The scruffy, witty, and somewhat Mulder-ish heartthrob, with great inner fury and wistful melancholy concealed under his easygoing attitude. An accidental and often reluctant Chick Magnet, the Tenth Doctor started out rather manic: prone to speaking very quickly, peppering his speech with pop culture references and foreign words, and going off on long rambling tangents.
Despite his bubbly personality, he didn't hesitate to lay down the law, much like his predecessor did (later Doctors would behave much more diplomatically); he invariably subjected his foes to a Fate Worse than Death if they passed up the one chance at redemption he always offered, and in some cases he would end up acting as Judge, Jury, and Executioner (self-appointed, mind you, by virtue of being the last remaining Time Lord) in the heat of the moment, to the point where his own capacity for ruthless actions in the name of the greater good would occasionally leave him scared and him questioning his own morality afterwards.
He despised his past selves for their role in the Time War, and was always at his coldest when confronted with it. He held deep respect for pacifism, and remembered how nice Gallifrey used to be, and how much he hated the corruption of Time Lord society into warmongers. He had zero tolerance towards anyone who wanted to engage in violence to resolve conflicts and disapproved of guns unless they were unquestionably a last resort.
As mentioned on the Fourth Doctor's page, Ten is widely regarded as one of the most iconic portrayals of the Doctor in the revived series, thanks in no small part due to his much more human and empathetic, yet still frighteningly alien personality depicted during his tenure.
Tropes associated with the television series:
- The Ace: Steven Moffat describes him as "genuinely cool", in contrast to the Eleventh Doctor.
- Ace Pilot: He manages to take control of the Titanic as well as the Vinvocci's spacecraft, and pilots both through perilous environments to safety, despite having no experience in either vehicle before.
- Accidental Marriage: An elaborate ploy to unmask an Elizabeth I impostor, Columbo-style, ended with him proposing marriage to the actual Queen. The spirited Liz actually accepts, and, before Ten can duck into his TARDIS and split, ropes him into a wedding ceremony — which, because a later Doctor is present and their timelines interacting, Ten won't even remember happening after they leave! No wonder she wants his head in "The Shakespeare Code".Tenth Doctor: I'll be right back.
- Actual Pacifist: He always attempted to solve a situation without violence, which strained his working relationship with UNIT, with him being against their military methods. He also disapproved of his companions and friends using violence, calling Jenny "nothing but a soldier" when she took up arms to slow down Cobb's men, telling off Rosita when she punched Mercy Hartigan in the face (though he sounded more admiring of her right hook than anything else) and was especially horrified by the extreme measures Martha, Sarah Jane and Jack were willing to go to thwart the New Dalek Empire.
- Allergic to Routine: On several occasions, he makes it clear he couldn't stand an ordinary life. The possibility of not being able to travel around the universe unnerves him, at best. It shows up during a conversation with Rose during "The Impossible Planet", where he thinks about having to own a house. With windows.The Doctor: Me, living in a house!
Rose: (sing-song) You'd have to get a mortgage!
The Doctor: No, no, I'm dying. It's all over.
- Ambiguously Bi: It doesn't come up as often with Ten as with Eight, Nine and Eleven, but he has his moments:Doctor: [to Martha] Yeah, well, you can kiss me later. You too, Frank, if you want.
Donna: Typical. All the decent men are on the other bus.
Doctor: Or Time Lords.
- Ambiguous Innocence:
- Apologises a Lot: Particularly when he realizes that someone's about to die.The Doctor: I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.
- Arch-Enemy: The Cult of Skaro and the Masternote .
- Ascended Fanboy: Both meta and in-character, as in "Time Crash" he gushes to the fifth Doctor that he had modelled his incarnation after him.
- Back-to-Back Badasses:
- Done with a clone of himself and Jackson Lake on two separate occasions.
- Also done with his future self.◊
- Badass Boast: Plenty.
- When dealing with the Vashta Nerada, who had spent the last several minutes impersonating someone they'd eaten who he happened to rather like, and after being rumbled, referred to everyone in the Library as "our meat" in a calm monotone. This one is notable for the fact that they listen to him, corroborate his boast... then very quickly back down.The Doctor: Don't play games with me! You just killed someone I liked, that is not a safe place to stand! I'm the Doctor, you're in the biggest library in the universe! Look me up!
- And on the Titanic space ship.The Doctor: I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm 903 years old, and I'm the man who's gonna save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below... You got a problem with that?
- Also, "What do monsters have nightmares about?" "Me." — Originally a Seventh Doctor Catchphrase in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe.
- Parodied in "The Day of the Doctor", after his life-signs detector fails (again) to correctly identify the Zygon he's hunting in Elizabethan England.Tenth Doctor: I'm the Doctor, I'm 904 years old, I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm the Oncoming Storm, the Bringer of Darkness and you are basically just a rabbit, aren't you? OK, carry on... just a general warning.
- Crosses over into Blasphemous Boast at one point: "I'm the Doctor. If you don't like it; if you want to take it to a higher authority... there isn't one. It ends with me!".
- When dealing with the Vashta Nerada, who had spent the last several minutes impersonating someone they'd eaten who he happened to rather like, and after being rumbled, referred to everyone in the Library as "our meat" in a calm monotone. This one is notable for the fact that they listen to him, corroborate his boast... then very quickly back down.
- Badass Longcoat: Given to him by Janis Joplin. Also, his bathrobe in "The Christmas Invasion". (Saving the world in pajamas alone just won't do.)
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Ten's Iconic Outfit is his brown or blue suit. In either, he's a force to be reckoned with. He also dons a very sharp tuxedo on three separate occasions, with Martha comparing the result to James Bond.
- Badass Normal: During his stint as John Smith, he has to fight the alien Family of Blood while being completely human himself.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: "The End of Time", against Rassilon because the Ultimate Sanction is one of two things that could make the Tenth Doctor use a gun. Before that, his daughter Jenny being fatally shot made him grab one and seem to consider shooting General Cobb in the head.
- Been There, Shaped History: He and Donna had to erupt Mount Vesuvius and destroy Pompeii in order to stop the pyroviles.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't ever, ever mess with Rose. The sight of her faceless form in "The Idiot's Lantern" sets the Doctor on a warpath that ends with the Wire consigned to a Betamax tape, doomed to be taped over.
- Guns. The Doctor, as a rule, is not fond of them, but this incarnation has a particular loathing for them, one that makes Batman's attitude look positively tolerant. So when he grabs one himself in "The End of Time", you know that things are getting serious.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Family of Blood found this out the hard way.... So did the Sycorax leader, the Abzorbaloff, the Wire, the Cybermen, the Racnoss children, the Carrionites, and the Weeping Angels, the Daleks and the Sontarans, with varying degrees of deadness or worse-than-deadness.
- Big Damn Kiss: Practically his signature move. However, Russell T Davies typically included some kind of excuse for him to do so, in order to keep the fans happy. To date: Cassandra in Rose's body (she kissed him), Reinette (she kissed him), Martha (to distract aliens with his DNA on her), Joan (he wasn't himself), Astrid (she kissed him, and then he kissed her into stardust to thank her), Donna (she kissed him, because he would die unless he was "shocked"), Rose (it was his half-human clone), Lady Christina (she kissed him), and Queen Elizabeth I (several times, trying to catch a zygon) and Elizabeth's Zygon clone (she kissed him).
- Bittersweet Ending: Like Five before him, his regeneration into the next Doctor. Everything wound up fine, but he died crying, scared, and alone.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Borrows his previous incarnation's catchphrase "Fantastic!" at the end of "The Christmas Invasion" to subtly remind Rose that he's still the same person she first met.
- Bound and Gagged: By the Master in "The End of Time".
- Break the Cutie:
- Such moments include losing Rose to a parallel universe, almost being murdered in "Midnight", being forced to become a father very suddenly and almost immediately having his new daughter die in his arms, seeing another version of himself commit genocide on the Daleks all over again, saying goodbye to Donna, and all of "The Waters of Mars". Also, series 3 has about one moment of absolute screaming agony for him per episode on average.
