It's been a while since I had good subject for a pop culture slap fight, but thankfully one man came through with the perfect Doctor Who set-up, and that man is a YouTube user named WhovianWars. See, it's become something regular when meeting old Doctors at fan conventions to get them to read speeches from the modern series so that we can imagine what it would be like if those stories had starred the classic Doctors.
So you get them up on stage with a mike, and they do their best to outdo Matt Smith (He has the best monologues of the modern three). You can find videos of these all over YouTube, but WhovianWars takes it one step further. He splices the audio in with the original soundtracks from the actual episodes. The result is uncanny. You actually feel like you might be hearing some sort of alternate universe where these threats were tackled by the older Doctors.
So far, he has two, and today we see which one truly stands out. Let's get it on.
In This Corner: The Sixth Doctor, madness and the '80s incarnate. He was a pompous know-it-all supremely aware of his own brilliance and always cut an unmistakable figure in his harlequin outfit. Behind that cold, smarmy façade though beat the hearts of the one true Lord of Time, though. Whereas his previous incarnations had fled and hid from the powers that be on Gallifrey, Six stood tall against them in their most evil (At that time) hours.
He is played by Colin Baker. Baker's portrayal was the subject of much derision, and he remains the only Doctor ever fired from the role. Nonetheless, he has gained a new respect thanks to the Big Finish audio adventures, and is a constant presence in the Who community.
And In This Corner: The Seventh Doctor. Diminutive, physically unimposing, impish, and most of all devious. Until the revelation of the Hurt Doctor he was the incarnation all the rest feared, known far and wide for his manipulations and possible cruelty. His course was a dark one, but he's love for humanity ran very deep.
The man behind him is Sylvester McCoy, back in the spotlight again thanks to Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies where he plays the wizard Radagast. McCoy was the last Doctor of the classic series, and it is widely believed that if he had had just one more season that he might have continued to pull the ratings of the show up again. We'll never know, but like Baker he is a reliable presence in the audio adventures and at conventions.
The fight continues on page 2.
In the Court of the Parasite God: Taken at this year's Fanexpo, Baker was asked to recite the speech Eleven gives in "The Rings of Akhaten." It's arguably the greatest moment in the modern series as the Doctor exposes just how painful his very existence is as the last of the Time Lords, and the horrors and loneliness he has endured.
It's a good speech for Six, honestly. I can see the hurt and the bitterness from the whole Trial of the Time Lords storyline leading to a more introspective and hurt, yet still fiery Doctor confronting a hungry god. Maybe with a little more prep Baker could have pulled that off, but instead there just not quite enough edge to his recitation. You just don't feel the emotion running out of him like you did when Smith played the scene.
I AM TALKING!: In "The Pandorica Opens" The Doctor has one of his bravest and most daring moments as he confront literally millions of his most dangerous foes while bluffing on a busted straight. All he has to go on is his considerable reputation, and guess what? That's enough. He pulls it off, at least for a little while, and it's a testament to the character that it is so believable.
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It's also the exact kind of thing Seven would have done. Oh, he probably would have been a bit more understated in the whole thing, but it's still essentially his sort of show. That nonchalance in the face of danger was one of his later hallmarks, and Sylvester McCoy plays it to the hilt in his reading at 2011's Dragon*Con. Part of it is the throat roll he gives his Rs, part of it is his devilish sense of humor, but most of all it's just the fact that he fits the speech so perfectly.
Winner: I have a soft spot in my heart for Colin Baker's Doctor, but this was a masterful performance by Seven that literally felt like a page from another world. I maintain that if you were to do an animated Doctor Who series it's the Seventh Doctor that would most do the project justice. Until WhovianWars gets another chance to set the stages perfectly from more of the classic Doctors, Sylvester McCoy taking on the "Pandorica" speech will reign supreme.
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