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The Tenth Doctor: Five Favourites

K-Ci Williams picks out five favourites from David Tennant’s era.

10th-doctor-era-companions

Today’s birthday boy is the man who charmed audiences for the best part of the modern era of Doctor Who. A lifelong fan, David Tennant brought the role of our favourite Time Lord to life (unless your favourite is the Master). His birthday is also days after his father-in-law, Peter Davison, another reason to assume they were meant to be family (not to mention that they’re both the Doctor). Tennant means so much for me and others all over the globe, and today I present my idea of what the five most interesting or strongest stories from his era are, in celebration of his time on the show and the wonderful man we are privileged to call Doctor number ten.

Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead

silence-riverThe one and only Alex Kingston teaming up with what is one of my favourite TARDIS teams; David Tennant and Catherine Tate. A magnificent Moffat-penned tale. The allure of this story is the cohesion between Tennant and Tate, bursting at the seams with brilliance – complemented by River Song. The Vashta Nerada is in my top 5 monsters list; along with the Weeping Angels and the Midnight Entity, among others. Taking us to the core of the story (as all are) is The Doctor. He’s just as inquisitive and curious in this as he is in others, except for some unknown reason, I connect with Tennant more in this two parter. It’s perfectly paced with drama and suspense; the mystery develops at a nice pace and the resolution is commendable, with the idea that people are “saved” not “safe” being my favourite part of the entire story.

Midnight

Sky-Silvestry-midnightWow! Just, wow! What a show. Seriously, this could possibly be right at the top for the best of Tennant’s era for me. Mystery. Into the unknown. The Midnight Entity. The Doctor vulnerable. Amazing factors that contribute to a stellar episode which as of writing this, has become my favourite of the entire David Tennant era. Indescribable acting is plentiful; do you understand what I’m saying? Tennant is superb, utterly resplendent – in a script that boasts drama, sinister mystery, and the Doctor at his best. I’m running out of ideas to write about that doesn’t involve praising the Birthday Boy – please just watch the episode, and offer your opinion on the episode.

Blink

martha-doctor-blinkOkay, okay, you’ve got me with this one. While strictly not in the episode for most of the episode, David Tennant manages to strike fear into me through his sinister delivery through the DVD Easter eggs. If I were to review his performance in the story holistically, it’s a perfect Ten-nant out of Ten-nant. I’m also running out of synonyms to express how amazing he is. It’s another genius script from the magnificent mind of the Moff. Do some think this story is over exaggerated for its merits? Yes. Is my perspective defined by that? Absolutely. Not! I love this story to bits; classic monster, classic characters, classic story. Well done team, it was great.

School Reunion

k9-doctor-whoOkay, so I’m a little biased in this one. The monster was a bit ‘meh’ but the concept behind the story was phenomenal. The return of Sarah Jane Smith; just glorious. Elisabeth Sladen, may she rest in peace, is perfect, just perfect. There’s one true reason why I love this story more than many: David Tennant, for once, did not once, not ever, act. The joy of meeting Lis, and Sarah as the same person sent him back to childhood. I remember reading Elisabeth’s autobiography shortly after her passing, and the foreword from David was a tearjerker. It brought me back to this story, which was so emphatically brilliant but so utterly mad. Everything worked. It was superb. K9 was presented spectacularly well; his gizmos worked into the plot and his character given more attention – witty and charming dialogue (not to mention a certain fanboy, Tennant of course) brought the companionship of the tin dog to the forefront. The Doctor genuinely was over the moon to meet two old time companions. Bravo! Brava! Bravo, again! It’s an episode that never fails to make me tear up every now and again.

The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End

tennant-rain-journeys-endSay what you will about this story; but it’s action packed with companions, Doctors – and a Doctor Donna – and plenty of Daleks that speak more than English. It made an unforgettable impression on my perspective of the show as a new-to-Who fan; frankly I was at the time, what some would call, a “noob”. Back in ancient times when there were two parters in every series, this extravaganza rounded off Series Four. David Tennant was again, challenged. Tasked with playing a replicated version of himself, production would’ve kept him on his feet – or knocked to the ground, naked. Catherine Tate is amazing in what was the end of a major arc for Donna; one that ended too quickly. Of all the terrible fates of companions, Donna’s is the worst. Forgetting your past with someone you love is truly terrible. I shudder to think. Getting onto lighter things…What makes this a stellar episode is the cast; all of the major companionship Tennant shared in his time, which brought back memories. The interactions with all of these characters bring the story together. In a sense, the idea that Daleks are taking over the world was credibly executed because of different characters being brought to the plate. It was a showcase of the factors that excelled across his three series. Well done, and thank you David for an amazingly indescribable two part finale to series four. It sure is, undoubtedly and undeniably, one of my favourite stories of Modern Who – how does this story fare in your opinion?

