With a recent announcement that David Tennant is officially leaving Doctor Who, the speculation on who will replace the popular actor has begun in full force.
For those playing at home, Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction program following the adventures of a renegade time lord across time and space as he battles all manner of monsters and baddies bent on world domination or even the domination of a high rise apartment building in space. The title role was initially played by veteran character actor William Hartnell as a kind of anti-hero who warmed to the viewers, becoming a kindly grandfather to the children of the UK as the program’s viewing figures grew. Since then several actors have played the role on the TV and film screens as well as the stage. Each actor has had varied levels of popularity before taking on the part, most famously the former laborer Tom Baker who is still regarded as THE DOCTOR. An innovative and imaginative program that struggled with budget and time constraints, the series wavered in the 1980′s before finally being canceled in 1989.
In 2005, TV Producer Russel T Davies revamped the program into a kind of mixture of its former self and a pantomime/situation drama more similar to a soap opera than a sci-fi show. While the press has boasted high viewing figures, they have rarely eclipsed the most modest of figures garnered by the classic series. Nevertheless, this new Doctor Who has developed its own cult following and with the departure of both Davies and star Tennant, the fans and press are chomping at the bit for news as to what will come next.
In the past, various actors have been favored to play the role of the eccentric Doctor; from Jennifer Saunders to Robert Carlysle or Paterson Joseph and even David Morrissey who will co-start with Tennnant in his next holiday-themed adventure ‘The Next Doctor.’
Fans are also excited about how Doctor #10 will expire. Anything from radiation poisoning to a bump on the head is possible given the history of regenerations in the TV program’s past. Knowing Davies’ love of flamboyant and over-the-top garishness, it is difficult to tell if his quote below is in jest or not.
He told crowds of waiting children at the exhibition: “A piano falls on his head, an elephant is going to kick him under a bus and then he’ll fall under a steam roller.
“His mother will come back from the dead to poison him.”
Regeneration stories are almost always classics, in my opinion the last really great one being Peter Davison’s Caves of Androzani, a story that saw the noble Doctor sacrifice himself to save his companion’s life. Each time a Doctor is on his way out, I have to admit that I recall the first time I heard Davison mutter, ‘Is this death?’ before the series changed forever I got a little shiver.
It’s these big event stories that really stick with you. I’m excited that another one is on its way.