The Doctors - Inside the TARDIS
Inside the TARDIS

The Doctors

The 1st Doctor: William Hartnell

William Hartnell The first Doctor was probably the most different and individual. He was a tired old man, and often let his companions do the physical work whilst he did the thinking. He grumbled a lot, especially when he didn't get his own way, and was often obnoxious. Yet there was something loveable about him. His morals were in the right place, and he was a respectable figure, especially to the younger viewers. The first Doctor was played by William Hartnell. He was chosen by the programme's producer because he was able to be both grumpy and loveable in his acting. Eventually, due to bad health, he decided to leave the show. Doctor Who was far too popular to be scrapped, so the producers came up with the idea of regeneration. This meant the Doctor could change his physical form when he died, and this would allow another actor to take over the role. William Hartnell died in 1975.
< Back to top

The 2nd Doctor: Patrick Troughton

Patrick Troughton The second Doctor was a radically different character than that of the first incarnation. He was younger and far more jovial - a "Cosmic Hobo". He had a bounce in his step and seemed to be driven by nervous energy. He was well known for his panicked exclamations, such as "Oh my word!!!". Despite major differences between the first two incarnations of the Doctor, his strong moral values remained constant. All evil in the Universe had to be fought against, and the Doctor would willingly do this at any cost. The actor to play the second Doctor was Patrick Troughton. Patrick was probably best known as the Doctor, but also appeared in many other productions such as "The Box Of Delights" and "The Six Wives Of Henry VIII". Sadly he passed away in 1987. His character was the template for the type of Doctor that was to follow.
< Back to top

The 3rd Doctor: Jon Pertwee

Jon Pertwee After many years of fleeing the Time Lords, the Doctor was finally caught, and sentenced to exile on Earth. As a part of the sentence, he was regenerated into his third incarnation. The third Doctor was a James Bond from outer space with a frilly shirt. He was a respectable character, with an air of grace and dignity. At the same time, he could also be childish and stubborn. He talked about his past more than most Doctors. He also enjoyed making gadgets, fiddling with machines, and was forever jumping onto motorbikes or into gyrocopters. The third Doctor was played by Jon Pertwee. He was fifty when he took on the role, and had previously starred as a comedian in various radio shows such as "The Navy Lark". He played the Doctor for four years (1970-1974), but eventually decided to move on. Jon Pertwee died in 1996.
< Back to top

The 4th Doctor: Tom Baker

Tom Baker The fourth Doctor was larger than life. He was the first to have a less than sensible costume. Wherever he was in time or space, the Doctor was lost without his big hat, long coat, and woolly scarf. His behaviour was erratic, and he spent a lot of time playing the fool. However, there was another side to this Doctor. At times he could be stone cold serious, and his great knowledge and experience of the Universe was made clear. Tom Baker was the longest running Doctor whilst the show was on-air, and for many fans, he remains their favourite. He was in the role from 1974-1981, and even today the character of the Doctor is stereotyped by Tom's grand hat and scarf look. Eventually, dissatisfaction with how the show was going led him to leave the series.
< Back to top

The 5th Doctor: Peter Davison

Peter Davison After plummeting several hundred feet from a radio telescope, the fourth Doctor regenerated into the fifth Doctor. The fifth Doctor had a bit of trouble with post regenerative trauma, but afterwards emerged as a jolly nice chap. He wore a cricketer's costume with a few modifications. He was more serious than the previous Doctor, but had a very gentle attitude towards his friends. He could get rather tense sometimes, in which case he would pant a lot. The fifth Doctor was played by Peter Davison, who was already well known for his part in "All Creatures Great and Small". He played the role for three years (1981-1984). Davison decided to leave after becoming bored with the part.
< Back to top

The 6th Doctor: Colin Baker

Colin Baker The sixth Doctor was a little crotchety, stubborn and eccentric. He wore an extremely colourful coat, which looked rather silly. Sometimes he could be funny, but often he would get cross for little reason. He could be aggressive and cold, similar to the original persona played by William Hartnell. This unfortunately meant that the sixth Doctor was one of the less popular incarnations with fans. Colin Baker, who played the role, was very intent and excited to play such a well loved hero, and was rightfully upset when he was asked to leave due to unpopularity. He was in the role from 1984-1986. Colin Baker later starred in several Doctor Who audio adventures, giving him the opportunity to develop the character further, which proved popular with fans.
< Back to top

The 7th Doctor: Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester McCoy The seventh Doctor was a bit of comic relief after the previous regeneration. In many ways he was like the second Doctor in his behaviour, only sillier. Although he started off very clownish, as his stories progressed, he became a darker, more mysterious and more interesting character. The part was played by Sylvester McCoy who had comedic and quirky qualities that were very suitable to the role. Despite improvements made in his later episodes, the series was definitely showing signs of wear. By this time, Doctor Who was under a lot of peer pressure from American science fiction shows with big budgets. Sylvester McCoy played the character until the show was cancelled in 1989. He briefly revived the role of the Doctor in the 1996 American Doctor Who telemovie.
< Back to top

