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DOCTOR WHO – The Doctors’ First Moments

We feel ya, Doctor Who fans. Counting down the days until Peter Capaldi takes over as the Doctor? That day count is now quite low. I thought, as a way of looking back, that I’d take you through the first moments of each of the previous Doctors. Not the regeneration scene, mind you; that’s a sad affair. I’m talking about some of the first moments from the first stories of each Doctor, so you can see how they did. It’ll be fun, probably.

FIRST DOCTOR – An Unearthly Child
While we don’t know what happened in the Doctor’s early, early life, we do know how he was when the show began: a dick. In the very first episode of the series, the Doctor all but kidnaps his granddaughter Susan’s teachers Ian and Barbara when they become concerned about her home life. Gee, I wonder what made them so worried?

SECOND DOCTOR – The Power of the Daleks
This serial is sadly completely missing from the archives, but the Second Doctor’s beginning was as mysterious as the First’s. He neither confirms nor denies whether or not he even IS the Doctor to his very confused and worried companions, Ben and Polly, who, like the audience, had no idea what the hell was going on. The Second Doctor also refers to himself in the third person, which just makes things even more bizarre. That eventually goes away, of course, and the Second is one of the most warm and affable of the Doctor’s incarnations.

Power of the Daleks

THIRD DOCTOR – Spearhead from Space
The Third Doctor was banished to Earth following a forced regeneration and spends a good portion of his first story, “Spearhead from Space,” recovering in a hospital. He wants to get up and leave and so decides to steals clothing and even a car belonging to hospital staff. He’s much more jovial in this story than he’d eventually become; perhaps it was all the people chasing him around that put him off authority figures on Planet Terra as much as it did. Plus – you get to see Jon Pertwee take a shower… Ladies?

After five seasons as UNIT’s scientific adviser, the Third Doctor succumbs to the radiation of giant spider crystals (it happens) and turns into the Fourth Doctor, who is at once much more alien, and reeeeeeeally ready to get off the planet. He attempts to prove to everyone that he’s all right, even though it comes across like he’s a crazy person. Oh, regenerations; they are fickle little things.

FIFTH DOCTOR – Castrovalva
Seven seasons of television as the same incarnation can lead to some strange internal issues when regeneration finally does occur. The Fifth Doctor was the first to deal with this level of regenerative trauma and desperately needs to make it to the Zero Room, a place in the TARDIS that cancels out all other bio-electric interference to allow for smooth transition. Trouble is, he doesn’t remember where it is, and is lost in remember bits of his past lives all the way. Good thing Adric’s there… a sentence no one has ever said.

SIXTH DOCTOR – The Twin Dilemma
Oh hey, another regenerative crisis, only this one is a bit more violent than before. After being just kind of jerk to his young companion Perpugilliam Brown, the Doctor decides she’s evil and tries to kill her. No two ways about it, this was easily the least endearing first episode of a new Doctor ever. Give me Grumpy Gus First Doctor over this psychopath any day.

SEVENTH DOCTOR – Time and the Rani
The ’80s… the decade of regenerative crises. Change the record, will ya? In the Seventh Doctor’s first story (which was also inadvertently the Sixth Doctor’s final story), the Time Lord is completely unaware that his nemesis the Rani is pretending to be his companion Mel. Once he finally DOES reunite with his actual companion, neither are sure what to make of the other. What a fun and not annoying exchange it is.

The Eighth Doctor spent a good portion of his own introductory movie not actually in it, with the Seventh Doctor’s final moments making up the bulk of the beginning. But once the new Doctor does appear, he’s confused. He’s not sure who he is (another staple) and doesn’t really remember what brought him to Earth on New Year’s Eve 1999. He eventually does remember with the help of Dr. Grace Holloway and celebrates with a little fan-angering smooching. (Couldn’t find a decent clip, unfortunately.)

Eighth Doc

When we meet the Ninth Doctor (and no I’m not counting the 1/4 of a second he kind of appears in “The Day of the Doctor”), he’s already battle-weary and doing his best to thwart evil on the down-low. He comes out of nowhere to save Rose Tyler from the Auton scourge in a department store and then it’s off to the races. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to find out more about this guy if he just happened to swoop in, save you from living mannequins, and then peace out again after blowing up your place of work? He was really asking for it.

TENTH DOCTOR – The Christmas Invasion
Another one where the Doctor’s incapacitated for a good portion of the story. He wakes up for only short instances here and there, to fight off Christmas trees and killer Santas and the like, but when he finally does wake up for good and all, we get a glimpse of the kind of jibber-jabberer he’ll be for pretty much his entire run.

ELEVENTH DOCTOR – The Eleventh Hour
Which brings us to our final Doctor to have a full first episode before this Saturday’s. The first thing we see him do is talk to a scared child, which absolutely foretells his whole MO during his three-a-bit series. He’s absent-minded, definitely, but he’s also warm and caring. And he really hates most food items save his beloved fish fingers and custard. It’s actually pretty good, I suggest you try it.

So there we are, friends; all we have left to do is watch the Twelfth Doctor show us what kind of Doctor, and what kind of man, he’s going to be. Which of these episodes I’ve shown is your favorite? Which Doctor in general had the best first story? Let’s talk below!

Images: BBC


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  1. Chuck says:

    what ever became of the Neighborgs

  2. Cezza says:

    Love 10 & 11. Both amazing, for different reasons. 12 will have to be very special to compete!
    …. Deep breathe!…

  3. Been watching it since i was a small boy (I am now 53). I loved them all as they all presented interesting interpretations of “The Doctor”. I will watch it until i forget who i am and what Dr Who is.

  4. Ta says:

    David Tennant was by far my most favorite and I shamelessly hope to see another cameo co-star episode with his character in it. 

  5. I Think The 12th Doctor Will Be 1 Of The Most & Mysterious Doctors Of All Time!

  6. Daniel says:

    Actually it is, just never in the tv episodes. 

  7. Glenn says:

    You would think that as an American, I’d have loved the 8th Doctor’s movie.  However, after having grown up watching Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as two of the best incarnations of The Doctor, I was continually disappointed from Colin Baker until David Tennant (I actually liked Peter Davison and Christopher Eccleston, though I didn’t consider either as good as Baker or Pertwee), with the American movie having the worst combination of both plot and acting (I’m sorry, but most American producers and directors simply aren’t capable of replicating the sutbleties of British drama, action and comedy).  David Tennant was a breath of fresh air, and Matt Smith was ALMOST as good, and actually moved into 3rd place in my opinion behind Tom Baker and David Tennant.  I really hope that Peter Capaldi can continue the recent trend of brilliant Doctor incarnations.  

  8. Christi 28 says:

    I totally agree. Peter Capaldi is a great actor but he just doesn’t fit the tole. He plays a mean, angry sort of “doctor and it would be ok to explore the Doctor’s darker side if old he would treat Clara right. The doctor would never put Clara down like that.  They have ZERO chemistry,  not even convincing!  He is a typecast actor for a reason, that he best plays villians not heroes. Please regenerate back to a doctor I enjoy…please .