The Doctor of Each Generation
Few shows can claim a legacy that is even half that of Doctor Who’s. The program has run for decades, and in that time cultivated a crop of unforgettable characters and creatures that have earned the show its massive fan base.
Of course, there is no character quite so loved as the Doctor, so without further ado let’s take a stroll down memory lane as we examine past incarnations of one of the most famous characters of all time.
William Hartnell: The First Doctor 1963-1966
Chances are you probably did not witness Hartnell’s performance of the Doctor first hand, and unfortunately, the ability to do so now is disappointingly limited. Doctor Who’s initial run was not well archived, so many of the debut episodes that set the tone for the entire series are forever lost. If you’re a fan of the current show, you might see a completely different incarnation of the Doctor in Hartnell.
He portrayed an older, crankier Doctor who was mistrusting of others (with the exception of his granddaughter, Susan) and willing to deceive and even engage in violence to achieve his goals. Hartnell’s time as the Doctor came to an end when his iteration of the character collapsed of fatigue and regenerated.
Patrick Troughton: The Second Doctor 1966-1969
The second Doctor is known endearingly (we think) by fans as “the cosmic hobo.” While Hartnell played an aged and, in some regards, crass or even cruel Doctor, Troughton was the first to bring some of the lighthearted attributes to the character that are so loved now.
The second Doctor was silly, bumbling, and often times played the part of the fool. Nevertheless, he managed to maintain a controlled chaos that led to him always being several steps ahead of his adversaries.
The second Doctor was known for using clever calculation to win the day, but of course like all of the other Doctors, he ran out of time. He was eventually exiled to 20th century Earth where he regenerated into the third Doctor.
Jon Pertwee: The Third Doctor 1970-1974
The third Doctor brought a certain fancy pants aspect to the character that was a distinct change from the rugged quality of the first Doctor, and the fanciful innocence of the second.
Pertwee was known for his eccentric, flowing garments that cast the character in a larger than life light, but he was most notable for his kindness. Pertwee set a precedence of caring and compassion between the Doctor and his companions that is a much-loved aspect of the series as we know it today.
Like the first Doctor, the third met his end after suffering the culminating effects of his years of travel and adventure. He collapses from his wounds and was replaced by the fourth Doctor.