Characters: Doctor Who Classic Series Doctors

The first eight incarnations of the Doctor as they appeared on the Doctor Who TV series from 1963–1989, plus the 1996 TV movie and several brief appearances in the revival series.

More tropes about these incarnations can be found on the Big Finish character pages.

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    First Doctor 

First Doctor

"One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."

Played by: William Hartnell (1963–66, 1972–73)note ; Richard Hurndall (1983)note 
Voiced by: David Coker (1997); John Guilor (2013)

A hot-tempered and eccentric old man with an air of mystery about him. He soon became a warmer, more avuncular character to his companions, but remained an authority figure. At any point in his Character Development, One is a merry Trickster Archetype, who loves manipulating people and playing games with their lives. His moral compass had long since deteriorated before leaving home, which begged the question of what could have possibly happened to him there. As he was never intended to be the "first" (or plural) Doctor, there is novelty in watching him develop into the Doctor as he's known today.
  • Abusive Parent: It was said about him as a child that he'd have to join the army, because he would never be able to go to the Academy and become a full Time Lord. (Might also be a Freudian Excuse for his later dislike of guns and soldiers in some incarnations.)
  • Accidental Proposal: The hot cocoa incident with Cameca.
  • Adopt the Dog: He's Neutral No Longer by the end of Season 1, but it's asking Vicki along as a companion that really seals it.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: "Listen" implies that as a child, he was not well-liked among the other children.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: This Doctor kick-starts the trend, with a decidedly Edwardian wardrobe.
  • Badass Cape: He didn't wear them very often, but One had a thing for long, dramatic capes.
    • Badass in Distress: The Doctor frequently vanishes for whole episodes so that Hartnell (and later Troughton) could take a week off to mend.
    • Badass Grandpa: He fought a Roman assassin with his bare hands, while enjoying the whole fight immensely.
  • Bad Liar: He's awful at it.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Does a masterful one in "The Reign of Terror," giant hat and all.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As his status as a Grumpy Old Man slowly faded away, this trope slowly replaced it in some situations. In particular, the Doctor's fight against the Celestial Toymaker is a major representation of this trope as the Doctor literally talks the world surrounding the TARDIS into oblivion with just three words and a number (Go to move 1,023!).
  • Brilliant but Lazy: His old teacher Borusa tells the Fourth Doctor that he was a nightmare to teach during the academy days.
    • It's mentioned that the Master got a higher degree in Cosmic Science than him, which the Doctor passes off with a "I was a late bloomer."
    • Romana I mentioned that he got through the Academy with 51% on his second attempt.
  • Catch Phrase: "Hmmm?" and "Mm? What’s that, my boy?"
  • Character Development: The first time we ever see the Doctor, he's arrogant, selfish, and prefers to take the easy (even cowardly) way out if it saves him. His evolution over the first handful of serials is an important point in the script as he becomes the heroic Doctor we know and love. The Twelfth Doctor says that it was when he went to Skaro for the first time that he realised what it meant to be the Doctor: "The Doctor was not the Daleks".
  • Classy Cane: A gift from Kublai Khan, no less.
  • Consummate Liar: Not a very good one, though.
  • Cool Old Guy: The oldest-looking Doctor of them all.
  • Dissonant Laughter: He has an odd habit of breaking into fits of hysterical laughter when the situation is going really, dreadfully wrong and he has no idea how to solve it.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: An example of Early Installment Weirdness, the Doctor smoked a pipe in the first story. It got him in trouble with the local caveman tribe, so perhaps that explains why he dropped the habit.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Typified in "The Gunfighters". When the Doctor is landed in jail, Steven passes him a gun through his cell window as part of a plan to bust him out. The Doctor immediately hands the gun over to the sheriff.
    Doctor: People keep giving me guns, and I do wish they wouldn't!
  • Doting Grandparent: To Susan.
  • The Exile: Claims that both Susan and he are exiles. It's later implied that this is only Metaphorically True, as both became defectors from decadence and left Gallifrey of their own volition.
  • Famous Last Words: "Ah! Yes. Thank you. That's good, keep warm." (The original script contained a line that was much more along the lines of "No... no, I simply will not give in!" for the First Doctor's final words, but these were not filmed, as time was running short, and production was almost at an end — with filming the regeneration still to go.)
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards humans, whom the Doctor initially considers primitive savages and treats with open contempt and disdain. From dialogue in the first episode, one gathers that he only tolerates 20th-Century Earth for Susan's sake.
  • Future Me Scares Me: As the primordial Doctor, he can't seem to decide if he likes the newer additions down the line or wants to stay as he is out of dread. One also loves taking charge of the Doctors and acting as their mediator toward specific goals, considering himself The Leader.
  • Grammar Nazi: Despite his own frequent malapropisms, this Doctor is a champion of proper speech. Upon meeting Dodo, he determines that he must teach her to speak English.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Began with this trope firmly in mind, but slowly became more of a grumpy Badass Grandpa, depending on the adventure. This was certainly the case in "The Five Doctors."
  • Guile Hero: He doesn't have access to the Applied Phlebotinum that was introduced in the tenures of later Doctors. As a result, this Doctor tends to rely on Batman Gambits, Bavarian Fire Drills, and Zany Schemes to defeat his enemies, although he could also simply beat them up.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Which Ian frequently triggered by accident.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: On occasion, especially in more humourous stories such as "The Romans", and whenever he encounters the Medding Monk. Vicki seems to bring out the worst in him.
  • Heroic Fatigue: Fell ill during the events of "The Tenth Planet," putting him out of commission for most of it. He finally mustered the energy to blow up the Snowcap base along with the Cybermen, whereupon he collapsed from exhaustion.
  • High-Class Glass: All the better to peer at aliens with. Eleven still has it.
  • Iconic Item: His prized ring. Arguably, also his cane. When he regenerated, his ring fell off and his second incarnation found it was too big for him. The Doctor doesn't wear the ring again until he discovers it fell into the TARDIS console in his seventh incarnation. In the Doctor Who New Adventures novels, he eventually gives it to Joan Redfern. The cane is also iconic.
  • Identical Stranger: This Doctor shared a resemblance with the Abbot of Amboise, the right-hand man of the Cardinal of Lorraine and a major player in a conspiracy to discredit the Huguenots (Protestants). Hartnell played the role as a lark, but it set the stage for more doppelgangers in the future. (See: Ramon Salamander, Col. Maxil, and Caecilius and John Frobisher.)
  • I'm Mr. Future Pop Culture Reference: The First Doctor's alias in Tombstone is "Dr. Caligari." ("The Gunfighters")
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: He's quite fond of making them, then giggling like a schoolgirl.
    Doctor: Did you take three dimensional graph geometry at your school?
    Ian: No Doctor, only Boyle's Law.
    Doctor: What a pity. We shall have to boil this down, now shan't we? (laughs)
  • Informed Attribute: His status as a Human Alien, which is occasionally mentioned but not actually demonstrated in any way until he regenerates for the first time. Sometimes, as in "The Savages," he seems to actually forget that he's not a human (since this wasn't yet clear to the writers at the start of the show).
  • Insistent Terminology: He does not tolerate being called "Doc".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Started out with the emphasis heavily on the former, but showed more of the latter as time passed.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: When Madame de Pompadour gets a look inside the mind of the Tenth Doctor she sees a "lonely little boy". When we actually see the First Doctor as a child, he's hiding in a barn crying himself to sleep.
  • Love at First Sight: According to the TARDIS herself, he outright said she was "the most beautiful thing (he'd) ever seen" when he first stole her.
  • Malicious Misnaming: The First Doctor likes mispronouncing Ian Chesterton's last name to annoy him.
  • The Millstone: In Season 1, he spends most of his time getting the party into trouble that Ian or Barbara are then obliged to get them out of.
  • Murder Tropes: The First Doctor had absolutely no problem with the idea of bashing someone's head in with a rock or having his companions Thrown Out the Airlock if they got too obnoxious. He never goes through with it, though, thanks to Ian and Barbara being two of the most level-headed companions he'd ever have, and not putting up with his antics.
  • Neutral No Longer: He starts out rather unheroic, but after a few adventures with Ian and Barbara, he begins to actually suggest doing heroic deeds rather than being forced into it.
  • Nice Hat: Wore an Astrakhan on a few occasions, including his very first adventure.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: His second episode had him deliberately endangering the lives of his granddaughter and their new pet humans, just because he wanted to see the Dalek city up close. He learned to be more responsible in the months following that, but still got downright giddy when he realised he accidentally had a hand in burning down Rome. He gets along extremely well with companion Vicki, another Nightmare Fetishist with the same outlook on things.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever drove him to leave Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS and take Susan with him. An old classmate Runcible says he was "expelled" due to a "scandal". But when the Time Lords catch up to him in his second incarnation the're more mad he's been breaking their non-interference law than anything else.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When he wanders onto a Hollywood shoot and is immediately mistaken for the history consultant, he is asked by the director what he thinks of the scantily-clad Arabian princess' costume. His response? To tell her she looks ridiculous and order her to "Put some more clothes on, child".
  • Parental Substitute: To Vicki. They meet just after the Doctor has said goodbye to Susan, and Vicki has just become an orphan. The two become very cuddly and adorable together.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: At times, though a fairly mild case.
  • Ring of Power: Among other functions, used to supply power to the TARDIS, and for hypnosis.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Quite often comes across this way, though as usual for the Doctor it's often a case of Obfuscating Stupidity. Also as usual for the Doctor, it's often difficult to tell exactly how much is Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Much like Hartnell himself. If there's one thing the Doctor doesn't have time for, it's everything. But if there’s one thing the Doctor really doesn’t have time for, it's humans buzzing around his ear like a fly at a picnic, defying his orders at every turn, and sticking his neck out to go rescue more irritating humans. 'You drive me ROUND THE BEND!' the Doctor barks at Ian.
  • Signature Laugh: "Ha ha, ho ho!" or simply "Ho ho!"
    • Noblewoman's Laugh: Matches his character - which is to say that he's something of an arrogant jerk.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Seen most prominently in "The Sensorites," in which he uses both regular glasses and a monocle.
  • Thicker Than Water: He and Susan are extremely close, and they never even fought before "The Sensorites." Letting her go is a very difficult choice for the Doctor.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Forms a large part of his Character Development as he shifts into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
  • Troll: Has his moments, such as a time when he's wired to a machine that shows one's thoughts on screen. When asked how he got into a museum surrounded by an impenetrable wall and a moat with no bridge? A picture of a man riding an old 1800s bicycle appears on screen.
  • The Unfavorite: As a child, he was told he wouldn't be able to go to the Academy and become a full Time Lord.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: He's devoted to his grandaughter and is disgusted by villains like the Daleks but aside from that his morals are loose at best, with his flaws ranging from pride and paranoia to outright moral cowardice in trying to abandon Barbara to die on Skaro rather than risk further exposure to radiation, as well as Ian and Barbara becoming his companions only after he trapped them within the Tardis against their will. By the conclusion of the first three stories he gets over this.
  • Verbal Tic: "Hmmm?" and "eh?". This came about because Hartnell suffered from arteriosclerosis, which affected his ability to remember lines, and this allowed the producers to use lines where Hartnell got his lines wrong (re-shooting and dubbing dialogue was not usually an option).
  • Waistcoat of Style: The first of many incarnations to wear one.
  • Wham Line: Kicks off the climax of "The Day of the Doctor".
    First Doctor: Calling the War Council of Gallifrey, this is The Doctor!

