Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time!
Empire's Guardians Of The Galaxy Cover
Does Star Wars Have A Brain Trust?
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Feature
The Doctor Who's Who: A Guide To The Time Lord's Incarnations Through The Years
The Doctors profiled, vote for your favourite companion and the best episodes to watch

submit to reddit

On November 23, 1963, an odd little show premiered on British television. It promised a window into a realm of monsters, aliens, history and mystery, all anchored by a strange man in an even stranger box. Doctor Who had hit the airwaves and the world would never be the same again. But if you have only ever seen the current version, please make your own TARDIS dematerialisation noise and step back in time with us...

WORDS JAMES WHITE
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
  1 of 11 Next

The First Doctor (William Hartnell, 1963-1966)

WILLIAM HARTNELL
THE GRANDFATHERLY ORIGINAL

 

Our introduction to The Doctor came in the episode The Unearthly Child, which launched with the slightly stuffy, vaguely arrogant but still entertaining take provided by William Hartnell. Despite his aged appearance, the Doctor here is “only” about 400 years old, meaning he’s practically a spotty teenager by the standards of his home planet, Gallifrey. That might explain why he’s a renegade, a thief and an explorer who has essentially stolen his ride. It’s here that many of the iconic elements of the character and his world were established, most especially his vehicle known as the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). Famously, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside thanks to some dimensional chicanery that means it exists in different places at once. It should be able to disguise itself as anything, but is stuck looking like a 1960s police box because of a wonky circuit. This incarnation of the character was fuelled not just by adventure but also by learning: shows were geared about historical outings interspersed between encounters with villains. We were also introduced to the Doctor’s ability to ‘regenerate’ – a little trick that Time Lords use to change their molecular structure when their life is in mortal danger.
 


COMPANIONS

When we first meet the Doctor, he’s travelling with his granddaughter Susan (Carol Anne Ford), though his family is never really explained. He accidentally abducts her teachers, Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill). Later companions include Vicki Pallister (Maureen O’Brien), picked up because she reminds him of Susan, space pilot Steven Taylor (Peter Purves), who initially mistrusts him, liberated slave Katarina (Adrienne Hill), the weird Dodo (Jackie Lane) and his final two travellers, Polly (Anneke Kills) and Ben (Michael Craze, who he attempts to stay friendly with to ward off his loneliness.
 

Quick poll: Vote for your favourite Doctor Who companion


FIVE EPISODES TO WATCH

1 An Unearthly Child
The Doctor might prefer zipping around the space/time continuum and encountering history in a strange order, but it’s best for the viewer to start at the beginning with the first episode, which details so much about the Doctor that has become canon.

2 The Edge Of Destruction
The practice of using the TARDIS as a location – and a threat – was born here, with the time-travellers trapped within and slowly driven to paranoia and near-insanity.

3 The Dalek Invasion Of Earth
Actually the second appearance of the Daleks (after, er, The Daleks), this is widely considered to be their best early appearance, cementing them as the Doctor’s chief villains in an episode that finally breaks out of the studio confines for some impressive location work.

4 The Time Meddler
Another Gallifreyan Time Lord – The Monk – is messing about with history in the year 1066, actions strictly prohibited by his people’s rules. Naturally, the Doctor has to step into put things right.

5 The Tenth Planet
Say hello to the Cybermen, but prepare for some frustration as this represents one of the stories with missing episodes thanks to the Beeb’s re-use of recordings.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
 
1 of 11
Next

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.

Your Comments

1
I might be missing something but shouldn't John Hurt be on the list as the 9th Doctor? More

Posted by CaptainAwesome on Thursday November 28, 2013, 13:53

2 This was great...
...although I guess **SPOILERS** (sort of) you'll have to re-arrange the numerical order now - and although it was a one-off, I would consider Sally Sparrow to be a companion, and definitely one of my favourites - such a shame that now Carey Mulligan has made it SO big, we're unlikely to see her reprise the role... well, not until the 2025 Children In Need special anyway More

Posted by christofurr on Monday November 25, 2013, 15:41

3 RE: Missed one
L: Morehumanthanhuman I'm not a massive Dr Who fan, but I fail to see why Paul Mcgann gets a mention as the 8th doctor and yet Peter Cushing played the character several times never gets a mention. I loved those films as a kid getting constant repeats during the summer holidays. Peter Cushing played A Doctor, not THE Doctor. And he only did it for 2 TV movies. While the two movies, Doctor Who and the Daleks, and Doctor Who: Daleks Invasion Earth were based on the television series, they are not considered as canon within the main, TV universe. Cushing's Doctor was a human inventor, not a Time Lord. He also invented and built his Tardis, rather then it being the product of Time Lord science. The characters name was also Doctor Who. Who being used as the family/surname, rather then just the title of The Doctor. More

