|Name:||The Doctor (alias John Smith) (Theta Sigma while in the Academy)|
|Relationships:||Susan Foreman/Arkytior (granddaughter), Jenny (clone-daughter), half-human Tenth Doctor (regeneration half-clone half-Donna), friendships etc. with various companions, close relationship with The TARDIS|
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Like all Timelords, they are very long-lived and has the power to regenerate himself into a different incarnation (with a different exterior and personality) when mortally injured.
The Doctor usually carries their "Sonic Screwdriver" with them, an item capable of doing many, many things that like the TARDIS has become iconic of the series (and beyond). In canon it is frequently used as a lockpick or some kind of fix-it device. (In fanfiction it has naturally repeatedly been used as a sex-toy.)
Although not human, The Doctor repeatedly shows that they cares about humanity and Earth, and likes saving Earth. Because of their immense power and actions they've taken of the course of their 900+ years of life, some of their incarnations show a certain type of emotional remoteness, others, angst.
In canon, The Doctor is shown to have several genetically related relatives during various incarnations, including their granddaughter Susan (First Doctor era), their clone-daughter Jenny (Tenth Doctor era), their half-human semi-clone (Tenth Doctor era), and several Gallifreyan relatives (various eras).
They forms friendships with their traveling companions (and with some humans and aliens they encounters but does not travel with), although they are not good at saying goodbye and sometimes abandons their companions and friendships in ways that seem cruel to them. (Leading to fix-it fics.)
Many classic fans have typically considered The Doctor to be asexual -- though some have always shipped the Doctor with certain companions or other characters. For example, pairing The Doctor/The Master in various incarnations has been popular since the 1980s due to the great enemyslash potential.
The New Who reboot of the series in 2005 started including more shippy vibes in canon, and brought an influx of new, pairing-focused fans into the fandom, who started writing a lot of het and slash fic pairing him with the new era companions.
Some fans also pair him with the TARDIS herself, especially in the wake of the season six episode The Doctor's Wife -- written by Neil Gaiman of Sandman fame -- which personifies the TARDIS temporarily in human form.
To prevent having to write it out in full every time, many of The Doctor's incarnations will be referred to simply via their number, such as Nine for the Ninth Doctor, or Twelve for the Twelfth.
AU's featuring The Doctor often use their alias in the show, John Smith and similiar variations, as their real name. Versions for incarnations who are women, such as Thirteen, may use other short first names starting with 'J', like Jess or Jolie.
William Hartnell played the first Doctor from 1963 to 1966.
Succinct First Doctor Canon
First Doctor Fandom
Example First Doctor Era Fanworks
A 1981 fanwork by Pyracantha: "This one's adapted from a 1964 episode, called "Planet of Giants," where the Doctor and his companions are miniaturized and have to contend with ordinary house creatures such as flies and a cat which are now the size of cars and houses. The menace is a newly developed insecticide which is revealed to kill all life, not just insects. The travelers manage to communicate from their miniaturized state and are able to escape back to the TARDIS where they are restored to normal size. Original drawing is ink on illustration board, about 5 1/2" x 5 1/2", summer 1981." -- Incredible Shrinking Doctor Who number 8 (May 22, 2017)
A 1981 fanwork by Pyracantha: "Here's more old fan art from my work reconstructing images of Dr. Who scenes for a fanzine . This one is from "The Reign of Terror" in which the Doctor's time machine takes him and his companions to the time of the French Revolution. They are immediately involved in the counter-revolution with much intrigue and deadly action. The Doctor, at left, is dressed as a French official and two of his companions are being led to the guillotine, from which they are saved at the last moment. This episode was one of the very first, from 1964. Black ink on illustration board, 6 1/2" x 5", Spring 1981. This is an OLD piece. I don't see many contemporary illustrations done in this pen and ink style, and even I don't do that much of it." -- Old Doctor Who Fan Art part 3: "The Reign of Terror" (May 6, 2017)
Patrick Troughton played the second Doctor from 1966 to 1969.
Succinct Second Doctor Canon
Has a bowtie and a recorder.
Second Doctor Fandom
Usually paired with Jamie McCrimmon.
