List of actors who have played the Doctor

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Since the beginning of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who in 1963, many actors have played the title character of the Doctor on television and in various BBC-licensed spin-offs on television, stage, radio, film, audio plays and webcasts. The character's ability to periodically regenerate his appearance and personality has facilitated the ability of new actors to take over the role – in both official and unofficial productions – while in most cases maintaining continuity with the television series. However, as noted below, some actors have played versions of the Doctor that depart from the canon.

This list does not include stand-ins, stunt men, most actors featured in sketch comedies and send-ups, or Doctors who have appeared in fan films or amateur stage shows and audios. The incumbent is Peter Capaldi, who succeeded Matt Smith in the role at the conclusion of the 2013 Christmas special, "The Time of the Doctor".[1][2]


Series leads[edit]

TenureFirst regular appearanceLast regular appearance
William Hartnell
(First Doctor)
23 November 1963 – 29 October 1966An Unearthly Child
Episode 1
The Tenth Planet
Episode 4

William Hartnell also played the Doctor in An Unearthly Child, also known as 'The Pilot Episode'. This was the first attempt at the first episode of the original series, filmed in September 1963, and first released on The Hartnell Years VHS in 1990.

Other appearances:

Patrick Troughton
(Second Doctor)
29 October 1966 – 21 June 1969The Tenth Planet
Episode 4
The War Games
Episode 10

Other appearances:

Jon Pertwee
(Third Doctor)
3 January 1970 – 8 June 1974Spearhead from Space
Episode 1
Planet of the Spiders
Part Six

Other appearances:

Tom Baker
(Fourth Doctor)
8 June 1974 – 21 March 1981Planet of the Spiders
Part Six
Part Four

Tom Baker appeared as the Curator in The Day of the Doctor. It was implied that he was a future incarnation of the Doctor revisiting "a few of the old favourites" of his past faces, and who had retired from adventuring and was now the curator of the National Gallery in London.[4]

Other appearances:

Peter Davison
(Fifth Doctor)
21 March 1981 – 16 March 1984Logopolis
Part Four
The Caves of Androzani
Part Four

Other appearances:

Colin Baker
(Sixth Doctor)
16 March 1984 – 6 December 1986The Caves of Androzani
Part Four
The Ultimate Foe
Part Two

Other appearances:

Sylvester McCoy
(Seventh Doctor)
7 September 1987 – 6 December 1989
27 May 1996
Time and the Rani
Part One
Doctor Who

Sylvester McCoy also briefly played the Sixth Doctor in Time and the Rani, during the regeneration scene, wearing a curly blond wig.

Other appearances:

Paul McGann
(Eighth Doctor)
27 May 1996Doctor Who

Other appearances:

Christopher Eccleston
(Ninth Doctor)
26 March – 18 June 2005"Rose""The Parting of the Ways"

Other appearances:

David Tennant
(Tenth Doctor)
18 June 2005 – 1 January 2010"The Parting of the Ways"The End of Time
Part Two

David Tennant also played the Doctor's half-human clone in "Journey's End" – 5 July 2008

Other appearances:

Matt Smith
(Eleventh Doctor)
1 January 2010 – 25 December 2013The End of Time
Part Two
"The Time of the Doctor"

Other appearances:

Peter Capaldi
(Twelfth Doctor)
25 December 2013 – present"The Time of the Doctor"

Other appearances:


Adrian GibbsTelevisionLogopolis28 February – 21 March 1981The Watcher (Nyssa comments, "He was the Doctor all the time.")
Castrovalva4 January 1982
Richard HurndallTelevisionThe Five Doctors23 November 1983Hurndall replaced William Hartnell, who had died in 1975, as the First Doctor for the show's 20th anniversary special.
Michael JaystonTelevisionThe Trial of a Time Lord6 September – 6 December 1986The Valeyard (an evil version of the Doctor, existing somewhere between his twelfth and final incarnations).
Geoffrey HughesTelevisionThe Ultimate Foe29 November – 6 December 1986Mr Popplewick (a disguise used by The Valeyard)
Toby JonesTelevision"Amy's Choice"15 May 2010The Dream Lord
John GuilorTelevisionPlanet of Giants DVD20 August 2012The First Doctor's re-dubbed voice work in the reconstruction of the original 3rd and 4th episodes
"The Day of the Doctor"23 November 2013The First Doctor's vocal cameo.
John HurtTelevision / Webcast"The Name of the Doctor"
"The Night of the Doctor"
"The Day of the Doctor"
18 May 2013 / 23 November 2013The Doctor's incarnation known as the War Doctor,[20] whose actions toward the end of the Time War were so drastic that he deemed himself unworthy of the name "Doctor".