Posted by GrizBe on Monday November 25, 2013, 00:05

4
livapr99. There WAS A Christmas Carol for the Doctor. It was called a Christmas Carol and aired on Christmas Day 2010 More

Posted by PaoloCorleone on Sunday November 24, 2013, 20:58

5 Missed one
I'm not a massive Dr Who fan, but I fail to see why Paul Mcgann gets a mention as the 8th doctor and yet Peter Cushing played the character several times never gets a mention. I loved those films as a kid getting constant repeats during the summer holidays. More

Posted by Morehumanthanhuman on Sunday November 24, 2013, 13:39

6
Nice handy article :) Also concur that The Girl In The Fireplace and Blink should be in the mix. Still don't understand why Moffatt's more intellectual approach to story-telling is often viewed negatively - beats the dumbed down approach of RTD's run (The Big Red Button Era). I would disagree with the comment on the 10ths Master - Jacobi was fantastic, Simms was pantomime dreadful! RTD's period was often camp, but Simm's Master was better suited to Adam West's Batman. Shame, as he is a great actor usually. More

Posted by sirvolkar on Sunday November 24, 2013, 11:54

7
until I saw the bank draft that said $8966, I be certain ...that...my father in law woz like they say truley bringing in money in their spare time on their apple laptop.. there neighbour has done this less than seventeen months and resently paid the dept on there mini mansion and bought a gorgeous Porsche 911. I went here,...JUMP85.COM More

Posted by RachelMcCarter9012 on Sunday November 24, 2013, 02:53

8 Love the article. But...
...it's DEREK Jacobi. Not David. More

Posted by wgfuzzydunlop1 on Friday November 22, 2013, 20:36

9
What about 'A Christmas Carol' for the Eleventh Doctor? Overall, though, a good article. More

Posted by livapr99 on Friday November 22, 2013, 18:25

10 Where's K-9?
You forgot the snooty dog thing. Both of them. More

Posted by Sean Alexander on Friday November 22, 2013, 17:23

11 Great Article
Fantastic piece this. Genesis of the Daleks from the Tom Baker era has to be my favourite Doctor Who story, even though I am a huge fan of the modern era shows. Despite the still somewhat wonky sets, Genesis was the first thing on television that showed me that a TV series could have real dramatic depth and still be entertaining. His moral anguish when on the brink of committing genocide is brilliantly played by Tom Baker, off an excellent script. More

Posted by Topper_Harley on Friday November 22, 2013, 00:48

12 Probably one of the best articles you've written for a while...
But I agree with the others. Girl in the Fireplace and Blink defiantely needed to be on the list for the 10th, and A Good Man Goes to War and Vincent defiantely for the 11th. More

Posted by GrizBe on Thursday November 21, 2013, 21:36

13 Great list but....
Great list but for me Girl in the Fireplace & Vincent and the Doctor are 2 of my favourites. Blink is a great episode too and well deserved to be on the list. More

Posted by casheliser on Thursday November 21, 2013, 20:19

14 Amazing Feature
But for the 11th Doctor, I feel "A Good Man Goes To War" should included. It perfectly shows eleven's wit and his amazing sense of showmanship, as well as his wrath. Best 11 episode in my opinion. More

Posted by tommyinglis on Thursday November 21, 2013, 19:23

15
Awesome list but there's an episode missing from Tennant's run in my opinion: the awesome Girl in the Fireplace; my favourite tenth stand-alone More

Posted by cahoopuk on Thursday November 21, 2013, 14:53

16
Excellent feature and beautifully presented. Thanks. More

Posted by TimEdwards on Thursday November 21, 2013, 13:57

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Film Studies 101: Ten Movie Formats That Shook The World
The pre-digital innovations that formed modern cinema

Exodus: Gods And Kings: Ridley Scott's Trailer Breakdown
The director talks us through his enormous Biblical epic

Jay Baruchel Talks How To Train Your Dragon 2
From The Human Centipede to the origin of 'Useless reptile'

Spotify Playlist: Now That's What I Call... Richard Linklater!
The Boyhood director has a soundtrack for life

Empire At EIFF 2014: Elijah Wood Q&A
See highlights of our Edinburgh chat with the actor

The Empire Podcast #118: Keira Knightley And Dean DeBlois Interviews
The Begin Again star and How To Train Your Dragon 2 director pop in for a chat

Watch: Industrial Light & Magic's Greatest Hits
From Star Wars to Transformers, we run through some of the best individual moments from the special effects masters

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £18!
Special 25th anniversary offer for one month only! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)