But in his four years in the role, Tennant has made it his own. His doctor – the 10th – has artfully combined the best parts of his predecessors within an engaging personality all his own. Tennant's doctor has been both physical and cerebral, funny and yet full of angst; he has been the most human of all the Doctors.
Last week Tennant announced that he would quit after four more specials. But none of the previous actors who played the role has fully shaken off the Doctor. Tom Baker said everything since had been "a muddle and a disappointment"; fear of typecasting drove Eccleston out after just one series. But Tennant, currently on stage in Hamlet, may well be the best actor to have played the Doctor.
As such, this very best of timelords is unlikely to have much time on his hands in the future.