Every great show has great speeches, and ‘Doctor Who‘ is no exception. Over fifty years and twelve incarnations, the Doctor has been saying and doing great things.
Today, at the end of the first season for the twelfth doctor, we look back on some of his great speeches.
1. I shall come back.
“During all the years I’ve been taking care of you, you in return have been taking care of me. You are still my grandchild and always will be. But now, you’re a woman too. I want you to belong somewhere, to have roots of your own. With David you will be able to find those roots and live normally like any woman should do. Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David and not with a silly old buffer like me. One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye, my dear.”
I should say, very quickly here, that there are some slightly sexist qualities in this speech that I’m willing to forgive that because of the context of the time. Though why a majority of the female companions leave the show to go get married is another post altogether.
Still, this is arguably one of the most famous speeches in ‘Doctor Who,’ the final line being repeated in documentaries during the hiatus when we all just wished that ‘Doctor Who’ would just come back. “I shall come back”, rang William Hartnell’s voice, and we all hoped it was true. It is worth noting that it’s been a few centuries of time traveling, and the Doctor has not yet made it back to Susan.
2. Our lives are different to anybody else’s.
“Oh yes, I can when I want to. And that’s the point, really. I have to really want to, to bring them back in front of my eyes. The rest of the time they… they sleep in my mind and I forget. And so will you. Oh yes, you will. You’ll find there’s so much else to think about. To remember. Our lives are different to anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing, that nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.”
The Second Doctor was always been an underrated Doctor, and before NUWho came and gave us an angsty-solo Timelord, there was the Second Doctor reflecting on what it means to lose someone and what it means to move on.
“Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It’s only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenseless bipeds. They’ve survived flood, famine and plague. They’ve survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to out sit eternity. They’re indomitable. Indomitable.”
I hope some of you NUWho fans are sitting up with their ears perked, because this probably sounds very similar to a 10th Doctor speech where he also claimed humans were indomitable. While this was moving speech, it was actually a call back to one of the most beloved Doctors, the sardonic Fourth.
Still, it is a beautiful concept both then and now. The Doctor knows we will reach out into the stars and be the last in the universe, and that’s a sweet thing for a Timelord to say about the lowly human race.
4. The crushing boredom of eternity.
“Sweet? Effete! Sweet? Sweet? That says it all. No, this has been a timely change. Change? What change? There is no change… no time, no rhyme, no place for space, nothing! Nothing but the grinding engines of the universe, the crushing boredom of eternity.”
This in one of my favorite mini-monologues uttered by my favorite Doctor, the Sixth, if only because moments before saying this he was totally checking himself out in a mirror and congratulating himself on how handsome he looked. This little speech is in response to his companion, Peri,who is lamenting the loss of the much friendlier Fifth Doctor, whom she deemed “sweet.”
This speech was included because it perfectly encapsulates not just the Sixth Doctor, but the true antagonist in all the Doctor stories: to change or not to change.
5. Every great decision creates ripples.
“Every great decision creates ripples, like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforeseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.”
This little speech is so famous that it showed up in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. It’s a favorite because it notes the dangerous consequences of decisions, particularly of someone who can travel through time.
6. We’ve got work to do.
“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the seas’ asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea’s getting cold. Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.”
These were originally the last lines ‘Doctor Who’ fans ever heard… well, at least before the show was briefly resurrected for a doomed American TV pilot. For most, it was THE last words. The final words to a beloved series that had been on the air for three decades. And that means something. Because the final words weren’t “and we’re done,” it was “don’t worry, ‘Doctor Who’ will always be there even if the television show is finished.”
Think about the show ending, and remember the First Doctor’s famous speech of “I shall come back” and try not to cry. I dare you.
7. That’s who I am.
“Do you know like we were sayin’? About the Earth revolving? It’s like when you’re a kid. The first time they tell you that the world’s turning and you just can’t quite believe it ’cause everything looks like it’s standin’ still. I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinnin’ at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We’re fallin’ through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go…That’s who I am.”
What a perfect speech to get a whole new generation into ‘Doctor Who.’ This gem was said by the Ninth doctor, and it immediately lets the audience know that he’s old, and wise, and that he is hard to describe. He is like fire and ice and rage… and he burns at the center of time and he can see the turn of the Universe… Okay, that was another speech about the Tenth doctor (spoken by Tim Latimer “In the Family of Blood”), but the two quite compliment each other nicely, don’t you think?
8. The only certainty left is that you’ll end up alone.
“I’m old enough to know that a longer life isn’t always a better one. In the end, you just get tired; tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone that matters to you, tired of watching everything you love turn to dust. If you live long enough, Lazarus, the only certainty left is that you’ll end up alone.”
The 10th Doctor, despite his chic red Converses, and his attempt at describing time as wibbly-wobbly, was arguably one of the most self-reflective of all the Doctors, and this speech perfectly encapsulates what it means to the Doctor now that he is reaching his last regenerations.
9. I’m not running away from things, I am running to them.
“I’m not running away. But this is one corner of one country on one continent on one planet that’s a corner of a galaxy that’s a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying and never remaining the same for a single millisecond, and there is so much, so much, to see, Amy. Because it goes so fast. I’m not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever. And it’s alright. Our lives won’t run the same. They can’t. One day, soon, maybe, you’ll stop. I’ve known for a while”.
The Eleventh Doctor has had a lot of a great monologues. Whether it’s to the Atraxi in his first episode informing them who he was, or when the Pandorica opens, the Eleventh was never at a loss for words, and this is one his best speeches. At the heart of the Doctor, there is always the simple fact that he was running away from Gallifrey, but with these words, you understand why. And then you realize this isn’t just about the eleventh incarnation, but all of them.
10. Let me tell you about scared.
“Let me tell you about scared. Your heart is beating so hard — I can feel it through your hands! There’s so much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain, it’s like rocket fuel. Right now, you could run faster and you could fight harder. You can jump higher than ever in your life. And you are so alert, it’s like you can slow down time. What’s wrong with scared? Scared is a super power! It’s your super power! There is danger in this room, and guess what? It’s you. Do you feel it? Nah. Loser.”
The twelfth Doctor hasn’t has a lot of time to give some mind-blowing speeches, but this one from “Listen” is still a good one. So many of us are stopped by fear, but the Doctor embraces it. He tells us to embrace it. Fear is how we live, and in a way that is comforting.
Throughout the 50 year history of the show, the Doctor may have changed faces, but he’s always been eloquent when when it comes to speeches. Is your favorite speech on the list? Did we miss one that you think should be on here? Let us know in the comments below!