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 The 11 Faces of the Doctor

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PostSubject: The 11 Faces of the Doctor   Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:32 am

The 11 Faces of the Doctor
The changing of actors playing the part of the Doctor is explained within the series by the Time Lords' ability to regenerate after suffering illness, mortal injury or old age. The process repairs all damage and rejuvenates his body, but as a side effect it changes his physical appearance and personality. This ability was not introduced until producers had to find a way to replace the ailing William Hartnell with Patrick Troughton and was not explicitly called "regeneration" until Jon Pertwee's transformation to Tom Baker at the climax of Planet of the Spiders (1974). On screen, the transformation from Hartnell to Troughton was called a "renewal" and from Troughton to Pertwee a "change of appearance".

The original concept of regeneration or renewal was that the Doctor's body would rebuild itself in a younger, healthier form. The Second Doctor was intended to be a literally younger version of the First; biological time would turn back, and several hundred years would get taken off the Doctor's age, rejuvenating him. In practice, however, after the Doctor stated his age in the Second Doctor serial The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), the Doctor's age has been recorded progressively, however many regenerations the Doctor goes through (but see below). In six out of ten transitions, the new actor was younger than his predecessor had been when he began the role. In the revived series the pattern is resumed with the transition of the Ninth to the Tenth and the Tenth to the Eleventh Doctor, although current showrunner Steven Moffat is on record stating the intention was to cast an actor in his mid 30s to 40s for the role of the Eleventh Doctor, despite casting Matt Smith who is the youngest actor to ever have played the role.

The actors who have played the Doctor, and the dates of their first and last regular television appearances in the role, are:



Personalities
Throughout his regenerations, the Doctor's personality has retained a number of consistent traits. Its most notable aspect is an unpredictable, affable, clownish exterior concealing a well of great age, wisdom, seriousness and even darkness. While the Doctor can appear childlike and jocular, when the stakes rise, as, for example, in Pyramids of Mars, he will often become cold, driven and callous. Another aspect of the Doctor's persona, which, though always present, has been emphasised or downplayed from incarnation to incarnation, is compassion. The Doctor is a fervent pacifist and is dedicated to the preservation of sentient life, human or otherwise, over violence and war, even going so far as to doubt the morality of destroying his worst enemies, the Daleks, when he has the chance to do so in Genesis of the Daleks, and again in Evolution of the Daleks. He also, in The Time Monster, begs Kronos to spare the Master torment or death, unintentionally winning the evil Time Lord's freedom, which he tells Jo Grant was preferable anyway, and forgives the Master for his actions in The Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords, vowing to take responsibility for his former friend.

Nonetheless, the Doctor will kill when given no other option and occasionally in self-defense; examples of this can be seen in The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Dominators, The Invasion, The Krotons, Spearhead from Space, The Sea Devils, The Three Doctors, The Brain of Morbius, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Invasion of Time, Earthshock, Vengeance on Varos, The Two Doctors, Silver Nemesis, "World War Three", "The Christmas Invasion", "Tooth and Claw", "The Age of Steel", "The Runaway Bride", "Smith and Jones" and most notably in Remembrance of the Daleks when he arranges for the planet Skaro to be destroyed; it has also been stated numerous times in the series, beginning in 2005, that he was responsible for destroying both the Dalek and Time Lord races in order to end the Time War. Another example of the Doctor purposely taking a life is The Sontaran Experiment, where he tells his companion Harry Sullivan to remove a device from the Sontaran ship, which causes the death of the Sontaran, something the Doctor knew would happen but Harry did not. In the 2005 episode "The End of the World", the Doctor teleports Cassandra back onto the ship and does nothing to prevent her death, even ignoring her cries for help and pity. Similar, in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", he strands Solomon on a spacecraft with a homing device to which several missiles have locked on, effectively consigning him to death. In situations where fixed points in history must be preserved, the Doctor is sometimes faced with hard choices resulting in the deaths of many; In The Visitation he started the Great Fire of London, and in The Fires of Pompeii he caused the volcano above Pompeii to erupt, which killed everyone in the city (but saved the rest of the world). On other occasions he is seen to be critical of others who use deadly force, such as his companions Leela in The Face of Evil and Talons of Weng-Chiang, or Jack Harkness in "Utopia".