- Referring to his status as a father, not only has he lost the cloned daughter; his children and granddaughter Susan, his children from when he was the first Doctor, are supposedly dead because of the Time War.
- Break the Haughty: Beneath the cheery, manic exterior, the Tenth Doctor's big flaw was his arrogance and hubris. Every so often — such as the ending of "The Waters of Mars" where he declares himself the Time Lord Victorious and decides that he and only he gets to decide the laws of time — he lets his arrogance and hubris get away from him. If he does, expect something to happen not long after to brutally put him back in his place — such as the ending of "The Waters of Mars" where Adelaide, sickened by the Doctor's A God Am I mindset, commits suicide just to prove him wrong.
- Broken Ace: In contrast to his serious, grief-stricken predecessor he comes off as being very confident and perfect at everything, but on the inside he is every bit as self-loathing.
- Bully Hunter: He definitely gives the guests bullying Morvin and Foon Van Hoff in "Voyage of the Damned" a lesson.
- Byronic Hero: He develops into this as the show progresses. Not surprising after all the times he got broken and losing his companions.Cyber-Leader: You are proof.
Doctor: Of what?
Cyber-Leader: That emotions destroy you.
Doctor: Yeah, I am.
- Call-Forward: A rather blatant example in The Day of the Doctor. His final words of that episode?10th Doctor: Trenzalore?...We need a new destination because...I don't want to go.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Is absolutely incapable of telling Rose how he feels about her. The Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor whispers it into her ear, but we never hear it.
- Imagine watching that happen to someone that you...
- "If you talk to Rose, tell her... just tell her... Oh, she knows."
- "And I suppose, if it's my last chance to say it... Rose Tyler, I—"
- "Does it need saying?"
- Cartwright Curse: Chick Magnet...of Doom!
- The Casanova: He engaged in romantic situations far more frequently than his other incarnations, falling in love with Rose Tyler. However, he found himself unable to explicitly describe these feelings, struggling with saying such things aloud. In the end, it was the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor that revealed the Doctor's feelings for her. He also developed a romantic relationship with Madame de Pompadour. Others who tried to engage him romantically included Martha Jones, Jack Harkness, Astrid Peth, Clare Pope, River Song, Christina de Souza, Minnie Hooper and Elizabeth I - though in almost all of those cases, he was completely oblivious. Joan Redfern became romantically involved with his human identity, but viewed the Doctor himself as merely a look-a-like of him.
- Cast from Lifespan: He gave up 10 years worth of regenerative energy to refuel the TARDIS and escape Pete's world. Also, if his references to his age are to be taken at face value (at least relative to each other), then this incarnation lasts only six years, including the extra regeneration he burned up.
- Celebrity Paradox: He makes at least a few shout-outs to Harry Potter. David Tennant played a major role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
- Character Development:
- He starts off as a kind, cheerful, adventure-loving chap with a Motor Mouth... albeit one whose cheery attitude masks an arguably even greater (and colder) vein of darkness than his previous incarnation. None of this goes away completely, and is still very prevalent in his character. However, as more and more people start to die around him, and as he loses Rose, inadvertently pushes Martha away, and wipes Donna's memories (admittedly to save her life), he slowly and subtly starts to develop a terrifying darker side, even by the standards of later Doctors. He gains an almost obsessive desire for saving people and preventing death at any cost to him. By The Waters of Mars he is showing A God Am I tendencies and, tellingly, uses some of the exact same lines The Master uses, although Captain Adelaide Brooke's suicide pushes him back from the edge.
- His opinion of regeneration also changes as time goes on. The first time he faces the possibility of regenerating he seems to view it as almost inconsequential. By the time he actually faces it, however, he sees little difference between it and dying.
- Character Tics:
- He runs his hands through his hair when he's frustrated.
- He dramatically dons his glasses when it's time to look clever.
- That tongue-on-the-roof-of-his-mouth thing he does all the time.
- "...and my voice going all squeaky when I shouted, I still do that! I got that from you." ("You" being the Fifth Doctor.)
- Shoving his hands in his pockets when confronting enemies or antagonistic characters.
- Rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet while talking, especially to aforementioned enemies and antagonists.
- Pulling on his earlobe or rubbing the back of his neck when uncomfortable or embarrassed (usually brought on by Donna).
- The Left Eyebrow.◊ It has its own tumblr.
- David Tennant must have been contractually obligated to make this face◊ at least once an episode.
- Check and Mate: On several occasions the Doctor looks utterly defeated and the villain is reminiscing on their victory, only for the Doctor to reveal at the last minute he had anticipated everything and against all odds they had lost. His quote from the "The Family of Blood" is currently the overhead example on the trope page.
- Chekhov's Gun: Who knew that after getting his hand cut off in '05, we'd see the Doctor's severed hand again all the way at the end of Series 4 in '08...?
- Chick Magnet: There's a reason Martha compared Ten in a tuxedo to James Bond, and that River Song called him "pretty boy". He even temporarily stops taking on companions because they keep falling in love with him, or having their lives ruined by him, or both. Effortlessly and very accidentally seduces most people he meets, ranging from Cassandra to Madame de Pompadour. People flirt with him constantly, and he often reacts with awkward surprise. He also married Queen Elizabeth I, leading her to want his head on a spike after he left to save the day after the ceremony and never came back for her. Even the not remotely interested Donna responded a little too quickly saying that he is definitely "pretty boy", and ended up bearing his offspring, in a roundabout fashion. ("Journey's End")"Im the Doctor and Ive just snogged Madame de Pompadour!"
- Lampshaded in "The Day of the Doctor" by the War and Eleventh Doctors, after the Tenth Doctor's impromptu wedding to Elizabeth I ends with her attempting to snog the Tenth Doctor's face clean off.War Doctor: [Bemused] Is there a lot of this in the future?
Eleventh Doctor: [Embarrassed] It does start to happen, yeah...
- Lampshaded in "The Day of the Doctor" by the War and Eleventh Doctors, after the Tenth Doctor's impromptu wedding to Elizabeth I ends with her attempting to snog the Tenth Doctor's face clean off.
- Complexity Addiction: He admitted in "Day of the Doctor" that his gadgets tend to have tons of extraneous features, like an eReader for not-yet-published comic books.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character:
- In contrast to the Ninth Doctor, who's cynical, moody and weary attitude would often work to hide his strong inner optimism and idealism, Ten's rather pleasant, enthusiastic surface and love of life concealed his inner wrath and capacity for ruthlessness. Moreover, when they really snapped, Nine tended to go into a frothing rage, but Ten would go absolutely stone cold. Also unlike his predecessor, Ten wore his emotions on his sleeve, had a particular love of humanity, and involved himself in conflicts much more readily. And in the end, where Nine calmly accepted his regeneration with a confident grin on his face and was welcoming of the change that would result from it, Ten feared it and was even willing to "cheat" in a bid to keep it at bay, even comparing it to death at several points, and when his time came, he kept off the change for as long as he possibly could and his last words were ones of despair.
- In regards to being the second Doctor of an era, the handsome, lady-killing Ten comes across as far more grounded yet bombastically Hot-Blooded than Two's more silly, hobo demeanour that hides his truly cunning nature.
- Contrived Coincidence: A meta-example: the guy named David Tennant (his stage name, picked years before Doctor Who) gets to play the Tenth Doctor.
- Crazy Awesome: In-universe, as Donna lampshades in "Fires of Pompeii".Donna: You fought her off. With a Water Pistol. I bloody love you!
- Cuddle Bug: Hugs a lot of people, often and especially his companions, giving them big bear hugs. He also holds hands with them, especially Rose.
- Cultured Badass: Acknowledged in "Fires of Pompeii" when he easily wins a verbal sparring match with Lucius Petrus Dextrus, who notes that the Doctor clearly shows himself to be a man of learning. He also enjoys Agatha Christie and Shakespeare, and is fond of quoting Dylan Thomas and T. S. Eliot when the occasion calls for it.
