Jodie Whittaker has announced she is stepping down as the 13th Doctor after making history as the first woman to play the part.
Here is a list of the stars who have taken on the role since the show first aired nearly 60 years ago.
– William Hartnell (1963-66)
Despite being initially reluctant to take on a role in a new series aimed at children, Hartnell’s turn as the First Doctor came to define his career.
He described his character as “a cross between the Wizard of Oz and Father Christmas”.
– Patrick Troughton (1966–69)
Troughton was chosen by producer Innes Lloyd because of his extensive experience as a character actor, and Hartnell personally approved his replacement.
– Jon Pertwee (1970–74)
The arrival of Pertwee signalled a change of direction for the programme.
He portrayed the Third Doctor as a dapper and strong-willed figure in contrast to his austere, or shabby predecessors, while many of his episodes saw him stranded on Earth in exile, where he worked as a scientific adviser to the international military group Unit.
– Tom Baker (1974–81)
Baker played the Fourth Doctor for seven consecutive series, making him the longest-serving actor in the part.
Many of the stories from his era are considered classics, including The Ark In Space, Genesis Of The Daleks and The Brain Of Morbius.
For casual observers and lifelong fans alike, Baker is arguably the definitive Doctor.
– Peter Davison (1982–84)
Returning to the eccentricities of Doctor Who’s early series, Davison’s Time Lord was indecisive and boyish in his appearance, with his outfit based on that of an Edwardian cricketer.
– Colin Baker (1984–86)
Arrogant and flamboyant with colourful mismatched clothes, Baker’s Doctor was worlds apart from his predecessors.
– Sylvester McCoy (1987–89)
In his first series, McCoy portrayed the Time Lord with a degree of clown-like humour.
However, his time on the show saw the Doctor develop into a much darker and more manipulative figure than any of his earlier incarnations.
At the end of McCoy’s third series in the title role in 1989, the show was shelved indefinitely by BBC bosses after 26 years.
– Paul McGann (1996)
McGann played the Eighth Doctor in a 1996 television film. It was the first time the Doctor had been seen in a new adventure in nearly seven years – but it also marked the start of a second, near-decade-long hiatus for the programme.
– Sir John Hurt (2013)
The veteran actor appeared in a special 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who in 2013 as the War Doctor, a “forgotten” incarnation of the main character who fought in the Time War of the show’s modern-day backstory.
In a special web episode created ahead of the anniversary special, McGann reprised his role as the Eighth Doctor, who is seen regenerating into a new incarnation, created to take up arms.
– Christopher Eccleston (2005)
Eccleston’s gruff but vulnerable portrayal of the Time Lord lasted only one series but revitalised the franchise after it was relaunched under Russell T Davies.
– David Tennant (2005-2010)
The Scottish actor played the role of the Tenth Doctor for five years, making him one of the longest-serving in the role.
Tennant is son-in-law to Davison, who played the fifth incarnation of the Time Lord between 1981 and 1984.
He met his wife, Georgia, when she appeared as the Doctor’s cloned daughter in the 2008 episode The Doctor’s Daughter.
– Matt Smith (2010-2013)
Smith played the Doctor as youthful and quick-tempered, but with a compassionate and worldly outlook.
– Peter Capaldi (2013-2017)
Capaldi debuted as the Doctor in the 50th anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor, before appearing in the 2013 Christmas special The Time Of The Doctor.
A lifelong fan of the series, he previously played Lobus Caecilius in the 2008 episode The Fires of Pompeii.
– Jodie Whittaker (2017–present)
Whittaker made history as the first woman to fill the role since the show began.
She followed in the footsteps of predecessors including Smith and Capaldi by stepping down after three series at the helm of the Tardis.
– Hammer star Peter Cushing also appeared as the Doctor in two 1960s big-screen adventures, pitting his character against old foes the Daleks.
– Jo Martin appeared as a mysterious, unknown incarnation of the Doctor alongside Whittaker in 2020 – making her the first black person to play the part.