Doctor Who: Where are they now?

Doctor Who: Where are they now?

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By Rebecca Stewart,
Wednesday, 24th June 2015

After it was announced that Matt Smith will star in Netflix drama The Crown, we looked at what some of the Doctors went on to do after the regenerated

Doctor Who fans missing Matt Smith will be excited to he will return to our screens in new Netflix drama The CrownThe former Doctor will play Prince Phillip with an all-star cast including Wolf Hall's Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and John Lithgow as Winston Churchill.

Travelling through time and space is something of a signature move for the TimeLord and no doubt Smith will be right at home in post-war Britain, where this drama is set. We decided to track down some of the other Doctors to see where they are now.


First Doctor: William Hartnell 1963 – 1966

When Hartnell departed in 1966 due to deteriorating health, the producer of the show came up with a unique idea: that since the Doctor is an alien, he can transform himself physically, thereby renewing himself. It was Hartnell himself who suggested the second incarnation of the doctor, stating that "There's only one man in England who can take over, and that's Patrick Troughton".

After leaving the show Hartnell appeared in episodes of No Hiding Place and Softly, Softly as well as returning as the Doctor for the tenth anniversary special The Three Doctors in 1972-73. He died in 1975 aged 67.


Patrick Troughton as the seconds Doctor. Credit: BBC

Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton 1966 – 1969

After three years in the role, Troughton left partly for fear of being typecast. After 1969, he appeared in various film and television roles, including the first episode of Inspector Morse, which ITV originally transmitted on 6 January 1987. His final television appearance was in the autumn of 1987 in Knights of God, which had actually been filmed two years earlier. He died two days after his 67th birthday in 1987.


Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor. Credit: Archives New Zealand
Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor. Credit: Archives New Zealand

Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee 1970 – 1974

Pertwee played the Doctor for five seasons - a longer stint than either of his predecessors – but, like Troughton, cited typecasting as his reason for stepping down in 1974. After resuming his stage career in The Bedwinner and a stint as the host of murder-mystery game show WhoDunnit?, Pertwee took the starring role as Worzel Gummidge in the hit ITV adaptation of Barbara Euphan Todd's books.

Pertwee returned to the role of the Doctor in the 1983 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors and also in the stage play Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure, which toured UK theatres from March to June 1989. His last formal television appearance was on Cilla's Surprise, Surprise in April 1996. He died in 1996, age 76.

Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. Credit: TNS Sofres
Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. (Credit: TNS Sofres)

Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker 1974 – 1981

The fourth incarnation of the Doctor had the longest tenure yet and is often regarded as the most popular of the Doctors. After leaving the role, Baker portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a four-part BBC1 miniseries version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. He also Appeared in Blackadder II as the sea captain "Redbeard Rum".

In the early noughties, Baker was cast as a narrator of Little Britain on BBC Radio 4 and remained in the role when it transferred to television – a role that helped make his the fourth most recognizable voice in Britain according to a 2005 poll. He continues to win regular narrating roles, and is currently the voice behind new ITV consumer show Big Box, Little Box, which first aired in June 2015.


Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison 1981 – 1984

Aged just 29, Davison was the youngest actor to have played the Doctor, a record he kept for nearly thirty years until twenty six year old Matt Smith took the role in 2009. Patrick Troughton had recommended that Davison leave the role after three years to avoid being typecast and although followed this advice, he has reprised the role throughout his career, most recently acting as host of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular orchestra tour.

In 2000, after a string of TV, film and stage roles, including Miss Marple Mysteries: A Pocketful of Rye and Magnum, P.I., Davison landed the role of David Braithwaite in At Home with the Braithwaites, which ran until 2003. He has had a number of stage roles, including that of King Arthur in Spamalot, Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde and is currently playing Herbie in the West End hit Gypsy.



Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker 1984 – 1986

After a short stint as the Doctor, Baker has spent much of his time on the stage, becoming something of a pantomime stalwart. More recent theatre appearances have seen him play the role of Inspector Morse in House of Ghosts and a UK tour of The Woman in White. As well as theatre, Baker has made appearances in BBC medical drama CasualtyThe KnockDangerfield and the first ever episode of Jonathan Creek. In 2012, he participated in the 12th series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, finishing 8th out of 12 contestants.

Baker's film work over the years includes The Harpist (1999), The Asylum (2000) and D'Artagnan et les trois mousquetaires (2005). This year it was announced he would appear in comedy The Mild Bunch, written by Doctor Who screenwriter Tony Lee.


Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy 1987 – 1989

The final Doctor of the original run was also one of the favourites, beating perennial favourite Tom Baker in a Doctor Who Magazine vote in 1990. McCoy remained with the series until it ended in 1989, returning to the role for a 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time and again in 1996, appearing in the beginning of the Doctor Who television movie starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

He has made numerous theatre appearances in everything from Pantomime to the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he appeared in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and in King Lear in 2007 alongside Ian McKellen. McCoy has continued to work with McKellen, most recently filming the three-part adaptation of The Hobbit books, in which he played the part of wizard Radagast.


Paul McGann in The Day of the Doctor. Credit: BBC, Adrian Rogers
Paul McGann in The Day of the Doctor. Credit: BBC, Adrian Rogers

Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann 1996

McGann appeared as the eighth Doctor in a television film aired in the UK and US in 1996. He has since reprised the role in more than 70 audio dramas and the 2013 mini-episode The Night of the Doctor.

After the Doctor, McGann's most notable role arguably came in the film adaptation of the third story from the Vampire ChroniclesQueen of the Damned, by Anne Rice. In 2010, he followed in the footsteps of various other Doctors by appearing in BBC mystery series Jonathan Creek. More recently, he made regular appearances in the crime drama Luther and Waking the Dead. In the past few years he has had increased narration roles, voicing the ITV mystery drama miniseries The Bletchley Circle, and several Natural World episodes.

Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston 2005

The first Doctor of the 21st century revival, Eccleston was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began. He left after just one series to pursue a variety of stage, television and film roles such as Thor: The Dark WorldFortitude and BBC production Lennon Naked, in which he portrayed John Lennon alongside fellow Doctor Who actor, Naoko Mori. In November 2010 he won an International Emmy Award for his role in anthology drama Accused and in 2011 he starred in BBC drama series The Shadow Line. He is currently portraying Reverend Matt Jamison on the HBO drama series The Leftovers.

David Tennant as the tenth Doctor. Credit: BBC

Tenth Doctor: David Tennant 2005 – 2010

The only other actor to pip Tom Baker as the most popular Doctor, David Tennant was also one of the longest serving. After leaving the show in 2010, Tennant has gone from strength to strength, appearing in a critically acclaimed stage production of Hamlet and the hit crime drama Broadchurch.

Tennant will repeat his performance as Richard II (which he played in 2014) in the RSC's "King and Country' cycle in 2016, starting at the Barbican Theatre in London.

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After it was announced that Matt Smith will star in Netflix drama The Crown, we looked at what some of the Doctors went on to do after the regenerated