Doctor Who - The Ninth Doctor
The Ninth Doctor Who
After sixteen years off air, Doctor Who returned to BBC in 2005 with Series One of what would become the regenerated franchise, with writer and producer Russell Davies at the helm.
The Doctor had clearly been travelling for quite awhile and even before he said it, you knew something traumatic had happened by the look in his eye. But, nothing can diminish the Doctor's sense of justice or his ability to deliver it.
Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor
Christopher Eccleston is a well known British actor who took up the role when the series finally came back in 2005. Unlike many of the previous Doctors, Eccleston was not a Doctor Who or science-fiction fan before being approached about the role in 2004.
Active in the theatre since high school, Eccleston attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in the late 1980s, emerging as a professional stage actor at 25, though the early years of his career were marked by long droughts between gigs. Before 30, he'd found a prominent and recurring role on the series “Cracker,” and played in a high profile version of Agatha Christie's “Poirot.”
The BBC2 series, “Our Friends in the North,” made him a household name in the UK, along with co-star Daniel Craig (who would go on to play that other seemingly immortal British character, James Bond). His break with the show likely came while playing the lead character in the much-acclaimed ITV drama serial, “The Second Coming,” written by Russell Davies.
Eccleston was also active in both A-list and independent film during the 1990s and early 'aughts. Though he worked very solidly in both television and film, his contribution to the latter has been most publicly noted for his roles in “28 Days Later” and “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
By no means the youngest actor to play the Doctor, he brought a curious mix of youth and agedness to the role that made it so very convincing for a whole new generation of fans. However, despite rumours that he'd left after a single season to avoid type-casting, it was eventually revealed that he'd only signed on for a single season because the BBC had little faith that the New Doctor Who would take of as it has.
Since then, Eccleston has continued acting both in the UK and abroad, appearing as a recurring character on “Heros” and in several films for screen and television. He also has continued to be very active (running marathons for fun) with both his fitness and charitable work.
How did Christopher Eccleston play the Ninth Doctor?
This Doctor was, in a word, tortured. Like the Fourth Doctor before him, this incarnation was very good at using humour to his advantage in difficult situations. He also uses it to cover up when his own emotions threaten to bubble to the surface as they occasionally do throughout Series One.
The Ninth Doctor exhibited both a quit and tortured persona and a happy, almost glib, maniacal streak. Obviously lonely, his overture to get Rose to accompany him on his travels (and leave her boyfriend in a heap) does not belie how important her company is to him. Indeed, we can see his character change a bit throughout the course of Season One, with his dark moods being tempered by Rose's very human sensibilities.
Eccleston's Doctor is notable for how very subdued his appearance makes him appear, even if he's just as physically and verbally ebullient as any of his predecessors. His black coat and non-descript mode of dress are very different from the branded and eccentric costumes of the past. In short, the Ninth Doctor is all business, even if he does it with a quick laugh now and again.
Though Eccleston only played the Doctor for a single series, there is no doubt that he set the new standard for how the Doctor will be played well into the run of the Second Doctor Who.
What was the most recognisable trademark of the Ninth Doctor?
The Ninth Doctor was more modern looking than many of his predecessors were – no long scarves or hats in evidence here. There was a real effort to bring the series firmly into the 21st century, and by most accounts, it worked. The character is presented to us as if he was a homicide detective on a leave of absence with closely shorn hair and a “wash-and-wear” wardrobe.
His simple, black leather jacket was the only item of clothing that was particularly descript – it, like Rose, is a constant companion throughout the series. It may not have nearly as many pockets as some of the more flamboyant long-coats worn by his earlier selves, but the Doctor is very good at pulling very useful items from the pockets when needed.
Who were the Ninth Doctor’s assistants?
The Slitheens, intent upon taking Earth as their own, made a memorable first appearance in “Aliens of London”, following that up with nearly bringing on “World War Three” in the next episode of the same name. They make another appearance in “Boomtown,” and are an integral part of the series-long “Bad Wolf” story.
“Dalek” also brought back a familiar and dreaded foe, one that was supposed to have been completely and utterly destroyed in the Time War. That even a single one has escaped calls his entire sacrifice of Galifrey and the Time Lords into question.
While not strictly a foe, the children in the gas masks as seen in the two part serial, “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances,” are among the creepiest appearances ever on the show. Series One has several instances of the Gothic horror that the BBC is renowned for.
Autons, as controlled by the Nestine consciousness, are a returning villain, not seen since their defeat by the Third Doctor over 30 years before. We find out that their home-world (like many others) has been destroyed as collateral damage in the Time War.
Other foes include the The Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe who runs Satellite Five, the Gelth and the Reapers.
What technology did he rely on?
Of course, the radical redesign of the TARDIS for the New Series is perhaps the biggest change to technology that is shown. Instead of being the old familiar white control station, the new ship is a much larger set with the basic elements of the old TARDIS remaining while the feel and finish of this shop has been described by many as “organic".
The Ninth Doctor’s reign was notable for the fact that we saw the return of the sonic screwdriver – much modernised and apparently able to do far more than it could in the past. This one emits a blue light and has several more settings than previous models.
The Doctor also benefited from “mildly” psychic paper, which appeared as blank to a few very clever people, but usually was seen as whatever kind of ID the Doctor wanted someone to see.
Nano-robots from the Chula Medical Transport that Captain Jack is found on play an important role in both causing and curing problems, the technology itself being benign. Jack also carries a site-to-site trans-mat bracelet that the doctor does not approve of.
Doctor Who- The Ninth Regeneration
The Doctor's ninth regeneration
Facing a dire Dalek threat, the Doctor cannot simply stand by and let Rose be consumed by the energy of the TARDIS, so he gives his life to save hers in a final act before regeneration into his 10th form during the episode, “The Parting of the Ways.” Without this act of bravery on her part, she's able to both defeat the Daleks and save the Doctor’s life.
At the end of it, Rose briefly sees the face of the Tenth Doctor as he's introduced to us in the next episode “The Christmas Invasion.” Having been most recently “pushed” into regenerating early by the power of both the Matrix and the Eye of Harmony.
Filmography of the Ninth Doctor
Series 1 – 2005
- Rose – The Doctor, newly regenerated, is looking for the Nestine consciousness and meets Rose instead.
- The End of the World – On a station observing the fiery destruction of the Earth 5.5 billion years in the future, a malfunction seems to be a directed action.
- The Unquiet Dead – A trip to 19th century London find the Doctor and Rose in good company while they investigate a particularly curious type of “haunting”.
- Aliens of London / World War Three – The Earth is being invaded by a race called the Slitheen, who have assumed positions of power in government.
- Dalek – A secret facility that captures space junk has something particularly dangerous in their collection.
- The Long Game – Not all is as it seems on Satellite Five during the Fourth Great Human Empire.
- Father's Day – The Doctor takes Rose back to see the day her Father died, but she just can't leave history alone, no matter how dire the consequences.
- The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances – A mysterious ship leads the TARDIS to London during the Blitz, where something is making the children act very oddly.
- Boom Town – Cardiff has a new mayor and she's pushing progress through at all costs.
- Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways – Upon revisiting what should be the Fourth Human Empire, Humanity seems to have been impaired by horrible reality shows, but an even darker force is behind it all on Satellite Five.
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