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Seventh Doctor
"Time will tell. It always does."

Debut: "Time and the Rani" (1987)
Final story: "Survival" (1989)note 
Regeneration story: "Doctor Who: The Movie" (1996)

Played by: Sylvester McCoy: (1987–89, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997)

"Every great decision creates ripples, like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge and rebound off the banks in unforeseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences."

The killer comedian, clad in Jay Gatsby summer wear from the twenties. This Doctor began as a sort of bumbling goof, but this wacky surface would increasingly be shown to be an Obfuscating Stupidity act, as he became a more manipulative and enigmatic figure when the show got a little darker in its final two seasons.

Seven was even more passionate about justice than his predecessors, fond of The Plan and despatching his enemies through Batman Gambits that tricked them into getting Hoist by Their Own Petard, and a bit of a Knight Templar Parent to his companion Ace. He also proved to one of the least scatter-brained incarnations of the Doctor, almost always having some sort of crucial insight into the situations he found himself in, although he was also good at not letting on how much he knew until he felt the time was right. These qualities came even more to the fore in the many, many Expanded Universe Doctor Who New Adventures novels he starred in. Hinted at numerous times to be much more than a "mere" Time Lord — a Story Arc which didn't quite pan out as such. What little made it into the show, however, added a few clues regarding his escape from Gallifrey, which appears to have included nicking the Hand of Omega as he went. He also played the spoons as a musical instrument.


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    TV Series Tropes 

Tropes associated with the television series

  • Aborted Arc: The so-called Cartmel Master Plan, whereby it would be revealed that Rassilon and Omega co-founded Time Lord society with a mysterious third individual known only as "The Other"; The Doctor would turn out to be the reincarnation of this person, in an attempt to return mystique to the character. Shades of this plan are seen in both "Remembrance of the Daleks" and "Silver Nemesis," both of which show that he knows how to operate Artifacts of Doom from Gallifrey's ancient past, and there was a plan for the Master to accuse him of being more than just a Time Lord. The cancellation of the show scuppered all this. Bits of it made it into the webcast "Death Comes to Time," and the episodes that were never filmed were eventually recorded as audios by Big Finish (though so far without the Cartmel Master Plan). Parts of the Master Plan made it into the New Adventures novels, especially in Time's Crucible and Lungbarrow, both written by Cartmel-era writer Marc Platt. It's debatable how much this arc actually was aborted, however; several of the people supposedly involved, including Andrew Cartmel himself, have repeatedly stated that the Master Plan never really got beyond a few ideas thrown back and forth between writers and most of what it ended up being was just fans and later writers blowing things out of proportion a bit.