The 8th Doctor: Paul McGann

Paul McGann The eighth Doctor was kind, clever, adventurous, funny, irritable, eccentric, and for the first time, he wasn't afraid to show his emotions about his companion. He seemed to have gained an empathy with anyone he met, knowing them better than they knew themselves. However, like all the Doctors, he could be quite serious, and one of the loudest shouters. The eighth Doctor was played by Paul McGann, who was involved in an array of productions before taking over the role from McCoy in the 1996 American Doctor Who telemovie. Sadly, his appearance as the Doctor was limited to the eighty-five minute TV feature for a long time. However, he later continued playing the character in many audio adventures, and briefly reprised the role on screen during the 50th anniversary.
< Back to top

The 9th Doctor: Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston The ninth Doctor was a streetwise Timelord. Sporting a cool leather jacket and cropped hair, this incarnation dropped the foppish and eccentric Edwardian image so popular with his predecessors. However, even with his northern accent (lots of planets have a north), he still retained the wit and charm of previous Doctors - plus some. But this Doctor had a new edge. He suffered a personal tragedy, leaving him feeling lonely and isolated. Because of this, he forged a stronger than usual relationship with his companion Rose. This face of the Doctor was played by Christopher Eccleston who has had a distinguished acting career with previous television roles including "Cracker", "Our Friends in the North" and "The Second Coming". He joined the show because of his good working relationship with writer/producer Russell T Davies, but decided to move on after just one series.
< Back to top

The 10th Doctor: David Tennant

David Tennant Despite his initial disappointment at not being ginger, the tenth Doctor found a new lease of life. Discarding the shell of self pity that enveloped his previous incarnation, this regeneration was outspoken, eccentric, and didn't suffer fools gladly. With the lamb like energy of the second Doctor, coupled with the penetrating stare of the fourth, this Time Lord was kind to his friends and fierce with his enemies - nobody got a second chance. The tenth Doctor was played by David Tennant who was a lifelong fan of the series and wanted to play the Doctor since childhood. After four very successful years in the role, he decided to leave to show and focus on other projects.
< Back to top

The 11th Doctor: Matt Smith

Matt Smith After a fairly traumatic regeneration, the Doctor quickly pulled himself together in time to save the Earth from destruction, again. The eleventh Doctor was passionate, slightly off the wall, but quick witted and as clever as ever. He was an old man in a young man’s body - sporting a not so trendy bow tie and brown jacket, this Doctor looked like he belonged in a 1950s science college. The eleventh Doctor was played by Matt Smith who was the youngest ever actor to play the Doctor. Despite not having watched much Doctor Who before taking on the role, Matt quickly brushed up by watching old episodes. After three successful seasons and two 50th anniversary specials, Matt Smith decided to move on.
< Back to top

The 12th Doctor: Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi After receiving a whole new regeneration cycle from the Time Lords, the Doctor found himself changing form once again. This time he was physically older, a little more irritable, and generally quite aloof. Aware of the faults in his new personality, the Doctor was forced to ask himself: am I a good man?  Fortunately, the answer was still yes, and after settling into his new regeneration, the Doctor became as lovable and yet enigmatically alien as many of his predecessors. The twelfth Doctor was played by Peter Capaldi, who had been fan of the show all his life. As a youngster, Peter always imagined himself playing the Doctor, and so he immediately felt at home when arriving on the TARDIS set. After three successful series, Capaldi decided that it was the right time to leave the show.
< Back to top

The 13th Doctor: Jodie Whittaker

Jodie Whittaker Finding the will to live on, the Doctor regenerated once again. With a new feminine twist to the Time Lord classic, this doctor was passionate, bubbly, kind, but still powerful in the face of her foes. She wasted no time in building a close-knit family of companions who worked side-by-side with the Doctor to fight the dark forces of the universe. The thirteenth Doctor was played by Jodie Whittaker, who was excited by the prospect of being the first actress to take on the role after she was approached by the new Executive Producer Chris Chibnall. After four fruitful years in the role, Jodie decided to move on, and the baton was passed to a familiar face...
< Back to top

The 14th Doctor: David Tennant

David Tennant Emerging from the fireworks of the Thirteenth Doctor's regeneration, the Fourteenth Doctor unexpectedly arrived with a familiar face. The Tenth Doctor had seemingly returned, but with a new twist. Finding himself suddenly thrust back into the life of his former companion Donna Noble, the Doctor faced both the joy of reunion and the agonizing consequence of their history. Reunited once again, they journeyed through a whirlwind of old foes and new threats, unravelling mysteries shrouded in the Doctor's own forgotten past. However, their return was only short lived, before a new Doctor once again emerged from the old. David Tennant and Catherine Tate both jumped at the chance when asked to reprise their roles, albeit for just three 60th anniversary specials, bringing delight to many fans across the world.
< Back to top

The 15th Doctor: Ncuti Gatwa

Ncuti Gatwa Following the Fourteenth Doctor's unorthodox regeneration, the Fifteenth Doctor burst onto the scene like a supernova. Charismatic and flamboyant, and bursting with youthful exuberance, this Doctor embraces both the weight of the Doctor's legacy and the freedom of a brand new start. With his companion Ruby Sunday by his side, he throws himself headfirst into adventures across time and space. What trials and triumphs wait for them down the cosmic road? The Fifteenth Doctor is played by Ncuti Gatwa who was thrilled to take on the role after impressing the show producers with his diverse acting style.
< Back to top

Inside The TARDIS - 2024
This site is unofficial. Click here to visit the official BBC Doctor Who site.