Doctor Who is a unique show in that it has the ability to just… keep going forever. This is all thanks to what’s explained in-show as “regeneration” where the Doctor saves themselves from death by changing their face (and sometimes personality and gender.) So that, of course, allows another actor to come in and take on the role of the Doctor. So far, fourteen different actors have played the Doctor and there will most certainly be more Doctors in the future, too!
Talkin’ bout my regeneration
Some Doctors have proved more popular than others, and these are the ones who end up returning to the show as a different Doctor even after their tenure is up.
Other Doctors weren’t as successful, but nonetheless, Doctor Who loves to revisit the past and so plenty of past Doctors have popped up in cameo appearances on the show long after regenerating.
The canon Doctors
Here’s all the Doctors who’ve ever been on the show, ranked. To be clear: this is just the “canon” ones, so no appearance from Peter Cushing’s Doctor from the Dalek movies — sorry, hardcore Whovians.
The rankings are created by analyzing each Doctor’s popularity and personality. They’re presented here from worst to best. Did your favorite make the top three? Read on to find out!
Colin Baker (1984-1986)
Colin Baker was already an accomplished actor before being cast in Doctor Who. He’d played a lead on the BBC show The Brothers, and he’d even popped up on Who as a different, minor character.
Unfortunately, he became the Sixth Doctor at a time of great turmoil for the show. The then-controller of BBC One, Michael Grade, absolutely hated Doctor Who and Baker’s casting did nothing to help.
Known for: A bad attitude and even worse fashion sense
The first thing Colin Baker’s Doctor did on the show was try to strangle his companion Peri, which instantly made viewers dislike him. And their opinions didn’t improve as his tenure went on. Plus, Baker’s relationship with the BBC quickly deteriorated. He was fired and refused to come back to film a regeneration episode.
He told the Sun newspaper in 1987, “They actually wanted me to come back and do four more episodes, just so I could be killed off and fit in with their plans! I told them what they could do with their offer!”