    Second Doctor 

Second Doctor

"There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things that act against everything we believe in. They must be fought!"

Played by: Patrick Troughton (1966–69, 1972–73note , 1983, 1985)
Voiced by: David Coker (1997)

The cosmic hobo with the Beatles haircut who deceived people with his quirkiness. The Second Doctor was a fool who enjoyed annoying everyone he met, and made an art form of out of gleefully insulting his foes and allies alike. He liked to play the recorder (the musical instrument), and he carried a massive number of useful things in the pockets of his coat, including the now famous sonic screwdriver. (The Tenth Doctor would confirm that, as many fans had long suspected, the Doctor's pockets are bigger on the inside.) A more easy-going and rational figure than his predecessor, but still very much an anti-authority maverick. As he became very close to his companions, he has arguably had the most lasting influence on later Doctors — largely because he was just plain fun.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The first of many to demonstrate this trait, especially in his early adventures. He never quite stopped being distracted by Nice Hats, though.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: A sort of ill-fitting ensemble of early 20th century clothes.
  • Badass Adorable
  • Badass Uncle: Still one of the older Doctors.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Not as much as Five or Ten, but still capable of steering an enemy's space fleet into the sun or sparking a massive Dalek civil war when he deemed it necessary.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Always wore them. They were usually small, crinkled, and hanging crookedly from his collar, fitting Two's messy style.
  • Butterfly of Transformation: Uses it to explain his transformation.
  • Came Back Wrong: Being that he's the first regeneration to appear at a time when the concept didn't exist yet, the Second Doctor went through a few rewrites: originally being envisioned as a windjammer captain (!) and then a "Mister Hyde" version of his predecessor, with a tramp version of the First Doctor's wardrobe. A few of these traits made it into the final version, and though the Doctor soon mellowed, his initial craziness was the basis for "regeneration" traumas we see again later. It certainly scared the pants off One's companions when the venerable old man shrank down into a giddy, flute-playing nutter.
  • Catch Phrase: "When I say run, run." Also, "Oh, my giddy aunt!", and "Oh, crumbs!" And uncommonly, "Oh, my word!"
    • In his reappearances, some version of "Oh—I see you've redecorated (fill-in-the-blank), haven't you?—hmm. I don't like it." This one actually became a Mythology Gag, with both Ten (to Eleven) and Eleven saying it. And then Clara Oswald borrowed it.
      • And then Twelve said he didn't like his kidneys.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: At long last, the Doctor found one enemy he couldn't fight without sending for reenforcements from Gallifrey: The War Chief. The Time Lords aren't amused: they find the Doctor guilty — with some equanimity — of ruining whole civilizations and then splitting before the clean-up. His sentence is separation from his companions, the dismantling of his TARDIS, and exile in post-sixties London. Oh, and they execute him just for shiggles.
    War Chief: Doctor, you mustn’t call them in, or it will be the end of us. They’ll show no mercy.
  • Character Tics: Wringing his hands together, pouting his jaw, and a really quirky jog-run.
  • Continuity Snarl: Since the Second Doctor got so many opportunities to meet his other incarnations personally, there were going to be continuity glitches. There is even an "Season 6B" theory to explain the references to "The War Games" in "The Two Doctors," which the BBC has officially acknowledged as "making sense".
    • And then came the fan production "Devious," depicting a halfway regeneration between the Second and Third Doctor with Jon Pertwee actually appearing in the flesh and making continuity more confusing than ever.
  • Cowardly Lion: The only Doctor who frequently shows open fear of his enemies, and in a way that does not make it look like a deliberate performance.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Always seemed to have some sort of situation-suitable item in those pockets of his.
  • Cuddle Bug: Has his arms around his companions more often than not.
  • Denser and Wackier: Though ultimately, the series proved to be Growing the Beard.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Whether it is by accident or design, this is a Doctor who can watch a civilization go up in flame or a man being sucked out through the TARDIS doors into space, dust himself off, and play a few notes on his recorder. Cold as ice.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: With much glee.
  • Failed a Spot Check: He does this quite often. Notably in "The Dominators," when he clearly pointed out that the newly formed volcano was erupting, but didn't notice that the volcano was erupting.
    Jamie: C'mon! The whole place is going to blow up!
    Second Doctor No, it's quite all right, Jamie. The planet is quite safe. There's only going to be a localized volcanic eruption. It'll only affect the island.
    Jamie: Maybe so, but we happen to be on the island.
    Second Doctor: Oh, my word!
  • Famous Last Words: "You can't do this to me! No! No no no no no no no...."
  • Foil: Contrasts his predecessor's grumpiness with a warm, emotional attitude.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Absolutely can't stand Three, and has a lot of fun insulting old "fancy pants" every chance he gets. Two and Six arguing is also a sight to behold.
  • Gainax Ending: His regeneration into Three. The timeline is all screwed up, and it's very possible that what we saw on screen wasn't even his regeneration — these days, the Beeb considers the Season 6B theory valid.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Oh, my giddy aunt!" and variations.
  • Harmless Lady Disguise: Harmless lady with a gun concealed in her robes. (It's not like it was even loaded, though.)
  • Herr Doktor: Or as he liked to call himself, Doktor von Wer.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The Doctor and Jamie were together for all but one serial and for more episodes than any other companion.
  • Hobos: More like a WHO-bo.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The Doctor crawls out of the TARDIS on all fours, waving a white hankie in surrender — and then lobs a smoke bomb. Viva la revolucion!
  • Iconic Item: His recorder (the musical instrument), though it was used less and less over time. Loses one in "The Three Doctors" as a necessary sacrifice, but gets a replacement.
  • Identical Stranger: This regeneration had a doppelganger, Ramón Salamander, a nefarious Emperor Scientist from the near future. Not only was Salamander a capable villain, he bluffed his way into the TARDIS (a feat which few have accomplished).
  • Idiot Hair: There's always this one bit of his hair that loves to stick up.
  • Master Actor: The main selling point of his identity tricks is his ability to act like the person he is trying to portray, arousing little to no suspicion of a fallacy even without a donned disguise.
  • Master of Disguise: The Second Doctor had an interesting fondness for disguises and clever identity lies, which he usually backed up with some persona-appropriate accent.
  • Nice Hat: In addition to wearing a very tall stovepipe hat in his first three stories, the Doctor would sometimes note when he saw an interesting piece of headgear, "I would like a hat like that." It was something of an early catchphrase, discarded (like the hat) after a few serials.
  • Noodle Incident: A possible adventure with the Eighth Doctor, it seems. Also, in "The Five Doctors" he recalls a never-seen adventure with "The Terrible Zodin".
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Usually when he's frightened at something.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Absolutely loved it. His main tactic for any situation. Shown masterfully in "The Three Doctors."
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As seen in "The Name of the Doctor", he had a mostly off-screen adventure with the Eighth Doctor.
  • Protect This House/You Shall Not Pass: The "Base Under Siege" episodes. These became a trademark of the Second Doctor's tenure, though they're not exclusive to him.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Is often described as Charlie Chaplin IN SPACE!
  • Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Invokes the trope at times, especially towards UNIT.
  • Security Cling: All the time. Given and received.
  • Shot at Dawn: In "The War Games." Don't worry, he was saved... but as the show went on and the writers hammered out what exactly regeneration was, his "change of appearance" later on in that episode was revealed to have been his execution.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: He was so good at this that he successfully did it to himself in "The Three Doctors."
  • Summon Bigger Fish: His eventual undoing.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Used on occasion.
  • Trope Codifier: Having defined most of the Doctor's chief characteristics, Second's role influenced several of the later Doctors, especially the Seventh and Eleventh.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: 99% of his dialogue with The Brigadier is them trying to out-snark each other.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: He loved dressing up.

