|Main aliases:||Full List of Aliases|
|Place of origin:||Gallifrey|
|First seen in:||An Unearthly Child|
|Appearances:||Full List of Appearances|
|Main actor:||Tom Baker|
|Other televisual actors:||William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Richard Hurndall|
|Incarnations of the Doctor|
|1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 5 • 6 • 7 • 8 • 9 • 10 • 11|
|The Watcher • The Valeyard • Dream Lord|
Though largely a believer in non-violent conflict resolution, he was at times a great warrior. Indeed, some civilisations in the universe translated the word doctor as warrior, (DW: A Good Man Goes to War) whilst others saw him as a compassionate benefactor, worthy of their admiration and compassion. (DW: Last of the Time Lords, The Wedding of River Song)
Numerous good deeds aside, he was indisputably responsible for billions of deaths at his conclusion to the Last Great Time War. (DW: Dalek) He was virtually the only Time Lord survivor of that great conflict with the Daleks, largely because he ended it by obliterating both races. (DW: The End of Time) However, the Daleks kept returning despite his actions. (DW: The Parting of the Ways, Doomsday, Daleks in Manhattan, The Stolen Earth, Victory of the Daleks)
From the latter years of his first incarnation onward, he had a pronounced affinity for Earth and the human race. After departing Gallifrey, he voluntarily chose to spend time on the planet, (DW: An Unearthly Child, BFA: Summer, The Haunting of Thomas Brewster) choosing it as the place of his exile during most of his third incaration, (DW: Spearhead from Space - The Three Doctors) and even owning property in Kent. (DWM: Fellow Travellers, PDA: Verdigris, NA: Warlock, Warchild, The Dying Days, EDA: Mad Dogs and Englishmen and several others) Even before the destruction of Gallifrey, the Doctor spent much more time on Earth than on his homeworld.
- Main article: Aliases of the Doctor
The Doctor's true name remained unknown to all but a very few individuals, such as Samantha Jones and River Song. (EDA: Vanderdeken's Children, DW: Forest of the Dead) His real name was not used by the Time Lords, even in the formal setting of legal trials. (DW: The War Games, The Trial of a Time Lord, The End of Time) The title "Doctor" was not undeserved as he did hold one or more doctorates of some sort, (DW: The Armageddon Factor, The God Complex) had formally studied medicine on at least 19th century Earth, (DW: The Moonbase) and frequently displayed detailed medical knowledge. (DW: The Ark, Frontios, The Empty Child, New Earth, The Time of Angels, The Curse of the Black Spot et al.) At least some versions of his sonic screwdriver could perform medical scans and heal minor wounds. (DW: The Empty Child, The Vampires of Venice, A Good Man Goes to War) He also showed detailed knowledge on how to help someone thrown by an explosion recover. (DW: Remembrance of the Daleks)
Although his first incarnation had claimed not to be a doctor of medicine, (DW: "The Forest of Fear", "Mighty Kublai Khan") by his eleventh incarnation he claimed to hold doctorates in at least medicine and cheesemaking. (DW: The God Complex) According to Pompeiian soothsayers, his name was written in the stars of the Medusa Cascade. (DW: The Fires of Pompeii) Members of an unidentified race of pan-dimensional beings also knew the Doctor's real name at one point. (NSA: The Last Voyage) According to the Master, he chose this name as part of Gallifreyan customs to reflect his constant need to make people better. (DW: The Sound of Drums)
In one account, he had taken the moniker after his first contact with humans. Colonists on the medical/penal colony of Iwa began calling him "Doctor" after his arrival. He failed to correct them. After they left the planet, "the Doctor" simply kept the name he had been given by the humans. (TN: Frayed) River Song believed, however, that the Doctor had influenced the etymology of the noun doctor, and was, in several languages, the original source of the word. (DW: A Good Man Goes to War)
According to Dorium Maldovar and the Silence, the oldest and most dangerous question in the universe was "Doctor Who?" The Doctor's true name was apparently the answer, but his reason for hiding it is unknown. Dorium claimed the Doctor had been running from the question all his life, but why he had to flee from his own name is a mystery. According to the Silence, "Silence must fall when the question is asked", but it is unknown what this meant. (DW: The Wedding of River Song) At some point River Song learned his name, but the Doctor claimed there was only one reason he would ever reveal it. (DW: Forest of the Dead)
