Thank you for bowing out with such professionalism, modesty, charm and grace. You truly have the world at your feet right now, and you have worked for it, but as I’m sure you are all too aware, the only place to go from where you are now would be down.
I’m sure they’ve offered you Russell Brand-type money to stay and let them milk you as a cash cow a little longer. And I’m sure it hasn’t all been easy in Stratford, going back to classical theatre and having the accusation of celebrity casting ringing in your ears. It’s a very small town and you haven’t been able to live a normal life – you can’t even nip out for a coffee without it turning into an SF convention. The temptation to slip back into the comfortable atmosphere of Cardiff must have been very strong at times, but you got where you are now because you were never afraid to challenge yourself, to leap into the unknown and try something new
I think that’s something I’ve learned from you. You got me writing again after 15 years, because I found your take on the Doctor so inspiring, so fascinating and so mercurial. Many thousands of words later, you’re still showing me new ways to explore him. I’m glad you’ve had the integrity to recognise that you’re the Doctor for a certain place and time. I can’t help feeling that if you hung around longer, there’d be less and less for you to say about him. I hope RTD gives you the most fantastic send-off, and has the courage to follow his own convictions by reuniting you with Rose, the woman who brought hope, fun and meaning back into the Doctor’s life. Let other people play him as James Bond, or whatever. I want to remember you standing in the snow with Rose, shyly wondering if she’d still want to be with you, and picking the next star to visit. And someday, even if we never get to see it, I want you to tell her that you love her, and you’ll love her all your life, preferably in that lovely Proclaimers accent.
As the Doctor, you’ve shaped the last few years of my life. You’ve given me the courage to re-enter paid employment, to ask the school where I’d worked for years as a volunteer whether they’d be prepared to put things on a professional footing – and they believed in me, and valued me enough to find a way. I work teaching children to read for pleasure and to use their imaginations. I always said that if I was lucky enough to win a date with you, I’d ask you to dress up in character and come into the school where I do that, because I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than seeing their little faces light up as The Doctor walked in, even having you to myself for an hour or two.
Like you, I love my job and I never wake up in the morning with a sinking heart because I have to go into work. But eventually we all need to move on to some new challenge. For me – and again this has a lot to do with you – it’s going to be an MA in Shakespeare Studies in Stratford. You led me there, through the Doctor meeting the Bard in 1599, to the production of "Love’s Labour’s Lost" at the Globe that reignited my love for Shakespeare’s plays, to the James Shapiro book I picked up about that year in Shakespeare’s life – the one when he wrote "As You Like It", "Henry V", "Julius Caesar" and possibly "Hamlet." You gave me the friends who came with me to see you play "Hamlet" in Stratford and you had a lot to do with it being the life-changing event that it was for me.
Yesterday I took a deep breath and filled in the forms for my MA application. The thought of studying in Stratford both terrifies and elates me. It seems completely appropriate that, on the day you announced your next move, I formally committed to mine. As the Bard says, "There is a tide in the affairs of men that, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."
I remember Tom Baker and Peter Davison fondly, but I’ll always be able to say "You were my Doctor" and, like Rose Tyler, you showed me a better way of living my life. Thank you, Mr Tennant.
All the best!