    Third Doctor 

Third Doctor

"Courage isn't just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway."

Played by: Jon Pertwee (1970–74, 1983, 1993, 1995note )

The suave Edwardian man of action, half the time profound, the other half a show-off. Spent a great deal of time stuck on Earth in the 20th Century, as he'd been exiled from Gallifrey (and his TARDIS rendered inoperative), and often got into adventures with his friends at UNIT, especially The Brigadier. A noticeably James Bond-esque Doctor, known for his "Venusian Karate/Aikido" and his fast cars, Bessie and the Whomobile. He revealed much of his Bizarre Alien Biology (notably the two hearts) and was the first Doctor to be broadcast in color. As this Doctor's tenure was largely confined to present-day London, he also inaugurated the grand old Doctor Who tradition of everyday objects trying to kill you. When the Time Lords finally returned to him his knowledge of driving the TARDIS, he became much more of a gentleman to his companions. It was also this incarnation that formally introduced his greatest individual Arch-Enemy, The Master, who's present for many of Three's episodes.
  • '70s Hair: Terrance Dicks joked that you can measure which season you're watching by how big Pertwee's hair has gotten. The Doctor's bouffant is truly extraordinary in Season Eleven, looking for all the world as though he has stuck his finger in a power socket.
  • Action Hero: Villain holding his companion at gunpoint? No problem! Karate-CHOP!
  • Actor Appeal: The Third Doctor stories have a lot of car chases, because the writers enjoyed indulging Pertwee's love of fast cars and odd vehicles. In his final story, by way of a send-off, there's a completely gratuitous chase that lasts twenty minutes and involves several cars, a flying machine, and a hovercraft.
    • Terrance Dicks, script editor at the time of Jon Pertwee's run, has actually said that he often asked Pertwee if the actor desired anything in his tales beyond the story being fun. Being given this massive potential of a request, all that Pertwee asked for was "a moment or two of charm". The "reverse the polarity" line was another favorite of Pertwee's, as the actor struggled with what we would refer to today as technobabble.
    • As for all the gadgets and undercover military work in Three's era — in 2013, footage unearthed by journalists revealed that Jon Pertwee worked for Naval Intelligence during World War II, and his job involved briefing spies and commandoes in the use of espionage and assassination gadgets.
  • Agent Peacock: He was also the best dressed Doctor, famous for his frilly shirts, opera cape and smoking jacket. Believe it or not, this was standard attire for British sci-fi at the time, best personified by Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius (and later nicked by Grant Morrison's Gideon Stargrave). The concept of a shrewd Dandy working for a team of investigators is similar to Jason King, which ran at the same time. Pertwee captures the zeitgeist pretty well.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Velvet, ruffles and capes.
  • Badass: One of the most physically oriented Action Hero versions of the Doctor, to the point his tenure was basically one long action movie.
  • Badass Cape: Had a black velvet cloak, with red lining, that he wore with his fancy black coat and white sleeve ruffles. Unironically. (The cape itself was inspired by Pertwee's grandfather.)
  • Badass Driver: Three's tinkering with motorcars and his love of driving/flying could be seen as a displacement of his desire to hop in the TARDIS and be off.
  • Badass Grandpa: One of the oldest-looking Doctors, and by far the most fond of getting into hand-to-hand combat.
  • Badass in Distress: See Distressed Dude.
  • The Big Guy: At 6'3" he towers over almost everyone he meets, and is probably the most likely Doctor to physically hit someone. The only person who ever overpowered him was Rossini's musclebound circus thug.
  • Blue Blood: The most 'aristocratic' of the Doctors, and none too patient with the lower classes, i.e. the humans.
  • Bound and Gagged: In "Day of the Daleks."
  • Bowties Are Cool: Wasn't as flagrant about it as Eleven, nor did he wear one as often as Two, but he would on occasion wear a spiffy bowtie.
  • Break the Haughty: The more he condescends at UNIT personnel, and gets dragged through the most crippling ordeals for his trouble, the more you start to suspect the Time Lords exiled him as a lesson.
    • A perfect example is when the Doctor believes he's fixed the TARDIS console once and for all. With one last sneer at the Brigadier's ineptitude, he beams out of UNIT... only to stagger through the front door, covered in soot. Apparently he rematerialized in a dustpile.
      Brig: "Pompous, self-opinionated idiot," I believe you said, Doctor?
      Doctor: Yes, ahem, well we don't want to bear a grudge for a few hasty words, do we..?
  • Catch Phrase: Two prominent ones - "Reverse the polarity" and "Now listen to me". The former is plugged into a lot of situations where Three tampers with equipment. The latter gets a lot of use when Three wants to be frank or someone is stubbornly ignoring his warnings.
  • Character Development: Although the Third Doctor is a gentleman throughout his entire run, his visible frustrations tone down dramatically after the Time Lords return to him his control over the TARDIS.
  • Character Tics: A habit of saying, "Yes, well" to start his sentences, answering "Yes, of course", humming a ditty when tinkering on things, displaying a half-interested attitude when people try talking to him while he's working with lab equipment, and touting a very cheeky grin when he makes a clever joke.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Preferred quick battles to flashy ones.
  • Cool Car: The Whomobile (basically a hover car) and Bessie, his trusty gold jalopy. This Doctor was never happier than when he was cruising down the countryside in that bucket of bolts.
  • Cool Old Guy: With a giant shock of white hair.
  • Cultured Badass: Enjoyed drinking fine wine, as well as loudly singing opera while driving his vintage car.
  • The Dandy: For his choice of clothes and awesome hair. Lampshaded during "The Three Doctors" when the First Doctor actually called him this.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Very.
    Third Doctor: What did you expect? Some kind of space rocket with Batman at the controls?
  • Distressed Dude: Let's face it, the Third Doctor is the KING of this trope.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Embarrassing for the BBC, that is. The Third Doctor has a dragon tattoo on his arm that can be seen quite plainly during the events of "Spearhead from Space." This is actually a tattoo from actor Jon Pertwee's navy days, when he got really really drunk and woke up the next day with the tattoo on his arm while in port. And no, he wasn't ashamed of it. The producers Hand Wave this by claiming the Doctor never had a tattoo and we're all seeing things. Much later, though, Eleven notes that tattoos are fairly common for Time Lords, and Eight boasts about having one in the novels.
    • Part of the Expanded Universe claims it's a prison tattoo, which he bears during his exile to Earth. Another Time Lord, Grandfather Paradox, ended up with the dragon tattoo put on his arm by the Time Lords when he was branded a criminal; unlike the Doctor, Paradox cut the arm off.
  • Expanded Universe: Notably the oldest Doctor to appear in a fan-made video spinoff: "Devious." However, the thing has inexplicably been in Development Hell since 1995, and was at one point used for audio bits in the Big Finish story Zagreus just to get it out there in some way.
  • Expy: Jason King (that hair!) crossed with Adam Adamant (that cape!), with a slice of John Steed for good measure. Or you can boil it down to what every show took inspiration from at the time: James Bond.
  • Famous Last Words: "A tear, Sarah Jane? No, don’t cry. While there’s life, there’s..."
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: He hates this regeneration at first — realising just how expressive his new eyebrows are eventually warms him up a bit to his new face. (And it means he can very easily speak Delphon, the language of comical eyebrow wiggling.)
  • Fish out of Water: The Doctor is looking more "alien" in this era of the TV series (two hearts, a dumb alias, magic gizmos). Part of it is being plucked out of a fantastic environment wherein his human qualities were more dominant.
  • Foil: Three is professional and no-nonsense, much unlike Two.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: What this Doctor becomes once his exile is lifted: the friendliest and most polite of the incarnations.
  • Gentleman Snarker: The most gentlemanly Doctor so far.
  • Gilded Cage: Being stuck on pre-space exploration Earth is bad enough. Worse is being Surrounded by Idiots, as the Doctor viewed UNIT as a whole.
  • Good Is Not Nice: During his first two seasons he would be incredibly rude to people for no good reason, then become the picture of politeness soon thereafter. He got more polite when his exile was lifted. Apparently, a Time Lord finally able to fly his TARDIS again after years in exile is guaranteed to improve his manner.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: This old fella may have some snow on the roof, but there's fire in the chimney. He boxes by Queensbury rules, having taken lessons from the great John L. Sullivan himself. ("Carnival of Monsters")
  • Harmless Lady Disguise: Used once.
  • Heroic BSOD: A rarity for this Doctor, but he was actually sent into a coma during the events of "Inferno" from what he experienced. Then again, he had just seen an alternate world filled with familiar faces and redeemable people utterly destroyed by lava and proto-human zombies. This state lasted for almost an entire episode.
  • "I Am" Song: That's right, Jon Pertwee (singing as the Third Doctor) wound up recording a song that rivals most villain songs for just being pure awesome. Just try not to jam out to I am... The Doctor!
  • Iconic Item: Bessie and the Whomobile. This Doctor loved his gadgets and cars. He's also the first Doctor to make extensive use of the sonic screwdriver.
  • I Hate Past Me: He and Two really rubbed each other raw. Three is embarrassed by his past self for playing the buffoon and his disheveled look, while Two seems to think his future-self is over-dressed and anal-retentive.
  • I Know Venusian Aikido: Hai!
  • I Meant to Do That: There's something very blasé about his announcing that he has gotten the TARDIS working again that suggests it's bluster covering up for the fact that the Time Lords are still pulling his strings. ("The Monster of Peladon")
  • Insufferable Genius: He was smarter than all of UNIT put together, and would frequently make this obvious, even belittling the slowness of others when he was feeling particularly Jerk Ass. However, most of UNIT put up with it because he really was that brilliant. However, Liz Shaw, his first companion in this incarnation and a skilled scientist herself, eventually had enough and walked, arranging Jo Grant to replace her with the indirect comment that all the Doctor needed was "Someone to pass you your test tubes, and to tell you how brilliant you are." As noted above, he is far easier to get along with once his exile is lifted.
  • Master Swordsman: Not shocking for this action hero, quite frankly, but the Doctor is able to out-fight the Master in "The Sea Devils" in a fencing duel. He then eats a sandwich while holding the Master at swordpoint. A sandwich that happened to be the Master's lunch. And then he throws the Master back his sword so they can have some more fun. According to the Twelfth Doctor, he learned from the best: Richard the Lionheart, Hannibal Barca and...Errol Flynn.
  • Military Maverick: There is a bitter quality to the Third Doctor as he clearly needs the protection and technology that UNIT provides. On the other hand, the Doctor finds himself trying to pull mankind up to his own level and failing, such as in "The Silurians." Trivia: The ending to this episode would be recycled for "The Christmas Invasion", cementing that the Doctor will never see eye-to-eye with UNIT.
  • Mr. Smith: "Smith. Doctor John Smith."
  • Nerves of Steel: Very few things scared him. When something does, it's a matter of OOC Is Serious Business.
    The Great One: Is that fear I can feel in your mind? You are not accustomed to feeling frightened, are you Doctor? You are very wise to be afraid of me!
  • Only Sane Man: Well, this is certainly a new experience to the Doctor. Part of the charm of the UNIT era is its B-movie craziness despite being set in the "real" world of the 1970s, and the neutered Doctor's barely-masked frustration at all of the incompetence around him.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: A madman without a box is just a madman. A Time Lord without knowledge of time is just someone calling himself a lord. No wonder he's so irritable.
    • The Second Doctor was more than willing to kill the Ice Warriors on their first appearance. In "The Curse of Peladon," the Ice Warriors surprise him by turning face, proving that even monsters, at least in some cases, are just people who haven't reached in their full historical development yet. So in that sense, being exiled to Earth was an education for him.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Three's entire arc. Best remembered for his flamboyant confidence, he nicks the wrong crystal in "The Green Death" and is killed by spiders who are still seeking it a year later. Adding insult to injury, The Great One uses her psychic powers to make him dance like a toy.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: With a lot of "dear old chap", "my good fellow" and "topping day, what?". Also a case of Author Appeal, as he intentionally evoked the atmosphere from that other famous Sydney Newman show, The Avengers. However, Good Is Not Nice.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Starts out in a black velvet cape in his first story, and soon adds velvet jackets, sleeve ruffles, ascots, leather gloves, giant rings, bowties, waistcoats and the occasional knee-high boots. (The signature giant plaid mantle overcoat, however, is still a perpetual fashion disaster.)
  • Shower Scene: Gets a long shower scene right off the bat in his first episode, then spends some time walking around in just a towel.
  • Silver Fox: Handsome for his age.
  • Speech Impediment: Had a lisp.
  • Tap on the Head: The neck-pinching variant.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Once he regained his usual level of control of his TARDIS, the Doctor quickly mellows into quite a gentleman.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The UNIT years are vaguely set somewhat in a "near future", which could be anywhere from the 1960s to the 1980s. The Brigadier's daughter lampshaded this continuity (or lack thereof) in "The Day of the Doctor" when she requested an archive file.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With The Brigadier and Mike Yates.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Wore them frequently.
  • Watch the Paint Job: You have to admire the vanity of a man who stops Lethbridge-Stewart from shooting at a bad guy because it might ding his car.
  • What Have We Ear?: Sometimes did this sort of magic trick for fun, and also to distract his jailer in "The Monster of Peladon," except in this case, the coin came out of his own mouth.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Does a passable impression of a Welsh milkman and, a few minutes later, a Welsh cleaning lady.
  • With My Hands Tied: He's also equally good at breaking free and escaping from capture as he is being captured.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: His partnerships with Jo and Sarah Jane had a rocky start.

