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The Ninth Doctor: Five Favourites

Guest contributors K-Ci Williams & Francis Milan picks out five favourites from Eccleston’s era.

rose-eccleston-2005

Look here! Already halfway through February! What is set to be the greatest year for Doctor Who yet is already reaching another birthday – none other than the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. Born shortly before the opening episode of Marco Polo, Eccleston triumphantly enters the history books as the first man younger than Doctor Who to play the show’s titular role. In fact, there are lots of interesting firsts where Mr Eccleston is concerned. The ‘first’ Doctor, if you will. His character was the first incarnation never to encounter the Master on-screen, the first Doctor to use the TARDIS telephone, and – need we say it? – the first TV Doctor of the 21st century, cultivating a brand new generation of Who fans with his dazzling charisma. (He’s also the first Doctor to have a vowel at the start of one of his names, though we reckon we’d be scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit there.)

Bursting onto our screens on the 26th March 2005, he not only completely revolutionised the character of the Doctor, something unique bestowed on us by every actor to grace the role, but he managed to pioneer the way in the show’s most daring reformulation ever. Something the Ninth Doctor brings to the Doctor Who world was that his tenure has, officially, the highest consistency of quality stories. In 2009, DWM’s Mighty 200 poll saw the Ninth Doctor’s run clock in at an average score of 74% – the highest quality tenure compared to his [then] nine counterparts. Perhaps some people underestimate the influence Chris’ acting talent had on these results. His debut, Rose, retains the title for the highest UK viewing figure of any regular New Who episode, and he bagged the Best Actor award at the NTAs that year. In honour of the amazing man who became the on screen saviour of a Doctor Who, here are our Five Favourites of the Ninth Doctor.

The End of the World

the-end-of-the-world-earthIn the second story of Doctor Who’s revival, the TARDIS takes us to the End of the World, billions of years into humanity’s future – and the Earth is burning. Imagine a new, keen and fresh audience at the time, a nation of people ready to experience the new Doctor, Christopher Eccleston – in what was slated to be the second in a series of revival flops. But what proceeded was far from a folly; full of warmth, a satisfying mystery and the first off-Earth experience for our new companion, The End of the World just had to be in my Five Favourites list. First and foremost, the graphics are perhaps the most obviously stunning thing of the episode. Whereas we have had five very well written serials from the First and Fourth Doctors earlier this year, the special effects and computer generated animation of the Ninth Doctor is a major step up. This story has the fundamental aspects that all Doctor Who episodes should, and at the heart – the Doctor himself, shortly but splendidly played by Eccleston. Billie Piper and Christopher Eccleston could possibly be one of my favourite Doctor-companion pairings of all time. The End of the World presents stellar acting from the both of them, only made more amazing by the array of creatures in the story itself. From the villainous Cassandra to the Face of Boe, I will always hold a special place in my heart for this story; brimming with life and extravagant colour, this is an episode that will go down as part of Doctor Who’s greatest years!

Dalek

dalek-Robert-Shearman-eccleston-2005First of all, the writer of this story needs to make a return to the show. Dalek is a Who masterpiece. While I (K-Ci) started watching with Matt Smith, this is one of the episodes I have never forgotten from my Revival-Who-Backlog-Watch. The concept of the lone Dalek is an idea used many a time in modern Who; in this story however it works as the most effective. Let us start with what is one of my favourite scenes from the episode, involving Rose. Of course it was inevitable that the Daleks would return, but in a moment with Rose – now a time traveller, having traveled the time vortex – she was able to awaken the true Dalek. However, it must be said that Eccleston’s performance was the best part of the episode. If it seems I am not really writing any solid points here, it’s because I’m still recovering from the epic proportions from the overall episode. So, if I’m honest, I can only suggest one thing: go and watch or rewatch the episode, and find out for yourself why this had to be in the list. In short, Eccleston + Billie + Dalek = perfection.

Father’s Day

Father's DayFather’s Day exceeds in many aspects. Rose was now an established companion, and it was almost as if the Doctor’s paternal instincts were starting to get the better of him. We’re reminded that he has such a deep obligation of responsibility, so when Rose tries to save the life of her father, the Doctor doesn’t handle it well. The performances of Eccleston, Piper and guest-star Shaun Dingwall are truly sublime, enhancing the tragic and heart-wrenching situation the characters are engulfed in. The episode adopted an unusually sombre tone as Pete Tyler awaited his fate, and, try as he might, the Doctor was for once almost powerless to stop it. This seems like a breakthrough for the Doctor’s persona – despite knowing that it could rip time to pieces, he is prepared to risk his own life to cheat the system and save Pete. It’s a story so powerfully poignant that I (Francis) doubt we’ll ever see the likes of it again, and I’m sure it’s a favourite of many a Whovian.

