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Eighth Doctor

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eighth_doctor_2_5334.jpg
"I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there."

Debut: "Doctor Who: The Movie" (1996)
Regeneration story: "The Night of the Doctor" (2013)

Played by: Paul McGann (1996, 2013)

"The universe hangs by such a delicate thread of coincidences — it's useless to meddle with it unless, like me, you're a Time Lord."
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The bouncy, charming romantic, slowly darkened into a Warrior Poet by loss and sorrow. From the little we saw of him, the Eighth Doctor was a chatty, passionate figure who reveled in life and living and — uniquely among the Doctors — seemed to enjoy giving people hints about their futures.

Notably, he was the Doctor who shattered the No Hugging, No Kissing policy forever, happily snogging his companions just because he wanted to. He also claimed to be half-human, which was either ignored or denied in later stories.

He got fleshed out considerably in the Expanded Universe media, including the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, the Doctor Who Magazine comics and the Big Finish audio series, before finally coming Back for the Dead in the TV series for a prelude to the 50th anniversary special.

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    TV Movie Tropes 

Tropes associated with the TV movie

  • Amnesiac Hero: Starts out this way, and manages to find new and exciting ways to contract amnesia every couple of stories — both in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels and in Big Finish.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Master, who remains the only enemy to tackle the Eighth Doctor in all forms of media he appeared in; the telemovie, the comics, the books and the audios.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In reaction to scheming Seven, Eight can't stay on one task or thought for more than two seconds. Everything carries the same weight. This became his principal trait in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels... to the point where, dying and with four minutes left to live, he proclaims boredom due to no books, TV, or knitting on hand.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Victorian clothes, long hair and Grace's ex-boyfriend's shoes.
  • Badass Longcoat: Has a beautiful green one during the Made-for-TV Movie.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Has a habit of randomly snogging people when he gets excited, and was consequently the first Doctor ever to be properly romantic with his companions. His kiss with Grace in the movie was as much a surprise for the audience as it was for her. Has another Big Damn Kiss in Big Finish with companion Charley, although it's played for horror, with Grace (again) and Destrii in the comics, and with companions Sam, Fitz and Bernice Summerfield in the novels.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's a bit loopy even by Doctor standards, though it doesn't stop him getting the job done.
  • Classy Cravat: He originally wore a grey one that came with his original Victorian ensemble. When he switches to a Regency era clothing he wears a more rugged blue one.
  • Clock King: Perhaps in an attempt to ease Americans into the setting, this Doctor has a collection of clocks inside his TARDIS. On a deeper level, Eight exhibits an ability to sense the fate of people and see into their timestreams. Another suggestion of this occurs when he handles the Wild Bill Hickok costume he adopts as his outfit; he seems to pick up a psychic impression from the period clothing.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: His upbeat and forgiving attitude contrasted Seven's Magnificent Bastard tendencies.
  • The Dandy: With his Victorian ensemble he gives Three a run for his money as the best dressed Doctor.
  • Distressed Dude: Courtesy of the Master, who's trying to steal the rest of his regenerations.
  • Ditzy Genius: Possibly the ditziest Doctor of them all, at least at first. Not so much later on.
  • Dull Surprise: One of the notorious aspects of the movie. Paul McGann couldn't move his forehead too much without the seam of the wig showing, which is part of the reason why he hated it so much.
  • Five-Finger Discount: In his single TV adventure, the Eighth Doctor demonstrated a talent for pickpocketing people while directly speaking with them. He uses this talent to steal an ID card and a gun... which he uses to hold himself hostage.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Though they ultimately decide to part ways, the first person he meets who fills the traditional role of companion is the redheaded Dr. Grace Holloway. As soon as he gets over his regeneration trauma, he snogs her a few times out of sheer joy. (She's also the only companion ever in the TV series to directly inadvertently kill him, thus forcing him to regenerate from Seven to Eight.)
  • Iconic Item: His fob watch and Edwardian dress. Also, his shoes, which fit perfectly.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes/Icy Blue Eyes: Used in alternating ways to highlight both the lighter romantic sides of his personality as well as the more understated darker ones. The former is prominently on display in the movie promo-pictures, while the latter has come to the forefront in the Dark Eyes and "The Night of the Doctor" promo-pictures.
  • Innocent Fanservice Guy: Gets a a few shirtless scenes right off the bat, while still very confused and amnesiac.
  • Keet: Extremely.
  • Kirk Summation: "You want dominion over the living, but all you do is kill!"
  • Large Ham: With big arm gestures.
  • Loose Canon: The first destruction of Gallifrey, in the EDAs that is, was the one the Eighth Doctor enacted to save Gallifrey from Faction Paradox (The Ancestor Cell). A previous book, Alien Bodies, introduced the War storyline which would become central to the Revival Series: the loss of the Time Lords results in a universe where the laws of time are no longer being enforced ("The Book of the Still"). The Big Finish anniversary episode "Zagreus" cleared up the confusion over those novels' canonicity, by stating they're an alternate timeline possibility (and forcing Eight to watch that alternate self for a bit). Although Big Finish still tends to be, as Nicholas Briggs likes to put it, "a bit naughty" in regards to canon, and has Eight referencing the novels and the comics a few times later on.
  • Manchild: Easily the most boyish, carefree and bouncy Doctor when he's not in trouble.
  • Messy Hair: He has messy, curly hair too, but longer and looser than the Fourth Doctor's. Both are the resident loopy romantics of the Doctors
  • Mr. Fanservice: Eight has a habit of losing his shirt with some frequency in any medium he appears in, and spends his first few minutes in the movie dressed in just a sheet.
  • Nice Guy: Eight is the sweetest Doctor there's ever been... until Break the Cutie sets in.
  • Nice Shoes: "THESE SHOES!" (a pair of loafers donated to him by Grace from, offloading an unpleasant reminder of an ungrateful ex)
    • Also part of a running gag, as Three and Four both babbled about their shoes shortly after regenerating (of course, because they had the TARDIS key in them)
  • No Indoor Voice: When excited or upset, he tends to go wild with the volume.
    Eighth Doctor: The Master wants to take all my remaining lives... SO THAT HE WILL LIVE AND I WILL DIE!
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Something he shares with a few other Doctors. While his Trauma-Induced Amnesia eventually gets better, his sense of personal space definitely does not.
  • Pretty Boy: Bordering on foxy, even.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: After seeing his reflection for the first time after regeneration, whilst wandering about the hospital: "WHO! AM! I?!"
  • Retroactive Precognition: An ability no other Doctor has ever shown again. Fan explanations vary from "it's a regeneration trauma thing" to "maybe Eight is special" to "he's close to a temporal rift created by the malfunctioning TARDIS" to "Rule One: The Doctor Lies".
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In gorgeous Victorian clothes.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: The gun that Eight pulls on himself was actually the policeman's. He's great at sleight of hand.
  • Take My Hand: To the Master, who refused and let himself be dragged into the Eye of Harmony. It's a bit of a recurring trope for Eight that offering to take someone's hand ends very badly.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Regenerating several hours after his death and under the influence of surgical-grade anesthetics apparently constitutes less-than-ideal circumstances.
  • Verbal Tic: He liked monosyllables. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" "No, no, no, no, no..." "Grace, Grace, Grace, Grace!" Like that. Generally when he was excited, really thinking, or, as one character in the Expanded Universe observes, when he was distressed.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Came with the outfit.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: Wakes up in a morgue in the middle of amnesia-inducing regeneration trauma. Finds a few feet of camera probe coming out of his chest. His first day was a bit scary.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: This only applies to his televised appearances, a whopping two over the course of 17 years. It is worth noting that Big Finish took the wheel and patched up the vast in-between space. The Eighth Doctor has been somewhat of a phantom in the TV series, but far from it in audio format. Ironically, and fittingly, Paul McGann was once quoted as not owning a TV in his household to watch the post-movie Doctor Who, making the actor just as distanced from the new developments as his Doctor.

