David Tennant is the most popular Doctor to lead Doctor Who, according to a new fan poll from Radio Times. With 50,000 votes cast, fans of Doctor Who (which is now streaming on HBO Max) chose the Scottish actor who played the Doctor from 2005 until 2010 as the best in the show's 57-year history. Tennant's victory isn't surprising as he remains the most recognizable Doctor of the "new Who" era. What may be surprising is how close the current Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, came to surpassing Tennant. Both actors earned 21% of the overall fan vote, but Tennant beat Whittaker by about 100 votes in total.
Peter Capaldi, who played the Twelfth Doctor, had a strong showing and ended up in the third-place spot with 18% of the vote. His predecessor, Matt Smith, wound up in at number four with 16% of the vote. Tom Baker, the iconic Doctor of the classic Who era, rounds out the top five with 4% of the vote.
“Over a decade after he left the TARDIS behind and after nearly 50,00 votes were cast, it’s clear that David Tennant is still Doctor Who fans’ perfect 10!” said Huw Fullerton, RadioTimes.com’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Editor. “But with Jodie Whittaker hot on his heels and a great showing for other recent Doctors like Peter Capaldi, it looks like fans also now hold other Time Lords close to their heart(s).”
David Tennant is continuing to play his Doctor in The Tenth Doctor Adventures audio range from Big Finish, which has reunited him with Billie Piper, Catherine Tate, and Alex Kingston. Whittaker will return as the Thirteenth Doctor in the upcoming Holiday Special and again in the new season of Doctor Who.
Keep reading to see the entire ranking of Doctor Who Doctors according to this poll. Let us know what you think of the rankings in the comments.
1. David Tennant
21% of the vote
David Tennant debuted as the Tenth Doctor in the 2005 Christmas Special. He had three companions during his run: Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble. He faced off against classic Doctor Who villains like Daleks and Cybermen and concluded his run in the two part special "The End of Time."prevnext
2. Jodie Whittaker
Jodie Whittaker is the Thirteenth Doctor, the current Doctor, and the first woman to lead the series as the Doctor. She's two seasons into her run as the Doctor with an upcoming Holiday special and another season on the way.prevnext
3. Peter Capaldi
Peter Capaldi began a new era of Doctor Who as the Twelfth Doctor and the first in the Doctor's new regeneration cycle. He traveled with companions Clara Oswald and Bill Potts, did his best to rehabilitate the Missy, and brought his wrath to Galifrey itself.prevnext
4. Matt Smith
Matt Smith became the Eleventh Doctor in "The Eleventh Hours." He traveled with Amy Pond and Rory Williams and, later, Clara Oswald. He uncovered the mystery of the SIlence, and made his last stand at Trenzalore, earning the Doctor a new cycle of regenerations.prevnext
5. Tom Baker
Tom Baker played the Fourth Doctor, arguably the most iconic and recognizable version of the Doctor. He met Davros at the Genesis of the Daleks and fell in battle with the Master. Baker remains the actor with the longest run playing the Doctor on television.prevnext
6. William Harnell
William Hartnell is the actor who started it all. The First Doctor's legacy looms large, with David Bradley stepping into the role so the character could meet the Twelfth Doctor in Peter Capaldi's final outing.prevnext
7. Paul McGann
Paul McGann's Eight Doctor is the shortest reigning Doctor when it comes to television. His two appearances came 17 years apart, debuting in the 1996 Doctor Who television series and returning in the mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor." But if you count McGann's time playing the Doctor for audio stories, which he did throughout the time Doctor Who was off the air, he's the longest reigning Doctor, and much of fans' affections for him come from those audio stories.prevnext
8. Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor brought Doctor Who back to television. He bore the scars of the Doctor's involvement in the Time War, and his single-season adventure with Rose Tyler in the TARDIS was, as he would say, fantastic.prevnext
9. Jon Pertwee
The Doctor bore a new face - that of Jon Pertwee - when he was sentenced by the Time Lords to Exile on Earth. That didn't stop him from continuing his adventures, and he worked with UNIT to protect Earth from a variety of threats.prevnext
10. Patrick Troughton
Patrick Troughton introduced the concept of regeneration to Doctor Who when he debuted as the Second Doctor in 1966. He also showed how different two Doctors can be, taking on a much more playful and fun personality than his strict, straight-faced predecessor.prevnext
11. Sylvester McCoy
Sylvester McCoy came on as the Seventh Doctor as Doctor Who was floundering late in his original run. Unfortunately, he may be best remembered for being the last Doctor on television for years before the 1996 television movie. In the movie, he returned to show his Doctor's final moments.prevnext
12. Colin Baker
Colin Baker's sixth Doctor had an ostentatious fashion sense and an offputting personality. During this era the Doctor was put on trial by the Time Lords once again.prevnext
13. Peter Davison2comments
Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor comes in at the bottom of the list. This Doctor was dapper, curious, and willing to sacrifice his life to save a friend.prev