the staff looks at their favorite incarnation of Doctor Who …
Doctor Who was once a cult sci-fi UK import, worshipped by diehard, scarf-wearing fans known as ‘Whovians.’ It was a show, thanks to its longevity and re-runs on public television, that most of us had heard of but had never really watched. However, within the last decade, more precisely, within the past few years (thanks in part of BBC America getting picked up by most cable systems), the show has blossomed into an international phenomenon, a staple in the world of pop culture.
And many of us at Pop-Break have become recently converted Whovians, thanks in large part to our resident TARDIS-lover, Jason Stives, who first introduced the show to us two years ago. We’ve grown to love The Doctor, his companions and his many adventures through space and time.
So, with the second half of the 7th season returning to BBC America this Saturday night, the staff of Pop-Break put on their favorite bowtie (bowties are cool) and let us know who their favorite incarnation of the famed Time Lord is.
Jason Stives — The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
The old adage is that the first Doctor you watched was your Doctor. The first Doctor I saw was Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. But while he is considered the David Tennant of the “classic” series, his predecessor, the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, has always been my favorite. The thing to note about Pertwee was he was Sherlock Holmes meets James Bond. He was sharp-tongued and all-knowing with a flair for fast cars, gadgets, and karate chopping bad guys. For the early ’70s that was more than fitting but Pertwee always did it with this patriarch sense of trust towards his companions. He is also the only person beyond Jimi Hendrix who could get away with wearing frilly shirts and crushed velvet jackets, making him the most fashionable Doctor of the classic series.
The Third Doctor, in my opinion, also had the most consistent material season wise. Yes, Tom Baker has probably some of the more iconic stories of the show, but having the Doctor stranded on Earth provided writers with the chance to be far more creative in coming up with new threats. Classic DW writer Malcolm Hulke always said that when The Doctor was stranded on Earth you had two types of stories: mad scientists or invasions from space. This proved true but Pertwee’s first season on Earth I would rank up there among some of the best seasons in the shows run especially since it included my favorite story, Inferno. Plus, his first story, “Spearhead from Space,” is a true classic but don’t take my word, go and watch it yourself!
Nick Porcaro — The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith)
Alright. You got me. I’m … a Doctor Who newbie. (The horror!) As of this article I’ve seen a total of two Doctor Who episodes — the first two installments of Matt Smith’s reign—and I must say I’m impressed. The show seems to revel in its mix of eccentric British humor, sci-fi geekery and occasionally creepy ambiance, plus the casting is spot on. It’s a fun diversion with some depth to it, and I look forward to continuing this new discovery in the future.
John Lawrence — The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)
“That’s right. I sang a song and The Daleks ran away”
I don’t believe the Doctor Who franchise could have made such a successful return without the ninth doctor. Christopher Eccelston is not only the doctor who got me hooked on the series, but he is by far, my all time favorite. His brand of lunacy was just what the franchise needed for the reboot. He was not as eccentric as his predecessors, or his successors for that matter. He was a darker, war torn doctor with a chip on his shoulder. I guess if I was the sole survivor of the Time War and had watched my race get eradicated, I might be a little ornery too. He was arrogant, crude, hard headed, and iron-willed, but at the same time, he was absolutely hilarious.
While David Tennant is the doctor everyone fell in love with, and Matt Smith is the doctor everyone wants as a best friend, Chris Eccelston is the doctor you want saving the earth. Whether he was taking on the Daleks, the Slitheen, or creepy little kids in gas masks, he never showed fear, even welcoming his own regeneration in one of my favorite scenes of all time.
“Rose… before I go, I just want to tell you: you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? [Pause] So was I!”
Marla Pacther — The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)
When Matt Smith first graced my computer screen (remember when we Americans had to obtain Doctor Who illegally in order to keep up?), I was impressed. Instantly. David Tennant was a tough act to follow, and I had so much history with him. I was devastated by Tennant’s leaving, and more than just a little skeptical of Smith’s taking over. But boom. Then came fish fingers and custard, and I was starting to fall in love already. Despite my instant enamoration (You’re right, that’s not really a word. Oh well.) with Matt Smith, I remained a David Tennant loyalist for quite some time.
