'Doctor Who': Is David Tennant the best doctor ever?

From previous PopWatch commenters, I know I’m not alone in my love for David Tennant in Doctor Who. Well, now BBC Video has a special treat for Tennant fans – this video celebrating his best moments in the role.

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The video is tied to the release of Doctor Who: The Complete Specials, out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, which provides a fitting goodbye to Tennant. The set includes five discs of Tennant-rific specials: The Next Doctor, Planet of the Dead, The Waters of Mars, and The End of Time, Parts One and Two. Even if you’ve seen all the specials, the package is also notable for its extras, such as a new Doctor Who Confidential for The Next Doctor; Tennant’s video diary from his final days of shooting; a look at Tennant’s and creator Russell T Davies’ first visit to Comic Con; and Davies’ introduction of The End of Time deleted scenes.

As we see the end of Tennant’s reign, I think it’s only appropriate to ask PopWatchers if he was the best doctor of all time (there have been 10 since 1963, listed in chronological order below). Let’s put it to the vote! (poll after the jump)

Comments (181 total) Add your comment
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  • Chris

    It’ll be interesting to see if anyone here even remembers a Doctor before Eccleston. ;)

    • Jacob

      Doesn’t look like it. Paul McGann and Tom Baker are the only two I know, though, so I’m just a guilty.

    • Cliff

      The first Doctor I saw was Jon Pertwee (yes, I’m THAT old), and I’ve always had a special affinity for him because of that. I guess I’d still have to rank him third, behind Tennant and Tom Baker, but I think every Doctor brought something special to the role–even Colin Baker, who over the years has become the series de facto “whipping boy” (aka, performance everyone loves to dump on), much as Timothy Dalton became the hate magnet for 007.

      • Snarf

        Tom Baker is/was my fave.

      • LAJackie

        I vaguely remember Patrick Troughton but my first doctor was really Jon Pertwee too. I watched through Peter Davison and then kind of grew out of the show. I was thrilled when they revived it with Chris Eccleston and thought nobody could take over when he left but David Tennant exceeded my expectations and I cried like a baby when he left. First he broke my heart into tiny pieces and then he stomped all over it.

    • helygen

      I’ve watched every Doctor since William Hartnell, and have enjoyed every incarnation with the possible exception of the 7th (Sylvester McCoy) whom I found a tad irritating.
      Of the Classic Series, I’ll always have a soft spot for Hartnell, and for Troughton’s 2nd Doctor.
      I adore Tom Baker, but to me the only difference between him and The Doctor is the scarf; in other words, I don’t feel that he played the character, he just played himself.
      I feel that each actor brought something different to the role to make it their own, but David Tennant is undoubtedly the best, imho, because he brought a bit of each of his predecessors to his Tenth Doctor, mixed in with the new persona.

    • Charlene

      I grew up watching Tom Baker and after he left the show I just couldn’t stomach the others. I gave up on Doctor Who when by chance last year I saw it on and decided to give a look see. Boy I’ glad I did! It was AMAZING!! I am thrilled to have a new Doctor!! He is the Tom Baker of this generation!

      • Charlene

        David Tennant of course!!

    • Frank Anderson

      I think this poll is broken. Everyone commenting is talking about Tennant and Baker, but Troughton is winning in a landslide? What gives?

      I wish the shows were cheaper on DVD so that I could collect them all and catch up on the episodes I have’t seen…which is more than I care to admit.

      Thanks for covering this wonderful EW!!!

      • wg

        Yup, clearly someone spamming the poll.

      • MK

        I actually voted for Troughton. While I love Tennant, Eccleston, Baker, Davison. Troughton was the one to take the nearly blank canvas that Hartnell started forming and really make the character of the doctor what we now know it to be. Tennant has said Troughton was a big influence on his portrayal. Go watch “Tomb of the Cybermen.” One of the best!

    • MJ

      Tom Baker was my first Doctor. I didn’t get to experience the others until my PBS station aired all the old episodes in the mid ’90’s. Then my second fave Doctor became Peter Davison. Loved Eccleston in the “regeneration” of the series, but Tennant made the character his own. Feeling a bit leery about the new guy, Matt Smith, but will give him a go.

    • Lila

      Are you kidding?!? Eccleston and Tennant were the suckiest Doctors! Give me a real Doctor like Troughton or McCoy any day.

    • Adrian

      I hated Eccleston. I skipped right to where David Tennant appeared. Hes so good.

  • Ian

    I await the nerd rage.

  • Al

    I liked Tennant and Eccleston but, for me, Tom Baker with his long scarf will always be the ideal Doctor.

    • jason.

      See, Baker was my definitive Doctor, until Tennant’s infectious enthusiasm won me over and then some. The sheer wonder and love of life that Ten showed in almost every moment on screen was great.

      Of course, it helps that he had better writing and special effects.

      Eccleston was also quite great, and Peter Davison, as *my* Second Doctor holds a special place.

      But, yeah…Tennant is my favourite.

      • Mike Atkinson

        In what way is it better writing? In the new series he just points his sonic screwdriver at everything and fixes it (which makes no sense) and episodes end in deus-ex-machina conclusions. It’s awful. Compare it to the wonderful, science inspired classic series (with some exceptions of course).

  • Captain Average

    I’ve been watching Doctor Who since it premiered back in the sixties.

    Each of the Doctors has a special place in my heart – even Doctor Eight [Paul McGann] – for being a unique take on what has become an iconic character.

    My overall favourite remains Peter Davison because, behind that innocent seeming facade, he was easily the most alien and most dangerous Doctor [he killed a companion, just for starters!].

