You didn’t give in to the hate and didn’t shy away from the inevitable misogynist backlash. Not only was there canonically no reason at all not to cast a female as the 13th Doctor, but there was actually every reason to do it. Because after over 50 years of white male Doctors, now was without a doubt the time to finally expand beyond that. Rebirth and reinvention is at the absolute core of the show. Peter has been magnificent (as were Chris, David and especially Matt) and there’s every reason to hope that even better times await.
I know folk rate the Zygon Invasion war speech, but that wouldn’t make my Top 3. Although The Doctor Falls wasn’t quite the best Capaldi episode (although it was definitely right up there, and the best in the series by far), I do think it had his best speech.
My Top 25 favourite (modern) Doctor Who episodes/runs ever:
(NOTE: A further edit to include the ‘Of The Doctor’ trilogy, although ‘Name’ has now dropped off the list)
1. The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (S5/12,13)
2. A Good Man Goes to War (S6/E7)
3. Human Nature/The Family of Blood (S3/E8,9)
4. The Time of the Doctor (2013 Christmas Special)
5. Vincent and the Doctor (S5/E10)
6. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (S4/E9,10)
7. Let’s Kill Hitler (S6/E8)
8. Asylum of the Daleks (S7/E1)
9. The Lodger (S5/E11)
10. The Girl in the Fireplace (S2/E4)
11. The Day of the Doctor (50th Anniversary Special)
12. The Impossible Astronaut/The Day of the Moon (S5/E12,13)
13. Blink (S3/E10)
14. The Parting of the Ways (S1/E13)
15. Utopia (S3/E11)
16. Doomsday (S2/E13)
17. Turn Left/The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End (S4/E11,12,13)
18. Amy’s Choice (S5/E7)
19. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (S7/E2)
20. The Waters of Mars (S4/E16)
21. The End of Time (S4/E17,18)
22. The Bells of Saint John (S7/E6)
23. The Doctor’s Wife (S6/E3)
24. Closing Time (S6/E12)
25. The Doctor the Widow and the Wardrobe (2011 Christmas Special)
We’ve just started the fifth series – that’s the eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Must have clocked everything up to this point in under two months. Doctor Who is quite aggressively occupying a significant part of my conscious mind, almost to the point of distraction.
Can’t possibly formulate any structured thoughts at this juncture , but I’m moved to throw around some random ones:
Tennant is my favourite Doctor. I thought it was Smith, but it’s not.
Tennant in the Emotional Doctor. Smith is the Eccentric Doctor. Who is Ecclestone? The Stiff Upper Lip Doctor? Of course, he had it hardest. Just one series, and the first too. Doctor Who had yet to reassert itself. And Ecclestone admits he had more or less no character direction. Compare that to how precisely shaped the eleventh Doctor is, with each syllable and eye movement precisely predetermined by the production team and writers.
I wept. I wept when Tennant said goodbye to Rose the first time. I wept when he handed her over to The Other Doctor in Journey’s End. There’s a moment – a very precise moment – when the character confronts the curse that is The Last of the Timelords. And it destroyed me. Today must have been the third of fourth time I’ve seen The End of Time. But watching it as part of a near daily schedule of Who viewings killed me. I was upset as Tennant at the idea of letting him go.
I remember when I first found out that Catherine Tate was returning to be a full-time companion. I was pissed off. Yet she turned out to be the second best companion behind Rose! Incredible.
The Master probably deserved better episodes. But John Simm’s interpretation of the character is so utterly compelling I still love every moment of all five Master episodes.
The TARDIS is by some significant margin the most characterised non-speaking box to ever grace fiction. It’s so amazingly intrinsic to the character of The Doctor.
Asylum of the Daleks is my favourite single-part Doctor Who episode.
I’ve been watching a lot of Doctor Who of late. All of it, in fact. From the beginning, with my daughter. You see a show different when you watch it with daily intensity. And it was this moment that last night really struck me as the defining one for The Doctor.
It’s the final moment of Journey’s End – episode 13, series 4. It’s not really an episode that struck me when I watched it originally in 2008. But this time it completely bowled me over.
This is the moment Tennant so brilliantly captures the Curse of the Doctor.
Sarah Jane Smith has her son. Martha and Mickey have Torchwood. Jackie returns to her husband. Donna doesn’t even know who he is.
And Rose. Rose has found her Doctor. A Doctor who loves her in a way that THE Doctor was not able to. And THE Doctor has to stand there on the beach of Bad Wolf Bay and watch his imposter steal his dream.
He returns to his TARDIS. Alone with the rest of the universe. Ultimately, always alone. That’s the story of The Doctor and this is the moment that tells it.