  • Amnesiac Hero: His post-regeneration story opened with Seven as a dupe of the Rani - though this was the fault of her amnesia serum, not random happenstance.
  • Arch-Enemy: Fenric and The Master. He and The Master even have a discussion on how they continually come into conflict with each other, and this is one of the few times in the series where The Master is not a Friendly Enemy or Worthy Opponent.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: His outfit is based on 1920s golfing attire.
  • Batman Gambit: Often directly related to his status as Chessmaster.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Seven is polite and friendly on his downtime, but can become terrifying when he's thrown into a conflict.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Given his rather goofy outfit and clownish behavior, he seems like the least threatening Doctor.... until you've made him angry. Then he reveals himself to be a Creepy Good Chessmaster extraordinaire.
  • Brains and Brawn: A Chessmaster and Guile Hero who specialized in talking his enemies to death or tricking them into a self-destruct. His primary Companion? A Lad-ette who whipped up IEDs in her spare time, and rarely met a fight she didn't like.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: He puts Ace through this in "The Curse of Fenric."
  • Celibate Hero: No Hugging, No Kissing was generally in place for the classic Doctors, but Seven displayed celibacy to the point that in a few Expanded Universe stories, his companions know he's Not Himself just from the fact alone that he suddenly fancies someone. Bernice Summerfield summarises that she's "never known the Doctor to have any concern for the trouser department."
  • Character Development: The Seventh Doctor began as an impish rogue who enjoyed showing up authority figures and loved a good mystery. Like Hercule Poirot (who follows a similar character arc), Seven frequently exploits the fact that nobody respects him or grasps the credible threat he poses. Seasons 25 and 26 toned down the sillier aspects a tad, with the Doctor starting out harmless in each serial and gradually getting ferocious by the end. McCoy was interested in exploring the links between Hartnell's Doctor and his present self, and Cartmel picked up on that, leaving clues left for the Doctor by his past (and future!) incarnations.
  • Character Tics: Upon greeting/farewell, Seven likes to tip his hat. Then there's his rrrolling Rrrs. He also flapped and fluttered his hands around ebulliently. He likes to twitch his eyebrows up and down rapidly when being deliberately funny.
  • Characterization Marches On: In his first season, he was as a somewhat clownish and ditzy Malaproper who was conceived deliberately as an antidote to the controversially abrasive and personally violent Sixth Doctor. During the hiatus between seasons 24 and 25, both the writers and McCoy decided that this portrayal was too lightweight and limited, and the very first story of the next season introduced the characterisation for which Seven is best-remembered, as a world-weary, calculating, and ruthlessly manipulative Chessmaster who only occasionally reverted to his original characterisation as obvious Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: It always looks like he's up to something.
  • The Chessmaster: With varying success, often requiring the liberal use of Xanatos Speed Chess when things go awry. In the Doctor Who New Adventures, Seven's abilities are given real room to flex and are usually far more impressive. The Doctor smilingly weaves his web until it's too late for them.
  • Cold Ham: While normally a Large Ham, Seven proves very capable of running cold when the situation calls for it, and it is always scary.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The manipulative and sneaky foil to the loud and straightforward Six. Beyond this, where Six was bombastic, loud and pompous, Seven is a lot quieter, friendlier and modest (for the Doctor, at least). And where Six was compassionate and empathic in his pursuit of justice, Seven could be incredibly cold and pragmatic when it came to ensuring the greater good.
  • Costume Evolution: To reflect his evolution into a darker character, his costume is switched from beige to a dark brown colour in his last season.
  • Creepy Good: This Doctor could get scary. His life lessons to Ace in "Ghost Light" are downright terrifying.
  • Establishing Character Moment: An arguably unintentional example, but the very first thing the Seventh Doctor does upon regaining consciousness after regenerating is start to organise his schedule. The Seventh Doctor would later develop into a Chessmaster who intentionally seeks out particular conflicts rather than just happening to stumble across them as previously, and makes a point of devising a plan for how to deal with the situation prior to arriving.
  • Expy/No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Fingerpoke Of Doom & The Paralyzer: Like most Doctors, he held disdain for physical violence, but could mop the floor with you if push came to shove. A simple poke brought down a neighborhood watchman twice his twice. ("Survival")
