Doctor Who - The New Series
The Tenth Doctor
Played by: David Tennant (2005-2010)
Age: Approx. 900 years old when he first appears. (1,137 if including previous series and spin-off novels)
Occupation: Adventurer, time traveller.
Background: The Doctor is a Time Lord, one of a race of aliens from the planet Gallifrey who took it upon themselves to watch over the universe and make sure that the timeline was not disturbed. Time Lords can potentially live forever, but if their bodies suffer severe or fatal damage, they must regenerate into new bodies. Although theoretically the same person, the Time Lord experiences a complete change in appearance and personality each time. This is the tenth of the Doctor's regenerations.
During the Doctor's first regeneration (played in the original 1960s series by William Hartnell), he grew weary of the stuffy life of the Time Lords and stole a TARDIS, one of their time-travel machines, so that he could run off and have adventures. His TARDIS came fitted with a chameleon circuit which was designed to change its appearance to make it blend in with the relevant time period.
However, on a visit to the 1960s the circuit broke and the TARDIS was trapped in the shape of a police telephone box - one of the boxes used by the public in the days before widespread telecommunications. The Doctor could fix it if he wanted to, but he likes it as it is. He uses the TARDIS to travel in time and space, where he generally appears at crisis points in history and helps save the day, even if that day hasn't technically happened yet.
Character: After the damaged, morose and lost Ninth Doctor, this iteration of the character comes as something of a shock to the system. In fact, he is the exact opposite of his predecessor in many ways; the Ninth Doctor was largely quiet and serious, and gave the impression that his moments of levity and silliness were there to mask his true emotions. The Tenth Doctor, on the other hand, bounces around like an overactive chlid, overcome with giddiness about the wonderful worlds he can explore and enthusing about the smallest things.
However, just as the Ninth Doctor had his moments of lightness, so the Tenth Doctor has his episodes of darkness. After defeating the leader of the Sycorax, a warrior race that threatened to kill one third of the Earth's population, the Doctor turned his back to walk away. No sooner had he done so, however, than the Sycorax leader got up and attempted to stab him in the back. The Doctor reacted by throwing him from the side of the ship to his death. This "no second chances" did not turn up too often in the second series, but when it did it spelled death for whoever was on the receiving end (most notably the Krillitanes in 2.03, "School Reunion", who got only one warning before the Doctor did them in).
Another noticeable difference is that this Doctor takes a more active role in his adventures. Whereas his predecessor would encourage others to step up to the plate and help solve the problem, this Doctor is more than capable of sorting out the baddies himself, by taking part in a swordfight in sp.02, "The Christmas Invasion"; zapping a werewolf in 2.02, "Tooth and Claw"; leaping through doorways in time on a white steed in 2.04, "The Girl in the Fireplace" or jumping into the maw of Hell in 2.09, "The Satan Pit".
He also has a very different reaction to humans - whereas the Ninth Doctor seemed perpetually disappointed with the mistakes that the human race made, this Doctor loves them for their enormous potential and desire to explore. He is also more comfortable with shows of affection, hugging relative strangers in 2.08, "The Impossible Planet" and showing more respect for Mickey after he joins the TARDIS crew. He even seems to like Jackie now, and their interactions are generally more playful than they were before.
This 'opposite Doctor' method also exists on a more superficial level; he has a chirpy Southern Cockney accent instead of a deep and dour Northern one. His clothing - 'geek chique' pinstripe suit, shirt and tie and Converse Chuck Taylor trainers - is the opposite of the Ninth Doctor's t-shirt, leather jacket, casual trousers and shoes combo. And while the Ninth Doctor had an imposing, medium-large build, this Doctor is as thin as a whippet.
Despite his largely more cheerful demeanour, however, this Doctor is still haunted by the Time War between his people and the Daleks.
The Tenth Doctor's companions are Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, Donna, Captain Jack Harkness and Martha Jones.
First season: Appears in episode 1.13, "The Parting of the Ways".
Second season: Appears in all episodes, including the Pudsey Cutaway and Christmas specials.
Third season: Appears in all episodes, including the Christmas special and the animated special.