History says, it's ok to not like the new Doctor


Are you ready to turn the page on the David Tennant-era when the Matt Smith tenure images.jpgas the Eleventh Doctor begins tomorrow night on “another network”? If you’re a bit worried as to whether or not your going to be able to handle a third Doctor in the span of the last five years, then you are not alone. Seems as though, according to recently released BBC Archive documents, viewers since the beginning of time, well, the beginning of Doctor Who time anyway, have always had something critical to say about the new doctor as compared to the previous one.

Not only have internal BBC memos revealed that the first re-generation from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton was thought of as something of a bad LSD trip (not sure how they knew, but it was the 60’s), but seems as though for over 40 years, Doctor Who fans have been critical of each new Doctor as reported in archive documents.

Critical reaction from Hartnell to McCoy

A letter from the Radio Times about William Hartnell.Only William Hartnell escaped the traditional viewer wrath as he was thought of as a brilliant, but eccentric scientist. Troughton, however, was a “half-witted clown”, according to the documents. Jon Pertwee faired a little better but reaction wasn’t that enthusiastic. Tom Baker, while the most popular Doctor, was considered to be portrayed as a looney and stupid. Colin Baker was “too stern, too aggressive and there wasn’t enough humor in the character. While Sylvester McCoy was viewed as unfavorable by over 50% of the those polled, he did fair better than his sidekick, Mel, who many considered the low point of the series.

So, if you’re a little skeptical going into tomorrow night, you’re in good company, but as with everything, we will survive it all and you’re going to like Matt Smith’s take on the Doctor.

  • Celeste

    I read on a website a description of each of the previous doctors – “crotchety William Hartnell to giddy Patrick Troughton, suave Jon Pertwee to flamboyant Tom Baker, childlike Peter Davison to rambunctious Colin Baker, slap-dash Sylvester McCoy to adventurous Paul McGann and brooding Christopher Eccleston, and finally the latest incarnation, maniacal David Tennant” Not sure if I agree with all of these (DT was not as maniacal as he was enthusiastic and even human toward the end) but I wonder what one-word description will be given to the new Doctor…

  • Diane

    It’s funny how the other roles the actors have played or gone on to play also influence the perception of the current Doctor/
    I saw DT in a TV mini-series where he played an evil husband. Couldn’t bring myself to watch him when he started the Doctor Who role. I like him in it now.
    Chris E was in “Gone in 60 Seconds”, loved him in that and loved him in DW.
    Because I liked Peter Davidson in DW, I loved him in Campion.
    But Tom Baker will always be my favorite, because he was my First! 😉

    • Diane: You’re right. It was interesting to read the BBC report where viewers initial reaction to Peter Davison was negative solely based on the fact that they knew him and loved him in All Creatures Great & Small. I’d be interested to see what you think of DT when he plays Hamlet on April 28 on PBS.

  • Interesting comments!
    From what I’ve seen on the other channel, Matt Smith will do a good job; I was familiar with his work from seeing the Philip Pullman adaptations on “Masterpiece Theatre.” In a scene in the hospital I noticed a couple of Tenth Doctor-like intonations–I wonder if those last. His question “What have you got for me this time?” as he stood outside the TARDIS reminded me of my initial perception of the show–that it was about a time traveler whose ship was always getting him and his companions into trouble 🙂 . . . at least it seemed that way . . . I began watching the show at the Fourth-into-Fifth Doctor regeneration.

  • Anglophilesouth

    The whole family gathered for the new Doctor premiere “on another network” last evening and the consensus was a rousing thumb’s up from everyone, despite all of us being HUGE David Tennant fans. The story was excellent and so was the new cast. We can’t wait until next week. We also can’t wait to see DT as Hamlet! Allons-y!

  • Cora Latta

    I agree with Anglophilesouth- the premiere “on another network” was amazing and I am looking forward to the next episode. I still LOVE that our favorite PBS station carries DW with no commercial interruptions and includes the DW Companion. Thanks KERA!

    And now for my wish – to see some of the classic series, but I completely understand about the broadcast rights and costs and I certainly appreciate the other “Britcoms” being aired by KERA.