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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 8:02am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

A few days ago, a Facebook "friend" talked about how short the tenures were for modern DOCTOR WHO actors. How accurate is that? Well, he's right. But in a certain sense, I got the impression he was trying to make out that classic tenures were longer.

It's easy enough to check out, eh?

First Doctor: Three years 
Second Doctor: Three years 
Third Doctor: Four years 
Fourth Doctor: Seven years 
Fifth Doctor: Three years 
Sixth Doctor: Let's say two-three years 
Seventh Doctor: ? 
Eighth Doctor: Nine years (possibly!).

The Sixth Doctor is a tough one due to the hiatus (the BBC put the show on hiatus for 18 months). As for the Seventh Doctor, well I guess if one were to be pedantic, he was associated with the role for nine years, but he only was on screen for two years (1987-89) before returning in the 1996 movie. It's a bit like how Timothy Dalton's Bond was technically in the role from 1987-1994, but only appeared as Bond in '87 and '89.

And as for Eighth Doctor, the above is guesswork. He may have regenerated very shortly before "Rose", the first episode of the 2005 series, but then again, he may have regenerated shortly after the TVM. If he regenerated in 1996, then we could assume Ninth Doctor was around from 1996-2005; but if Eighth Doctor regenerated into Ninth Doctor prior to "Rose", that means the Ninth Doctor had a very brief lifespan. Unless there is canon (that I don't know of) specifying when Eighth Doctor regenerated, it would be guesswork. If there is, I'm sure someone here will let me know.

What about New Who? 

Ninth Doctor: Who knows? 
Tenth Doctor: Just under five years 
Eleventh Doctor: Nearly four years 
Twelfth Doctor: Four years

It's a bit tricky in a sense when you take a hiatus or two into account. In the case of the Twelfth Doctor, other than the Xmas special, no episodes aired in 2016. I, like anyone, have neither the time nor inclination to sit there counting the actual months and screentime; besides, like I showed with the Dalton's Bond example, it isn't always clear-cut. For me, the Dalton Era was from 1987-89. He may have still been in the role (with various film ideas in development hell), but from 1989-95, no Dalton Bond films were released.

I've seen many magazine articles that talk about how short New Who tenures are compared to the classic era, but that doesn't really hold water for me.

The only long era, so far, is for the Fourth Doctor, active on our screens from 1974-81. Had Tennant's Doctor stuck around for a few more years, he'd have broken that record. Perhaps someone will one day.

But as the history of the series shows us, no Doctor has really had a long "lifespan". The longest could have been Ninth Doctor, but that would be pure speculation. So I think, to answer criticisms of how short New Who tenures are, well tenures in the Classic Era weren't long, either!

The one thing we can state as fact is that the Doctor leads a very dangerous life(lives).


Edited by Robbie Parry on 20 December 2017 at 8:03am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 9:57am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The one thing we can state as fact is that the Doctor leads a very dangerous life(lives).

••

Despite evidence to the contrary, we are asked to accept that the First Doctor was, indeed, the first Doctor. So he lived in that body for several hundred years.

Yet, since coming to Earth, he's gone thru 12 (thirteen?) more.

As I have said before, the Doctor really needs to get outta here. Earth is clearly bad for his health!!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 9:59am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

PS: The shortest tenure, from our perspective, is the "War Doctor", who I still consider a total crock, and nothing less than Moffat seizing control of a storyline that was not his.

When I saw the first Christopher Eccleston episode, I assume he'd regenerated from Paul McGann. I really am most disinclined to think otherwise!!

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 10:13am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I accept all that, it's been a long time since I've seen some episodes.

I remember little about the pilot episode from 1963 - or anything early about Gallifrey or the Time Lords.

Now you mention it about Eccleston, something in my brain is telling me that there's a vague reference to him having been in that "body" for a short while when "Rose" started. I should revisit that one, too.

I'm with you on the War Doctor, Mr Byrne. That's fan fiction for me. In fact, I do think there is a parallel between the "fan fiction" we've seen from some comic writers and what Moffatt has done with DR. WHO. It's almost like he wanted to put his stamp on every aspect of the Doctor's history/life, rather than simply adding to the mythos.

So I definitely think there is a parallel between Moffatt's style on WHO and some of the unbelievable stuff that certain comic writers have done on long-established characters. Not many seem to want to "leave the sandbox" as it was nowadays. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Now you mention it about Eccleston, something in my brain is telling me that there's a vague reference to him having been in that "body" for a short while when "Rose" started. I should revisit that one, too.

