Once a ‘Doctor’ always a ‘Doctor’, but as Christopher Eccleston is more than happy to tell you they have also done other things. Here are my recommendations on where else to see your favourite ‘Doctor’s’.
William Hartnell: Brighton Rock (1948)
Chosen more for its classic film status than Hartnell himself; ‘Brighton Rock’ is a tale of murder, gangs and love. Based on Graham Greene’s 1938 novel the film itself is seventy this year. Hartnell more than holds his own against acting greats Richard Attenborough and Hermione Baddeley. A must watch for any fan of classic movies.
Richard Donner’s ‘The Omen’ is widely regarded a classic of the horror genre. It tells the tale of the American ambassador to the U.K.s discovery that his adopted son is the Anti-Christ. Troughton’s ‘Farther Brennan’ is almost the forerunner to every conspiracy theorist character since. He not only gives a great performance, but also one of horrors most memorable deaths. Seek it out making sure to avoid the terrible 2006 remake.
Jon Pertwee: Worzel Gummidge (1979 – 1981)
Jon Pertwee’s portrayal of the mischief’s living scarecrow is almost as iconic as his portrayal of the ‘Doctor’. Based on the books of Barbara Euphan Todd the series and its 1987 – 1989 follow-up ‘Worzel Gummidge Down Under’ have lived long in the memories of the children who saw them. A surreal family comedy, which still hold-up today. Oh and ‘The Crowman’ is still scary.
Tom Baker: The Vault of Horror (1973)
This anthology sees five strangers board a lift that takes them, without any of them pressing a button, to a sub-basement gentleman’s club. As the only ones there they start to talk and discuss their recurring nightmares. Baker’s segment sees him tackle voodoo magic and murder, as an artist who takes revenge on a number of art dealers who have cheated him. A fun early 70’s horror from the now defunct ‘Amicus Productions’.
Peter Davison: Jonathan Creek – Ep. Danse Macabre (1998)
This 1998 episode of the long running crime drama saw the title character try and solve a murder where the perpetrator mysteriously disappears from a locked garage. Davison plays the Rev Stephen Claithorne who’s mother in-law, the horror writer Emma Lazarus, is murdered. Not only is this episode great fun to watch it also contains a few references to ‘Doctor Who’, this is probably due to the fact that the two shows share Varity Lambert as their producer.
Colin Baker: Jonathan Creek – Ep. The Wrester’s Tomb (1995)
Baker’s portrayal of the sleazy artist ‘Hedley Shale’ is so much fun it almost makes up for his lack of screen time. Worth a watch as it’s the first episode of this long running series. Not only do you get a chance to see how it all began, but also marvel at just how young Alan Davies looks.
Sylvester McCoy: The Hobbit Trilogy 2012 – 2014
So I might ne going for the obvious choice here, but it’s hard to see how anyone else could of played ‘Radagast’ more perfectly. The fact that director Peter Jackson is a massive ‘Whovian’ probably helped, but the casting just works so well. Based on the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy might not quite match up the previous ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, but is still a great watch.
Paul McGann: Withnail & I (1987)
For a long time this 1987 British black comedy was almost a rite of passage watch. This quote laden farce helped launch the career of Richard E. Grant, who has also played the ‘Doctor’ in the non-cannon charity episode ‘Curse of the Fatal Death’. It’s also worth watching for Richard Griffith’s portrayal of the creepy Uncle Monty. As funny now as in it’s heyday.
Christopher Eccleston: Hillsborough (1996)
This is not an easy watch. Jimmy McGovern’s 1996 TV film dramatization of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and the start of the fight for justice is both harrowing and poignant. Filled with wonderful performances from the whole cast Eccleston’s portrayal of campaigner Trevor Hicks, who lost two daughters, still stands out. A must watch.
David Tennant: Fright Night (2011)
This remake 1985 horror classic is in no way the greatest film ever made. It’s not even the best thing Tennant has done. The reason for the recommendation is just to see how much fun Teannat seems to have playing ‘Peter Vincent’. Although the film isn’t a classic it’s a fun watch and a great horror night movie. By the way I’m aware ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ exist, they are also worth watching.
Matt Smith: Terminator Genisys (2015)
Reviews at the time were scathing and it’s since been called a franchise killer, but looking back with less critical eyes ‘Terminator Genisys’ is not that bad. Let’s make it clear it’s not a classic and pales in comparison to the first two films in the series. If you’re looking for film to just stick on and let wash over you without thinking then this will do the job. By the way I have never seen ‘The Crown’, it just doesn’t appeal to me.
John Hurt: 1984 (1984)
The adaptation of the dystopian George Orwell novel has gone on to nearly being as widely regarded as the book. Hurt’s portrayal of ‘Winston Smith’ draws you into this nightmarish future. As he struggles for independence from the enforced conformity. The ending payoff is both heartbreaking and realistic. Plus extra points for bringing the film out in 1984.
Peter Capaldi: The Thick of It (2005 – 12)
I could of been lazy here and chosen ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’, but I’m not that lazy. If it wasn’t for ‘Doctor Who’ Capaldi’s portrayal of the fowl mouthed ‘Malcolm Tucker’ in Armando Iannucci’s political comedy would probably be the role he’d be best remembered for. The series was so successful it spawned a film ‘In the Loop’ and an American adaptation ‘Veep’. Not one to watch with the kids.
Jodie Whittaker: Attack the Block (2011)
Often overlooked ‘Attack the Block’ is a great addition to the sci-fi comedy sub genre. Jodie plays nurse, mugging victim and alien fighter ‘Samantha Andrews’, who joins her would be muggers as they battle the invasion of their council estate. Notable for also being the first film of future ‘Star Wars’ actor John Boyega. Also there’s Nick Frost playing a drug dealer, what more could you want.