Ninth Doctor

Ninth Doctor
The Doctor
Ninth Doctor.jpg
The Ninth Doctor
Portrayed by Christopher Eccleston
Tenure 2005
First appearance "Rose"
Last appearance "The Parting of the Ways"
Number of series 1
Appearances 10 stories (13 episodes)
Companions Rose Tyler
Adam Mitchell
Jack Harkness
Preceded by Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)
Succeeded by Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)
Series Series 1 (2005)

The Ninth Doctor is the ninth incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He is played by Christopher Eccleston.

Within the series' narrative, the Doctor is a centuries-old alien, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who travels in time in his TARDIS, frequently with companions. When the Doctor is critically injured, he can regenerate his body but in doing so gains a new physical appearance and with it, a distinct new personality. Eccleston portrays the ninth such incarnation, a brooding and melancholic war survivor after a Time War in which he wiped out both his race and the enemy Daleks. His first companion is Rose (Billie Piper), whom he plucks from obscurity on the planet Earth and to whom he grows increasingly attached. Eccleston's Doctor also travels briefly with unruly boy-genius Adam (Bruno Langley) and with 51st-century con man and former 'Time Agent' Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).



The original Doctor Who television series ceased production in 1989 with the Seventh Doctor. The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann appeared in the role just once on screen in the Doctor Who television movie in 1996. The appearance of the Ninth Doctor marked the regular return of the character to television screens after nearly sixteen years, and as a result for many young fans and new viewers he was the first Doctor they had ever seen. He was introduced without any information on his recent past; though it is implied in "Rose" that he may have recently regenerated - the Doctor looking in a mirror and commenting on his ears as though he hadn't seen them before-, the exact circumstances of that change are unclear.

Plot details

The Ninth Doctor is (to the best of his knowledge) the only survivor of the Time War. It is unspecified whether it was this incarnation of the Doctor or the previous who fought in the war.

After his regeneration, he helped save London from an invasion by the Autons, living plastic automatons animated by the Nestene Consciousness. He did this with the help of Rose Tyler, a teenager whom he subsequently invited to be a companion in his travels. The Doctor showed Rose the far future and Victorian Britain (specifically Cardiff, where a space-time rift was revealed to be situated) before returning to Rose's own era, where they fought off an attempt to destroy the Earth by the alien Slitheen family. When they journeyed to Utah in 2012, the Doctor found that a single Dalek was being kept in a secret museum filled with alien artefacts. There, the first details of the Time War fought by the Time Lords and Daleks were revealed, and how it concluded with the mutual annihilation of both races, leaving the Doctor the last of the Time Lords. A young man named Adam Mitchell travelled with them from Utah.

The Doctor, Rose, and Adam travelled to the future to Satellite 5, where they discovered a plot by the Jagrafess to manipulate Earth through its mass media. When Adam tried to smuggle future knowledge back to his own time, he became the first companion to be deliberately expelled from the TARDIS. After this, Rose persuaded the Doctor to return to the day her father, Pete Tyler, died, creating a temporal paradox by saving him, which nearly led to disaster until Pete sacrificed himself to set time right once more.

Following a mysterious spaceship to wartime London in 1941, the Doctor and Rose met Captain Jack Harkness, a confidence trickster and former Time Agent from the 51st century. Jack's latest con nearly caused a deadly nanotechnological plague to sweep through the human race, but he helped the Doctor and Rose end it prior to joining the TARDIS crew.

Going back to Cardiff to refuel the TARDIS from the rift, the Doctor, Rose and Jack found that one of the Slitheen had survived, posing as Margaret Blaine, the city's mayor. Blaine was exposed to the heart of the TARDIS, and was regressed into an egg. It was during this episode that the Doctor first noticed that he and Rose had kept coming across the words "Bad Wolf".

At some point, the Ninth Doctor had at least three unchronicled adventures, involving the sinking of the RMS Titanic, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and the eruption of Krakatoa in the 19th Century. These are revealed in "Rose", but their placement in the Ninth Doctor's chronology remains unknown. In "The Unquiet Dead", he also mentions that he "saw the Fall of Troy; World War Five [and] pushed boxes at the Boston Tea Party" but other than the first instance, when he was the First Doctor, it is unclear whether these were in his personal timeline or that of his past incarnations. He also shared an adventure with Jack and Rose in feudal Japan immediately prior to the events of the penultimate episode, "Bad Wolf".