The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances

rose-jack-nine-eccleston-emptySteven Moffat’s first story for the series, and boy was it a thriller. Of course, the most memorable line of “are you my mummy” still haunts me (K-Ci) to this day, and thanks to this episode – I can never sleep if someone says this before bed. Anyway, was I the only one who didn’t see the reveal coming that Nancy was the mother of the little boy? And obviously, we have the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness, played by the always vibrant and bubbly John Barrowman. For me personally, he was a refreshing change in the dynamic of the show, and was much needed for the darker tones of the episode. What gives this story that quality which has earned it a spot on the list? Why it’s the change in tone from other episodes, and the superlatively crafted piece of writing from Moffat (can you tell I’m a fan?) that made it amazing in my eyes. The imagery of the episode unfolds beautifully thanks to the director; gas masks among the few. Overall, you should be asking why not put this on the list than why to put it on. It’s a quality episode.

Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways

eccleston-regenerates-partingOkay, so we’ve got the epic Dalek finale sorted, but how about the regeneration. Since I (K-Ci) started with Matt Smith, I was well versed with the lengths of Doctor eras – and knew that Eccleston would leave. Hence I was prepared for the ‘feels’ that would come with the regeneration. Yes, I’m skipping straight to the regeneration! It was heartbreaking to see Rose unaware of what happens, but equally as heartwarming to experience Nine happy to go; embracing death. That big cheeky grin of his, plastered on the screen should have made me sad because it was ending, but I was honestly overcome with joy – every Doctor deserves to bow out in glory, in acceptance of ‘death’ (with a little nod to David Tennant’s Doctor, well more like a dig.) Eccleston has the best regeneration scene for me (bar Matt Smith – he’s my Doctor!) and the collective work from Russell T. Davies, Chris himself, the gorgeous Billie Piper and everyone else all helped to bring the first series of the revived series to a close. Bravo!

Honourable Mention: All The Rest

  • Rose – it started off the show, and the Autons were a great first villain
  • The Unquiet Dead – a proper ghost story, freaked me out (K-Ci) upon first watch; nice link with Gwen from Torchwood
  • Aliens of London/World War Three – Admittedly, the villain was a bit odd, but a good introduction for Harriet Jones
  • The Long Game – the team managed to make Adam very self-centred and obnoxious. Bravo!
  • Boom Town – Best scene is the dinner scene, dynamic shift from the rest of the episode.

Is it any wonder why Christopher Eccleston is so special to us and many others? The Ninth Doctor, the battle-scarred hero, and the catalyst for the 21st century’s trip of a lifetime. He will always be remembered as one of the greats. A very happy 50th birthday, Chris!

Step back in time...

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58 comments
rikpepe
rikpepe


"Why has BBCA stop showing all of the 9th's epidodes"

Well shut my mouth ...did i see April 21 for 2 christopher eccleston episodes????? Rose & End of the world... It's about time if it's true

rikpepe
rikpepe

Why has BBCA stop showing all of the 9th's epidodes

The Wizard of Fez
The Wizard of Fez

"Anyway, was I the only one who didn’t see the reveal coming that Nancy was the mother of the little boy?" I'm going to be honest, I didn't see it coming because I was so freaked out. I know how it ends and I still can't look at a gas mask or hear the word mommy. In other words, I can't play TF2






MikeRoberts1
MikeRoberts1

All episodes in this Series range from good to great, except the 3 episodes involving the green farting aliens wearing the fat people suits.

RoryTheRoman
RoryTheRoman

Dalek is definately one of my all-time favourite episodes.

AztecsDaleksAndCavemen
AztecsDaleksAndCavemen

Dalek is one of the greatest stories in the programme's history. The simplicity of having one Dalek seize an entire base made the Daleks once again a force to be reckoned with and put them back into the public image. Christopher Eccleston also shows his most mesmerising performance here.

Christopher Eccleston was my first Doctor, he's done the show proud and very easily belongs into the prestigious eleven.

WhoMallow666
WhoMallow666

Why DWTV?!? Why do all five make me cry when I watch them?!?

WhoPotterVian
WhoPotterVian

End of the World was rubbish. Poor villain and very slow pace.

Judge Claude Frollo
Judge Claude Frollo

Great article! I do like Season 1 very much, though S5 will always hold a special place in my heart for being my first season.

