The Doctor's Personality

Franky-g - Posted on 02 July 2009

I justs started watching Doctor Who During David Tennant's. My first episode was The sound of drums, I became an instant fa. I looked around for older episodes to watch but I could only get my hands on David Tennant's seasons. I wonder, how does The Doctor generaly act? What extra did David bring to the role? I was wondering because I don't want to be suprised or mislead when I start watcing the new season.

SaintJames's picture

I've been watching DW for sometime now and there is no fixed personality type to the Doctor.  I believe that this feature of the show is what has contributed to the shows long-running success.  If you ever get a chance to see all 10 Doctors in action you will notice that each is quite different from the next.  Just because the personalities are different, it is still the same being, because his mind/memories are exactly the same.  With the exception of the newly acquired experiences of the subsequent Doctor. 

The next 11th Doctor will bring his own element to the show; brand new, even for old DW fans.  We don't know what Matt Smith will bring to the show and that unknown factor adds to the shows enjoyability.  The unexpected is a recurring theme in the show.  Fans expect the unexpected.  The power of the Doctor Who series lies with its flexibility and constant mutations to something else.

The great thing about DW show is that its a time-travel adventure stories; therefore, you can pick up watching the show at any point in time and still understand the overall theme.  So, starting with David Tennant (10th Doctor) is a great point to start.  Work the episodes in any order you wish and you won't be dissappointed.


I was thinking about this today too oddly enough. The Doctor should have a personality, even if it changes slightly over time. If one is really into any show one wants to find out all about the characters, making it difficult to find out all there is to know about the Doctor, because let's face it, there's still a lot we don't know, even if you include the spinoffs. What was his life like during the younger Hartnell time? The whole continunity thing is fun but it really doesn't answer a ton of questions about the Doc, his home life, his planet, the Other, the culture, Time Tots, etc. Susan? All the experiences of the past shape a person and how has the Doctor been shaped?

In many ways the Doctor is a hypocrite who likes what he likes and wants what he wants when he wants it. He says he abhors violence and yet he kills...alot. He's allied with military groups. He sides with Earthlings even though they have at least once been responsible for the deaths of aliens and life forms on their own planet. He hates guns and never carries one but allows others to do the gun shooting for him (and in rare moments even carries one himself). He's highly funcctional on one level but hhighly dyfunctional on another.

The Doc seems to have the social graces down but I think he's probably not relaly very good at some of them; he's claimed to be rubbish at weddings but has mingled with kings, queens, meglomaniacs, and the aristocracy in his time. SOme stupid novels even put him friend with Hitler (but maybe that's a ploy to get the man to do what he wants) and one of the tv stories has him friend with Mao Tse Tung. He also is friends with Nelson and Napoleon, two sides if a conflict so maybe he plays one off the other.?

Each Doctor is selfish and sly and uses people. Each gets increasingly jealous around females (except the best Doctor Tom Baker) so much so in fact that the insecure Doctor (Yes, he is) has a breakdown after the Davison regeneration and goes back in the next regneration to being an Uncle Type. He can't even kiss  a girl until his 8th self and even then it's not really lasting or meaningful. And then we have the damaged selfish 9th Doctor who makes fun of Mickey, taunting him, and getting others to see the "good" in themselves by shaking them out of their comfort zones. Is that good? Who knows? Then we have the 10th, mister macho who has to compare penis size with most men, show off around almost anyone, act conceited, hostile and put out and put off if anyone he doesn't like does something better than he does. He'a also patronizing to people he does like. He assorts with more military men and even UNIT. He seems to hold the Master and want to save him just because he's his own race despite what the nightmare man has done. Yet he is willing to destroy many other villains not of his race.

In short, he's an angel and a devil. He's the best savior and the worst bastard.         

