(An informative guide on the eleven Doctors, produced for my Professional Writing course.)
First Doctor (1963- 66.)
Actor: William Hartnell.
First full appearance: An Unearthly Child.
Last regular appearance: The Tenth Planet.
TV Companions: Susan; Ian Chesterton; Barbara Wright; Vicki Pallister; Steven Taylor; Katarina; Dodo Chaplet; Polly Wright; Ben Jackson.
In 1963, two schoolteachers, Ian and Barbara, followed their mysterious student, Susan to a junkyard, where they met her grandfather, the irritable Doctor, who – against their wills – whisked them away through time and space, firstly to 100,000BC then to the planet Skaro, where they encountered the Daleks. The first Doctor seemed bad-tempered and churlish at the thought of travelling with the humans, but soon warmed to his companions. Despite his frail appearance, the Doctor was strong and wilful, confronting the Zarbi , Cybermen, and fellow Time Lords, the Meddling Monk and Celestial Toymaker. He collapsed in the TARDIS, in front of then-companions, Polly and Ben, and regenerated, his body giving in to old age.
Second Doctor (1966- 69.)
Actor: Patrick Troughton.
First full appearance: Power of the Daleks.
Last regular appearance: The War Games.
TV Companions: Polly Wright; Ben Jackson; Jamie McCrimmon; Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart; Victoria Waterfield; Zoe Heriot.
Behind his childish exterior, the second Doctor was dark, manipulative and calculating, but had a stronger moral sense than his previous incarnation. After defeating the Daleks, he arrived in Scotland, where he met Jamie McCrimmon, who continued to travel with him until the Doctor was put on trial for altering the course of history by the Time Lords. With his companions sent back to their own time periods, their memories of him wiped, the Doctor faced his peers alone. He was forced to regenerate, and exiled to Earth.
Third Doctor (1970 74.)
Actor: Jon Pertwee.
First full appearance: Spearhead from Space.
Last regular appearance: Planet of the Spiders.
TV Companions: Elizabeth Shaw; Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart; Jo Grant; Sarah Jane Smith.
After defeating the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness, the third Doctor was employed by UNIT as their scientific advisor. This Doctor was often described as a “dandy,” but was also a man-of-action, defeating the Silurians, the Axons, and, most frequently, fellow Time Lord, the Master. After saving his own race from the omnipotent Omega, the Doctor was allowed to travel the universe in his TARDIS once more, but was affected by radiation on Metebelis 3 and regenerated.
Fourth Doctor (1974- 81.)
Actor: Tom Baker.
First full appearance: Robot.
Last regular appearance: Logopolis.
TV Companions: Sarah Jane Smith; Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart; Harry Sullivan; Leela; K9 (Mk 1 and 2); Romana (1 and 2); Adric; Nyssa; Tegan Jovanka.
Memorable for his long scarf, big teeth, curls, eccentricity, and love of jelly babies, the fourth Doctor was sent by the Time Lords to stop the creation of the Daleks, but was forced to question whether he had the right to wipe out an entire race. His unpredictability proved useful when confronting Zygons, the Mandragora Helix, and Sontarans, and locating the six segments of the universe-shaping Key to Time. After confronting the Master and saving the universe, the Doctor fell from the Pharos Project control tower and regenerated.
Fifth Doctor (1982- 84.)
Actor: Peter Davison.
First full appearance: Castrovalva.
Last regular appearance: The Caves of Androvani.
TV Companions: Tegan Jovanka; Adric; Nyssa; Vislor Turlough; Kamelion; Peri Brown.
Most notable for wearing a stick of celery on an Edwardian cricket uniform, the fifth Doctor’s youthful charm and sensitivity hid a pained heroism as the man who abhors violence realised the weight of his actions after his companion, Adric, sacrificed himself in order to defeat the Cybermen. Mouthy Australian companion, Tegan, also left the TARDIS after witnessing a group of humans being massacred by the Daleks. On the planet Androvani Minor, the Doctor and companion, Peri were poisoned, and, with only one antidote, he sacrificed his life, and regenerated.