- Then again, the "wibbly-wobbly" thing may or may not come from Just So Stories
- Cute and Psycho: While still heroic, this Doctor is a charming, cuddly Pretty Boy who's known to hand out a Fate Worse than Death to those he deems deserving, and who demonstrates a nasty God complex that, at one point, leads to him nearly becoming a Xerox of the Master.
- Death by Irony: Ten inadvertently triggers his demise in his very first story, when he blithely unseats Harriet Jones. This sets in motion a series of events leading to his regeneration.
- Depending on the Writer: When written by Moffat, he's more egotistical and boastful, generally dismissive of his companions (treating Rose like an annoyance through "The Girl in the Fireplace" compared to every other episode with her), and due to Moffat's hatred of technobabble, much more likely to use Buffy Speak.
- Despite the Plan: The remnant of the darker Doctors inside him (particularly Seven) favours bold, decisive action that ends with saving the day and everyone cheering. The only problem is, being that he's also carrying around bits of the 5th Doctor, he isn't any good at it, and takes it unbearably hard when innocents die on his watch. He couldn't save anyone on the Titanic (barring a con man and a Billy Zane-type slimeball); in "Midnight", all of the Doctor's strengths are turned against him, and his refusal to leave behind even one person nearly ends up killing everyone; and in "Waters of Mars", he crowns himself the new emperor of time, only to shockingly discover that he hasn't changed history one iota.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Rose. Despite being clearly in love with her and it being heavily implied that she was the real reason he wasted an entire regeneration not to change his face, at the end of "Journey's End" he leaves her with the Meta-Crisis Doctor, who would be able to grow old with her and give her the life he never could.
- Disorganized Outline Speech: Twice he gives a speech (instructing and rousing, respectively) and he gets the order of numbers confused.
- Distressed Dude: Not as frequent as his predecessors, but still continuing the tradition.
- Ditzy Genius: While this Doctor loved to show off his intellect, he at times displayed a lack of common sense, obliviousness to social norms, and everyday life in general. Most notable with Donna who did not hesitate to rub it in at any given opportunity.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Loathes them on a level that even Batman never reaches, fighting without them for his entire tenure as the Doctor. The only time this specific incarnation actually grabbed a gun was when he found out that the Time Lords were returning (and even then, he only uses it to shoot a machine - albeit one that was the lynchpin of the Time Lords' plan).
- Does Not Like Spam: "Don't let me eat pears; I HATE pears!"
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Doctor is (of course) completely fine with Jack's sexuality, but displays a whole lot of Fantastic Racism about Jack's Immortality. When they finally talk about it, the dialogue intentionally sounds more like it's about sexuality than about immortality. He explains that Jack had become a Fact of the Timeline, all the while claiming that it's just wrong and admitting that he honestly finds it hard to look at Jack now. Jack takes it as sounding prejudiced, and Ten wryly admits that he hadn't actually looked at it that way, before explaining that as a Time Lord, it's literally an instinctive reaction and he can't help it.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": He really doesn't like it when people salute him. This becomes a running gag with U.N.I.T.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: He always told villains exactly what was in for them if they didn't make a HeelFace Turn.
- Doom Magnet: Aside from just in general, if he wears a tux, bad things will happen to everyone around him. The first time, Cybermen crash the party and kill the local head of government. The second, the host turns into a giant scorpion monster and starts trying to suck the life out of him (and Martha's mom is convinced to become a stooge for the Master), and the third time, on the Titanic, nearly everyone the Doctor promises to save dies.
- The Dreaded:
- The very knowledge that he was the Doctor was enough to make the entire Cult of Skaro back up in fear. Rose promptly mocks them for being (rightly) dismissive of five million Cybermen, but scared senseless (also rightly) of one Doctor.
- To the Racnoss Empress in "The Runaway Bride", who remembered Time Lords killed her people.
- He was also able to scare the Vashta Nerada (who were previously indifferent/disdainful to him after telling them to look him up in the Library, in "Forest of the Dead". They did. They promptly backed down very quickly.
- Dying Alone: No one was with him when he regenerated. "I don't want to go".
- Establishing Character Moment: In his introductory episode, not 10 minutes after a quirky monologue about how he never knows what sort of man he is when he first regenerates, in the course of not even fifteen seconds, the Tenth goes from making a light-hearted joke to deftly sending the Villain of the Week plunging to his death without even turning around.The Doctor: No second chances; I'm that sort of a man.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Captain Jack expresses definite appreciation (though that's Captain Jack) and Shakespeare flirts with him.
- Expressive Hair: Ten's hair has been known for reflecting his mood. During "The Day of the Doctor" his hair is the flattest we've ever seen it, indicating his sadness, but when the War Doctor mentions Rose it has returned to its usual gravity-defying state.
- Famous Last Words: "I don't wanna go."
- Fantastic Racism:
- Initially towards his clone Jenny, though it had underlying emotional issues as well, since she reminds him of the pain of losing his family and entire race as well. He later accepts her as his "daughter" later in the episode, especially when she "dies".
- He has trouble just looking at Jack Harkness after he becomes a Living Fixed Point in Time. When Jack teasingly calls him on it, he wryly admits he'd never thought of it like that, before explaining that it's literally an instinctive reaction.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: His left eyebrow is particularly acrobatic... to the point where someone made a parody tribute about it
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: Often skips the fingertips and licks the "evidence" directly. This comes back to bite him when, at one point, the "evidence" turns out to be dust made of corpses. Ptooey.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: As he warms to the Eleventh Doctor, the pair of them start talking and moving in unison.
- Flat "What"/Big "WHAT?!": His tendency to utter these in increasing confusion occurs so often, it's almost a Catchphrase.
- Friend to All Children: He showed parental compassion towards children he encountered, engaging in friendly conversations with a young Reinette and protecting her from a Clockwork Droid, giving Tim Latimer his fob watch as a memento of their adventure together and complimenting the Bannerman Road gang when they did tasks well and came up with good ideas while they were under his care during his encounter with the Trickster. When he became a school teacher, the Doctor kept his class entertained while teaching them physics. While the Doctor showed little remorse in having to kill the Racnoss Empress' children to save the human race, he showed compassion towards the young Adipose, deeming them innocent of the crimes of their parents.
- Fun Personified: He's quite bouncy and excitable. This comes back to bite him and Rose in "Tooth and Claw", as their playful behaviour (and his Nightmare Fetishist attitude) when people are dying angers Queen Victoria and she chews them out for it at the end of the episode, something which in turn leads to the foundation of Torchwood and the events of Doomsday.
- Future Me Scares Me: Ten was most impressed with dashing, cliff-jawed Jackson Lake when it looked like he might be the Nth Doctor. Pencil-necked, Manchild Eleven... not so much. The pair immediately start sniping at each other like kids, with the War Doctor standing by as the aggravated parent.
- He showed real contempt when the Eleventh Doctor admitted he'd "forgotten" the exact number of incinerated children on Gallifrey. Ten has it pegged down to the decimal. Unlike the happy reunion with the Fifth Doctor, this incarnation is from a less-innocent era.
- Ultimately Subverted with the two of them, however, as they get quite a few moments of camaraderie between them, and are in almost perfect sync with each other by the end of their adventure together. They part on good terms and seem to get along swimmingly so long as they stay off the topic of the Time War.
- Gadgeteer Genius: More than any other Doctor, the Tenth absolutely loves jerry-rigging new devices out of whatever junk is lying around the ship (including building his very own proton pack).
- Geek Physiques: Of the skinny variety. It's one of the first things he notices about himself. "Little bit thinner. That's weird; give me time, I'll get used to it." The Eleventh Doctor mocks him, saying that he's "super skinny!", like it's "a special effect!"
- Genki Guy: He is very energetic and manic (whenever he isn't weighed down by angst or anger). He often acts like he's hopped up on too much caffeine.
- Gibbering Genius: Especially when things get stressful.
- A God Am I:
- Beneath the over-caffeinated exterior, Ten was one of the more hubristic Doctors, all too aware of his superiority over other races. At his worst, the Doctor deemed himself — and only himself — fit to decide which lives were more important than others.Mr. Copper: Of all the people to survive, he's not the one you would have chosen is he? But if you could choose, Doctor; if you could decide who lives and who dies... that'd make you a monster.
- In "The Waters of Mars", he has a five-minute period where he decides that, as the last Time Lord, he now decides all the laws of time. It is terrifying and awesome in equal measure.
- Beneath the over-caffeinated exterior, Ten was one of the more hubristic Doctors, all too aware of his superiority over other races. At his worst, the Doctor deemed himself — and only himself — fit to decide which lives were more important than others.
- Godzilla Threshold: Tied directly to his hatred of guns in that he tries to avoid them if at all possible. You know he feels this trope is met when he either tolerates others using guns or he himself picks one up.
- Good Is Not Soft: Ten is a guy that will save everyone he can without asking for reward (except, perhaps, gushing thanks at how brilliant he is) and he'll even try to help his enemies. If you scorn him, then prepare to meet a Fate Worse than Death.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: In this case "In The First Fifteen Hours Of Your Regeneration Cycle" because the Doctor can regrow a hand that was cleanly cut off.
- Guile Hero: He is often knowledgeable about all his enemies' habits and weaknesses, and will play them at his fingertips. Examples of this include outsmarting the Weeping Angels into staring at each other in "Blink", or when he teases and tricks the Sontaran in "The Sontaran Stratagem".
- Happily Married: To Queen Elizabeth I, apparently, until he crossed her. As we see in "The Day of the Doctor", the marriage lasted all of five minutes after a whirlwind romance in the midst of a Zygon invasion, after which the Doctor ran off and never came back. Good Queen Bess didn't take kindly to that.
- Heel Realization: Toward the end of his life, the 10th Doctor suspected there'd be ramifications for his many underhanded moves over the years. This turned out to be the case.Doctor: I've taken lives. And I got worse; I got clever. Manipulated people into taking their own. Sometimes I think a Time Lord lives too long.
- Heroes Want Redheads: "Loves a redhead, our naughty Doctor... Has he told you about Elizabeth I? Well, she thought she was the first."
- He also wanted to be a redhead, a ginger to be exact, and was disappointed when he was told he wasn't.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ten has done this many times, with one standing above the rest. It's when he chooses to let himself get blasted by 500,000 rads of radiation to save Wilfred Mott, resulting in his regeneration, knowing very well he doesn't want to trigger it.
- History Repeats: Like with the Fifth and Ninth Doctors, what ultimately does him in, is choosing to sacrifice himself to save the life of a companion.
- Hot-Blooded: Oh so much. He's passionate in nearly everything he does. When he's excited, he can reach Keet levels.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: He's very excited when he discovers them just after regenerating.
- Hot Scientist: Promotional material likes to play up his sex appeal as well.
- How Dare You Die on Me!: He insisted, then outright begged the Master not die on him - an unusual case in that the Master really could have fixed himself in a second and "died" purely out of spite.
- Humanity Is Infectious: Its implied that Roses humanity largely influenced this incarnation as he is born with more humanity, sympathy, and emotional vulnerability and volatility than the Ninth Doctor and with a particular love of life and affection for humans. Many consider him the most human incarnation of the Doctor.
- Hypocrite: Compare these two lines, one upon regenerating from the Ninth Doctor, the other while facing his own regeneration. A Justified Trope, since he was trying to reassure Rose in the first case and speaking candidly in the second.The Doctor: To save my own life, I changed my body. Every single cell, but I'm still me.The Doctor: Even then, even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away... and I'm dead.
- Iconic Item: His "brainy specs" (briefly replaced with 3-D glasses at one point) and his dapper suits, always worn with a pair of Chuck Taylors and a longcoat on the go.
- I Hate Past Me: The Tenth Doctor finds his previous incarnation — the response to the hate-filled soldier who fought in the Time War — abhorrent; this affects how he responds to Jenny and Clone!Doctor. Naturally, this also means he despises the War Doctor himself, though his opinion changes after he meets him again, getting an outside look at him and a reminder of the Sadistic Choice that the War Doctor was faced with.
- Immortality Immorality: He realized how detached he was becoming as early as "School Reunion", and often commented that he'd lived too long to relate to mortal people. On the other hand, he wasn't about to regenerate again if he could help it: cloning himself, running away from his responsibilities to the Ood, and even toying with leaving Wilf to die instead of him, before realising that it was his time.11th Doctor: Number Ten once regenerated and kept the same face — I had vanity issues at the time.
- This is partially justified in that, In-Universe, Ten had the shortest tenure as the Doctor - Eight (despite only appearing in the TV Movie and "The Night of the Doctor") was around long enough to noticeably age by nearly 20 years (something which takes Time Lords centuries) with all his EU adventures being confirmed as canon, and Nine spent at least a century travelling after he met Rose, before remembering that he hadn't mentioned the 'travelling in time' part and popping back to explain. Ten, by contrast, only lasted a few years.
- I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]:
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He's able to calculate the geometries and physics of flying objects very quickly, saving a runaway baby carriage with a well-timed cricket ball. Also a hint that Mr. "John Smith" isn't all that he seems. (Tellingly, when Ten drops the mask at the end of "The Family of Blood", he effortlessly snatches his pocketwatch out of the air with one hand.)
- Innocently Insensitive: As part of his new Motor Mouth, the Doctor now tends to say what's on his mind as soon as it enters it, making him quite rude at times. He often recognizes this mid sentence. "Am I being rude again?"
- Intrigued by Humanity: The Tenth Doctor has a particular affection for humans, which is a stark contrast to the Ninth Doctor who was often dismissive of them.
- Ironic Echo: His Famous Last Words, "I don't want to go!", compared to his oft-quoted catchphrase, "Allons-y! (Let's go!)"
- It's All About Me: A downplayed example, since ultimately he's still the same selfless Doctor that he ever was deep down. However, his vanity, pride, self-pity and hubris issues can lead to him being a bit self-centred at times, and even with his more selfless actions he's often quick to make sure everyone around him knows who they've got to thank for it. Perhaps most notably, when Wilf gets stuck in the radiation chamber that will cause the Doctor to regenerate upon freeing him, he spends several minutes ranting bitterly about how unfair it is that he has to sacrifice himself again.
- I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: His response to Five's celery stalk corsage. Eleven echoes this sentiment, only this time it's at Ten's "sand shoes."Ten: They're not sand shoes!
War Doctor: [scoffs] Yes, they are.
- Knight Templar: He has annihilated entire fleets of enemy spacecrafts and, presumably, his own people, as well as the various monsters of the week. He seems to swing back and forth on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism quite frequently. In one case, the Doctor was attacked by creatures who wanted to steal his immortality. They got their immortality all right. Getting the Doctor personally angry is, in his own words, "not a safe place to stand." The beings he was threatening then took his advice to "look him up", and backed down very, very quickly. As Donna says in "The Runaway Bride", "I think sometimes you need somebody to stop you".
- Klingon Promotion: With supposedly no Time Lords left to govern time and space, he sometimes took it on himself to decide the proper path of history.Tenth Doctor: For a long time now, I thought I was just a survivor, but I'm not. I'm the winner. That's who I am. The Time Lord victorious.
- Last of His Kind: Ten carries the weight of this title - the responsibility and inherent loneliness - throughout his arc. It hits him particularly hard and is a defining element of his psyche, to the point where he's the Trope Namer for A Shared Suffering.
- "Song for Ten" - a bittersweet Christmas ballad - was an original song composed for "The Christmas Invasion" and used as incidental music throughout the Tenth Doctor's run.
- While he inherited "The Doctor's Theme" from Nine in Series 2, from Series 3 onward, Ten gains his own primary theme, "The Doctor Forever", which encapsulates both the somber and adventurous side of the Tenth Doctor and incorporates "Martha's Theme" as well, to symbolize the growing bond between the two time-travellers. Dozens of variations of "The Doctor Forever" were used throughout Series 3 and 4, usually at the end of an episode.
- "All The Strange, Strange Creatures" acts as Ten and Martha's adventure music in the third series, a season with constantly rising stakes, and gains a souped-up, electronic variation in Series 4 entitled "A Pressing Need To Save The World".
- Ten has a longer and more stirring version of "The Doctor's Theme", performed with a choir instead of a sole vocalist, that is used during the second half of Series 4, symbolizing how much the Doctor has grown and changed yet remained the same since he debuted in Series 1.
- Vale Decem, an emotional original choral piece which the Ood sing during his regeneration, literally means Farewell Ten in Latin.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: He usually comes off as a scatterbrained goofball until things really start to get serious or one of his Berserk Buttons is pressed, at which point Beware the Nice Ones comes into full effect.
- Like a Son to Me: He develops this relationship with Wilfred Mott, seeking out his counsel despite being 10 times older than the salty WWII veteran. For this reason, a mysterious Time Lady referred to as "The Woman" appears to Wilf to explain that the Doctor needs his help. Out of all the people in the world, she picks the closest thing to a father figure the Doctor has. (Claire Bloom's "Woman" character is hinted to be the Doctor's matriarchal figure, with Wilf playing the patriarchal role.)
- Limited Wardrobe: Converse trainers in various colours, a brown suit with blue pinstripes, and some combination of various shirts and ties or, less frequently, no tie and a T-shirt underneath. Often complemented with a long brown wool trench coat he claims to have been a present from Janis Joplin. In his second and third seasons, he gains a new suit with a reversed colour scheme blue with red pinstripes. During these seasons he regularly switches back and forth between the two suits.
You've even got the same suit! ...Don't you ever change?
- Lampshaded by Donna when she meets the Doctor for the second time in "Partners in Crime":
- Living Forever Is Awesome: He pulls every trick he can to avoid regenerating, much less genuinely dying, because the universe is awesome and he wants to continue travelling it. He dilly-dallied on meeting with the Ood during The End of Time because he wasn't looking forward to "his song ending soon" and briefly considered leaving Wilf to die because he could do "so much more!"
- This doubles as Dramatic Irony: He is among the shortest-lived incarnations, in-universe, despite doing everything to avoid regenerating properly.
- Loners Are Freaks: This Doctor travelled by himself for long stretches, having grown weary of heartbreak over his loved ones leaving him. Whenever left alone with his enemies, he tends to stop playing Mr. Nice Guy and threatens to just waste them all.
- Loss of Identity: The Tenth Doctor carried a lot of baggage — unsure of "what kind of man" he was on any given day — and he perhaps never sorted it out. The artificial intelligence embedded inside the Moment summed him up best as, "the man who regrets." This is also why he dreaded regenerating; while some previous Doctors treated it as no big deal, Ten considered it to be dying.The Doctor: Even then, even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away... and I'm dead.
- The Lost Lenore: Although she doesn't die, Rose becomes this to the Doctor when she gets trapped in the parallel universe, especially in Season 3 when her departure is a fresh wound. Losing her has a rather obvious effect on his psyche moving forward, and he is never quite the same again.
- Loved I Not Honor More: For all his reliance on and love for Rose, he tried to send her to the parallel universe so she wouldnt be separated from her family and for her safety since she was covered in void stuff from travelling between dimensions. In "Journey's End", the Meta-Crisis Doctor was deemed too dangerous to be left to his own devices, so the Doctor decided to leave him with Rose in the parallel universe, believing she could help him.
- Manly Tears: Ten wasn't afraid to cry — losing Rose hit him especially hard, he straight up sobbed when the Master died, and the impending end of his life (even with the chance he'd just regenerate into a new man) had him on the verge of tears with sheer terror.
- Martyr Without a Cause: He's too eager to perform a Heroic Sacrifice in many adventures. Particularly heartbreaking in "The Next Doctor" as a reaction to having lost everyone he cared for:Doctor: You've got your son. You've got a reason to live!Jackson Lake: And you haven't? ''Doctor: (looks at him solemnly and seriously)
- Master of the Mixed Message: Yes. Just ask Rose. As a result of the whole Rose thing, he's extremely clear to both Martha and Donna that they should not fall in love with him, and that they'll be kicked out of the TARDIS if they do... but of course, this never works out as neatly as he plans it. Jack and Martha both lament that the Doctor keeps making them fall in love with him, then acts completely oblivious to it. The only one who's unaffected is Donna, who academic appreciation for his looks aside, isn't remotely interested in him.
- MayflyDecember Romance: Roses mortality becomes a point of tension and worry in the Doctor and Rose relationship. Theyre forced to confront it in School Reunion when Sarah-Jane makes Rose scared the Doctor will leave her, too, but he promises not to. They end up allowing both themselves and each other to buy into the fantasy of being together forever.The Doctor: I dont age, I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither, and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone that you...
Rose: What, Doctor?
The Doctor: You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I cant spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. Thats the curse of the Time Lords.
- Meet Cute: A much-delayed one with his spouse, River Song. Being that she's from a future point in his timeline, River's already infatuated with him; however, Ten reacts to this strange woman's meddling with barely-masked irritation.River: Good God, you're hard work young!
- Messianic Archetype: Evokes a lot of Christian imagery, and re-enacts multiple Bible scenes, especially whenever he's on New Earth. He's aware of it in "Voyage of the Damned", when he commands the robotic angels to carry him up to the control room.
- Russell T. Davies is notorious atheist, so while this trope is present, the god complex that the Doctor develops is largely deconstructed, especially in this Doctor's last few episodes.
- Messy Hair: His hair usually tends to stick up in rumpled spikes. Some of it seems to be a deliberate choice, although his habit of running his hands through his hair when nervous or excited also contributes to its gravity-defying state.
- Mind Rape: Both given and received. What he was forced to do to Donna continues to haunt him well into subsequent incarnations.
- Morality Chain: It's outright stated that he needs his Companions in order not to act cruelly or give in to his god complex and become The Unfettered. Only Donna seems to realise this and (eventually) successfully fulfil this role by frequently asking What the Hell, Hero?.
- Mortality Phobia: Played with; this Doctor can be rather casual about actually dying, with many an attempted Heroic Sacrifice under his belt, but when it comes to regeneration and the resultant Death of Personality? He's absolutely terrified. His fear of facing his end has him run like hell from Ood Sigma's summons for as long as he can manage, and it eventually reaches the point that, in "The End of Time", he considers, however briefly, just leaving Wilf to die rather than save him and trigger a regeneration. The Doctor being the Doctor, he does it anyway, but he remains fearful up until the very moment he regenerates, ending this life tearful and afraid.
- Motor Mouth: He had a tendency to speak at a blurring pace when thinking or just generally excited which, combined with an equally prominent tendency for Expospeak and Technobabble, makes his speech nearly impenetrable to those without a pause button and/or a script; or are auditory-first.
The Doctor: Any number that reduces to one when you take the sum of the square of its digits and continue iterating it until it yields 1 is a happy number, any number that doesn't, isn't. A happy prime is both happy and prime. Now type it in!
- This little moment from "42" is a great example. Just try to see if he takes a breath during any of it.
Rose: With you, did he do that thing where he'd explain something at, like, ninety miles an hour, and you'd go, 'What?' and he'd look at you like you'd just dribbled on your shirt?
- Rose lampshades it in "School Reunion":
Martha: Trust me, just nod when he stops for breath.
- Martha noticed too:
- My God, What Have I Done?: At the end of "The Waters of Mars" he realizes he's "gone too far" with history meddling.
- Necktie Headband: As a result of an apparently spectacular party in 18th century France. There's a reason they call it the House of Bourbon.The Doctor: I think I just invented the banana daiquiri a couple of centuries early.
- Nice Guy: While somewhat cocky, impatient, and having a vicious dark side when provoked, Ten is nonetheless a very cheerful, energetic, sociable, and compassionate individual who's quick with a hug and always willing to lend a helping hand.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- One of the first things he does after regenerating is overthrow Harriet Jones, changing history to screw Britain out of its promised "Golden Age" and leading directly to the ascension of Prime Ministers Harry Saxon and Brian Green.
- Possibly due to holding back his regeneration for so long in order to say goodbye, he suffers a particularly violent regeneration that nearly destroys the TARDIS and damages the sonic screwdriver. This ends up severely screwing over his next incarnation. (He also could have not accidentally aimed the regeneration burnoff directly at the console.)
- Nightmare Fetishist:
- Was usually thrilled to meet new and bizarre monsters, often calling them "beautiful". Queen Vicky had a problem with this, and banished him and Rose from the kingdom for treating deadly alien threats as fun and games. It also got him named Torchwood's number 1 enemy, leading to their creation in the first place.
- It also almost gets him lynched in "Midnight."
- No Sense of Direction: On land, the Doctor's usually pretty good about where he's going. Flying the TARDIS... not so much. As per usual, several stories begin with the old girl having landed somewhere contrary to where the Doctor wanted to be (19th century Scottish highlands rather than 1970s Glastonbury, for example), and in "Planet of the Dead", he tells Christina he can never find Easter.
- Not Himself: Has been possessed, brainwashed, DNA-altered, cloned and generally displaced more than any other Whoniverse character.
- Not So Different: The Tenth Doctor and The Master often are depicted as opposite sides of the same coin. It's particularly noticeable in Waters of Mars when the Doctor flat-out becomes him for a brief moment:The Doctor: The laws of time are mine and THEY WILL OBEY ME!
- Older Than They Look: Obviously, being the Doctor, but sometimes emphasised considering his youthful appearance, with him occasionally reminding companions that while he looks about their age, he is much, much older - one notable example being when he quietly tells Donna, who'd been teasing him about his "new dad" awkward behaviour around Jenny, that he'd been a father before. Also Played With concerning this body specifically. Even with the second regeneration, this version lasted only roughly 6-9 years, making him one of the shortest lived Doctors alongside Two and Six. This explains some of his issues with regenerating.
- One Head Taller: Tennant standing at 6'1, he seems to tower over all three of his main companions.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Occasionally he'd mess up a vowel (Tennant's native accent is Scottish, as demonstrated for fun in "Tooth and Claw").
- In "Smith And Jones" Davies gave him the line "Judoon platoon upon the moon" supposedly just to mess with him.
- Oral Fixation: He had a tendency to lick things in his first series, although it was mostly dropped after that.
- Other Me Annoys Me:
- Ten is highly disturbed by the Metacrisis Doctor's willingness to succumb to his darker impulses when facing the Daleks in "Journey's End", likening him to the Ninth Doctor as someone born in blood and battle. Part of the reason he chose to leave the clone with Rose was so she can make him into a better man, as she had for him.
- He was very irritated by Eleven's constant teasing in "Day of the Doctor" and kept telling him to shut up.
- Papa Wolf: There are only two things that ever made him mad enough to pick up a gun and even consider killing someone in cold blood. One of them was the return of the Time Lords led by Omnicidal Maniac Rassilon, who were intent on destroying reality to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and get out of the Time War. The other was the death of his daughter, Jenny. And if anything, he was far closer to the edge in the latter than the former.
- Perma-Stubble: He always has a 5 o'clock shadow, which makes it look like he shaves before going to bed. Lampshaded when he meets the Fifth Doctor in Time Crash;Tenth Doctor: Check out this bone structure, Doctor, because one day you're gonna be shaving it!
- Plot Parallel: John Smith's reluctance to open the fob watch and equating changing to death mirrors this Doctor's regeneration arc.
- Pop-Cultured Badass:
- His very first Rousing Speech is from The Lion King (1994).
- Ten is a fan of eighties pop culture in particular, owing to the nostalgia wave going on at the time. He happily references Ghostbusters while hunting for the undead (while wearing 3-D glasses, no less), cites Back to the Future as a means of explaining the grandfather paradox to Martha, and calls the Master "Skeletor".
- He seems to be a fan of Harry Potter, if "The Shakespeare Code" is anything to go by.
- Preemptive Apology: So often that it's a Catchphrase: "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
- Pretty Boy:
- Lampshaded in "Silence in the Library", though it takes him a bit to catch on.River: Pretty boy! With me, I said.
Doctor:... Oh, I'm pretty boy?
Donna: Yes! [disturbed] Ooh, that came out a bit quick...
- Invoked by the Eleventh Doctor in "The Time of the Doctor", in regards to the Metacrisis regeneration.Eleventh Doctor: Well number Ten once regenerated and kept the same face... I had vanity issues at the time.
- Lampshaded in "Silence in the Library", though it takes him a bit to catch on.
- Pride: The Tenth Doctor's Fatal Flaw. A charismatic Doctor, surrounded by often adoring companions, most of his problems arise from being a little too comfortable in the role of "the hero", leading him to become a little too smug and arrogant to admit the possibility of him failing. True enough, "pride goeth before a fall", and it usually came back to bite him. In particular, this eventually comes to a head in "The Waters of Mars", where he briefly declares himself Time Lord Victorious, with near-disastrous consequences. In a retcon example, the Eleventh Doctor reveals that the Meta-Crisis Doctor was actually a proper regeneration that the Tenth Doctor used up because of his "vanity issues"; he'd use up a life rather than change his appearance.
- Prophecy Twist: "He will knock four times."
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: He sometimes wore a pair of dark tortoise-shell rectangular frame glasses, which he called his "brainy specs". He required them due to becoming long-sighted after his regeneration. While on San Helios, the Doctor used his sonic screwdriver to darken the lenses to effectively turn them into sunglasses.
- Rasputinian Death: Ten could take a good deal of punishment. His last adventure ended with him falling several stories into a glass canopy (peeling himself off the floor a la Wile E. Coyote), then getting bombarded with lethal radiation. He staggered on for a few more hours, finally collapsing in a icy street. He very nearly froze solid until the Ood sang a song to guide him to the safety of his TARDIS...where he promptly regenerated.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: In one Dead Ringers sketch, he is referred to as "Jarvis Cocker IN SPACE!"
- Rogues Gallery: Roboform, Sycorax, Graske, Cassandra, Krillitanes, Cybus Cybermen, the Wire, the Beast, the Cult of Skaro, the Empress of the Racnoss, Judoon, Baltazar, Carrionites, Richard Lazarus, the Family of Blood, Weeping Angels, the Master, Max Capricorn, Pyrovile, Sontarans, Vashta Nerada, the Midnight entity, Davros, the Flood, and Rassilon.
- Rousing Speech: Good at convincing those around him how awesome they are and how they can totally defeat the monster of the week, but they tend to occasionally get lost a bit on the way.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Tenth Doctor married Queen Elizabeth I, and as such, was technically the Prince Consort of England at one point in time. Since Elizabeth is remembered as "The Virgin Queen" we can assume no one ever found out.
- Save the Villain: Ten always offers his foes a chance for salvation or mercy. More often than not, they force him to kill them (or worse) anyway. He's even made the offer to Davros, of all people, only for Davros to spit the offer in the Doctor's face.
- Say My Name: The Tenth Doctor loves to scream MAAAAAARFAAAAA! and 'DONNAAAAAAAAA!'. It calls to mind another hammy thespian who's known for shouting HAAAAACE!
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
- "Waters of Mars":The Doctor: There are laws of time. Once upon a time there were people in charge of those laws but they died. They all died. Do you know who that leaves? ME! It's taken me all these years to realize that the laws of time are mine and THEY WILL OBEY ME!
- Not since the Third Doctor has this much emphasis been put on the "Lord" part of the job description. Only Donna proved saucy enough to stand up to him ("The Fires of Pompeii").Donna Noble: What, and you're in charge?
The Doctor: [pretends to ponder this] Hmm, TARDIS, Time Lord, YEAH!
Donna Noble: Donna, Human, NO!
- "Waters of Mars":
- A Shared Suffering:
- The Trope Namer. The Doctor considered his test tube daughter, Jenny, a mockery of the Time Lord race with no grasp of his culture or what they've lost. Worse yet, she's a soldier, making her doubly devilish in Ten's eyes. The fact that she was forcibly created was almost a courtesy detail at that point. However, he quickly felt remorse for the harsh things he'd said, and the two ended up bonding... which made her death at the end of the episode all the more heartbreaking.
- This was also his motive for sparing the Master's life, against the protests of his companions and his own better judgment (especially so since they were close friends as children). Lucy Saxon vetoed him by shooting his captive in the gut, whereupon the Master decided to forego regeneration out of pure spite.The Master: How 'bout that? I win.
- Sherlock Scan: Does this from time to time, usually accompanied by him taking out his glasses. He most commonly does this when analyzing alien technology. The best example is in "The Unicorn and the Wasp" where he takes on the role of a detective and analyses the crime scene.
- She's Not My Girlfriend: A running gag with Donna. For once, it's absolutely true, and they really are just best friends. (Which is why, when he needs a "shock" to save his life, her snogging him does the trick quite well. They never speak of it again.)
- Shipper on Deck: Usually tells Jack Harkness to stop flirting with everyone, but eventually plays wingman to hook Jack up with Midshipman Alonso Frame.
- Short-Lived, Big Impact: In-universe example. Because of Russell T. Davies' decision to have one year pass per season, as opposed to Steven Moffat's century-spanning time skips and the large jumps in the Doctor's age from the classic series, the Tenth Doctor is canonically the Doctor with the shortest lifetime, but fit several of the most important and far-reaching events of his entire life within those few years.
- Shirtless Scene: In "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End". (Actually a naked scene, but we only get to see his upper half.)
- Small Name, Big Ego: His main personality flaw was his ego, with him always trying to take control of situations he found himself in and feeling it his place to punish those who committed horrific acts, such as when he deposed Prime Minister Harriet Jones, thus negating the "Golden Age" she was destined to achieve, for committing what he saw as an act of murder. Occasionally, he stated himself to be at a higher authority than he actually was and believed himself to often be the smartest being in the room. He regularly used his name as a threat.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: The only Doctor thus far to dare Time itself to try and stop him — which he thought Time could not do, seeing as he controls the last TARDIS and is the last temporal "law"-maker in the universe.
- Smug Smiler: Briefly adopts one when he goes off the deep end during "The Waters of Mars", until he realizes he's crossed a line.
- Sociopathic Hero: Turned into this briefly during "The Waters Of Mars", being heroic and disturbing in equal measure.The Doctor: I'm so old now. I used to have so much mercy... you get one chance. That was it.
- Specs of Awesome: He occasionally dons his "Brainy Specs" to look more clever (remember, this is a guy who takes Awesomeness by Analysis Up to Eleven). Tennant made this wardrobe choice so his Doctor would be a role model for kids with glasses (having been one himself).
- Stepford Smiler: Even without the already present baggage of the Time War and being Last of the Time Lords, from Doomsday onward the Doctor desperately tries to plaster over his grief over losing Rose to... no real luck whatsoever. As time goes on and more and more horrific things keep happening, the smiling becomes more pronounced.The Doctor: Oh, I'm always all right.
Donna: Is "all right" special Time Lord code for... not really all right at all?
- Taken to extremes by Day of The Doctor, when he's still in the midst of romping around all of time and space doing ridiculous things... to avoid going to Ood-Sphere and confronting his foretold demise. His Expressive Hair remains nigh-consistently flattened through, though.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: These warring sides of his psyche came to the fore in Series 4 onward, particularly the specials.
- Sword Fight: Right after regenerating, the Doctor takes on the leader of an alien invasion force in a Christmas invasion.
- Technical Pacifist: Eventually confessing to Wilf that he "got clever". The trope already came back to bite him on day one of his tenure, when he deposed Harriet Jones for what he considered to be her war crime, broke the Web of Time (she was supposed to be Prime Minister for three terms), and made way for the very nasty Prime Ministers Harold Saxon and Brian Green instead.
- That Man Is Dead: Inverted in "Family of Blood". The Doctor tells Joan that he shares all of the feelings "Smith" had. Joan, for her part, sees only an unfeeling bastard standing in the doorway, not her true love.
- Trademark Favourite Food: According to Eleven, it's bacon. Eleven gags when reintroduced to it.
- Tranquil Fury: And No Indoor Voice. When he's loud, you're generally safe, as it usually means that he's in a good mood. It's when he goes very calm, very cold, and very quiet that you should be worried - it usually precedes a Fate Worse than Death, even at times verging on Soft-Spoken Sadist.
- Trauma Conga Line: Ten's entire career could be described this way—which is saying a LOT considering the Doctor in general.
- Truly Single Parent:
- To Jenny, a daughter-clone harvested from his cells in "The Doctor's Daughter". He's not happy about being forced into parenthood at gunpoint, but he ends up bonding with her, and her death (which turns out to not be as permanent as anyone imagined) is the only thing other than a prospective reality ending cataclysm that makes him unhesitatingly willing to grab a gun - indeed, it has him on the verge of cold-blooded murder.
- Almost-single parent to the Metacrisis Clone, who is technically the offspring of him and Donna.
- Unkempt Beauty: He'd be a Sharp-Dressed Man if he did his tie up, stopped wearing trainers, shaved properly, neatened his hair, pressed his suit and stopped fiddling with his buttons. All of these were deliberate choices by David Tennant who insisted on the trainers and requested a suit that was that wrinkled and had lots of buttons to play with.
- Vague Age: While he seems to be the only Doctor to avert this, with each of his seasons corresponding to a year of real world time and the Doctor repeatedly giving his age in a consistent and linearly progressing fashion, there are periods of his life that aren't properly accounted for. His given age also doesn't line up very well with the various classic Doctors, and Eleven shows that those solo travelling periods the Doctor goes on every once in a while can last centuries.
- Verbal Tic: He said 'brilliant' every few sentences. He also said 'weeeell' a lot, similar to the Fourth Doctor.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Donna. This has become Tennant and Tate's standard whenever they work together.
- In the rather short time they got to know each other, Ten and Eleven got on rather well most of the time, even when they endlessly took shots at each other.Ten: What are you doing here? I'm busy!
Eleven: Oh, "busy"? I see, is that what we're calling it, eh? Eh? [bows before the two Queen Elizabeths] Helloooo, ladies.
Ten: Don't start...
Eleven: Listen, what you get up to in the privacy of your own regeneration is your business.
Ten: One of them is a Zygon.
Eleven: [Disgusted] Eurgh... [Quickly backpedals] I'm not judging you.
- In the rather short time they got to know each other, Ten and Eleven got on rather well most of the time, even when they endlessly took shots at each other.
- Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization: He's nearly always seen in a perfectly-tailored brown or navy pinstripe suit and tie of the sort that would not look out of place in a board room, but with casual canvas sneakers instead of the expected dress shoes to emphasize his eccentric nature.note The suit itself is also a cotton blend, rather than the expected wool, which makes it easy to clean and take care of while at the same time making it almost impossible to appear as anything other than slightly rumpled. He expresses discomfort any time he is forced to dress the rest of the way up in a black tux and dress shoes, if only because especially horrible things tend to happen when he wears it - though he is more than a little pleased when Martha remarks that it makes him look very James Bond.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Breaks his own rules in "The Waters of Mars" by saving the people whose death would have inspired the human race to spread out into space. He is called out on it in the most horrific way possible: The key person who was supposed to die fully understands what happened, and quietly walks off to kill herself. Which leads to the Doctor having a nervous breakdown.
- Later invokes this in "The Day of the Doctor" towards Eleven when he learns his future regeneration forgot how many children there were on Gallifrey.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: He alternates, depending on how good his mood is. Usually, he's of the opinion that he does. The universe is big, and there's all those things out there he hasn't seen or done yet... but at the same time, there's losing all the people closest to him, watching them grow old, or die, or leave. And while he claims he lived too long before saving Wilf, his last words are "I don't want to go".
- You Can't Fight Fate: Invoked countless times over the course of his run. As soon as he thought he'd finally triumphed over it, someone knocks four times...
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A particular feature of this incarnation, as "The Family of Blood" finds out the hard way. They wanted immortality? They got it. In the most horrifying fashions possible.
Tropes associated with Doctor Who Magazine
- Rogues Gallery: Sontarans, Hajor, Jacey the tour manager, the Iagnon, Harpies, Kingfish, Skith, Graxnix, Sycorax, Memeovax, Wesley Sparks, and the Crimson Hand.
Tropes associated with Doctor Who Adventures
- Rogues Gallery: Mirrorlings, Chalderans, Warfreekz, Bob Kreesus, Untra, the Klytode, Skrawn, Professor Mallingan, Amelia Hubble, the Mozhtratta, Krigge, Rutan Host, the Sidewinder Syndicate, the Mondegreens, the Lords of Jelsen, Larry Haxton Jr., & the Chukwa Fel Interrogators.
Tropes associated with IDW Publishing
- Rogues Gallery: The Advocate, Dominators, Empathivores, Enochai, Es'Cartrss of the Tactires, Jonathan Smith, K, Lau'Tan, Macro-viruses, Maximilian Love, Quarks, & Tharlot.
Tropes associated with Titan Comics
- Rogues Gallery: Cerebravores, Weeping Angels, Shreekers, the Nocturne, Monaxi, Mister Ebonite, Cybermen, Sutekh, Time Sentinel, the Para-Nestene, & the Vortex Butterfly.
Tropes associated with BBC New Series Adventures
- Rogues Gallery: Aulus Valerius Ursus, Waterhive, Cynrog, Nathaniel Morton, Valnaxi, Brother Hugan, Zygons, EVE, Hervoken, the Domovoi, Swamp monsters, Vurosis, Clade, General Orlo of the Zerugians, Gappa, the Master, Jal Karath, Sebastiene, the Cult of Shining Darkness, the Mandragora Helix, Eyeless, the Slitheen family, the Dalek Inquisitor General, Sontarans, Rutan Host, Nestene Consciousness, Autons, & Lozla Nataniel Henk.
Tropes associated with Quick Reads
- Rogues Gallery: Daleks, Cybus Cybermen, Sontarans, Rutan Host, & Krillitanes.
Tropes associated with Big Finish
In cooperation with licence holders AudioGo, Big Finish made Ten the central character of the Destiny of the Doctor story "Death's Deal".
In 2016, David Tennant started reprising the role for a series of full-cast audio dramas, featuring more adventures from his time with Donna and Rose.
In 2018, Big Finish brought the Tenth Doctor into their Doctor Chronicles audio series, with Doctor impersonator, Jake Dudman, playing the role while also narrating.
- And I Must Scream: In "Time Reaver", the Doctor exhausts the power of the titular weapons by shooting himself with them, freezing himself in time for what he perceives as centuries but for everyone else was under an hour.
- Berserk Button: In "Infamy of the Zaross", the Doctor was already angry that the Zaross were invading planets for a television show, but upon learning that the humans are given fake guns while the Zaross weapons are genuine, he makes it clear that he is beyond furious now.
- The Bus Came Back: Like Tom Baker, Tennant would come back to the role some time after departing from the television series.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: In Dalek Universe he strands himself in a pre Time War universe thanks to a Stable Time Loop, separated from his TARDIS, and is prevented from returning to his timeline because the Daleks of that era detect his presence and going to the Time Lords is too great a risk.
- Determinator: During "Technophobia", he gets hit by the bad guy's Stupid Machine, which has been rejigged so that the smarter the target, the harder their brains get whammied. He just barely manages to power through it and drag himself to their base, even while he's finding just trying to think ludicrously painful.
- Incredibly Lame Fun: Surely Donna and her boyfriend would love to go around an old church, maybe look at the architecture, do a little brass rubbing? The Doctor doesn't seem to get why the two want a few hours alone, away from him.
- It's All About Me: In "Death and the Queen", he assumes the baddy's goal is to get to him. He's a little surprised when it bluntly tells him this is not the case. It's after Donna.
- Mistaken for Romance: The old running gag of him and Donna being mistaken for romantic partners crops up once more, in "Technophobia", and "Death and the Queen".
- Moment Killer: Donna's attempts to get a few moments (or more) alone with a good looking prince are ruined by the Doctor constantly showing up just as things are going somewhere.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: A Doctor variation of it, anyway, as he disables the aliens' equipment rather than starting a fight;
- Did someone order an alien nemesis with a side-order of rice? Well, Ive got bad news for you; theyre all out of rice.
- Rogues Gallery: The Diggle, Gully, Koggnossenti, Ice Warriors, Mefistoles, Slitheen family, Zaross, Daleks, The Monk turned Nun, Mechanoids and Cybermen.
- Stable Time Loop: He becomes trapped in the pre-Time War universe as a result of one; he realises that the only reason he would have ended up in an isolated planet without anyone setting a trap for him is because he did it to himself to stop the flawed time machine he's dealing with malfunctioning and destroying the universe.
When the Doctor and Martha were being chased through time by the ravenous Family of Blood, the Doctor decided to take a human disguise by sealing his Time Lord essence inside a chameleon arch, which looks like an ordinary fob watch, and hid in an inconspicuous English village in 1913. The process is much more than a disguise, however, as the chameleon arch completely rewrites a Time Lord's biology into a human form. With falsified memories, the history teacher John Smith was, for all intents and purposes, not the Doctor at all but a completely new man with a life of his own.
He appears only in the two-part storyline consisting of "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood", both self-adapted from Paul Cornell's 1995 novel Human Nature which follows an identical premise, but instead features the Seventh Doctor as "John Smith".
- Badass Normal: Acting on pure instinct, he saves a woman and her baby from a precarious piano by throwing a cricket ball that causes a ridiculously precise chain reaction. Deep down, he still has a lot of latent Doctor in him despite having a completely human body.
- Born Lucky: How he justifies his extraordinary feats of skill.
- Byronic Hero: While an extremely kindhearted gentleman, John is only human. In contrast to the Doctor's unflappableness in the face of danger, John is reduced to an angsting, sobbing mess by the end of his story, and seriously considers making the selfish choice of handing over the fob watch to the Family in order to remain himself. Thanks to his fake memories of an upbringing in Victorian Ireland, he also has some period-appropriate views, including a slight dismissal of Martha due to her minority, lower-class status.
- Death of Personality: He understandably views the prospect of the Doctor retaking his body as a form of execution. Ironically quite similar to the Tenth Doctor's own views on regeneration.
- Does Not Like Guns: His Doctor-genes are strong enough to prevent him from firing a gun.
- Foreshadowing: His whole arc foreshadows both the Master's later return under the human "Professor Yana" disguise, as well as the Tenth Doctor's apprehensive regeneration.
- Expy: Of the Seventh Doctor's "John Smith" identity from the original Doctor Who New Adventures novel Human Nature which the television story was adapted from. Their circumstances are practically identical.
- Future Me Scares Me: Rather than inspired, he's terrified of Martha and Tim Latimer's vivacious descriptions of the Doctor. Since John doesn't know the Doctor, he hates the idea of giving his own "life" in exchange for some callous, lonely god.
- I Am Who?: His whole arc is figuring out who exactly he is, and what kind of man the Doctor is.
- Manchurian Agent: A rare self-inflicted example, as the Doctor needed his human disguise to be completely foolproof, so John Smith genuinely believes he is a normal human and has no idea who the Doctor is. However, he seemingly never foresaw John gaining such rigorous individuality, or falling in love.
- Morphic Resonance: On top of looking identical to the Doctor in spite of the chameleon arch supposedly rewriting his biology at a fundamental level (not unlike regeneration), John has numerous "cracks" in his personality and backstory where his true Gallifreyan alter-ego shines through.
- Mr. Smith: As per the Doctor's usual human pseudonym.
- Oblivious to Love: Averted for the most part. Whereas the Doctor either ignores or supresses romance for others (or that others feel for him), John is unashamed of admitting his love for Joan, though ironically, he's just as oblivious to Martha's love for him and the Doctor.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: As with the Tenth Doctor's normal accent (see in his own folder), John's upper-crust RP accent is less than convincing at times.