Example Second Doctor Era Fanworks
cover of Panic Moon #7; the Second Doctor
Jon Pertwee played the third Doctor from 1970 to 1974.
Succinct Third Doctor Canon
Third Doctor Fandom
Example Third Doctor Era Fanworks
Tom Baker played the fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981. The Fourth Doctor was the incarnation with The Scarf (which led to much fannish knitting). He probably inspired the quote "You never forget your first Doctor." The Society of Time Lords released "The Fourth Incarnation of Doctor Who" zine in his honor.
Succinct Fourth Doctor Canon
Loved jelly babies. The Scarf.
Fourth Doctor Fandom
Sometimes paired with Romana.
In wider fandom, he's generally conceived to be one of the most well received, being many people's favourite Doctor.
Example Fourth Doctor Era Fanworks
The Fourth Doctor on the cover of Time Log
Peter Davison played the fifth Doctor from 1981 to 1984.
Succinct Fifth Doctor Canon
Cricket-player's outfit. Fond of wearing a celery stalk as a bouttonière.
Fifth Doctor Fandom
Example Fifth Doctor Era Fanworks
A Fifth Doctor portrait by Connie Faddis
Colin Baker played the sixth Doctor from 1984 to 1986.
Succinct Sixth Doctor Canon
Terrible fashion sense. The Gallifreyan Buccaneer.
Sixth Doctor Fandom
Six is often viewed by fans to have improved characterisation through his Big Finish stories.
Example Sixth Doctor Era Fanworks
Sylvester McCoy played the seventh Doctor from 1987 to 1989.
Succinct Seventh Doctor Canon
Carried an umbrella with a question-mark handle.
Seventh Doctor Fandom
Example Seventh Doctor Era Fanworks
Paul McGann played the eighth doctor Doctor in a TV movie, aired in May of 1996. After that, Big Finish and various novels took the job of shaping his character.
Succinct Eighth Doctor Canon
The Eighth Doctor was the first to kiss his companion in canon, and may well have thereby launched a thousand ships.
The Eighth Doctor has been active in Big Finish audio stories since 2001, traveling with a number of companions. Before the new series, the Eighth Doctor was not considered to be part of the Classic Who canon.
Eighth Doctor Fandom
The fandom thinks that Paul McGann never ages.
Online fandom was fragmented. There was The Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade, and a small LiveJournal fandom bloomed around the Eighth Doctor. Many authors have personal sites for their fanworks but fanfic also appeared on DW archives including Panatropic. Doctor/Master, Eighth Doctor/companions (Fitz, Charley), were popular ships. Fans continue to ship Eight/Charley, Eight/Lucie, and Eight/Rose among others.
Example Eighth Doctor Era Fanworks
- Eighth Doctor works (archived link) at Panatropic
- Eighth Doctor fanworks at Teaspoon and an Open Mind
Succinct Ninth Doctor Canon
Ninth Doctor Fandom
'Don't skip Nine' - or other phrases to that affect - were quite popular at one time, emphasising that even though Ten was a popular favourite, that newcomers to the fandom should still watch Series 1.
Example Ninth Doctor Era Fanworks
- “The Parting of the Ways” - portrait by Alicexz, commissioned Big Chief Studios and officially licensed by the BBC. "It’s meant to be a dually melancholy/hopeful piece, as it was inspired by both the triumphant scene in The Doctor Dances, as well as the bittersweet regeneration scene."
- art for #1 issue of Doctor Who: Ninth Doctor by Alicexz
- 18 Seconds by Kate Bolin -- vignette.
- Relatives & Relativity by Yahtzee - fic. Gen crossover with Sense and Sensibility.
- Exile (link) by wolfling - vid. It's not that there's no place like home, it's that home is gone, and how he tries to make up for it.
- "But it’s not all doom, gloom, and approaching storm around Ten’s TARDIS. Far from it. Sure, he’s a little emo –- people just keep dying around him/leaving him! It’s enough to give a Time Lord a complex! – but regardless, Ten is clearly having one hell of a riotous good time. Whether it’s facing down volcanic aliens with a water pistol, smelling the applegrass of New Earth, opening the TARDIS with a fingersnap, or matching words with Will Shakespeare, this Doctor is appreciating every second." (Tenth Doctor Idol Reflection essay)
Succinct Tenth Doctor Canon
The manic Doctor. Also, according to some, "Emo kid." Skinny, wild hair, often wears a close-cut brown suit (or a blue one), and almost always Converse-type sneakers.
