The Doctor is the main protagonist of the Doctor Who series. He is a Time Lord, an alien species capable of traveling through any point in time and space and in doing so became fabled throughout the universe.
The Time Lords are humanoid aliens native to the planet of Gallifrey, the Doctor's homeworld. Masters of time and space, the Time Lords are an ancient race who have a non-interference policy in the affairs of the Universe at large (as it happens, this is not a policy the Doctor shares, which has caused friction with his people on a number of occasions). In the classic series, the Doctor explained that Gallifrey was located in the constellation of Kasterborous, and once gave its coordinates as "ten zero eleven zero zero by zero two from galactic zero centre". The Doctor returned to Gallifrey several times during the classic series and had several encounters with his own people, even having a Time Lady as a companion for a time.
In the new series, Gallifrey is lost. During the great Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks, Gallifrey was locked in a time loop by the Doctor, which results in him being one of the last Time Lords in our universe. Even though the Doctor has not visited Gallifrey in the new series, he has described its beauty on a number of occasions, mentioning twin suns, seas of red grass and silver leafed trees.
While not much is said by the Doctor on the subject of the loss of Gallifrey in the Time War, it is apparent that this loss affected and still affects him greatly, and this is reflected in many of his actions.
Even though Time Lords are humanoid in appearance, there are a number of signicant differences between Time Lords and humans:
Two Hearts -
The vascular system of a Time Lord is binary in nature, with all the blood vessels leading back to two hearts. Having two hearts has saved the Doctor on a number of occasions, particularly when one heart has either failed or been stopped.
Respiratory Bypass System
- Time Lords possess the ability to briefly shut down their respiratory system, which allows them to survive the vacuum of space for short periods of time, and even survive gaseous environments or attempted strangulation.
During an encounter with several of his previous incarnations, the Doctor demonstrated the ability of his race to read each others' minds. This ability was revisited in the new series in "The Girl in the Fireplace" when the Doctor read the mind of Madame de Pompadour.
- By far the most significant difference between Time Lords and humans is the ability to regenerate in near-death situations. When a Time Lord does this, he (or she) regenerates every cell in their body to continue living on. However, the Time Lord after regeneration will no longer be the same, as the former appearance and personality will be replaced with completely new ones. According to the classic series, a Time Lord can regenerate twelve times, and thus can have thirteen incarnations. This is a plot device used by the creators of Doctor Who, used usually when the actor portraying The Doctor feels that he can not continue on. So far there eleven different doctors with Matt Smith being the current incarnation.
One of the mysteries surrounding the Doctor is his precise age. Over the course of the
television series, a number of different ages have been revealed. One important factor regarding the Doctor's age is that great periods of time pass off screen between some of his adventures. While in his earlier adventures he was as "young" as 450 years, he was already 750 years old by the time of his fourth incarnation. Allegedly, the Doctor passed 950 years of age sometime in his seventh incarnation.
The discrepancy arises when the Doctor of the current television series talks about his age. The current Doctor (as portrayed by Matt Smith) has stated on screen that he is currently 907 years of age, which seems a bit odd given his previously stated age in the classic series. One possibility is that the Doctor is simply unsure of his exact age, which is quite likely given he is close to 1,000 years old.
One of the defining features of the Doctor over the years has been his many and varied costumes. One of the more well-known of these was the fourth Doctor, who had a multi-coloured scarf that was allegedly thiry two feet in length. The fifth Doctor dressed in cricket attire which had the unusual feature of a piece of celery worn on his lapel (which would change colour in the presence of gasses to which the Doctor is allergic). The sixth Doctor was famous for wearing a multi-coloured patchwork coat. The fourth,fifth,sixth and seventh incarnations of the Doctor in the classic series had question marks on some part of their costume (such as shirt collars or umbrella handles or even sweater patterns as seen on the seventh).
In the reboot series, the Doctor has often worn more conventional clothing. The ninth Doctor would regularly wear a worn black leather jacket, and the tenth Doctor had an overcoat and several suits he would wear - one blue, one brown. The eleventh Doctor wears cuffed trousers with boots and suspenders, a tweed jacket and a bow tie.
The Doctor has always been known for his ability to speak in highly technical terms. However, in recent times the Doctor has taken to adopting several "catch phrases" which he tends to use on a regular basis.
The Ninth Doctor was often heard to utter
at various points, often accompanied by a wide grin.
The Tenth Doctor would frequently exclaim
(which is pronounced "Allon-zee") which is French for
Since the beginning of the current series of
, the Eleventh Doctor has shouted
on several occasions. It is unclear if this is his new catch phrase, but it seems likely, also the The Eleventh Doctor has said "bow ties are cool" on several occasions.
Equipment and Gadgets
As a Time Lord, the Doctor has a number of advanced pieces of technology at his disposal:
- The Doctor's spaceship, The TARDIS (an acronym for
pace) has the ability to instantaneously travel through time and space. Despite looking like a 1950s British police box, the interior is vastly bigger than the exterior, and is said to house an infinite amount of three dimensional space.
Psychic Paper -
Since the return of
to television, the Doctor has repeatedly used a piece of "psychic" paper to get out of trouble. In simple terms, the paper displays on it what the viewer wishes to see. He has used it as a form of identification on a number of occasions, and even as a party invitation at least once.