  • Fun Personified: Subverted. He was originally Enforced into this character type as a Lighter and Softer reaction against just how much Bloodier and Gorier the show had got during the Sixth Doctor's run. he spent the first season playing the spoons, doing magic tricks, being a figure of delight and whimsy and battling Camptacular comedy enemies with the loosest continuity yet. Script editor Andrew Cartmel was finally able to make his mark with his next season, introducing 'comedy' monsters but playing their effects in a dark and serious way (like the Kandyman and the Killer Clowns) and revealing the Doctor's apparent silliness was Obfuscating Stupidity, and Seven became one of the most alien, manipulative, and dark Doctors of the lot. When the series got cancelled the Expanded Universe picked him up and used him to codify all of the "Dark Doctor" tropes that the revival series later handled on-screen - like a serious examination of the Omniscient Morality License, Angst? What Angst? and the psychological profile of someone who'd do that much Dirty Business. In the New Adventures books, there's even a line that he doesn't play the spoons any more because he's too busy toppling empires.
  • Future Me Scares Me: He finds out that in some future regeneration, in an Alternate Universe where the Arthurian legend is real, he'll become Merlin. Because of this, he has to spend an entire episode picking apart clues left to him by his future self.
  • Good Is Not Soft: While mostly a playful and jovial person, Seven had absolutely no qualms about being utterly cold and merciless to his enemies, and could even be quite hash to his companions, if he felt the situation called for it. Most of the Expanded Universe, especially the Big Finish stories, deconstructs this quite a bit, as this trait has caused the older Seven to become a withdrawn and solitary traveller, who is burdened by a lot of past regrets and deeply concerned by his own sense of morality (and occasional lack thereof).
  • Guile Hero: Seven doesn't need a sonic screwdriver, and rarely uses the TARDIS once an adventure has started. All he needs are his wits.
  • The Hero: It may seem redundant, but it’s worth repeating - for as sneaky, deceptive, and manipulative as this Doctor can be, he has a strong moral compass and takes a very proactive role in fighting evil.
  • History Repeats:
    • Like One, he's has a mysterious past and is a caregiver of his female companion who is around her late teens.
    • Like Two, he regenerated from a brash and grumpy incarnation into a lighthearted one who may act stupid, but actually knows better and proves quite good at manipulating people.
  • Iconic Item: His straw hat, question mark handled umbrella (which he pretty much used as a third arm), and question mark covered sweater-vest. In the TV Movie (and New Adventures books), he lost the vest but kept the hat.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Seven could be pretty damn cold at times and he had the gaze to match.
  • Last of Their Kind:
    • Non-fictional example. Seven is the last incarnation of the Doctor to be introduced in the original unbroken classic run of Doctor Who.
    • In-series, Seven used this as a convincing argument against the last remaining Renegade Dalek as part of a Batman Gambit to make it self-terminate, when it looked like Skaro had been wiped out and there were no more Daleks to be had.
  • Malaproper: In his early stories. "Time and tide melt the snowman," "A bird in the hand keeps the Doctor away." Philosophical gold, my friends.
  • Manipulative Bastard: His speciality is manipulating villains into melting down and self-destructing. Sometimes, he uses Ace as part of a scheme. And then there's The New Adventures...
  • My Card: Handed out in "Remembrance of the Daleks"... out of thin air, at that. Sylvester McCoy had a small background with stunts and parlour tricks.
  • My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: In "Paradise Towers," the Doctor escapes custody by fabricating That One Rule to some jobsworth night watchmen. In "The Happiness Patrol," he brings a fascist dictatorship to its knees within just a few hours simply by following its laws to the letter.
  • Nerves of Steel: The Doctor knows the difference between a lean killer and a coward raining down death from rooftops. He has the audacity to sneak up on some snipers, puff out his chest and dare them to kill him honorably. And then snatches the gun away, when they hesitate. ("The Happiness Patrol")
    "Why don't you do it then? Look me in the eye. Pull the trigger. End my life."
  • Nice Guy: When not ruthlessly fighting the forces of evil, he's one of the more mellow and approachable Doctors, and his relationships with his companions are significantly less temperamental than his predecessors. It's a Downplayed Trope, since most of his screen time is spent fighting evildoers, and he is firmly Creepy Good Is Not Soft.
  • Nice Hat: Which actually belonged to Sylvester McCoy. Seven liked to roll it up and down his sleeve.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Him causing Skaro to explode was one of the acts that started the Time War against the Daleks and Time Lords. Oops.
