Dear The Tenth Doctor,
Child of the eighties that I am you were certainly not my first Doctor. Neither will you be my last. I confess - I felt a thrill of expectation when I saw the trailer for Doctor Eleven's first outings. And, though I love RTD, Steven Moffat has remained the writer I look forward to most of all and the idea of him in charge - that would be the sound of a fangirl shrieking.
But, to borrow a phrase, you were my Doctor.
You were wildly arrogant, fiercely intelligent, gloriously ridiculous. You cared too much and yet were, on more than one occasion, effortlessly dismissive. You loved words, how they felt in your mouth, the sounds they made. You made mistakes and because of everything you were those mistakes were writ large. You loved a joke, a crazy plan and running. Especially the running.
Some of that is simply part of who the Doctor is, part of the trajectory that started all those years ago, but it was all you in a very special way.
You never fired a gun but you turned people into soldiers.
You loved but you would never say it.
You were achingly brave and, though I worried for moment as you laid crouched in the snow, you never gave up hope.
You had the most friends, the most bonds, of any Doctor and yet you were the only one to regenerate alone.
And, yes, I cried. Cried from the moment that it looked like you would have to fire that gun. Cried as you thought, just for a fleeting second, that you had beaten destiny. Cried when I heard the gentle four knocks that came from where we could never have expected them to come. Cried as you made the choice we always knew you would. Cried as you (and maybe us too) got your 'reward'. Cried as the Universe sung you to sleep.
'I don't want to go'
No, I didn't want you to either.
In addressing this letter I have, I admit, been a bit disingenuous. An open letter to a fictional character. But then is that more odd than an open letter to someone who will never read it? I don't know.
I was going to write two letters before I realised that in writing to the Tenth Doctor I could say what I wanted to say in one. For the Tenth Doctor was nothing if not the meeting of two men; writer and actor. This is me, I hold them both in awe.
RTD, I rolled my eyes at your stunt casting (and then had to unroll them as quickly as they invariably worked), I quibbled about your plotholes and, even now, do not get me started on your use of deus ex machina. Your conclusions could not - in maybe all but Doomsday and The End Of Time - surpass their buildup.
That you spoilt Rose for me slightly by the ending you ultimately chose to give her.
And, let us not forget, the human Dalek idea was allowed to get to screen on your watch.
But - I thought this because I wanted more from you, more that was there. Your ambition, your daring, the places where you were willing to go. That, at your best, you shunned what was easy and went with what was complex and challenging and invariably more interesting. That you saw Doctor Who not as sci-fi (though of course it was and is) but as drama. That there is a heart beating under all your writing. That you could always, always, write a line. And, maybe more than your ability to write a line that I could clutch to me, that you knew absolutely what should be unsaid. That you let your actors breathe.
As someone who firmly remembers sitting with her father watching re-runs of Doctor Who on Sunday mornings when can't have been more than five or six I have a lot to thank you for. It's odd how fervent fanboys and girls of the show are, but as a fanboy too you know that more than most. So, even though you didn't cast me as a companion somewhere down the line - thank you.
As for Tennant, your Doctor had so much soul it actually hurt. That joy, that enthusiasm, that - it has always been clear - you were loving it as much as we were.
Soul's the thing we drama writers can't write. Try as we might, the thing behind the eyes evades us. That's entirely you. And you conjured up so much and let it hang. You made me laugh. You made me cry. You saw the darkness and made the Doctor epic and haunting in a way I cannot remember from anyone else. I believed entirely everything you had seen, everything you had done, everything that made you defiant and broken and triumphant.
Above everything, I loved you most in your silence.
You were, quite simply, magnificent.
Mr Tenth Doctor, and all you represent, I think I'm going to miss you.