    Fourth Doctor 

Fourth Doctor

"You may be a doctor, but I'm the Doctor. The definite article, you might say."

Played by: Tom Baker (1974–81, 1993, 1997)

The bohemian, famous for a very, very long scarf; somewhat crazy-eyed and very alien. In reaction to his long exile as the Third Doctor, the Fourth Doctor is marked by his strong wanderlust and deep-seated resentment toward authority figures, particularly UNIT and his fellow Time Lords. Naturally, this resulted in Four's leash being yanked by every authority figure in the known universe, including the show's embodiment of God. The longest-serving Doctor to date (at least in real-world time) and probably the best known of all his incarnations. If you don't know who Tom Baker is, close your eyes and think of Doctor Who. That's him. (Or possibly David Tennant — see the Tenth Doctor page. If he's wearing a long scarf, it's definitely Four.) Joined the cast of Big Finish a good decade after the others: for his Big Finish tropes, see here.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: He tended to draw out his vowels a fair bit.
  • Action Hero: In his earlier adventures, Four would have little problem leaping into action, such as in "The Sontaran Experiment," but nearly all of his later adventures feature the Doctor more willing to give the monster-of-the-week a jelly baby than engage in fisticuffs. Keeping in mind that he was in the role for seven years, going from being forty to almost fifty during this time, this gradual slowing down does begin to make a bit more sense.
    • The fact that Tom Baker also slipped and cracked his collarbone during the location filming for "The Sontaran Experiment" had something to do with it as well; for several weeks afterwards, Baker couldn't leap into those kinds of action sequences, so they either had find ways to stage those scenes with a stunt double without making it painfully obvious it was a stunt double, or the writers had to find a way to avoid action-hero scenes.
  • Adorkable: He could act really cute.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Much more so than even Eight and Eleven. All he has to do is think and he's completely zoned out of reality.
  • Badass Adorable
  • Badass Baritone: Has the deepest and manliest voice of any Doctor.
  • Badass Longcoat: In several colours.
  • Bad News in a Good Way: (excitedly) "Gentlemen, I have news! This lighthouse is under attack and by morning we may all be dead!" (toothy grin)
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The friendly and childlike Fourth Doctor is also the Doctor who took place in the longest and most brutal fight in the show's history, when he spent an episode and a half playing cat-and-mouse with his opponent in "The Deadly Assassin."
    • In "Genesis of the Daleks" he threatened to shut off Davros' life support system to coerce him into destroying the Daleks, and he meant every word of it.
    • "The Pirate Planet" is notable for featuring the Fourth exploding into a rage far more violently than he ever had before or after, and perhaps even more so than any other Doctor. If you manage to even piss Four off, you're seriously screwed.
    • Plus, he seemed to have nothing against Leela murdering random attackers, as long as she kept quiet about it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: On a few occasions, it's even acknowledged he is Obfuscating Stupidity. ("City of Death")
    Countess: I don't think he's as stupid as he seems.
    Count: My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems.
    (The Doctor flashes a manic wide-eyed grin at them both)
  • Big Entrance: Loved to ensure that all eyes were on him when he entered a room. Especially in "Horror of Fang Rock": since the lighthouse was cramped and the camera had to be very static, Tom Baker insisted on entering each room with a flourish to make up for it.
  • The Big Guy: At 6'3", matching Three's height in a rare case where incarnations don't get taller or shorter after regeneration, he also towers over almost everyone he meets, but is less likely to physically hit someone than he is to offer them a Jelly Baby, whip out a cunning plan, or troll a foe into submission.
  • Bling of War: As part of his coronation as Lord President in "The Invasion of Time," the Fourth Doctor adorned himself with the giant gold Sash of Rassilon and its accompanying scepter.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian/Cultured Badass: Four may fool you into thinking he's just a cosmic hobo... until he fashions a concert flute out of a piece of reed in minutes, and sits down to play the Badinerie, Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor by J.S. Bach.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Loves to put up his feet, draw his hat over his eyes and doze off — especially while UNIT is talking to him. His old teacher at the Academy, Borusa, remembers him as being his most out-of-control student; the adult Doctor is unrepentant.
  • Catch Phrase: "Would you like a jelly baby?"
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Tom Baker has far too many teeth.
  • Classy Cravat: Sports one on occasion, though it can be difficult to see under all that scarf.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Possibly loopier than all other Doctors combined. If you ever need evidence for why this Doctor was the weirdest, fire up the scene "The Seeds of Doom" when he barges into Sir Colin’s office. He walks around with a chair on his head, puts it down, goes to sit on it, doesn’t bother, soliloquizes on the nature of greed, throws a fit, accuses them of having a security leak whilst staring the guilty party right in the face, insults Sir Colin and orders a car! As written it is functional; but as read by Tom Baker, it is utterly barmy.
    • Eventually learns to weaponise this, combined with his Time Lord Academy training: his learned resistance to mind-reading and his inherent loopiness make him able to mask his thoughts better than any other Time Lord.
  • Climbing Climax: This Doctor was defeated while trying to overpower the Master inside a radio telescope. It was up to the Fifth Doctor to finish the job.
  • Compensating for Something: According to Romana.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Tom Baker's thyroidism is used to full effect. Also, Four rarely blinks.
  • Cuteness Proximity: With K-9, whom he insisted on treating like a real puppy.
  • Dead Man Walking: Four knew he was toast when he spotted the Watcher patiently standing by. This may overlap with Future Me Scares Me, depending on your interpretation of the Watcher.
  • Dissonant Serenity: All the time.
    The Doctor: [very happily] Gentlemen, I've got news for you. This lighthouse is under attack and by morning we might all be dead!
  • Distressed Dude: Seriously, HOW MANY times has this Doctor been captured, kidnapped, tied up, locked up, drugged, knocked out, imprisoned, tortured, etc.? Sometimes it happens to him more often than his own companions! The Fourth Doctor is just as bad as the Third.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Thanks to his Nerves of Steel and constant Dissonant Serenity, when someone's trying to brand the Doctor's face with a red-hot iron and counting down from ten, Four helpfully joins in the countdown — confusing his captor and making him lose track.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Borusa admits that the Time Lords owe him a debt of gratitude and literally shoves him out the door.
  • Einstein Hair: A lot of it.
  • Expanded Universe: Tom Baker was the first Doctor to ever record audio stories (starting with "Doctor Who and the Pescatons," and all the way up to his current Big Finish audios). He and Lalla Ward (Romana) also appeared, in-character, in a series of ads for Prime computers (which drew on their Romance on the Set, showing a very odd glimpse of the Doctor and Romana being lovey-dovey) and a New Zealand retirement planning company (as an aged version of the Fourth Doctor, which is now Heartwarming in Hindsight).
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: In one rather bizarre example, his brain became the nest of a pregnant space shrimp in "The Invisible Enemy."
  • Famous Last Words
    "It's the end... but the moment has been prepared for."
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: In "The Invisible Enemy," he has himself and Leela cloned and shrunk down so he can be injected into his own brain, fight the pregnant monster that's nesting inside it, make sure Leela's clone dies inside his head, and then absorb her corpse into his bloodstream to gain her natural immunity to the thing!
  • Fedora of Asskicking: Although not worn as often as his scarf. Gets shot at a few times.
  • Foil: Foregoes any and all authority (and all seriousness) in response to having been forced into following it in his previous incarnation.
  • Genius Bruiser: Prefers of course to use his considerable intelligence, but of all the Doctors, he's the most capable in the simple art of fisticuffs. His stature probably has something to do with it.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Trope Codifier for the Doctor's fondness for jelly babies (after Two had them first).
  • A God Am I: He temporarily gains Guardian-level powers over time itself, through a nearly completed Key To Time and a bit of MacGyvering.
    • A God I Am Not: He is, after all, a vagabond at heart, with no interest in toys such as the Key to Time, or the Staff of Rassilon. That's not to say he doesn't enjoy trolling people with them, as seen in "The Armageddon Factor."
      Doctor: (mimics Prophet Eyes) As from this moment, there's no such thing as free will in the entire universe. There's only MY will. Because I possess the KEY TO TIME.
      Romana: Doctor, are you all right?
      Doctor: (snaps out of it) Well of course I'm all right. But supposing I wasn't all right?
  • Heroes Love Dogs: He adores K-9, and takes great offense at others for calling him a "machine." He shares his love of dogs with the actor, although Baker ironically despised K-9. (But he did and still does get along quite well with John Leeson.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Plummeted off a satellite tower after saving most of the universe from The Master.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Famously struggled with this in "Genesis of the Daleks."