However, the first of these adventures may actually have taken place immediately after his regeneration, since he is shown in a photo (taken in Southampton in 1912) to be wearing period clothes (Eccleston was dressed and shot specially) which resemble those worn by the Eighth Doctor. The Ninth Doctor refuses to make any concessions to contemporary fashion elsewhere in his travels (though he later insists that Rose dress appropriately for the Victorian era), being very precise about his look, which is deliberately most unlike that worn by any previous incarnations. Also, it is strongly implied that he saved the family pictured with him, by dissuading them from boarding the doomed ship – and, one episode later, he reveals that he himself was on board, and ended up clinging to an iceberg.

When the Doctor and his companions became caught in a series of deadly versions of 20th Century game shows, they found themselves at the mercy of the Bad Wolf Corporation, based on Satellite Five, but a full century after their last visit. However, the true enemy was soon revealed to be the Daleks. The Dalek Emperor had survived the Time War, and had rebuilt the Dalek race. The Doctor sent Rose back to her own time in the TARDIS, before attempting to destroy the Dalek army. In doing so, he would have been forced to destroy a great part of the human race, which he ultimately finds himself incapable of doing. Meanwhile, after seeing more "Bad Wolf" graffiti, Rose realised it was somehow a message linking her to the events in the future.

Managing to open up the heart of the TARDIS, she absorbed the energies of the time vortex, and used it to destroy the Daleks. In order to save Rose from being consumed from within by those energies, the Doctor absorbed the fatal energy himself. However, the damage to his cells caused him to begin the regeneration process. Finally at peace with himself, his last words are, "Rose, before I go I just wanna tell you – you were fantastic...absolutely fantastic...and d'you know what? So was I!" Immediately thereafter he regenerates into the Tenth Doctor.


This incarnation of the Doctor is occasionally seen to prefer simplistic human methods to technology. In "The Unquiet Dead" he successfully communicates with "ghosts" (which were actually aliens called Gelth) by holding a séance. Later, in "The Empty Child", the Ninth Doctor searches for a fallen ship by entering a bar and asking "Has anything recently fallen out of the sky?" despite Rose's suggestion that he "scan for alien tech", which Captain Jack Harkness later actually does. During the novel Only Human, the Doctor demonstrated a slight lack of on-the-spot thinking, giving himself the alias of 'Doctor Table' when he needed to come up with a cover story rather than a more original name (previous incarnations often adopted the alias Doctor John Smith).

This Doctor is seen to be capable of reversing teleportation using his sonic screwdriver, as seen in "The End of the World" and "Boom Town".

In "World War Three" this incarnation demonstrates such an extensive knowledge of alien life that he is able to use various observations about the Slitheen to determine their species from over five thousand possibilities within travelling distance, in under a minute. Ironically, his successor was later surprised to learn that Raxacoricofallapatorius, the Slitheen's home, had a twin planet.

In "The Unquiet Dead", the Doctor is able to endure much longer than Rose or Charles Dickens when the atmosphere is displaced by gas from lamps. In addition, the Doctor was not much affected by the electrocuting name tags given to him and other alien experts by the Slitheen in "World War Three", and commented that the shock was only lethal to humans.


The companions of the Ninth Doctor. Rose Tyler, Adam Mitchell and Captain Jack Harkness.

The Ninth Doctor had three on-screen companions during his tenure, the main one being Rose Tyler, who appears in all 13 episodes of Series 1. Adam Mitchell joined the Doctor on his travels at the conclusion of "Dalek" after the Doctor indulged Rose's prodding to let Adam "see the stars" and was rejected by the Doctor after his actions in "The Long Game". Jack Harkness first appeared in "The Empty Child" and joined the TARDIS crew in "The Doctor Dances". In the last episode of the first season, "The Parting of the Ways", Jack is killed by the Daleks but then resurrected by the time-vortex empowered Rose, although the Doctor leaves without him after the battle. He later briefly rejoins the TARDIS crew in the Tenth Doctor story "Utopia" (in which the reasons for the Doctor abandoning him in Parting of the Ways are revealed), and also starred in the spin-off series Torchwood.

