Doctor Who is a famous BBC show about a space/time traveler called the Time Lord. His adventures have been gracing TV screens since the 1960s, and each cycle or storyline is marked by a specific portrayal of the Doctor.
Publications can choose the best Doctor, but it’s always best to ask the people who watch the show. Members of the threads r/doctorwho and r/gallifrey asked each other to vote on their favorite doctors, and the results weren’t all that surprising. From worst to best, Redditors voted for their favorite portrayals of the beloved character.
13/13 The 13th Doctor – Jodie Whittaker
This doesn’t come as a surprise. It was a creatively good choice, but fans couldn’t accept Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. The initial news of her appointment woke up some extreme opinions, but many listed that the reason for her being last was wasted potential.
Some may say the Doctor could never be a woman, but the Time Lord is an extraterrestrial being in a human shape – so who knows? The user Meiray wrote: “I just hate Chibnall’s writing so much. He doesn’t write to Whittaker’s strengths nearly enough. It frustrates me to be placing the first female Doctor last.”
12/13 The 6th Doctor – Colin Baker
Seemingly the only disliked Doctor was Colin Baker, which may be why he was only in two seasons. Or, he’s disliked because he was only in two seasons and people didn’t have time to warm up to him – whichever it is, he was only ranked better than Jodie Whittaker since some people placed him higher than her.
As for the explanation why Baker wasn’t that liked, no one seemed to give a specific reason. Dawhale24 said: “hateable in the original series but becomes more interesting in the audio dramas.” It seems the actor’s audio performances ranked much better.
11/13 The 1st Doctor – William Hartnell
Putting William Hartnell near the bottom isn’t overly surprising, since newer audiences haven’t seen much of the older episodes. For context, the original Doctor Who seasons ran from 1963 to 1989, ending with the 7th Doctor, Sylvester McCoy. The revival, also called NuWho, started in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston‘s 9th Doctor, and it’s what most people know today.
The user BumpoStan said this about Hartnell: “endlessly entertaining and possessing all of the great Doctorish traits to one degree or another.” Despite the low ranking, it’s good to appreciate the origins of one of TV’s best shows and the man that gave it its charm.
10/13 The 5th Doctor – Peter Davison
Peter Davison was the Doctor for three seasons, during the early 1980s. Similarly to Hartnell, Davison’s ranking was neither here nor there, but the reason for that was more related to Whittaker placing last – a lack of authority and wasted potential and charisma.
The user shieara described him as: “He’s middle of the road for me. I think he struggled with being authoritative during the show.” This was what most users felt, although there were a small number of users that ranked him higher up.
9/13 The 9th Doctor – Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston was present for one season, but his impact was loved by many. This may be because he was the first to star in the revival – the NuWho, but many simply liked his performance as a more serious Doctor.
He ranked lower than most, likely due to staying for one season only. Nevertheless, his presence was memorable, as the user badlydrawnhamster described: “Really great 90% of the time and I wish he’d stayed around for another year.”
8/13 The 8th Doctor – Paul McGann
Despite being featured only in a TV special, Paul McGann made his way to many top fives, with some even putting him first. He appeared as the 8th Doctor in Doctor Who: The Movie (1996). This was a television movie, made as the first attempt to revive the franchise.
Again, the user BumpoStan (who gave the most elaborate explanations for their choices) said: “He’s fun in the movie and you can’t take your eyes off of him in Night of the Doctor but there are too many versions of him and not enough screen time.”
7/13 The 7th Doctor – Sylvester McCoy
Sylvester McCoy‘s name didn’t come up in too many top fives for Redditors, but he sits cozily in the middle as the 7th Doctor. Many have voted him as the best because he brought out a cunning and playful side in Doctor Who, and gave a fantastic performance that made TV fun for them.
McCoy’s talent is unquestionable, but the reason he sits in the middle was best explained by newbill123: “If I were randomly to take an episode from their run, I’d likely find it to be enjoyable but not always memorable.”
6/13 The 3rd Doctor – Jon Pertwee
In sixth place is the 3rd Doctor, Jon Pertwee. More than half of the participants in the threads put him high on their lists, saying his performance as the Doctor was consistent and wildly entertaining.
The user badlydrawnhamster said he was “The Doctor most likely to kick someone in the face” and the user DarkMoonRising95 elaborated in more words: “He could be either rude and bitter or very gentle, and with him came some of the more thought-provoking stories.”
5/13 The 2nd Doctor – Patrick Troughton
More than half the Redditors called Patrick Troughton one of the best Doctors of all time. His portrayal of the Time Lord was, in short, described as “the original cosmic hobo” by BumpoStan. His style of playing the doctor influenced how the more recent actors portrayed the character.
Out of many explanations, the one given by DarkMoonRising95 says it all: “Like somebody straight out of Dr. Seuss or Alice in Wonderland, and it’s safe to say pretty much every Doctor since has been inspired by him one way or another.”
4/13 The 10th Doctor – David Tennant
Surprisingly, the legendary David Tennant isn’t in the top three for most Redditors, although he was voted as the best Doctor of all time by the Scottish Daily Express. The reason Tennant made his way to the top four is his charm – there’s no denying that the actor possesses incredible charisma.
His high ranking was also perfectly summed up by the user theivoryserf: “The one I grew up with, fantastic emotional range if a bit much sometimes. Always a joy to watch, even in poorer episodes.” Tennant’s episodes rank among the most memorable.
3/13 The 11th Doctor – Matt Smith
The majority of the voters said Matt Smith was the best Doctor. Some claim he embodied the role so well, he is the Doctor. Certainly, some roles are more suited to specific actors, and it seems everything came together when Smith arrived.
Some people didn’t consider him the best, more like overly goofy, but those comments were overshadowed by the positives. The user Dawhale24 described him pretty well: “Funny and likeable. Matt plays the old man trapped in an immature young man’s body so well.”
2/13 The 4th Doctor – Tom Baker
Anyone looking at the polls will notice one name on top – Tom Baker. Although Troughton paved the way performance-wise, Tom Baker solidified the character as the perfect blend of silliness and seriousness. His portrayal defined the old era of Doctor Who.
The user sanddragon939 described it pretty well with this: “In general, I think the NuWho Doctors are definite improvements over the Classic Doctors…barring Tom Baker of course who’s, well, Tom Baker!” His performance was memorable, yet only slightly overshadowed by one other actor.
1/13 The 12th Doctor – Peter Capaldi
Upon Matt Smith’s departure, Peter Capaldi seemed like a less popular choice. Right after the young and charming Smith, came this older and more distinguished actor with a long career behind him. The initial expectations were that he’d flop – but that changed quickly.
Now, voters have decided – Peter Capaldi is the best Doctor of all time. Their reason was his delivery of a strong character capable of development and change. In his hands, the Doctor went from a grumpy old man to someone kind. As CyborgBee said: “Not sure I’ll ever get over Capaldi leaving tbh.”