Sci-Fi: ‘Doctor Who’ and David Tennant

Screenshot of David Tennant as the Doctor in ‘The Power of the Doctor’. Copyright goes to the BBC and Bad Wolf.

Hey! Hallie here!

Hopefully everyone who sees this post has actually seen ‘The Power of the Doctor’, or in the very least, knows the role Tennant played in said episode. Because already, the screenshot above is a huge spoiler. So right off the bat, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! Seriously, do not read this unless you’re caught up on ‘Doctor Who’. We haven’t talked about ‘Doctor Who’ much on this blog. This was one of Annie and I’s biggest obsessions in high school, but Moffat’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ slowly drove us away. I’ve still really loved this series since then, and I’m prone to constantly revisiting the Tenth Doctor’s seasons particularly, so this regeneration definitely didn’t fly under my radar. David Tennant is back! And he’s also been named the official Fourteenth Doctor which will last through a three-parter that airs in November…of 2023. So yeah, unfortunately we have more than a year until ‘Doctor Who’ returns. But in the meantime David Tennant is promised to be our lead in to our official new Doctor, Ncuti Gatwa. So in honor of Tennant’s return to ‘Doctor Who’, let’s dive into Ten’s return as well as why Tennant’s Doctor is still the best Doctor the series has ever seen.

The Best Doctor:

David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor was a breath of fresh air after Nine. That isn’t to say Nine was bad. Nine was a very interesting Doctor that perfectly suited the re-introduction of the series. But Nine was also a Doctor burdened by the recent loss of the Time Lords. One who very often struggled to show empathy, and struggled with the shift between his childlike excitement for something new and his almost bloodthirsty anger for what happened to Gallifrey. Ten was instantly charming when he arrived, not just because he looked more approachable, but because he wasn’t the snappy, cagey Doctor we had seen. He was delighted by chaos but with an empathy that was so much fiercer than Nine’s. He still carried a lot of pain, but he made such a point of bringing happiness to everyone around him that it mattered so much more when that pain came through. And though his judgement could be swift and sometimes cruel, he ultimately understood why humans were better than him in that regard and was amazed by them for it. David Tennant’s acting also greatly contributed to the likability of Ten. Tennant could deliver fast, witty dialogue better than any actor who’s been the Doctor before or since. He was effortlessly funny and delivered the Doctor’s monologues with seamless brilliance. These things have become a staple of the Doctor, but David Tennant was the first to perfect this characteristic and, in my opinion, remains to be the best. Ten felt safe, warm, intelligent, and sometimes terrible, all because of Tennant’s amazing acting. He played each element of the Doctor so perfectly, he’s become most people’s favorite Doctor. And that’s for a very good reason.

Why He Deserves to Return:

While I very obviously think David Tennant is the clear choice for the best Doctor, that doesn’t always mean that fan favorite actors should return. Especially after they’ve closed out their character’s story in a satisfying way. But while I do think Ten’s story was satisfying as it was, I think there’s still room to expand on it. Tennant’s Doctor left at a very turbulent point of his existence, more so than any of the other Doctors we’ve seen in New Who. Ten was in the middle of an entire existential crisis that put the Doctor at his most terrifying right before his regeneration. He had seen hints that he would regenerate for a while, but he became convinced that he could outrun it. Pair that with the Doctor losing contact with Rose and then having to wipe Donna’s memory, and you had a Doctor wracked with grief and determined to stop time from taking anything else from him. And thus we had the “Time Lord Victorious”, a name the Doctor adopted when he decided that, as the last of the Time Lords and the technical “winner” of the Time War, he should be allowed to control time itself. Of course, he found he couldn’t outrun his regeneration. Especially after he realized that it would not be brought on by a large event, but simply by saving someone he cared for very much, Donna’s grandfather Wilf. As he regenerated he famously uttered the words “I don’t want to go,” ending his story on the extremely somber note of the Doctor realizing how much he feared his own regeneration. Now we have the opportunity to get closure for both him, and his last companion Donna. Given how much happier or more peaceful other regenerations have been, I think Ten deserves to come to terms with his regeneration and put this part of the Doctor fully to rest.

Speculation About His Return:

Let’s be honest, though I do think Ten deserves more closure, I think there’s more to Tennant’s return than just the opportunity to give Ten a more peaceful ending. David Tennant is the most popular Doctor from ‘Doctor Who’. So if ‘Doctor Who’ is going to take more than a year off to get its new seasons together, they need something really good to keep fans on board for the amount of time they won’t be receiving content. David Tennant is the perfect person to bring in those fans. As is Catherine Tate, who’ll be returning as Donna. The companions don’t have as clear-cut of a favorite amongst fans beyond Sarah Jane, but all fans can agree that Donna had the saddest ending of any companion. She didn’t die or face any grievous harm, but her character basically reset to the way she was before she met the Doctor. She had gone through so much character growth and had become a close friend to the Doctor, and she ended the story with no memories of her best friend and all that growth completely wiped from her memory. As I said before, she also deserves closure and audiences have been wanting to see that closure for a long time. And bringing back both David Tennant and Catherine Tate gives fans the opportunity to remember why we loved Russel T. Davies so much before diving into his new content. It almost works as an advertisement for his return. That said, I have questions about Ten and Donna’s comeback. If David Tennant is being declared the Fourteenth Doctor, does that mean this version is slightly different from Ten and merely shares Ten’s characteristics? Or will this basically be a resurgence of Ten? And will we see Donna get her memories back? Or will she just be along for the ride as she was in her first episode? Clearly I’m expecting us to essentially get the old Ten and Donna back, for nostalgia’s sake if nothing else, but these are strange circumstances.

There’s so much of the three part special to look forward to. There’s the return of characters we love. There’s the promise of a new, mysterious figure named Rose. And there’s a new, exciting Doctor played by the brilliant Ncuti Gatwa. Of course, we’ll also be able to see Bernard Cribbins once more since his death reprising Wilf. It seems so far away but I’m already excited for it! All they had to do was a throw back to the Doctor noticing his teeth first and I knew I’d wait any amount of time to see Tennant’s return. Between this and ‘Good Omens 2’, 2023 really is an amazing year for Tennant fans.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


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