Matt Smith is finally handing in his bow tie, leaving the TT Type 40 Mark 1 TARDIS to another Gallifreyan incarnation. When the news of his upcoming departure hit, internet speculators began speculating over who should replace him, but here at Empire the discussion turned in another direction: how did the careers of the other (re)generations fare after they shuffled off their immortal coil? Here is what became of the resulting research...
Doctor Who? William Hartnell
Time lorded over: 1963-1966, returning for a 1972 special
Episodes recorded: 134
You’re probably hoping for a jolly post-portrayal tale from the very first doctor, but you’re just not getting one, if only because The Doctor was the last role Hartnell ever played. He Doctored one more time in 1972 for The Three Doctors tenth anniversary special, but it meant having to use cue cards, Marlon Brando-style, on account of his failing memory. His health worsened dramatically a few years later and he died in his sleep at 65. For the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors in 1983, Richard Hurndall of Blake 7 fame filled his acerbic boots.
Doctor Who? Patrick Troughton
Time lorded over: 1966-1969, returning for specials in 1973, 1983 and 1985
Episodes recorded: 119
The recorder-playing, stovepipe hat-wearing Doctor Two kept extremely busy post-Who despite the advice given to him by his real-life doctors following heart attacks in 1978 and 1984. Numerous film work included horrors Scars Of Dracula, Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell and a rather gruesome death in The Omen (pictured), but he kept things light for his television gigs, appearing in The Goodies and the Two Ronnies, among others. Troughton eventually passed away a good 18 years since his last Who episode aired, the day after entertaining crowds at a science-fiction convention in the US. What a trooper. Or should that be Whooper?
Doctor Who? Jon Pertwee
Time lorded over: 1970-74, returning for specials in 1983 and 1993
Episodes recorded: 128
As you’d expect from the galaxy’s premier Venusian Aikido expert, Jon Pertwee kept just as busy as his predecessor following his exit from Doctor Who. Gameshow Whodunnit? was the first port of call, initially as a member of the panel before he taking over presenting duties from Edward Woodward. He then famously played kiddy favourite Worzel Gummidge (pictured), with no-one referring to him as Doctor ScarecrWho, except for us, just then. The show ran for four years and even spawned a stage show annd an album called Worzel Gummidge Sings) – our top track has to be ‘O Wor K Wor Dip’, by the way – firmly cementing him in the minds (and nightmares) of children growing up in the ‘70s. Despite his success as the turnip-headed straw man, one of Pertwee’s two hearts was always in the TARDIS, reversing the polarity of the neutron flow on occasional Doctor Who specials until his death in 1996.
Doctor Who? Tom Baker
Time lorded over: 1974-81, returning for a special in 1993
Episodes recorded: 172
The mop of curly hair. That scarf. Those boggling eyes. That manic grin. Baker’s iconic look is immortal, but somehow the majority of the fourth Doctor’s most successful work after Who was thanks to his vocal cords and not his lovely locks. Appearances in Sherlock Holmes and Blackadder deserve a mention, but Tom Baker remains best known for his voiceover work on Little Britain, The Magic Roundabout movie, the Nemesis rollercoaster at Alton Towers and the new Doctor Who audio adventures. Baker has also said publicly that he was offered a part in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy by die-hard Whovian Peter Jackson, but claims he turned down the role because of the travel required to work in New Zealand. But who would he have played? Only he (and Mr. Jackson) know, but chances are the character would have solved Middle-earth’s problems by offering Sauron a jelly baby.
Doctor Who? Peter Davison
Time lorded over: 1981-84, returning for specials in 1993 and 2007
Episodes recorded: 69
Peter Davison has been involved in many, many other shows since Doctor Who thanks (in part) to being the youngest Doctor cast for almost 30 years, getting the gig at the tender age of 29. Be sure to put on your best Edwardian cricket kit and look out for him in Magnum P.I., Jonathan Creek, Midsomer Murders, Miranda, New Tricks (pictured), Law & Order: UK and Lewis. If you have the time, enjoy David Tennant taking the mickey out of the celery on his jacket in this Children In Need special here and remember that Tennant is actually Davison’s son-in-law. No, really.
