Top 10 Guest Stars: The Tenth Doctor Pt1

These days, Doctor Who attracts big names. But even the smaller names have huge talent: just look at the three current leads; all relative unknowns plucked out of obscurity into the biggest show in the universe!

So it’s been incredibly hard narrowing down the best guest stars of the entire Tenth Doctor era – from Christmas 2005, across three series and numerous specials, to New Year 2010 – and pitting them against one another.

I’ve excluded possible companions – it felt too much like cheating otherwise – though it pains me to leave out Lindsay Duncan’s Adelaide Brooke and Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow. I’ve also limited myself to guests who appear in only one storyline.

MyAnna Buring as Scooti Manista in The Impossible Planet, 200610. MyAnna Buring as Scooti Manista.

It’s a rule of Doctor Who, right? The friendliest one has to die.

And Scooti, the twenty-year-old trainee Maintenance Officer was a very friendly face amidst isolating surroundings and… well, Ood.

I have a soft spot for The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, so it’s difficult to pick just one of the Sanctuary Base Six crew… but Scooti’s haunting death ensures her place in the Top Ten. The desperation as she sees Toby walking on Krop Tor’s surface… then one of the best lines in Who history. “He bathes in the Black Sun.”

9. Lee Evans as Professor Malcolm Taylor.

Malcolm isn’t just another UNIT grunt. He is, in fact, “brilliant” and the Doctor’s “new best friend.”

Bristolian stand-up comedian, Lee Evans is a big Who fan anyway, and his character in Planet of the Dead is a representative of the Whovian fanbase, having read all the files on the titular Time Lord.

His excitement and bravery – standing up to his senior when ordered to close the wormhole and thus trap the Doctor and 200 bus with The Swarm – lit up the episode.

8. Mark Gatiss as Richard Lazarus.

Lazarus wanted to change what it meant to be human in 2007’s The Lazarus Experiment. Instead, he turned into a monster.

In an episode unfairly overlooked, Mark Gatiss is sublime as the old man who tried to cheat death, striving to change the world.

In his best scene, he sits with the Doctor, calmly arguing about immortality and reminiscing about his childhood, hiding in Southwark Cathedral during the Blitz. It’s unsettling, tense and sad – and proves that Gatiss’ talents extend beyond just his writing!

7. Sophia Myles as Madame de Pompadour.

Madame de Pompadour was a forerunner to Amy Pond; the girl whose life was changed after meeting the Doctor as a little girl.

And she fell in love with him.

Drawn into a wider universe by Fireplace Man, and out of her depth, Sophia Myles’ besotted Reinette was basically competition for Rose, but her performance showed that she needn’t be the enemy; in fact, the final scene of The Girl in the Fireplace is one of the saddest of series two because you care so much.

6. Georgia Moffett as Jenny.

Okay, so the story may not be a fan favourite, but it’s not often you get to see a Doctor’s daughter on screen…

Everybody knows how connected Georgia Moffett is to Doctor Who (and perhaps even more connected after today’s events?), but this doesn’t mean she’s given an easy ride in the Whoniverse. But she’s brilliant in The Doctor’s Daughter, brightening up the dim corridors of Messaline.

It’s a shame she doesn’t get loads to do, but Jenny is feisty, likeable and has a lust for life. It’s no coincidence her dad’s the Doctor.

So what do you make of the list so far? Let us know who would be in your Top Ten below.

…And come back soon for the Top Five!

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  1. Paddy says:

    Good list so far. Though clearly Elisabeth Sladen and John Leeson have to be number 1/2… or there’s something wrong with the world.

  2. TonyS says:

    Catherine Tate has to be very near the top. After her shouty performance in “The Runaway Bride”, season four was such a pleasant surprise. Donna, you were the Noblest proto-Romana of them all.

    • Philip Bates says:

      Thanks for your comments – glad you like the list so far, Paddy and Tony S.

      Unfortunately, Elisabeth Sladen, John Leeson and Catherine Tate aren’t on the list, as they’re companions, not guest stars.

      …But I agree that all three are fantastic.

      You can see the Top Five here:

      • TonyS says:

        I realised when I posted that Catherine Tate was a regular. I just wanted to use the line “Noblest proto-Romana of them all” lol. I suppose that’s why Bernard Cribbins doesn’t feature either. The list certainly highlights the calibre of guests that the programme is able to attract. This is something that has been observed throughout its history.

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