Tomorrow is apparently the day that the BBC will be announcing who will be playing the next Doctor. I’ve been listening to all of the talk and whining and moaning from the die-hard David Tennant groupies who insist that they will never watch the show again after he leaves and that they will no longer be Who fans…

Speaking as someone who has been a hard-core Doctor Who fan for close to thirty years, I would just like to inform the aforementioned whiners and moaners: You don’t get it.

You just don’t get that the regeneration of the Doctor is one of the key things that makes this show so terrific, and is what has allowed it to last as incredibly long as it has. There are many shows that have lasted a long time where cast members have come and gone, but the characters they play have always come and gone as well. With the Doctor, the show essentially gets a reboot every few years, without having to change themes, story, or essential character traits. Every few years the show gets new life breathed into it as the main character suddenly develops an entirely new personality, without losing any of the core concepts that made the character so appealing. It’s a wonderful mix of continuity and dynamic change that allows each actor who plays the Doctor to build on the character that every previous actor has helped to create. I think David Tennant is a very fine actor, and yes, I think he is up there with Tom Baker as one of the better Doctors. However, I’m not sure Tennant’s character would have been as strong if not for Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal, brief though it was. Eccleston was able to give the Doctor a dark and tortured edge that was necessary for the revival of the series, and then Tennant built upon that dark foundation, tempering it with boyish good looks and a lighter sense of humor.

I could wax poetic about the show for eons, but my main point is: Stop saying you won’t be a Who fan when Tennant leaves, because if you’re saying that, then you were never a Who fan–you were a Tennant fan. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with being a Tennant fan, but you really should be aware that you’re missing the point of what makes Doctor Who great enough to last for so many decades.