From left, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith
The 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who
, "The Day of the Doctor," aired
The show's mythology explains that the Doctor has the power to regenerate himself, hence his habit of appearing as a new person periodically. Journey with us down memory lane – or perhaps to a different dimension – as we look back at every actor who's stepped inside the TARDIS throughout the show's tenure.
First Doctor: William Hartnell, 1963-1966
William Hartnell, 1965
Chris Ware / Keystone / Getty
The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) later refers
to the First as "the grumpy one." The Doctor was also played by Peter Cushing, of Hammer horror film fame, in two films around this time.
Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton, 1966-1969
Patrick Troughton, 1966
PA / AP
The Second Doctor's catchphrases included,
"Oh my giddy aunt!" and "When I say run, run
Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee, 1970-1974
The Third Doctor's velvet smoking jackets, cloaks, bow ties, cravats, and leather gloves earned
him the nickname "The Dandy Doctor."
Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker, 1974-1981
Frank Barratt / Getty
The Fourth Doctor's absurdly-long scarf originated
from the show's costume designer James Acheson asking a friend to create a scarf. This pal provided her with "large quantities" of various colors of wool, and she used all of them.
Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison, 1981-1984
Peter Davison, 1981
The Fifth Doctor is dressed
in a "variation of an Edwardian cricketer's kit," and wears a celery stalk on his left lapel, calling it "an excellent restorative from where I come from."
Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker, 1984-1986
The Sixth Doctor was a noted
cat aficionado, and he was rarely seen without a cat-shaped brooch or pin on his garish patchwork coat.
Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy, 1987-1989, 1996
Sylvester McCoy, 1987
"The Seventh Doctor is not well-liked by his predecessors or successors," a feeling which is apparently mutual
, given that the Seventh called the Fifth, "bland, and not even one of the good ones."
Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann, 1996
Paul McGann, 1996
Universal / REX USA
The Eight Doctor broke
a long-standing taboo against romantic involvement with his companions when he kissed Grace Holloway (played by Daphne Ashbrook), which sharply divided fan opinion.
Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston, 2005
Christopher Eccleston, 2005
BBC / Everett
Eccleston's run as the Ninth Doctor was largely praised
; readers of Doctor Who Magazine
voted Eccleston's Doctor as the third most popular Doctor, behind Tom Baker and David Tennant.
Tenth Doctor: David Tennant, 2005-2010
David Tennant, 2008
Mary Evans / Ronald Grant / Everett
Tennant has been voted
the "Best Doctor" by a wide variety of publications and fan sites, supplanting prior favorite Tom Baker.
Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith 2010-2013
Karen Gillan, 2012
BBC / Everett
At 26, Matt Smith was
the youngest actor cast to play the Doctor. His successor,
Peter Capaldi, is the oldest since Hartnell, at 55.