When being told that a doctor was required, he often replied with, "I'm not a doctor, I'm the Doctor." [source needed]
- Main article: The Doctor's age
The Doctor's age was a matter of great confusion, largely caused by his own statements. The Second Doctor once gave his age in Earth terms as 450 (DW: The Tomb of the Cybermen). On two separate occasions, the Third Doctor implied that he may have been several thousand years old. (DW: Doctor Who and the Silurians , The Mind of Evil) Immediately after his sixth regeneration, his seventh self claimed to be 953. (DW: Time and the Rani) The Tenth Doctor later claimed to be 903. (DW: Voyage of the Damned) Also, at least prior to leaving Amy and Rory behind, (DW: The God Complex) the Eleventh Doctor maintained an age less than his seventh incarnation. (DW: Flesh and Stone, The Impossible Astronaut)
Romana I once caught him "rounding down" his age, (DW: The Ribos Operation) while the Eighth Doctor once flatly admitted that he didn't necessarily use the same definition of the word year each time he gave his age to someone. (BFA: Orbis)
Before the Time War
The Doctor's familial relations were unclear at best. According to one account, the Doctor was one of the forty-five cousins created by the Loom of the House of Lungbarrow on Gallifrey. When the House disowned him, he said he had "other families." (NA: Lungbarrow) However, the Eighth Doctor once let it be understood that he was born to a human mother. (DW: Doctor Who)
According to some accounts, the Doctor's father was a renegade Time Lord named Ulysses and his mother was a human from the late 19th century, Penelope Gate. (PDA: The Infinity Doctors, EDA: The Gallifrey Chronicles)
The Eighth Doctor told Grace Holloway he had a father. (DW: Doctor Who) The Tenth Doctor told Sally Sparrow he had had several weddings, (DW: Blink) and told Ood Sigma that one of them was to Elizabeth I. (DW: The End of Time, also mentioned in The Beast Below and Amy's Choice) An earlier incarnation had also been wed, (MA: Cold Fusion) probably to Patience. (PDA: The Infinity Doctors) One brother was Irving Braxiatel. (BNA: Tears of the Oracle) The Doctor had, in his own words, been "a dad". (DW: Fear Her) He had a "daughter" of sorts, artificially created from his own DNA. (DW: The Doctor's Daughter) These children were "sons or daughters, or both." (PDA: The Eleventh Tiger)
At one point, the Doctor became the adoptive father of a female Time Lord named Miranda Dawkins, whom his eighth incarnation reared until her mid-teens. (EDA: Father Time) Miranda later gave birth to a daughter, Zezanne, and died while trying to protect the Doctor. (EDA: Sometime Never...)
The Doctor also had a great-grandson named Alex, the son of Susan and David Campbell. (BFA: An Earthly Child) Alex went on several adventures with the Eighth Doctor and backpacked around the Earth with Lucie Miller. (BFA: Lucie Miller) Susan and David also had adopted children, Barbara, Ian and David (EDA: Legacy of the Daleks) — meaning that the Doctor was an adoptive great-grandfather as well as a biological one.
When Dr Constatine said that he used to be a father and a grandfather before the war, the Ninth Doctor said that he was the same, implying all his family had been lost. (DW: The Empty Child) Some may have been exterminated at his own hand at the conclusion of the Time War, (DW: The End of Time) though some had died, or at least gone missing, earlier. (DW: The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Curse of Fenric; BFA: To the Death)
After the Time War
Genetic material from the Doctor in his tenth incarnation was used to create a daughter, Jenny. Although initially spurning her, he soon considered Jenny his daughter and invited her to travel with him in the TARDIS. Before she could join him, however, she was shot. The Doctor believed Jenny to have died, although unknown to him, she underwent a partial regeneration after his departure and survived, at which point she set out on her own life of adventure. (DW: The Doctor's Daughter) Her later whereabouts are unknown.
