For anyone who has ready all the posts in this blog it should come as no surprise that the final role model on this list is the Doctor. Seriously I’ve been doing this blog for months, stating at the beginning that I’m a big fan and yet somehow I haven’t wrote anything about Doctor Who yet. He wasn’t even the last role model on my list. He was actually number four and on a list that had been written before the series returned. But I’ve saved him until last because he has more than any of the others been the biggest influence on my life. The main role model who has been there from when I was a kid in the eighties to today. And it is surprising how sometimes it has have had parallels with my life. For example the first Doctor novel I was reading back in 2007 Venusian Lullaby which dealt with the loss and remembrance of loved ones was the same time I lost my nan. The eleventh Doctor’s relationship with married companions Amy and Rory came to an end at the same time as my friendship with a couple I was close with. To this day I still haven’t seen or heard from her much to my sadness. And now the Doctor after being male for all his life is now becoming a woman in the same year I start to question my own gender identity. It’s not surprising that my dissertation in uni was based around Doctor Who. A Modern Myth for a Post Cristian society. The idea that Doctor Who could act as a replacement for religion.
It’s hard to know where to start with the Doctor as a role model, there have been twelve Doctors so far, each with their own personalities and traits and I don’t really want to go through each Doctor listing their differences. Because basically, at heart, there is a fundamental Doctorness that comes through each incarnation. Even Eccleston who I though initially was not suited to the role had it and it’s why I have little fear that Whittaker will be able to pull it off.
There is a phase that has been used to describe the Doctor that writer Terrence Dicks came up with and that in recent years has been used by the Doctor himself. Never cruel, never cowardly. It is a good phase to live by. Not to be cruel to people and never to be scared of standing up for yourself and others even if deep down you are scared.
But there are other things I take from the Doctor. His sense of wonder at the universe, his love of exploring the unknown. His search for truth and knowledge. I have three favourite Doctors. Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Matt Smith. The fifth, seventh and eleventh Doctors respectively.
It was of course the classic Doctors that I grew up with and the fifth Doctor was the one from my childhood. Just to see his youthful energy and pleasure at life. The following exchange is the best example of this.
The Doctor: Emotions have their uses.
Cyber Leader: They restrict and curtail the intellect, and logic of the mind.
The Doctor: They also enhance life. When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?
Cyber Leader: These things are irrelevant.
The fifth Doctor had an honest charm about him and would often hesitate before making rash choices always trying to find a better way to solve the problems usually trying diplomacy first. He is the Doctor that perhaps shows the most conscience. It is telling that unlike his bombastic incarnations either side he died saving just the single life of his companion, willing to sacrifice himself for his friend.
The type of passion and youthfulness that the fifth Doctor showed is one of the reasons the eleventh Doctor is one of my favourites from the new series. He too values the little things in life but is also willing to do what he can to help his friends and others. He has a great childish nature but this hides a calculating side of him where his enemies underestimate him. I find the eleventh Doctor to almost be a mix of both the fifth Doctor and the Seventh.
Sadly the series went off air in 1989 with the seventh Doctor who continued his adventures in a series of novels. This made him become another favourite of mine. But unlike the carefree fifth Doctor who just seemed to get caught up in things the seventh Doctor was a master planner. He engineered plans to defeat his enemies and at times this caused conflicts with his companions but there was lessons to be learned here. I learnt that it is possible to make plans and to try and work out all the angles but at times things can go wrong and you need to improvise. But from the seventh Doctor’s flaws I leant that it is important to be mindful of your actions and to be careful not to hurt those close to you. To keep in mind the bigger picture but to also not forget the small stuff.
But overall there are aspects from all Doctors that are good with morals and lessons from all the incarnations.
We see the first Doctor changed over time from a selfish suspicious alien to a character that dares to stop the villains he comes across. The second Doctor continues this, continuing to fight and to save the people he comes across and yet having the sense of fun with his adventures and touched with tenderness towards his companions. The third was all action and became part of a team. There was a lot of Buddhist themes during his era especially where he learns that his own thirst for knowledge can be seen as a greed and finally learning to let go of his old life in order to become a new man.
This of course was when he became the fourth Doctor and it’s interesting to note that after changing he abandons his old life, leaving behind his job and his ‘family’ and goes out to wonder the cosmos looking for adventure. A great lesson for those who want to change their life. With regards to the sixth Doctor the lessons learnt here are more to do with the aftermath of this incarnation. His predecessor comes to think of the sixth doctor in a negative light and it is only later that he comes to realise that his own memories are twisted and learns to forgive himself, a lesson in forgiving your past. The eighth Doctor regains his love of life again and living in the moment. His glee in his first adventure over a simple well-fitting pair of shoes is a great moment.
The ninth Doctor had some nice moments but above all when we meet him he is broken by his actions in the past and through his friendship with Rose he heals himself. Rose says it herself that the Doctor showed her a better way to live life.
That you don’t just give up, you don’t just let things happen. You make a stand, you say no, you have the guts to do what’s right.
The tenth had a story arch where his arrogance is eventually his downfall and the twelve questions whether he is a good man. So there is something that can be learnt from every incarnation
But my favourite quote concerning the Doctor comes from writer Lance Parkin.
No one can be The Doctor, he’s more than human, but we can try to be like The Doctor – peaceful, intelligent, witty, reasonable, aware of what is truly important.”
Take joy in life, plan the big stuff but take pleasure in the little things. Stand up for yourself and others when scared. Remember who you were but keep moving forward. Search for truth Hate is always foolish and love is always wise. Always try to be nice but never fail to be kind. Laugh hard and run fast. And be fantastic.