1. First Doctor — Burgess Meredith
Known primarily for his roles as The Penguin in the 60s Batman series and Rocky Balboa’s trainer, Mickey Goldmill, in the first three Rocky films Meredith made for an irascible, curmudgeonly yet warm and protective Doctor.
2. Second Doctor — Dick Van Dyke
Faced with the impossible task of replacing its lead star, the show’s producer’s decide not to replicate the previous Doctor, but go in a different direction entirely. Van Dyke’s Second Doctor seems light and playful on the surface, but this masks a brilliantly inventive mind and an absolute abhorrence of injustice.
3. Third Doctor — Vincent Price
The show débuts in colour (or should that be color?) for the first time as the Doctor is exiled to Earth; now in the form of horror icon Vincent Price. Price hams the role up as a scientific madman aiding the U.S military in their constant battle against alien invasion!
4. Fourth Doctor — Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder’s weird and wonderful comedic talents made the Doctor both more alien and more popular than ever before, making the show a surprise break-out hit even with UK Audiences. Wilder still holds the record for longest tenure in the role and still occasionally refers to himself as The Doctor.
5. Fifth Doctor — Kyle MacLachlan
After Wilder’s definite incarnation the producers decided to cast a deliberately different actor. Kyle MacLachlan was the youngest actor ever to take the reigns to the TARDIS and proved himself over his three years creating a subtle and idealistic Doctor.
6. Sixth Doctor — Christopher Walken
Production problems plagued Walken’s brief stint in the TARDIS and were not helped by the actor’s constant bizarre demands. Walken insisted on wearing a multi-coloured patchwork coat and have his Doctor attempt to strangle his Companion. Thankfully the producers opted not to take these ideas on board. Walken’s Doctor was cold, dark and brooding but after a brief two year stint, the actor left due to ‘creative differences.’
7. Seventh Doctor — Tony Shalhoub
Tony Shalhoub’s brilliant take on the Time Lord as a devious, scheming chess-master couldn’t stave off the show’s imminent cancellation.
8. Eighth Doctor — Jeff Goldblum
The show was revived in 1996 by the UK’s BBC in attempt to revamp the show for British audiences. Viewers were worried that the essential Americanness would be lost but to assuage their fears an American actor was cast; Jeff Golblum’s neurotic, excitable Doctor was a perfect fit for 90s audiences. US fans’ fears of Britishification proved to be somewhat true when the Doctor controversially didn’t kiss his companion! Unfortunately the show was never picked up and Goldblum’s Doctor survived only in podcasts which, seeing as it was the mid-90s, nobody was able to download.
9. Ninth Doctor — Nicolas Cage
The show was reborn in 2005 headed by head-writer Joss Whedon. To solidify the show in the minds of the public they needed to cast an established actor as the lead. Nicolas Cage approached Whedon and begged to be cast. He was a life-long fan of the show, even having the entire interior of the TARDIS tatooed on the inside of his left arm and naming his first daughter Romanadvoratrelundar. The show, and Cage, was a huge hit regenerating the programme for a new generation. Despite this, Cage opted not to return for a second series.
10. Tenth Doctor — Sam Rockwell
After his predecessor’s abrupt departure just as the show was taking off, Rockwell had to prove to new audiences the show could work without its’ lead. And prove it he did. Rockwell’s suave, light-footed, assured Doctor consistently rates as high as Wilder’s in opinion polls.
11. Eleventh Doctor — Donald Glover
Glover’s casting was controversial as the actor was only 25 at the time. The rapper and comedian immediately blew any worries out of the water playing a Doctor who was both joyously youthful and impossibly old.
12. Twelfth Doctor — Bryan Cranston
At 57, Bryan Cranston is one of the oldest people to be cast as the Doctor and also has the added task of having to differentiate his Doctor from his career defining role as Walter White in Breaking Bad. We have to wait til August to find out just how he’ll do it!
13. Bonus: Harrison Ford as the War Doctor
71 year old screen icon Harrison Ford played a secret incarnation of The Doctor in the 50th Anniversary Special “Independence Day of the Doctor.” Ford brought a doleful, tragic gravitas to his Doctor, weighed down by centuries of war.
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