Honourable Mention

The Day of the Doctor

day-tennant-liz-weddingDavid returned last year as part of the 50th anniversary special that saw the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors pair up along with the War Doctor. Evidently, Tennant could still fit into the suit, and still had the same Doctorish tendencies as he did in 2010 when he left. Small plot ideas were given more prominence such as his suggested relationship with the Virgin, or supposedly not-so-Virgin Queen. It was has become the occupier of my top 5 ever episodes of Doctor Who, mainly because of David and my Doctor, Matt Smith. I can only say thank you, thank you David for returning and making the fiftieth year one of the most exciting in my life.

Happy Birthday, Mr David Tennant! Hope it’s a good one. Allons-y.

Step back in time...

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60 comments
DW_girl
DW_girl

Good choices! I agree with you there. Although, couldn't it have been six favourites, so you could give a mention to 'The Girl in the Fireplace'?

JamesStroud
JamesStroud

I agree: You are biased. School reunion had the big banner over it saying "SARAH JANE IS BACK" and I think a lot of people see that and file it under "Classic episode" in the little filing cabinets of their mind palaces. But I can't deny I liked the episode


I also think that The Girl In The Fireplace is better than all of these (Theres that bias again ;) It really gets in the way) and that episodes like Human Nature and the Waters of Mars are perfect for showcasing Tennant's acting talents

matt_david_and_the_fez
matt_david_and_the_fez

Glad The Stolen Earth/Journey's End is on the list. I really don't understand the hate for these episodes. It's because all of his companions are brought back? Because Rose was back? (I don't understand the hate for Rose either...) It was an international Dalek attack across parallel dimensions, of course everyone who knew The Doctor will try to contact him. I love those episodes and I think it showed Ten's true heart more than any other episode.  

Indeed Blink is not really a David Tennant story, but those few minutes are brilliant. I remember seeing this episode years ago, before I knew Doctor Who and his speech with his face and gestures stuck in my mind. He really stoles the show in those minutes. 

I agree with all you said about Midnight! It was perfect! What can I say more...brilliant story and exceptional acting...well done, Mr. Tennant! I feel like Waters of Mars is another great story for Ten. And The Impossible Planet/The Satan's Pit...and Human Nature/Family of Blood...wow, he really has a lot of great episodes!













MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

I've no idea why everyone loves Impossible planet/Satan pit. It's rubbish in my opinion.

chinnysandshoes
chinnysandshoes

Blink would have won for any Doctor run. Whatever we feel about that episode, the Weeping Angels was introduced here and it will go down as the most iconic villain from New Who. So glad that Stolen Earth/Journey's End is on the list. Although Doomsday was more emotional, it wore off and I got over that. But I still grieve over the fate of Donna.


In terms of acting alone, Tennant (and the supporting cast) in Midnight is hard to beat. But Midnight as an episode is not anywhere near my favourite five Tennant episode. Girl in the Fireplace was more poignant and it was fascinating to see the Doctor cruel to Rose at the end. In that instant, Mickey understood how complex and terrible the Doctor can be, but Rose never did.


TonySimmons
TonySimmons

Utopia was the best Tennant story. I honestly did not expect Professor Yana to be The Master and was punching the air when the fob watch came out. Brilliantly played by Derek Jacobi, it's a shame he had to regenerate and the following story didn't live up to the build up. As for Forest of the Dead, yes here we see early Moffat with his big main character introduced talking about things that never happened with an older Doc who actually got younger in his next regeneration. And as for the Vashta whatever, about as limited as the Weeping Angels

The_Ogri
The_Ogri

*Cough, Cough* Adric *Cough* also I;m really confused how you can have David Tennant story on the list, that barely has David Tennant in it. 

KarenBee
KarenBee

Top Five for me based on enjoyability factor rather than DT's performance alone would be:

Impossible Planet two parter

Gridlock

Human Nature two parter

Waters of Mars

Unicorn and the Wasp

Never tire of these. I do like Blink, Utopia, 42, Tooth and Claw, Turn Left and others as well.