Doc One: at first crankly, almost villainous and almost evil. He wanted to escape the prehistoric past even if meant killing a caveman wiht a boulder. He didn't like the teachers barging their way into his TARDIS and at least twice threatens to kick them off his Ship. He is protective but also patronizing to Susan at first. Later he mellows. With Vicki he's much more like a less cranky old man and more jolly and happy go lucky. He likes sarcastic comments as when Steven says something later on and notes something. The Doc turns to all the things in the control room and names them, "Sheer poetry my boy!" By the time of THE WAR MACHINES he's THE Doctor, putting himself in the line of fire and when all others run, including the military, he stands his ground, putting himself in front of a war machine. He also is mysterious and hides many things and secrets, uses a ring and sometimes a cane. He laughs almost manically when something befalls him that he has to fake his way out of like playing   a harp, singing, or playing a game to win back his TARDIS in MARCO POLO. Earlier on POLO he was very much seemingly insane when Polo refused to let him back into his TARDIS. He also retired to  a tent never to talk to anyone for quite a bit. AZTECS has him somewhat contemplative about why he can't ever have a relationship with Cameca (or any woman?). This Doctor expects loyalty and when Dodo just leaves without saying goodbye,he's rightfully angry and bemused. He's fuly understanding of Vicki leaving though and seems to have a strong understanding of the past and the role that he and others play in it or can't play in it. He's at his most serious when in the past. Except when his tooth aches or peple keep handing him guns. Desptie being quite angry at times, he can be talked to and can have his mind changed and even apologizes to Barbara once. When things happen that he thinks are ironic, he can laugh and heehaw almost as if he were losing his mind. Yet he could be very forceful and makes loud speeches like all the Doctors. And in one or two stories, CRUSADES and MASSACRE and ROMANS, he shows some physical strength. This Doc, like almost all the others, lets his curiousity get the better of him. In fact, he tricks the othres ito venturing into a city just to explore it. How washe to know the DALEKS lived in it. He even used a fake broken fluid link that made the others have to go iwth him into the city just so he could explore. As he got on, he began to mutter under his breath, make flubs, bloopers, get names wrong, mix up words, etc as he got older or maybe he wasnted othrs to think he was getting so old he couldn't be the Doctor any more and stp his enemies. Yet the truth is by TENTH PLANET he was old and had to regenerate into...

DOC TWO: seems to be stupid and clowning but underneath planning out things, thinking through things. Yet at times he's incredibly sensitive and will have short but meaningful talks with Victoria and others about their feelings. He's not above using Jamie and tricking him to get what he wants at least once or twice. He seems to know he's a genius but in a rumpled uniform and h elikes it that way as MACRA TERROR reveals that he doesn't like this new cleaned up Doctor that a machine makes for him. When he passed trhough it, it cleaned him up. He likes to keep everyone guesssing, perhaps becaus they'd worry if they knew he was making it up as he went along. Yet he caused TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN to be open. Ther'es sometimes a feeling as in MIND ROBBER that he's in over his head and can't get the job done but he usualy finds a way. WHen serious, he can level with even villains as in THE INVASION and get them to see the light, sometimes too late but when comedic, he can be very very funny and this masks, sometimes what he is doing. At other times he realizes he's been very very stupid and makes very dangerous stupid mistakes and then he's veyr angry at himself. He also seems rather harried at times and also can be somewhat cowardly at other times (as in THE ICE WARRIORS when confronted with a very large Ice Warrior face to face for the first time he tries to leave the ship, despite the fact that Victoria is on board still a prisoner and he says, "Oh my word!"). He, like Doctor Four, can be so curious, that he has to go out and explore just to know where he'd been. Once ina place, he almost can't turn back. He can also be revenge oriented as in WHEEL IN SPACE when he makes two Cybermen pay for killing Gemma and others. Sometimes his forgetfulness makes his companons almost die...and he likes to whoop and yell when in danger or as he runs from Cybermen firing at his butt and when a camera is pointed at  him in THE INVASION he has to tidy up his hair and pose...He'a also been described as cute...and preoccupied with his flute... ther'es the feeling of a pixie who fell from grace but still has penned up energy but also of someone who has little physical strength unlike...