Sixth Doctor (1984- 86.)
Actor: Colin Baker.
First full appearance: The Twin Dilemma.
Last regular appearance: The Trial of a Time Lord.
TV Companions: Peri Brown; Melanie Bush.
Loud and argumentative, the sixth Doctor was confident of his abilities, battling Daleks, Cybermen, and peer, the Rani. He also encountered his second incarnation in Spain when confronting the Sontarans. Though he may have seemed brash and egotistical, this Doctor was witty and compassionate, freeing the oppressed and standing up for what was right. A further attack by the Rani forced him to regenerate.
Seventh Doctor (197- 89.)
Actor: Sylvester McCoy.
First full appearance: Time and the Rani.
Last regular appearance: Survival/ Doctor Who: the TV Movie.
TV Companions: Melanie Bush; Ace.
The seventh Doctor hid great master plans behind his mysterious, comical exterior, manipulating both complete strangers and his companions in accordance with ‘the bigger picture.’ He distanced himself from violence, and encouraged his companion, Ace, to question everything, while slowly feeding her clues. After a forced landing, the Doctor was caught in the crossfire between two gangs in 1999 San Francisco, resulting in his regeneration.
Eighth Doctor (1996.)
Actor: Paul McGann.
First full appearance: Doctor Who: the TV Movie.
Last regular appearance: Doctor Who: the TV Movie.
TV Companions: Grace Holloway.
The eighth Doctor encouraged all those around him to make the best of life, occasionally hinting towards their futures. This Doctor was youthful and full of energy and enthusiasm, despite having to save the universe from the Master, who opened up the heart of his TARDIS, and threatened to suck the whole of existence into it. He was prone to amnesia and improvised more than his previous counter-part.
Ninth Doctor (2005.)
Actor: Christopher Eccleston.
First full appearance: Rose.
Last regular appearance: The Parting of the Ways.
TV Companions: Rose Tyler; Adam Mitchell; Captain Jack Harkness.
Ravaged by war, the ninth Doctor was a very dark man when he met Rose Tyler in department store, Henriks. She slowly reminded him of all the good in the universe, despite battles with Slitheen, Autons, and nanogenes that wanted to ‘cure’ the world. He finally sacrificed his life by absorbing the Time Vortex from Rose when she defeated the Daleks once more, forcing him to regenerate.
Tenth Doctor (2005- 10.)
Actor: David Tennant.
First full appearance: The Christmas Invasion.
Last regular appearance: The End of Time.
TV Companions: Rose Tyler; Sarah Jane Smith; K9 (Mk 3); Mickey Smith; Donna Noble; Martha Jones; Captain Jack Harkness; Astrid Perth; Jackson Lake; Rosita Farisi; Lady Christina de Souza; Adelaide Brooke; Wilfred Mott.
This Doctor was – seemingly – more cheerful and outgoing than his former incarnation; talkative and cheeky, hiding a darker core, as he showed little mercy to those who persisted in their sinister endeavours. After defeating Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Krillitane, and Vashta Nerada, the Doctor was forced to battle his own people, sending his home planet, Gallifrey, back into the Time War. He saved the life of his companion, Wilfred Mott, by absorbing deadly radiation, and succumbed to the regeneration process.
Eleventh Doctor (2010- .)
Actor: Matt Smith.
First full appearance: The Eleventh Hour.
Last regular appearance: N/A.
TV Companions: Amy Pond; Rory Williams.
Crashing into the garden of young Amelia Pond, the eleventh Doctor is lively and questioning, with confidence in his abilities and those around him. After saving the world from Prisoner Zero and the Atraxi, the Doctor rushes an older Amelia – now Amy – into space, encountering Daleks, Weeping Angels, Vampires, Cybermen and Silurians.