  • Noodle Incident: "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" and "The Curse of Fenric" pit him against the Old Gods, and it's suggested that he's tangled with them before.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Nothing about his appearance or demeanor suggests that he is a threat.
  • One of the Kids: Officially declared not a yawny Olster! ("Paradise Towers") He's been at this game long enough to not patronize feral teenagers and as a result is declared a man of "high fabshion" and "ice hot."
  • Papa Wolf: When it comes to Ace, he's got this trope down pat. Particularly in the Expanded Universe.
  • Parasol of Pain: Seven used his umbrella as a makeshift weapon upon occasion.
  • Parental Substitute: Ace's father is never mentioned, and she has a bad relationship with her mother, so the Doctor ends up becoming a father figure to her.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The 5'6 McCoy was the shortest actor to play the role until Jodie Whittaker tied it.
  • The Power of Rock: The power of blues, showtunes and spoons.
  • Principles Zealot: Seven doesn't wander around aimlessly as much as prior versions. (Or most future versions for that matter.) He's a man on a mission. By Season 26, the Doctor goes around toppling dictatorships for sport. In "The Happiness Patrol", he makes a bet with himself to dismantle their entire police state by sunrise (he does).
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Not dressed like one for a change, but he was polite in a classic way.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Extremely.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Rani, the Bannermen, Davros, Imperial Daleks, Renegade Daleks, the Kandyman, Lady Peinforte, Cybermen, the Gods of Ragnarok, Morgaine, Fenric, and the Master.
  • Sad Clown: When he was still The Fool there was an air of melancholy around him.
  • Save the Villain: He tries to talk The Master down in their final battle to prevent both of them succumbing to The Virus. It doesn't work.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's extremely entertained by Ancelyn and Brigadier Bambera.
  • Slapstick: Especially in his early stories (why walk down a hall when you can slide?), and later exploited to bring down his enemies. Like the actor playing him, Seven is a born music hall performer, impressionist, and magician.
    • After dispensing with the Psychic Circus, he's forced to put on a show for his toughest crowd yet: the Gods of Ragnarok. About the only stunt he doesn't perform is stuffing ferrets down his trousers or spraying seltzer up his nose.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Seven loves doing this. It's in a good half of his stories.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Seven's great love — his words are far and away more effective than any physical threat.
  • Tranquil Fury: This Doctor ran cold rather than hot, and his anger forecasted a slow but certain doom once provoked; where Six would boil over, Seven simmered. On a few occasions, he had to bring Ace to heel when she lost her temper, stating that she was "no good" to him or others this way.
  • Trickster Mentor: Became this in his second season to Ace.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: McCoy was actually the first Doctor to not speak with a Received Pronunciation accent. He has a light Scottish accent that is not always obvious to people not familiar with British accents, although it is more obvious that he rolls his "r"s. A lot weaker than twelve's fairly strong Scottish accent.
  • Unflinching Walk: He calmly walked out of a building that then promptly exploded and appeared not to notice. (The pyrotechnicians had over-rigged the charge and McCoy was fairly certain he was now dead, but kept moving on the off-chance he wasn't a pile of ash after all, since there was only one take they could do.)
  • Verbal Tic: He tended to roll his R's, leading to a deeply unfortunate incident when he encountered aliens known as the Gods of Rrrrrragnarrrrrok. Oh boy.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Until the Ninth Doctor's exploits, the TARDIS saw more vandalism done to it than during any other Doctor's watch. Since no surface in Paradise Towers is safe for long, the Police Box gets covered in graffiti almost immediately after it's parked. In "The Happiness Patrol," it was painted bright pink(!) by Helen A's shock troopers after touching down on Terra Alpha.
  • Weapon of Choice: His brain (and, technically, words). This is the first Doctor to get a Dalek to self-destruct by talking to it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Seven tends to keep his eye on the big picture, and while he won't directly kill anyone, he's been known to leave — or nearly leave — psychological scars, especially in Ace. He gets called out on it. Hard.
  • Where It All Began: In "Remembrance of the Daleks," Seven makes a return trip to Totter's Lane to tie up some loose ends; the Daleks just happen to be pursuing the same object. According to the Vicar, this episode is set mere days after "An Unearthly Child."

