The 13 Actors Who Played The Doctor Before Ncuti Gatwa

Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker is preparing to hand over the role of Time Lord to Ncuti Gatwa, the 14th actor to play the role.

There are stars who have played the role before.

– William Hartnell (1963-66)


William Hartnell with actress Carole Ann Ford who played Doctor Who’s original companion Susan Foreman (PA).

Hartnell played the role of the Doctor for three years until 1966. At 55, he was the oldest actor to play the lead role.

During his long career, Hartnell has appeared extensively on stage and on television, and acted in over 75 British films.

Hartnell’s time with Doctor Who saw his first encounters with the Daleks and the Cybermen, two of Doctor Who’s most famous recurring foes.

The First Doctor’s last regular appearance was in the episode The Tenth Planet, where he collapsed and began to regenerate after defeating the Cybermen.

– Patrick Troughton (1966-69)

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Actor Patrick Troughton took on the role of the second doctor after Hartnell had to leave due to health reasons. He played the role until 1969, starring in 119 episodes.

Troughton – a veteran stage, television and film character actor – created a character very different from his predecessor, a deliberate change aimed at making the actor’s change more accepting of the audience, and Hartnell reportedly approved of the casting.

The BBC’s Doctor Who website described the second Doctor as having “a more playful, whimsical air”.

– Jon Pertwee (1970-74)

John Pertwee, until 1974, portrayed the Third Doctor as “confident, bold and cheeky, but with a gentle fatherly side”, according to the BBC.

Desperate to land the role, the actor had extensive television and film experience and rose to stardom in the hugely popular television series Worzel Gummidge.

While previous Doctors’ stories all involved time and space travel, Pertwee’s stories initially featured the Doctor stranded in exile on Earth.

– Tom Baker (1974-81)

Baker portrayed the character for seven consecutive seasons, the longest that an actor has played the role, and it was at this point that the show was experiencing its highest viewing figures.

Liverpool-born Baker was not an academic and said his Catholic family was thrilled when he joined a religious order at the age of 15.

The actor’s website says he became disillusioned with monastic life and left at the age of 21.

He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps for his national service and then discovered acting which became his career.

– Peter Davison (1982-84)

By the time Davison became the Fifth Doctor, he was already known as Tristan Farnon on the comedy-drama series All Creatures Great And Small.

His successful career continued after Doctor Who with hit shows like A Very Peculiar Practice and At Home With The Braithwaites.

Davidson, 71, from Streatham, south London, recently starred as William Priestley in Gentleman Jack and the Vicar in The Larkins.


Former Doctor Who actors Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Matt Smith at the Official Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Excel Center in East London (PA)

– Colin Baker (1984-86)

Baker’s Sixth Doctor was described by the BBC’s official website as “passionate, quick to anger… a Doctor who was no enmity with”.

The actor, who was born during an air raid in a hospital in Waterloo, London, moved to Rochdale in Lancashire when he was a little boy.

He later studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and starred in the television drama The Brothers.

He appeared as Commander Maxil in the 1983 Doctor Who episode Arc Of Infinity before taking on the lead role.

Baker, now 78, recently appeared on an episode of Emmerdale.


Former Doctor Who actors Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker at the Doctor Who Official 50th Celebration (PA)

– Sylvester McCoy (1987-89)

The Seventh Doctor was played by Sylvester McCoy and first appeared on television in 1987.

McCoy, now 78, was known as a Scottish actor and physical comedian.

After the program was discontinued in late 1989, the adventures of the Seventh Doctor continued in fiction through the late 1990s.

McCoy went on to play Radagast in the Hobbit trilogy of films.

– Paul McGann (1996)

The Seventh Doctor made an appearance early in the 1996 film of the franchise before the character was replaced by the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann).

McGann bridged the gap between the end of the original series in 1989 and the start of the new series in 2005.

Despite being the Doctor for nine years, McGann has had less screen time than any other leading man.

While the Eighth Doctor initially only made one on-screen appearance, his adventures have been detailed in subsequent spin-offs.

In 2013, the actor reprized the role in the mini-episode The Night Of The Doctor, which depicts the Eighth Doctor’s final adventure and his rebirth into the War Doctor (played by John Hurt).

McGann, now 62, was born in Liverpool and is the brother of fellow actors Stephen McGann, Mark McGann and Joe McGann.

He starred in the 1987 film Withnail And I and most recently appeared in the Hillsborough drama Anne, about activist Anne Williams.

– Christopher Eccleston (2005)

Christopher Eccleston took on the role of the Ninth Doctor during the first series of the show’s 2005 revival.

Eccleston’s Doctor was a war-torn loner who hides his trauma behind “insane wit and frivolity,” according to the BBC.

Eccleston was a well-known actor who had appeared in the TV dramas Our Friends In The North and Hillsborough when he joined Doctor Who.

More recently, he starred as Maurice Scott in The A Word, a television drama about a boy with autism and his family.

– David Tennant (2005-2010)

David Tennant took on the role of the 10th Doctor between 2005 and 2010 and is considered one of the most popular incarnations of the character.

Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor has been described by the BBC as “excitable, enthusiastic and victorious”.

Tennant appeared in the television series Casanova and played Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

He recently played serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the acclaimed drama Des.


Matt Smith played the role of the Eleventh Doctor (PA) from 2010 to 2013

– Matt Smith (2010-2013)

The Eleventh Doctor was played by Matt Smith between 2010 and 2013.

He was the last doctor to appear alongside longtime companion Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) before the actress’ death.

Smith, now 39, from Northampton, later played the Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown.

– Peter Capaldi (2014-17)

Capaldi, the 12th Doctor, was the last character to take on the role before Whittaker before the First Doctor.

Scottish actor also known as Malcolm Tucker in political comedy The Thick Of It.

Capaldi, now 64, is also a director, author and musician.

– Jodie Whittaker (2017-2022)

Whittaker was best known as Beth Latimer, mother of the murdered Danny Latimer, in Broadchurch when she became the first woman to star in Doctor Who.

Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in June 1982, Whittaker completed a Btec in Performing Arts before attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

She left drama school in 2005 for a role in Storm at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and went on to win her first film role in Venus (2006) opposite Peter O’Toole.

Whittaker is a huge cricket fan and her father was a former President of the Huddersfield Cricket League.

– Ncuti Gatwa (2022-)

Gatwa, now 29, was born in Rwanda before moving to Scotland where he grew up and began his career in 2014 as an extra on the sitcom Bob Servant.

In 2016 he played Demetrius in a production of A Midsummer’s Nights Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe.

His big break came when he was cast on the Netflix show Sex Education as Eric Effiong, a young gay British Nigerian who is best friends with Otis, the show’s main character.

Writing in The Big Issue in May 2020, he said he became homeless after running out of savings and developing depression in the months before taking on his role in sex education. The 13 Actors Who Played The Doctor Before Ncuti Gatwa

Fry Electronics Team

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