When the Earth was relocated to the Medusa Cascade, a clone of the Doctor was created; this clone later was exiled by the Doctor to Pete's World. Technically, the clone could be considered a relative of the Doctor's. Also, Sarah Jane Smith referred to the Doctor's companions as his family, saying, "You act like such a lonely man, but you've got the biggest family on Earth!" (DW: Journey's End)
During an encounter with Ood Sigma, the Tenth Doctor claimed to have married 'Good Queen Bess', or Elizabeth I, a decision that didn't end well and led to her declaring him an enemy. (DW: The Shakespeare Code, The End of Time, The Beast Below, The Wedding of River Song) This does not appear to be the Doctor's only marriage, as he remarked to Sally Sparrow about being "rubbish at weddings, especially my own." (DW: Blink) In his eleventh incarnation, the Doctor accidentally became engaged to Marilyn Monroe, and married her the same night in what he later claimed was not a real chapel. (DW: A Christmas Carol)
River Song often hinted that she and the Doctor had a physical relationship somewhere in her past and his future relative to the Eleventh Doctor's encounter with the Silence in Florida. (DW: Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone, The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang, Day of the Moon)
A Tesselecta version of him married her in an alternate timeline shortly before his "death". Later in their individual timelines, they spoke as if they considered themselves husband and wife. (DW: The Wedding of River Song)
The Doctor spoke five billion languages, (DW: The Parting of the Ways) though he was likely assisted by the TARDIS' telepathic translation circuits. His native language was probably Modern Gallifreyan, but he seemed to prefer speaking British English, (DW: The Mind Robber) always with an accent that was similar to accents used in the British Isles. (DW: An Unearthly Child, The Power of the Daleks, Spearhead from Space, Robot, Castrovalva, et al.) This accent changed from incarnation to incarnation. For example, the Doctor's seventh incarnation spoke with an accent similar to one used in Scotland. (DW: Time and the Rani) Both Rose Tyler and Harriet Jones noted the accent of his ninth self sounded like he came from "the north" or was "a northern accent", referring to the north of England. (DW: Rose, World War Three) American Grace Holloway once told a San Franciscan policeman that the Eighth Doctor was "British". (DW: Doctor Who)
He could read and write Old High Gallifreyan, (DW: The Time of Angels) a skill unusual even among Time Lords. (DW: The Five Doctors) He spoke the language of the Judoon, (DW: The Stolen Earth) Delphon (a language "spoken" using only eyebrow movements), (DW: Spearhead from Space) several Chinese languages, (DW: The Mind of Evil, The Talons of Weng-Chiang) Ancient Martian, (DW: The Waters of Mars) Tritovore (DW: Planet of the Dead) and either Celtic or Welsh. (DW: The Fires of Pompeii) He knew at least some Sycoraxic. (DW: The Christmas Invasion) He did not seem to understand French in his second incarnation, (DW: The War Games) but later became fluent in it across several periods of French history. (DW: The Girl in the Fireplace) He also spoke "baby" (DW: A Good Man Goes to War, Closing Time) and "cat". (DW: The Lodger)
Connections with Earth
Although the Doctor visited many worlds, he had the closest affinity for the planet Earth. He displayed immense knowledge of and interest in Earth history. He was either an observer of or an active participant in countless major events in its history. (DW: Marco Polo, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Crusade, The Romans, The Time Meddler, et al.) As noted earlier, he found himself exiled to Earth during his third incarnation, very much against his wishes. In this time he worked with UNIT and later was a good friend to former colleagues such as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sergeant Benton, Mike Yates, Liz Shaw, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan. (DW: Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, The Ark in Space)
He seemed to particularly like Great Britain. When Angus Goodman asked him if he was British, he replied he wasn't, but thanked Gus for the compliment. (DWM: 4-Dimensional Vistas) Soon after his regeneration into his eighth incarnation, he said that he supposed he was British. (DW: Doctor Who) Toward the end of his tenth incarnation, when asked if he "was British or something", the Doctor responded that he was "something". (DW: Dreamland)
His incarnations spoke in accents based upon different regions of the United Kingdom, most notably his seventh incarnation, who had a Scottish accent, and his ninth, whose accent resembled that of the north of England - though he tried to pass it off by claiming "lots of planets have a North!" (DW: Rose) His tenth incarnation once adopted a convincing Scottish accent as part of a disguise, (DW: Tooth and Claw) though he was also known to briefly adopt an American one. (DW: The Christmas Invasion, Dreamland)
