Dr Who Actor: Chris Eccleston
Companion: Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)
Number of Episodes: 13
In celebration of the 12th Doctor, the writers of Press Start to Begin thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the past seasons of the recent incarnations of Doctor Who.
Chris Eccleston brought back Dr Who after a sixteen year absence. Well, he technically wasn’t the one who brought back the series. But without Eccleston’s masterful performance as the Ninth Doctor, there would be no way for the series to have taken off. His performance was equally dark and brooding as well as happy and whimsical. It takes an actor of exceptional quality to pull this off, and fortunately for Whovians everywhere, Chris Eccleston was more than up to the task.
The Ninth Doctor is my Doctor. He wasn’t the first one that I saw. I watched a couple of episodes of the Tenth Doctor and saw Day of the Doctor before I sat back and watched the series. So, I was exposed to the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor. But from the moment I saw the Ninth Doctor, I knew he was the one I liked best. It’s his smile, really. He can go from serious to childlike and happy in the blink of an eye. It’s one of those care-free smiles that tells you that everything is going to be okay. Sure, the other Doctors had a nice and reassuring smiles. But they couldn’t hold a candle to what Eccleston was able to do with his smile.
Eccleston only stayed on as the Doctor for one season, which really is a shame. He brought life to the role, raising the bar for every actor who would play the Doctor. One f the biggest tragedies for Day of the Doctor was that Eccleston didn’t come back to reprise his role. Sure, John Hurt did an excellent job as the War Doctor and nobody in their right mind would claim otherwise. But could you imagine Eccleston, Smith, and Tennant being on the screen at the same time? That would have been, I guarantee you, the greatest moment in the history of Doctor Who.
It is with this praise in mind that I am taking a look at the Ninth Doctor and the one season that he was on. Rather than going from episode to episode, there were thirteen in total, I will be taking a look at the Good and the Bad from that season. There’s a lot to praise. But equally, there are some things that can be criticized. Maybe you’ll agree. Maybe you won’t. Either way, with the advent of the Twelfth Doctor, it is a good time to look back.
Bad Wolf: Let’s start with the big one. Bad Wolf was the overarching story for the season. The concept was nothing short of perfect. Bad Wolf gave birth to itself, inserting its own idea all throughout the season. A nigh omnipotent being giving birth to itself. I love that idea.
This idea echoed throughout the series, even showing up during Day of the Doctor. Yes, I believe Bad Wolf was The Moment. Why do I think so? There was something Rose said, or Bad Wolf said, which stuck with me. Bad Wolf existed to protect the Doctor. It was why she killed off the Daleks trying to kill him with her reality-altering powers. So if anyone, or anything, could give the Doctor a way to undo his biggest mistake, it would be Bad Wolf.
The Time War: This is the season that introduces the Time War: The Time Lords versus the Dalek.
We learn the Doctor ended the Time War in the most horrific way possible, killing all the Daleks and all the Time Lords. He ended the war by killing all the combatants in that war. This was the crime that defined the new run of Doctor Who. Eccleston was the only one who could make it believable. He showed the Doctor as someone who carried a great burden. He felt guilty over what he had to do, but he also knew he made the only decision he could have made. Watch the scene for yourself. It was easily one of the finest moments in the history of Dr Who.
Rose: Rose Tyler. I honestly do not know how to sum her up. The actress, Billy Piper, did a very good job with her. Heck, she won a number of awards for her performance. Rose was a well rounded character, probably the most well developed companion the Doctor ever had. It’s pretty cool watching her from the beginning. I’m not sure what else can be said that wasn’t said a million times before.
Are You My Mommy? This season of Doctor Who did something that I truly didn’t expect.
Up through this one episode, Doctor Who was about action and adventure. But this episode was different. It was legitimately scary. There was this creepy child that was infecting people with this strange disease that turned them into him, all of them asking “Are You My Mommy?” Even creepier, the child (as well as the other victims) didn’t have any vital signs.
The kid scared the hell out of me. All it took was one touch to infect. And to make matters even creepier, before the kid appears, the phone rings. It doesn’t matter if the phone is even working or not. You will hear the phone ring. If you answer, you will hear him asking that damn question. Are you my mommy? Where are you mommy? Are you my mommy?
Why in the world does everyone only remember the Angels? This kid was the thing of nightmares.
Dangers Of Time Travel: One episode truly emphasized the dangers of time travel. I’m willing to bet Dr Who fans asked why the Doctor, or one of his companions, haven’t tried to save a loved one in the past. Rose Tyler answered this for us all when she saved her father from being hit by a car. Things didn’t pan out the way Rose hoped they would. She caused a paradox when she saved her father, leading to the release of creatures called ‘Reapers’ that tried to resolve the paradox by consuming the Earth and everyone on it. Rose’s father saved the day by being hit by the same car that was supposed to kill him in the first place, saving his daughter and the world in the process.
I can see the temptation of it all. It was pretty awesome to see the results of it.
Bad Wolf: To be honest, one of the worst things about this season was also one of the best things. You have to admit, the execution for Bad Wolf was pretty terrible. For almost every episode, we saw the word “Bad Wolf” around. No explanation. Then suddenly, there’s an all-powerful entity calling itself Bad Wolf, as if it was somehow inevitable.
A word being seen here and there isn’t build-up. Sure, it was weird. But there needed to be a few more steps between the word and then the entity coming into being. There really should have been a transition explaining why the name was everywhere that went beyond two sentences. It was rushed.
How many Daleks were killed? The follow-through after the horrific revelation of the Time War really took away from the impact of the Time War. No really. How many Daleks were killed? First it was all of them. Then the Doctor missed one. Then he missed the Emperor of the Daleks.
If you are to follow the next few seasons, he ended up missing quite a few of them. It got to a point to where it was very well possible that he didn’t kill a single Dalek during that encounter. It wasn’t the fault of any single episode in this season. But if one were to take a holistic view of the series, the guilt the Ninth Doctor carried didn’t really make that much sense.
Why You Should Watch This Season
Chris Eccleston had the respect of Matt Smith and David Tennant, two of the most popular Dr Who actors of all time. And for very good reason.
Chris Eccleston brought life back to the series. He did what nobody else could do. He made people laugh. He made them cry. He made them believe that the Doctor could do anything. And that he did it because he cared for the world. But he was also deeply troubled, forced to do things that he never wanted to do. He carried a darkness within him that reared its ugly head. Watch that video to see some of it, encouraging the Dalek to kill itself… revealing in the fact that he was the one responsible for committing genocide against the entire Dalek race. Yet…
He was still the Doctor. He was still the same man who wanted nothing but the best for the world around him.
It was a tragedy that he wasn’t in Day of the Doctor. I could only have imagined what it would have been like to have the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctor in the same room at the same time…
It would have been incredible.