“There should have been another way.”

5thdoctoranotherwayThe 5th Doctor’s youthful appearance was coupled with a different demeanour. He lacked the striking presence of his predecessor, more likely to observe and contemplate than burst into a room.

Much of this must lie in his first adventure during ‘Castrovalva’ where a child taught him to see the title city as it really was. From this moment forth he had to open his mind, realising how much he didn’t know.

Time and again this humble attitude stood him in good stead, particularly during ‘Kinda/Snake Dance.’ This rebirth made the universe exciting and new to the Doctor. There was still plenty to discover.

More than ever the Doctor travelled for enjoyment. When the TARDIS failed to go where he wanted he still took the time to explore, encouraging his companions to appreciate their surroundings.

Inheriting a full set of companions the Doctor was more of a friend than a mentor or father figure. First impressions are important and Nyssa, Tegan and Adric certainly proved their worth, protecting him through the first difficult hours of his regeneration when he was most vulnerable.

He was much more likely to listen to his companions, giving advice rather than lecturing. The Doctor’s emotion connection was evident in the heated arguments that could arise when they disagreed.

Trouble seemed to find the Doctor, rather than the reverse. This Doctor was rarely charged with missions by higher powers, other than the distress call issued by the White Guardian in ‘Enlightenment.’

Even with the events of ‘The Arc of Infinity’ and ‘The Five Doctors’ he remained true to his original intent. Offered the role of President again he much prefered the prospect of going on the run again in a temperamental TARDIS.

The 5th Doctor did suffer more than his fare share of tragedy. Adric was the first companion who had travelled with him for a significant length of time to die, his loss effecting everyone in the TARDIS.

Tegan left him because she couldn’t stand the trauma she experienced by his side. She said it was no longer fun. The Doctor must have questioned what affect travelling with him had on his companions.

One could hardly blame Tegan for leaving. Death surrounded the Doctor. Perhaps his greatest failure was the events of ‘Warriors of the Deep.’ Only one person is saved during the adventure and the Doctor is forced to commit an act which he’d earlier argued was genocide.

“There should have been another way,” he says sadly before they leave.

Was this a defining moment for the Doctor? Did he realise that he needed to be someone different in order to save lives? Looking at how other incarnations of the Doctor’s view him can shed some light on how the 5th Doctor saw himself.

Upon regenerating the 6th Doctor is relieved, believing that his previous incarnation wasn’t him at all. Had he come to regret his choices? Can the more proactive 6th Doctor be seen as a reaction to the 5th Doctor?

Several regenerations later the 10th Doctor would meet his younger self and confide that he enjoyed being the 5th Doctor most of all. Bear in mind that the 10th Doctor was often defined by his regret and guilt over his actions during the Time War.

Did the 5th Doctor represent a time in his life when he didn’t have all that responsibility? When his youthful exterior allowed him to enjoy being young?  Whatever the truth no Doctor could afford to have the freedom the 5th Doctor did.

trialIn contrast the 6th Doctor was boastful and egotistical. His behaviour and garish clothes announced his presence where ever he went. By this stage he viewed himself as an expert on most topics, even taking up the challenge of trying to repair the TARDIS.

Although he did find time to take some pleasure trips many of the 6th Doctor’s adventures saw him actively following an agenda. Whether responding to distress calls or investigating a mystery he strode from the TARDIS with purpose.

The 6th Doctor was more than willing to get his hands dirty when fighting evil. During his unstable regeneration he briefly believes that Peri is evil and attempts to strangle her. Although he was never again as violent it was a good indication of what was to come.

This Doctor would take up arms against his opponents, push them into acid baths and otherwise take extreme measures. He rarely displayed any remorse or hesitation in taking these actions.

Just as before, this crusading Doctor eventually found himself on trial, forced to defend his own actions. The adventure he chooses to defend himself is ‘Terror of the Vervoids’. In his eyes this is the perfect example of the good he does but the Valeyard is quick to point out he committed genocide by wiping out an entire race.

During the Trial the Doctor makes two startling discoveries. Firstly that the High Council has tried to conceal their part in the fiery solar flare that devastated Earth and secondly that the Valeyard is possible further incarnation of himself.

This startling information taught the Doctor two things. That absolute power leads to corruption and that evil lay within him. His anger at his own people indicates that the Doctor didn’t count himself as one of them. It does, however, signal that the Time Lords fall into the same category as his enemies.

Should we infer anything from the fact that the Doctor doesn’t have any direct involvement with Gallifrey until the Time War? Although irregular the 3rd, 4th and 5th Doctor all had involvement with their home world, yet the 7th has no contact at all.

Did the Doctor deliberately isolate himself from his own people for fear of their corruption affecting him? Did he come to mistrust anyone with great power and did this inform his actions in his next incarnation?

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3 Responses to “There should have been another way.”

  1. Matthew C says:

    Great essay.
    According to the novel, Timewyrm Revelation, the fifth incarnation is that part of the Doctor’s psyche which is his conscience. There is a wonderful scene inside the Doctor’s mind, in which we see the fifth Doctor tied to a tree and bleeding from being tortured by the Seventh Doctor’s actions. In that novel, the fifth Doctor finally gets to show his newer self ‘another way,’ a non-violent solution to the evil of the Timewyrm.

  2. dailypop says:

    An interesting post that raises a lot of questions (though you may want to skim through and correct a few typos – they are rare on your blog so you must have been in a hurry this time).

    I do think that the Tenth Doctor’s adoration for the Fifth Doctor is simply an expression of David Tennant and Steven Moffat’s feeling more than anything else. It really makes little sense that one incarnation of the Doctor would dote on another as we saw in Time Crash. I also don’t see the Tenth Doctor suffering from guilt over his actions in the Time War at all, he is much more at ease with himself than his previous incarnation who seemed far more shell-shocked from the unseen events. The Tenth Doctor often declared himself as THE absolute authority above all others in every situation.

    The Seventh Doctor’s lack of involvement with Gallifrey was likely more to do with the production team wanting to develop a new approach and step away from the previous years’ appeal to die-hard fans rather than a narrative decision. Though the Seventh Doctor does claim in Remembrance of the Daleks to not only be the President-Elect but also the Keeper of the Legacy of Rassilon, so perhaps there are some unseen adventures that solidified that Doctor’s relationship to Gallifrey.

    Thank again for composing these brilliant articles and shedding a unique light on the program, It is much appreciated!

  3. etheruk1 says:

    There are totally production reasons why he Doctor’s character has changed over the years, not least of which that different people have written for him. For the purposes of these articles I’ve tried to restrict my viewpoint to what is presented within the fiction, examining how and why his motivations have changed.

    I did enjoy the books when they looked at what was happening to the previous incarnations in the Doctor’s mind. Particularly memorable is what happened to the 6th Doctor in ‘Head Games’ where he rages at the 7th Doctor for ‘killing’ him to take his place.

    I must say that the audios have done wonders for the 6th Doctor character. We did begin to see a mellower Doctor in his last season, particularly when he is sensitive to Peri finding out that Ravalox is Earth.

    Having him partnered with Evelyn in the audios has forced him to reign in some of his boastful and spiteful nature. This allows his concern for others to shine through and makes him consider his actions more. Before he didn’t seem to worry if he offended others and now it hurts him terribly if he unintentionally upsets someone.

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