On two occasions, the Ninth Doctor invited other people to join him on his adventures but was unsuccessful in having them travel in his TARDIS. Mickey Smith declined when invited (though he would later agree to travel with the Tenth Doctor) and in "The Parting of the Ways", a woman named Lynda Moss accepted the Doctor's invitation but was killed by Daleks before she could travel with him.

The Ninth Doctor's relationship with Rose verged on the romantic, with both of them clearly showing that they cared about each other deeply, although both always denied that they were a couple. On some level, the Doctor's sudden presence in her life fulfilled Rose's need for a strong male figure, having grown up without her father and boyfriend Mickey Smith often proving inadequate in regards to his strength of character. In turn, the Doctor, having undergone the trials of the Time War and still affected by his many losses incurred during the war, found himself encouraged by Rose's resolve, curiosity and compassion. The lone Dalek in "Dalek", having absorbed Rose's DNA, taunted the Doctor by referring to her as "the woman you [the Doctor] love", but the Doctor did not respond. The Ninth Doctor did kiss Rose with some passion in "The Parting of the Ways", although it could be argued that this only was in order to draw out the lethal energy of the time vortex from her body. (See "The Doctor and romance".)


As a character, the Ninth Doctor is less of a central heroic figure than an enabler, encouraging his companions and other people he meets to act upon their more positive impulses. Those he meets (in particular Captain Jack Harkness) often credit him with making them better people (this is indirectly referenced in the penultimate episode of Series 3 when the Master calls the Tenth Doctor "the man who makes people better"). He uses this quality alongside his intelligence and the information he gathers to inspire and allow others to act to end the dangers they face, rarely taking direct action himself (although he tended to find himself incapacitated in some manner at crucial moments, therefore requiring the interventions of others).

The Doctor's ninth incarnation was perhaps the most gritty, and informal, masking a lonely, guilt-ridden and melancholic personality with a jovial, witty, forthright and almost manic exterior. Similar to the Fourth Doctor, he would often make jokes in the face of danger, but then become grim and serious when on his own. Like the Sixth Doctor, he also tended to be fatalistic at times, to the point of near-panic when he and Rose were cornered in "The Unquiet Dead" and he realised that he was going to die. Despite being impatient with humans, whom he often referred to as "stupid apes" -- and Mickey receiving particular scorn and being dubbed "Mickey the Idiot" -- the Ninth Doctor was far more tactile with, and reliant upon, his human companions than previous incarnations. He was notably both sentimental and emotional, especially where his closest friend, Rose, was concerned, to the point of allowing her to view her parents' wedding and later, her father's last moments – this being just one example of his occasional lack of caution.

The Ninth Doctor was quite colloquial in his language and spoke with a distinctly Northern accent. Although the Seventh and Eighth Doctor spoke with non-Received Pronunciation accents, the Ninth's era was the first time this was commented on in the series. When Rose questioned him on why, if he was alien, he sounded like he was from the North, the Doctor retorted, "Lots of planets have a North!"

Much of the Ninth Doctor's melancholy, lack of patience, levels of inaction and hard-bitten edge could be attributed to feelings of guilt at being the sole survivor of the Last Great Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, the conclusion of which apparently resulted from his own actions to end the Dalek threat, burning away 10 million of their ships and destroying Gallifrey and his own race in the process. This darker side came to the fore when he encountered the lone Dalek in "Dalek", exhibiting an angry, merciless and vengeful streak which surprised even Rose and led to the Dalek commenting that the Doctor would make a good Dalek. Previously, echoing the ruthlessness of his seventh self, he also impassively stood by as the villainous Lady Cassandra exploded, viewing it a fitting end for her actions (it was left ambiguous as to whether he could have spared her). However, a more light-hearted enthusiasm would surface on occasion, sometimes finding manic delight in tense situations such as his meeting with Charles Dickens (of whom he is a well-versed fan) whilst pursuing a kidnapped Rose. He also displayed a wide pop-cultural knowledge ranging from Dickens to 21st century celebrity gossip, while his joy on saving the victims of the nanogene attack in 1940s London, thus totally avoiding fatalities, restored some of his optimism and self-belief. Ultimately, the Doctor was able to put some of his demons to rest and seemed to find some peace through redemption towards the end of his incarnation. This redemption occurred shortly before his regeneration when he was given the opportunity to vanquish the Dalek fleet once more, but at the cost of the human race. He decided not to do it. When the Dalek Emperor asked if he would rather be a coward or killer, the Doctor merely responded, "Coward. Any day."

