The 9th Doctor, as portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, had the mighty task of reintroducing the Doctor to a modern audience after nearly a decade since the last adventure (the TV Movie starring Paul McGann). The 9th Doctor always put me in mind of William Hartnell’s 1st Doctor as they were both prickly no-nonsense characters who didn’t suffer fools gladly. Here are the five episodes I think are Nine’s best.
The very first episode of the new series introduced us to Rose Tyler, an ordinary teenager played by Billie Piper, who was the surrogate character for everyone new to Who. During this episode, she meets a mysterious man named the Doctor who saves her from marauding shop window dummies (the Autons). Christopher Eccleston delivers 9’s lines perfectly when he says his life is not glamourous but just him standing up and making a decision because nobody else will. The short monologue the Doctor delivers about being able to feel the Earth turning beneath his feet when Rose asks him who he really is was the moment when Christopher Eccleston really became the Doctor in the minds of many people watching. This episode also introduced the “anyone can be a hero” theme as Rose Tyler helps the Doctor defeat the Nestene Consciousness.
Until this episode aired the Daleks were largely seen as a joke in most people’s eyes. Here the Dalek was a malicious, devious and nigh-invincible alien intelligence that wiped out everything in its path. We were also introduced to Henry van Statten, a rich and morally shortsighted businessman, whose character foreshadowed the kind of enemies that the Doctor would encounter throughout the new series. 9 gets some GREAT lines in this episode like when he tells van Statten “You’re as far from the stars as you can get” and his enraged scream “WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE?!” at the Dalek, causing the cyborg to commend him on his hate. This also brought in the idea that the 9th Doctor was not so different from the monsters he had spent his previous regeneration trying to destroy. Humanity ultimately prevailed, as the Dalek no longer wished to hate and kill after being imbued with some of Rose’s DNA, and the Dalek destroyed itself.
This episode deftly balanced human drama with sci-fi horror. Rose asks the Doctor to take her back to see her father before he dies. The Doctor agrees and Rose ends up saving her dad’s life which causes the Reapers, creatures who appear when something is wrong with time, to begin devouring people. There are some really great human moments with Rose and her mum and dad, played by Camille Coduri and Shaun Dingwall. The Doctor gets some nice scenes where he promises to save a married couple because they are at the beginning of an adventure he can never have, and when he calls Rose out on her manipulation of events for her own personal gain. The theme of a hero being anyone is present again as Pete, Rose’s dad, sacrifices his own life to put events back the way they were and get rid of the Reapers.
The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
This two-parter introduced Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman, who kicks ass. We also got a genuinely terrifying and meme-able monster in the gas mask zombies, as well as the famous “EVERYBODY LIVES!” quote shouted by 9 after he reprograms the nanobots to heal the zombies and bring them back to life. We also saw the Doctor and Rose’s relationship become deeper, as they are so preoccupied with dancing they don’t notice that Captain Jack has teleported them out of the prison cell. Of note too is the moment where Christopher Eccleston scolds a room full of zombies in the most non-threatening way imaginable and tells them to go to their room. Even better is that it actually works and 9 lampshades this by saying that they would be terrible last words. These episodes also touched on the heroism of Britain during World War 2, as the Doctor marvels at the country’s courage “A mouse in front of a lion” referring to the British taking up arms against Nazi Germany. This would be important in the two-part finale of series 1 as well.
Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways
The Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack wake up in various game shows, which are revealed to be taking place on Satellite 5 in the far future. After some investigating, the Doctor realizes that something is controlling and manipulating humanity, which is revealed to be the Daleks. Christopher Eccleston gets a stupendous moment when the Daleks order him to surrender when he says “No” and goes on to describe how he will rescue Rose and destroy the Daleks. There is a lovely moment when a hologram of the Doctor tells Rose to have a fantastic life after he tricks her into letting the TARDIS take her home. I also liked John Barrowman’s courage as Captain Jack in the face of utter destruction as the Daleks stalk him through the corridors of Satellite 5 and exterminate him. Rose proves herself to be a true hero by not giving up and finding a way to return and help the Doctor, and we see the conclusion of the 9th Doctor’s arc as he chooses not to destroy all life on Satellite 5 unlike his predecessor, the War Doctor, and regenerates at peace with himself.
Those are my top 5 Ninth Doctor episodes. Do you agree? Would you like to have seen Christopher Eccleston stay longer than one year? Leave a comment below and have a fantastic day.