The vast majority of the Doctor's known companions were humans hailing from various points in the planet's history, with a strong bias towards the 20th and 21st centuries. (DW: An Unearthly Child, "Bell of Doom", The War Machines, The Wheel in Space, Rose, Dalek, School Reunion, et al.) His ninth and tenth incarnations developed a network of friends and former companions at one point referred to as the Doctor's Secret Army or the Children of Time. Thanks to their knowledge of him, they were able to summon him at a time of desperate need when he was unable to find Earth. This allowed him to arrive to save the day with his companion of the moment, Donna Noble. This threat, Davros' New Dalek Empire, required the combined power of the Doctor and all of the companions and friends of this Secret Army to defeat. Among them were Sarah Jane Smith (who referred to his companions as his family), her computer Mr Smith, her robotic dog K9 and her son Luke Smith; Captain Jack Harkness and his Torchwood team; Harriet Jones (who sacrificed herself to help summon him); Donna Noble, her mother and grandfather, who helped summon the Doctor; Martha Jones, who was given a job at UNIT after she had left the Doctor; Mickey Smith, who had had briefly travelled with him; and Rose Tyler and her mother Jackie, who showed up to help from Pete's World (the parallel world they were living on). Also, a clone of the Doctor was created that played a role in this crisis, but was left on Pete's World with Rose to live out a normal, human life. (DW: School Reunion, Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel, Doomsday, The Stolen Earth / Journey's End, TW: Reset)
The general populace of Earth remained oblivious to the Doctor's ongoing efforts to protect the planet, and were unaware of his existence. There were exceptions to this, however. During the Sycorax invasion, Prime Minister Harriet Jones made a public appeal over the UK airwaves for the Doctor to intervene. (DW: The Christmas Invasion) The Tenth Doctor appeared on international television to light the Olympic flame at the 2012 London Games, though he was never identified. (DW: Fear Her) By the early 21st century, the Doctor had also become something of a cult figure, with at least one group, LINDA, following his exploits, (DW: Love & Monsters, Time Crash) and conspiracy theorists dedicating websites to solving the "Who is the Doctor?" mystery. (DW: Rose, World War Three, et al) At some time after 2059, due to the Doctor altering history, a media website ran a story about "The Mythical Doctor" and his involvement in the Bowie Base One incident on Mars and his rescue of two of its crew members. (DW: The Waters of Mars)
Perhaps the widest knowledge of the Doctor came during the the Year That Never Was, when Martha Jones travelled around Earth, spreading tales of the Doctor and generating a groundswell of faith in him that facilitated the defeat of the Master; this timeline, however, was ultimately negated and forgotten by all but a few individuals. (DW: Last of the Time Lords)
The Doctor established friendships with many well-known humans throughout history, including: William Shakespeare, for whom he transcribed the first folio of Hamlet (DW: City of Death) and shared an adventure; (DW: The Shakespeare Code) Winston Churchill; (DW: Victory of the Daleks) Frank Sinatra; (DW: A Christmas Carol) Vincent Van Gogh; (DW: Vincent and the Doctor) Mary Shelley; (BFA: Mary's Story) and Sir Isaac Newton. (DW: The Pirate Planet) He was married to Queen Elizabeth I (DW: The End of Time) and Marilyn Monroe, and claimed to know the real Santa Claus. (DW: A Christmas Carol)
The Doctor belonged to the Prydonian Chapter, the most important chapter of Time Lord society. (DW: The Deadly Assassin) He had a profound influence on many worlds and was written into their histories (DW: Forest of the Dead); as a result, he was the recipient of many honours including being made a noble of Draconia (DW: Frontier in Space) and a knight of the British Empire. (DW: Tooth and Claw)
Having broken the Time Lords' non-interference policy, in his second incarnation he was put on trial as a renegade. (DW: The War Games) Subsequently, for a time, he acted as agent of the Time Lords' Celestial Intervention Agency before the beginning of his sentence on 20th century Earth. (PDA: Players, World Game) Following his defeat of Omega, which saved Gallifrey, he was granted a pardon and given his freedom. (DW: The Three Doctors)
In his fourth incarnation, as part of a ploy to outwit invaders of Gallifrey, he was a candidate for the position of Lord President of the High Council. (DW: The Invasion of Time) In his fifth incarnation, he was put on trial again for recklessness. (DWM: The Stockbridge Horror) He was later given the title of Lord President by Councillor Flavia, against his wishes. He pretended to accept the office but ran away in his TARDIS. (DW: The Five Doctors) Prior to the Doctor's trial during his sixth incarnation, he was deposed in absentia and put on trial for breaking the non-interference policy and later in the same trial, for genocide. The validity of the trial was called into question when it was discovered it had been orchestrated by an evil future manifestation of the Doctor, the Valeyard, and mooted. (DW: The Trial of a Time Lord)
- For more detailed biographical information see articles for each of the individual incarnations of the Doctor. For information on the Doctor's earliest life, see First Doctor.