    Comic Tropes 

Tropes associated with the Radio Times comics

Tropes associated with Doctor Who Magazine

Five months after the telemovie aired in America, Doctor Who Magazine made the Eighth Doctor the star of their comic strips, where he faced significant character development.

  • A God Am I: Merging with part of the space/time vortex itself. He's very moved by the experience and ready to say goodbye to physical life forever, but seeing that Destrii needs him snaps him out of it again.
    • In "The Glorious Dead", he thinks he and the Master are fighting for this, but eventually realises they're a sideshow.
  • Aborted Arc: The writers were offered the chance to end his story by regenerating into the Ninth Doctor, but they and Russell T. Davies agreed that they couldn't find a way to make it work.
    • In the notes at the back of "The Cruel Sea" the writers add that this was probably a good thing as it would have been de-canonized by the War Doctor.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Horde's kidnapping of Izzy-in-Destrii's body seriously ticks him off — which is likely not helped by having just seen the Heroic Sacrifice of the Human Daleks — and he's much more abrupt and short-tempered until he manages to find her again.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Gets another very big damn one with Grace, leading Izzy to assume that he and Grace are boyfriend and girlfriend. (He never bothers to correct her.) Also gets snogged by Destrii a few times over, though against his will.
  • Broken Pedestal: Basically does this to the human-factor Daleks he created in "The Evil of the Daleks" when he meets them in "Children of the Revolution" as he is forced to break his word to them to try and save their human prisoners, but muses that it was inevitable he would let down their high expectations of him when they put him in such an impossible position.
  • Cast Full of Gay: The Eighth Doctor travels with lesbian companion Izzy; queer, very androgynous companion Fey; and Destrii, who seems to go for Anything That Moves.
  • Catchphrase: "Blazes". Often said when shocked, surprised and downright annoyed.
  • Changed My Jumper: Halfway through his adventures, the Eighth Doctor wears a long, dark blue coat rather than the dark green one he wears in the TV movie. Author Scott Gray felt that the green coat didn't work well once the comic started being published in colour. For a winter adventure in the wild west, he adds some warmer clothes and a hat he got from Mark Twain; for a Victorian story, he wears his usual gear and a nice top hat. (In ancient Egypt, he just strips down to nothing but a pair of shorts for the entire story.)
  • The Chessmaster: Showcased in his Threshold arc; realising that the Threshold are using Fey to spy on him, he gets Shayde to pretend to be a regenerated Doctor so the Threshold will assume he's vulnerable and let their guard down, while going undercover to investigate what the Threshold are up to.
  • Heroic Suicide: He offers to let the Cybermen kill him, so they can copy his regenerative pattern and hopefully leave the humans of Earth alone as a result. They (of course) betray him and he (naturally) had already escaped by that time.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Starts off with a nice pair. Izzy later happily mocks him for it when they look back on their past selves.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Gets the occasional Shirtless Scene.
  • Nice Hat: He spent a full year of comics travelling alone, and would start off each story with a different hat instead of a companion. Including a fez.
  • Pride: Always part of the Doctor's personality, but Eight's second story arc (collected in "The Glorious Dead" graphic novel) explores this as a character flaw (albeit aided by the manipulation of the Master.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His graphic, horrifying genocide of an entire fleet of Cybermen, delivered with all the passion and rage of an angry God. (Which he is, pretty much, at the time.)
  • Rogues Gallery: The Celestial Toymaker, Marquez, Daleks, the Cucurbite, the Elysians, the Pariah, Donald Stark, Sato Katsura, Beep the Meep, the Master, the Gorolith, Susini of the Wasting Wall, Kata-Phobus, Jodafra, Morjanus, the Windigo, and Cybermen.
  • Torture Porn: It's the Eighth Doctor. Of course there's Torture Porn. His final adventure sees him badly beaten up by the Cyber-Controller.

Tropes associated with Titan Comics

  • Rogues Gallery: Living paintings, the Mirror Silversmith, the Nixi King, Lady Josephine, & Cybermen.

    Book Tropes 

Tropes associated with the Eighth Doctor Adventures

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/406199537a5e9c8a36f98a97719411ff.jpg
The Doctor didn't even slow down. One part of his brain started madly calculating velocities and trajectories. Another part started advising him strongly against this course of action. Another part was sticking its arms out and making aeroplane noises.
The Doctor leapt from the pier. There was a moment, almost a silent moment, when he was sailing free through the air, unconnected to anything.
Then he was vaulting easily over the railing of the ship, landing smoothly on his toes on the other side. The tourists on board the boat burst into a round of applause. The Doctor broke into a smile, and gave a little bow, letting them take photos.
Unnatural History

The one, the not-so-only. The Doctor received a lot of Character Development throughout the EDAs novels, making him a much more complicated person than he was in the TVM.

  • Absentminded Professor: Even more than usual for the Doctor.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Paul McGann's certainly very attractive to begin with, but EDA writers often described the Doctor as younger, taller, thinner and prettier than McGann.
  • Allergic to Routine: He survives torture, starvation, horror and broken limbs and usually bounces right back, but imprisonment — just plain imprisonment with nothing to do — is what does him in. When he gets locked up for over three years, it absolutely destroys him.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Doctor (and other characters) occasionally bring up the fact that human gender categories just don't apply to Time Lords. He doesn't consider himself a man, but doesn't offer up any alternatives.
  • Ambiguously Gay: In normal canon, he's pretty much overtly bisexual and occasionally effeminate. In the Obverse segments of The Blue Angel, he likes cooking and old movie soundtracks and his Ambiguously Jewish Mother seems to take a particular interest in his love life.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Faction Paradox and the Council of Eight.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Those who meet him for the first time often think he's going to a wedding or a fancy-dress party. When he's actually in the 19th Century, it's commented on that for once he actually fits in. And apparently his outfit came back into fashion in The '80s. He occasionally averts Limited Wardrobe, although mostly in the books Kate Orman and Jon Blum coauthored.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: He loses half a tooth early on in the series, and a later book mentions that it just grew back. He does badly break most of his fingers early on and is left with a few of them permanently crooked.
  • Bi the Way: Quite overtly so; he has heavily implied romantic and sexual relationships with both men and women, and at least one character noticed.
    Sam: ...The way he looks at certain people. Women and men. But he never acts on anything. note 
  • Big Damn Kiss: Has the occasional snog with his companions — with two versions of Sam, and with Fitz.
  • Bizarre Human Biology: The Blue Angel features an Alternate Reality Episode in which the Doctor's theoretically human. He has two hearts, no navel, and an unusual aversion to the cold. It's probably related to the fact that his mother's a mermaid.
  • Born Lucky: Discussed at surprisingly-great length by Sabbath in Camera Obscura. The Doctor apparently doesn't like to talk about it, apparently because, for one thing, Sabbath can come up with more examples than he should know and the Doctor remembers, and it also reminds him of the fact that when things go wrong for him, they tend to go disastrously wrong.
    "Rescuers turn up. Weapons jam. Your companions, who, if you will forgive me, don't strike me as more than usually competent, save the day. Buildings explode immediately after you find the way out. Cities fall just as the TARDIS dematerialises[...] Electrical currents short-circuit. Evil masterminds make foolish errors. note  If you fall out of a window, there’s something to catch you. If you’re drowning, a spar floats by. You find your way unsinged out of burning houses[...] In short, in your presence, the odds collapse."
  • Brought Down to Normal: When his second heart is surgically removed, the Doctor finds himself more prone to fatigue than usual, and is no longer able to metabolise foreign drugs or use his respiratory bypass system; he regains these abilities when his original second heart is allowed to 'die' and he can grow a new one.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: This is the Doctor we're talking about. He's a bit crazy, but he gets the job done.
  • Chaste Hero: Not absolutely, but he often seems rather oblivious, The Blue Angel talks about him being "a virgin" in a sort of general metaphorical and literal sense, and in Interference this is his response to being asked whether having two hearts means he "can be in love with two women [...] at once":
    ‘Good grief. Do you know, that had never struck me before? I’ve never even thought about being in love with one woman, let alone two. Well, not much.’
    • Interference writer Lawrence Miles later said in a DWM interview that the Eighth Doctor's virgin status (in every sense of the word) was very interestingly at odds with his romantic nature; Interference includes a conversation about it between the Doctor and I.M. Foreman, in which it's also very heavily implied that they had sex in between Book One and Book Two.
  • Claustrophobia: He develops severe, PTSD-level claustrophobia in Seeing I.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: "So that's what he keeps us around for, [Sam] thought, blowing out a long cloud of smoke. He can't think in a straight line without us."
  • Combat Pragmatist: He once stuck his fingers up an opponent's nose.
  • Creepy Good: Sometimes. Anji occasionally has an Uncanny Valley reaction to him, particularly in Camera Obscura when he faints and she notices that his "muscular-skeletal frame" is unnaturally flexible. Also, his emotional responses are often a little bit off — he's sometimes not upset by things that upset everybody else, and even when he is upset he tends not to show it. And there's the Stealth Hi/Bye thing he often does, and he didn't have a shadow for a while... he even kept a couple of pet bats in the TARDIS at the beginning of the series, one of which almost scares the crap out of someone in Vampire Science.
  • Cuddle Bug: He's so affectionate that he tends to kiss people on the lips with apparently platonic intent.
  • The Dandy: Subverted: he dresses like Oscar Wilde on his way to a wedding and is often actually described as dandyish, but seems not to actually take much of an interest in his physical appearance: his hair is usually wild and messy, he doesn't give a damn for the effects going through hell and high water would have on all that fancy velvet and silk he wears, and he has to take others' word for it that he's good-looking, because he doesn't personally notice or care note  apart from having a vague sense that maybe he should be able to charm people into doing things for him.
  • Darker and Edgier
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every now and then.
  • Disability Immunity: A minor example; in the novel To the Slaughter, the Doctor states that he was immune to the insanity-inducing Halcytone paint because he cannot see the colour violet, which was apparently taken from him in Unnatural History (although he could simply have been being facetious).
  • Ditzy Genius: He understands time travel just fine, but time zones are beyond him. He commits major displays of absentmindedness on what must be an almost daily basis. Some fans have referred to him as "the congenital idiot", or "the congenial idiot". He gives the impression of having less Obfuscating Stupidity and more genuine, guileless foolishness than most Doctors, but he is regularly shown to actually have brains he just doesn't always use.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: He's apparently particularly good-looking when he plays the violin.
    The Doctor was standing with his eyes closed, absolutely absorbed in his playing. He looked every inch the devil's fiddler, thought Karl note  — his slender body carelessly slouching, long fingers flashing, aristocratic face taut with concentration, long copper-gold hair flying. His audience's appreciation was more than musical.
  • Eternal Love: Has a variation of the trope with I.M. Foreman, one of the very few people he becomes intimate with on a more than superficial level. Exactly how that intimacy plays out is left up to the readers' imagination, but considering the amount of giggling I.M. Foreman does after she wakes up next to him and their conversations afterwards, it's not hard to guess.
  • Eye Scream: At one point, he's forced to operate on his own eye while in the middle of severe emotional trauma to remove an implant that was helping the prison he was trapped in predict his actions and prevent his escape. The TARDIS is able to help him a little, but it's not pleasant for anyone involved.
  • Forgets to Eat: In Camera Obscura, Anji has to remind him:
    "Do you want some food? You haven’t eaten in days."
    "That's right," he said wonderingly, as if she'd made a point that hadn't occurred to him. "You know, I bet that's one reason I feel so bad."
  • Geek: While on Earth, the Doctor became a fan of Transformers. No, really.
    "Someone," Compassion said, "has been watching too much Saturday-morning TV."
    "There was a time when it always seemed to be Saturday when I was on Earth, and the children's programmes were excellent, if my memory doesn't cheat." He made folding motions with his hand and muttered something that sounded to Fitz like "robots in disguise". The Doctor grinned, disarmingly.
    • As well as comic books:
      The Doctor had sat on the high-backed chair with his feet on the console, idly flipping through Marvel Comics. It turned out he was a big X-Men fan.
    • And, of all things, model trains:
      (Anji has just found a box of model train things) Though she had hurriedly, if somewhat guiltily, hidden this even further back in the cupboard, she suspected it was only a matter of time until the morning arrived when she couldn't cross the console room without having to step over miniature tracks and leap tiny buildings.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In The Ancestor Cell, the Doctor is horrified to witness Grandfather Paradox, the version of himself that will result from his infection with the Paradox biodata virus.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: He has certain gaps in his understanding of human social skills, but he manages to be very polite despite stumbling on a few of the finer points. If he drops the politeness, it's generally well-deserved, whether because someone's genuinely malevolent or just an asshole. (And he's sometimes rude to Fitz, but it's in more of a fraternal way than a mean-spirited way.) And, of course, his appearance and intellect also match the trope to a tee.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: He gets injured in almost every single book, usually multiple times. He's been shot, stabbed, squished flat, beaten almost to a bloody pulp, etc., and unless he's been Brought Down to Normal it rarely takes more than a couple days for him to heal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he tends to take advantage of this fact by treating his own body as a meat shield, doing irresponsible and foolhardy things while bleeding all over the place, and just outright acting like a masochist.
    He placed his foot on the Doctor's injured note  leg. The Doctor gasped. "How long until this heals? A few days? A few hours? Twenty minutes?[...]"
    "Well, you're right of course," said the Doctor tightly. "And since it heals so quickly, why not do this?" Teeth clenched, he began to wrench his leg free. There was a nasty, tearing, butcher's-shop sound.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: More attached to his Bill Hickock clothes than in the comics and audios; he even dons an equivalent when totally amnesic and waking up wearing Fitz's old coat.
  • Inner Monologue Conversation: He occasionally replies to people's thoughts, but in The Book of the Still he more or less states he can just read expressions and body language, and while he could read minds if he wanted to, he just doesn't have time for it.
  • Innocent Fanservice Guy: He seems to consider life clothing-optional, although recognizes that the preference is for clothing. Good thing he's attractive.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Long hair, fancy clothes, enjoys cooking and baking. In Timeless, it gets him called a "poof".note  He also has a lot of Team Mom moments; The Year of Intelligent Tigers notes his "almost maternal urge" to see to it that everyone around him is well-fed. In Father Time, he shows a distinct tendency toward Tender Tears whenever much of anything is going on with his adopted daughter Miranda.
  • Kaleidoscope Eyes: Usually blue, (sometimes described as Icy Blue Eyes), but sometimes gray eyes or green. Depending on the Writer and his own mercurial personality, a lot of the associated characteristics of each eye color apply.
  • Kiss of Death: At one point, he kisses a Gallifreyan assassin to blow air into the man's lungs with such violence, it bursts his ear drums.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Suggested that it might be justified by the fact that when he starts to get his memory back, he still finds it useful to pick and choose the things he lets people find out he remembers.
  • Manchild: When it matters, he can generally be counted on to act mature, but his mannerisms and interests are often childish. He likes picture and comic books, cartoons, model trains, tractors, ducks, and so on. Once in a while he'll casually sit curled in a ball like almost no middle-aged human man ever. Nonetheless, he doesn't really suffer any of the drawbacks, aside from usually being totally baffled by the topic of romance. And it's at least sometimes a deliberately annoying and/or disarming act.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: With Sam and with Fitz. It's possible that he's deliberately trying not to encourage Sam's attraction to him, and he has the good grace to let her know how dangerous he is. Yet he has no problem with kissing either version of her, or ending up half-naked in bed with her and being her "back-rub slut". He also kisses Fitz without qualms, but avoids talking about all their Unresolved Sexual Tension.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: His mental health is somewhat variable. He's usually sort of a high-functioning Cloud Cuckoolander, but he has moments of being certifiably insane. He has a full-on psychosis in Alien Bodies, twice. The Slow Empire plays this for fairly dark humor and mentions that after developing Trauma-Induced Amnesia, he occasionally couldn't distinguish between TV and reality, and so had attacks of being able to be Driven to Suicide by the utter depressingness of EastEnders note , and due to watching Superman he got some odd ideas about disguises and "the relative position of the trousers and underpants". He also seems to think that someone who was having a nosebleed four days ago may still need a handkerchief. He even had what may have been a momentary Axe-Crazy blackout in City of the Dead. In The Blue Angel he has an alternate self who apparently suffers from schizophrenia, completely averting Funny Schizophrenia; it's reasonably understated and not Played for Laughs at all. (Also, his POV in The Blue Angel is occasionally written in a subtly strange way — for example, he tends to bring something up which doesn't make a lot of sense without further explanation and then drift away from the topic, which resembles some symptoms of schizophrenia.)
    • The Mad Hatter: In Eater of Wasps, Anji asks him rhetorically if he's insane. He replies that he "must be". And in The Slow Empire, he and Fitz share a worried moment in which they realize he seems to be "unbalanced" to the point of schizophrenia (and one of the things that worries Fitz about the Doctor's breakdown du jour is that the Doctor is aware of it yet unconcerned by it). However, at other times he definitively states he's quite sane enough.
  • Meta Guy: Rather prone to Leaning on the Fourth Wall without breaking it or seeming blatantly aware of it. It's not that he knows he's an ex-TV-character, but he manages to complain about it nonetheless.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Actually a plot point — there are so many conflicting versions of his past scattered throughout the universe, it eventually attracts a multidimensional biologist who sees him as a fascinating specimen. As well as, of course, Faction Paradox on multiple occasions. It's insinuated in Unnatural History that his supposed half-human heritage could simply be a retroactive alteration of his self caused by the traumatic regeneration into his Eighth body.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Bony fingers, all the better to stab you with. He doesn't even blink at Bridal Carrying grown men such as Fitz.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Often enough. In Timeless, he's politely terrifying:
    ‘How do you do!’ The Doctor beamed. ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you. You must be very important, very special indeed, for some as yet unknown force to have possessed the minds of those who know you and targeted you for death.’
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Even worse than other Doctors.
  • No Social Skills: He clearly has them; he's often very polite and charming, and often uses social engineering to achieve his goals. It's just that there are certain gaps in his social skills and times when he just doesn't feel the need to use them. Almost every conversation he has has some element of weirdness in it, he's occasionally Sarcasm-Blind, and he sometimes hurts people's feelings by mistake or has inappropriate reactions to things that shock everyone else. Most people are shocked if they find a dead body, even if it's no one they know; he's just pleased to have a mystery to solve.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Bordering on Obfuscating Insanity, aside from the times when he actually is insane.
  • Obliviously Beautiful: It eventually seems to dawn on him that humans consider him rather attractive, but he tends to think about it in rather skeptical terms.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Miranda, his adopted daughter who's implied to be his Kid from the Future, dies of Rapid Aging in Sometime Never.
  • Parents as People: To Miranda. He means well, dotes on her, and loves her with all his hearts, but he's still fairly clueless, and ends up being part of the reason she runs away from home when she's sixteen, because he never explained to her she's an alien like him. She turns out all right, though.
  • Playful Hacker: Particularly in Seeing I. Apparently he's even better with computers than you might expect, and uses his skills to distract a Mega-Corp while he uses its information to search for Sam. Aside from making it appear that employees are being laid off at an astonishing rate, he also assigns one of the executives to read one of his friend Benny's books, and orders a bunch of sandwiches for a non-existent seminar. One of the employees suggests it might be a "weird prank", and another says, "It’s like a huge kid has broken into IXNet."
  • Rail Enthusiast: He doesn't seem to be all that interested in actual trains, but he owns a model train set, and he's quite pleased to get the opportunity to drive a tractor and a double-decker bus.
  • Real Men Get Shot
  • Real Men Wear Pink: It's hardly even a "real men" thing at times; Anji apparently thinks of him as effectively almost a girl.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Master, Ryoth, Vampires, Zygons, Tractites, Daleks, Davros, the Faction Paradox, Krotons, I, Wirrn, Ghosts, Gustav Zemler, the Face-Eater, Ed Hill, the Remote, Daedalus, the Fendahl, Time Lords, Parallel 59, President Romana of the Nine Gallifreys, Catherine Harries, Grandfather Paradox, the Dark Forces, the Players, Hitchemus Tigers, Sabbath Dei, Clock People, Maxwell Curtis, the Council of Eight, and Vore.
  • Sense Freak: Eight's sensuality is very much present in the narrative, and he spends the majority of his time intimately hugging people, enjoying delicious food, petting kittens, or being Sam's "back-rub slut". He's almost always doing something to keep his senses occupied. Just for example — serious peace negotiations with a vampire matriarch involve him getting a scalp massage.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: No matter what horrifying crap the universe throws at him, he flat-out demands the universe be better.
    Injustice is the rule, but I want justice. Suffering is the rule, but I want to end it. Despair accords with reality, but I insist on hope. I don't accept it because it is unacceptable. I say no.
  • The Slow Path: From the end of Ancestor Cell (dated to the late 1880s) to the events of Escape Velocity (February 2001), the Doctor is stuck on Earth with no memory of his past and nothing but the TARDIS (drained of all power and needing a century to ‘reboot’), his clothes, and a note instructing him to meet his companion Fitz in St Louis on February 8 2001; he never visibly ages during that time, but notes later on that after spending a century stuck on one planet he now gets impatient waiting for an egg to boil, and expresses enthusiasm for the chance to meet interesting aliens after a century of only humans for company.
  • Super Strength: A fairly low-key case. It's clear that he's stronger than he looks and can do things most humans can't, but just how strong is never really explored, and he very rarely uses it.
  • Team Chef: Very much so. While Fitz is also said to be a competent cook, it seems the Doctor's an accomplished chef. In Camera Obscura, he stress-bakes a Lady Baltimore cake, although he just worries more because of its "very complicated icing"; in The Year of Intelligent Tigers, he makes a massive picnic for his friends and is said to hold several dinner parties in his flat; his Alternate Universe counterpart in The Blue Angel also makes a large meal for his visitors and frets over ruining the potatoes. Mind you, this doesn't include small moments when he happens to just carry food with him (apples, bits of candy, etc.) to give his companions on a moment's notice.
    • Through His Stomach: That said, the Doctor only seems to cook for his True Companions and people he cares about. In Timeless, he makes Anji a very nice omelette but immediately after won't do the same for the current One-Shot Character, claiming to be bored with cooking.
  • Telepathy: He sometimes responds to things his companions are only thinking, or seems to. It doesn't seem to have any more practical applications than making everyone a little unsettled.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Which he never quite gets over for the rest of his novel adventures (although it is later suggested that he actually erased his memory on purpose to create storage space in his psyche, and the series ends with the implication that he will regain his old memories eventually).
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Actually, this is pretty much how he fights. Maybe because he doesn't like to fight, he doesn't even seem to really know how (apart from when he was operating on amnesia-induced instinct in The Eight Doctors). However, he's really quite disproportionately tough. In To the Slaughter, he lifts a woman in an office chair over his head. In Frontier Worlds, he kicks someone in the head and stubs his toe quite badly.
  • Walking the Earth: The Doctor basically does this from The Ancestor Cell to Escape Velocity; having lost his memory and with the TARDIS reduced to a small box, he spends the entire twentieth century wandering Earth until his ship repairs itself (the novels set during this time take place in Britain, but the Doctor's dialogue suggests that he travelled to other parts of the world).

    Audio Tropes 

Tropes associated with Big Finish

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/big_finish_8.jpg
"I may talk like a fool, but I always know what I'm talking like a fool about!"
Voiced by: Paul McGann (2001–present), India Fisher (2010)

"Sorry, I was soliloquising again. Filthy habit."

Bouncy, chatty and very fond of humans, the Eighth Doctor was fleshed out considerably in Big Finish audio stories and quickly became the series' Breakout Character. After the new TV series stated that the Doctor would end up committing double genocide in the Last Great Time War, Big Finish started slowly but steadily breaking him. Eventually he would stop being in the monthly audios, and he would get his own separate series - "The "New Eighth Doctor Adventures" which takes place at a later time in the same continuity and its sequel series Dark Eyes, Doom Coalition, and Ravenous sees him eventually outgrowing his Victorian look.


  • Accidental Proposal: His friendship with Historical Domain Character Edith Swan-Neck got just a little bit out of hand.
  • Always Save the Girl: Over and over and over and over. Saving Charley Pollard, in his first episode, turned out to be a very bad idea — her being alive starts to unravel the universe after a while.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Finds new and exciting ways to contract amnesia every few stories. "Terror Firma", in particular, takes this trope and runs with it for massive horror and awesome.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: A mutual one with Charley. They both mean very different things by it, and the Doctor is extremely uncomfortable with Charley's "yearning" for him.
  • Arch-Enemy: Rassilon and the Dalek Time Controller. Come Dark Eyes 2, and the Master starts attaining this status again.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Has a seriously short attention span.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Downplayed. Eight is mostly shown as clean-shaved like his TV Movie appearance, but all his adventures following the death of Lucie have him sporting Perma-Stubble.
  • Because Destiny Says So: In "Dark Eyes", Eight realises that he's at war with the Daleks, and in "Dark Eyes 2", he makes it quite clear that he does not want to get involved in any war between the Daleks and the Time Lords. Despite all his attempts to avoid it, he has to get involved in it, whether he likes it or not. "The Night of the Doctor" provides plenty of nice opportunities for Dramatic Irony.
  • Big Damn Kiss: With Charley. Completely played for Body Horror.
  • Body Horror: All the time. "Scherzo", "Something Inside", "Mary's Story"...
  • Breakout Character: For Big Finish. Mainly because the Eighth Doctor has almost no stories on TV, which means there is no rigid continuity to worry about addressing. This gives writers nearly unlimited creative freedom to define his character and stories however they want.
  • Break the Cutie: Gradually gets broken. Notable moments include "Neverland", "Zagreus", "Scherzo", "The Last", "Terror Firma", "Orbis" and "To The Death". "Dark Eyes" is essentially him dealing with everything he's dealt with.
    • Downer Ending: And just remember, "The Night of the Doctor" puts the cherry on top of the breaking sundae with the Doctor giving up.
  • Character Development: Starts out as a very Ditzy Genius, and becomes more and more traumatised as the episodes progress.
    • Seven's manipulative tendencies left him lonely, tired and broken. Then he became Eight, who was possessed by the desire to live life to the fullest. He no longer plays the long game against his foes and uses his allies as pawns, being content to travel the universe for nothing but enjoyment, and at one point explcitly defines himself as not being that person anymore.
    • After the TV movie, he's an enthusiastic science-adventurer. By Dark Eyes, he's a bitter man looking desperately for hope. By The Night of the Doctor, he's completely broken, trying to do everything he can to hold himself together as the man he used to be.
  • Chick Magnet: Companions, Queens, Eldritch Abominations...
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: To Charley's constant frustration, he really wants to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save her, time and time again. To the point where the TARDIS starts scolding him for it.
    • Combined with his Determinator status, this has led to very long stints of him trying to help people he has nothing to do with. Notably in "Orbis" and "Prisoner Of The Sun".
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Seriously. His mind's inner sanctuary is a croquet course and a water slide.
  • Creepy Monotone: He usually jumps right into Large Ham when he's angry, and Evil Is Hammy when he's Not Himself. In some rare cases, most notably in "The Natural History Of Fear", we get to hear Paul McGann do a Creepy Monotone — and it's goddamn terrifying. In some very rare cases, Eight goes for this trope when he's both completely lucid and completely serious, as Davros found out...
    Eighth Doctor: You tell me all this, and you expect me to help you.
    Davros: Yes, Doctor.
    Eighth Doctor: ...How? How can you expect...? ...Davros.
    Davros: Yes, Doctor?
    Eighth Doctor: I'm going to kill you.
  • Cultured Badass: Really loves poetry, occasionally straying into Warrior Poet. Gets forced to recite Poe's The Raven by giant death robots in "Nevermore". He's friends with Wordsworth, and takes on Mary Shelley as a companion at one point.
  • Dashed Plotline: He has a very long life, and spends long stretches of time without companions. Big Finish occasionally gives a glimpse into what his travels were like before his first episode, or in between story arcs. The best example is "Mary's Story", which shows him both long before "Storm Warning" and sometime after "Dark Eyes", in the middle of the Last Great Time War.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As a coping mechanism when he's in extreme danger. His enemies note that "he uses it to suppress his fear".
  • Despair Event Horizon: Crosses it in "To The Death", which leads into "Dark Eyes". Which ultimately leads to him being Driven to Suicide in "The Night of the Doctor".
  • Determinator:
    Eighth Doctor: Because I'm the Doctor, and whatever happens, whatever the odds, I never ever NEVER give up. Brace yourself, Charley!
    • That line has some painful Dramatic Irony given the events of "The Night of the Doctor"...
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Averted in "The Chimes Of Midnight". The Monster of the Week tries to invoke this trope; Eight promptly throws the teacup to the floor in defiance.
  • Ditzy Genius: Very. He's still incredibly smart.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Whenever he is Not Himself.
  • Flash Sideways: In "Zagreus", he's briefly able to see all other versions of his Eighth self. The Eighth Doctor Adventures series freaks him right the hell out. Since he's also completely losing his mind at the time, though, it's fair to assume he didn't remember it.
  • Forever War: Played with. In Dark Eyes 2, the Master points out he's been at war with the Daleks, ever since he first landed on Skaro. The Doctor states he is not, and he has no choice but to stop the Daleks' atrocities. But the Master claims he can't help himself and that in doing so he's become a one man army, and this before he regenerates into the War Doctor.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "Mary's Story", a very young Eighth Doctor (during his travels with Samson and Gemma, before he met Charley) meets an Eight from the middle of the Last Great Time War. Horrifyingly burned, hallucinating, and unable to regenerate. He gets better, of course, but neither is even remotely thrilled at meeting their other selves — they agree that they just annoy each other.
  • Gallows Humor: As a constant coping mechanism, which was eventually carried over to his final TV series appearance.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Gets very excited about cotton candy and chunky monkey ice cream. Drinks his tea with impossible amounts of sugar, just like Three.
  • Going Native: On the titular planet of "Orbis", where he ends up spending 600 years.
  • Gothic Horror: His natural habitat.
  • Great Detective: Shoehorned into this role by a malevolent mansion in "The Chimes of Midnight." The Doctor frustrates the game at every turn: barging up the wrong staircases, attempting to exit or beam out (no dice), daring the staff to shoot him, and happily accepting the butler's bogus suggestions of suicide.
    Shaughnessy : I assume it was suicide, Doctor?
    Doctor: (deadpan) Yes, I imagine so! It's quite clear that Frederick brought the car into the house, ran himself over with it, and put it back outside before he finally expired.
  • The Great Offscreen War: Word of God has it that the Last Great Time War will stay off-screen forever. Due to a case of Trolling Creator, "Dark Eyes" still came this close to diving into it. Quickly subverted when Big Finish finally got the right to the new series, and commissioned four boxsets about Eight's time during the war as a prequel to their War Doctor range.
    • "The Night of the Doctor" tapped the glass, showing Eight stayed out of the conflict as long as he could while it was in full swing, and both "The Last Day" and "The Day of the Doctor" did give viewers a real on-screen view of the Time War... its most violent and final battle, to be exact.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: With Zagreus.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Over the course of the "Dark Eyes" series, the Doctor has been growing steadily ready to do things his previous incarnations, or even himself, would have balked at doing. "Dark Eyes 3" in particular has him hit hard; after the genocide of an entire alien race by the Eminence, one that was merely collateral damage in the grand scheme of things, he takes a page from the CIA's books and attempts to go back in time and remove the Eminence from existence.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: After he gets thoroughly broken in "To The Death", and after already spending close to a millennium in his eighth body, he finally drops the Victorian ensemble and starts wearing a WWI navy-style leather peacoat halfway through "Dark Eyes". Paul McGann helped design the outfit and showed off the new look a few times in the years leading up to the outfit change... even before Big Finish was sure whether or not the BBC would approve of the new CD covers. This costume later degenerates to a messy fusion of both it and his old clothes. It happens after he's had to deal with the eruption of the Time War, growing very weary, battered, until he can't even find time to keep his attire tidy, and his appearance goes to seed and shambles.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tries to make one every couple of episodes.
  • Heroic Suicide: He properly commits suicide twice, both times to save reality. (He gets better, of course.)
  • Hot Springs Episode: He stages one halfway through "Dark Eyes", when he's past the point of emotional collapse, gone right off the deep end, and just needs something, anything to feel better.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: While the Doctor's lost companions before, Lucie's death hits him especially hard, not least because he literally watches her death by Heroic Sacrifice. As he puts it, "People die and the Doctor moves on, but not this time." (Nicholas Briggs said they killed her so horribly precisely because they wanted to totally break him.)
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Can't resist making a snide remark about Six's taste in clothes when they meet for the first time.
  • I Hate Past Me:
    • He does not approve of Seven's chess master tendecies.
    • Adverted with him and Four in "The Light at the End", as the two of them share quite a few personality traits and quirks, and so they get along rather swimmingly. Also subverted in the same story with him and Six. While he does find Six to be somewhat arrogant and obnoxious and his fashion sense to be embarassing, he also has a great deal of respect for him, possibly even more than any of the other incarnations, and he most certainly prefers him to Seven.
    • After his travels with Lucie, a very bitter Eight encounters a much younger version of himself, who hadn't even met Charley yet. He tells his younger self to get out, and loathes the fact that they need to spend time together. (Eight also meets a younger self during his travels with Lucie, when the other is travelling with Charley and C'rizz, but they actually get along quite well and spend a nice evening playing poker. Just goes to show how deeply Lucie's absence ended up affecting him.)
  • Important Haircut: Got one around the "Dark Eyes" story arc, which also allowed Paul McGann to do new promo pictures without having to wear the movie wig again. He keeps the shorter hair until the end of his life, though it regrows a bit messily from lack of grooming when he's run ragged by the Time War.
  • Keet: Lampshaded in "Caerdroia", when his Keet side manifests itself as a separate person. (Charley nicknames it "Tigger".)
  • Loss of Identity: In "Zagreus".
  • Love You and Everybody: His definition of "love" is a bit muddy, as is his tendency to make out with people for no reason. Everyone calls him out on it.
    He lunged forward, making to kiss [Charley] full on the lips, but she dodged him at the last moment. She knew he meant nothing by it... which was what bothered her, rather.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Played for Drama. Charley falls madly in love with him because he's such a charming Cuddle Bug, and he's unwilling to address the issue until it's much too late.
  • Messianic Archetype: Most notably in "Neverland".
  • Mind Rape: Played With in "Caerdroia" and "Phobos".
  • My Greatest Failure: His failure to save Tasmin, Lucie, and Alex from the Daleks.
    • While technically not his failure, the events of Genesis of the Daleks (more specifically the fact his Fourth incarnation ultimately decided not to kill the Daleks) get brought up alot in ''Dark Eyes" because the Time Lords are actively trying to wipe the Daleks from existence again, only without getting the Doctor involved this time and using more dubious and extreme methods.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Loses his shirt with some frequency. Naturally smells like honey.
  • Not So Different: From the Monk, with plenty of Grey and Grey Morality.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: At the end of "To The Death", he promises the Daleks he'll kill all of them if given the chance, he can't forgive a fellow Time Lord (the Monk) anymore, and he's absolutely roaring with anger and grief. The first steps towards the Last Great Time War.
  • Parental Substitute: To Gemma and Samson. They call him "dad".
  • Phrase Catcher: People calling him a "ponce" quickly became a running gag, both in and out of universe.
  • Pungeon Master: Extremely fond of them, even musing at one point that he picked some horrible Famous Last Words to go out on. Which might explain why he was so deliberate about choosing his real last words.
  • Rogues Gallery: Autons, Caleera, the Celestial Toymaker, the Clocksmith, Cybermen, Daleks, Dalek Time Controller, Davros, Eight Legs, the Eleven, the Eminence, the Headhunter, Ice Warriors, Kotris, the Kandyman, the Krampus, the Kro'ka, Krynoids, the Master, Morbius, the Monk, Nimon, Padrac, Peter Rathbone, Ravenous, Rassilon, Sandminer robots, Sebastian Grayle, Viyrans, Voord, Weeping Angels, Wirrn, Zagreus, and Zygons.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: During the eight episodes of the Divergent Universe arc, he's forced to live in a world without time. He compares the feeling to losing a body part. When he gets back to the normal universe, regaining his senses makes him so bouncy and happy that it even freaks out Davros.
  • Screw Yourself: There's an interesting Christmas poem in one of the Big Finish "Short Trips" books, in which Eight merrily tries to kiss all his former selves with the help of some mistletoe. (And succeeds with a few of them.)
  • Sharing a Body: With Zagreus in "Zagreus", and with Charley in "Scherzo".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: After "To The Death". And the war is only just beginning.
  • Shirtless Scene: Gets the occasional one.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: After Lucie's death utterly breaks him, a more cynical and somber Eight ditches his Victorian outfit and replaces it with a more practical WWI era leather peacoat in "Dark Eyes". By the time of Night of the Doctor he'll trade that in for a disheveled Regency era ensemble when he's desperate to be the man he was but can't be anymore.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: This particularly becomes a plot point in "The Next Life".
  • Steam Punk: Gives his sonic screwdriver a SteamPunk makeover after a while.
  • Survivor Guilt: Again, and again, and again — most prominently after "Orbis" and after "To The Death". And he hasn't even gotten to the Last Great Time War yet...
  • Taking You with Me: With Morbius.
  • Tempting Fate: In Dark Eyes 2, he flat out states that he "will not be part of an insane war across the time lines." And this is before the Last Great Time War actually starts.
    • This becomes rather darker come "Dark Eyes 4", where the Master and the Dalek Time Controller attempt to make a corrupted timeline into the proper, stable timeline.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Eight often suddenly notices he's soliloquising, and considers it a bad habit. He even does it at times when Charley is standing right next to him, thanks to his rampant Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!.
  • Time Skip: With great frequency — Eight only having two TV adventures (the last of which was his regeneration) gives the writers unlimited freedom in this regard. He notably spends 600 years on Orbis, completely Going Native.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Eight likes to pretend that he's this, whenever he's being tortured, as a coping mechanism. He keeps it up for quite a while in "Something Inside", until he can't cope any longer and breaks down screaming and whimpering. In "Memory Lane", he's getting better at it, and bitterly asks his torturers for some more pain (rather than give in).
  • Took A Level In Cynicism: After Lucie's death, although his friendship with Molly helps him through it, he never becomes the same man he was before.
  • Torture Porn: "Zagreus", which has him coping with extreme Loss of Identity and has Charley running him through with a sword, and its direct sequel "Scherzo", which jumps straight into Body Horror Gorn and has Charley slitting his throat. "Something Inside" is pretty much "Torture Porn: The Episode".
  • Tragic Bromance: With Lucie. Her death severely traumatises him, and leads to him adopting a less classic and more pragmatic look.
  • Verbal Tic: Starting sentences with "You know...", repeating words or people's names very quickly when he wants to convey something important.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Lucie.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: "The Resurrection Of Mars" is all about this trope.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: He's rather disheartened that his great grandson Alex lacks the Time Lord traits of telepathy and regeneration.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After "Orbis".
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    "The Night of the Doctor" Tropes 

