Well, 11...here we are - our last Christmas together. It seems like only yesterday when you, quite literally, crashed into our lives. How were we to know that you - a strange looking chap with the oh-so-young face framing those oh-so-ancient eyes - would worm your way into our affections so quickly and so deeply?
Remember our first adventure? Fish fingers and custard. 20 minutes to save the world. There you were - Amelia Pond's (and ours) Raggedy Doctor putting on a show. We fell for you, raggedy man, very quickly - and we fell hard. Of course, for that first year, we were still getting to know you, still working our way past that bouncy, manic, child in a toyshop persona to see the sometimes self-loathing, distrustful yet caring and sympathetic alien beneath. There was magic and delight in getting to know you and by the end of our first year, we just knew that you, my friend, are something special.
Oh, it wasn't all plain sailing. We had our moments, didn't we? Faking your own death, travelling alone (you WERE warned, my dear), Trenzalore, The Silence, the weight of cumulative loss that finally broke you, that caused you to retreat from the universe and spend 200 years on top of a cloud... good lord, you know how to sulk, don't you? Thankfully, you were tempted off your cloud, picked up another stray and off we were again. Talking of strays ... you know that if you loved someone then we'd love and care for them too? Amy, Rory, Clara - if they travelled with you then they became a part of us too. The Girl Who Waited, The Last Centurion and The Impossible Girl - they all intrigued and delighted you in some way so you took them with you and showed them the Universe. You showed us too. We were there, in that glorious box, experiencing and living it with you and your friends. You changed them. You made them better. Did you really think you wouldn't do the same to us too? We are all better, happier and wiser for having known you.
There is one important person we haven't mentioned yet. Your wife... River Song. You had no idea who she was at first - she knew more than you and, boy, did that wrong-foot you and throw you off your stride. It was delicious seeing you flail around like that, seeing you try to wheedle information out of her - it was only later that the true tragedy revealed itself. Constantly meeting in the wrong order, one always ahead of the other - we, like you, knew that she would end up at the Library and we were working our way back to the beginning. Seeing how much she loved you, how she sacrificed everything for you... and yet, we were still unsure. A wedding on top of a pyramid, in an alternative dimension that didn't exist? How typically timey-wimey of you. Trenzalore, however, sealed the deal. We saw it then. We saw the depth of feeling you had for her and we hoped, we fervently hoped, that the two of you made the most of those "nights". You deserved to be happy - both of you.
But, back to you, my friend. You never disappointed us. You taught us that bowties, fezes and stetsons were cool, you helped us develop a love for jammie dodgers - and yes, most of us have indeed savoured the intriguing combination of fish fingers and custard. We love - and that's not too strong a word - every single thing about you. From that floppy hair to those gorgeous and expressive eyes. From the brown tweed to the purple frock-coat. From that large chin to those large hands. From your confident dexterity whilst operating the Tardis to sometimes having the co-ordination of a newborn giraffe. From your little catchphrases to your big, emotional and epic speeches. Let's face it - nobody does big, emotional and epic quite like you.
So, we're closing in on the end .. the final chapter - with not much possibility of an afterword from you - and there are a few things we'd like to say to you. Thank you. Thank you for giving us hope. Thank you for making us smile and laugh during times we never thought we would. Thank you for the fun, the excitement and the tears. Most of all though - and we're going to paraphrase your missus here if that's okay - we can't let you die without knowing that you are loved - by so many and so much - and by no-one more than us.
Time for one last journey before saying goodbye.
We're going to miss you, raggedy man.