The Doctor left Gallifrey and became a hero who fought evil and injustice across the universe in violation of the Time Lords' non-interference policy. (DW: The War Games) Technically, he explored only with the intention of experiencing the wonders of the universe and having fun, but frequently became embroiled in machinations and crises that ended with him defeating the foe and saving the planet he was visiting. He travelled with many companions, beginning with his granddaughter, Susan Foreman, who also came from Gallifrey. (DW: An Unearthly Child, The Sensorites, Gridlock)
Eventually, he was called to account for his crimes against the Time Lords during his second incarnation. His punishment was a forced regeneration, exile to Earth, and the loss of his knowledge of how to control the TARDIS. (DW: The War Games) This knowledge was restored to him after he helped to defeat Omega. (DW: The Three Doctors)
Afterwards, he resumed having adventures with many companions in his following incarnations. He kept the Black Guardian from obtaining the Key to Time, (DW: The Armageddon Factor) achieved the office of Lord President of Gallifrey (DW: The Invasion of Time, The Five Doctors) and was again put on trial in his sixth incarantion for breaking the non-interference policy again. (DW: The Trial of a Time Lord)
The Doctor fought in the Last Great Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks. (DW: Dalek) He ultimately ended the war by obliterating Gallifrey when the Time Lords threatened to destroy the universe. (DW: The End of Time) This caused the extinction of both races, besides the Doctor himself and a few of the Daleks. Gallifrey and the war were sealed in a time-lock, making it impossible to time travel to either. (DW: The Stolen Earth)
- For details on the Last Great Time War and its survivors, see the separate article.
The Doctor's incarnations
Through the power of regeneration, the Doctor's personality and outer form changed greatly over time, although all his incarnations were essentially the same person. He continued to be a heroic figure, fighting the evils of the universe wherever he found them, even if his values and motives were often alien to humankind. The Doctor is known to have had ten regenerations. (DW: The Tenth Planet, The War Games, Planet of the Spiders, Logopolis (TV story), The Caves of Androzani, Time and the Rani, Doctor Who (1996), The Parting of the Ways, The End of Time)
- The First Doctor was an unreadable, guarded figure who was, at first, slow to trust new-comers who learnt of him. This Doctor was often irascible. He made his anger obvious. He was protective of the young women he took on as companions; they reminded him of his granddaughter, Susan. This Doctor was a brilliant, often short-tempered scientist and keen strategist. He also used the signet ring to help get himself through ordeals due to his physical age impeding him. He stole a TARDIS and took his granddaughter with him, joyriding through all space and time, without a clue as to how to drive the thing.
- The Second Doctor, in contrast to his preceding incarnation, was warm and wise. He was as surprised and frightened of alien menaces as those who faced them with him. He had a knack for manipulation and deception. His predecessor would refer to him as a "clown" due to his bumbling nature. He loved tootling on his recorder and carried around a 500-year diary, trying to record his travels, but ended up discarding it. He wore a big fur coat that dwarfed him, tying it closed with twine. A "cosmic hobo," he was forever getting himself in and out of trouble.
- The Third Doctor was a more dashing figure than his predecessors. He was described by his first incarnation as a "dandy". (DW: The Three Doctors) He had a penchant for inventing gadgets and was skilled at martial arts, particularly Venusian aikido. His difficult relationship with the Brigadier softened into a friendship during his exile on Earth, lasting through his future regenerations. He also displayed great affection for his female companions, particularly Jo Grant. He was a gallant action hero who was very protective of his companions.
- The Fourth Doctor was more eccentric than his previous incarnations and was the first to seem "young". Rarely without his very long scarf, he always carried jelly babies in his pockets, using them as bluffs, gifts and distractions - and occasionally snacks. He relied on his considerable charm, luck, and experience to get through bad situations. Although he retained his fondness for Earth, (DW: The Stones of Blood) he ended his regular association with UNIT almost immediately upon his regeneration and only occasionally returned to the planet. However, he had not properly resigned from the position. (DW: Pyramids of Mars) He hated to work and preferred travelling, (DW: Robot) but liked history. He usually travelled with only one companion.
- The Fifth Doctor was fond of cricket and wore a stick of celery on his lapel. After a difficult regeneration, this Doctor displayed energy, compassion and innocence not seen in his predecessors. His character was very human and vulnerable. Like them, he used improvisation as the best way out of a tricky situation. He occasionally wore glasses, even though he didn't need them; (DW: Time Crash) he revealed in his tenth incarnation that he only did so to look clever.
