Today marks ten years since David Tennant’s first series as the Doctor - it’s ten years of the Tenth Doctor. The Tenth Doctor is one of my favourites, and one who holds a special place in my heart; he was, after all, my first proper Doctor, and the incumbent Time Lord when I really grew to love Doctor Who.
To celebrate, then, I’ve picked out my Top Ten Tennant… times. (There isn’t really a good synonym for “scenes” that preserves the alliteration, sadly.)
6) “Everybody knows that everybody dies, and nobody knows it like the Doctor.”
2009′s Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead are, when you look back on them, pretty influential; they’re essentially the prototype for Moffat’s later run on Doctor Who, with many of the same themes in place. It’s also notable, of course, for the introduction of River Song - and for being the episode where River dies.
What this moment highlights about the Doctor is how steadfast he is in his resolve, and his insistence on saving River - though he doesn’t really know how important she’s going to be to him, not yet, he won’t let her die. David Tennant does a brilliant job of conveying the Doctor’s desperation here, and then the sheer exuberance at having saved her. It’s a fantastic start to a long and complicated relationship which will be remembered for quite some time.
7) “We’re going to fly the Earth back home.”
Shortly after this scene, Sarah Jane says to the Doctor something along the lines of “You always act so lonely, but look at you! You have so many friends.” It’s words to that effect, anyway, I don’t have the exact quote - but I think it applies here quite well. In this moment, it’s very clear how many friends the Doctor has.
I really like that about this scene; sometimes it was easy for Doctor Who to slip into Time War related angst, but thankfully it never lost sight of how deeply positive and optimistic the program was at it’s heart. This is a real moment of triumph, with a beautiful score by Murray Gold, and it’s one of my favourite scenes of Journey’s End.
8) “That’s who I am. The Time Lord Victorious.”
Of course, not every time the Doctor saved a life was quite so triumphant. Sometimes, he went too far; The Waters of Mars, one of the 2009 Specials, is exemplary of this, showing us “the Time Lord Victorious”.
It had always been something of a running theme that David Tennant’s Doctor was arrogant; in fact, his fatal flaw was his hubris. He’d always had a companion, though, to keep him in check - but not this time. It’s one of the bleakest moments of the Tenth Doctor’s life; David Tennant does a sublime job at conveying the smug self satisfaction and insidious arrogance quickly crumbling to terror. I don’t think we ever see the Tenth Doctor as scared as he is here and now at any other point - not even when the Time Lords return. That says something, I think.
9) “I bet you’re going to have a really great year.”
Another one of Russell T Davies; more controversial choices, but something I’ve always been fond of, was the Doctor’s “farewell tour” at the close of The End of Time. Yes, it’s a little saccharine and self indulgent, but it was also earned - David Tennant’s Doctor had been a phenomenon in a way many of his predecessors hadn’t, and his regeneration was probably the largest event in Doctor Who history since 2005′s Rose.
It wasn’t just fair, it was right to dedicate that time to bringing the entire era to its conclusion; everything the Tenth Doctor had been, wrapped up neatly into a little bow. I know that, obviously, your mileage may vary in terms of this scene, but I personally loved it. It’s the last of them, though, which is most effective; the Doctor’s final goodbye to Rose, a poignant moment, which bids farewell to the RTD era as a whole.
10) “Who are you talking to?” “Myself!”
So, I’m cheating a little with this one. This actual specific moment isn’t really the highlight of Ten’s appearance in Day of the Doctor - there are other, better ones, which don’t rely on puerile sonic screwdriver jokes - but it’s what this scene represents that makes it so engaging.
You see, for everything I was saying with moment #9, and bidding farewell to the Tenth Doctor era - on Doctor Who, that isn’t strictly true. These characters can and do return; here, the Tenth Doctor is meeting the Eleventh Doctor. There’s some uniquely exciting about these multi Doctor specials, and I have to say that I really loved this one. I love them all, obviously, but the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are particularly close to my heart, so it was wonderful to see them together for the first time.
That concludes this selection of the Top Ten Tennant scenes; what did you think of my selection? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a reply in the comments below!
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