Top 5 Ninth Doctor Moments

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John Hussey counts down the best of the Ninth Doctor, Chris Eccleston.

Today we celebrate Christopher Eccleston’s birthday. So as a dedication piece to the man who brought the mad man with a box back on to our screens in 2005, I look back to the Ninth Doctor’s era and pick out his five most iconic moments.

5. An Explosive Entrance

How can we forget his first moments onscreen at the beginning of ‘Rose’. Now the funny thing is, I didn’t actually see this episode upon its original broadcast so my first moments of witnessing his Doctor were through the flashback clips at the beginning of ‘The End of the World’. Needless to say they got me instantly hooked by Chris’ brilliant interpretation of the Doctor.

The first footage of the Time Lord within the 21st Century was when he grabbed Rose’s hand and said those famous words, ‘Run!’ With that the Ninth Doctor was in action, dragging his companion-to-be away from the hordes of Autons which wished to kill them both. We also saw that he was a man of action when he yanked off the Auton’s arm through the lift door in order to finalise their escape.

The Ninth Doctor was presented as a dark hero, wondering in at the last moment from the sidelines and presenting himself as a mysterious entity who appeared to be above everyone else. He took a shine to Rose’s ideas but quickly discarded them as meaningless human theories and moved on to his own agendas. Rose wished to know more about her attackers but the Ninth Doctor wished to press on, giving her vague answers knowing too well she wouldn’t understand. It just showed how different he was at the beginning of his time-stream; arrogant and almost god-like within his knowledge and status. He also appeared quite harsh and inhuman, especially when announcing Wilson’s death in a very casual manner which appeared almost uncaring in nature. He then threw Rose out of the way and told her to return to her mundane life while he practically saved the world. This harsh tone changed slightly when he showed a more caring and heroic side upon reopening the door, announcing himself to Rose and the audience.

That scene basically set up the Doctor’s return, and gave us a real foreshadowing of how the Ninth Doctor would behave as a character.

4. “Everybody lives!”

This is a very iconic moment within both the Ninth Doctor’s story and the Doctor’s life as a whole, as he resolved a problem with everybody surviving. A happy reset switch which reversed the terrible plague the Nanogenes inflicted upon Blitz London. The happiness Nine expressed at the end of ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’ was priceless. The whole idea of him coming face to face with a happy ending is almost unheard of, at least with the adventure ending with no casualties whatsoever.

The Ninth Doctor’s character was very interesting in the sense that he went through a large development from a cold-dark hero who had survived a long bloody war, towards a more light and happy character who enjoyed his travels and the people around him. He slowly humanised because of Rose’s humanity and friendship and this scene really showcased that. Nine was happy and jumping up in joy, the complete contrast of how his character started off as.

3. “I picked another stupid ape”

With fourth place, it was about seeing the Ninth Doctor a changed man – meeting his redemption after all the burdens he suffered during the Time War – while at third place I picked a moment where Nine came full circle and returned to his cold harsh self. When Rose made a massive mistake in ‘Father’s Day’ and saved her father Pete Tyler from death altering history, the Ninth Doctor changed tone in the click of a finger. What was a happy Doctor at the beginning of the adventure, honouring his companions’ request of seeing her father, quickly turned back into his harsh godlike self whose intellectual knowledge was above the mere mortals around him.

The cold look he gave to Rose as she excitingly walked around her home observing her father’s things like they should’ve been was very dark. Nine produced a high establishment of authority and because of his knowledge, he believed he was the dominate one in terms of who was right and wrong. Also there are clear signs of sadness towards being deceived by his companion; believing Rose to have used him simply to bring her father back to life. Although you knew he is right, and that Rose’s actions are wrong, you still realised the way he went about informing his companion of her mistake was really blunt and without emotional consideration for her feelings.

The consequence of his dark tone of authority almost caused the breakdown of their friendship. Also we saw the Ninth Doctor expressing his own feelings upon the matter by comparing his past to Rose’s present; the idea of if changing time was a good idea then the Doctor would’ve gone back and prevented the Time War and the destruction of his family and friends on Gallifrey. This was perhaps another reason why Nine was so angry with Rose.

