Doctor Who: 10 Times The Doctor Acted Completely Out Of Character For No Reason

The Doctor is never cowardly or cruel. Except when he is.

3rd Doctor looking out of TARDIS

When viewers sit down to watch a new episode of Doctor Who, they never know what they're going to get. Unlike other programmes, Doctor Who can be set in a different time and place each week and can feature an entirely new supporting cast. Even the main characters change periodically, with companions leaving and the star of the show being recast.

This constant change allows the series to stay fresh and surprising. However, in the face of this ceaseless upheaval, certain elements are deliberately kept the same. Most critically, regardless of the actor playing the Doctor, the central character's underlying personality traits remain eternal. 

As writer and script editor Terrance Dicks once famously said when describing the Doctor's essential character:

"He is impulsive, idealistic, ready to risk his life for a worthy cause. He hates tyranny and oppression and anything that is anti-life. He never gives in and he never gives up, however overwhelming the odds against him. The Doctor believes in good and fights evil. Though often caught up in violent situations, he is a man of peace. He is never cruel or cowardly. In fact, to put it simply, the Doctor is a hero."

That's not hard for writers and directors to keep straight in their heads, is it? Except, yes, it seems to be. 

Here are 10 times when the Doctor was inexplicably transformed into an unrecognisable travesty of himself because, somehow, the programme makers lost sight of what series they were creating. 

10. Setting Up Captain Jack With A Date

The end of David Tennant's final adventure, The End of Time, is full of great moments, but buried in the avalanche of mostly satisfying sentimentality are two scenes that just don't work. 

The forced and overly pat sequence where Mickey and Martha are shown to be a married couple so that Davies can make a joke about them being Smith and Jones is a let down because it simultaneously undermines Martha's earlier exit and unfortunately gives the impression that the two black characters have to wind up together. But even less successful is the scene where the Doctor arranges for Captain Jack to get laid.

It's not the fact that the Doctor is setting up Jack with a male character that seems so odd (or that the Doctor knows Alonso's sexual orientation or whether he would even be open to the idea of the tryst), it's that the Doctor has never previously shown any inclination towards helping his friends get some.

Yes, the Doctor can "dance", but that doesn't mean he's going to suddenly start micro-managing the sexual escapades of his friends. Only in Russell T Davies' mind does "worrying about a friend's sadness" equate to "get him some hot bedroom action".  Nope, the Doctor's vaguely icky interest makes absolutely no sense on any level.


Mike has lived in the UK, Japan and the USA. Currently, he is based in Iowa with his wife and 2 young children. After working for many years as a writer and editor for a large corporation, he is now a freelancer. He has been fortunate enough to contribute to many books on Doctor Who over the last 20 years and is now concentrating on original sci-fi & fantasy short stories, with recent sales including Flame Tree, Uffda, and The Martian Wave. Also, look for his contribution on Blake's 7 to "You and Who Else", a charity anthology to be released later this year. You can find him on Tumblr at