As the UK gets ready for ‘Red Nose Day’ on Friday, Doctor Who fans have been thrilled to see David Tennant appearing in trailers for the charity event.
Back in October, I, like many long-time fans of the show, was delighted to see the return of fan-favourite actor, David Tennant.
The show had admittedly been amidst a downward spiral.
Gone were the days when the Doctor Who Christmas specials were the most viewed show of the festive season.
Gone were the days when Doctor Who felt like must-watch, prime-time television.
Due to the show’s previous history of cancellation, many were fearing the worst.
However, with the return of popular showrunner, Russel T. Davis, life is in this old dog yet.
So, with Red Nose Day hopefully giving us a snippet of the future 60th special, which is fast approaching, here is a list of my personal favourites to hold the keys to the Tardis.
Here is the Merseynewslive ranking of all 13 official Doctors who have appeared in the television show only – not including the War Doctor, Valeyard or the Fugitive Doctor in this list.
Remember, these are just my personal opinions and are in no way fact.
If you disagree please let us know your favourites in the comments below.
13. Colin Baker (The 6th Doctor)
Colin Baker was a victim of a show lacking direction.
Starring in the role from 1984-1986, the show was experiencing a dramatic downfall.
The main problem at the time was that Michael Grade who was the Controller of the BBC in 1984 hated Doctor Who.
There were rumours Grade did not like Baker due to a relationship he may have been having with Baker’s ex-wife, though this was never confirmed.
It was confirmed however Grade did have a dislike for Baker, former Doctor Who Production Assistant Gary Downie confirmed that Grade, “did not want Colin working for the BBC,” in an interview in Doctor Who Magazine #338.
Grade also called Colin Baker “utterly unlikeable; absolutely God-awful in fact!”
However, the main thing that I did not like about Baker was his dark personality.
He had become dark, and violent, at times killing without mercy, which was something viewers of the show were not accustomed to seeing.
Furthermore, his colourful outfit does hurt the eyes.
However, nobody can doubt Baker’s passion for the role, reprising it in a number of ‘Big Finish’ productions.
Baker was unfortunate to be a part of the show when it had lost its direction, which is why he ranks so low on this list.
12. Jodie Whittaker (The 13th Doctor)
This is a shame, I like Jodie, she is a fantastic actor.
She proved that in Broadchurch alone. This is more of a dig into the writing.
Jodie’s era started with so much promise.
She was the first female Doctor, a change that the show had teased for years.
People were invested, in fact, her first episode had the highest overnight viewing figures since 2013.
However, the viewers did not stay.
I personally do not think that was due to Jodie herself, she was hurt by bad writing.
She was partnered with extremely unpopular episodes.
Looking at IMDb, her highest-ranked episode, ‘Flux Chapter Four – Villiage of Angels’ only scored a 7.8.
Her lowest ‘Ophen 55’, scored a poor 4.2.
This demonstrates the steep decline in the quality of the show during her tenure.
The show lacked focus, and this rubbed off on her character.
Though the blame should not be entirely placed on her, and more so on the writing, it cannot be ignored.
11. Jon Pertwee (The 3rd Doctor)
I know, please don’t hurt me, this is only an opinion, and everyone has to be ranked somewhere.
This is just for me, as a child watching back on the classic episodes of the show, I found Pertwee’s to be the most boring.
I agree that characters such as the Master and Brigadier are iconic and have stood the test of time but for me certain aspects of this era of the show lack.
Due to a tight budget the BBC had at the time, the show had written the Doctor was earthbound, and this trend lasted for almost the entirety of Pertwee’s tenure.
The show is about travelling the universe, time and space, and when you cannot do that due to the limitations of the show, it does leave a little to be desired.
As a character though he was great.
Heavily influenced by the ‘James Bond’ series, Pertwee’s Doctor had a love for fancy clothes and action.
Well-spoken, and in a way an extension of Pertwee himself, the 3rd Doctor is a charming and likeable incarnation of the Doctor.
A legacy that will live on is how Pertwee steered the show for five series through extremely turbulent times.
10. William Hartnell (The 1st Doctor)
The original, the first.
I think a lot of people will be disappointed that he is ranked where he is on the list.
However, I grew up on ‘Nu-Who’, and wasn’t born when the phenomenon of Doctor Who first appeared on our television screens.
His character development certainly is up there with some of the strongest in the history of the show.
He was a grumpy old man who was trying to avoid any involvement in people’s troubles during his travels.
He then grew and became the hero we know today, he became warm-hearted and caring.
A special mention to David Bradley, who is the first Doctor in the modern episodes of the show, who is also brilliant.
9. Peter Davidson (The 5th Doctor)
The first Matt Smith if you will, Davidson was only 29 years old when he had to take the Tardis from an incredibly popular actor.