Doc Three

At first Doc 3 is very impatient with the Earth world he finds himself stranded on. He's rude and crass almost to the point of the DAEMONS. After he's almost killed for being truthful (he does not want the DAEMONS rule of Earth to be passed on to him) and for not wanting the Master to die and it is Jo's spiritual truth that saves the day, he mellows. He's almost always charming with Liz from day one ("Look, do I really have to call you Miss Shaw?") but others, usually bureucrats, pub owners, bar tenders, government peple, all feel his wrath. He's almost brotherly to the Master, even fatherly at times and even seems happy the man gets away once or twice, despite teh fact that the man is a killer. This Doctor is more forthcoming with his being conceited, even though the other two are, they dn't seem to think they are. I love the SEA DEVILS scene where he's built some contraption and his face turns quite proud and he's So enjoying his own superiority when the whole thing just blows up almost in his face and the sad look he has after that. Great! This Doctor thinks he can barter peace between humans and other races, even though he seems to fail twice (SILURIANS and SEA DEVILS). He acts non chalant around other races, even ones that are very different. He also realizes he's racist around ICE Warriors when he treats them as if they are still evil enemies even though they have changed. This Doc is very protective of Jo and even of old people on Earth (a trait he shares with the Fourth Doctor, who also seems very at home around old people). But by PLANE OF SPIDERS, the Doctor has to learn that his ways are not always best, that his high thoughts of himself have to go...that he isn't always right and that he has to face himself and his own shortcomings...Jo's leaving him in GREEN DEATH shows his sadness at this and of being alone and possibly not ever being able to hook up with human women...or woman of any kind but tha't s another post. This Doctor shot and killed an Ogron. This Doc also seems ot have joined Earth groups and Earth associations. At first, this Doc wanted to get away from Earth badly but by his "death" he returns to it to becomes...

DOC FOUR-see the current Doctor Who magazine

A true force of nature and that is a whirlwind of energy, rambling speeches of briiilaince and nonsense. He can be quite caringand kind and pateint one moment and with one person but quite cranklly, nasty, and snappish the next second. He sometimes does'nt look others in the eyes, acts superior, then belittles himself. He also can say one thing and then the next moment say the exact opposite believing both ("It's a mistake to clutter eon's pockets, Harry"  and then "Never throw anything away Harry"). Getting away from UNIT, fed up with the boredom of the military and of being stuck on Earth, he became introspective and perhaps grew more cranky ("I'm a time Lord") approaching a middle age of Time Lordness maybe. Once he returned to Gallifrey, he loosened up and then when he returned a second time (INVASION OF TIME) he loosened up even more, even getting a Time Lady companion, which really made him go mad and loosen up and have fun more. He was wacky, making quips, puns, engaging in slapstick, in changing people's percecptions but also railing against evil and injustice as in THE PIRATE PLANET. He knew dangerous beings when he saw them even if they used bluster and falseness to  cover and hide their true intent. Although he hated violence he once carried an elephant gun to shoot a giant rat. And he would kill others using gas, explosions, etc. This Doctor would race through doorways, slide on the floor, run fast, get hit with opening doors and boxes, make mistakes flying the tardis amlost as a death wish at times. He would also hit himself in the head and talk to himself when he had to. Like Doc2, alot of his strnageness was a cover but alot of it was from his experiences beingt so dangerous. He has to act childlike at times. He finds routine boring and tedious. he j okes that interfering is something he does well and does it best. He also considers time his business, especialy when something is intefering wtih time itself...

Doc5 :in over his head and he knows it. He's mean to his companions at times, sarcastic to them and only them, and short breaths fill his ramblings. He seems like an old man trapped in a young man's body.  He wants desperately to use ropes and string and paper clips to solve problems but he can't always. I've heard him desecribed by Stven Moffat as "a man who's better than the Universe he's trying to save". I guess that fits but I can never forgive him for not saving Adric and for not going back in time to tr y to save him. He can't reallly greive properly and instead just takes the girls on a holiday to cheer them up...or tries to.  This Doc seems to botch a lot up. He also has a kind of force opstimsim that just does not seem to fit his experiences. When dealing with his companoins he has little to no prescense, takes on favorites wtihout admitting to it, gravitates towrds girls but never touches them and does touch his male companions, can't really tell someone something agreesively but tries to put a nice spin on things. In short, he's playing things safe and yet he can't. He doesn't like most of his companions but tries to bear them for some reason known only to him.   He wants desperately to be a nice guy but deep down he feels he';s better than eveyrone.  

