Doctor Who © BBC

The Fourth Doctor


The Eight Doctors
"I'm a Time Lord. I'm not a human being. I walk in eternity"

The Fourth Doctor: A Bohemian Walking in Eternity

The Fourth DoctorIt's apparent almost immediately that The Fourth Doctor is markedly different from his predecessor. Even before he's recovered from his regeneration, he's anxious to resume his wanderings in the TARDIS, and it takes a bit of subterfuge for Sarah Jane Smith and the Brig to convince him to stay on Earth until he stabilizes. In contrast to the elegant and dignified Third Doctor, this new persona has a dress style, posture, and demeanor that can perhaps be best described as "laid back". Though his sheer physical presence keeps him from being able to fade into the background as his second persona could, they do share some character traits, including an off-beat sense of humor and a tendency to keep people guessing about their abilities and their motivations. The Fourth Doctor is sometimes moody, and alternates between bursts of activity and periods of quiet reflection. While he often cracks jokes, and has an endearingly loopy quality which leads some who meet him to question both his ability and sanity, there is always an underlying seriousness in his methods. As he moves further away from his former strong ties to Earth and becomes more involved with missions for the Time Lords, these tendencies seem to become more pronounced, as if his frequent involvement with his own people has reminded him of his responsibilities to the cosmos. When the Time Lords send him on a mission to alter the events of the creation of the Daleks (Genesis of the Daleks), he questions his, and their, right to do so, and ultimately decides that even the Daleks have the potential for a greater good. The Fourth Doctor has a wide variety of companions. In the beginning, there's Sarah Jane Smith and, briefly, UNIT medical officer Harry Sullivan. After Sarah's departure, there's an extended period when The Doctor's companions are from alien worlds: Leela, the savage member of the Sevateem tribe whom he tries, and ultimately fails, to civilize; the two versions of K-9, the mobile computer; Romana, a young Time Lord who's sent to help him find the Key of Time by a cosmic power known as the White Guardian; and Adric, an Alzarian teenager who, perhaps, reminds him of himself as a youth. The Fourth Doctor's enemies are equally varied: old adversaries like the Sontarans, Daleks, and Cybermen, and new ones like the Zygons, the Krynoid, the Mandragora Helix, Magnus Greel, and the Vardans. His most notable new foes are Davros, the twisted genius who created the Daleks, and the Black Guardian, the evil, chaotic counterpart of the White Guardian. Most importantly, The Doctor is again confronted by The Master, whose scheme to gain a new cycle of regenerations nearly results in the destruction of Gallifrey, and whose attempts to harness the powers of Traken and Logopolis threaten the entire cosmos, and bring The Doctor into contact with his final companions, Nyssa of Traken, and Australian stewardess Tegan Jovanka. It is while battling The Master that The Fourth Doctor loses his life, and it is fitting that in making this sacrifice he once more saves the universe which he's worked so hard to make better.

Who IS The Fourth Doctor?

The Fourth Doctor The Fourth Doctor is a tall man with a mass of curly brown hair, an expressive face which is usually dominated by a toothy grin, and a voice which commands attention. His attire seems inspired by a Toulouse-Lautrec poster, and usually consists of a long coat, a vest or sweater, a battered brown hat, tweed trousers, brogans or buccaneer boots, and a long multi-colored scarf. This scarf, along with the sonic screwdriver, and the jelly babies he often uses as an introductory ploy, are the trademarks of The Fourth Doctor. His pockets sometimes seem to be as dimensionally transcendental as the TARDIS itself, and the array of items he carries include a galactic passport (Robot), a cricket ball (The Ark in Space, The Hand of Fear), a yo-yo (The Ark in Space, The Brain of Morbius, The Robots of Death), a selection of books, including his 500-Year Diary (The Sontaran Experiment), Oolon Caluphid's Origins of the Universe (which "got it wrong on the first line": Destiny of the Daleks) and a Tibetan language handbook (The Creature from the Pit: apparently his ability to understand Tibetan was lost when he regenerated from his previous form), a magnifying glass, gemstones, handcuffs, an etheric beam locator (which also detects ion-charged emissions: Genesis of the Daleks), a picklock (Pyramids of Mars), a football rattle (The Masque of Mandragora), a magician's cane (The Hand of Fear), a clockwork egg-timer (The Face of Evil), a breathing tube (The Robots of Death), a barrister's wig (The Stones of Blood), and an instant camera (City of Death). On one occasion (The Power of Kroll), he even drops a cup containing a hot beverage into his pocket. He often remembers to carry money, as well, which suggests that he isn't quite as scatterbrained as he seems. The Fourth Doctor, a bohemian walking in eternity, is perhaps the most complex, the most alien, and the most fascinating of all The Doctor's incarnations.

Past: The Third Doctor 5 Who's Doctor Who? Future: The Fourth Doctor 2