Best DT performance is End of Time Part 2. Structurally a mess but my oh my DT knocks the acting out of the park. The two little exchanges with Jessica Hynes and then with Wilf about the lottery ticket have me in floods every time. Parting of the Ways remains head and shoulders the best regeneration story by several country miles ahead of the highly flawed End of Time and awful Time of the Doctor.

Although I think Matt Smith and Paul McGann are better actors than David Tennant in the role, Matt in particular is absurdly talented and I think on the way to a fabulous career in acting and directing, 10 is my favourite version of the Doctor in the new era. I put that down to the writing and tight show running as much as Tennant who is a good not great actor.

I am expecting 12 to give 10 a run for the money though based on the glimpses so far. I just hope the standard of writing improves markedly so that it doesn't fail Peter Capaldi the way it failed Matt Smith IMO.

TheDoctor_is_in
TheDoctor_is_in

What About Human Nature/Family of Blood ?
HN E FB is one of the best stories in new who

Oodkind is foretold...
Oodkind is foretold...

My top 5: Blimey, this is hard, but these probably are the best just considering Ten.

Human Nature/Family of Blood - Brilliant acting. One of the best stories ever.

The Stolen Earth/Journey's End - I don't understand the hate for it. It was amazing.

Midnight - It was simple, yet intense and interesting. RTD's masterpiece.

Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead - Wonderful story. Ten at his best.

The Waters of Mars - Since we're celebrating Tennant, this has to be included.

Honorable mentions:

Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords - It was a bit silly, but I found it good.

Blink - It is one of my favorite episodes, but since Ten isn't heavily involved, I won't include it in this list about The Doctor. However, if I were just ranking episodes in his time, this would be near the top.

The End of Time - It was flawed. But it was still a good episode. Acting was really good, so I have to include it.


Nightmarish
Nightmarish

These were all good episodes(except The Stolen Earth), but only Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead would have made my favorites list.

Oodkind is foretold...
Oodkind is foretold...

All amazing episodes. Though I probably would have put in Human Nature/Family of Blood somewhere, simply for Tennant's wonderful acting. He is still my favorite doctor. Molto Bene!

The MasterDoctor
The MasterDoctor

I think "Midnight" is extremely overrated.  Lesley Sharp is indeed excellent as Sky (both "before" and "after").  To me, the Doctor is very much out of character.  No one on that transport vehicle has any redeeming qualities.  Worst of all though (to me, I acknowledge) is that the Doctor doesn't work out how to get out of it.  And when you think about it (as I have) there's a very obvious "out" for the Doctor when the "creature" has him beaten. (Hint:  The Doctor's a TIME Lord.)  I appreciate what Davies was doing.  He wanted to show the Doctor as being vulnerable and for once, unable to be the hero.  But for me, the Doctor should have worked this one out eventually.  He was also a jerk to Donna afterwards, too. 

MrRazza, WANTED: A Lord of Thyme
MrRazza, WANTED: A Lord of Thyme

I would always struggle to narrow it down to five, but I think you've done a pretty good job there. Personally, I might have been tempted to have had the Waters of Mars and Human Nature/The Family of Blood in there, but it would take me some time to decide on what to swap out for them.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

As Tennant performances, Human Nature/The Family of Blood are right at the top, as they are showcases for the most human of Doctors...

Joncon95
Joncon95

Agree with the list but I do think The Waters of Mars should be on it

Timhogan
Timhogan

I'd switch Girl in the Fireplace with the Library episodes, and then I agree!  Such a great episode which I call the true "girl who waited" story.  Amy was just a remake of that story spread out over a longer period!

Theoncomingpenguin
Theoncomingpenguin

Midnight-Tennant is playing copycat in a script that boasts boredom, no mystery and a "monster" which likes knocking on metal. IMO.



KristiStoneman
KristiStoneman

Good list, but I would switch out "Midnight" for "Human Nature"/"Family of Blood".

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I wouldn't have put any of these in my top 5, but they're all still good ones. I think "Midnight" is a bit overated. People seem to like it because it's different to the usual stuff, but that doesn't neccassrily mean it's a good episode. Don't get me wrong, I like that they tried something so completely new with it and it's still an alright episode, but I still feel that it's generally overated by fans.

I don't think "Blink" should really be on here either because of Tennant's little screen time, but he does steal the show in those few brief moments, so I'll let you have it. My only problem with "Blink" is that it's brilliant the first time, but then it loses it's fear factor, which is one if the main things going for it.