Saw the introduction of River Song in the widely admired episodes Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. Also introduced the Metacrisis Doctor, originally dubbed Blue!Doctor because of the colour of his suit. Now more commonly referred to as Tentoo.
Tenth Doctor Fandom
Many fans were dissatisfied with the season 4 finale, leading to many fix-it fics.
Example Tenth Doctor Era Fanworks
- “The Turn of the Universe” - portrait by Alicexz, commissioned Big Chief Studios and officially licensed by the BBC.
- Handlebars - vid by Flummery
- The Perfect Ten (vid) by luciazephyr
- Tabula Rasa - vid by hollywoodgrrl
- Tenth Doctor: The Musical by di_br - vid where the Ninth Doctor is bemused watching the Tenth Doctor's affairs and antics.
- Papa Don't Preach - constructed reality vid by eunice and greensilver. Jack Harkness gets pregnant by The Master and worries about The Doctor's reaction.
Matt Smith played the Eleventh Doctor from January 2010 to December 2013. He had three companions, first Amy Pond and Rory Williams, then Clara Oswin Oswald. River Song played a major role, but for the most part did not travel with the Doctor.
Succinct Eleventh Doctor Canon
(The even more manic Doctor?) Bow tie. Likes eating fish fingers dipped in custard.
Eleventh Doctor Fandom
Often nicknamed "Eleventy" or "Hipster Doctor."
- Finally, after saving the world in a dead man's clothes, he presented himself, properly, as the Eleventh Doctor, in all his slightly hipster, flopsy haired, long limbed, silly, young, old goofiness. // And you know what? // I LOVED HIM.
Popular ships for the Eleventh Doctor include all his companions in various permutations, though Doctor/River is by far the most popular on the AO3. A Teaspoon and an Open Mind has only character categories and nothing to mark pairings, so gen and het fanfic featuring the Doctor and Amy appear to be the most popular. Fanfiction.net did not add a pairing feature until 2013, so pairing numbers are very low and not necessarily representative; Doctor-and-River stories barely beat out Doctor-and-Amy stories for first place, but as a pairing, Doctor/Clara wins.
Example Eleventh Doctor Era Fanworks
- “The Roar of Our Stars” - portrait by Alicexz which was later officially licensed by the BBC.
- Don't Tell Me Where You've Been (Just Show Me What You Know) by Laura Shapiro - an Eleven/River Song vid.
- Your Life (extempore) by lim - a Doctor/Amy/Vincent vid.
- Return to the 11th Hour was a convention held to celebrate the 11th Doctor.
- The Eleventh Doctor and Genocide – Or Why Context and Narrative Are Important - Meta by tillthenexttimedoctor (February 2015)
Peter Capaldi plays the Twelfth Doctor, starting as a cameo in the episode "The Day of the Doctor" on the 14th of November 2013 and ending on December 25th, 2017. His main companion is Clara Oswald, who is hesitant to continue traveling with him when he first regenerates. He later travels with Bill Potts and Nardole.
Succinct Twelfth Doctor Canon
Attack eyebrows. Sonic sunglasses. Four and a half billion years. Last night on Darillium. "Be kind."
Twelfth Doctor Fandom
Generally accepted as the "angry doctor" or the "rebel time lord". Known for Capaldi's tour-de-force turn in the puzzle-box episode Heaven Sent. Most common pairings are Doctor/Clara Oswald, Doctor/River Song and Doctor/Missy.
Example Twelfth Doctor Era Fanworks
- The Doctor and Clara - portrait celebrating the season premiere; The Doctor & Clara Oswald San Diego Comic-con-exclusive Doctor Who covers by Alicexz.
