The Fourth Doctor
The Fourth Doctor has been characterised as a clownish adventurer, eager to dish out jokes and jelly babies. It’s a notion that neglects so much about this fascinating incarnation – this Doctor’s remote, alien nature, his apparent coldness and the fact that his tomfoolery often served to wrong foot his enemies…
The Fourth Doctor once told Sarah Jane Smith, ‘I'm not a human being. I walk in eternity,’ and his alien nature sometimes made him appear distant and unknowable.
One good solid hope's worth a cart-load of certainties!The Fourth Doctor
He could take in tragedy without skipping a beat and deliver devastating information as though commenting on the weather. When a well-meaning botanist unwittingly aided an extra-terrestrial menace, he was horrified when the Doctor nonchalantly noted, ‘What you have done could result in the total destruction of all life on this planet…’
And when his long-time companion, Leela, announced she had to part company with him, he barely registered a scrap of emotion - even when she said she would miss him, he simply smiled and hurried into the TARDIS. He only replied when the doors of his ship were closed, ‘I’ll miss you, too...’ His farewell to Sarah was another hurried, almost brusque affair and when Harry Sullivan called time on his travels in the TARDIS he didn’t make the least effort to dissuade him!
But there was another side to this bohemian Doctor’s personality. A beaming playfulness. 'What's the point of being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes?’ he asked, not too long after his regeneration – a typical riposte to anyone who tried to curtail his exuberance. He would swagger into any situation with an almost palpable confidence, a whirling Dervish of a man when others were still but a quiet, calculating figure when those around him were flapping. Trapped on a dangerous island besieged by an alien threat, a puzzled human asked, ‘Are you in charge here?’ and his response was a cheerful, ‘No, but I’m full of ideas!’
And that was the Fourth Doctor. Always full of ideas and surprises. Forever striding into the next dangerous situation. This zest for life and adventures made him an engaging character. He enjoyed Paris, playing chess and eating jelly babies. He seemed to relish meeting new people - especially eccentrics - and it was absolutely fitting that he once exclaimed, ‘I love a knees up!’
He regenerated after sacrificing himself to save the universe from the Master. In his final moments he lay peacefully on the planet he had saved so often, content to move on. ‘It’s the end,’ he informed his anxious companions, ‘but the moment has been prepared for…’ The Fifth Doctor was about to make his debut!