  • Hot-Blooded Sideburns: To go with his massive hair.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Much like the Master, although he only uses it occasionally, and is the only incarnation of the Doctor to do so.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tends to indulge in this both consciously and unconsciously.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: A few Doctors have since made reference to the scarf, dismissing it as an unfortunate garment choice.
    • Seven tried on the burgundy Fourth Doctor ensemble, only to declare it "old hat" and toss it away.
    • An amnesiac Eight found a scarf in a hospital locker, but decided against taking it.
    • A frigid Twelfth Doctor was overheard pining for a nice, long scarf, then rethought it.
      "No, move on from that. Looks stupid."
  • Iconic Item: The scarf. Always the scarf. And jelly babies.
    • To a lesser extent, his Nice Fedora plays a part, especially when combined with his iconic curly hair.
  • Identical Grandson: Of a sort. A retired incarnation of the Doctor, now peacefully pottering around the National Gallery, is wearing the Fourth Doctor's face for nostalgia's sake. ("The Day of the Doctor")
  • Invincible Hero: By Season 15, the Doctor has morphed into The Most Interesting Man in the World. He tried being frightened once — just to see what it was like. Season 18 dampened this effect somewhat, what with blood-sucking astronauts, a "mad cactus" framing him for murder, and of course the Master 2.0. Although the Fourth Doctor tried to remain unflappable, he was put into situations that were impressively tough.
  • It's All About Me: Wastes no opportunity in letting the world know how brilliant, marvellous, wonderful and all around amazing he is. Four genuinely considers himself the greatest genius he's ever met, and acts entirely superior to everyone around him. Some of his companions put up with it. Romana, who had much better grades than him at the Academy, doesn't.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Master wanted the Doctor to die in ignominy and disgrace— that's how much he hates him. Chancellor Goth hopes to win the Presidency and pin his predecessor's murder on the Doctor.
  • Large Ham: Even his eyes are hammy.
  • Literalist Snarking: Frequently.
  • Literal-Minded:
    Scorby: Get your hands up. Turn around, Doctor.
    (The Doctor does a full 360 turn.)
    Scorby: Facing this way.
    The Doctor: Have we annoyed you or something?
    Scorby: Shut up. Okay, start talking.
    The Doctor: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had perfect pitch—
    Scorby: What happened to him?
    The Doctor: Who, Wolfgang Amadeus? (looks at the corpse next to him) ...Oh, him! He died.
  • Man Child: Willing to go anywhere, do anything to avoid taking orders again.
  • Messy Hair
  • Murder Tropes: Four was more willing than most regenerations to commit murder, and didn't mind turning a blind eye to Leela's killings. At one point, he murders a villain by filling the room with deadly chemicals; later on, he kills a guy by strapping a bomb to his chest and merrily laughing when he blows up (though the man in question was an immoral monster who had it coming). "Genesis of the Daleks" has the Doctor trying to decide whether or not he has the right to commit genocide; he only refuses once he realizes more planets have united hands in peace because of the Dalek threat. (Also, spending a few minutes with Davros clearly rattled him.)
  • My Greatest Failure: His refusal to wipe out the Daleks from existence in "Genesis of the Daleks" has long lasting consequences for his future incarnations since he inadverently fired the first shot of the Last Great Time War by meddling with the Daleks' creation.
  • Nerves of Steel: Has a habit of striking up casual conversation with whatever's trying to kill him. At one point, he greets someone who's strangling him with a very friendly "oh, hello!".
  • Nice Guy: If you could get past his weirdness, Four was a very sweet and kind-natured Doctor.
  • No Indoor Voice: Usually very hammy.
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Conquerors keep making the mistake of thinking the Doctor will be impressed with their exploits, preferably over red wine.
  • No Social Skills: He doesn't care at all for social conventions, and at times seems genuinely oblivious to them.
  • Not So Above It All: Occasionally his temper got the better of him: The Collector is happy to spill the beans about his exploitation of Pluto and how he taxed its inhabitants into indentured servitude. In the middle of wheedling the Collector with flattery, the Doctor turns around and declares him a bloodsucking leech. For more, see "Full Circle," which features one of the Doctor's all-time greatest freakouts. He also found it impossible to break bread with the Tharils in "Warriors' Gate", overturning his goblet and disrupting the banquet they throw for him.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Frequently.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: All the time.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Through a twist of fate in "The Deadly Assassin," he finds himself elected President of Gallifrey — and when he returns to the planet to take up the position in "The Invasion of Time," he promptly turns into a President Evil. Actually, it's part of The Infiltration to fool some Sontaran marauders; he clearly had fun tormenting his subordinates, though (his Emperor Nero moment with the jelly babies being a highlight).
  • Pimp Duds: In contrast to his previous incarnation, this Doctor dressed to be invisible (well, more or less — people tend to notice twelve-foot long multicoloured stripe scarves). In later life, however, he returned to wearing red velvet again. His floppy fedora got swapped for a maroon zoot hat with bright red trim.
  • Quirky Curls: Lots of them.
  • Rail Roading: Constantly railroaded, most frequently by the Time Lords, and sometimes by other factions. He hates it.
  • Raygun Gothic: The secondary TARDIS console room he decides to use instead of the main one for a while — it first appears in "The Masque of Mandragora," near the end of his run with Sarah Jane, and goes on to be used for many of his adventures with Leela.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Moreso than any other Doctor, he chafes at following orders, whether they be from his fellow Time Lords or the White Guardian. His first instinct at being in any kind of office is to put his feet on someone's desk.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Rather than face the indignity of hearing the judgement during his mockery of a trial, the Doctor puts himself up as a candidate for the Presidency, an act so barking mad that nobody bothers to question why this loon slipped through the net in the first place. ("The Deadly Assassin")
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Believe it or not, he's actually dressed in a dashing Oscar Wildean outfit, with a poet shirt, classy trousers, riding boots and a crimson ascot (see "The Deadly Assassin"). It's just hidden underneath a collection of tacky vests, a giant coat and several layers of scarf. It comes as no surprise that Tom Baker hit several goodwill stores when first putting together his costume.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Several iconic ones.
  • Ship Tease: With both incarnations of Romana. He had a Kissing Discretion Shot (and a lot of innuendo) with the first in a Christmas sketch. Tom Baker married the second one.
  • Shout-Out: His hat and scarf were inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec's famous posters of the French singer and comedian Aristide Bruant.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," Magnus Greel and Four casually shuffle around chess pieces while Greel delivers his evil speech. Four wins, of course.
  • Stealth Insult: He is very fond of using these on villains, usually mixing them into the middle of his usual erratic chatter.
  • Sword Fight: Got into a rather magnificent and very long fencing duel at the climax of "The Androids of Tara." He keeps the scarf on.
  • Talkative Loon: All the time.
  • Torture Porn: "The Deadly Assassin" starts with him being subjected to an Agony Beam and proceeds to take it Up to Eleven. By the end of the adventure, he's lost half his wardrobe (and ripped the other half), he's bleeding heavily from several places, and he nearly drowns during a gratuitous mud wrestling/strangling match in a pond (and boy did all this cheese off Moral Guardians at the time).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Jelly Babies, of course. Ginger beer was his favorite drink, but it didn't come up nearly as often.
  • Trickster Mentor: To Leela. He very much enjoyed intimidating her, placing her in Fish out of Water situations and playfully calling her "Savage" (as well as other nicknames like "Mouse").
  • Trope Codifier: 99% of what's known about Time Lord Society comes from this Doctor's era. Being by far the longest-serving Doctor, Four also codified much of the Doctor's character, and the series as a whole. He's often considered one of the best Doctors, if not the best. Since his tenure lasted seven whole years, he's — statistically — the Doctor most longtime fans of the show grew up watching.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: President of the Supreme Council of Gallifrey and All Her Dominions, Holder of the Wisdom of Rassilon, Preserver of the Matrix, Guardian of the Legacy of Omega.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Master coerces him into an alliance in "Logopolis." If the whole universe disintegrates, there will never be a galaxy to rule, right? Not so fast: The Master plans to bargain the healing technobabble for the unquestioned allegiance of the universe's inhabitants.
    Doctor: Blackmail.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Dives headfirst into this trope with the first Romana, who's sent over to become his assistant without him asking for it.
    Romana: My name is Romanadvoratrelundar.
    The Doctor: ...I'm so sorry about that. Is there anything we can do?
  • The Worf Effect : All it takes is nerve-pinching the Fourth Doctor into oblivion, and he's down for the count. Amusingly, this is the exact opposite of Venusian akido.
  • You Look Familiar: As revealed in "The Day of the Doctor", a much, much later incarnation of the Doctor revisits this old face, retiring to 21st-century Earth.

