Brit Binge: The Many Moods of the Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’

Two and Three have at it in 'The Three Doctors' (Pic: BBC)

Two and Three have at it in ‘The Three Doctors’ (Pic: BBC)

As the new season of Doctor Who approaches, fans are wondering what kind of Doctor will emerge from the TARDIS. We’re being promised a darker, less chummy Doctor, but also a hugely enthusiastic and energetic one.

Mind you, he’ll have to work hard if he wants to beat some of the emotional extremes of his previous incarnations, as this selection proves:

The Haughty Doctor

The First Doctor is by far the most scornful of all of his incarnations to date. He may have kind, sparkly eyes, he may be mischievous, but he’s also a stubborn old goat, and in the “The Chase” he even actively prevents Ian and Barbara from leaving him to get back home to 1963.

Watch “The Chase” on Hulu

The Reassuring Doctor

Many of the Doctor’s greatest and most reassuring thoughts are buried in simple, childlike language: his family sleeps in his mind; no one in the universe can do what he’s doing; in time, painful memories won’t hurt any more. That he says these things while surrounded by slumbering foes, in “Tomb of the Cybermen,” just makes them seem even more concrete.

Watch “Tomb of the Cybermen” on Hulu

The Argumentative Doctor

A world-class bickerer and smart aleck, who could possibly hope to match the Doctor’s own rapier wit than himself? In “The Three Doctors,” we get to see the Third Doctor arguing with the Second so much that the First has to be brought in as a referee.

Watch “The Three Doctors” on Hulu

The Selfless Doctor

As we’ve seen time and time again (no pun intended), the Doctor is unafraid of putting himself in harm’s way in order to save the lives of the people that matter most to him. He may put himself in the Pandorica and launch it at the heart of an exploding TARDIS to save the universe; he may absorb all of the energy from the time vortex to save Rose Tyler; or he may pilot a ship to almost certain doom—as he does in “The Caves of Androzani”—to save Peri Brown from spectrox poisoning. And that’s not his only moment of sacrifice in this story either.

Watch “The Caves of Androzani” on Hulu

The Bad Doctor

Regeneration is a tricky business, and sometimes the Doctor comes out in a strange frame of mind, not like his old self at all. In “The Twin Dilemma,” he turns on Peri, the girl he has just risked his life to save.

Watch “The Twin Dilemma” on Hulu

The Cold-hearted Doctor

“Amy’s Choice” is a great place to see the Doctor (or should that be Doctors?) at his flintiest, when engaged in a cold discussion with the Dream Lord.

Watch “Amy’s Choice” on Hulu

The Swashbuckling Doctor

For all that the Doctor is fond of laughing in the face of anyone who relies too heavily on a gun for persuasion, he’s not above a bit of argy-bargy if the need arises. The Third Doctor was a whizz with judo and fencing, and the Fourth could more than handle himself in a sword-fight, as this scene from “The Masque of Mandragora” proves.

Watch “The Masque of Mandragora” on Hulu

The Furious Doctor

Each Doctor has his own way of showing anger, from the First’s superior sneer to the lofty outrage of the Third to Eleven’s sudden huffs, but “Dalek” is the story in which we see him at his most bitter, crowing over the fate of the last of the Daleks while reliving the trauma that made him the last of his kind too.

Watch “Dalek” on Hulu

The Compassionate Doctor

Because no one says “Sorry, really I’m so sorry” like the Tenth Doctor, and he never sounded more like he meant it than when faced with Jackson Lake in “The Next Doctor.”

Watch “The Next Doctor” on Hulu

The Cold Doctor

How to destroy your companion’s repeatedly-expressed faith in you, in order to save their life. It’s a high risk strategy, as “The Curse of Fenric” reveals, and one that shows the Doctor always has his eye on the bigger picture.

Watch “The Curse of Fenric” on Hulu

See more:
Five Great ‘Doctor Who’ Stories Set in the Future of Humankind
10 Sci-Fi Franchises Influenced by ‘Doctor Who’
10 Classic ‘Doctor Who’ Characters Who Made a Modern Comeback
‘Doctor Who’: Five Reasons Matt Smith Was Born to Play the Doctor

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine