At Collectormania 18, held in Milton Keynes, Tom Baker said he is open to the possibility of returning to Doctor Who for the 50th anniversary next year. So with that in mind which former Doctor would you most like to see back for the landmark anniversary?
First, but gone, the late great William Hartnell as The Doctor.
For obvious reason’s the poll is limited to those actors still with us – I’m sure we don’t need to explain why. Yes current technology could very well do marvellous things and create holograms of the first three Doctors – and that would be most welcome to – but for the purpose of the poll we’re concentrating on Doctors 4 through to 10.
Tom Baker holds the record for the actor to play the Doctor for the longest on-screen clocking up seven years between 1974 and 1981. After leaving Doctor Who he declined to return in 1983 for the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors; so footage from the un-broadcast story Shada was used instead. However, he did reprise his role for the Children in Need special Dimensions in Time in 1993 and has recently donned the 4th Doctor’s hat once again for several Big Finish audio plays. As Baker has said he is open to returning surely the BBC would be stupid not to take him up on that?
Peter Davison took over from Tom Baker in 1981 and inherited what has widely been dubbed a “crowded TARDIS”. Under producer John Nathan Turner the series returned somewhat to its roots with three companions and more continuity between adventures – each usually linking into one another. Davison has, of course, reprised his role on several occasions most notable for the Children in Need special Time Crash a few years ago opposite David Tennant. The special was written by Steven Moffat who just happens to be Doctor Who’s show-runner now!
Colin Baker became the sixth Doctor in 1984 and his tenure in the show was notably troubled. Despite the show’s continued popularity it was unexpected cancelled in 1985 by Michael Grade who didn’t like the series – feeling it was cheap looking compared to American imports. Rather than give Doctor Who a bigger budget with which to compete Grade axed it; but a big press campaign saved the production and Doctor Who returned in 1986 Baker left the role following his second full season but returned for Dimensions in Time in 1993 and has continued to play the role for Big Finish audio dramas.
Sylvester McCoy made his debut in 1987 and while the show underwent something of a creative revival during his tenure – becoming darker and more adult in tone – Doctor Who struggled to keep viewers. In 1989 it was cancelled by the BBC though they, at the time, merely insisted the series was on an extended production break. That break lasted until the 1996 television movie in which McCoy reprised his role for the first part of the movie before handing over to his successor Paul McGann.
To date Paul McGann has only made one on-screen appearance as the 8th Doctor in the 1996 TV Movie which actually rated quite well in the UK but didn’t fare well in America and so no full series followed. McGann has reprised the character in numerous Big Finish audio plays. Another on-screen outing for the 8th Doctor is long overdue though and what better occasion than the 50th anniversary? McGann has indicated he would be willing to return if asked….
Christopher Eccleston was the first Doctor of the revived series though he was 9th overall. Eccleston played the 9th Doctor for a single season in 2005 but his portrayal helped secure the success of the rebooted programme. He has since indicated, however, that he is not interested in returning at all. Fans would like to see the actor back for the 50th anniversary but at present it seems unlikely but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t feature in our poll!
David Tennant took over from Christopher Eccleston and became hugely popular as the 10th Doctor. Tennant’s portrayal helped keep Doctor Who firmly in the public affections as ratings soared during his time. The departure of the actor in 2009 was a big deal generating lots of press coverage and millions tuned in for his last appearance. Tennant may have left Doctor Who behind but he certainly hasn’t forgotten the series and has already said he would return.
The poll is located on the right side of the site between the Recent Stories and Recent Comments boxes.