•••

He's surprised by his own reflection.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 4:35pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Ah, I see. My memory must be failing (or maybe 12+ years is too long to retain anything). ;-)
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 5:42pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Robbie, the Doctor's people and planet were first seen in Troughton's final story, 'The War Games', but although 'Time Lords' is used in that story, the planet would not be identified as 'Gallifrey' until well into Jon Pertwee's tenure, in 'The Time Warrior'(I'd need to rewatch for context but I think it was in response to a question asked by Sarah, as she was just trying to get to know the strange man with the police box).

Edited by Brian O'Neill on 20 December 2017 at 5:46pm
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 21 December 2017 at 4:29am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Seeing his reflection, Eccleston makes a comment about his ears in his first story, which some fans have taken to mean that he's newly regenerated. I'm not so sure, as anytime I catch a glimpse of my rather long nose (think Concorde) I can be heard sighing or making similar self depreciating comments and I'm certainly not newly regenerated (I wish!). In the same story, Clive, a fellow who has been tracking the 9th Doctor through history*, shows Rose evidence that seems to suggest that the 9th Doctor has been around for a while - though, of course, this is a series about time travel, so that evidence might be created at some unspecified point in the 9th's time stream after the episode. So whether the 9th Doctor is newly regenerated or not when we first meet him is left open to interpretation.

*Within the context of the series, why Clive picked on the Eccleston Doctor to follow is anyone's guess - perhaps the 9th Doctor didn't hide his track so well as the others?



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John Byrne
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Posted: 21 December 2017 at 8:08am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Seeing his reflection, Eccleston makes a comment about his ears in his first story, which some fans have taken to mean that he's newly regenerated. I'm not so sure, as anytime I catch a glimpse of my rather long nose (think Concorde) I can be heard sighing or making similar self depreciating comments…

••

Here's where we come to the very real difference between LIFE and FICTION.

In life, things just happen. In fiction, things are MADE to happen by a writer with a purpose.* If something receives a moment of focus, it is something to which we should pay attention. Eccleston's Doctor reacting with a degree of surprise to his own reflection is simple shorthand for "this face is new to him".

Otherwise, why would the moment be there?

_______________________________

* To paraphrase a line from, of all people, Alan Moore, everything has meaning, but not everything is important.

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 21 December 2017 at 4:05pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Regarding the War Doctor, I thought (and still think) it was a bad idea. The ONLY reason I tolerate it is because they cast John Hurt.

Before he died, Hurt did some audios for Big Finish. Since DAY OF THE DOCTOR says he stopped calling himself The Doctor during the Time War, and they never said what name he did use (I assume he didn't use him real name). I'm curious how they get around that in those audios. Or do they just call him `The Doctor', anyway?




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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 29 December 2017 at 9:27pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

"Hey, You!" = 'Who'?
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Byron Graham
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 7:15am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The Time Lords seem to like calling him The Renegade. Perhaps that's the name the War Doctor used.
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 12:29pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

The Valeyard?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 1:36pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

BTW: on the matter of Clive tracking the 9th Doctor "thru history", two things:

First, the matter of how the Doctor's form of time travel works. If he visits a point in the Past, has he always been there? Or is his travelling cumulative, so he only appears at a point in the Past when he goes there?

Second: If it's the first -- which seems most likely -- Clive could have collected data on events which, from the Doctor's perspective, have not actually happened yet.

(There's also the idea, which I've mentioned before, that the new Doctor seems to "write over" previous incarnations. So someone looking back at "The Talons of Weng Chiang" from Eccleston's period, would see Eccleston in that adventure, not Baker1.)

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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 4:47pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Would 'writing over' mean that people who have met more than one incarnation would always see the Doctor in the earler/est incarnation they met?
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 6:25pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Would 'writing over' mean that people who have met more than one incarnation would always see the Doctor in the earler/est incarnation they met?

Go back to the aftermath of the first regeneration in Power of the Daleks and Ben and Polly are shown to be concerned that the man who has just picked himself up off the floor is not the Doctor. In Spearhead from Space, the Brigadier does not recognise the man lying in a hospital bed, so his memories have clearly not been over-written to make it so that he remembers battling yeti in the Underground with Jon Pertwee rather than Pat Troughton. Benton clearly recognises the second Doctor in The Three Doctors, while In The Five Doctors, Sarah meets up with the third Doctor after travelling with the fourth and is able to tell him that he changed.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

First, the matter of how the Doctor's form of time travel works. If he visits a point in the Past, has he always been there? Or is his travelling cumulative, so he only appears at a point in the Past when he goes there?

I always used to wonder about the same thing with The Time Tunnel TV show. Were time travellers Tony and Doug always standing on the deck of the RMS Titanic at a point in history before the Tunnel was built and before they were even born, or was there another - 'different' time stream where they were not there?
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 31 December 2017 at 5:41pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I guess it depends on whether the time traveler caused the event to happen, was just 'observing', or affected the course of someone else's life by being there.
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