    Fifth Doctor 

Fifth Doctor

Fifth Doctor: "When was the last time you smelt a flower, watched a sunset, ate a well-prepared meal?"
Cyberleader: "These things are irrelevant."
Fifth Doctor: "For some people, small, beautiful events is what life is all about!"

Played by: Peter Davison (1981–84, 1993, 1997, 2007)

The put-upon Edwardian cricketer. A borderline Glurge Addict, determined to make the best of bad situations. This Doctor behaved a bit like an older brother towards his companions, or like an exasperated Team Dad whenever things would inevitably go haywire. His episodes gained the air of a field trip gone horrifically wrong. Notable for Doctor Who becoming more of an ensemble show, with up to four companions traveling with him at once. Ironically enough for this gentle and pacifist Doctor, his stories tended to have high body counts. Though young when he was first cast (29, the youngest Doctor ever until Matt Smith), Davison was already a well-known actor, having played in All Creatures Great and Small. The first classic Doctor to show up in the new series. For his Big Finish character tropes, see here.
  • Action Survivor: By comparison with the other Doctors, anyway. If it's a "Base Under Siege" story, just sit back and wait for the Doctor to be tackled to the floor by dour military men. You can set your watch by it!
  • Adorkable: Especially just after his regeneration, when he first tries on his cricketer's outfit and mimes with a cricket bat.
  • Adventurer Outfit: This Doctor wears a roll-up Panama hat as though on safari. Sometimes seen wringing the hat with his hands when things aren't going well.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: 1910s cricket gear... and sneakers.
  • Badass Longcoat: A beige one.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Five isn't averse to guns to begin with, and he unloads torrents of bullets/charges on Cybermen, Daleks and Omega alike, but he has a proper Batman Grabs a Gun moment when he decides to murder Davros. (He fails, of course.)
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Looking at the Fifth Doctor, you wouldn't suspect it, would you? Well, the Fifth is also the Doctor who straight-up murdered a Cyberman, then shot it in the chest with its own gun. Repeatedly. He also shot Omega, and he's the one who stood there and watched the Master burn to death. To his credit, this Doctor quickly grew a spine once he realized the universe was no longer playing by the rules.
  • Big Brother Instinct: As the showrunners were firmly against any "hanky-panky in the TARDIS", Five never took notice of Nyssa/Tegan's wardrobe changes or hair, much to their frustration. That being said, he could be counted on to put the safety of his companions above his own.
  • Bishie Sparkle: In his opening sequence.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: His regeneration. He ended up regenerating just fine, but the last thing he ever thought of was the Master telling him to die and laughing at him.
  • Born Unlucky: Want to know how unlucky Five was? Everything that happens in "The Caves of Androzani" is thanks to his companion tripping and falling down a hole.
  • Break the Cutie: Starts out broken due to the worst post-regeneration effects before or since that nearly drives him mad, with The Master trying to help him down the road. He gets better, but due to events during his run, he's emotionally beat down to the point where he's not sure if he has the will to regenerate; it's only through remembering his companions and the satisfaction his death would give The Master that he gets through it.
  • Captain Obvious: Frequently with a healthy dose of snark.
  • Catch Phrase: "Brave heart, (insert character name)." (Especially Tegan, though other companions are similarly cheered up.) He's also shown to be fond of "Sorry, must dash!" when confronted by the usual contingents of armed guards.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Davison begged the showrunner, John Nathan-Turner, to explain the purpose of the celery before his Doctor's number was up. He got his wish in the final episode, "The Caves of Androzani."
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: There's a delightful little moment in "Arc of Infinity" where, while trying to save both Gallifrey and Earth from Omega's crazed plans, the Doctor knocks an old lady's groceries out of her arms. He quickly stops to help her gather up her things.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Wore a stick of celery on his lapel in the slim chance that he would run across gasses in the Praxis range which he was allergic to.
  • Determinator: This exchange says it all.
    Stotz: Hands in the air and over here!
    The Doctor: Why?
    Stotz: Because I'll kill you if you don't!
    The Doctor: Not a very convincing argument actually, Stotz, because I'm going to die soon anyway, unless of course-
    Stotz: I'll give you to the count of three!
    The Doctor: Unless of course I can find the antidote! I owe it to my young friend to try because I got her into this! So you see; I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU STOP ME NOW!
  • Distressed Dude: He's captured somehow at least once an adventure. Some days, he's brainwashed. Other days, he's chained up and shot at. He's most frequently physically weakened, and only very (very) rarely manages to stay upright for an entire episode. On a particularly bizarre occasion, Five was nearly mindwiped and replaced with an Evil Knockoff. Man, this Doctor just did not know how to stay out of trouble.
    • Again, this was likely a conscious move away from Four's infallibility. Tom Baker would never have stood for being held prisoner for more than a scene, if that.
    • A whole lot of cliffhangers from this era often have the Fifth Doctor in some sort of danger — this occurs so often, these cliffhangers are called "the Davison Cliffhangers".
  • The Ditherer: Often delegated some decisions to a simple flip of a coin.
  • Doom Magnet: Moreso than any Doctor, excepting the War Doctor, Five has a tendency to leave a massive body count in his wake, with his final arc ending in the deaths of everyone else in it but his companion and a minor character. This is often entirely against his wishes and his best efforts.
  • Dull Surprise: This Doctor has a tendency to stare, slack-jawed, at things and events a lot. Perhaps directly related to his tendency to have Heroic BSODs.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: His regeneration was easily the most spectacular from the original series.
  • Face Death with Dignity: He spends most of an entire serial dying, and keeps his head held high.
  • Famous Last Words:
    (Spoken) Fifth Doctor: "Feels different his time."
    (Thought) Fifth Doctor: "... Adric?"
  • The Finicky One
  • Foil: To Four, being much more low-key, and having a more high-class attitude.
  • Future Me Annoys Me: Swats the Tenth Doctor away like a fly at a picnic, not recognizing who he is. When Ten gushes that he modeled himself on Five as a compliment, Five interprets this to mean he's a Loony Fan.
  • Gentleman Snarker: He is masterful at snarking at people in the politest way possible.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Davison attempted to do "old man in a young man's body" at times, but the scripts didn't let him, so he came across as world-weary instead.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He's such a sweetheart.
  • Hallucinations: Immediately after his regeneration, he nearly lost his mind because his synapses weren't connecting properly. This caused him to regress into the First, Second, and Third Doctors before being put into hibernation stasis.
  • Heroic BSOD: Suffered from more than his fair share, compared to the other Doctors. Particularly when Adric died.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: To save Peri's life.
  • Hot Scientist: The first conventionally attractive (read: young) Doctor.
  • Iconic Item: The lapel-mounted celery (his first meal upon regenerating) and Purely Aesthetic Glasses. The latter, however, is not used nearly as often, but Ten takes notice of them. The roll-up hat can count as well, depending on the fan you ask.
    • Some still will insist that it's his sneakers that really complete the outfit, being a modern piece of clothing in an otherwise period costume.
    • Really his entire ensemble is this, to the point where even the Tenth Doctor refers to it as his "Crickety Cricket stuff". Ten notes that he merrily copied the "Brainy Specs" and trainers look from Five.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: This Doctor got lost during his first trip into the TARDIS and stumbled into a sports locker; hence the getup. In point of fact, he's not actually wearing cricket whites, but rather a stylish facsimile. He can even stroll right into a cricket match in progress, so easily mistaken are they for actual gear. The Fifth Doctor's love of cricket would come in handy more than once: he deployed a (bottomless) pocketful of cricket balls as weapons, lobbing them at a spaceship, a robot, an unlucky Sontaran, and even using one for a Weight and Switch.
