe her memory. Donna Noble, who had travelled the universe and left her mark on entire populations, reverted back to the shallow temp from Chiswick in one fell swoop, never knowing the Doctor and never knowing what she had achieved.
Not long after this, in a two-part special—The End of Time--David Tennant made his final exit as the Doctor. He came up against his old nemesis The Master. At the very end of the episode, the new Doctor’s face became that of Matt Smith, a previously unknown actor. Now, many people have their own ideas of who their Doctor is. Most fans have a claim on pretty much all of them because it is their personal favourite. Mine happens to be David Tennant and I personally think it would be impossible to replace him. So far, I am right.
Dee Mason is a freelance writer who has penned various articles, mainly for property and travel sites.