January 1st, 2010 marked the end of Russell T. Davies’ five-year reign as show-runner for the reinvigorated Doctor Who series. Back in 2005, much to everyone’s surprise, the BBC’s long-running, much-maligned, sci-fi series had evolved from vague scheduling embarrassment to a cultural phenomenon. Equally unlikely was the notion that the then-relatively-unknown actor David Tennant as the 10th Doctor could usurp the likes of fan-favorites John Pertwee and Tom Baker, amongst the most popular Doctor Whos of all time.
His four years as the Timelord saw plenty of highs (and a few lows) and, to celebrate the end of an era, here is our top pick of the 10th Doctor’s finest adventures.
10. Army of Ghosts/Doomsday
“Rise of the Cybermen” and “The Age of Steel” can be seen as weak returns for the Doctor’s silvery foes, but it did at least foreground this ambitious season two finale. With the Cybermen imprisoned in a parallel universe, along with Mickey Smith and Rose’s alternate-world dad Pete, the Doctor returns to Earth to discover Torchwood has access to technology causing one universe to filter into another!
After a brilliant first-part cliffhanger, the Doctor’s greatest foes – the Cybermen and Daleks – are up against each other in a bombastic showdown. It ties up neatly with the culmination of the unfolding apocalypse. It is a superb end to the trials of the Tyler family, delivering a touching farewell to one of the Timelord’s most popular companions. If there’s one thing that marks Russell T. Davies’ tenure as showrunner, it’s Doctor Who’s new-found emotional core. And, with the Doctor’s farewell to Rose on Bad Wolf Bay, it was heart-touching at best!
9. The Shakespeare Code
Amongst a bunch of comedy romps during Tennant’s time, none is quite as rounded as Martha Jones’ inaugural historical adventure in Elizabethan London, 1599. Here the Carrionites’ invasion is inextricably linked to the fortunes of the world’s best-loved bard.
Here there’s no real reverence for Shakespeare in Gareth Roberts’ script; rather it’s packed with genuinely funny references to the playwright (play titles slipped into the dialogue). Dean Lennox Kelly as the slightly saucy bard shines in this raucous escapade before Martha Jones’ character arc plummets into the clichéd depths of lovelorn tedium. Additionally, its glorious effects and footage at the Globe Theatre breathe stunning life into Elizabethan London.