In contrast with his successor and in common with his third, fourth and sixth selves, the Ninth Doctor did not shy away from using force in situations he would deem necessary. In "Dalek", he located an alien weapon for use on the last Dalek in existence; were it not for Rose's intervention, he would have used it. In "Bad Wolf", he and his companions escaped from the custody of the Gamestation's armed guards using physical force, with the Doctor throwing a guard against a wall. Later, as he proceeded to the station's control room, he wielded a heavy two-handed weapon, even deactivating the safety as if he was going to use it. However, as he speaks to the controller, he reveals that he had no actual intention of shooting anybody. The Doctor also arranged for lethal weaponry to be used on the Slitheen in "World War Three", sending a missile to destroy the alien family before they could nuke the world.

On several occasions, the Doctor indicates that he is 900 years old, the same age as the Sixth Doctor claimed to be in Revelation of the Daleks. This appears to contradict the original series in which the Seventh Doctor, following his regeneration in Time and the Rani, claimed to be 953 years of age, and who was in turn followed by the Eighth Doctor. To date this discrepancy has yet to be addressed on-screen. (See The Doctor's age.)

The Ninth Doctor's catchphrase, used in a variety of manners, and sometimes ironically, was "Fantastic!" (In 2007, Eccleston joined the cast of the American series Heroes; in the episode "The Fix", Eccleston's character Claude utters "Fantastic!" in the same occasionally ironic fashion as the Ninth Doctor.)


By most standards, the Ninth Doctor had the most unadorned appearance of any Doctor to date. While most of his predecessors had hair that was average-length to noticeably long, the Ninth Doctor's hair was very short and worn close to the skull. He was not known to wear either a scarf or a hat. His outfit consisted of a black leather jacket (often appearing brown due to the studio lighting), dark trousers, leather shoes, and V-Neck jumpers, either black, burgundy, dark blue or green. The ensemble was sardonically said to resemble a German U-boat commander's uniform by Captain Jack Harkness during the events of "The Empty Child", when he met the Doctor and Rose in London during The Blitz.


The Ninth Doctor's era saw the introduction of a redesigned sonic screwdriver that was more versatile than its earlier versions, with functions ranging from its usual door-opening abilities to conducting medical scans, repairing barbed wire and acting as a remote control for the TARDIS. The TARDIS console room also underwent a radical redesign, with an amber and green motif and a more organic look to its components.

The Ninth Doctor was also in the habit of using "slightly" psychic paper, which appeared to be a blank piece of card and had the ability to show the viewer anything that the user wanted them to see. The Doctor used this to fake various means of identification. Jack Harkness also used psychic paper in his capacity as a con man.

The Ninth Doctor modified Rose's mobile phone – which she dubbed the "superphone" – to give it the ability not just to receive and transmit in places where ordinary signals would not get through, but powerful enough to be able to make telephone calls to any point in time (even calibrating to the time period of the user).

Story style

Under producer Russell T Davies, the new series had a faster pace than those of the classic series. Rather than four- to six-part serials of 25-minute episodes (the most common format of the original series), most of the Ninth Doctor's stories consisted of individual 45-minute episodes, with only three stories out of ten being two-parters. The thirteen episodes were, however, loosely connected in a series-long story arc which brought their disparate threads together in the series finale. Also, like the original series, stories often flowed directly into one another or were linked together in some way. Notably, in common only with seasons 7 and 26 of the original series, every story of the season took place on or near Earth. This fact is directly addressed in the original novel The Monsters Inside, in which Rose and the Doctor joke about the fact that all their adventures to date have taken place on Earth or on neighbouring space stations.