Sonic Screwdriver -
One of the iconic gadgets that the Doctor carries around is his Sonic Screwdriver. This sonic device enables him to open locks, but has also demonstrated the ability to overload various technologies (including the Cybermen) and even act as a remote control device for the TARDIS. His screwdriver has been destroyed on several occasions, but the Doctor always replaces it eventually.
William Hartnell (1963-1966)
Patrick Troughton (1966- 1969)
Jon Pertwee (1970 - 1974)
Tom Baker (1974 - 1981)
Peter Davison (1981 - 1984)
Colin Baker (1984 - 1986)
Sylvester McCoy (1987 - 1989)
Paul McGann (1996)
Christopher Eccleston (2005)
David Tennant (2005 - 2010)
Matt Smith (2010 - 2013)
Peter Capaldi (2013 - )
Much like the original version of
is not considered canonical, there were two Doctor Who movies in the 1960s. The two movies in question are
"Doctor Who and the Daleks"
"Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD".
In these movies, the role of Doctor Who was played by Peter Cushing.
Although he is a Time Lord, the Doctor is rarely with his own race and frequently travels the universe (usually with a female companion) attempting to right the wrongs of other peoples using his ridiculously large knowledge of science, technology, history, and alien cultures. In recent times, the Doctor has had the following companions:
(Billie Piper) was originally a shop assistant in London, until she met the Doctor during the episode
and her store was blown up. She accompanied the Doctor during his Ninth and Tenth incarnations. Her boyfriend Mickey and her mother Jackie were often part of her adventures back on Earth.
Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
is another of the Ninth Doctor's companions. Like the Doctor, Captain Jack is a time traveller, but from the 51st century. He parted company with the Doctor and Rose when they encountered the
and Jack died. However, he was subsequently resurrected and did not encounter the Doctor again until late in his Tenth incarnation. Captain Jack is the lead character in the
Sarah Jane Smith
Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) is one of the most well-known of the Doctor's companions from the classic series. She was a investigative journalist when she first encountered the Doctor during his Third incarnation, and she continued to travel with the Doctor until they parted company during his Fourth incarnation. She ran into the Tenth Doctor whilst they were both investigating strange goings on at a school in the episode
. Sarah is the lead character in the
spin-off aimed at children called
The Sarah Jane Adventures
(Freema Agyeman) was originally a medical student when she encountered the Tenth Doctor in the episode
"Smith and Jones"
. She left his company to take on a role in the military organisation UNIT (
askforce), and also a brief role in
. Martha crossed paths with the Doctor on a number of occasions, particularly during some of his epic confrontations with the
and the Master. She is also the companion portrayed in the
Doctor Who Top Trumps
(Catherine Tate) first encountered the Doctor on her wedding day in
"The Runaway Bride"
. Following their initial encounter, Donna and the Doctor went their seperate ways. She later tracked down the Doctor again during
"Partners in Crime"
and travelled with the Doctor during his Tenth incarnation.
(Karen Gillan) is the current companion of the Eleventh Doctor.
The Doctor has travelled throughout space and time, and during his adventures has made many enemies. In fact, some of these enemies have not only featured in the classic series, but have fought the Doctor since
returned to television in 2005.
are the most iconic of these enemies, and have featured not just in the television stories, but also in many of the games based on the show, such as
. The Daleks were involved in the Time War with the Time Lords, and were also considered destroyed. However despite this there have been numerous appearances of Daleks who escaped the war, such as the
Cult of Skaro
are a race of humanoid cybernetic creatures that were encountered by the Doctor in his very first incarnation in
"The Tenth Planet"
. The Cybermen of the classic series originated from Earth's twin planet Mondas, which lost its orbit in our Solar system and drifted through space. To survive, the inhabitants of this world gradually replaced more and more of themselves with cybernetic parts, eventually creating the fearsome metal men. In the new series, the Cybermen were reborn in a parallel universe in the episode
"Rise of the Cybermen".
In this story, a dying millionaire sought to preserve his mind by encasing it within a metal shell, and in doing so created a new race of Cybermen.
(John Simm) is a Time Lord like the Doctor. The main difference between the two is that while the Doctor strives to right wrongs, and preserve the greater good, the Master seeks only power. The Doctor has encountered the Master many times during his incarnations, and like the Doctor he escaped the destruction of the Time Lords during the Time Wars. He is as brilliant as the Doctor, and is one of his worthiest foes. Like the Doctor, he has been portrayed by many actors over the years, but most recently by John Simm. He also featured in the game
Destiny of the Doctors
, although there he was portrayed by one of the previous actors, Anthony Ainley.
was the creator of the
. Like the Master, he is a twisted and brilliant genius. However, he is more evil and in recent times has sought nothing less than the destruction of all reality. Even though Davros created the Daleks, they have often turned against their creator, and Davros has often been held prisoner by his own "children". Davros has also crossed over into gaming, and plays the role of the end boss in
Potential Future in Games
The British Broadcasting Corporation, the proprietor of the Doctor Who IP, is currently in the process of courting studios for the development of a current gen Doctor Who video game.