As anyone this side of Skaro knows, Doctor Who will soon be back on our screens with a brand new face; that of The Thick of It actor Peter Capaldi. It seems that Peter and the production team are keen to differentiate his incarnation from the previous two very well-loved Doctors, as the main thrust of the pre-series advertising campaign has been to paint Doctor Number Twelve (let's not get started on the numbering controversy) as the darkest Doctor yet. "Am I a good man?" he asks his companion Clara in all the trailers, well it seems the answer will have to wait until the series premieres next Saturday. However, can Capaldi really be the darkest Doctor ever? Yes, the Doctor may be the main character in a largely cheerful family series but he is also an ancient being with buckets of regret and a fierce sense of justice that he often upholds at the cost of bloodshed. Not exactly Winnie the Pooh, is he? In fact, right through his many lives the Doctor has had a number of incredibly dark moments that have really pushed the character - right from his beginnings as the curmudgeonly William Hartnell to the usually cuddly Matt Smith. So, unless Peter Capaldi's plan for the role is to don a hockey mask and a chainsaw, Number Twelve might find himself hard pressed to produce darker moments than the following ten.
10. The Tenth Doctor Causes Pompeii's Destruction
The Series Four episode Fires of Pompeii introduced the idea of fixed points in time and space. For years, it had been a mystery for fans why sometimes the Doctor could merrily dance his way through a period in time and space pouncing on any butterflies he felt like, whereas other times he was sworn not to interfere. Here it was revealed that certain moments cannot be changed. Much to his sadness, one such moment was the destruction of Pompeii. The Doctor is racked with guilt upon arriving and ignores his companion Donna's insistence that he must save the people of the city. Things only get worse when the time travellers realise it is them who cause the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, as a means to destroy the evil alien Pyroviles who wish to claim the Earth for their own. It's Pompeii or the world and unfortunately there is only one answer. Although the Doctor does eventually save some people - including a man played by Peter Capaldi, who apparently repays the Doctor by giving him his face - the moment in the TARDIS where we think the Doctor really will run away and leave everyone to die is as dark as the show has ever got. It's a terrible glimpse into the responsibility that the Doctor faces every time he travels somewhere. He isn't called a Time Lord for nothing.