Doctor Who - The New Series

The Ninth Doctor

Played by: Christopher Eccleston (2005 only)

Age: 900 years old when he first appears. (1,136 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 ninth 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: This ninth incarnation of the Doctor (following on from Paul McGann in the 1998 TV movie) is a man of dichotomy; much of the time he appears to be an amiable buffoon, taking a childlike joy in the strange and wonderful events he encounters. But sometimes this happiness drops away to reveal a harsher, darker personality beneath. Although not quite manic depression, the Doctor's emotions are rarely predictable. He can face bloodthirsty monsters with a smile and a wisecrack or react to the smallest thing out of place with sudden quietness and suspicion.

When he is "up", he tends to run into situations oblivious of the world around him and when "down" he becomes quiet and contemplative. Having a millennium of experience, the Doctor is far more knowledgeable than he might initially appear. However, he never wallows in technobabble and will usually use language suitable for whomever he is speaking to at the time.

During the course of the first season it turns out that his people were caught up in a Time War against the Daleks, a breed of Nazi-esque merciless killers who want to exterminate all other lifeforms. The Doctor, it seems, played a pivotal role in the war, destroying his home planet and the Dalek species with it. None of this has yet been shown onscreen, and must have occurred sometime inbetween the 1998 movie and the first episode of this season.

This Doctor also seems to have little time for fools and generally looks down upon humanity for not achieving its potential - in this way he reflects his garrulous first incarnation. However he is willing to give his respect to anyone who risks their life to do the right thing, and has made more offers to potential companions in a short space of time than many of his previous versions. Like his second incarnation he can be disarmingly playful and like his seventh regeneration he can be sly and manipulative. He is a lot harsher towards villains than his former regenerations, presumably due to the emotional effect of the Time War, and is much more willing to let his enemies die.

Unlike his previous incarnations, this Doctor dresses very casually. He wears just a black leather jacket, black trousers, shoes and a coloured t-shirt. Only his t-shirt changes from episode to episode.

He speaks with a thick Northern accent, much to the amusement of some of the people he encounters. This is the first time that the Doctor has spoken with a northern English accent; he usually speaks in a nondescript Southern English voice, although his seventh incarnation spoke in a light Scots brogue. When questioned about his accent, the ninth Doctor explains that "lots of planets have a North".

The Doctor carries a sonic screwdriver - a general all-purpose gadget - and psychic paper, which shows the viewer to see what they want to see rather than what is written dowm. This allows the Doctor access to places he might normally be turned away from.

The Ninth Doctor's companions were Rose Tyler, Adam Mitchell and Captain Jack Harkness.

Appearances First season: The Doctor appears in all episodes.

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