After seeing these articles, I really want to do one for Peter Davison come April 26...

Polyphase
Polyphase

Like your article and I agree mostly with your scoring only I would give TEC/TDD 10/10 and Fathers Day gets a lowly 2/10

Pockydon
Pockydon

Brilliant article you two, I agreed with basically everything you said!


Oodkind
Oodkind

My top episodes:

1. Dalek (10/10) - Simply the best Dalek story I've seen. Other ones were more epic, but this one brought out a heartfelt journey and a good story, that just isn't around in a lot of episodes.

2. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances (10/10) - This is the first story that actually scared me. It was really fun, creepy, epic, and brought out a lot of great things. I would rate it as one of the best quality episodes of the run.

3. Bad Wolf/The Parting of Ways (9/10) - Great episode, sad story, very incredible. I can't give it a perfect score, simply because there were others more enjoyable, and a lot was kind of odd, but it was still "fantastic." (excuse the pun.)

GibbyBlogger
GibbyBlogger

Series 1 is still my favourite series of the revival, and that's because there isn't a single dud episode included. Eccleston is brilliant throughout too and his chemistry with Billie help to create a strong and realistic relationship between the Doctor and Rose. His ability to bounce from drama to comedy made him perfect for the role of the lone survivor.



My top 5 for Eccleston would be:


1. 'The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances' - 10/10

It's no secret that this is my favourite Doctor Who story of the past 50 years, and I doubt anything will ever take its title. Its historic backdrop of World War II blends effectively with the sci-fi elements of nanogenes and time travel, and the horror element through the gas mask zombies. It also packs an emotional punch with the reunion of Nancy and Jamie. Eccleston, I feel, gives possibly his greatest performance as the tortured Time Lord as just this once... altogether now... "EVERYBODY LIVES!"


2. 'Dalek' - 9.5/10

Oh, come on! You know what I'm gonna say... one word: Chamber. The scene has to be one of the greatest scenes in television history, never mind the show's history. And the role reversal at the end where the Dalek commits suicide - pure genius!


3. 'Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways' - 9/10

The Ninth Doctor's swansong is a thing of beauty. It's almost as though he's facing the Time War once again. As well as his battle with the Daleks, we see the Doctor's battle with his own actions as it is revealed that it was the events of a previous episode 'The Long Game' which made the world that was shown in this story - the effect of the Doctor's travels. His own wrong-doing.


4. 'The End of the World' - 8/10

Where we first learnt of the Time War, the Doctor trying to overcome his guilt and loneliness. His scenes with Jabe were especially comforting, as she sympathised with him and made him feel that little bit better. So unfortunate that she died trying to save Platform One, which left even more guilt-ridden.


5. 'Boom Town' - 8/10

The scene with Margaret Blaine in the restaurant, as you quite rightly state, is the standout scene from this episode as she tries to wipe the smug look off the Doctor's face.

DaireConstantineOReilly
DaireConstantineOReilly

After watching some 7th doctor episodes, the 9th doctor sort of continues the dark road doctor who was going down anyway, that's why I love it even more, Elccelson was my first doctor. A great way to get into the classic series by watch the 7th doctors story's after watching the new series because it's just as dark.

DaireConstantineOReilly
DaireConstantineOReilly

Lol My Favorites are in the honorable mentions. Rose, The aliens of London /ww3, Dalek, boomtown and the unquiet dead are my favorites.

Bollyknickers
Bollyknickers

Well done - same choices as mine!  Very-well written, and happy birthday to my favourite Doctor.

StephenAHayes
StephenAHayes

It is a good article and well written but there are only so many articles people can write about the 9 th Doctor's TV episodes as he only did 1 series. I've read quite a few versions of this article over the years on here and it's nothing new. However, although unoriginal it is enjoyable to read

Seaborn W Deadman
Seaborn W Deadman

Brilliant article, indisputably the best Ninth Doctor episodes here ;)

OnceTheDoctor
OnceTheDoctor

He had some of the best episodes since Who's revival in his short 13 episode tenure! Thanks for the article!

The Questor
The Questor

Eccleston is probably not the man I'd have picked for the Doctor, but by heck, he proved me wrong. The idea of the Time War and all the Time Lords (bar 2) wiped out was a masterstroke by Russel T Davies, which give us the chance to have a much more 'stripped down' version of the Doctor. He was a Time Lord that was concerned about his recent past, a Time Lord clearly hurting. A Time Lord that had plenty of guilt. Eccleston played the 9th Doctor fantastically, and I think he is very much an underrated Doctor; along with his series I may add.  