- basil and cleopatra by jontinf - Twelve/Clara fanfic, explicit, NSFW
- Mr and Mrs Smith by samchandler1986 - Twelve/Clara fanfic, mature
- Pulse by katrindepp, a Twelve/Clara vid
- Without Reward by Margarita Life, a Twelfth Doctor vid
The Thirteenth Doctor is played by Jodie Whittaker. Whittaker appeared for the first time as the Thirteenth Doctor at the end of the 2017 Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time", and became the main Doctor in the show's eleventh series.
Succinct Thirteenth Doctor Canon
Regenerated as female.
Thirteenth Doctor Fandom
The Thirteenth Doctor brought a new wave of femslash to Doctor Who, which had previously been quite rare in the fandom. Postive comments from Alex Kingston (River Song) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) about the recent regeneration made Thirteen/River and Thirteen/Rose popular before season 11 began. Many of these fics centered around their initial reaction to meeting Thirteen. Following the trend of pairing the Doctor with one of their companions, Thirteen/Yaz was quick to become the preferred couple for Thirteen while season 11 aired.
The first female Doctor has resulted in expanded use of pronouns within DW fandom. 13 uses she/her, whereas all her previous incarnations used he/him pronouns. This can result in pronouns switching within a fic, when the Doctor refers to or thinks of her former lives, and in some cases pronouns can swap mid-sentence. When referring to all the Doctors, they/them pronouns are commonly used.
Example Thirteenth Doctor Era Fanworks
Other Versions of The Doctor
- Rowan Atkinson doctor and Hugh Grant doctor and Joanna Lumley doctor from "Curse of the Fatal Death" short charity special parody.
- The War Doctor portrayed by John Hurt, retroactively created by showrunner Steven Moffat for productions celebrating the show's 50th anniversary, first appearing in "The Name of the Doctor" (2013).
- Shalka Doctor voiced by Richard E. Grant
- The Martin!Doctor portrayed by Jo Martin, is an unknown iteration of the Doctor, introduced by Chris Chibnall during Series 12. She first appeared in Fugitive of the Judoon (2020) and is the first POC to play the Doctor.
The Fourteenth Doctor is played by Ncuti Gatwa.
- "Fantasy Empire"?
- "You never forget your first Doctor. Who was your first Doctor?" in "Reddit". Retrieved September 18, 2021.
- "Despite his huge, infectious grin, and often manic energy, Nine was someone scarred and ravaged from what had been done to him in the Time War… and what he'd been forced to do – destroying not only the Daleks, but also his own people, the Time Lords. Darkness, despair and self-loathing were never very far beneath the surface of his smile… and even as we watched him beguiled by Rose, often times Nine seemed to hate himself far more than it was possible for him to love anyone." From his reach is global, his tower secure; his cause is noble, his power is pure... essay by kalichan at Idol Reflection, 11 Aug 2009. (Accessed 30 Jan 2012)
- his reach is global, his tower secure; his cause is noble, his power is pure... essay on the Tenth Doctor by kalichan at Idol Reflection, 11 Aug 2009. (Accessed 30 Jan 2012)
- See "The Doctor Meets Ceiling Cat" commentfic/coda at the end of the Dreamwidth version of Trying to Communicate by Sam Starbuck (Accessed 29 Jan 2012)
- Things I'm Obsessed With: Doctor Who (Still), accessed January 30, 2012
- As of November 29, AO3 has 1945 works for Eleventh Doctor/River Song, compared to 297 for Eleventh Doctor/Amy Pond, 166 for Eleventh Doctor/Clara Oswin Oswald, 139 for Eleventh Doctor/Amy Pond/Rory Williams, and 119 for Eleventh Doctor/Rory Williams.
- As of 29 November 2013, there are an estimated 1065 Doctor and Amy stories, 810 Doctor and River stories, 765 Doctor and Rory stories, and only 120 Doctor and Clara stories.
- As of 29 November, there were 3.2K Doctor and River stories and 84 Doctor/River, 3.1K Doctor and Amy stories and 11 Doctor/Amy, 1.6K Doctor and Clara stories and 125 Doctor/Clara, 907 Doctor and Rory stories and 0 Doctor/Rory.
- Laura's Vids, accessed January 30, 2012
- Your Life (extempore) on YouTube, accessed January 30, 2012