Who is the greatest Doctor of them all? Well, if you’re a Doctor Who fans you probably have your Doctor, the one you grew up watching – or if you’re unlucky enough to have grown up in the 1900s and early 2000s, you may not have had a Doctor at all.
Now, it’s not always true to say that the Doctor who you watched in your formative years is your favourite – although there is often a correlation. Some might argue that all the Doctors are unique in their incarnations and bring something unique and brilliant to the series, so you shouldn’t rank them at all.
A fair challenge, but people like putting things in lists, and we have quite a bit of time to kill before the 60th-anniversary specials in November 2023 and season 14 of Doctor Who begins with Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson later that year.
If you’re not a fan of the term best, perhaps replace it with the word favourite, because I think most people who voted in this poll, were probably voting for one and the same.
Yes, we asked the great readers of Screen OD who they thought was the best Doctor of all time, taking in all the actors who have played the part in a major way since 1963; from William Hartnell’s First Doctor all the way through until Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth. We haven’t included David Tennant’s Fourteenth or Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth in the poll because although we have seen a brief glimpse of them, we haven’t seen enough to make any sort of serious judgement yet. We’ll save that for a poll on another day.
Right, so the votes have been counted and the Doctor Who fans have spoken, with thousands of people visiting the voting pages in the last few days.
But which incarnation of the Doctor have they chosen as their favourite, and which is bottom of the pile?
It’s time to see who is the best Doctor Who according to Doctor Who fans…
Let the ranking begin…
14. The First Doctor played by William Hartnell
0.82% of the vote
He may be the person who started it all, but the First Doctor played by William Hartnell came at the very bottom of the list in our poll of Doctor Who fans’ favourite Doctors. It all began with An Unearthly Child on the 23rd of November 1963. Hartnell, then aged 55 was one of the oldest actors to play the Doctor and stayed with the show for four seasons across 134 episodes and 29 stories. Hartnell left in October 1966 to pass the baton on to the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton.
13. The War Doctor played by John Hurt
1.09% of the vote
The War Doctor never had a series of his own, but has become a very important character in the series, fitting into the incarnation between Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor from the 1996 movie and Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor, the War Doctor, portrayed by John Hurt bridges the gap between the classic and the modern eras of the show. He appears in 2013’s The Name of the Doctor, the mini-episode The Night of the Doctor and in the 50th anniversary special in 2013, The Day of the Doctor.
12. The Seventh Doctor played by Sylvester McCoy
1.09% of the vote
The last Doctor of the original classic era of Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy was at the helm of the TARDIS when the show went off the air for what would be a very long time in December 1989. He had played the role for two years before that and had 12 stories in total as the Doctor across 42 episodes of the show.