Peter CushingFilmDr. Who and the Daleks23 August 1965Dr. Who
Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD5 August 1966

BBC parodies[edit]

Jim BroadbentTelevisionVictoria Wood As Seen On TV18 December 1987The Doctor (spoof version)
Rowan AtkinsonTelevisionThe Curse of Fatal Death12 March 1999Alternative Ninth Doctor
Richard E. GrantTelevisionThe Curse of Fatal Death12 March 1999Alternative Tenth Doctor
Jim BroadbentTelevisionThe Curse of Fatal Death12 March 1999Alternative Eleventh Doctor
Hugh GrantTelevisionThe Curse of Fatal Death12 March 1999Alternative Twelfth Doctor
Joanna LumleyTelevisionThe Curse of Fatal Death12 March 1999Alternative Thirteenth Doctor[Note 3]
Mark GatissTelevisionThe Web of Caves13 November 1999The Doctor (spoof version)
Jon CulshawRadioDead Ringers (series of sketches)2000-2007Fourth Doctor (spoof version)
Jon CulshawTelevisionDead Ringers (series of sketches)2002-2007Fourth Doctor (spoof version)


Trevor MartinStageThe Seven Keys to Doomsday16 December 1974 – 7 January 1975Alternative Fourth Doctor (shown on stage to be regenerated from the Third Doctor)[Note 4]
Michael SagarStageThe Seven Keys to Doomsday24 November – 8 December 1984The Doctor (alternate version, possibly Fourth)[Note 5][21]
David BanksStageDoctor Who - The Ultimate Adventure29 April 1989The Doctor (understudy for Jon Pertwee; performed as the Doctor for two performances when Pertwee fell ill)
Nick ScovellStageThe Planet of StormsOctober 1996The Doctor[22][Note 6]
The Web of FearJune 2000The Second Doctor[23]
Fury From the Deep27–30 March 2002
Evil of the Daleks25–28 October 2006
The Dalek Masterplan24–27 October 2007The First Doctor[24]
Nicholas BriggsStageThe Dalek Masterplan24–27 October 2007The Doctor (regenerated from Nick Scovell's Doctor)


Michael JaystonAudioHe Jests at Scars...September 2003The Valeyard (alternate reality version)
Trial of the ValeyardDecember 2013The Valeyard
Geoffrey BayldonAudioAuld MortalityMay 2003Alternative Doctor (possibly first)
A Storm of AngelsJanuary 2005
David WarnerAudioSympathy for the DevilJune 2003Alternative Doctor (possibly third)
Masters of WarDecember 2008
David CollingsAudioFull Fathom FiveAugust 2003Alternative Doctor
Ian BrookerAudioFull Fathom FiveAugust 2003Alternative Doctor (uncredited)
Arabella WeirAudioExileSeptember 2003Alternative Doctor (possibly third)
Nicholas BriggsAudioExileSeptember 2003The previous incarnation of Arabella Weir's Doctor (possibly second).[Note 7]
AudioThe Seven Keys to Doomsday23 October 2008The Third Doctor
Jon CulshawAudioThe KingmakerApril 2006The Fourth Doctor[Note 8]
Trevor MartinAudioThe Seven Keys to Doomsday23 October 2008Alternative Fourth Doctor
David TroughtonAudioSerpent Crest: The Hexford Invasion/Survivors in SpaceDecember 2011Clone of the Second Doctor
Terry MolloyAudioThe Curse of DavrosJanuary 2012The Sixth Doctor in the body of Davros
Damian LynchAudioGhost in the MachineOctober 2013The Third Doctor
Katy ManningThe Third Doctor in Jo's body
William RussellAudioThe Light at the End23 October 2013The First Doctor
Frazer HinesAudioThe Light at the End23 October 2013The Second Doctor
Tim TreloarAudioThe Light at the End23 October 2013The Third Doctor
James AmeyAudioOne Fine Time Lord15 November 2013The First Doctor


Richard E. GrantWebcastScream of the Shalka13 November – 18 December 2003A previously official Ninth Doctor prior to the show's 2005 revival

Doubles for the Doctor[edit]

Brian ProudfootTelevisionThe Reign of Terror (Episode 2, titled "Guests of Madame Guillotine")15 August 1964Played the First Doctor, in the first outdoor filmed sequence of the Doctor walking towards Paris. He was uncredited.[25]
Edmund WarwickTelevisionThe Dalek Invasion of Earth (Episode 4, titled "The End of Tomorrow")12 December 1964Played the First Doctor, filling in for an injured William Hartnell. He was uncredited.
TelevisionThe Chase (Episode 5, titled "The Death of Doctor Who")19 June 1965Played a robot version of Doctor Who, created by the Daleks.
Albert WardTelevisionThe Celestial Toymaker (Episode 3, titled "The Dancing Floor")16 April 1966William Hartnell was on holiday during episodes two and three. Pre-recordings of his voice were heard in episode two and Albert Ward was a hand double for scenes where the mostly invisible Doctor played the Trilogic Game throughout the story. He was uncredited.
Gordon CraigTelevisionThe Tenth Planet (Episode 3)22 October 1966Played the First Doctor. He was uncredited. William Hartnell did not appear in the third episode. On the Monday before the programme was due to be recorded, he sent a telegram to the production team informing them that he was too ill to work.
Chris JeffriesTelevisionThe Wheel in Space (Episode 2)4 May 1968Played the Second Doctor. Patrick Troughton did not appear in episode 2 as he was on holiday. Chris Jeffries body doubled to substitute for the unconscious Doctor.
Peter DiamondTelevisionThe Enemy of the World (Episode 6)27 January 1968Doubled for either the Second Doctor or Ramón Salamander when both characters were shown on screen. He was uncredited.
Tom LairdTelevisionThe Seeds of Death (Episode 4)15 February 1969Played the Second Doctor. Patrick Troughton does not appear in Episode 4 as he was on holiday when it was being recorded. Tom Laird stands in for him in some shots where the Doctor is seen unconscious on the floor.
Terry WalshTelevisionThe Sontaran Experiment (Episode 2)1 March 1975Stunt double for the Third and Fourth Doctors. Tom Baker had injured his collarbone in The Sontaran Experiment and Terry Walsh plays the Doctor in the fight scene.


