Travel back in time with the 50th anniversary episode of Dr. Who, and check out the changing faces of the Doctors over the years

By Alex Heigl
Updated November 24, 2013 11:30 PM
Credit: BBC/AP

The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, “The Day of the Doctor,” aired on Saturday.

The show’s mythology explains that the Doctor has the power to regenerate himself, hence his habit of appearing as a new person periodically. Journey with us down memory lane – or perhaps to a different dimension – as we look back at every actor who’s stepped inside the TARDIS throughout the show’s tenure.


First Doctor: William Hartnell, 1963-1966

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) later refers to the First as “the grumpy one.” The Doctor was also played by Peter Cushing, of Hammer horror film fame, in two films around this time.

Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton, 1966-1969

The Second Doctor’s catchphrases included, “Oh my giddy aunt!” and “When I say run, run!”

Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee, 1970-1974

The Third Doctor’s velvet smoking jackets, cloaks, bow ties, cravats, and leather gloves earned him the nickname “The Dandy Doctor.”

Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker, 1974-1981

The Fourth Doctor’s absurdly-long scarf originated from the show’s costume designer James Acheson asking a friend to create a scarf. This pal provided her with “large quantities” of various colors of wool, and she used all of them.

Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison, 1981-1984

The Fifth Doctor is dressed in a “variation of an Edwardian cricketer’s kit,” and wears a celery stalk on his left lapel, calling it “an excellent restorative from where I come from.”

Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker, 1984-1986

The Sixth Doctor was a noted cat aficionado, and he was rarely seen without a cat-shaped brooch or pin on his garish patchwork coat.

Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy, 1987-1989, 1996

“The Seventh Doctor is not well-liked by his predecessors or successors,” a feeling which is apparently mutual, given that the Seventh called the Fifth, “bland, and not even one of the good ones.”

Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann, 1996

The Eight Doctor broke a long-standing taboo against romantic involvement with his companions when he kissed Grace Holloway (played by Daphne Ashbrook), which sharply divided fan opinion.

Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston, 2005

Eccleston’s run as the Ninth Doctor was largely praised; readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Eccleston’s Doctor as the third most popular Doctor, behind Tom Baker and David Tennant.

Tenth Doctor: David Tennant, 2005-2010

Tennant has been voted the “Best Doctor” by a wide variety of publications and fan sites, supplanting prior favorite Tom Baker.

Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith 2010-2013

At 26, Matt Smith was the youngest actor cast to play the Doctor. His successor, Peter Capaldi, is the oldest since Hartnell, at 55.