Doctor Who: a celebration of David Tennant

Ultimately, Rose Tyler is the defining character from this era. Martha Jones, sadly, doesn’t get a chance to emerge from under her shadow until it’s too late, as Rose has firmly planted herself in the Doctor’s brain. Donna Noble is a much stronger, more mature character as a result. It allows Rose to return in The Stolen Earth without any jealousy. Mind you, if she hadn’t come back in Series 4, imagine how much more bittersweet her cameo in The End of Time would have been. 

Ten is, then, infatuated. He’s also incredibly tactless as a result, his brain working so quickly and his tongue acting accordingly that he doesn’t really have time to engage any sort of filters, saying incredibly rude things amidst the genius without realising it, sometimes to hilarious effect. He’s bewitching and charismatic when he’s on your side, obstinate and insufferable when he’s not. The companion’s role is no longer to be an audience identification figure, but to translate the Doctor into a more palatable individual so people don’t simply get confused and annoyed by him, as happens in Midnight.

Largely, David Tennant’s Doctor sweeps people off their feet though. He’s the Sixth Doctor with mass appeal, good jokes and stylish clothes. The over-confidence and self pity is an undercurrent rather than a dominant trait. He also has similarities with Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. Both are occasionally unlikeable for reasons of hubris, and part of massively popular Doctor Who families. 

For me Tennant’s Doctor is quite a dark take on the character, with a mile-thick front of bonhomie. He’s got the chirpy and cocksure swagger thing going on and is quick to quip but because Tennant isn’t naturally eccentric – rather naturally charismatic – it’s an easy interpretation to see this as a front for a damaged, occasionally thoughtless man who is unaware of the lives he is wrecking. Because he’s so magnetic he attracts people to him only for them to get killed or go through sheer hell in the process. Other Doctors have this trait, but for Ten it’s more pronounced. Look at Rose. That’s the love of his life, and she ends up estranged in another dimension with a homicidal clone version of him. This is what happens to the people he adores. 

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