Ah, the War Doctor. When writing a series like this, how does one approach the War Doctor? He does not fit in with the traditional numbering of the Doctors, partially because he didn’t really exist, I think, until it was clear that Eccleston was not going to do the 50th. It was all very neat and tidy, McGann was 8, Eccleston was 9, Tenant was 10, Smith was 11. Easy, peasy. Then along came Moffat, and messed the whole thing up. He had to come up with something to take Eccleston’s place in the 50th, so enter the War Doctor. I have elected to place him in the order where he has been placed in the story, instead of the order which he appeared in the series. If I did that, he would be in the last post, after number 11. But he doesn’t regenerate into Capaldi’s Doctor, so I placed him here, where I guess he belongs. If all of this is very confusing, well, blame Moffat. I will try to explain more when we get to his entry here, but first we have 2 other, fantastic Doctors to discuss.
Due to the lack of popularity for Doctor number 6, and in an attempt to bring the ratings for the series back up, the producer decided in the Fall of 1987 that it was time for a new Doctor. Colin Baker’s Doctor was anything but likable, and very dark. They went in a different direction with number 7 and brought in the likable, warm, funny Sylvester McCoy. Of the classic Doctors, McCoy may be my favorite. He was witty, charming, calm, funny, and clever, all at the same time. He was not easily ruffled, performing superbly under pressure. Again, they gave the Doctor a signature look, but they decided to ditch the clown costume worn by 6, and went instead with a question mark sweater that would make Bill Cosby proud, a sport jacket, a signature hat and his question mark handled umbrella.
As number 7 appeared, at first he seemed to not be very bright or strategic. Often times it seems like he had no idea what was going on or what kind of danger he was in. However, as his time went on, he became very cunning and strategic, almost dark, but never losing his charming air. Despite the change in character, this Doctors time was cut short after just a few seasons, due to cancellation. He would appear again in 1996 in the TV movie. Number of episodes wise, he was an averaged tenured Doctor. Number of years, he had a longer tenure than most, lasting from 1987 to 1996.
In 1996, The BBC tried to reboot the Doctor Who series with a made for television movie and a brand new Doctor. The 8th Doctor was played in one movie and one mini episode by Paul McGann. The movie was strange, to say the least and introduced at least one very odd piece of “maybe it’s canon and maybe it’s not” information when it hints that maybe the Doctor’s father was human. This has been completely ignored as the series was successfully launched. McGann has ended up being one of the more popular despite only being on-screen in the movie. His popularity grew through audio stories in the absence of TV episodes. Many fans wondered what it would have been like if McGann’s series had gotten off the ground and they had gotten to see more of him than just the movie. They got a little satisfaction last year when he appeared in a mine episode on YouTube just before the 50th anniversary special. His regeneration was the only one we never saw on film, but in the mini episode we did get to finally see it. As a side note here, the Salt Lake Comic Con is quickly approaching, and rumors are flying that there will be some Doctors here as guests, and just announced this morning, Paul McGann will be there. Any Doctor is huge, but McGann seems big because he doesn’t seem to do a lot of the conventions.
For years, since the series relaunched, it was assumed that McGann regenerated into Eccleston, the 8th Doctor became the 9th Doctor. Last year, we learned that wasn’t the case. There was a Doctor in between, it was one the Doctors after tried to forget, because of what he did, or at least supposedly did. Since the relaunch, the Doctor has been carrying around this huge amount of guilt. Why? Because he was responsible for completely destroying two whole species, one of them was his own. He was the last of the Time Lords because he killed all the others in the last great Time War. I suppose, if I had destroyed my whole world and everyone in it, I would feel guilty too. It was always assumed that either number 8 had pulled that trigger, or number 9. Then we found out it was neither. There was this guy, who wouldn’t even call himself the Doctor. He was regenerated for one purpose, to bring an end to the Time War, and he was willing to do it at any cost. He was first introduced in the episode “The Name of the Doctor” and appeared as one of three Doctors in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.” He was played masterfully by John Hurt, and he has become a Doctor that I would like to find out more about. By the end of “The Day of the Doctor,” he finds a way to redeem himself, and takes his place among the other versions of the Doctor. At the very end, to remove all doubt, we see him regenerate into what is obviously number 9.
That wraps up this part. I will be back on Friday with part 6, which will cover 9, 10, and 11, just in time to settle in on Saturday and begin getting to know number 12.