The Eleventh Doctor
The Eleventh Doctor is a mass of contradictions. He is incredibly old, but seems very young. He is wise beyond belief, but can be incredibly naive. He is sophisticated and learned, but doesn't know the first thing about some of the most basic social skills. Most of all, he cares deeply, and yet he can be rude and insensitive, tactless and gauche. When he stays with Craig Owens we see just how much he doesn't 'get' humans.
To his enemies, these contradictions are even more marked. This is a Doctor who won't flinch at the death of an opponent, but who deeply feels the loss of every friend. He might come across as ineffectual and dithering, but this masks the determination and steel that have been the downfall of even the most ruthless creatures. Old, wise, clever. Young, enthusiastic, witty. Caring, emotional, introspective. Uncompromising, determined, ruthless. Whatever else he may be he is the Doctor.
The Tenth Doctor
The Tenth Doctor was one of extremes. For the most part he exhibited a joy of life that contrasted with the dark, more introspective moments of his predecessor. But his mood could turn in a moment. Faced with injustice or cruelty, the mild, witty facade dropped away to reveal someone who would offer no compromise; no second chances.
More than one of the Tenth Doctor's enemies underestimated him. For all his humour and evident love of humanity and tenderness towards his friends, the Tenth Doctor could be more dangerous and ruthless than any other.
But unlike many of his opponents, the Doctor knew the depths of his capability. At times he scared himself - and understood just how much he needed first Rose, and later Martha and Donna to keep him in check. When he became human as John Smith on Earth in 1913, it was not because he was scared of what The Family Of Blood would do if they found him. He was scared of what he himself would do to them.
The Ninth Doctor
On the face of it, the Ninth Doctor was more human than his predecessors. He dressed without flamboyance and he spoke without affectation. This was not a Doctor who quoted or postured, but one who got on with things and described them as they are.
But he was also a very alien Doctor the contrast made his otherworldliness seem more extreme. When his priorities or outlook differed from his companion Rose's, it was very obvious and it jarred. The Ninth Doctor was a mass of conflicts and paradoxes. He made light of danger and relished adventure. Yet he was also painfully conscious that he was the last of the Time Lords and that it was he himself who brought the last great time war to it's devastating conclusion.
The Eighth Doctor
Although he only appeared in a single adventure - and shared his screen time in that with the Seventh Doctor - the Eighth Doctor was as fully defined as any of his incarnations. He amply demonstrated the same wit and intelligence and is, in many ways, the most 'human' of all.
For one thing, this is a Doctor who not only mentioned his own parents, but also claimed to be half human on his mother's side. Whether there is any truth to this is unconfirmed, but the Master later seems to believe it. Whatever his possible origins, the Eight Doctor was every bit as driven and committed as his predecessors. He would stop at nothing to save the world and displayed typical lateral thinking to achieve it. When he needed a police motorbike, he took the policeman's gun and threatened not to shoot the policeman but to shoot himself.
The Seventh Doctor
The Seventh Doctor was full of contradictions and paradoxes. In the same way that the Second Doctor often seemed to defeat his enemies almost by accident, so the Seventh Doctor came across as a bumbler and a clown. But again beneath this buffoonery, there were glimpses of his deep intelligence.
While he seemed to stumble from one adventure to the next, the Seventh Doctor was also a master strategist. He planned ahead, working to an unseen but long-established agenda. His whole relationship with Ace was apparently based on his calculation that his ancient enemy, Fenric, would soon make his move in an epic game of chess where the Doctor had planned many moves ahead.
How much of the Seventh Doctor's advanced planning was actually that - whether to play the game of Fenric, or to lure to the Daleks or Cybermen in to traps he engineered long ago - we shall never know. Perhaps it really was all just bluster, last-minute reactions, and luck.
The Sixth Doctor
The Sixth Doctor was larger in life in every way. Even the clothes he wore were extravagant and garish - a multi-coloured riot. He was loud and brash, and self-confident to the point of arrogance. It rarely seemed to occur to him that anyone else might have a useful thought or opinion.
But, like other Doctors, his brash exterior hid a softer, quieter core. Occasionally, we caught glimpses of the Doctor behind the showman. But whether he was loud and demonstrative, or more introspective, this was the same Doctor as ever.
He had a deep sense of justice and fairness and a passionate desire to see injustices corrected. Never was this more apparent than when he was put on trial by the Time Lords, and discovered that his own society was corrupt and rotten to the core.
The Fifth Doctor
Younger in appearance than any of the previous incarnations of the Doctor, the Fifth Doctor suffered more than his previous incarnations from his regeneration. He needed the stable, uncomplicated environment of the TARDIS Zero Room to recover. But he soon displayed the same wisdom and drive as the others.
The Fifth Doctor was in many ways the human and sympathetic Doctor so far. He became almost like the head of a family, his companions without exception having suffered loss - Tegan's aunt and Nyssa's father were both killed by the Master; Adric's brother was a victim of the Marsh Men; Turlough was exiled from his planet and family; Perri was escaping from a dysfunctional family..
The Fifth the Doctor provided all these young people with a safe haven; a home. When things became too much for Tegan and she left, the Doctor was devastated by the thought that he had let her down.
The Fourth Doctor
The Fourth Doctor was perhaps the most "alien" of all his incarnations. Sometimes aloof, always surprising, he constantly wrong-footed his enemies- and often his friends as well. He cut a distinctive figure with his wide-brimmed hat and long scarf, but his appearance was deceptive. He might have seemed like a Bohemian eccentric, but his mind was as sharp as ever. This was a Doctor whose breadth and depth of knowledge was unrivalled.
In amongst the mixture of wisdom and buffoonery there was a darkness. The Fourth Doctor was an often lonely wanderer in eternity. It was in the quiet moments, when the act dropped away, that we saw the real character of the Fourth Doctor. But for most of the time he seemed larger than life - a life in to which he was determined to cram as much experience and incident as he possibly could.
The Third Doctor
In contrast to his predecessor, the Third Doctor was tall, suave, sophisticated man of action. More of an "establishment" figure than any other incarnation, the Third Doctor spent his time - at first unwillingly - as Scientific Advisor to UNIT. He was a scientist, a raconteur, a bon vivant. Like the First Doctor he never suffered fools gladly - especially bureaucrats and civil servants.
The Third Doctor was also perhaps the most physical, dispatching opponents with his own brand of Venusian Aikido. Again, unlike his predecessors he did not shun technology but revelled in it - intrigued by gadgets and losing no opportunity to build some scientific device to do anything from open a door to detect delta particles or a rogue TARDIS.
The Second Doctor
The second Doctor was a distinct contrast to the First. He was much younger, and seemed like a different person in almost every way. The first Doctor's short temper was replaced with a forgiving good humour. Wisdom seemed to have given way to an amateurish combination of guess work and luck.
But this was a bluff, an act, on the part of the Doctor. Beneathe the surface was the same passion for justice and fairness. His humour could give way to a deep anger at his enemies, and the bluster and apparant reliance on luck masked the same dept of knowledge and ability as the Doctor has always displayed. Every thing about the Second Doctor invited his enemies to underestimate him - and they did so at their peril.
The First Doctor
When he was younger, the Doctor was a much older man than he is now. The First Doctor was elderly and irritable, apt to lose his temper with his companions. He didn't suffer fools gladly. But he exhibited all the wisdom and desire for justice of later Doctors.
When he first appeared, travelling with his granddaughter, Susan, the Doctor was an enigma - his companions didn't even know where he came from. At first, he was wary of more company - and even blamed Ian and Barbara for sabotaging the TARDIS. But gradually he came to appreciate and value their company, especially after Susan's departure...