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: As happy as the Tenth Doctor is to see him again, he doesn't seem to miss the days of dressing like a vegetarian Dick Tracy.
    "Brave choice, celery. But fair play to you. Not a lot of men can carry off a decorative vegetable."
  • Kill 'em All: This trope seemed to follow the Fifth like the plague — at least a third of his stories ended with a massive body count. His last story had two survivors, and neither was him. He got better, of course.
  • Literalist Snarking: Brand of snark he frequently employs.
  • Magnetic Hero: Travels with lots of companions at the same time, much like One.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: His relationship with Tegan is best described as this.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: His last word is “Adric”, demonstrating that his tenure was defined by the loss of a companion, so it’s fitting he dies saving one.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe, his "Brainy Specs". He doesn't even need them, he just thinks they make him look clever.
  • Nice Guy: Five, when you get down it it, is a nice guy in a not-very-nice universe.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: This is definitely one of the more chaste and hands-off Doctors, by decree from above. He only gets a very occasional hug or peck on the cheek with his companions. Although it doesn't stop some fans (and Davison himself!) from noticing he's more than willing to throw his hands onto Adric.
  • Not Helping Your Case: The Doctor must not be familiar with Murder, She Wrote. In "Black Orchid," he won't state his name for the record because it's infamous in faraway lands, he doesn't carry I.D., and his idea of arguing one's innocence is shouting that he knows where to find more bodies.
    Doctor: I've no reason to harm you! And besides...
    Muir: Besides what?
    Doctor: (earnestly) Well, it wouldn't be cricket.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: If Five has something resembling a character flaw, it's his impatience. Ironically for someone who dealt with thick-headed generals or obstructive bureaucrats almost weekly, he had a low attention span when it came to complaints from his team. This proved a serious mistake in "Snakedance."
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In his final story (his only one written by Robert Holmes), the Doctor indulges in some Fourth Doctor-style banter with his captors. The key difference here is that, unlike Four, Five isn't in total control — he's sweating under the collar and playing a brinkmanship game, desperate not to get everyone killed.
    • Also applies to his first filmed story; as the character obviously wasn't nailed down yet, Five comes across as more snarky and short-tempered than usual.
  • Plot-Sensitive Snooping Skills: Tends to be pretty perceptive about most people, but anyone he's put under the flag of friend he tends to believe the best of and tends to fail to see things in them that he doesn't expect to see.
  • The Pollyanna: Enamored with the universe and everything in it, this Doctor was not always willing to acknowledge that his companions weren't having fun at all.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Occasionally. Peter Davison actually admitted he stopped wearing what were later called the "brainy specs" after a while because of ribbing from certain members of the cast. He put them back on for the "Time Crash" mini-episode with David Tennant.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: And extremely at home in The Edwardian Era.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: His team TARDIS at one point consisted of a bored stewardess from Australia, a stoic teenaged scientist princess who was the Last of Her Kind, a snotty teenaged maths dork from an Alternate Universe, and, well, a renegade Time Lord who inexplicably dressed in Edwardian cricket gear and decorative food.
    • And if that weren't enough, they later killed off the snotty teenaged maths dork, but replaced him with a surly young man in a nice suit that was secretly working for the bad guy in his first appearance. And everyone else was still there, at least for 1 more story, when he joined up. Then came a rarely-seen humanoid robot (the prop was very difficult to operate) who also got killed just to shove him out the door and a strong-willed but delicate botanist just to top it all off.
  • Rail Enthusiast: Five once confessed that, when he was a child, he always wanted to be a train conductor. This is too geeky even for Nyssa. ("Black Orchid")
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Five is, in one sense, the noblest of the Doctors, but also the least effective because of it.
    Sixth Doctor: Change, my dear... and it seems not a moment too soon.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: "Resurrection of the Daleks" was a critique of the show's premise: this isn't fun anymore, people are getting hurt. Unfortunately, it takes until Androzani for the Doctor to realize the perils of dropping into worlds on a whim. His friendly handshakes are refused and his witty repartee falls on deaf ears. There’s a sense, leading into Davison's regeneration, that the universe is shifting and changing around the Doctor.
    Lt. Scott: (shoves gun muzzle under his chin) Too many people have died for you to play the fool!
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: The Tenth Doctor chalks up his old man incarnations to a teenager's emo period, and treasures the wisdom he gleaned from his time as Five.
  • The Snark Knight: Extremely sarcastic, especially towards Tegan and Adric. When he's not actually snarking at them, his facial expressions speak volumes, and he's the master of the eye roll.
  • Stepford Smiler: After Adric dies.
  • Submissive Badass: For a Time Lord that regularly saved the universe from evils such as the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Master, this Doctor had a surprisingly high threshold for how much shit he would take from people. He preferred to quietly watch, snark and wait for an opportunity to strike, instead of leaping into action.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Very fatherly and, well, English, but also very crass at times — especially towards Adric, who felt downright bullied by him.
  • Team Dad: Saw his young companions more as kids on a field trip than as equals. In many ways he acts as a stand-in father to Nyssa (an orphan), Tegan (an outcast), and Adric (a refugee).
  • Technical Pacifist: It's technically not murder if your enemy may have Joker Immunity.
  • Think Nothing of It
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: The denouement of "Earthshock." The Doctor turns to stone while Tegan, almost penitently, demands some sort of miracle from him and receives none.
  • Too Good For This Sinful Galaxy: He witnessed the mutual destruction of humans and primordials in "Warriors of the Deep." He saw what the future had in store for mankind in "Frontios." In "Resurrection of the Daleks," Five was pushed to the point where he considered executing Davros, but he lost his nerve and everyone else croaked anyway. "The Caves of Androzani" presented a society so corrupt that even the Doctor couldn't save it (at least not entirely), and the sheer filth of the place destroyed him.
  • Torture Porn: His final serial. Also, Five's last companion was Peri Brown, who gets tied up often enough to make Wonder Woman green with envy.
  • Tragic Hero: Often the writing itself conspires to make for a downbeat ending, with the Doctor being willfully blind to dangers, having a companion who isn't very adept at adventuring, and lacking previous Doctors' nigh-omnipotence to get him out of jams.
  • Undying Loyalty: The lengths to which he went in saving Peri from the horrors of Androzani Major. It's particularly touching when you realise that he'd only met her in the previous serial. (The later Big Finish audios show that they traveled together much longer than just the two serials, though.)
  • Walking Disaster Area: People pretty much tend to drop dead as soon as he walks in. Lampshaded in "Frontios" (a comparatively upbeat episode).
    Range: Yes, no more terror descending from the sky!
    Turlough: (Not unless you count the TARDIS.)
  • What Have We Ear?: He learns coin magic from Adric, which is fairly adorable. Of course, he already knew some degree of coin magic as the Third Doctor.

