The hat, the scarf, the manic manner, the comic timing, his diction, and his “silly walks”—Baker was a talking, Oxford-educated Harpo Marx . The kids, and their Mom too, adored Baker, and we watched the show faithfully during those years. My youngest son begged his aunt to knit him a floor-sweeping Whovian scarf for Christmas, and we hunted used clothing stores for a cool old hat to go with it.
Time passed for us, as it never quite does in the TARDIS. The kids got older and began to lose interest when the Doctor regenerated next. We never entirely warmed to the handsome, dapper Peter Davidson with his question marks and 1890s university cricketer’s garb. We drifted away.
KA-ZAM! There he was, a brand new Doctor! This show clearly had a budget and enjoyed the benefit of the CG revolution. Somewhere in the hiatus, our hoary old Doctor had become a “valuable BBC property.”
Christopher Eccelston only gave the series 13 episodes, but I LOVED him. He was an excellent choice for the Doctor’s 21st Century revival, the ninth reincarnation of the mystery man. This was a visceral, dangerous Doctor—as well as being unpredictable and wizard-wise. The new scripting, too, was exciting, the best writing yet, while firmly grounded in the tradition of the series.
Romance for the Doctor and his companion was another innovation that was a GOOD THING, adding some spice to the character’s lonely Flying Dutchman persona. (The “Companions” have been shorted in this reminiscence, but they’ve always been an integral part of the Whovian equation.) Rose Tyler and The Doctor shared the series’ first kiss. It was an electric moment.
Regeneration into #11, and new writers have sent the show on a Matrix-out-of-Stephen-King turn. I’m slow to warm to this new Doctor, Matt Smith. All I can say for now is that like Merlin, the character seems to be aging backwards. The bow-tie-tweed jacket bit, however, seems to be a retro turn intoThe Doctor’s “academic” past.