Julien Neaves – Editor
In a Guardian article yesterday Fourth Doctor Tom Baker reflected on the iconic role he left four decades ago. The 87-year-old actor is the oldest living actor to portray everyone’s favourite Time Lord and remains popular to this day. Last month in a Radio Times poll ranking incarnations Baker placed fifth, but I think that is because most of those voting are not familiar with Classic Who nor the Fourth Doctor’s extraordinary almost seven year-run. And for the record he is my personal favourite with Tenth Doctor David Tennant (who won the poll) a close second.
Baker appeared in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor in 2013, and if he is still kicking about the Powers That Be (PTB) will likely bring him back for the 60th anniversary in 2023. What? It’s never too late to look ahead. But which other Doctors should be brought back for the special or another multi-Doctor story? Well, how about we do a list of them? Those are always fun.
But before we start listing let’s set some ground rules. I will only be including Doctors where the actual actors can return, so no stock footage or recasting like they did twice with the First Doctor (The Five Doctors, Twice Upon a Time). Therefore no Doctors where the actors have passed (First, Second, Third or War) will be included. I will also not be including Tenth or Thirteenth as I think they are both shoe-ins for the 60th as most popular and sole female respectively. And I am leaving out Matt Smith as well because he was the focus of the 50th anniversary, so he can afford to sit out the 60th or be restricted to a cameo. With those caveats, an Allons-y and a Geronimo, let’s go:
#6 Fifth Doctor – Peter Davison
Now I love the Fifth Doctor with his youthful exuberance, endless optimism and fondness for vegetable fashion, but he already had a stellar return in the 2007 mini-episode Time Crash alongside Tennant. So while it would be cool to see him again I think some of the other Doctors should get higher priority. And if you can track it down I highly recommend Davison’s hilarious comedy spoof The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.
#5 Sixth Doctor – Colin Baker
Of all the Doctors Colin Baker’s Sixth was the one I could never get into. His abrasive, condescending and pompous manner just rubbed me the wrong way. Going through his episodes felt like a slog, though thankfully he mellowed somewhat in his third and final series. That being said, why include him on the list at all? Well firstly the writing for Baker was never the best, so I would like to see what he can do with a good story. And secondly it would be interesting to throw him into the mix as an unlikable Doctor among likeable ones.
#4 Twelfth Doctor – Peter Capaldi
I found Peter Capaldi’s performance as the Doctor to be one of the best. Sure on the surface he was grumpy and misanthropic, but just below the surface there was a kind heart and an endless curiosity. He featured in some fantastic episodes and a few not-so-great episodes, but even when he was in a dud he was still a stud (so to speak). He placed third in the above-mentioned Radio Times poll but I think he may be left out of a return because of how recently he appeared. But it would be unfortunate if Capaldi’s masterful talents are not utilised for the 60th or another multi-Doctor episode.
#3 Seventh Doctor – Sylvester McCoy
After slogging through the Sixth Doctor’s run the arrival of the Seventh Doctor was a breath of fresh air. His ridiculous costumes and silly behaviour disguised a cunning tactician, and it would be fun to see his machinations in a new adventure. And after McCoy’s appearance in The Hobbit trilogy he is one of the more recognisable Classic Doctors, so he can add a bit of extra hype to the proceedings. So if we are gathering Doctor incarnations let’s not forget the real McCoy. You see what I did there, and you liked it!
#2 Ninth Doctor – Christopher Eccleston
This one is what Americans call a Hail Mary (big up to all our American readers. You the best. Don’t tell the other nationalities I told you that. Don’t want them getting jealous now). After kicking off the modern era of Doctor Who in 2005 Eccleston has avoided the franchise like a Slitheen toilet. The PTB tried to bring him back for the 50th but that fell through, and it seems unlikely he will ever return to the show. Up to this day the circumstances of his falling out with the PTB (circa 2005) remains murky, with the actor saying his relationship broke down with the showrunner and producer, and that he disagreed with the “politics” of the show. But that was 15 years and two showrunners ago. Come on man! We want your cool and dark and funny incarnation back on the show. Do it for the fans. So if they ask you back for the 60th, please don’t skip it.
#1 Eighth Doctor – Paul McGann
By elimination alone the number one entry should be no surprise. And I know I am not alone in calling for Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor to return to the show. His first and main appearance was in the 1996 Doctor Who movie in which he was easily the best thing in an extremely lacklustre film. Other than the War Doctor he is the only main incarnation not to have a TV series, and I haven’t listened to him in the audio adventures but I have heard he is stellar in them. But I did see him in the 2013 mini-episode The Night of the Doctor and in under seven minutes his charm, wit and affability blew me and other fans away into the stratosphere, and it had us begging for more! So if only one previous Doctor returns for the 60th (though I do believe that will not be the case) it has to be the Eighth Doctor. Both the actor and the fans deserve it.
So those are my picks. Which Doctor incarnation would you most like to see return? For my Top 10 Modern Doctor Who Aliens That Deserve a Comeback you can click here. And for more than 40 wibbly wobbly, timey wimey articles you can check out the RMR Doctor Who tab here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter. And for more about me you can check out my full bio here.