    Comic Tropes 

Tropes associated with Doctor Who Magazine

  • Rogues Gallery: Ice Warriors, Olla, Death's Head, Ryosians, Gwanzulum, the Monk, Gantacians, Daleks, Garg Ardoniquist, the Mandragora Helix, Beep the Meep, Cybermen, Rutan Host, Sontarans, Davros, Mortakk the Silurian, the Black Guardian, Eternals, and the Threshold.

Tropes associated with Marvel UK

    Book Tropes 

Tropes associated with the Virgin New Adventures

  • Aesop Amnesia: It seems like there's a few times over the course of the books where he learns that he has to stop treating his companions like pawns and resolves to mend his ways — only to start treating his companions like pawns again, usually in the very next book.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Timewyrm and Death.
  • Black Belt in Origami: In Transit, he gets past some Japanese mooks by using the court dialect of the Japanese royal family. They recognised it, but didn't understand it, which was just as well, since he said "Make way, for I am the official keeper of the Emperor's penguins and his majesty's laundry basket is on fire."
  • Catchphrase: "Hello, I'm the Doctor and this is my friend [companion's name]", to the point that later novels started lampshading and playing with it.
  • Character Development: Following on directly from the TV series, Seven goes from a manipulative clown to a terror who breaks people and even destroys planets to fight the evil he encounters.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: He's often described as having an uncanny strength, and the grip of a bear, when need be. He's 5'6" and of a small build.
  • Non-P.O.V. Protagonist: The writers' guidelines included an explicit rule forbidding writers to show what was going on inside the Doctor's head, to keep an element of mystery about him; his actions were always to be seen through the eyes of his companion or another character. Conundrum lampshades this, as what starts out as Omniscient Third Person Narration is actually the Master of the Land of Fiction, and the fact his omniscience stops at the Doctor's mind (and only the Doctor's) frustrates him.
  • Omniscient Morality License: He frequently claims that his role as 'Time's Champion' gives him the right to play with people's lives as if they were pawns — he can see how time is supposed to function and is engaging in his chess games for the greater good of all. Naturally, the people whose lives he's playing with tend not to find this justification very convincing.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Subverted in Sanctuary:
    "[The Doctor] is very much like the owl, I think," said Guy, half to himself.
    "Wise, you mean?" Benny had heard several people comment on such a likeness. Perhaps it was his eyebrows and keen gaze.
    "What has wisdom to do with owls? He is comfortable in the darkness, as they are, and I think he is equally as adept at hunting down prey in cold blood".
  • Rogues Gallery: The Timewyrm, the War Chief, Death, the Process, Vincent Wheaton, the Sentience, Hoothi, King Fred, Sheldukher, Chelonians, Yssgaroth, Pool, the Interplanetary Mining Corporation, Cthulhu, Charrl, Cybermen, Silurians, Sea Devils, Mortimus the Meddling Monk, Jason the Master of the Land of Fiction, Vardans, the Friars of Pangloss, the Diadem, Sherringford Holmes, Agonal, Tzun, the Master, the Chapter of Saint Anthony, Mark Bannen, Robot Ants, Aubertides, Tobias Vaughn, Sontarans, Rutan Host, Nazis, Daleks, the Carnival Queen, N-Forms, the Brotherhood of the Immanent Flesh, and Glospin.

Tropes associated with BBC Past Doctor Adventures

  • Rogues Gallery: Cybermen, Duke Vethran of Gonfallon, Fleshsmiths, George Limb, the Ice Equation, Jerak, Krill, the Master, Nazis, the Valeyard, & Dr. Wakeling.

    Audio Tropes 

Tropes associated with Big Finish
"I need to be in control."
Voiced by: Sylvester McCoy (1999–present)

Seventh Doctor: Are you looking for the butterfly?
Ace: What, the one who beats its wings and it tips the balance so a hurricane forms? There isn't one, is there?
Seventh Doctor: Not often. We just tell the butterflies that to keep them happy.

In the TV show, the Seventh Doctor started out as a bumbling goof and developed into a very manipulative and enigmatic figure after a while. Big Finish embraces both concepts whole-heartedly. Stories with Mel, taking place early on in his tenure, provide excellent comic relief and rely heavily on the Indy Ploy. Stories with Ace, taking place later in Seven's life, see him out-planning things like Elder Gods, Daleks and ancient Cyborg Vampires — much like he tended to do in the TV show anyway, but without worries of budget this time around. And then there is the rarely touched upon ground that shows Seven as he is edging toward his last story in the TV Movie, where he has become older, tired, and saddened by his long career of playing The Chessmaster. The consequences and exhaustion have led him to retire from scheming before this incarnation's time is up.

  • Abhorrent Admirer & Boldly Coming: Parodied in Bang-Band-A-Boom! when the Doctor, posing as the friendly neighborhood space ace, inexplicably becomes the object of every woman's desire—including a space valkyrie named Angvia (yuk yuk). He is quite put off by this, even as the resident Bridge Bunny splays herself out in his Ready Room and admits that pretty much everybody on the station's banging (including herself and the previous commander). This leads into a hysterical dinner with Angvia where the Doctor does everything in his power to distract her, such as complementing "the view" of a blank wall.
    Mel: (sniggering) Well, I must say: after 700 years of celibacy, that's a pretty odd place to start up again.
  • Adult Fear: At his age there is little left to fear, which is why the Fearmonger comes at him through Ace. There's a growing suspicion that Ace is emulating Seven in all the wrong ways, overestimating her own cunning and recklessly toying with her mortality.
  • Born Lucky: Naturally the Seventh Doctor is uninjured when he and his past incarnations plummet down a hole, bouncing harmlessly off the rotund Sixth Doctor.
  • Boomerang Bigot: The only thing he dislikes more than sick wards is doctors. They think they know everything.
  • The Cameo: Occasionally, he shows up in Six's episodes to fix things after Six messes up badly. Two of those appearances are completely unannounced and uncredited.
  • Celibate Hero: Keeping in line with the Doctor Who New Adventures novels, Seven is entirely celibate in every way. This becomes a huge plot point in "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!", with plenty of lampshading. In one of the Dairy of River Song episodes, when River Song attempts to kiss him (though with a ulterior motive; she is trying to slip him a memory altering drug to prevent him from remember their meeting so the timeline can stay intact), Seven quickly rebuffs her:
    River: Well, isn't this intimate...? (giggles) Would you mind if I took off your hat?
    The Doctor: (quickly pulls back) I never kiss strange people, no matter how beautiful, how fascinating, how intriguing they might be! And you might very well be any of those things.
  • Character Development: Seven traveling with Mel is a bumbling goof who can't talk his way out of a wet paper bag. Seven travelling with Ace (and Hex) is a manipulative bastard who plays with the universe like it's his favourite toy. Seven traveling alone, at the end of his life, is a deeply traumatised man who no longer plays the spoons or mixes his metaphors, which his enemies gleefully mock him for. Since the stories are made in whatever order Big Finish likes, this can be played for a very jarring effect: a deeply emotional story with Ace can be followed immediately by a silly panto farce with Mel.
    • The Sixth Doctor had a bombastic and often reckless nature, which sometimes led to avoidable loss of lives such as that of Cassie, something Evelyn never fully forgave him for. So he became someone that would plan, anticipate, and use the situation to his advantage as opposed to someone who would simply blunder into a situation and hope for the best.
  • The Chessmaster: This Doctor's bread and butter, though his track record is far from perfect. At one point he actually decided to juggle two TARDISes (Tardii?) with two different sets of companions to take on the Elder Gods of the universe. Needless to say, the companions were not happy when this all went horribly wrong.
    • By the end of his life, he's gotten to using his companions' mistrust in him as yet 'another'' way to manipulate them - whether he sees this as a necessary evil or not is in the air.
  • Commanding Coolness & Dead Person Impersonation: The Doctor and Mel materialize on "Dark Space Eight" just moments after the new station commander, John Ballard, dies in a shuttle accident. This causes the (rather incompetent) crew to mistake Seven for Ballard. He spends the rest of Bang-Bang-A-Boom! answering to "John" and wearing a flightsuit (though the hat remains), and rather enjoys the trappings of being a Kirk-style commander, with the cushy Ready Room and communicator and so on.
  • Creepy Good: From "The Fearmonger" all the way up to "Project: Lazarus" (his very final adventure in his Seventh regeneration), this Doctor is scary. The episode "Master", in particular, shows how terrifying he can be.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: This Doctor's spent so much time defeating every Eldritch Abomination and Elder God he meets, that by the "Black and White TARDISes" arc, they consider themselves at war with him. And he's winning.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Seven considers himself much less forgiving than Six ever was, and warns enemies who've only had to deal with Six before that he won't treat them as kindly.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Sly's battle with the legendary Pat Quinn in Bang-Bang-A-Boom! Their love scene is so over the top that it should come with a disclaimer for vegans, and when the Doctor professes his love you can actually see the world turning purple. He's been wasting his time fighting monsters when he should have been tasting life’s great sweetener: OOH-MORRRRR! (amore)
  • Ignored Epiphany: Despite being constantly (and consistently) told off for manipulating his friends and allies for grand plans they aren't made privy to, Seven just can't stop doing so, no matter how many times the fallout causes his friends to distrust him or unknowingly undermine his plans. It gets to the point he actually attempts to 'work those reactions into the plans themselves!
  • Major Injury Underreaction: In A Death in the Family, the Doctor uncovers his future self (still the Seventh incarnation, but visibly wizened) lying in a Gallifreyan sarcophagus. He dies shortly thereafter, giving the now-fading Future!Seven the unique experience of eulogizing himself. Hex and Ace comment that he's taking death pretty well, under the circumstances. Seven's response is something we can all relate with:
    Future!Doctor: "Not bothered by it"? OF COURSE I'M BOTHERED BY IT! I'M DEAD!
  • Malaproper: This oft-forgotten character trait does tend to return from time to time, either when he travels with Mel, or when he tries to play the fool.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Angvia, seeing her prey can't take a hint, grabs the "little man" by the head and shoves it into her bosom. We later learn that Angvian women secrete a pheromone through their BO, hence a crewman's dying clue: Beware the pits of Angvia.
    Doctor: (shaking it off) There are lives at stake! Mind on the job and all that!
    Mel: I think you'd better get your mind off "the job", heh! Sounds like you're having some sort of mid-regeneration crisis.
  • The Needs of the Many: Eight would later look back on this as the trait as the most regretful part of having been Seven. As he put it, Seven eventually started to do "the maths" and would coldly opt for whatever solution would save the most lives, even it meant sacrificing others in the process.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: At the end of "The Two Masters", he comes into possession of the means to reboot the entire universe, exactly as he desires. He just uses it to undo what the Masters and the device's original owners had done with it, then sets it to blow up. Well, except for resurrecting a young woman the Master had murdered earlier.
  • No Such Agency: By 2002, he's become something of a bogeyman amongst Britain's far right. Rumours are circulating of his work with UN paymasters, "Department C19" and running covert black ops projects since the 70’s, making it sound far more sinister than it actually was. The Doctor is still listed as a freelance consultant and describes himself as a silly old man with "far too much time" on his hands. (The Fearmonger)
  • Not So Different: From The Master. More than he'd like to know, in fact. The audio "Master" plays this to the hilt and Unit: Dominion has the Master use this against the Doctor.
  • Papa Wolf: If you threaten anyone that travels with this Doctor, you will most likely pay for it. And soon.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Very frequently during his adventures with Mel, since he hasn't quite developed his skills as The Chessmaster yet at that point in time. "The Fires Of Vulcan", "Bang-Bang-a-Boom!", "Flip-Flop" and "Unregenerate!" are notable examples.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Seven's tendency to lock his friends out of his plans often has drastic consequences, usually in the form of them inadvertently complicating if not ruining said plans, which has claimed quite a bit of collateral damage. The fact that he's considerably more alien than some of the other Doctors only puts up an additional barrier he has trouble getting around. Even when things go off without a hitch, the Doctor's actions still tend to get a What the Hell, Hero? reaction from simply not letting his companions in on the plan.
  • Retired Badass: The post-companions portrayal of Seven who we saw in the TV Movie. He's quite contemplative by then, ditched the goofy question-mark jumper for sophisticated clothes, and his Character Development arc has been completed. He is a melancholy man who is growing old and tired, so he decides that his days of scheming and manipulation are over. He knows regeneration is approaching, and he wants to burn all his bridges beforehand. He doesn't want his next incarnation to be burdened with his complex machinations because he fears they might not be able to handle them due to the changes in personality, or will refuse to carry them on. He would be proven right- the Eighth Doctor displays a dislike for his past self's chessmaster tendencies.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Celestial Toymaker, Cybermen, Daleks, Davros, Dr. Elizabeth Klein, the Fearmonger, Fenric, the Master, Nobody No-One, Silurians, Sontarans, and William Abberton.
  • Self-Deprecation: Seven has been given a few chances to unknowingly snark at rather lackluster death. Perhaps the most specific was while he tried to escape from an airlock that decided to play opera at him for no reason.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Seven hates his past self (especially his Fourth) for how carelessly he used to murder his enemies. Although he'll gladly subject them to a terrifying Fate Worse than Death, murder is out of the question for him. Naturally, he keeps being placed in situations where he should murder innocent people just to preserve the web of time, and although he tries a few times over, he can never bring himself to pull the trigger. It's become a very morbid Running Gag, most notably used in "Flip-Flop", "Master" and "Night Thoughts".
  • Trickster Mentor: While the so-called Cartmel Master Plan has been left behind, the Doctor very much remains this in his adventures with Ace (and later, with Hex as well).
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: When his status as The Chessmaster is called into question or his plans blow up in his face, Seven can flex his muscles in this pretty easily... sometimes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: So very, very often, especially when his plans cause collateral damage he hadn't anticipated or, worse, found acceptable. His companions are the most common deliverers, particularly when he manipulates them to get the job done in ways that are not at all kind. Hex was the most vocal of them, and though Ace was more tolerant to start with, even she hit her breaking point.

