The Fifth Doctor
The Fifth Doctor was the Time Lord’s most youthful incarnation up to that point in his life. As the Tenth Doctor commented when meeting him in the TARDIS, ‘Back when I first started at the very beginning, I was always trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you’re young. And then I was you. And it was all dashing about and playing cricket and my voice going all squeaky when I shouted…’ But there was more to this Doctor than youthful impetuosity…
This was a Doctor who wore his hearts on his sleeve, unafraid to display his every emotion. Absolute delight as he played cricket in the 1920s or complete despair after failing to prevent a bloodbath between humans and Silurians. He initially came across as a young, vibrant adventurer, haring into risky escapades without pausing for breath. He once asked ‘Why do I always let my curiosity get the better of me?’ but he wasn’t about to give up his knack of sniffing out trouble and tearing off towards it.
Curiosity's always been my downfall…The Fifth Doctor
The Fifth Doctor’s openness went hand-in-hand with a sense of vulnerability. Whereas the Fourth Doctor had bid farewell to companions with little more than a throw-away ‘cheerio’, for example, the Fifth admitted he was depressed when Tegan opted to remain on Earth. ‘We were together a long time,’ he reflected mournfully. He was even choked when a Terileptil blasted his sonic screwdriver! ‘I feel as though you've just killed an old friend,’ he remarked, his voice heavy with emotion as he looked down on his frazzled sonic.
But there were flashes of his old arrogance. When it came to being crack shot he claimed, ‘I never miss!’ and even the Cybermen spotted this quality. When one of his old foes wanted to know which of several figures was the Doctor, the Cyber Leader replied, ‘The tall one with fair hair. Even under the threat of death he has the arrogance of a Time Lord.’
The death of his companion, Adric, had a huge impact on the Doctor and when Tegan left him he conceded, ‘It seems I must mend my ways.’ Perhaps the loss of these two friends caused him to harden. By the time he met Perpugilliam Brown, his final companion, his initial naivety was starting to fade. He was snappier with Peri and had become decidedly less diplomatic. He’d once been keen not to antagonise potential enemies but no longer bothered. When questioned by the odious Trau Morgus about his agenda he snapped, ‘I'm not acting for anyone. I was just passing through. I happened to get mixed up in this pathetic little local war!’
But he remained a hero to the end and when he and Peri fell victim to Spectrox toxaemia, he managed to obtain a small amount of the antidote – but not enough to save them both. With only enough for one person, he sacrificed himself by ensuring his companion drank the life-saving fluid. Time was up for this youthful, breezy Doctor and realising this, he prepared himself for what was to come. ‘Is this death?’ he murmured, before a dramatic regeneration and the explosive Sixth Doctor burst into being!