With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who just a few hours away for those in the UK and a new Doctor reaching the screens, it is worth going through the 12 faces (11 regenerations). These faces are those considered canon by the show creators. It doesn’t include Peter Cushing’s portrayal from the 1965 film.
William Hartnell: The First Doctor
Hartnell played the first ever Doctor when the TV show premiered in 1963. He had a gentleman style to the role of The Doctor and brought a professor look with it. As the first Doctor to face the Darleks in the second ever episode, it set precedent for the future. It was while Hartnell was The Doctor that the movies with Cushing were made and aired.
Peter Troughton: The Second Doctor
When Hartnell decided it was time to leave the show, the creators did something never done before. They brought on a new actor to play the role and created a storyline around it. Troughton became the second person to play the now-iconic role. He had a scruffier appearance than his predecessor and he acted like a bumbling fool. Not many of Troughton’s episodes are still around after the BBC chose to wipe them to create extra space on their discs.
Jon Pertwee: The Third Doctor
The 1970s saw a change of Doctor again and this time Pertwee took the role. He changed the dress style to something more of the era and he was a man who enjoyed the action. During the four years that Pertwee was on the show, The Doctor was exiled to Earth but still protected it. The planet has been his second home since then.
Tom Baker: The Fourth and Longest Running Doctor
Baker is considered to be one of the best Doctors to grace the screens—David Tennant’s portrayal is considered by many as the second best. He gave The Doctor the personality of fun loving and often handed out Jelly Babies throughout the episodes. This actor has been the longest running Doctor since the show began 50 years ago; he lasted for seven years.
Peter Davidson: The Fifth Doctor
Before 1982, Davidson was known for his role in All Creatures Great and Small, but he took on the fabulous role of The Doctor. Wearing a cricket jumper and keeping an Edwardian style, he was the most British out of all the doctors before him.
Colin Baker: The Sixth Doctor
The middle point of the 12 faces of Doctor Who and it is Colin Baker. He came in with a crazy dress sense but his acting style didn’t impress the viewers. After just two years, he was sacked from the show after the network chief decided it was the best decision to save the show.
Sylvester McCoy: The Seventh Doctor
McCoy was already known for entertaining and his eccentric style, so he was a great choice for this fun role. He did give the role a dark twist and the show hit its highest point since it began. However, the 16 year run had been enough. Audiences and writers were bored with the show and 1989 saw the last episode until the movie in 1996.
Paul McGann: The Eight and Movie Doctor
In 1996, it was decided that there would be an attempt at bringing back Doctor Who. A new Doctor was needed and that opportunity fell to McGann. The movie lost out to an episode of Rosanne at the time and the network decided it wasn’t worth bringing back.
Christopher Eccleston: The Ninth and Shortest Running Doctor
Jump forward nine years and the network decided they could do much more with Doctor Who. It was time to bring it back for a new audience but had to appeal to the original viewers at the same time. Eccleston was the choice but he only stuck with the show for a year. He came in with a black leather jacket and thick northern accent—every planet has a north!
David Tennant: The Tenth Doctor
Extremely popular with the viewers, Tennant’s appearance means that Eccleston’s is often forgotten about. Tennant came in with his crazy personality and really made the character his own. He changed the look completely for The Doctor, giving him a suit with trainers.
Matt Smith: The Eleventh Doctor
Smith had some big shoes to fill when he came onto the show in 2010. It seemed to take a while for him to get into his stride too; at first being too much like Tennant. Eventually, he found the perfect personality for the character and continued to help the show rise in fame. In 2012, he announced that he would be stepping down as The Doctor after the 50th anniversary special. It led to the announcement of the twelfth Doctor.
Peter Capaldi: The Newest Doctor
Capaldi as the new face of Doctor Who was announced in the summer of 2013. The 50th anniversary special will be his first appearance and it will be interesting to see what he does with the character. He is the same age as Hartnell was when appearing in the first episode, making them both join oldest Doctors.
Fans will remember that the end of the last season saw John Hurt as The Doctor. There has been very little explanation of how he fits into the Doctor Who timeline, except that he is not one of the 12 faces of The Doctor. Fans are anticipating the new episode to see who he will be and how he will fit in. The 50th anniversary airs on the BBC in the United Kingdom at 7:50pm.
By Alexandria Ingham