10 Greatest Speeches In Doctor Who History

Stirring Doctor Who speeches didn't just magically start happening in 2005...

Doctor Who Peter Capaldi speech The Zygon Inversion
BBC Studios

Modern Doctor Who loves a big speech, especially if they can pull quotes from it to go on t-shirts, mugs, and posters.

Throughout all their lives, the Doctor has had a knack for delivering an inspiring monologue at just the right moment to save the day. Failing that, they're never short of a scathing takedown with which to deliver to their greatest enemies.

The Big Doctor Who speech has become such a trope now that there are 20-minute compilation videos on the official BBC YouTube channel, while fans regularly ask classic series actors like Colin Baker or Sylvester McCoy to read out speeches written for modern Doctors.

Not content to just get the living Doctors to deliver these speeches, impressionists have also given us what the Zygon Inversion speech would sound like if read out by Jon Pertwee, or the Akhaten speech as read by Patrick Troughton.

For some reason though, it's very rarely the other way around, as if there's an attitude that classic Doctor Who doesn't contain the emotionally-stirring speechifying of the modern era.

That's absolute nonsense, and though NuWho undoubtedly has some terrific speeches (this list covers all eras of the show), we're about to prove why David Tennant should be asked to read out Colin Baker's speech from The Trial of a Time Lord at his next convention appearance...

10. "That's What It Takes To Be Really Corrupt!" (The Trial Of A Time Lord)

Doctor Who Peter Capaldi speech The Zygon Inversion
BBC Studios

Colin Baker is one of the most verbose actors to have ever played the Doctor, and while he was robbed of a heroic last act, he gets a chance to shine in his final serial. At last, the Sixth Doctor's fury and acid tongue are directed at a deserving target - the High Council of the Time Lords.

This was the final script written by legendary Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes, the writer most responsible for fleshing out Time Lord society as we know it. Colin Baker's thundering delivery of Holmes' words is a stirring reminder that the universe's greatest enemies are really the Time Lords themselves:

"Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen, they're still in the nursery compared to us. Ten million years of absolute power, that's what it takes to be really corrupt!"

This has always been an underlying theme of Holmes' scripts since he wrote The Deadly Assassin in 1976, and a decade later he brings everything full circle.

In doing so, Holmes doubles down on his reasoning for why the Doctor left Gallifrey. It was never about fearful prophecies or hybrids - it was because he'd grown tired of the stagnation and corruption of the archaic Time Lord society.

Anyone living in Great Britain in 2023 can surely relate.

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Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.