The 10 best Doctors from Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who
Tom Baker, without doubt one of the best Doctors, with a Dalek behind him in Doctor Who

Doctor Who is one of the longest-running science fiction shows in the history of television.

It first started in 1963, with William Hartnell as the first Doctor, and continued until 1989.

After it returned in 2005, it has become a cultural icon and has amassed a large group of dedicated fans.

But who are the top ten Doctors of all time? Here’s our list as chosen by our resident Doctor Who nerds.

1 David Tennant

David Tennant coming out of the TARDIS
David Tennant was a fan favorite as the Tenth Doctor

“Everyone has nightmares; even big scary monsters from under the bed have nightmares.”

David Tennant was the Tenth Doctor (But also Eleventh and Twelfth)* in the regeneration line, and was a part of the series from 2005-2010.

Throughout his space travels, he was accompanied by Rose and Mickey, Martha Jones and Donna Noble.

He battled Daleks, Cybermen, the Weeping Angels and the Master himself.

He grinned his way through almost everything, and had infectious charisma (a common trait amongst Doctors).

Episodes to watch: The Christmas Invasion, The Girl in the Fireplace, and Midnight.

2 Tom Baker

Tom Baker smiling as Doctor Who wearing his red, brown and yellow scarf
Tom Baker wearing his iconic striped scarf

“You may be a doctor. But I’m THE Doctor. The definite article, you might say.”

Tom Baker was memorable as the Fourth Doctor, with his long striped scarf and green fedora.

The Fourth Doctor was known as an adventurer with a gleeful smile that toppled foes like the Sontarans, Zygons and the Black Guardian.

Through his eyes, you are able to witness the birth of the Daleks, and see the Doctor invested as Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords.

Too many Doctor Whovians, Tom Baker is the definitive Doctor of choice.

Episodes to watch: Pyramid of Mars, Genesis of the Daleks, and City of Death.

3 Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston frowning outside the TARDIS
Christopher Eccleston was the doctor for just one season

“Before I go, I just want to tell you; you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So was I!”

Christopher Eccleston’s time as the Ninth Doctor was short (only one season), but he left a mark on many fans.

His position in the Doctor’s reincarnation left him intense and emotional — he was the sole survivor of the Last Great Time War.

But then he met Rose Tyler, and their relationship became unique and spectacular, while saving him from his guilt.

In that short season, Rose and the Doctor saw the end of the world, fought the Daleks, Autons and the Family Slitheen.

Episodes to watch: The Empty Child, Dalek, and the Unquiet Dead.

4 Peter Davison

Peter Davison wearing his cricket-like attire and standing in front of a TARDIS
Peter Davison was the Fifth Doctor, who looked like he was about to play cricket

“You know how it is; you put things off for a day and next thing you know, it’s a hundred years later.”

Peter Davison was reincarnated as the Fifth Doctor between 1981-1984, and was known for being the most human of the Doctors.

Despite his youthful and eccentric ways, Peter Davison nailed the old soul in a young body mentality of the Doctor.

He was known for his “crickety” attire, and for the sprig of celery always pinned to his jacket.

Through his travels, he battled the Silurians, The Master, and The Mara.

Episodes to watch: Snakedance, The Caves of Androzani and Earthshock.

5 Matt Smith

Matt Smith looking down at the camera while standing in front of the TARDIS
Matt Smith gave the Doctor a new twist when he played him in series 5-7

“I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”

Matt Smith followed the infamous David Tennant, and was reincarnated as the Eleventh Doctor.

He was extremely energetic, youthful and somewhat of a mad man.

When he was chosen, many fans thought he looked too young to play the Doctor, but Matt Smith brought a new interpretation to our favorite hero that has never been seen.

He goes up against the Silence, the Daleks, and so many more incredible villians. Did I mention he meets Van Gogh?

Episodes to watch: Amy’s choice, The Doctor’s Wife, and Cold War.

6 Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi in front of the TARDIS and Big Ben
The current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, who came into the role in 2013

“Kidneys! I’ve got new kidneys!”

Peter Capaldi took over the gig from Matt Smith in 2013 and is currently the Twelfth Doctor.

While the Doctor’s time span should have technically ended with Matt Smith, the Twelfth Doctor was given a new regenerative cycle by the Time Lords.

After going up against Zygons, Davros, Daleks, Cybermen and saving the universe, he decided to take a few years off.

While his body is older than it has been in some time, he is more youthful than ever. With the help of Clara, he is learning to be human again.

Episodes to watch: Flatline, Listen, Dark Water/Death in Haeven.

7 Jon Pertwee

Jon Pertwee with a Sea Devil behind him in Doctor Who
Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, who he played for 128 episodes

“A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.”

From 1970-1974, Jon Pertwee reigned as the Third Doctor. This Doctor was sentenced to exile by the Time Lords, during which time he allied himself with a task force dedicated to saving the Earth from extraterrestrial beings.

The Doctor was their Scientific Advisor. He battled against Daleks, Ice Warriors, Silurians, and the Master. He liked expensive cars, like his bright yellow roadster, which he named “Bessie.”

Episodes to watch: Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Daemons, and The Green Death.

8 William Hartnell

William Hartnell as the Doctor in a black and white pic
William Hartnell as the original Doctor, with the series still in black and white

“If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds, and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?”

William Hartnell was the original Doctor. From 1963-1966, Hartnell introduced the world to the TARDIS and all the stories from across the universe.

While he is the oldest in outward appearance out of the Doctors, his spirit for adventure seemed to always land him in trouble.

The Doctor was a fierce opponent, who fought and defeated Daleks, War Machines, and Cybermen.

He proved that the Doctor is fearsome for more than his body.

Episodes to watch: The Aztecs, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, and the War Machines.

9 Sylvester McCoy

Sylvester McCoy among a row of Daleks carrying his umbrella
Sylvester McCoy and his umbrella with a red question-mark handle

“Think about me when you’re living your life one day after another, all in a neat pattern. Think about the homeless traveler and his old police box, his days like crazy paving.”

From 1987-1989, Sylvester McCoy travelled as the Seventh Doctor — sometimes as a clown, sometimes as a being of immense wisdom.

Sometimes both! McCoy started as a bright, buffoon, but matured into a master of manipulation.

You would rarely see him without his umbrella — sporting a red question-mark handle.

Episodes to watch: Remembrance of the Daleks, The Curse of Fenric, and Survival.

10 Paul McGann

Paul McGann coming out of the TARDIS
Paul McGann, who played the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 television movie

“Physician, heal thyself…”

When our previous Doctor died, Paul McGann rose in his place as the Eighth Doctor. Where was he? A morgue.

While the TV series ended with the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann played the Eighth Doctor in the TV Movie, Doctor Who.

After all the time travelling, his mind was a bit worn, and had multiple bouts of amnesia.

This reincarnation was more romantic, and soft-spoken. While he was more laid back, he remained childlike in his excitement for what might happen next.

What to watch: Doctor Who (TV movie), The Chimes of Midnight, The Night of the Doctor.

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