- The Sixth Doctor was a grandiose and eloquent incarnation. He sported a multi-coloured wardrobe that looked like it was designed by Christian Lacroix; it was often commented upon. This Doctor loved a good quote, often making one he deemed appropriate during an adventure. His manic personality and acerbic wit could shade into moral passion, but his lack of care for little things left his companions disgusted. He was also capable of violent action, much more so than his past lives, even seeing logic in murder. (DW: The Two Doctors) Like the Fourth Doctor, he spent most of his travels with a single companion.
- The Seventh Doctor had a voice touched by a Scottish burr. A keen strategist and scientist and especially early in his life, lighthearted, this Doctor was a planner of the highest order. Embracing the complexities of time travel and his ability to manipulate and plan for the future, the Seventh fully embraced his role of Time Lord, even if it risked alienating his companions. (DW: The Curse of Fenric) However, he wished to help heal psychological scars his companions suffered from. (DW: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Ghost Light) He spent most of his later travels with a single companion.
- The Eighth Doctor showed a romantic and sensitive side not displayed by previous Doctors. More morally flexible than his immediate predecessor, the Eighth Doctor suffered from bouts of amnesia, first after his regeneration and again after the first destruction of Gallifrey, following the War with the Enemy. Unlike other Doctors, the Eighth spent his travels crossing between parallel universes and amidst time paradoxes, making his personal time line hard to piece together. Also, unlike the other Doctors, the specific circumstances of the cause of his regeneration remain unknown.
- The Ninth Doctor was a survivor of the Time War. He displayed much of the playfulness of his previous incarnations, but was emotionally and psychologically scarred by the war and his role in it, which sometimes resulted in a detachment that was interpreted by some as cruelty. (DW: The End of the World, Dalek) When asked about his voice and accent, he responded, "Lots of planets have a North". (DW: Rose) He cared deeply for Rose. (DW Dalek) Similar to his first incarnation, this Doctor liked to tease others by pretending not to remember names. (DW: Rose, Aliens of London, Boom Town) He also made dry jokes when facing danger or to diffuse tension.
- The Tenth Doctor had a manic personality with a fondness for human pop culture references. However, his more outgoing personality traits largely existed to hide leftover emotional trauma from the Time War. While he had a bright, playful side, he was frequently ruthless, and at times seemed like an egomaniac coward. (DW: The Christmas Invasion, Tooth and Claw, School Reunion, The Runaway Bride) He continued his previous incarnation's fondness and possibly love for Rose, though he was unable to express his feelings. (DW: Journey's End) He experienced other romances on occasion, including with historic figures Madame de Pompadour (DW: The Girl in the Fireplace) and Queen Elizabeth I. (DW: The End of Time) However, they all ended badly.
- The Eleventh Doctor was smug about his abilities and exhibited a renewed youthful enthusiasm for adventure. He had keen observational skills, an obsession with seeming trivia and a calm personality which would quickly turn frantically angry and ruthless when events demanded. (DW: The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below) He frequently referred to himself as being old, showing his age on more than a few occasions. (DW: Vincent and the Doctor, The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut, Closing Time) He offered to sacrifice himself if it meant saving others on a universal scale.
