The speeches and monologues in this show make up some of Doctor Who’s most memorable moments. The writers love to show their flair by giving the Doctor or his companions and friends rousing monologues to perform, whether they’re extended soliloquies or short and punchy passages. They’re the centrepieces of the best episodes, and we consider a Doctor or a companion short-changed if they haven’t been given a sufficient selection of meaty, memorable monologues to perform. Over the next four days I’m counting down what, in my opinion, are Doctor Who’s 12 best speeches and monologues.
I’ve restricted myself to New Who because, while I know there are plenty of brilliant monologues in Classic Who, it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen those episodes so I don’t want to miss out any worthy speeches just because I’ve forgotten about them!
So, without further ado, here goes…
12. Tenth Doctor, The Christmas Invasion
After being practically absent for the entirety of his first episode up to this point, wasn’t it just so, so sweet when Ten strutted out of the Tardis, bathrobe and all, and proceeded to lay down the law? It was the big payoff to this episode, seeing our new Doctor for the first time — for real — and seeing him wrest control of the situation in such a familiar flamboyant Doctor-ish style. And it worked. It established, within a matter of minutes, this unfamiliar new face as undeniably the Doctor in the eyes of an audience which could easily have failed to take to the new actor after the beloved Christopher Eccleston’s departure. I don’t think it holds up as well with time as it does on first viewing — some of the cornier lines and gestures make me cringe now, and Ten’s character is still relatively unhewn here — but it’s still undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments of New Who.
11. Ninth Doctor, Rose
In the first episode of the revived series, the Ninth Doctor expresses powerfully and mysteriously to Rose who the Doctor is. Although the Doctor is a beloved and iconic figure for viewers, part of the secret of the popular fascination and appeal of the character is the element of mystery and mystique which surrounds him, most obviously in the fact that the Doctor never reveals his name. In rebooting the character and the show, Rose did a fantastic job of establishing the Doctor in the minds of the audience as an interesting and endearing character, but also whetted the curiosity of the audience by casting a shade of mystery and mystique over him. In doing so it captured the essence of the Doctor perfectly, to my mind.
10. River Song, The Forest of the Dead
Just when you thought this majestic two-parter was going to end on the morose, poignant note of River Song’s sacrifice, it takes a complete u-turn and delivers one final, thrilling coup de grâce as the Doctor races against the clock in pursuit of one, final, lingering chance of saving River. It’s an uplifting, exhilarating, emotional short sequence set to River’s haunting monologue about the Doctor. It all captures who the Doctor is so rousingly and perfectly. I find it incredibly stirring and it never fails to make me emotional every time I see it.