On Saturday 5th November, 1966 the Daleks returned to Doctor
Who only to be upstaged for a change. After the screening of episode one of The
Power of the Daleks, the viewers were all talking about one thing – the new Doctor.
Nobody was quite prepared for just how radical a step the change of
lead from Hartnell to Troughton would prove to be. A replacement actor playing
the same role was not an entirely unfamiliar occurrence for sixties TV
audiences. But what made Doctor Who unique was the bold and scripted way in which
the character completely changed personality too, with the first and second
Doctors like chalk and cheese.
Fast forward fifty years and the character’s ability to reinvent himself through regeneration is a central
conceit - so much so that almost immediately after a new actor has been
announced in the role, rumours and suggestions about the identity of his successor begin to surface.
Not counting Sir John Hurt’s War Doctor, twelve actors have taken up
the mantle, each of them bringing their own twist to the mercurial
The Brigadier was quite right when he said “splendid chap, all of them", but it would be churlish not to concede that some were better than others.
We all have our personal favourites, but a more objective measure would
be to consider how each perform across a range of criteria. We selected five
essential qualities and scored each Doctor from 1-12, and the results were
Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.