It wasn’t until I was re-watching from the beginning with my roommate last year, fresh off the end of the incredible Season 6 that I had a revelation. Watching some classic Tennant episodes, I had to slap myself in the face and admit: I like Matt Smith more than I like David Tennant. Now, DT will always hold a special place in my heart, but there is something about MS. He has this fluidity to him that David Tennant lacks, that makes him more alien, more undeniably Doctorly. Like until I watched Matt Smith, I never realized how choppy David Tennant’s movements were. Maybe they’re not choppy. Maybe they’re just choppy in comparison. Whatever the case, Matt Smith had my heart. My love for him crept up on me slowly and then hit me smack in the chest like a very sneaky ninja. Isn’t that how real love is supposed to go?
Since I loved him from the beginning, here’s that clip where he meets the delightful little Amelia Pond and tries to find the right food for his new taste buds. The ultimate classic Smith moment. Fish fingers and custard.
Michael Dworkis — The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
I do not remember exactly how old I was when my father introduced me to Doctor Who. What I do recall are the great nostalgic feelings I have. Saturday nights, when Shabbas would end, we would all head into my parents room, I often took the floor, closest to the television, and flip it to NJN. For you New Jerseyians, you know exactly what station I am talking about. My father made the popcorn, I got the chocolate milk, and my mother and sister got the junk food. The mesmerizing theme of Doctor Who hit, and the anticipation for adventure took us.
The first Doctor I was introduced to was Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor. His wit, his charm, the goofy-yet-serious-to-business persona was part of what drew me in to becoming a Whovian. His fights against the Daleks and his long-time arch-nemesis, The Master, all captivating and leaving me unable to wait until the following week. I was a kid then, and Tom Baker was a character for kids to enjoy. Granted, the science-speak and technological aspects were a bit beyond me, but I knew he was portraying a master sleuth, always finding a way out, whether through conflict or through intellectual acuity, I wanted to see more of the man with the Technicolor scarf.
Kelly Spoer — The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)
I started watching Doctor Who shortly before Matt Smith became The Doctor. While I have yet to watch all episodes before the ninth doctor, I can say without a doubt, Nine is my doctor. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m in love with Ten and Tennant like every other Tumblr user, but there is something about Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal that gets me every time.
Perhaps it’s the PTSD Nine has. Or his inability to really show emotions correctly. Or how visible the pain is on his face when he realizes he’s in love with Rose Tyler. Nothing shows this more than when The Doctor dances. Yes, yes, yes, this is one of the scarier episodes in the first series. Yes, yes, yes, CAPTIAN JACK HARKNESS. But this scene. “The world doesn’t end because The Doctor dances.” Oh yes it does.
Bill Bodkin — The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)
While Matt Smith was my gateway drug into the Whovian universe, it’s David Tennant who is the ultimate Time Lord in my book. I first became enamored with Tennant’s time traveller when I first saw the 2007 Christmas special, “Voyage of the Damned” which co-starred Kylie Minogue. He was everything you’d want in a hero — humor, charisma, a wee bit of self-deprecation, intelligence and just the perfect amount of grit, fire and intensity.
Yet, it was Tennant’s finale, “The End of the Time” that put him #1 on my list. And it’s all in his eyes — the man evokes so much through those British peepers of his. And when he realizes his time is over and he goes on his farewell tour — visiting Martha Jones, Jack Harkness and various characters from his run on the show, it’s hard not to shed a tear. And that’s when he won it for me. No character on a TV show has ever, ever made me shed a tear. And for the man in the awesome tennis shoes do so, makes him the best damn Doctor to ever travel in a TARDIS.
All Photos Credit: BBC America