I was more than a bit unhappy when Christopher Eccleston departed Doctor Who. In fact, I was so unhappy that I really didn’t want to like David Tennant. It took a while to jump on the bandwagon, and by the time he left I thought that he just might be the perfect Doctor.
In “The Christmas Invasion” the Doctor spent most of the episode trying to recover from the effects of the regeneration, so Tennant didn’t have a lot of screen time. By the end of the episode he had regererated a hand, defeated the Sycorax, declared that this incarnation doesn’t give second chances, and deposed the British Prime Minister with six words. Not bad for a newly regenerated Doctor in a borrowed dressing gown.
Yet, I still wasn’t feeling it.
“New Earth” was a bit of fun that saw the returns of The Face of Boe, and Lady Cassandra, a bit of Freaky Fridayish body/consciousness swapping, cats in wimples, and a line that I still quote to this day; “I like a little shop.”
I’m starting to warm up.
“Tooth and Claw” is one of those episodes that I thought was just okay. Basically it was there just so that Queen Victoria could create the Torchwood Institute which would set up both the season finale and the soon to be Torchwood television series. Oh, and the Doctor was knighted and banished on the same day. That sort of thing pretty much defines the Tenth Doctor’s era.
I was not amused.
And then came “School Reunion.”
This was the episode that saw the return of Sarah Jane Smith, who is my favorite companion of the classic series. There is an old storytelling trick where you take a character that some people may not like and pair them up with someone that fans like and if the likable person likes the unlikeable person, then the unlikable person hopefully becomes likable. Yeah, that sentence got away from me.
I’m not saying that is the reason that Sarah Jane was brought back. In fact it seems a lot like a backdoor pilot for The Sarah Jane Adventures, which it most likely was. Anyway, all I know is that was the episode that got me onboard.
When it came time for David Tennant to call it a day was I sad? Yes, a bit. It was especially sad when the Doctor had to sacrifice himself in order to save Wilf. I love Wilf. Yes, it was a bit convoluted, but that’s how things work on Doctor Who.
Then the Doctor went off to get his reward: one last visit with those who meant so much to him, and us. You could call it a “lap of honor,” but it was a bittersweet one.
At least I knew this regeneration was coming. In fact we were given well over a years notice. It didn’t make it any less sad.
Also, we knew that Matt Smith would be the next incarnation. I didn’t know anything about him as an actor, but from interviews he seemed like a nice guy. And, as it turns out, he made a brilliant Doctor.