  1. ^ This trailer was shown at the end of The Enemy of the World Episode 6, with the Doctor advising younger viewers that the Yeti would be appearing in the next adventure, and would be a little more frightening than their last encounter (The Abominable Snowmen), and if their mummy and daddy were scared to "just get them to hold your hand".
  2. ^ Baker declined to appear in this reunion special, so unbroadcast footage from a never-completed serial, Shada, was incorporated into the storyline.
  3. ^ Lumley is the first woman to play the Doctor on screen in an officially licensed production.
  4. ^ At the beginning of the play Martin acted as Jon Pertwee with his face covered and then regenerated.
  5. ^ Porirua Little Theatre production, directed by Brian Hudson. This New Zealand production had approval from writer Terrance Dicks, the BBC (for the use of the Doctor), and Terry Nation (for the use of the Daleks) and did not include a regeneration sequence
  6. ^ Scovell also played the Doctor in the Bedlam Theatre fan video production, The Millennium Trap in 1997.
  7. ^ Briggs had previously played the Doctor in a series of fan-made audio stories for Audio Visuals, including the original version of Minuet In Hell. He appeared in all but the pilot, in which the Doctor was voiced by Stephen Payne. Brigg's Audio Visuals Doctor was the inspiration for a future incarnation of the Doctor that appeared with the Seventh Doctor and Ace, in the Doctor Who Magazine comic adventure “Party Animals” in issue 173. Brigg’s future Doctor made a reappearance in the fourth part of the DWM comic “The Final Chapter” (issue 265), when the Eighth Doctor regenerates into him. This “Ninth Doctor” was revealed to be Shayde acting undercover for the Eighth Doctor in the next story “Wormwood” (DWM issues 266–271).
  8. ^ Culshaw also impersonated the Fourth Doctor, and currently does Tenth Doctor impressions, in the radio and television series Dead Ringers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tim Masters (1 June 2013). "Matt Smith to leave Doctor Who at the end of year". BBC News Online. 
  2. ^ "Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi revealed as 12th Doctor". BBC News Online. 4 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Fourth Dimension: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Doctor Who: Tom Baker Returns in 50th Special". 23 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  5. ^ “” (19 December 2008). "Tom Baker Doctor Who 1979 New season advert". YouTube. Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Howe's Transcendental Toybox: The Unauthorised Guide to "Doctor Who" Collectibles by David J. Howe, Telos Publishing, 2003
  7. ^ "Doctor Who: The Night Of The Doctor Schedule Released For BBC Red Button". Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Doctor Who News Page: First "Proper" Trailer Airs, plus Screen Grabs". 15 March 2005. Retrieved 23 June 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "The Doctor Who News Page: New Trailer Debuts". 3 April 2006. Retrieved 23 June 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Tennant & Piper are back for the 50th". Blogtor Who. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "P.S. What Happened to Brian and the Ponds?". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  12. ^ British Broadcasting Corporation (11 December 2012). "'It's Showtime!' with Rob Brydon - Episode Two - BBC One Christmas 2012 Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "BAFTA Celebrates 50 Years of Doctor Who". BBC. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Doctor Who Trailer to Celebrate the Last 50 Years". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "#SaveTheDay". Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Day of the Doctor: The Clock's ticking". Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Day of the Doctor: It's All Been Leading...". Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Science of Doctor Who". Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide". Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "The Night of the Doctor: A Mini Episode – Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor". BBC. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "The Dalek Invasion of Porirua: 1984". Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Evil of the Daleks Stage Show: The Plays before Evil". Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "Dalek Links: Evil of the Daleks". dalek links. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  24. ^ "Dalek Links: The Dalek Masterplan". dalek links. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  25. ^ 17.14.59 T/R DR. WHO – EPISODE 2: 'GUEST OF MADAME GUILLOTINE' (23/1/4/3160), Television Service- BBC1: Saturday: 15.8.1964, p. 2,, page 4/12, retrieved 11 March 2013.