The first time I saw a regeneration was the Fourth Doctor into the Fifth, Tom Baker into Peter Davison, and it came as quite a shock. I didn’t know that there had been other Doctors before mine, not a clue that this had happened three times before, and I didn’t like it one jot. I didn’t know who this new bloke was, or why he was dressed up like The Doctor, and I announced to my parents that I would no-longer be watching it. But then, the program didn’t change (the differences in The Doctors character and personality were lost on me as a little kid), he still did the same kinda stuff, I was as happy as Larry (and Larry loves Doctor Who). As an adult, admittedly I should have perhaps stopped watching it, you start to appreciate The Doctor for who he is. The fact that the character changes his personality along with his appearance, and that none of them are the same.
The Ninth Doctor was alright, energetic, funny, but for me that was it. The final episode “The Parting of the Ways” was brilliant, and I thought that both he and Russell T Davies had finally found their feet, but then the very end of the episode saw him regenerate into The Tenth and I found myself a little taken aback. The next time we saw The (Tenth) Doctor was in “The Christmas Invasion,” the first half of which was just awful. The Doctor spends most of the time in a coma, there are masked Santas, and a spinning Christmas tree. It was, to be frank, rubbish. But then The Doctor emerges out of the Tardis, saves the day, and shows us and Rose his new personality, which was hilarious. The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, and RTD, went on to take Doctor Who to new heights. I’m not saying that suddenly it was cool to watch it, but it was just about acceptable for adults to be watching a kids/family show.
But then, as of Friday the 1st January 2010 we have a new Doctor, The Eleventh, Matt Smith. Halfway though the regeneration, when Matt’s face became visible and he was screaming, I didn’t know what to think. I had been dreading this moment, and my fears seemed to be being confirmed by the face he was pulling and the fact that he was screaming. But then he looked surprised, which I warmed to, then he started checking himself, which sent me back the other way, and then finally he realized that he was crashing, and I decided that maybe everything was going to be okay…
The following day The BBC put a trailer up for the new series on their website. My girlfriend, Jen, had posted a link on her FB page stating that she wasn’t sure that she liked it. I clicked the link and at the 11 second mark decided I was sure that I did like it. The clips that are shown are far too short to work out precisely what’s going on, but the clip that did it for me is where he runs up to a man in a white coat and punches him in the face. I was shocked that The Doctor would do this, but judging by his face so was he. And, later on, he appears to hit a Dalek with a mallet. Brilliant. I’m excited about what’s to come.