An interesting aspect of the Doctor's personality was that he occasionally expressed a personal liking for particular incarnations, though this opinion depended on the incarnation making the assessment. The Doctor's tenth incarnation expressed a deep fondness for his fifth incarnation. (DW: Time Crash) The Fifth Doctor was disliked by his immediate successor, (DW: The Twin Dilemma) though this may have been due to his particularly traumatic regeneration. In another instance, the fourth made reference to the third, saying, "Some people liked it, but I prefer this one." (DW: The Brain of Morbius) The Seventh Doctor was also annoyed when he had to work with the Fifth Doctor, seeing him as "not even one of the good ones". The Fifth Doctor was equally disgusted by what he would become. (BFA: The Sirens of Time) Immediately before his regeneration, the Tenth Doctor stated, "I don't want to go", showing he had become overly attached to his current self. Immediately after his tenth regeneration, the Eleventh Doctor remarked upon his new nose, stating that, "I've had worse" - possibly a reference to multiple incarnations, including his third, who was once described as a "long-shanked fellow with a mighty nose". (DW: The End of Time, The Time Warrior)
Due to the unique structure of Time Lord biology the Doctor had the ability to regenerate, to "cheat death". (DW: The Parting of the Ways) A Time Lord was usually limited to twelve regenerations, making the "thirteenth Doctor" the last. (DW: The Deadly Assassin, Doctor Who, Mawdryn Undead ) Later, however, the Eleventh Doctor stated that he could change his appearance five hundred and seven times. (SJA: Death of the Doctor) It is unknown if this is something which had changed or if the Doctor was simply being flippant. The High Council of the Time Lords could influence regenerations, treating them as punishment (DW: The War Games) and reward. (DW: The Five Doctors, Utopia) At least twice, enemies coveted the Doctor's future regenerations and tried to take them for their own. (DW: Mawdryn Undead, Doctor Who)
The exact circumstances surrounding the Doctor's regenerations were known with the exception of his eighth (DW: The Tenth Planet, et. al.). Although vague at time as to how many incarnations he had in his lifetime, an incident during the Doctor's fifth incarnation clarified the point. When asked by the First Doctor what regeneration he was up to, the Fifth Doctor answered, "Fourth," leading his first incarnation to exclaim, "Good heavens, so there are five of me now!" (DW: The Five Doctors) Similarly, while he was Craig Owens' lodger in Aickman Road, the Eleventh Doctor explicitly called himself the eleventh. (DW: The Lodger)
Confusing the issue of remaining regenerations, the Eleventh Doctor died while his remaining regenerations were disabled. He was revived by River Song, who used her own remaining regenerations, leaving it unclear not only if the Doctor was even capable of further regeneration, but also how many he had left. (DW: Let's Kill Hitler)
The effect of regeneration on the Doctor in the time immediately following the event varied from incarnation to incarnation. In some cases the Doctor regained his faculties quickly, erratic behaviour notwithstanding. (DW: The Power of the Daleks, The Twin Dilemma, The Eleventh Hour) On one occasion when the regenerative process was postponed for a long time, he was rendered amnesiac. (DW: Doctor Who) In most cases the Doctor was incapacitated for a period of time before ultimately recovering. (DW: Spearhead from Space, Robot, Castrovalva, Time and the Rani, The Christmas Invasion) There was also a unique case where the Doctor (through will or the nature of his injury) was able to delay regeneration from setting in for an extended period of time - long enough to visit all of his past companions - though the resulting energy release was catastrophic for the TARDIS. (DW: The End of Time; SJA: Death of the Doctor)
Causes of Regeneration
Details were known only about the cause of ten of the Doctor's full regenerative cycles, and a couple of "near-misses".
- The First Doctor was weakened by Mondas as it drained Earth's energy, succumbing to old age. (DW: The Tenth Planet)
- The Second Doctor had regeneration forced upon him by the Time Lords as part of his punishment for breaking the Laws of Time. (DW: The War Games)
- The Third Doctor suffered radiation poisoning from the Great One's web of Metebelis crystals. (DW: Planet of the Spiders)
- The Fourth Doctor plummeted from the Pharos Project radio telescope. (DW: Logopolis)
- The Fifth Doctor suffered exposure to unrefined Spectrox. (DW: The Caves of Androzani)
- The Sixth Doctor was injured in the Rani's crash-landing of his TARDIS (DW: Time and the Rani) after being weakened from his battle with the Lamprey. (PDA: Spiral Scratch)
- The Seventh Doctor was caught in crossfire in a gang war, with subsequent heart surgery ending his life. (DW: Doctor Who)
- The Eighth Doctor regenerated from unknown causes, which ostensibly had to do with the Last Great Time War. (IDW: The Forgotten)
- The Ninth Doctor removed the Time Vortex's energy from Rose Tyler, channelling it back into the heart of the TARDIS. His brief possession very nearly destroyed his cellular structure completely. (DW: The Parting of the Ways)
- The Tenth Doctor very reluctantly absorbed the radiation from a nuclear vault supply to spare Wilfred Mott from it. (DW: The End of Time)
The Third Doctor had a near-regeneration experience when he fell off a building during a struggle. He began to regenerate into the Fourth Doctor. Meanwhile, the Nurazh attempted to take over the Doctor's mind, but unable to cope with two Time Lord minds at the same time, it perished, thus healing the Doctor back to his third incarnation. (ST: The Touch of the Nurazh)
The Tenth Doctor had a brush with regeneration. He began, but did not finish, a genuine regenerative cycle after being shot by a Dalek. He used the regeneration to heal himself, but then siphoned off the rest of the cycle into his extra hand to prevent changing into a new man. (DW: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
In addition, the Eleventh Doctor was seen seemingly beginning regeneration after being shot by the astronaut, before it was interrupted with another shot, killing him. (DW: The Impossible Astronaut) In truth, it was actually the Teselecta impersonating him and simulating regeneration, with the real, miniaturized Doctor inside. (DW: The Wedding of River Song) The Eleventh Doctor also nearly died while his remaining regenerations were disabled. He was revived by River Song, who used her own remaining regenerations, leaving it unclear not only if the Doctor was even capable of further regeneration, but also how many he had left. (DW: Let's Kill Hitler)
Behind the scenes
- For a further in-universe reference of the Doctor's name, please see the "Doctor Who?" running joke.