Doctor Who? Colin Baker
Time lorded over: 1984-86, returning for a special in 2003
Episodes recorded: 31
The sixth Doctor has spent most of his time on the stage following a surprise dismissal from the show after only two years Whoing. On top of his occasional work in the odd play or pantomime, Baker made appearances on Casualty, Dangerfield and Jonathan Creek before sinking to the Z-list depths of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here in 2012 (pictured). He also crops up in a Top Gear episode where the TARDIS appears on the side of the road, distracting a Cyberman trying to finish the track in a Honda Civic. Classy.
Doctor Who? Sylvester McCoy
Time lorded over: 1987-89, returning for a special in 1996
Episodes recorded: 42
Despite a relatively quiet career after his departure in 1989, Sylvester McCoy has recently hit the big time again after playing hedgehog aficionado Radagast The Brown in the on-going Hobbit trilogy. Such a gig will have come as a relief to McCoy after he narrowly missed out on the role of Bilbo Baggins to Ian Holm back in the day, having to make do with a string of guest appearances on The Bill, Casualty and Doctors instead. An immensely charming fellow, he recently lit up the Empire podcast booth with his particularly giggly line of bumbling banter, so be sure to listen to his interview here as soon as possible.
Doctor Who? Paul McGann
Time lorded over: 1996
Episodes recorded: N/A
McGann looked like he had a promising movie career on his hands prior to his brief time as The Doctor, boasting credits on The Three Musketeers, Alien 3 and, of course, Withnail & I. Since appearing as the main Gallifreyan man in the 1996 Doctor Who TV film, McGann has found more film work in the form of Listening, Gypo and Lesbian Vampire Killers. Television appearances, meanwhile, include perennial post-Who favourite Jonathan Creek, as well as Luther, Waking The Dead (pictured) and Ripper Street. He's also become something of a mainstay on the Who audio adventures, giving his Doc the longevity and popularity largely denied him by his one TV movie appearance.
Doctor Who? Christopher Eccleston
Time lorded over: 2005
Episodes recorded: 13 episodes
After just a year of playing the ninth Doctor, Eccleston left the programme following what he has said were tensions between him and the Doctor Who big wigs (which are presumably very curly). Since his departure, he's played John Lennon in the critically acclaimed TV biopic Lennon Naked and won an Emmy for his role in legal drama Accused. He also played the lead in Blackout and cropped up as Claude Rains in NBC’s hit sci-fi series Heroes. In cinemas, the former time traveller hasn’t had as much luck, his biggest part arguably a bad guy role in G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra – though look forward to his portrayal of Malekith The Accursed (pictured), the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, in Marvel’s upcoming Thor: The Dark World.
Doctor Who? David Tennant
Time lorded over: 2005-2010
Episodes recorded: 47 episodes
Although his take on The Doctor is much loved, David Tennant’s career hasn’t quite kicked off in the way many thought it might. Instead of taking over Hollywood, the tenth TARDIS, ahem, tenant has become a marketing man, working on numerous advertising campaigns - though you may have spotted him in the 2010 Fright Night remake as Peter Vincent, the frequently topless Vegas magician. Here’s hoping his critically-acclaimed work for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the extraordinary success of ITV’s Broadchurch will see Everyone’s Favourite Doctor™ spending less time snuggling up with Richard Branson on a giant red sofa and more on our cinema screens, ideally rocking his pinstripe suit and Converse combo and crowbarring in the phrase “wibbly wobbly timey-wimey stuff” at every available opportunity. He'll be back as the Doc alongside Matt Smith for the 50th anniversary episode.
Doctor Who? Matt Smith
Time lorded over: 2010-2013
Episodes recorded: 42 episodes
He’s made bow ties cool and driven a motorbike up The Shard – surely L.A.’s movie-making machinations will be an easy enough puzzle for the sprightly 30 year-old to solve? A good leg up is his role in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut How To Catch A Monster – also starring Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan and Eva Mendes – which is expected land in 2014. On-set photos have already revealed he’ll be wearing a glittery gold bomber jacket and a horseshoe around his waist. Try making that cool, Mr. Smith.
P.S. For more Matt Smith goodness, check out his appearance on the Empire Podcast thisaway.