It was very interesting seeing the Doctor snap in such a dark way. When the Doctor is dark, it becomes interesting as you don’t know what he will do and it almost makes you question his line of authority as a hero. With the Ninth Doctor, a lot of his time was experienced in this manner because of the terrible things inflicted upon him within his previous incarnation during the Time War. This is why his incarnation was exciting in many ways; seeing his character unfold and heal.

2. Dalek Confrontation

Now how can we forget Nine’s legendary performance during his reunion with his most hated enemy. ‘Dalek’ really showcased the Ninth Doctor’s hatred for the monsters and what they’d done during the Time War, and ultimately caused him to do. His character changes and goes through three different characteristics within his first meeting with the creature in the cage. From his normal heroic self, trying to help the poor defenceless creature who is being tortured and locked up by Henry van Statten, and then into a terrified state of fear as he tried pleading for escape upon realising what he was dealing with. Then as soon as he realised he had the upper hand, he taunted with his great enemy and showcased aggression beyond most Doctors.

For the first time it seemed like the Doctor and the Daleks had a connection, and the Dalek was able to exploit the Doctor’s weaknesses by taunting him with the fact he was also alone in the universe and that they were now the same. The Ninth Doctor then showcased an act which is usually beyond his limitations of morals; he actually tried to commit murder and end the bloodshed of the Daleks once and for all. Throughout the episode he showed off his warrior traits, perhaps what he’d gained from the Time War, to lead van Statten’s troops into battle. The scene in which had Nine scream out the order ‘WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE!’ was very powerful.

His rage was fully released and showed a side to the Doctor which was totally alien. It really demonstrated what horrors and emotional sadness he went through because of the Daleks. In the end, it was Rose’s humanity which made him realise what a monster he was turning into; in fact he was becoming as bad as the thing he swore to destroy. This of course really began his character shift and he slowly became more human – which would result in the kinder and anti-war characteristics of his next incarnation.

1. “I said no”/ The Last Stand

I couldn’t quite pick one best moment from Chris’ Doctor, so instead I picked two from his final outing in ‘Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways’. The first being his famous speech to the Daleks in which he declared he would defeat them and save Rose without any weapons or defences.

This scene really showed off his fear of them, while at the same his heroic nature and change of character. This time he simple stands up to them with honour instead of the angered nature demonstrated in ‘Dalek’. His character had truly developed by this point along with his friendship with Rose. If anything, it was a cracking cliff-hanger which led to one of the most memorable finales of the new series.

My second joint favourite moment was of course his final stand against the Emperor’s hordes of Daleks after they surrounded him on Floor 500 of the Game Station.

The Ninth Doctor had nothing to lose and so he built the perfect weapon, i.e. the Delta Wave, in order to kill the Daleks, at the prize of sacrificing Earth. After everyone who vowed to protect him had perished at the hands of the demons, the Ninth Doctor was left with his now working device and the ultimate question – should he use it? It was almost like his dilemma in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ upon having the right to commit such a devastating act. Even after the Emperor’s taunts, the Ninth Doctor decided to surrender and not go through with the act. At that moment it was clear he had finally earned his redemption and became a new man – unlike the war-torn dark hero he was at the beginning of his life. He realised that committing this act would kill the innocent and knew it was wrong. Nine didn’t want to become like his enemy and decided to allow fate to take its course and prepared himself for death. It was such an honourable moment and one that will certainly be remembered.

How can we forget about the fantastic final words Mr. Eccleston spoke before he bowed down off our screens one last time.

Christopher Eccleston brought so much to the role and really captured the Doctor’s character in a new light and helped to bring him back to life. Without him and the writing of Russell T Davies, I dare say Matt Smith and Steven Moffat wouldn’t be preparing us for the 50th Anniversary. I thank Chris for all his hard work and wish him a happy birthday. I only hope he gets an opportunity to return this year, because he truly deserves it.

Hope you liked the choices I picked. Feel free to use the comment section below to create your own choices for the Ninth Doctor’s top 5 moments.