He was a coup for the BBC at the time, a very popular actor, taking the lead in the show that was at the height of its popularity during its original run.
Davidson portrayed the Doctor to have a more vulnerable side.
His Doctor occasionally was indecisive and would introduce traits that other Doctors would revive themselves, notably wearing glasses to look ‘clever’.
An overall strong incarnation of the Doctor.
8. Paul McGann (The 8th Doctor)
McGann would be ranked so much higher if only he appeared more.
The show was cancelled in 1989 until in 1996 when the Doctor Who television movie hit our screens.
The film admittedly had been ‘Americanised’ and had lost a lot of its original flare.
To put it bluntly, it was bad and did not relaunch the show as many had hoped.
Though, what no one can dispute was how natural and perfect McGann was in the role.
He has a passion for it, returning in a mini-episode, as well as the Big Finish audio productions.
I would love a series in the show with McGann, he is still young enough to play the part, and it would be a good break from the status quo.
7. Patrick Troughton (The 2nd Doctor)
Without Troughton, the show simply would not be where it is today.
Troughton had to be good for people to stick around, if the first-ever regeneration did not work, the show would have ultimately been cancelled.
However, it worked, it really worked.
They switched it up completely in the sense of the look, a bold but intelligent move.
Troughton was younger, funnier, and more childlike in the way in which he acted.
He, however, also retained the core essence that was the Doctor; he cared.
By doing this, people still knew that though he looked and acted different, to his core he was still the same person, which made change successful.
It worked, and the show was allowed to become the titan it is today.
6. Peter Capaldi (The 12th Doctor)
I think he is the best pure actor to play the Doctor, but it does not mean his era of the show was the best.
Capaldi was the start of the modern show’s decline in mainstream popularity.
People of the modern show were used to a happy, young Doctor, having the two previous been Matt Smith and David Tennant.
Maybe Capaldi’s older age and harder exterior put people off.
He was more like the First Doctor in the beginning, somewhat brutal and heartless in his approach.
However, like the First Doctor, Capaldi’s Doctor softened, and his relationship with his companion was so pure.
His episodes were a mixed bag, but classics like ‘Heaven Sent’ cement him highly in this list.
5. Christopher Eccleston (The 9th Doctor)
The first Doctor of ‘Nu-who’, Ecclestone was crucial in the success of the revival.
Fresh out of the ‘Time-War’, Ecclestone played a damaged Doctor.
Ecclestone was charming and witty but also had a wicked temper.
His costume was modern, which was an immediate change in the tone and style from ‘Classic-who’.
Another who could have been higher on this list if only we had more of him.
Ecclestone only did one season after the breakdown in his relationship with showrunner Russel T. Davis.
Here’s hoping he can one day put his negative emotions about the show aside and return for a one-off episode.
4. Sylvester McCoy (The 7th Doctor)
Sublime, simply sublime, when the show really was not.
The end of ‘Classic-who’ was upon us, as the BBC were desperate to cancel the classic at any given moment.
McCoy was stupidly good in the role.
He was a whimsical, wise character who quickly becomes more layered, secretive, and manipulative.
These were traits many carried into the modern show.
Cunning in his approach, often testing his companions to their limits, not so dissimilar to Capaldi’s Doctor.
A great Doctor who deserved better.
3. Matt Smith (The 11th Doctor)
Into the top three and he’s the youngest actor to ever take on the role.
Smith had the impossible task of following Tennant, something not dissimilar to Davidson before him – but boy did he do it well.
At his best, Smith nailed an old man in a young body perfectly.
Looking wise beyond his years, Smith was playful and fun, while having a dark side to his character if pushed.
Smith’s era was arguably the most ambitious in terms of serialised television.
His costume was iconic, and the performance was too.
2. Tom Baker (The 4th Doctor)
The last from the classic series and many who grew up on the classic show would probably put him as number one.
I love Tom Baker, everything about him just screams the Doctor.
His outfit, his hair, his voice, his mannerisms and his grin.
He just is the Doctor, the original icon of the show.
Baker was clever, and funny but also possessed a mean streak that you did not want to mess with.
If you ask many people what the Doctor looks like they probably mention a hat and a long scarf.
Baker is just stunning in the role, he is THE doctor from ‘Classic-who’.
1. David Tennant (The 10th Doctor)
I grew up on ‘Nu-who’ so who else was it going to be?
Tennant, like so many others, was my Doctor.
I was a child and he just captured my imagination.
His presence is undeniable, his outfit (that long coat), iconic.
Tennant was the Doctor during an era of the show where it was the biggest thing on Saturday night television.
His love story with Rose was a classic.
His friendship with Donna was so wholesome.
Tennant was THE Doctor of ‘Nu-who’, and many cried when he said ‘I don’t wanna go’.
We didn’t want you to go either, and I do not know if I will be prepared to say goodbye again.