    David Tennant and Tom Baker are also pretty remarkable – but so were the other six [seven if you count Peter Cushing from the two theatrical movie releases].

    • Desert Cat

      I also loved Peter Davison’s take on the role, and have always felt he was underrated, having come in after Tom Baker.

    • LAJackie

      I only remember the one movie with Bernard Cribbins in it.

  • Rebecca

    Tom Baker was the first Doctor I remember seeing (back when PBS introduced American audiences to ‘Doctor Who’), but it was Peter Davidson that stole my 10-year old heart. David Tennant stole it again 20-some years later. :)

    • Jason

      You said it. I loved Davison, and never thought Tennant could fill Ecclestone’s shoes… boy was I wrong. Tennant is my favourite.

  • Maddi

    I’m sure I’m alone in this, but I’m absolutely smitten with the Eighth Doctor (especially in the Big Finish audio lineup). And I say that having seen every single Doctor! Tennant is a close second, though. And I’m superexcited for Smith!

    • Rach

      You’re not alone in the 8th Doctor love! He is just awesome in the Big Finish plays. Him and Lucie are one of my favourite Doc/Companion line ups.

      My top 3 Docs(if you put a gun to my head and made me choose) are McGann, Troughton, and Tennant. With Pertwee, Tom Baker, and Eccleston a close second.
      In fact the only Doctor I don’t like is McCoy. I would even rate Matt Smith above McCoy and he’s only been the Doc for 5 mins.

  • CE

    Gah! Don’t ask me to choose!

    Besides, maybe the next one will end up being the all-time best. :)

  • Jennifer

    Peter Davison was my personal fave (and yes, some of that is because I thought he was cute), but best Doctor goes to Tom Baker for me. Although I ended up like David Tennat as the Doctor to my surprise, he doesn’t even come close to being the best. Heck, of the more recent Doctors, he’s a distant second to Christopher Eccleston.

    • Lyn2

      Eccleston was overrated as The Doctor. He’s a fine actor, but never seemed to enjoy playing The Doctor and didn’t seem comfortable in the role. I liked his season and thought the stories were great, but I always had to remind myself that I was watching Doctor Who because he never really inhabited the role. Tennant on the other hand truly loves Doctor Who and totally became “The Doctor.” I also liked Tom Baker and Peter Davison in the role. My least favorite was probably Colin Baker.

      • Jennifer

        See, for me, the sense that Eccleston wasn’t entirely comfortable in the role brought an edge to his performance that was entirely missing with David Tennant. Don’t get me wrong – I ended up liking Tennant and was sorry to see him go. It just that of the two recent Doctors, I prefer Eccleston’s. Chacon son gout. (But hey, I enjoyed most of the actors who’ve played the role, yes, even occasionally Colin Baker.)

  • palais

    I remember watching the occasional episode of Doctor Who on CBC as a kid and thinking it was cheesier than Star Trek: OS ( which I loved). Thankfully, my best friend convinced me to give the reboot a try and I am so grateful to her for pushing me. I loved Eccelston, but David Tennant is my Doctor ( although I admit to having fond memories of Tom Baker as well, despite the poor production values).

  • Jo

    I wonder how many people answering this poll have even seen anything before Eccleston. Seriously, it’s great if you love Tennant and all but you can hardly say he’s the best Doctor EVER if you haven’t seen more than two. The older Doctors were fantastic, and many of them surpassed Tennant by a mile. Hell, Eccleston was better than Tennant.

    • Karen

      I watched all Doctors and there is no doubt in my mind David Tennant surpasses them all. Followed closely by Tom Baker.

    • Tara

      Sorry, I’ve watched all of them (though I need to check out a few more Hartnell stories), and listened to a hell of a lot of audios, and I still think David is the best.

  • RyRyNYC

    I love David Tennant… he also had the best companions in Rose Tyler and Donna Noble. I can re-watch Series 2 and Series 4 over and over and over again.

    • Heather

      Eh, Rose annoyed me (and they just wouldn’t get rid of her!). But I loved Donna and Martha.

      • Kathy

        Funny, I’m just the opposite…have a hard time re-watching the Donna episodes, but love Rose and Martha. David Tennant is my hero!!!

  • Kara

    I grew up with Tom Baker and was totally against a new Dr Who. In the last years, David has endeared himself to me even more than the doctors of my childhood.

  • Stephanie T

    Tom Baker was the best Doctor Who. Tennant is good, but just really hot!

  • aanaw

    Peter will always be “my” doctor. I LOVED Eccleston and Tennat equally, but I have such fond memories of my childhood and #5 and crew travelling around. I also loved Sylvester McCoy, because he saved the series after Tom Baker, et al.,destroyed it!

    • aanaw

      Not Tom Baker, Colin Baker, whoops! Tom was great! Colin was an absolute drag.

  • Joel

    I will admit to being introduced to Who with the new series. I have since gone back and watched a couple of older specials starring Tom Baker, but those are the only three I can really compare.

    I think Eccleston was a much better Doctor than Tennant, but we only got him for on year. I did grow to love Tennant in the role, but I still go back and watch the Eccleston season and marvel at how great he was in the role.

    • pete

      Alright everyone, hold on. If they ever make a CGI tom baker(with his voice over) it would be awesome. His voice is the most frighteningly mad inteligent voice ever, and the look is unnerving. He started the whole walk up to a rediculous monster and say Hello….! He was the first and last (except for eccleston) to actually be insane. That is the way a time traveler would end up.
      NOONE touches baker unless their mad mad mad with a side of crazy.

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