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3 Facts You Might Not Know About My 3 Favorite Doctors

With less than a month to go until the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special, “The Day of The Doctor,” there are certainly no shortage of sites paying tribute, but why should that keep your favorite bookish and clever ladyblog from jumping into the fray? Or am I just using this as an excuse to obsess? Perhaps we will never know.

Before we get into it, I must acknowledge my excitement that Peter Capaldi will be the Twelfth Doctor. I’ve loved him in everything I’ve seen — from the more well-known The Thick of It and Torchwood: Children of Earth, and also in smaller roles on Foyle’s War and Prime Suspect — and he very well might nudge one of these Doctors from Top 3 status.

However, before I have that arbitrary-yet-difficult decision, let’s go over some brief facts about my current favorites, chronologically:


The eighth Doctor from Doctor Who holds a time piece.The eighth Doctor from Doctor Who stares into the distance.

Are you one of those people who do not know that the Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, is the longest-serving Doctor? It’s true! Although his television time has been limited to one 90-minute movie and snippets of his image in the modern Whoniverse, Eight has never regenerated and continues to have adventures in Big Finish audio dramas.

As the Eighth Doctor, McGann has recorded more than 60 audio plays since 2001’s “Storm Warning.” The tumblr I Create Myself has an excellent master post linking to every Big Finish story, as well as a few interviews. (Side note: The Main Range: Season One plays are all $2.99 to download right now.)

More recently, McGann has finally been able to shed the image of the horrible wig he had to wear for the TV movie. (Once you notice that wig tape, there’s no unseeing it.) For the series “Dark Eyes,” the Doctor now sports a haircut and leather jacket closer to his ninth incarnation. The first installment of the series was released in 2012, with the second due out in early 2014. If you’re feeling extra flush, one can even pre-order seasons 2 through 4, as the third and fourth seasons will arrive in late 2014 and early 2015, respectively.

McGann also lent his voice to the 50th Anniversary audio special, The Light At The End, which features Doctors Four through Eight and other companions reprising their roles. I’ve listened to this one, and let me wholeheartedly recommend it, especially on headphones. They really did some excellent sound production, and I love hearing all the Doctors interact with each other.

BONUS FACT (Open to interpretation): Juuuuust barely edging out Ten, Eight is the hottest Doctor. Now excuse me while I ready my battle gear for the comments…

The eighth Doctor from Doctor Who stares at the viewer.


The ninth doctor from Doctor Who and Dr. Sato stand over a deceased pig creature.

Nine is where I first started watching the show — First, here and there on my local PBS station where I had no context and was unsure about what was going on, and then later when I properly started the series on Netflix. Though his run was short, Christopher Eccleston’s Nine is easily one of my favorites for his battle-born backstory and his Northern accent.

There are a host of Doctor Who books and short stories having to do with the Ninth Doctor — a full list of which I do not have — but perhaps the most interesting is that he was the one who originally met Sally Sparrow. You remember Sally Sparrow from the Tenth Doctor episode, “Blink,” which gave us the Weeping Angels.

Image from "What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow" written by Steven Moffat
Image from “What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow” written by Steven Moffat.

Originally, Steven Moffat introduced Sally in the 2006 Doctor Who annual, in a short story called “What I Did on My Christmas Holidays by Sally Sparrow.” The story still involves wallpaper messages, videotapes, and being stuck in certain time periods. You can read the full synopsis here. It is from this story that Moffat wrote “Blink.”

In the episode “Aliens of London,” the Doctor encounters a “Dr. Sato,” the woman in charge of examining the “space pig” whose ship has crashed in London. When the episode aired, we didn’t know anything of Torchwood or who this person was. Was it just a case of the same actor happening to play two roles, as others have done in the past, or was this a Torchwood operation?

Owen (at 2:40): “Was that the space pig?”
Tosh: “Space pig.”

Nicely played, Whoniverse. Nicely played.

Christopher Eccleston ended up leaving the show after one season because he “could not get along with the senior people.” For now, those are probably all the details we will get on the matter, and we won’t be seeing him in the anniversary episode.


David Tennant wears glasses.A meme featuring David Tennant captioned #timelordproblems

It is absolutely no secret that P-Mag has deemed David Tennant our Human Unicorn Incarnate, and I’m thrilled that he’s coming back for “The Day of the Doctor.”

Somewhat widely known is that Tennant, as a child, said that he was going to become an actor so that he could play the Doctor. Perhaps less well-known is that he had bit parts in several Doctor Who audio dramas, as well as the animated special Scream of The Shalka, which coincided with the show’s 40th anniversary. (Richard E. Grant played the Doctor this time — you may remember him from episodes like The Snowmen or The Name of the Doctor, and as Paul McGann’s co-star in Withnail and I.)

Ten also appears in two animated serials, “The Infinite Quest” and “Dreamland.” I’ve seen “The Infinite Quest,” which features Martha, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. “Dreamland” has Ten with companions Cassie and Jimmy, with Cassie played by Tennant’s wife, Georgia Moffett.

Georgia Moffett, of course, is the daughter of the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, and she also played “The Doctor’s Daughter” in a 2008 episode. Somewhere in 1984, thirteen-year-old David Tennant is punching the air.

Still from "Dreamland."
Still from “Dreamland.”

In another tale of one doctor’s adventure being adapted into another: the Eleven-era episode “The Lodger” was originally a Ten-starring comic written by Gareth Roberts. It appeared in Doctor Who Magazine Issue 368. TARDIS Date Core has the full synopsis.

Look, just to make up for saying that Eight is the best-looking Doctor, I offer you this photo with many Doctors: Seven, Five, Ten and Eight pose with an Ood, one of the creepy dolls, and a classic Cyberman. And background straight out of 1991, apparently.

Doctors Seven, Five, Ten and Eight pose for a photo.

Give me your facts, favorite .gifs, and your fightin’ words in the comments.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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