March 26, 2015 marked ten years of “New Who”. The series was brought back to life after an almost 16 year hiatus by fan turned producer Russel Davies. His updated take on this classic character would prove exactly what the doctor ordered. That first new Doctor Who episode (Rose) premiered to over 10 million viewers and it only took a few days after it aired for the BBC to renew the series for its next Christmas Special (and next series). Quite a risk considering this show over its many years never seemed to grow that large an audience outside its home in the United Kingdom, could it really stay on the air for long?
Not only has it endured for 10 years it has made actors like Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, David Tennant, writers and producers like Russel T Davies and Steven Moffat, and characters like Daleks, Cybermen, and the T.A.R.D.I.S. household names.
This series that before 2005 had enjoyed a small but rabid fan-base became a full-blown fandom. Over the years we’ve seen characters of both sexes cosplayed by fans of corresponding and opposite genders, fan art, crafts inspired by the series sold everywhere (officially and not), slash and fan fiction enough to fill many many libraries. It is truly impressive how much love this series sees from all walks of life. We here at What’cha Reading are fans as well, how rabid? Read on and find out!
We know that most people take their fandoms really seriously. Whovians? They take it religiously. (Think I’m joking? Check out this PBS Idea Channel video on just that topic.) Doesn’t seem to matter if they’ve been a fan for one season or since the beginning, they all have their Doctor, their Companion, their favorite Monster (or Alien). The conversations (or “arguments” as normals would call them) can stretch on and on.
Well in the hope of giving all manner of fan their chance to weigh in on the ultimate question(s) we’ve put together this series of polls. Now some of you will get all hot and bothered because you can only choose one (1) answer per poll. That’s right, 1 Doctor, 1 Companion, 1 Monster (or Alien) as your favorites. But hey you’re not under oath. You don’t need to stand by this decision for all eternity, come on people it’s just an internet poll!
So without further silliness from me I bring you…
What’cha Reading’s Definitive Best of the Doctor Doctor Who Poll!*
(*definitely not definitive in any way)
First the ever-present question. Is your first the best? Does your first encounter with the Doctor leave an indelible mark?
And whether or not it did, who is truly the Doctor of your dreams?
Now on to the companions, I don’t think there’s a whovian out there who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride along with The Doctor, but which of the lucky few who’ve traveled in that amazing blue box is your favorite?
And now the longest of the lists… The Villains! We stuck to baddies that have clashed with more than one of the Doctors incarnations (I think we probably should have went with three or more it would’ve been a MUCH shorter list), there are 49 beings to choose from so take your time and choose, but choose wisely!
Well you’ve chosen your favorites now as I mentioned in the title, we picked out favorites too! Here’s some of what the What’cha Reading contributors had to say about the Doctor,
It’s not secret to the staff around here (or the readers if you’ve caught any of my and Julie’s Point Counterpoint pieces) that David Tennant is my all time favorite. I find his manic personality, his righteous indignation, and yes even his brooding a pleasure to watch. But alas he was not my first. I’d have to admit that one of the 80’s Doctors was probably my first but the show left so little an impression on me I can’t tell you who it was (probably Davidson or Baker) so I count my first Doctor as Eccleston who was admittedly great in the role. So great that I remember being angry when I heard he was regenerating. Not ticked or upset, actually angry. I was never watching this show again, ever. Tennant had me half way through the episode. And I’ve never given up on the show again, no matter how much I may have wanted to.
It’s pretty obvious that Julie hasn’t ever given this a passing thought…
Julie: Favorite Doctor was Eccleston, because that’s who I came in with (I had no prior Who experience growing up in the back of beyond where they didn’t replay old eps). Tennant won me over very early on, and I loved him, but not in the same way I loved Nine. Eleven left me cold for a very long time, and I didn’t really dig him until “Vincent and the Doctor,” (which still leaves me in tears), but Twelve…oh, Capaldi has captured my heart and my imagination in a way that no one has since Eccleston. Twelve is my Doctor, my bae, my everything. I’ve worked in theater off and on for twenty years, and finding a truly gifted character actor is rare. Peter Capaldi is one, and the fact that he’s a Who fanboy who is purposely basing his Doctor on the ones who came before? Brilliant.
As for companions, Rose & Nine/Ten were my OTP (although throw in Jack Harkness & we’ve got an OT3). Martha was okay. Donna was genius (and ginger). Amy and Clara were good, but bored me with Eleven. Clara and Twelve? New OTP. I like the sparks between them. I like that Clara is becoming her own person with Twelve, even if she’s not always a good person. They complete each other, they push each other. There’s a reason my next tattoo is going to be “Impossible Girl” in Galifreyan, and it’s because of the dynamic these two have.
