Doctor Who – every regeneration ahead of David Tennant’s finale

AS David Tennant will regenerate tonight into Matt Smith, or rather the tenth Doctor into the 11th, I found these great videos on You Tube on every previous regeneration – from William Hartnell to the present day.

As someone who used to watch Who back in the day, but only became a massive fan with the new series, it is interesting to see the range of techniques that were used previously, depending on the show runner of the day.

As I write this, the only thing I can say for certain is that the world will change tonight, Matt Smith has enormous shoes to fill and there will be an ‘explosive’ regeneration, like nine to 10.

I’ll see you on the other side and in the meantime, have a look and brace yourself for tonight.

What do you think? I think Tom Baker‘s dressing room scene is my favourite, while I also wish I knew more about Patrick Troughton, who seems to be perfectly cast as the Doctor.

As it says in the video, I wonder what people watching the first regeneration between William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton must have made of it? Although obviously bound by special effects, it is still very effective and must have been mind-blowing!

So, farewell then, Tom Baker. He was my Doctor, so to see him go was upsetting for young me, and I remember the ‘life flashing before his eyes’ scene with great affection. However, just what the hell was the watcher all about, apart from wasting everybody’s time?

Never used before or since, and rightly so.

Poor old Peter Davison had to compete against an enormous pair of breasts, which was apt as Colin Baker‘s Doctor was a right tit to begin with. The show also went mad with costumes from now, and not in a good way. What were they thinking?

Was the Colin Baker – Sylvester McCoy regeneration the worst ever? It must be up there as the BBC’s betrayal of the show obviously starts to hit the budget. And despite being panned the mid 1990s TV movie regeneration was very well done –  the Doctor is tortured by people who are trying to save him, with great special effects and fantastic production values.

Shame Paul McGann never got a fair crack of the whip, with even his regeneration happening elsewhere.

And then we have Christopher Eccleston to Tennant. Now as I said I love new Who, but was not really affected by this regeneration.

Watchng it again now, I don’t think Eccleston’s lighthearted tone helps establish the seriousness of what is happening as he blathers on about planet Barcelona, even though he is doing it to reassure Rose. I think the fact he’d only been in the role for 13 episodes meant it was hard to feel much of a connection too – it was over before it started.

In contrast, I remember being excited that David Tennant had got the role, because he was very much the up and coming actor of the moment and he has more than justified that excitement several times over since then.

And now it comes to this – the end of Doctor number 10, with Doctor Who at the pinnacle of its power since its own 2005 rebirth. And in the 11th Doctor, we have the beginning of a new era, with the Moff at the helm.

While part of me wishes David Tennant would have stayed on for another year, we’ll always have the good times. And we never did get to Barcelona.

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4 thoughts on “Doctor Who – every regeneration ahead of David Tennant’s finale

  • Jamie Mac


    Tom Baker’s final story is a big memory from my childhood. I was only four when it was transmitted, but I remember my mum was painting the living room door when Doctor Four turned into Doctor Five and it felt like five years passed between the end of that series and the beginning of the next one.

    I wasn’t aware until i read it in Doctor Who Magazine years later that in the Colin Baker/Sylvester McCoy regeneration, ‘Colin’ is really Sylvester in a blonde curly wig because they couldn’t persuade Doctor Six to come back and film the changeover scene. Amazing how you can fool a tellyviewer…

  • I like the fact that all the regenerations are different, or have been up to now. In fact I think The Watcher one is one of the best – it’s heavily foreshadowed all through the story and I like the idea that the Doctor is being stalked by his successor. Creepy and weird, just like all the best bits of Who.

    Davison’s is a good one too – “Is this death?” – and his is equally flagged up throughout the Caves of Androzani, one of the best stories ever, if not the best.

    Poor Colin and Sylv got a bit of a raw deal, and it shows in their regeneration.

    Still, Nicola Bryant’s fantastic breasts are now immortal – and that’s not only good, it’s just right.

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