Doctor Who is a science-fiction television series that consists of a range of science references. The Doctor is a character who displays talent and smarts. David Tennant and Tom Baker was just two actors who have played the part of The Doctor. Tom Baker, the fourth doctor, is the longest running actor to play the part of david-tennant-doctor-who tom-baker-doctor-whoThe Doctor and not so far behind is David Tennant. Baker’s portrayal of The Doctor lasted for 7 seasons between the years of 1974 and 1981. The series shows many strong points. Comparison of the dialogue, body language and costumes of Tom Baker and David Tennant is the one way to analyse the portrayal of the Doctor Who character.

To begin with, Tom Baker and David Tennant both utilise similar and different dialogue in their portrayal of The Doctor. When Baker started he combined his own elements into the dialogue by showing enthusiasm, which remained in the dialogue by the scriptwriters. Baker expressed his own incarnation of the character by expressing that he is capable of exhibiting such a deeper personality of The Doctor, therefore, giving more contribution in the dialogue than is needed. Baker can be pedantic at times and often acting unpredictable at times in a crisis, however, reacting to others with amusing jokes and frequently altering his direction of speech. The audience caught on to his eccentric speech in addition to becoming an instant recognizable figure. Tennant is very outgoing and boisterous by recalling aspects of Baker’s incarnation in his portrayal. However, his dialogue not always a reflection of his past. Similarly, David Tennant plays quite a serious role as The Doctor and occasionally, however, he injects humour into his role to make it more appealing and justified for the audience.

In addition, body language is an important element of characterisation in any television series or film. The actors that played the protagonists throughout The Doctor Who series, each brought their own portrayal of how the character should be played which is partially presented through body language. The body language of Tom Baker is classy and elegant. For example, in Episode 1 of Season 12, ‘Robot’, The Doctor’s appearance was regenerated as he was fatally affected by the ‘Metebelis crystals’ 1, and was returned to a healthy state, due to his immortality. In this scene, his body language is convincingly demonstrating his injury through his dramatic collapse.  but his facial expressions developed in addition to how The Doctor communicates with other individuals. On the other hand, David Tennant plays a very energetic Doctor and a result makes some risky decisions that put others in danger. For example, in Episode 13 of Series 4, Davros, The Doctor’s enemy, quoted that The Doctor makes his companions into something more than ordinary by engaging them in dangerous situations. “Never carrying a gun, but this is the truth, Doctor. You take ordinary people and you fashion them into weapons.” The Doctor was peaceful and levelheaded about this, but nevertheless he knew that he never dares to look back because he does it out of shame. In another episode of Doctor Who, a companion mentioned that The Doctor is dangerous and that it’s not The Doctor makes people take risks, it’s that he makes them impress The Doctor. Which is never a good sign, especially if you’ve just picked some random person up and taken them for a ride. The words dangerous doesn’t even begin to cover his attitude and the things he has done over the years. It’s possible to consider The Doctor as a pacifist, if he simply uses unpredictable means of killing of his enemies.

The scarf, the hat or the casual Converse shoes. No matter which “Doctor” or what style, he always is remembered by the clothes that he wears. It’s not how The Doctor wears his clothes, it’s about how he looks and how he can persuade his enemies to do what he says. The fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, is iconic for his famous hat and scarf, along with the curly hair, but the smile and wide-eyed appearance presented viewers with a costume that remained to be of a certain quality that showed “mystery and magic.”2 His hat is best described as a broad brimmed floppy hat, but it has a certain affect that hides part of his face by hiding it in his hair. Not all versions of The Doctor have the same kind of costume. The previous Doctor had a frilly shirt with a velvet jacket, but Tom Baker’s costume has more than just a long multi colored scarf. The only similarity between The fourth Doctor and The tenth Doctor, is the long double-breasted overcoat that is worn by both Doctor’s. The ideal costume of The Doctor is always the suit and tie that is most commonly worn by the current versions of The Doctor, just like David Tennant. This style was best described as a, “modern style sort of hair. All sticky-uppy” and occasionally The Doctor always used to have a pair of Red-Cyan 3D glasses. For no reason at all and sometimes for practical reasons, which nobody knew why.3The Doctor has also carried various Sonic Screwdrivers of different designs during his lifetimes. Some of them alternating from a simple silver cylinder to a more complex illuminated version of the sonic device. The fourth Doctor became quite attached to his sonic device while he has used it on multiple occasions and it is a vital part of the costume that you cannot have without. Not all versions of The Doctor carry a sonic screwdriver, but when they do. It is used in places when The Doctor becomes stuck or when he in danger. Throughout Doctor Who, the multipurpose tool has been used to open locks, detect deadly rays, read bio-signs and can generate sonic waves, however it always has a bit of trouble effecting wooden things. The sonic screwdriver was never meant to be intended as a weapon, but the tenth Doctor made it seem like that. It is considered as a defensive weapon that was designed not to kill or injure living things. It’s main purpose was incapacitate a creature by emitting painful bursts of sound from the sonic device. 5 T

In comparison to Tom Baker and David Tennant, it is hard to discuss and compare all of the characteristics of the Doctor Who character, but instead the basics of the character such as the dialogue, body language and the costume are summed up as David Tennant and Tom Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor Who character have both equal qualities towards this character. Dialogue is hard to conclude as it depends on storylines, but the body language is easy to tell as the Doctor Who character has persuasion, humour and a not so nice side to talk to. However, the costume of Tom Baker is probably the most recognizable icon throughout all of the Doctor Who costumes that have ever been worn by different actors.


  1. BBC (Dec 30, 2009) Third Doctor regenerates – Doctor Who: Planet of the Spiders,
    Available at:
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1/10/2016) Wikipedia: Fourth Doctor,
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  3. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1/10/2016) Wikipedia: Tenth Doctor,
    Available at:
  4. Emily Asher-Perrin (2/05/2011) How Dangerous You Make People: A Boldy Violent New Side To The Doctor, Available at:
  5. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1/10/2016) Wikipedia: Sonic Screwdriver,
    Available at:
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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