Nancy: My favorites were 2 and 7 on the old series. Nine and 11 on the new.As much as I loved Tennant I found him far too approachable and human for the Doctor. Nine and Eleven were far more aloof and alien which is how the Doctor should be. Don’t get me started on the whole romantic subtext with 10. It still infuriates me. Fan Fic is one thing but the whole Rose/ten thing made me a little ill.Two is the father of all the doctors we have today. He brought the goofiness to the Doctor. Whereas 7 was darker. He seemed goofy until you realized he was playing a deeper game than he let on. I adored him.Sarah Jane, Ace, Jamie and Martha are my favorite companions.
Rosemary: I only had a passing knowledge of Doctor Who when I was a kid. I knew it was on Channel 9, right before Space: 1999, but I was more into Star Trek and Star Wars at the time.
I really discovered Doctor Who during the big writers’ strike in 2008, when I migrated to BBC America for something new to watch. A few of the podcasts I was listening to at the time, as well as some of my knitting friends (that would be Julie and Nancy), were talking about Doctor Who and this other show, Torchwood, that sounded pretty good. I was instantly hooked, my first proper episodes being “Human Nature” and “Family of Blood” with Ten and Martha.
Ten is my Doctor. He’s approachable and goofy, sure, but as you see in Family of Blood, that can turn on a dime and he can remind you of who – of what – he truly is. He has had some wonderfully intense, dark moments. His accessibility, to me, is thanks to his love of the human race. We’ve rubbed off on him.
I wasn’t in love with the Rose/Ten pairing, but I understood it. It wouldn’t have worked with another Doctor the way it did with Ten. Nine led us to Ten. Rose eased Nine’s regeneration into a more human-friendly Doctor. He distanced himself after Rose, if you remember (poor Martha). Even Donna, arguably my favorite companion next to Sarah Jane, was a comrade in arms rather than a love interest.
I’ve seen most of the Doctors now, but Ten remains my favorite. I may have sniffled a bit when Nine regenerated, and I definitely shed a few tears when Eleven did, but I outright bawled when Ten said, “I don’t want to go.” Ten is now and forever my Doctor. Allon-sy!
Neither Rob nor Bob are Whovians but they were kind enough to give us some insight into why,
Bob: Doctor Who got away from me a long time ago, and I never caught up. I was only familiar with the Doc from his ads in comic books and that one issue of Marvel Premiere. I did watch the first season of the new spat of Doctors, only cuz I dug Eccleston from his roles on Heroes and 28 days later. But never followed up. I don’t know ANY Doctor Who by number and I did watch Torchwood for a season when I found out it was an anagram of Doctor Who.
Then Doctor Who became a juggernaut of Fandom and crushed any hopes of me catching up.
Rob: The only Doctor I’ve ever watched in full was the fourth Doctor, Mr.Tom Baker and with that came the coolest thing ever.. K-9! I loved K-9, robots and animals robots that are animals what’s not to love?
I was very little when it came out.
Other than that I haven’t kept up. I know of the Doctors and their companions. I know of the villains but can’t sit through a full season of any of the newer doctors.
And then we have Juan…
Juan: I was aware of the Doctor since Tom Baker but I just couldn’t take the production value. I’d take the Styrofoam rocks in Star Trek over the Dalek’s plungers any day. Even after the relaunch of the series in 2006 I’d pass on to enjoy the Battlestar Galactica reboot.
Katie, my youngest, discovered the Doctor on her own so I was somewhat intrigued.
Then Showtime produced their Torchwood mini, which I watched and enjoyed. I decided to watch Doctor Who from the relaunch on Amazon, so my first Doctor was Ecckeston and companion Piper. Then I started watching the first runs on BBC with Katie, Smith was the Doctor at this point and I think the Ponds were his companions. I wouldn’t follow consistently but watch sporadically between Amazon, the DVR which would record repeats and first runs. It wasn’t until later that I saw Tennant and Piper.
So, I’m not as well versed in the Who-verse as some of you not have I watched every episode. Definitely not in chronological order but I feel I can say that Smith is my favorite Doctor so far. Not very good looking but intelligent, charming, a little slapstick and funny but showed the appropriate level of malevolence when angered. As far as companions, Amy was the first one I really got to see and know well, plus she was nice to look at. Jenna Coleman also captures my attention. I know I sound shallow ranking the companions based on appearance alone but I assure you it goes deeper than that. So I’m going to have to go with Clara on favorite companion based on her Impossible Girl backstory. I thought that was just epic, and clever and original.
So there you have it, all the Doctors, all the Companions, all the Villains, did you pick your favorites? Is there some glaring error, some tidbit we missed? Let us know. And please feel free to let us know more about your choices in the comments!