The use of the name "Doctor Who" when referring to the Doctor is disapproved of by most fans. Despite this, the ending credits for the series gave his name as "Doctor Who" or "Dr. Who", from 1963 until 1980, when new producer John Nathan-Turner changed this policy, making his name in the end credits "the Doctor". This remained in place through the end of the original series in 1989. Executive Producer Russell T Davies used "Doctor Who" when the series returned in 2005, but Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant asked to change it back to "the Doctor" beginning in 2006. This tradition has continued into the Matt Smith era.
Throughout the franchise's history it has been common for media and cast members to refer to the character as "Dr. Who".
In the series, only one character, WOTAN in 1966's The War Machines, has ever directly referred to him by this name. In the 2005 episode Rose, a website called "Who is Doctor Who?" is introduced, though the name is presented as a question put forward by a conspiracy theorist and no one actually uses the name in dialogue. A line of dialogue written for DW: The Empty Child, but cut, would have had the Doctor himself use the name as part of a joke involving Star Trek (after being hailed as Mr. Spock by Rose, the Doctor was to have muttered, "I'd rather be Dr Who than Star Trek").
Other media, 1960s and early 1970s Doctor Who annuals, comics and Target Books (most notably the Doctor Who and the Zarbi, not technically a Target Books novelization, but reprinted by them) have called the Doctor "Doctor Who". Even then, dialogue between characters usually referred to him as "the Doctor".
As of April 2012[update], every actor to portray the Doctor has been male, white, and born in the United Kingdom. Despite the fact that the Doctor is not a native of Britain, or of Earth for that matter, every actor to play him so far has had a British accent, much in the way most aliens in the Star Trek franchise tend to speak with an American accent. The type of English accent has varied from one incarnation to the next. The earliest incarnations used RP, whereas more recent incarnations have had Estuary accents. The Ninth Doctor was unique in that he had a Northern accent, causing Rose to ask why an alien would have a Northern accent, to which he replied, "Lots of planets have a north." (DW: Rose) At least one black actor (Paterson Joseph) was considered a leading contender for the role of the Eleventh Doctor. [source needed] Actors from the United States and Canada (in one case Australia) have been rumored as contenders for the role over the years. Actors considered for the role have varied widely in age, from their twenties to sixties. To date the oldest actor to be cast as the Doctor has been William Hartnell, who was 55; the youngest has been Matt Smith, who was 26 when cast. In 2012, Tom Baker was 78 after his appearance in Big Finish Productions' Fourth Doctor Adventures audio dramas was released, making him the oldest actor to play the part in an officially licensed capacity. Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, all in their fifties or sixties, also continue to portray the Doctor in licensed audio dramas produced by Big Finish, with McGann also appearing in audio dramas produced by Big Finish and BBC Radio for broadcast on BBC7 radio. In the 2000s and 2010s, Tom Baker also portrayed the Doctor in AudioGO's Hornets' Nest, Demon Quest and Serpent Crest audio dramas.
Although the character is portrayed as white, there have been black actors who were considered for the role. Among them included comedian Eddie Murphy back in 1996, David Harewood, Charles Venn, Paterson Joseph and Robbie Gee. Colin Salmon was a strong contender to play the Eleventh Doctor.[source needed]
Like the Pied Piper, the Doctor shares a similarity to two Stephen King characters: Pennywise the clown and Christine the 1958 Plymouth Fury from King's novel Christine . They share the power of regeneration, but the Doctor merely changes a body whereas Pennywise and Christine heal themselves.
There have been several characters outside the confines of the DWU which have been broadly modeled on general aspects of the Doctor. Such "pastiches" are examined in greater detail elsewhere.