Tropes associated with "The Night of the Doctor"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_eighth_doctor_by_theartistictwins-d6uu91z_4355cropped_8830.jpg
"I'm a doctor. But probably not the one you're expecting."

"Four minutes?! That's ages! What if I get bored, need some books, a television? Anyone for chess? Bring me knitting."

Along the way to his return to the show, Eight really went through the wringer. The happy, cheerful days he had enjoyed were a distant memory, as he was subjected to an unfairly tortured existence as the violence and loss across the universe rapidly grew until it kindled into the Last Great Time War. We are presented with a hurting poet who is about one step away from total collapse as he finds himself powerless to do anything to the effect of being the Doctor, and then it gets thrown in his face so hard that the Doctor feels like his existence has become futile and lets go of his identity in a final moment of pure misery.


  • All for Nothing: Driving himself to death - and coming back to life knowing the person he tried to rescue essentially chose suicide over being scooped up by him - made Eight snap.
  • Always Save the Girl: He ends up dying what would have been a permanent death had it not been for the Sisterhood of Karn after staying with Cass on her crashing ship even after she refused his help.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Eight quotes Luke 4:23 before downing a potion which changes him into the War Doctor.
  • Back for the Dead: He reappears solely to regenerate into the War Doctor.
  • Badass Longcoat: His coat has become longer, greener, and much more badass.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: As a symbolic shedding of his peacemaker persona, Eight gets tooled up in "The Night of the Doctor".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
    Make me a warrior now.
  • Bookends:
    • Begins his existence as a man fighting to reclaim his identity as the Doctor and ends it as a man who renounces his identity as the Doctor in order to fight.
    • In the TV movie, the Doctor steals his Wild Bill Hickok costume, but specifically does not take the gunbelt. Here, before regenerating, he picks up the Badass Bandolier his next incarnation wears.
    • He regenerated from the Seventh Doctor several hours after his previous incarnation's "death". He regenerates into the War Doctor after dying permanently in a spaceship crash and being briefly resurrected by the Sisterhood of Karn in order to regenerate.
    • At the beginning of Eight's life, after Eight tells Grace that he is a Time Lord, she runs from him, locks the doors to her home, and declares him a madman. At the end of Eight's life, after Eight tells Cass that he is a Time Lord, she backs away from him, deadlocks the door to her ship, and declares him as despicable as a Dalek. While the former ends up regaining trust in him, the latter takes her fears to the grave, reflecting the darker atmosphere that the Eighth Doctor lived through amidst the death and destruction of the Time War.
    • In The Eight Doctors, which takes place moments after the TV movie, the Eighth Doctor says: "Let's just say that I'm a Doctor. There's more than one, you know. Clearly, I'm not the one you were expecting." The lines are repeated almost word-for-word by this Doctor in his final appearance.
    • In a meta example, Eight's life began with Sylvester McCoy coming Back for the Dead after a six-and-a-half year hiatus to pass the torch to Paul McGann. It ended with McGann coming Back for the Dead after a 17 year hiatus to retroactively pass the torch to John Hurt.
  • Break the Cutie: "The Night of the Doctor", leading to his Despair Event Horizon and regeneration into the War Doctor. This comes after more than a decade of Break the Cutie adventures in Big Finish. By "The Night of the Doctor" he seems to be barely holding on after all he's been through.
  • Changed My Jumper: For "The Night of the Doctor" Paul McGann got his wish and has a Badass Longcoat, similar in style to the Tenth Doctor's but in a dark green, along with a well worn and broken-in revision of his TV movie outfit that's much less stylized than his original costume. It's a mix of his classic TV movie costume and his updated Dark Eyes look from Big Finish Doctor Who.
  • Character Development: His long arcs with his Big Finish companions lead him to adopt a much more solemn outlook on life — and he ends up world-weary and alone in the very end. It doesn't help that almost all the friends he mentions in "The Night of the Doctor" are dead — in fact, only Charley is still alive, but he thinks she's dead too.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: During the Time War, he actually tried to save Davros from the Nightmare Child.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Charley. C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly..."
  • The Dandy: Even when his clothes become ragged by the Time War they still have a rugged charm to them.
  • Dead Man Walking/Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: He did actually die in the spaceship crash that also claimed Cass' life, but is temporarily brought back to life for around 4 minutes by the Sisterhood of Karn, so he could choose his next regeneration.
  • Deal with the Devil: His decision to accept the Sisterhood of Karn's offer to pick his next incarnation definitely has this vibe.
  • Death Seeker: Claims he won't leave Cass to die while she refuses to leave with a Time Lord. This means he stays on a spaceship as it crashes, killing him (for good). He appears to be broken enough from the Time War to accept this, or perhaps he feels culpability for the atrocities of his people.
    • He certainly wasn't happy about being revived, at least; referring to the Sisters of Karn's elixir, he calls them the "keepers of the flame of utter boredom" and, when glaring at the goblet he's to drink, Eight angrily screams at them to leave.
  • Defiant to the End: A running gag in the Big Finish audios. When Eight's in danger of dying, he gets snarky. There's a nod to it in "The Resurrection of Mars" ("he uses it to suppress his fear"), and of course it recurs in his second — and terminal — live-action appearance: When informed he has 4 minutes to live, the Doctor brashly lists off a half dozen hobbies he could indulge in that time. "Bring me knitting!"
  • Despair Event Horizon: Having endured, and run from, the still waging Time War, his failure to save the pilot Cass, and the accompanying realization of the reputation his people have brought upon themselves, appears to serve as the final straw on his state of mind. With some coaxing from the Sisters of Karn, he resignedly embraces his regeneration into the War Doctor. This comes after being thoroughly broken by his adventures in Big Finish Doctor Who.
    Doctor: I don't suppose there's any need for a Doctor anymore.
  • Downer Ending/Cerebus Syndrome: Started out as the sunniest Doctor yet, with an unadulterated glee about the prospect of living and making new friends that would not be seen again until his Tenth or even Eleventh iteration. By the time he got to Karn, however, he is a broken and emotionally haggard man who believes he deserves to have his life ended in agony. He even renounces his very identity as the Doctor to become someone who can fight the war. This is the only time the Doctor ever regenerates genuinely believing that all hope is lost.
  • Dull Surprise: Subverted in the minisode; he's not dealing with a cheap wig anymore and has the freedom to be quite expressive, though most of his facial reactions show either fear, sadness, shock, or most of all, vein-pulsing explosive anger.
  • Dying Alone: The Seventh Doctor eventually alienated all his friends and ended up sad and alone. The Eighth Doctor tried to change all that, and was warm, positive and kindhearted to his friends... and he still ends up dying sad, bitter and completely alone. The universe just won't let him be happy.
  • Face Death with Dignity
  • Famous Last Words: "Physician, heal thyself."
  • Final Speech: Gets a brief final monologue before his regeneration.
    "Charley. C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly... friends, companions I've known, I salute you. And Cass... I apologize. Physician, heal thyself..."
  • Get Out!: Shoos out the Sisterhood of Karn to leave before he regenerates.
  • Got Volunteered: Since the alternative was being Killed Off for Real with the universe still in peril.
    Doctor: I would rather die.
    Sister: You're dead already. How many more would you let join you?
  • Heroic Bystander: He refused to fight in the Time War until he had no choice.
    Eighth Doctor: It is not my war. I will have no part of it.
  • Heroic Suicide: Enforced by the Sisters Of The Flame.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He was this close to rescuing Cass and packing off to a brand new adventure... until she saw his TARDIS, whereupon she recoiled as if in the presence of the Death Star or a Nazi flag.
  • Important Haircut: Eight's "Night" attire looks like it's seen a few wars already, and his hairstyle follows suit.
  • It Has Been an Honor/To Absent Friends: Before consuming the Sisterhood's regeneration elixir, he raises a toast to each of his Big Finish companions. Though he has since acquired several more companions that were not mentioned here, it's easy to interpret this toast as being for the companions he believes are dead.
  • The Last Straw: Cass deciding to go to her death and Eight holding out until both of them are slain, only for him to be brought back temporarily, is the final insult. The Doctor barrels over the cliff of despair and becomes a nameless man who will war with the universe for ages and never let up or show even a shred of apprehension because he can't afford to anymore: fate has spoken, and the Doctor is done. Now the universe will know the wrath of the Warrior.
  • Long Bus Trip: Seventeen years, in fact.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Started off as this, squeaky-clean shaven and bright and cutesy. Then the breaking starts and he migrates directly toward Hunk, now sporting Perma-Stubble, an Expository Hair Style Change, and a much grittier outlook on life. But somehow, the pretty boy and hunk qualities merge at the end of his life to create pure badass.
  • Messianic Archetype: The only hope to stop the Time War from tearing the universe apart? Drinking from a goblet? Quoting the Bible?
  • Morton's Fork: The circumstances of his death, the Time War, and the intervention of the Sisterhood of Karn hand him one of these. Either die for real, and condemn the universe to a horrific end at the hands of the Time Lords, the Daleks, and all the other too-horrible-to-think-of things that spawned from their battle, or cast aside everything he's sworn to be and join the fight in order to end it. He chooses the latter option, and apparently has regretted it ever since, despite it actually having worked.
  • Nice Shoes: Now upgraded to a pair of tall cavalry boots. Eight really needs to consult the Great Big Book of Knots in order to learn how to tie them, though, because they are an absolute mess.
  • Not So Different: As Cass points out to him, he and the Time Lords as a whole have committed so many atrocities during the Time War that there really is little difference between them and the Daleks.
  • Older Than They Look: Obviously, being the Doctor, but this incarnation in particular. If Big Finish is counted, this version lasted roughly 1000 years; the longest living Doctor until the Eleventh. Ironic, considering he is the Doctor with the shortest onscreen life of them all.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As seen in "The Name of the Doctor", he had a mostly off-screen adventure with the Second Doctor.
    • His (audio drama) Big Finish adventures are given a shout-out in "The Night of the Doctor".
  • Refusal of the Call: In "The Night of the Doctor", we learn the Eighth Doctor steadfastly refused to take any part in the Time War, even after it started to rip the universe apart. It is only his own death and forced resurrection by the Sisterhood of the Flame which causes him to break this rule and regenerate into the War Doctor.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Played with. Eight stubbornly refused to leave Cass despite her telling him, quite clearly, to shove off. He's at the emotional crux of being broken and won't have any more of it. So he decides that if she's going to die, it would be worse if he went on living, dooming Cass to the fate of her own choosing, and having additional blood on his hands after losing multiple companions and loved ones. This time, he'll gladly allow himself to bite the big one. However, the crashed ship lands on Karn, causing a sequence of events that transform him into the War Doctor.
  • Take My Hand: To Cass, who refused and elected to die instead of being saved by a Time Lord, seeing it as the better alternative.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: In a way. He chooses to cast aside being a good man, being the Doctor, when he drank the chalice of the Warrior.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A fatal example. At the end of his life, he chose his next regeneration to be a 'warrior' so he could fight in the Time War. The Doctor regenerates almost immediately afterward.
  • Take Up My Sword: When considering his options for his next life, the Doctor pointedly claims Cass' bandolier off her corpse.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: Wakes up again with Cass' body lying on a bier next to him. Told he has only a few minutes to live. His last day was pretty bad.


Alternative Title(s): Eighth Doctor

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