Doc6: perhaps as  reaction to 5, 6 is brash, loud, boisterius, thinks he is good looking, noble, and perfect. He's not. He tries tokill peri in his regeneration fits but once he settles in he has this warmth that shines through at times and is not above hugging Mel or Peri and cheernig them up. More oftne than not, thugh, he's fighting verbally iwth them. In the tv stories he's making sardonic comments to those who die fighting him and he's not above smothernig a cannibalistic alien and using a formula on him to kill him. yet he doens't kil the Master or the Rani when he had the chance. He's also very over the top and conceited, knowing he should probably mediate for a few years straight on through. He doens't care if he's a nice guy and says what he means to everyone, regardless if it hurts anyone. He shoots from the hip and puts people i their place. That said, he has tons of peple who respect him and work with him. He also misjudges his own greatness at times and doesn't really read peple correctly, pehaps having problems as he is alienating them.  He loves bad jokes. And makes them.

Doc7: perhaps as a reaction to the ineptness of 5 and the poor thoughtlessness of 6, this Doctor later becomes a manipultoar of things. He goes and finds out what will happen and then journies to set things right, usig his companions and anything and anyone else around him to set things right. He's a bit unscruplous in this. He tres to act like he's a friend to all young people and yet...he's somewhat phony. He also, unlike  docs2 and 4 and maybe 5 and defintaly 6, tries to fit into popular culture, pplaing the spoons and taking in other things. He seems, at first, to be a bigger buffoon than all the others but that soon gives way to an introspective Doctor who wants to wright things that are wrong by any means possible. That said, at times he's in over his head and doesn't take into accoutn some things. THta puts him in over his head furhter and further utnil he needs someone to gethim out of it. He's not always likeable bu tnot always untrstuworty either. He can be playful.

Doc8: romantic in tone, in voice, in action, he seems damaged in some ways, stronger than th eothers in other ways. He regenerated alone and late...alomst comign back from death. He remembers romantic things, recalls that he loves humans, and tries to make peace with even the Master if he can. He wants to have others see their own self worth and tries to tel them their futures if he can to give  them a push in the right dirction. That said, the spinoffs take him in different directions but it is in that tv movie that he really shines as angel who says what he means in a romantic, almost soft style.                 

Another thing that mostly Doc4 has but 2,5,6, 7, and somewhat in 8 have is HYPERNESS. You often feel that you're on a roller coaster ride with him. He points in one direction but goes in another , rambles on about scienfitic things, historical things, time things on and one, some of which makes some sense, sometimes condrdicting himself and others in the same rmable. He moves fast, whirls, turns, runs, slides on his knees, flies through doors, kicks at boxes when angry, etc you know HYPER  mostly in a posotive way 

SaintJames's picture

I understand what you're saying, but you're not suppose to know every nitty-gritty detail about the Doctor, because once you do, the mystic is over.  Ultimately, the show is over cause there is nothing left to fantasy and the imagination.

In a highly paradoxical universe of love and hate, life and death; it's pretty difficult (even for the Doctor) not being a bit hypocritical at times. Yes! The Doctor has killed--a number that probably ranges in the high billions; but he has made a conscious choice and judgement that is in the best interest of the universe as a whole and not to a small band of people.  In the Doctor's decision making process, the needs of the many--literally--outweigh the needs of the few.  As for others, like the Doctor's companions in some cases; they too have a choice whether or not to shoot a gun.  The Doctor may be "functional" in some areas and "dysfunctional" in others, but notice that it is a dysfunctional universe--and at times fighting fire with fire maybe the only thing left that's in the best interest of the universe at large.

Many things were said about the Doctors 1-8 and the variable personalities that this single entity possesses.  Yes, many differences and few similiarities, but the same guy.  A well put phrase sums up the Doctor and has contributed to the mystery of the Doctor and why the show has been a huge success for 45 years: "In short, he's an angel and a devil. He's the best savior and the worst bastard".  A paradoxical universe may just need a paradoxical person.  The Doctor is on an even keel.


thatnks guys, the doctor seems even more mysterious :P. Also it gives me more reason to look for the older series.

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