Old Who’s – Each Doctor’s Character Defining Moment
Old Doctor Who

Each incarnation of the Doctor has a defining moment, in his regeneration lifespan which really captures the essence of ‘that’ Doctor character.

It might be nothing more than a rambling speech, an innocuous glance, or a few stolen words with another character. It might not (at the time) even be seen as a pivotal moment, until much later.

Here is our list of career defining moments :

William Hartnell’s First Doctor – The Dalek Invasion Of Earth


William Hartnell’s Doctor had always been distant and crotchety old git; up until this moment from The Dalek Invasion Of Earth embued him in a new light.

The moment in question, was after Granddaughter Susan decided to remain on Earth with her freedom fighter boyfriend – leaving the Tardis for good.

Hartnell’s wistful and heartfelt speech reminded us that; underneath the tough exterior, lay two hearts pining for the loss of a flesh-and-blood relative.


The First Doctor : “One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me I am not mistaken in mine.”

Partick Troughton’s Second Doctor – The War Games


It wasn’t that Patrick Troughton didn’t have any fine moments, prior to his final turn in The War Games. It was just that his closing speech during his Timelord trial finally summed up what his Doctor was really all about.

We also felt incredibly sorry for his predicament and bravery – considering he had called in the Timelord’s to rescue a bunch of human captives, whilst giving up his own personal freedom.

Until that point, we had steadily grown used to Troughton’s brand of eccentricity over the previous 3 seasons but it wasn’t until he actually left; that we really understood – just how good a Doctor he had been.


Time Lord : “We have accepted your plea that there is evil in the universe that must be fought, and that you still have a part to play in that battle!”
Second Doctor : “What? You mean that you’re going to let me go free?”
Time Lord : “Not entirely. We have noted your particular interest in the planet Earth. The frequency of your visits must have given you special knowledge of that world and it’s problems!”
Second Doctor : “Yes, I suppose that’s true. Earth seems more vulnerable than others, yes?”
Time Lord: “For that reason you will be sent back to that planet!”
Doctor : “Oh, good!”
Time Lord : “In exile!”
Second Doctor : “In exile?”
Time Lord : “You will be sent to Earth in the twentieth century, and will remain there for as long as we deem proper, and for that period the secret of the Tardis will be taken from you!”

Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor – The Green Death


Jon Pertwee’s Doctor was flamboyant, larger-than-life and we were blessed with a wealth of moments from his 4 years in the role.

However, it was one of the Dandy Doctor’s more subtle moment at the end of The Green Death that really made the Third Doctor; following the departure of beloved companion – Jo Grant.

Having met and fell in love with a fellow environmentalist – called Professor Jones; Jo had no more time for the Doctor’s adventures and left his company. This left the Doctor to quietly rue the loss of his favourite companion, before climbing into Bessie and driving off alone. Powerful stuff.


Third Doctor : “Save me a piece of wedding cake!”
Jo : “Right!”
Third Doctor : “Oh, I nearly forgot. Your wedding present!”
(The Doctor gives Jo a blue Metabelis crystal.)
Jo : “It’s beautiful. Thank you, Doctor!”
Professor Jones : “Hey, Jo, come and drink a toast to the happy couple…..”
(The Doctor sneaks out, only Jo notices)

Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor – The Ark In Space


There are many moments from Tom Baker’s era, which could be worthy of defining the Fourth Doctor. It was a tough call between the Doctor’s – “do I have the right?” speech from Genesis Of The Daleks and this; the Doctor’s “Indomitable” speech from The Ark In Space.

Even more impressive, as Baker was only in his second full episode as the Fourth Doctor – by this point. As he lamented about the ingenuity of the human race in avoiding plague and catastrophe, by going into hypersleep aboard an orbiting space station.


Fourth Doctor : “Homo Sapiens! What an inventive, invincible species. It’s only a few millions years since they’ve crawled out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenseless, bipeds. They’ve survived flood, famine and plague, they’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts, and now here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life, ready to outsit eternity. They’re indomitable! Indomitable!”

Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor – Earthshock


The Fifth Doctor’s moment came after a Cybermen invasion force had taken over a spacefreighter he was travelling on.

Whilst being held captive on the bridge, the Doctor engaged in a powerful exchange with the Cyberleader and in doing so; betrayed a tangible human side.


The Doctor : “Emotions have their uses!”
Cyber Leader: “They restrict and curtail the intellect and logic of the mind.”
The Doctor: “They also enhance life! When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?”
Cyber Leader: “These things are irrelevant!”
The Doctor: “For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!”

Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor – Trial Of A Timelord


This was a tough one, as Colin Baker’s Doctor didn’t get enough episodes to really flesh his Doctor out and he will always be remembered for being highly arrogant and conceited.

However, it was during his trial in Trial Of A Timelord; that the Sixth Doctor finally met someone who was more arrogant and conceited than himself – the Valeyard.

And it was, in their courtroom exchanges that the Sixth Doctor was at his best. Memorably, on one or two occaisons, referring to the Chief Prosecutor (disparagingly) as, “The Boatyard” and “The Knackers Yard”.


Sixth Doctor : “Well, you may have been selected to prosecute me, Valeyard, but I hope you’ll never be chosen to defend me!”

Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor – Remembrance Of The Daleks


Remembrance Of The Daleks can be considered as the episode where the Seventh Doctor finally dropped the clown act and became the dark destroyer of worlds.

As he unleashed the Hand Of Omega on the Dalek planet of Skaro, destroying it. Whilst gloating at Davros, for falling into his carefully constructed trap.


Seventh Doctor : “Dalek!! You have been defeated. Surrender. You have failed!”
Last Dalek : “Insufficient data……!”
Seventh Doctor : “Your forces are destroyed. Your home planet a burnt cinder circling a dead sun!”
Last Dalek : “There is no data!”
Seventh Doctor : “Even Davros, your creator, is dead!”

Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor


This was another tough one, simply because of The Eighth Doctor’s short run of only; 1 – 1 hour 30min adventure and a 6 minute epilogue 17 years later. Whilst the Eighth Doctor had a few nice moments with Grace Holloway in Doctor Who : The TV Movie, there is not enough there to truly define his character. Which is pretty much the Eighth Doctor’s appeal – isn’t it?

Well that is our list of Doctor “definers”, what is yours?

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