The Doctor has an extreme dislike for weapons such as firearms or rayguns and will often decline to use them even when they are convenient. The Tenth Doctor was especially put off by guns, going out of his way to make his feelings known. In Doomsday the Daleks declare the Doctor is unarmed, to which he replies "That's me. Always." In The Doctor's Daughter he is enraged at the death of Jenny and points a gun at the head of the man who shot her before throwing it away and yelling "I never would!". He has proven capable of using weapons effectively when necessary, as seen in Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks. In The End of Time he hit a small diamond with a single shot to destroy a machine and prevent the destruction of time itself. He will occasionally use a firearm as a convenient way to bluff his way through a situation, hoping that his foe will not suspect that he does not intend to shoot. He will also occasionally present non-threatening items as weapons so as to fool his enemies, and buy himself time (such as threatening to kill a tribesman with a "deadly jelly baby" in The Face of Evil, brandishing a water pistol in The Fires of Pompeii, or pretending a Jammie Dodger to be a Tardis self-destruct device in "Victory of the Daleks"). However, in "A Town Called Mercy", he throws Kahler-Jex out of the town, where he knows the Gunslinger will find and kill him, and aims a pistol at him to keep him out.

The Doctor has a deep sense of right and wrong, and a conviction that it is right to intervene when injustice occurs, which sets him apart from his own people, the Time Lords, and their strict ethic of non-intervention.

Although throughout his regenerations the Doctor remains essentially the same person, each actor has purposely imbued his incarnation of the role with distinct quirks and characteristics and the production teams purposefully dictate new personality traits for each actor to portray.

Transitions



Save for the off-screen transition between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors, to date each regeneration has been worked into the continuing story. Also, most regenerations (save the Second-to-Third and Eighth-to-Ninth transitions) have been portrayed on-screen, in a handing over of the role. The following list details the manner of each regeneration:

First Doctor (William Hartnell): Frail and steadily growing weaker throughout The Tenth Planet, the doctor collapses at the serial's end.
Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton): a forced "change in appearance" and exile to Earth by the Time Lords in the closing moments of The War Games.
Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee): radiation poisoning from the Great One's cave of crystals on the planet Metabilis 3 at the end of Planet of the Spiders.
Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker): fell from the Pharos Project radio telescope in Logopolis and was assisted in the regeneration by a mysterious "in-between" incarnation identified as "The Watcher".
Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison): spectrox toxaemia poisoning, contracted near the start of The Caves of Androzani.
Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker): suffered great injuries when the Rani attacked the TARDIS and caused it to crash land at the start of Time and the Rani.
Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy): died in San Francisco during exploratory heart surgery by a doctor unfamiliar with Time Lord physiology, after being hospitalised for non-life threatening gunshot wounds in the 1996 television movie.
Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann): unknown cause of death.
Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston): cellular degeneration caused by absorbing the energies of the time vortex from Rose Tyler, which she in turn had absorbed through the heart of the TARDIS in "The Parting of the Ways".
Tenth Doctor (David Tennant): radiation poisoning incurred while saving the life of Wilfred Mott in The End of Time.
Only the Doctor's first regeneration (Hartnell to Troughton) occurs due to natural causes – the Doctor is showing increasing signs of age, and comments that his body is "wearing a bit thin," though this is apparently exacerbated by the energy drain from Mondas. All of the other regenerations have been caused by some external factor, such as radiation poisoning, infection or fatal injuries.

In the original series, with the exception of the change from Troughton to Pertwee, regeneration usually occurred when the previous Doctor was near "death". The changeover from McCoy to McGann was handled differently, with the Doctor actually dying and being dead for quite some time before regeneration occurred. The Eighth Doctor comments at one point in the television movie that the anaesthesia interfered with the regenerative process, and that he had been "dead too long", accounting for his initial amnesia. Kate Orman's novel The Room with No Doors, set just before the regeneration, also notes that this is one of the few regenerations in which the Doctor was not conscious and aware that he was dying.

The 2005 series began with the Ninth Doctor already regenerated and fully stabilised, with no explanation given. In his first appearance in "Rose", the Doctor looked in a mirror and commented on the size of his ears, suggesting to some viewers that the regeneration may have happened shortly prior to the episode, or that he has not examined himself in the mirror recently. Some draw the conclusion that the Ninth Doctor's appearances in old photographs, without being accompanied by Rose, may also suggest that he had been regenerated for some time, but these appearances could have also occurred afterwards. Russell T Davies, writer/producer of the new series, stated in Doctor Who Magazine that he has no intention of showing the regeneration in the series, and that he believed the story of how the Eighth Doctor became the Ninth is best told in other media. In Doctor Who Confidential Davies revealed his reasoning that, after such a long hiatus, a regeneration in the first episode would not just be confusing for new viewers but also lack dramatic impact, as there would be no emotional investment in the character before he was replaced.


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PostSubject: Re: The 11 Faces of the Doctor   Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:35 am



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