I’ve been an avid watcher of Doctor Who since I was a child. Patrick Troughton (2) was my first Doctor, although I don’t remember much about his episodes. I’ve also seen all the William Hartnell (1) episodes, but not for quite some time. I mostly watched it because it was science fiction, and there wasn’t much available back then. I continued through Jon Pertwee (3), but didn’t become an avid fan until Tom Baker (4). He had some fantastic companions as well, and was a joy to watch. I loved Leela and K-9, and was pretty fond of Adric as well.
When Peter Davison (5) took over, I was upset at first, but later learned to love him as well. I think it was in his first episode that he had one of my favorite lines. He and his companions were trapped in an Escher-like city, and he asked a group of people where the exit from the city was. Every single person pointed a different direction, and Davidson responded, “Well, that’s democracy for you.” To this day, I still think that is one of the best descriptions of democracy I’ve ever encountered.
The sixth Doctor was Colin Baker, and I did not like him one bit. Ever. He was condescending and nasty. That slowly declined, but I could not forgive the character, and honestly I don’t think he ever did anything to earn forgiveness. I realize that it was the writing that made him horrible, but the whole idea of making a Doctor dark and nasty was just terrible.
I was relieved when Sylvester McCoy (7) took over. He was quirky and fun, and truly cared about his companion. His character started out light-hearted and fun, but experienced perhaps the most character development of any of the Doctors. He could be dark and manipulative, but all in the name of doing good. And I liked that he hated physical weapons, and used conversation to take enemies down.
Many think that Doctor Who was cancelled due to McCoy, but there were far deeper issues, including issues between the producer John Nathan-Turner and BBC executives. Also, the new controller of the BBC hated Doctor Who, and it’s hard for a show to survive such a thing.
I was devastated when Doctor Who was cancelled, and so was really excited when it was revived, with Paul McGann (8) as the new Doctor. It was only one episode and not all that great in my opinion, but it served well enough to reboot the series, so I’m good with his performance.
John Hurt played The War Doctor, who did not claim the title of Doctor. He didn’t show up until much later, and was the one responsible for the Time War. I think Hurt did a fantastic job portraying this incarnation. Inserting his storyline also explains some of the behavior of the later Doctors.
The New generation of Dr Who and the BBC reboot
Christopher Eccleston (9) served as the next Doctor for only a single season. I thought he did a great job, and was surprised when he left. I know now that it was political, and had nothing to do with his acting. I feel that he is the one who really brought it back to life, as well as good stories and companions. I understand that he is returning as the ninth Doctor in an audio series soon.
David Tennant (10) is my absolute favorite Doctor. I loved his acting, the writing, everything. I would have been happy if he became The Doctor for life… but he has a career to think of, and is going marvelously. His Doctor was kind when he could be, threatening when appropriate, and absolutely deadly when necessary. I also liked his vulnerability, in that he needed a companion to keep him from taking things too far. There was also a second tenth doctor, which grew from his severed hand during a time of crisis. I thought that turned out nicely, given that he ended up with Rose Tyler.
It took me a loooong time to warm up to Matt Smith. While most young fans adored him, and found him very attractive… I find his concave face difficult to look at in profile. I’ve read even a past Doctor call him the perfect face and personality for Doctor Who… but I have to say no, that would be Tennant, not Smith. Some of his episodes were excellent, but I often didn’t like the writing.
Speaking of writing… I had great expectations for Peter Capaldi’s (12) Doctor, but the writing, in my opinion, usually sucked. There were a few good episodes, but the constant nasty comments about age and looks, and that he willfully left his companion alone and in danger regularly… I hated that. I guess one of my big problems, with both Smith and Capaldi’s Doctors, was that Stephen Moffat Dr Who and Sherlock, and the writing showed it. He left in 2017, with his last episode being Twice Upon a Time, and was succeeded by Chris Chibnal.
Unfortunately I can’t say much about Jody Whittaker (13) as The Doctor. I saw some episodes from her first season – liked some, didn’t like others, and truly loved only one. Since then I’ve lost access to BBC America.