Here’s my defining moments – one for each Doctor, one respectively for the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the various masters.
Warning: Major Spoilers for series 8’s finale!
1st Doctor (The Aztecs) – ‘You can’t rewrite history, not one line!’ The first Doctor was always a powerful figure of authority and here establishes the whole ‘fixed moment in time’ concept as he scolds companion Barbara for attempting to end the aztecs’ practice of human sacrifice…
2nd Doctor (The War Games) – ‘I am guilty of interference, just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!’ When the timelords finally caught up with the Doctor and charged him with interfering with other worlds, the Doctor had a few words of his own for his prosecutors, his impassioned plea showing exactly who the Doctor was, a man who felt a duty to help those in need.
3rd Doctor (The Green Death) – ‘So the fledgling flies the coup’ Goodbyes to companions have always been emotional, but the Third Doctor’s regret at Jo Grant’s departure was one of the first to really tug at the heartstrings. Pertwee’s best performance.
4th Doctor (Genesis of the Daleks) – ‘Do i have the right?’ Sent back in time by the timelords to exterminate the Daleks at their creation, the 4th Doctor prepares to do the unthinkable: genocide, before questioning whether he has the right to wipe out an entire species, even one as evil as the Daleks…
5th Doctor (Resurrection of the Daleks) – ‘I lack your practice Davros’ The Doctor decides to kill Davros to prevent him saving the Daleks, but while holding a gun to his head, hesitates. The exchange between the two is one of the greatest scenes in classic Who, but Davros had the final word: ‘action requires courage… something you lack’.
6th Doctor (The Ultimate Foe) – ‘Ten Million Years of absolute power, that’s what it takes to be really corrupt!’ The 6th Doctor was brash, rude and thoroughly argumentative, and here gives his best as he launches a tirade against his own people while on trial for his life. A great example of the Doctor’s defiance of authority and refusal to let injustice triumph.
7th Doctor (Remembrance of the Daleks) – ‘Conquer the galaxy, crush the lesser races, unimaginable power! Unlimited rice pudding! excetera excetera!’ The 7th Doctor taunts Davros and his megalomania hilariously, while secretly goading the villainous Dalek leader into activating a weapon that destroys the Daleks’ homeworld. The 7th Doctor at his manipulative best.
8th Doctor (Night of the Doctor) – ‘I don’t suppose there’s any need for a Doctor anymore’ The mini-episode preceeding the 50th anniversary shows why we should have had a full series with Paul McGann as the Doctor, rather than a (arguably sub-par) TV movie and audio stories – his acceptance that he must make way for a ‘warrior’ to fight in the time war is excellently played.
9th Doctor (Dalek) – ‘Why don’t you finish the job, and make the Daleks extinct, rid the universe of your filth, why don’t you just DIE!’ Christopher Eccleston’s best performances always came whenever he locked horns with the Daleks. While other incarnations have pitied or hated them, the Ninth Doctor’s fury was totally unrestrained due the events of the Time War and the moment when he rails at the (supposed) last Dalek shows just how much the war shaped his incarnation.
10th Doctor (The Waters of Mars) – ‘I’m not just a survivor, I’m the winner! The Timelord Victorious!’ One of Tennant’s best performances, the moment when the 10th Doctor loses control is subtlely terrifying and sets the scene for his fall in The End of Time perfectly.
11th Doctor (The Eleventh Hour) – ‘Hello, I’m the Doctor, basically… run!’ The 11th Doctor gets a stylish entrance from Moffat, and his final speech against the Atraxi shows off his flamboyance, madness and arrogance all in one go, ending with this final (fantastic) line.
12th Doctor (Heaven Sent) – ‘If you had any part of killing her, I’m coming to find you, and I will never ever stop’ Peter Capaldi’s one man show was the show performing at its Apex, as his desire to avenge Clara drives him to accomplish an impossible feat and escape from the Confession Dial’s seemingly fool-proof trap.
Daleks (The Evil of the Daleks) – ‘I think we’ve seen the end of the Daleks forever. The Final End!’ From one of the ‘lost episodes’ in the sixties, Who Fans have passed down a lingering memory of the moment the series (apparently) killed off the Daleks for good in a civil war the Doctor started on Skaro – they didn’t return for 5 whole years afterwards (whereas the modern series struggles to keep them away for 5 episodes!)
Cybermen – ‘This one calls himself the Doctor – and does nothing else but interfere!’ The cyber leader elaborates on the Doctor’s history to one of his minions in one of the greatest cybermen stories (title hidden because it’s better as a surprise) where their threat is so great even one of the Doctor’s companions doesn’t survive…
The Master (Roger Delgado) – ‘I have so few worthy enemies, I always miss them when they’re gone’ The Moriarty to the 3rd Doctor’s Sherlock, the two always had a genuine respect and rapport for each other that has defined the interactions between the two adversaries.
The Master (Antony Ainley) – ‘Will you show no mercy to your own…’ The second major actor to play the master, he was arguably the fifth Doctor’s greatest (and most persistent) opponent, until the moment when Davison’s Doctor finally turned the tables and left him to a fiery demise, despite his pleas of mercy, ending in the above tease. What was the final word going to be? You decide.
The Master (Eric Roberts) – ‘Life is wasted on the living!’ Roberts is the only American to have ever played the Master, but i like his performance – it’s OTT and overblown but suitably stylish and this line captures the master’s total indifference to life very well.
The Master (John Simm) – ‘Get out of the Way’ The master was originally planned to have been killed off in the 3rd Doctor’s final story after sacrificing himself to save the Doctor (only the tragic death of Roger Delgado prevented this). Russell T. Davies used parts of this idea in Tennant’s final story as John Simm’s version takes down Rassilon to avenge a lifetime ruined by the timelords, saving the 10th Doctor in the process.
Missy (Michelle Gomez) – ‘Well i couldn’t very well keep calling myself ‘The Master’ now, could I?’ The best thing about the superb series 8, Missy’s reveal was always going to be something special, whether you’d guessed the twist or not. The first female master, she plays the part beautifully, and the 12th Doctor’s horrified reaction to that line says it all.