All the Actors Who Played “Doctor Who” Ranked

Arguing about the best version of The Doctor is as old as the half-century-plus BBC series Doctor Who. With its 26 seasons, 826 episodes, and 15 different interpretations of the role, Dr. Who dominates the entertainment world. Despite facing good and bad times over the years, the BBC’s prize winner continues to captivate fans. It continues to widen its appeal internationally beyond Great Britain. As the TARDIS current commander, Peter Capaldi leads a long line of Doctor Who actors since 1963. Several actors have fit in the persona of the unruly Time Lord. From Matt Smith to William Hartnell and David Tennant to Tom Baker. As with everything, however, some Doctors rank superior to others. Here is a list of all the doctors from Doctor Who, ranked from best to worst:

1. David Tennant

There’s no denying that David Tennant was the best of them all. For a good reason, Tennant’s Tenth Doctor is the most popular of all time. He’s by a wide margin the people’s choice as he infused human elements with the character previously not seen in the role. He brought the doctor back down to earth. Due to his honest, likable, and sympathetic nature, he had lovers. These are qualities that the other doctors did not possess. He did not lean on one aspect of his character. Thus brought his whole self to the role and won his audience’s hearts.

2. Tom Baker

Tom Baker not only played the role, but he also embodied it in every single way. He was born to be the Doctor. More than anyone else, Tom Baker seemed to enjoy his time at the TARDIS. With outstanding quality, his electric eyes darted around the room, and his voice relished every single word. His brain is unique even though he resembles us human beings. He reminded his audiences that the Doctor is an alien. Tom Baker brought out his true potential as he played this character. Having played 172 episodes, he firmed up his place at the Doctor Who hall of fame.

3. Peter Capaldi

The transition to Peter Capaldi from Matt Smith was powerful. The seismic shift in his demeanor as a doctor, in addition to the age difference, left the audience reeling. He seems far less amiable and trustworthy in his role than those before him. But on the bright side, he has played the Time Lord in his original way. He captured the tranquility of the character by playing several thousand years aliens.

4. Patrick Troughton

As the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton reimaged the character well enough to impact each of his descendants. More importantly, he proved Doctor Who can never die by surviving BBC’s regeneration timeline experiment. Troughton brought a whole range of emotions to the role. He was comedic and quirky, scary and irascible. There are sporadic incidences of dull moments in the entire episodic catalog he played.

5. Matt Smith

Matt Smith was a favorite character to many, while a bit too goofy to some. As the Eleventh Doctor, his success was in widening the Doctor Who’s new generation audience. He was the perfect choice for the millennial generation. Matt was witty and crazier than his forbearers. More than his sonic screwdriver, he valued his bowties. Even though he might not have been everyone’s favorite, he put a unique touch on the alien Gallifreyan and put more life into the series.

6. William Hartnell

William Hartnell excelled in depicting a man of absolute mystery. In harsh reality, he kept the show grounded. William was a TV tutor to British children who grew up and became the most loyal Whovians. He was the show’s true founding father.

7. Christopher Eccleston

As the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston did not last too long. Some recognized his natural charisma, while others found him to be a bit too serious. His early exit in the series was maybe because he felt disjointed from the role. Still, even if he lasted for one year, he crafted a memorable season.

8. Jon Pertwee

Pertwee’s doctor embodied being dynamic. Not afraid to fight, dressed to the nines, and often well lubricated, he brought different colors to the screen. Pertwee evolved from a cold temperament to BBC’s Time Lord with the most empathy.

9. John Hurt

John Hurt did not need a long time to create a lasting impression. He brought energy and vitality despite being the oldest doctor on record. He stole scene after scene from his younger castmates, thus affirming his acting prowess.

10. Peter Davison

Peter Davison as the fifth doctor, simply taking up the role was the most heroic act. The show was at a fever pitch at the time he took up the position. Fortunately, the show performed well, and he matched the audience’s expectations.

11. Sylvester McCoy

Of all the doctors, he ranks as the most bombastic. Unfortunately, in the first season, BBC hung their lead character to dry. His maiden engagement in the show was catastrophic such that the viewership dropped drastically.

12. Paul McGann

Paul McGann starred in the film in 1996 and renewed hopes for the show’s popularity. His portrayal of the character was brief. His fans could only imagine what the show would have been if BBC offered him more significant opportunities.

13. Colin Baker

Colin Baker walked into a minefield when he entered the show just a few years to its cancellation. Though he did a commendable job when the show had just lost its stamina, he was a doctor aboard the titanic. Colin Baker’s Doctor was boarder line a sociopath. The first season went off well, but BBC sent Doctor Who to a two-year black hole before its regeneration.

14. Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing became the temporary heir to William Hartnell in the 1965 TV show. We may not remember him for his role in the show, but he gravitated towards the professor roles of the character. He earned a second go at the Gallifreyan in Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 AD, though he never received his series.

15. Rowan Atkinson

He was the least favorite character of them all. Rowan Atkinson portrayed the doctor in Comic Relief: Doctor Who – The Curse of the Fatal Death.

16. Jodie Whittaker

A short lived run only to find herself with the worst Doctor Who rankings in the show’s history.   Ouch.

So, what do you think of the doctors in Doctor Who? Please leave your thoughts in the comments and let us know how you rank the doctors!


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