The Third Doctor

The Third Doctor was definitely full of flair. Jon Pertwee hit the mark pretty much from the start because I would say that his character stayed fairly consistent over the entire span of his tenure. He was from the start quite outlandish with his taste in clothes and cars and other gadgets. He was noticeably condescending and dismissive, even disagreeable at times, and yet somehow maintained respect for his always being right and was looked at with the affection one gives to a favorite uncle by his companions.

His was the era of UNIT—exiled to earth and acting as a scientific advisor—and he was thus always in the midst of addressing alien invasions or odd events. He was constantly highlighted as a scientific genius, very much grounded in technical work and practical science. Many of his solutions to problems revolved around making some device. He moves from being an “employee” of UNIT to the one they wait for to get things done. Watching all the episodes in order, you can see how his interaction with his companions, especially Jo, changes them over time for the better. Their leaving, or his leaving them, takes on a much more emotional component than past Doctors. Traits included:

  • A love of gadgetry and mechanics
  • A dismissive attitude of bureaucrats and authorities unless they impress him
  • Rubbing the chin in amazement or the back of the neck in embarrassment
  • Playful derision of his companions and UNIT friends
  • “Reverse the polarity”
  • Quick to sing a jaunty tune
Signature story: The Daemons or Inferno
Best match to a companion: Jo Grant on her arc from irritating assistant to his right hand and manager

A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.