The stories of Series 1 varied quite significantly in tone, with the production team showcasing the various genres inhabited by Doctor Who over the years. Examples include the "pseudo-historical" story "The Unquiet Dead"; the far-future whodunnit of "The End of the World"; Earthbound alien invasion stories in "Rose" and "Aliens of London"/"World War Three"; "base under siege" in "Dalek" and horror in "The Empty Child". Even the spin-off media were represented, with "Dalek" taking elements from writer Rob Shearman's own audio play Jubilee and the emotional content of Paul Cornell's "Father's Day" drawing on the tone of Cornell's novels in the Virgin New Adventures line. Davies had asked both Shearman and Cornell to write their scripts with those respective styles in mind. The episode "Boom Town" included a reference to the novel The Monsters Inside, becoming the first episode to acknowledge (albeit in a subtle way) spin-off fiction.


The Eighth Doctor's regeneration into the Ninth Doctor is never shown or mentioned on screen. As noted above, when television audiences first see the Ninth Doctor, it has been an unspecified time since his regeneration, making this one of the few Doctors (the others are the First and Third) whose "birth" has not been shown on screen. However, according to the essay "Flood Barriers" in the 2007 Panini Books reprint collection of Eighth Doctor comic strips from Doctor Who Magazine, strip editor Clayton Hickman reveals that Russell T Davies had authorised the comic strip to depict the regeneration at the end of the story arc, The Flood. The Eighth Doctor would be shown regenerating after being exposed to the Time Vortex and briefly receiving god-like powers in order to stop an invasion of Earth by the Cybermen (similar to Rose's exposure at the end of "The Parting of the Ways" to stop the Daleks). The regeneration would have been witnessed by the Eighth Doctor's companion, Destrii, and Hickman writes that the intent was to continue with a Ninth Doctor: Year One story arc with the Ninth Doctor and Destrii. However, when this arc was vetoed by both Russell T Davies and series producer Julie Gardner, the creative team were unable to come up with another way of regenerating the Doctor without Destrii's presence, and so the decision was made not to depict the regeneration in the comic strip. The reprint collection includes a specially-drawn panel showing how the Ninth Doctor might have looked in the comic strip immediately after his regeneration, wearing the Eighth Doctor's costume and being tended to by Destrii.[1] The Flood concludes with a homage to the ending of Survival, with the Eighth Doctor noting that there is more to explore in the universe with his companion, and muses on acquiring a leather jacket to replace the coat he has lost.

The Ninth Doctor also appears on-screen as a sketch (alongside other incarnations) in the book A Journal of Impossible Things by John Smith. Brief clips of him appear in "Army of Ghosts", "The Next Doctor", "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Lodger".

The Ninth Doctor is also vaguely referenced at the end of "Journey's End", where the Tenth Doctor, about to leave Rose behind with the half-human clone of himself spawned in the episode, refers to the clone's more violent and impetuous personality as being akin to how he was when he and Rose first met, also believing that - as she did during his ninth incarnation - she would be able to help make the clone a better man.

Spin-off appearances


The Ninth Doctor appears briefly in The Tomorrow Windows by Jonathan Morris (which was published before he actually appeared on television). He is also sighted in The Deadstone Memorial. He is mentioned, but not seen, in The Gallifrey Chronicles by Lance Parkin. In that novel, a Time Lord named Marnal points out that the Doctor appears to have three different ninth incarnations: the canonical Ninth Doctor (played by Eccleston), plus the versions from The Curse of Fatal Death (Atkinson) and Scream of the Shalka (Grant).

New Series Adventures


Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who Annual 2006

  • "Mr Nobody" by Scott Gray

Short stories

Doctor Who Annual 2006

Doctor Who Magazine
  • "Voice From the Vortex" (DWM #364)

See also


  1. ^ Doctor Who: The Flood - The Complete Eighth Doctor Comic Strips Volume 4. London: Panini Books. 2007. pp. 216–223. ISBN 978-1-905239-65-8. 

External links

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