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David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor (Pic: BBC)
David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor (Pic: BBC)
David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor (Pic: BBC)

It’s his birthday (April 18). What further excuse do we need for a wallow in some of David Tennant‘s greatest hits?

“No second chances” (“The Christmas Invasion”)

Still very much deciding what kind of Doctor he would be, this is the point at which he takes charge. It’s his equivalent of Matt Smith’s speech at the end of “The Eleventh Hour,” the bit where the new Doctor stops faffing about with the debilitating effects of regeneration and resumes control of himself.

“Hello Sarah Jane” (“School Reunion”)

The daring move to bring back Doctor Who’s most beloved companion more than pays off when a fresh dynamic emerges between Elisabeth Sladen—facing yet another Doctor as Sarah Jane Smith—and David’s friendly-but-brittle Tenth with an accusatory stare.

“What sort of man is that?” (“The Family Of Blood”)

There is a lot said about Bad Wolf Bay (either visit), and David’s final scene as the Doctor, and rightly so, but for my money the lost history of John Smith is the saddest storyline in all of Doctor Who.

“We interrupting you?” (“Partners In Crime”)

Watch it for the bits where he’s reacting to Donna mouthing her story, and then the nodded “run!” at the end.

“Why do you have handcuffs?” “Spoilers” (“Forest of the Dead”)

You don’t often see anguish, desperation and confusion fight for control of the Doctor’s face. Not like this, anyway.

“Oi!” “Oi!” “Stoppit!” (“Journey’s End”)

A new Doctor emerges, with a lot of Donna’s mannerisms. What better way to show off the comedy chemistry between David and Catherine Tate?

“Sorry, really I’m so sorry” (“The Next Doctor”)

And at the other end of the emotional scale, we see David Morrissey as Jackson Lake, tearing his own brain apart looking for clues, lead by the gentle, authoritative Doctor showing all the compassion in the universe.

“I’m the winner” (“The Waters of Mars”)

Here’s that brittleness again. Because what consequences will there be if you interfere in a tragedy that was meant to happen? And what gives even a Time Lord the right to meddle indiscriminately? To go from imperious and cold to scared and beaten in just a few seconds is quite some journey.

“Some new man goes sauntering away” (“The End of Time”)

At this point we were 46 years and ten Doctors into the mythology of Doctor Who, and yet this was the first time it became clear that each Doctor not only mourns his own passing when he regenerates, but he resents the new man (or woman) he will become. And you get to seem him as the old man he is, sharing a drink with fellow veteran Wilf.

“I don’t want to go” (“The End of Time”)

We couldn’t leave this one out really, could we?

What’s your favorite Tenth Doctor moment? Tell us here:

See more:
A Companion To The Tenth Doctor
‘Doctor Who’ On The Moon: A History
Five Whovian Things That Exist In Real Life
Life Outside The TARDIS: David Tennant

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By Fraser McAlpine