Here’s to the best (in my opinion) Dr. Who ever: David Tennant. I think he fit the role more than any of his predecessors and so far I’m not enamored with subsequent Dr. Who’s either. I’d love to see David return, but that’s about as likely as Dr. Who appearing in my kitchen to save me from destruction. Well here’s to David Tennant, the tenth Doctor Who.
The Tenth Doctor (2005-10)
Doctor Who had returned to BBC screens in March 2005 to huge ratings and critical acclaim. The BBC was pleased and commissioned two further seasons and a Christmas special in short order. However, Christopher Eccleston had announced that he was standing down at the Ninth Doctor before the season had even finished airing, prompting Russell T. Davies to have to quickly find a replacement. Whilst several actors were considering (including, according to rumour, Bill Nighy as an older Doctor) Davies’s first choice was David Tennant, whom he had worked with on the ITV mini-series Casanova. Tennant, a fan of the show since childhood, did not formally audition and was instead offered the role off the cuff at a screening event. He said yes immediately.
Tennant’s appearance came at the end of the finale to Eccleston’s season, via a specially-filmed segment inserted into the episode months after the rest of it was shot. He then immediately began filming the 2005 Christmas special and the next season. To preserve continuity, Billie Piper continued in the role of Rose as his companion. Tennant was immediately popular, with fans and critics praising his enthusiastic and energetic performance which contrasted with Eccleston’s more reserved and intense demeanour. During Tennant’s first season the Cybermen also returned (for the first time since 1988’sSilver Nemesis) and the season concluded with a monstrous three-way battle between humans, Daleks and Cybermen on Earth in the Torchwood Institute.
The success of the show led to the BBC requesting not just one but two spin-off shows. One would air at a later time than Doctor Who and would be darker, more adult and edgy. The other would be a children’s programme. Davies had been working on an idea for an SF drama series when he was invited to take over Doctor Who, so combined this idea with Doctor Who‘s continuity to create Torchwood. This new series would see a secret organisation tackling alien threats to Earth whilst the Doctor was elsewhere. John Barrowman returned as Captain Jack Harkness (last seen in the final Eccleston story). The series aired for two full seasons before falling foul of reduced BBC budgets in the wake of the financial crisis: its third season, a mini-series called Children of Earth, aired to popular and critical acclaim in 2009. A fourth, Miracle Day, was a co-production with the American Starz network which aired in 2011 and was again a ratings smash, but the critical reception was more mixed. Since then the show has been on hiatus.
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Hats off to David Tennant, the tenth and greatest Dr. Who ever. Who was or is your favourite doctor? And don’t tell me you don’t have one, everybody does! Well, maybe your more of a trekie…