Series 1 is one that I very much do like. Some great episodes with a great series arc. The 9th Doctor and Rose get on very well together, and their partnership is one that I do like - a much better partnership to see than the 10th Doctor and Rose. Some of the episodes are fantastic, some great plots, and even an episode where nobody dies! 


My five favourite episodes?

1. The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances 9/10

2. Dalek 9/10

3. Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways 8/10

4. Father's Day 7/10

5. Rose 7/10









The Eternal
The Eternal

Thinking back, Christopher Eccleston was the last person on everyone's mind to be The Doctor, but by heck did he prove us all wrong, 

If it wasn't for that man I wouldn't be here today writing this message. Great top 5 and I have to agree with them all!




GaryKingston
GaryKingston

An absolutely fantastic article KCI as usual but made even better that it's about my favourite doctor

Moxx
Moxx

It was quite delightful searching for interesting 'firsts' achieved by Christopher Eccleston in the Whoniverse. Can anyone think of any other good'uns?

The Finn
The Finn

A very interesting "five favourites" article once again!

Moxx
Moxx

Nice sentiments in the Honourable Mention section, K-Ci! 

Season 27 is the runaway best season of the 21st Century - if not the entire history of the show. Thank you very much to Russell and Chris!

Jardi101
Jardi101

Just wondering, but what are you going to do when it is Paul Mcgann's birthday? Are you going to pick 5 audio stories?

Vividier
Vividier

Eccleston is, and may very possibly always be MY Doctor, his was fantastic, the best of New Who in my opinion, and he epitomised the character perfectly, his Doctor was funny, witty, serious, dark, had gravitas and was eccentric (without ever just being plain silly, slapsticky, or puerile (looking at you Smith :P )) Eccleston's Doctor was exactly as the Doctor should be ^_^ and I can't wait to see Capaldi's take on the character, roll on Series 8! :D

KingOrokos
KingOrokos

I'm sorry to say that The End of the World is one of my least favourite Who stories; I would definitely have put 'Rose' in its place on this list. Otherwise, I agree with your choices. Nice article :)

Muxerman
Muxerman

Happy Birthday Doctor. You were absolutely fantastic! And not to mention having the best series of NuWho. :)

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

Agree on everything! Series 1 is my favorite of New Who, being FANTASTICALLY written, directed, and acted, while also giving us our first taste of the genius of Murray Gold. It is also the only series of New or Classic Who that I like every single episode of.

Galax
Galax

Totally agree with you !

My top :

1- Dalek

2- The Empty Child & The Doctor Dances

3- Father's Day

4- Bad Wolf & Parting of the Ways

5- The End of theWorld

Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

Yay for Father's Day! I feel that episode is fantastic and sorely underrated.

My top 5 Eccleston stories are (in no particular order): Father's Day, Dalek, Rose, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways. I also enjoyed Boom Town, definitely a lot better than TAOL/WW3

Kiki Kiki
Kiki Kiki

I could not agree more with your sentiments on "Dalek": I shall forever adore that episode.  Fantastic article K-Ci and Francis!!! :D

Kiki Kiki
Kiki Kiki

I could not agree more with your sentiments on "Dalek": I shall forever adore that episode.  Great article K-Ci and Francis!!! :D

Chronos the Fannibal
Chronos the Fannibal

I liked all the Satellite 5 episodes, especially looking at the shows and stuff 

That meat drink is disgusting, it reminds me of the food in Wall-E though

LGwalchmai95
LGwalchmai95

The best thing about Chris only doing one series is that he doesn't have any bad episodes! They're all awesome in their own right!

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

If you get into the audios and books (particularly the Virgin New Adventures), you see the 7th Doctor get even darker. I'm hoping for a similar thing out of the 12th Doctor.

Jardi101
Jardi101

@Moxx First doctor without much hair. First with a front name consisting of over 10 letters. First with a last name consisting of 9 letters. First with a name consisting of 20 letters.

Vividier
Vividier

*His series was fantastic

DaireConstantineOReilly
DaireConstantineOReilly

Half true, hes very cranky and almost unlikable in Rose,but in the other episodes, hes good in all of them even the terrible end of the world Episode.

The 14th Doctor
The 14th Doctor

Ignore my previous statement, I appear foolish now.

However cause I edited it you shall never know what I said. HAHA.

The 14th Doctor
The 14th Doctor

I know, I realised about a couple seconds when I read "over 10."

*does cute smile to attempt to make everyone forget about embarrassing and awkward moment*