Doctor Who – the man whose face and personality has undergone twelve reincarnations since the show first hit our television screens back in 1963.
As the show returns next week, we wanted to get you in the mood for the brand new series. So we’ve travelled back in time to reflect on the changing faces of the infamous Time Lord, and pulled out some fascinating and little known factoids about each of the actors.
First Doctor – William Hartnell
Played the doctor for four series, 134 episodes
Did you know? Hartnell was the first original Doctor Who but due to poor health was unable to continue playing the Doctor. This was where the idea of regeneration came from when he had to be replaced by a younger actor.
Key Doctor Who Moment: During a time when the show was being quite experimental, Hartnell spoke directly to the audience during a Christmas episode to wish them a ‘Happy Christmas’.
Second Doctor – Patrick Troughton
Played the doctor for 3 series, 119 episodes
Did you know? He had worked with all of the other Doctor Who actors during his lifetime except for Tom Baker.
Key Doctor Who Moment: One of the funniest moments has to be when Troughton took on the foam spores in The Seeds of Death which saw him escape a cyber attack. When presented with dangerous situations, he was able to come out with some genius, comedy gold!
Third Doctor – Jon Pertwee
Played the doctor for 5 series, 128 episodes
Did you know? Jon Pertwee stated that his favourite episode that he appeared in was The Daemons episode in 1971.
Key Doctor Who Moment: During the episode, Inferno, when Pertwee realises that the world we live in has been threatened and the only way he can save this is through using the help of those who cannot return with him. It’s a really intense moment and without doubt, a classic episode.
Fourth Doctor – Tom Baker
Played the doctor for 7 series, 172 episodes
Did you know? Baker was the tallest actor to take on the role as Doctor Who at 6’3”.
Key Doctor Who Moment: Today, Baker has continued to be voted as one of the best doctors of all time and is still loved by viewers. So when it came to his regeneration scene in Logopolis, tissues were all at the ready to say goodbye to him in one of the most heartrending and dramatic scenes of the series.
Fifth Doctor – Peter Davison
Played the doctor for 3 series, 69 episodes
Did you know? In real life, Davison is the father-in-law to the 10th Doctor, David Tennant.
Key Doctor Who Moment: One classic episode featuring Davison is The Caves of Androzani, which marked his last appearance. It’s a traditional Doctor Who episode that contains the right amount of suspense and humour to give viewers a mixture of emotions.
Sixth Doctor – Colin Baker
Played the doctor for 3 series, 31 episodes
Did you know? Baker claimed it was a dream role to be a Time Lord as he’d been a fan since the first episode!
Key Doctor Who Moment: One of his finest moments was in Mindwarp in which he is accused of meddling in other species affairs, which was unheard of for a Time Lord.
Seventh Doctor – Sylvester McCoy
Played the doctor for 3 series, 42 episodes
Did you know? McCoy, in his first season, tried to make the role of the Doctor his own play really emphasising the comedic elements of the show. However, this was not approved of by script editors on the show, who soon made Dr Who a much darker character. This turned out to suit McCoy, who enjoyed playing the more dramatic role.
Key Doctor Who Moment: He features in Remembrance of the Daleks which shows the struggles of defeating the Daleks. It’s a brilliant, dramatic performance from McCoy.
Eighth Doctor – Paul McGann
Played the doctor for 1 episode
Did you know? He was the only doctor to appear in just one episode.
Key Doctor Who Moment: McGann took on the role of the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in the show in 1996.
Ninth Doctor – Christopher Eccleston
Played the doctor for 1 series, 13 episodes
Did you know? Eccleston’s earliest memory was watching Doctor Who when the role was played by Patrick Troughton in the black and white episodes of the late 1960’s.
Key Doctor Who Moment: In The Doctor Dances, the audience is treated to one of the most dramatic episodes of all time that allows Eccleston’s acting to shine through as a hero.
Tenth Doctor – David Tennant
Played the doctor for 3 series, 47 episodes
Did you know? When Tennant was at school, he wrote an essay on how his greatest aspiration was to fill the role as Doctor Who on TV.
Key Doctor Who Moment: A great piece of television history was created in episode Human Nature/ The Family of Blood which gives the Doctor an understanding of what it’s really like to be human and plays on his desire to trade time travel for an existence that’s simple. It’s very emotional and definitely pulls on the heartstrings!
Eleventh Doctor – Matt Smith
Played the doctor for 3 series, 44 stories
Did you know? Matt Smith is the youngest actor in the shows history to play the Doctor at the age of 26.
Key Doctor Who Moment: Bringing a touch of humour to our screens, Smith relished in the role of the Time Lord. One of his best, and most comical performances happened during The Day of the Doctor which witnesses him encountering David Tennant and things getting ‘heated’.
Twelfth Doctor – Peter Capaldi
Played the doctor for 1 series, 13 episodes (he is the current Doctor)
Did you know? Capaldi began his career in acting due to his love for Doctor Who. He hoped that one day he’d get to appear on the show.
It’s during The Doctor’s Worst Nightmare which shows off Capaldi’s comedy acting skills. When he steps back in time, he meets the handsome Robin Hood. The pair take an instant liking to each other and to make things worse – they end up tied up in a dungeon together!
What number is the War Doctor?
There is still some controversy about an episode of of Doctor Who that aired in 2013 when John Hurt was introduced as ‘The Doctor’, or more precisely ‘The War Doctor’. It left fans questioning the the chronology of the Time Lord and whether or not he qualifies as a ‘Doctor’.
Although Steven Moffat has said that he is ‘does not take the name of the Doctor’, therefore not affecting the chronology – there are some fans that disagree. Do you think that the ‘War Doctor’ is the true ninth doctor? Let us know what you think.
There’s a lot of debate about which Time Lord really was the best. Here at 8 ball we love them all for bringing something new to our screens, but we know everyone still has their firm favourite.
Share with us in the comments who is your favourite Doctor Who and why….