Clara Laurinda
Clara Laurinda

WONDERFUL ARTICLE K-CI! Yaaay! Filled with joy, enthusiasm and detail and delight in the stories and characters and memories and David T! I agree with all your choices, including the 50th!

supermoff is on the Orient Express...in space!
supermoff is on the Orient Express...in space!

He had a solid run. Highlights were probably "The Girl in the Fireplace", "School Reunion", "Blink", "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood", "Midnight" and "The Waters of Mars". Lowpoints...mostly the finales, really. 



The Outer Space K9
The Outer Space K9

I loved Stolen Earth/Journey's End it's absolutly fabulous in my opinion. But looking back over the RTD era I think it would have been nice to have at least one series with a happy ending...that's why I thnk it's better for companions to stay more than one series. The end of series 5 felt so differnt for me just because there was such a sense of expectation seeing the Tardis team fying off to new adventures. We didn't have this opportunity with Ten and I would have definetly  liked another series with Martha or Donna.

Aztecs, Daleks and Cavemen
Aztecs, Daleks and Cavemen

I always see The Day of the Doctor as an 11th Doctor story. The trilogy that ended Matt Smith's run was his time to shine. I understand that David Tennant was great in it though.

Whovian
Whovian

What about Partners in Crime, Turn Left and Human Nature/The Family of Blood? I thought these were all fantastic episodes, perhaps with The Girl in the Fireplace and Gridlock (which was just awesome!) also in the top 5, although Blink is definitely deserving of a place... Okay, so I can only give a top 6... I wasn't a huge fan of Midnight, despite it featuring the wonderful Colin Morgan :)

Liana21
Liana21

For me:

The Girl on the Fireplace

Silence on the Library/ Forest of the Dead

Blink

The Stolen Earth/ Journey's End

The Fires of Pompeii

I don't know exactly why, but I've always been closer to Series 4 than for Series 2 and 3, I prefer more the duo Doctor-Donna than with Rose and Martha.

Benvenfold
Benvenfold

How is 'The Waters of Mars' not on this list?? :O

Mark McCullough
Mark McCullough

Great article K-Ci. Whilst I agree that all your picks are fantastic episodes, my list would include The End of Time, The Waters of Mars, Human Nature/ The Family of Blood.

Chronos the Fannibal
Chronos the Fannibal

The highlights for me would be be The Girl in the Fireplace, The Beast two parter, The Sontaran two parter, The Library two parter, Turn Left and The Water's of Mars 

(there are a few others, but I've reluctantly narrowed them down)

Ivegotkidneys is companionless!
Ivegotkidneys is companionless!

@matt_david_and_the_fez  the hate the stolen earth and journeys end comes from its ending which basically was the daleks plan is defeated because they were dumb enough to stick the device which can blow up every dalek and stop the reality bomb all in one room which also has their pet (Davros) in so the ending was basically a cop out

DW_girl
DW_girl

@TheDoctor_is_in But the Tenth Doctor was barely in it. It was John Smith, not the Doctor. Or maybe I'm just being pedantic?

JamesStroud
JamesStroud

@The MasterDoctor Okay, I claim to love Midnight, but it has been a while since I watched it, so... What was his easy "out"? And how was he a jerk to Donna?

JamesStroud
JamesStroud

@Timhogan I've never seen it as that, but I must say I agree. Amy is Madame Du Pompadour from the future who got her wish

Yeah,TopLayer,IfYouWantToSayAFewWords
Yeah,TopLayer,IfYouWantToSayAFewWords

Midnight: everything you said. My top five: The Girl in the fireplace. (Blink: one of my favorites but Tennant had limited screen time.) Human Nature/Family of Blood. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. Waters of Mars.

Strontium
Strontium

@Deus_Ex_Machina  Well, to be honest, don't most things lose their fear factor after you know what happens. Nonetheless, I agree that Blink shouldn't be on here as it hasn't got much Doctor in it!

MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

@DW_girl @RobertLythgoe I don't "hate" it, I just think it's "meh". They lazily reused ideas like the devil which had been done before (The daemons) most of it was very dull and Tennant's "Human beings, you are amazing" speech is the cheesiest, most awful, most cringe worthy scene I have ever seen...in anything...ever. 

Strontium
Strontium

@TheNightmareChild I have found if I add an extra character on the end, then move the blinking line to before that character and press enter, it will work.

DW_girl
DW_girl

@RobertLythgoe @DW_girlI didn't really think it was reused, because it was a different concept. It's like saying the Silurians are reused because they were brought back from the classic era in 'The Hungry Earth'. Also, I really like it when the Doctor praises humans.