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Published on May 18th, 2014 | by James Lomond

Terrance Dicks Describes David Tennant As The ‘Quintessential Doctor’

Earlier this week, Airdrie library held a “geek night” mini-convention with guest speaker Terrance Dicks. Dicks was the script editor on Who from 1968 to 1974 before scripting several of Tom Baker’s stories and the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors alongside his own mini-library of Doctor Who novelisations.

He is one of the creative minds who shaped the show in its early to mid Classic era and a lot of him has gone into Doctor Who over the years. At the geek night he was asked about his favourite Doctor and it turns out that Terrance-the-Legend-Dicks has very nice things to say about Tenth Doctor David Tennant. He was reported to say that,

“he loved all the doctor’s [sic] but felt the one who best summed up the spirit was DT.”

He also described our David as “the quintessential Doctor”. That’s praise indeed given how much Dicks has influenced the show over the years.

Personally I’d agree that the character of the Tenth Doctor reflects the spirit of the show perhaps better than most incarnations – energetic, fun, excited by discovery and a righteous anger directed at the bullies of the universe. But I’m not sure about the second part. People love Doctor Who for different reasons and there’s something of a spectrum of flavours in terms of the lead character from the past 50 years. For me Tennant was a great Doctor, but not quite alien and eccentric enough to be the quintessential Oncoming Storm. More of a very clever, cheery bloke. With a TARDIS. Of the New Series Doctors, Matt Smith has been closer to the alien adventurer I picture from growing up on a thoroughly unbalanced diet of Classic DVDs (and *cough* VHS).

Who do you think is the quintessential Doctor? Does Tennant do it for you or is it Hartnell all the way? Does it make sense to say one Doctor is more Doctory than the others given that they are ALL an aspect of our trans-temporal hero? Or is the quintessence of the character on his way to our screens this Summer?…

(Via David Tennant News.)

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8 Responses to Terrance Dicks Describes David Tennant As The ‘Quintessential Doctor’

  1. avatar Charles Bkakeney says:

    The 2d doctor.

  2. avatar Lucas W says:

    Troughton – funny, a bit scruffy, occasionally very manipulative, makes stuff up as he goes along and has some of the greatest Doctor / companion relationships.

  3. avatar DonnaM says:

    I’ve ben re-watching quite a bit of Tom Baker and William Hartnell of late; with the consequence that they’ve both bumped DT out of the top three in my personal list of favourite Doctors. He’s still the closest to the ideal since the revival, but I agree there’s a certain element of alien-ness lacking.

    Troughton is still my number 1, though combining the comedy (which Matt does almost as brilliantly) with the authority (something 11 never hit so well to my eye). The Fourth Doctor has resumed his second place in my affections, purely for being the most naturally eccentric oddity of them all.

    It was exceedingly diplomatic of Mr Dicks, though, to say such good things about a Scots-born Doctor in Scotland :-)

  4. avatar Vonnie says:

    I have to answer two questions. Who did I like watching the most onscreen and who was the best characterization of the Doctor. Frankly I love them all. But I would say Matt Smith was the best doctor characterization wise. He was alien like but heavily influenced by humanity. Despite the young face he was able to convey old age and heavy secret history in a way that was captivating. I love to watch them all. Especially Matt Smith. That being said, David Tennant was the quintessential hero. He was swashbuckling from his very first outing. Dashing, charming, fanciable, and yet was so much more. He was a romantic lead and a loner. He was a strange dichotomy of all that makes good storytelling. He’s essentially the sci fi version of Lloyd Dobbler. And who doesn’t want the semi-geeky yet still good looking guy holding a boombox outside his TARDIS?

  5. avatar Rick714 says:

    There have been excellent Doctors in both the classic and new series so it’s very hard to pin down “THE” quintessential Doctor. Tom Baker was the most natural to assume the role as he *himself* IS basically the Doctor. Then again, Matt Smith was the first to really manage to project such an ancient age despite his youthful features—you could easily believe he was a 1000 year old Time Lord—and HE was greatly influenced by Patrick Troughton as several others were as well. I think you’d almost have to combine Troughton, Baker and Smith to get the quintessential Doctor.

  6. avatar Geoff says:

    It’s so hard because they have all hit the mark in a unique way. I haven’t seen much of the 1st or 2nd Doctor except the odd repeat and Pat Troughtons 80s appearances. I always find myself not very interested if a Pertwee DVD come out but then when I watch it I always enjoy him, for some reason I’m just not keen on the idea of him! So for me it has to be a straight contest between Matt and Tom. On the other hand I love Colin, Peter had some great performances and Sylvester was just what the show needed with his mysterious wizard Doctor….oh I don’t know! This is impossible.

  7. avatar unibot says:

    John Hurt’s the quintessential Doctor. ;) He had one hour to prove he wasn’t The Doctor and he failed miserably. But less jokingly: Tom Baker is the quintessential Doctor.

  8. avatar ms says:

    I totally agree with the author here. David Tennant is my Doctor but Matt Smith is the quintessential Doctor, more of the mad alien and much braver. David Tennant was much more human.

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