    TV Movie Tropes 

Tropes associated with the TV movie

By now an aged man, weary and regretful from his long life of manipulations and schemes, and feeling that the end of his seventh life is closing in, the Doctor has long since stopped travelling with companions and has slowed down his life of adventure considerably. That is when he learns of the Master's last request from him...

  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Common to all the Doctors, of course, but Seven was notably killed by it—or rather, by the doctor who was operating on him under the impression that he was a normal human being.
  • Bookends: Both the start and the end of the life of the Seventh Doctor were really ignoble: hitting his head on the TARDIS consolenote  and being killed by malpractice committed by the woman who would become his next companion.
  • Character Development: After so many years of his plots and schemes, Seven becomes so weary that he grows complacent and forgets to check his TARDIS scanner on the one night when a Chinese-American gang was raising hell in the San Francisco alleyways.
  • Death by Irony: Despite being The Chessmaster for most of his life, he meets his end due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. To add insult to injury, when he tries to talk his way out, the attending doctor just think him delirious from the pain, and up his anaesthetic dosage, rendering the Doctor unconscious and his regeneration process damaged.
  • Defiant to the End: Even as Grace prepares to operate on him, Seven begins planning the Master's downfall, asking for the atomic clock Eight would need to repair the TARDIS. The comic "The Forgotten" also implies that Seven used a Chameleon Arch to turn Eight half-human to fool the Master if he escaped.
  • Determinator: He wakes up several times on the operating table, despite being heavily sedated, in order to attempt to warn everyone of what's happening.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The craftiest Doctor of them all got taken out by Asian crime elements... in the city of the Summer of Love. That's rubbish luck even by his standards.
  • Dying Alone: This incarnation's end was especially sad; he ends up dying without any familiar faces by his side, powerless to stop his accidental killing by the hands of well-intentioned humans who only wished to help him.
  • Famous Last Words: "I've got to stop... him..."
  • Medical Horror: His final moments. Heavily sedated, Strapped to an Operating Table, and trying his best to explain his Bizarre Alien Biology to Grace without any success.
  • Retired Badass: He's generally done with plotting great harebrained schemes because he regrets more than the lion's share of them and feels like his regeneration isn't too far off.
  • Scenery Porn: By this point, his TARDIS interior has becomes a lush drawing room full of books, candles and Steam Punk gadgets.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Ironically, despite this being his forte, Seven was unable to talk Grace out of operating on him.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Along with a plain necktie.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The Seventh Doctor's death in a nutshell. The Doctor lands in San Francisco, and barely gets two feet outside the door when a Chinatown gang immediately opens fire on him. No wonder he rarely goes to America.
  • Worst Aid: Bullets? Not a problem. Paramedics mistaking your alien heart rates for fibrillation? That's another matter.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Seventh Doctor


Doctor Who (1987)

From "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". The Seventh Doctor reacts to the implosion of an interdimensional circus in unflappable style.

Example of:

Main / UnflinchingWalk
Main / UnflinchingWalk