    Sixth Doctor 

Sixth Doctor

"Planets come and go. Stars perish. Matter disperses, coalesces, forms into other patterns, other worlds. Nothing can be eternal."

Played by: Colin Baker (1984–86, 1993, 1997) note 

The prideful, articulate naysayer with a hidden heart of gold. The Sixth Doctor was a darker (and certainly more unstable) Doctor, more suited for a hard and chaotic universe, whose default emotions were righteous indignation or smug self-satisfaction. Wore a multicoloured coat and wasn't averse to fisticuffs or murder to get out of a desperate fix. Alas, viewers weren't exactly fond of the idea of a periodically-evil Doctor. During his first season, the show got in trouble for being too violent. Baker became the only actor to be fired from the role, thanks to Executive Meddling; the fallout was so acrimonious that he didn't reprise the role for a regeneration, so they Dropped a Bridge on Him. However, Colin Baker is actually a wonderful guy, and is currently still redeeming the character fantastically in Big Finish Doctor Who, to the point of being voted "favourite audio Doctor" by the fans and eventually doing his Doctor justice with a proper regeneration story. For his Big Finish character tropes, see here.
  • Aborted Arc: A multi-year arc was planned in which the Sixth Doctor would mellow out, but politics at the BBC intervened. This was later taken up (after a fashion) by the Big Finish audios, where regular companion Dr. Evelyn Smythe puts up with exactly zero of his ego-trips and gives him a much-needed reality check. Unfortunately, the dissatisfaction with Baker's tenure bled into the material itself ("The Trial of a Time Lord") and later Who novels, which had Seven seeing him as a fundamentally flawed incarnation (though he eventually changed his mind).
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Whereas the Fifth Doctor found himself stuck in a World Half Empty, fretting about other ways, Six seems more open to employing dirty methods when fighting evil. In truth, the Sixth Doctor usually wasn't very violent but the situations he found himself in certainly were. Though Nathan-Turner's iron fist was keenly felt in the Costuming Department, script editor Eric Saward was, for all intents and purposes, in charge of the show during this period. Saward is also well-known for his affinity for action heroes, morally ambiguous stories and a kill-or-be-killed mentality. He was at sea with Davison's Doctor, but Baker allowed Saward to indulge a less-utopian worldview. "Feels different this time", indeed.
  • Big Fun: The most portly Doctor thus far, though that isn't saying much.
  • Bond One-Liner: Fond of them. There's a particularly grim one in "Vengeance on Varos," and it began to attract executive mumblings about whether Doctor Who was going too far. After two guards accidentally fall into an acid bath that was meant for the Doctor...
    Sixth Doctor: "Forgive me if I don't join you."
  • Came Back Wrong: Probably the most memorable regeneration trauma to date. Six has a peculiar fascination with peoples' throats in his debut story.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: The Sixth Doctor isn't quite this bad, but he is abrasive and easily the most articulate Doctor. Do not argue with him. You will lose.
    • To take it a step further, in the audio range, where he runs into versions of himself sometimes, if he starts arguing with himself, nobody wins.
  • Catch Phrase: "Mmm, I wonder...Aha!"
  • Character Development: The Sixth Doctor's relationship with his companion Peri changes for the better with each adventure they have together. If the Sixth Doctor's run had not been abruptly cut short, then he would have also been shown mellowing down and becoming a calmer Doctor closer to his previous incarnation.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: He does one in his opening credits.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Extremely so. When faced with a multitude of buttons, a gun and a few seconds to spare, his default solution is to shoot the entire control panel and short-circuit the system.
  • Death by Falling Over/Dropped a Bridge on Him: Hits his head on the TARDIS console. (Although later stories include a bit of Fix Fic for the scene. The BBC Past Doctor Adventures novel Spiral Scratch depicts giant alien parasites sucking away the energy around him that time travel generates. They feast on it until he withers, and the Rani's attack delivers the final blow to an already dying Doctor. This was before the definitive final Sixth Doctor story was revealed in 2015. Big Finish Doctor Who provides another take on the regeneration in The Last Adventure, involving the Valeyard and six different companions.)
  • Defector from Decadence: His experiences in this incarnation kill any shred of respect he still had for Time Lord society. After this, he only misses Gallifrey once there's no going back.
    "In all my traveling throughout the universe I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here. The oldest civilization: decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core! Ha! Power-mad conspirators, Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen, they're still in the nursery compared to us. Ten million years of absolute power: that's what it takes to be really corrupt!"
  • Doctor Jerk: Took great pleasure in exchanging barbs with Peri, though she took a while to really catch on.
    • Interestingly, the first of his Doctor Who Magazine comics was developed before his first episodes even aired, so the writers had nothing yet to go on... and wrote him with a kind, fairly normal personality. It somehow stuck, and his comics incarnation is really just a nice chap, with only the occasional flash of hostility.
  • '80s Hair: A mess of big blond curls.
  • Famous Last Words: "Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice..." Or if you go by the novel Spiral Scratch, "Local...tractor beam..."
    • Even though Terror of the Vervoids takes place after the trial, and the last thing he chronologically said on screen would be 'Vesti la guibba e la faccia,' (Roughly 'Put on your costume, powder your face.') but several sources put the "carrot juice" line as his last words.
    • And if you want to debate the canonicity of Time's Champion, an unlicensed fan publication, "This book has been my tale and I finish it. I am Time’s Champion. I am the Doctor. And this story is no more."
    • And now thanks to Big Finish, which has created a genuine final story accepted as the true canonical ending, his last words are going to change yet again.
  • Foil: His outspoken, harsh demeanor makes him one to Five.
  • A Fool for a Client: Six acts as his own attorney during his murder trial on Gallifrey. This goes down about as well as you'd expect.
  • Future Me Scares Me: The Valeyard. He is utterly appalled that someone so decadent could be none other than himself gallivanting around in chaos. But that doesn't stop him from whipping up glorious helpings of grammarian snark toward the Valeyard, calling him everything from "Boneyard", "Backyard", and "Barnyard", to, best of all, "Knacker's Yard".
  • Grumpy Old Man: The actor may not visually fit the role, but the Sixth Doctor himself easily fits the role in personality.
  • Hot-Blooded: Colin Baker summed it up as: "He's intolerant about injustice; he's passionate about justice. But he's not a human being. Therefore he may behave, at times, in a way that we mere humans might find puzzling. But the greater good is always at the heart."
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: Especially when frustrated or angry.
  • Hypocritical Humor: This Doctor is much more of a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of fellow.
  • Iconic Item: That technicolor nightmare coat, the cat badge and the umbrella. Sure enough, his regeneration into Seven inevitably culminates with the new incarnation questioning the former's bizarre tastes and pitching the coat for something more sophisticated. Granted, Six did switch to a blue ensemble for a while, but then an alternate Mel convinced him to revert back because she liked the old outfit better and nostalgia got the better of him.
  • I Hate Past Me: The Sixth Doctor considers himself the absolute pinnacle of Time Lord regeneration. As such he has a low regard for his predecessors, most notably Two and Five. Two returned the sentiment.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: It's like a clown vomited in his closet. The shirt and suspenders were inherited from Five, the hair and the Hawaiian vest seem to be directly lifted from producer John Nathan-Turner, and Six goes for broke with the coat-shaped quilt, a white dress shirt with question marks on the lapels and checked red sleeve cuffs, a polka-dotted aquamarine or red cravat / mustard yellow with a purple starfield cravat tied in a droopy bow, various clashing vests (asymmetrical rainbow patterns with bars on one side and zigzags on the other, red and white plaid with teddy bear buttons, a pattern of diagonal spangling stripes of violet, blue, cerulean, and green) with strange coloured fobs pinned on, the lemonade pants, scarlet socks, the green loafers adorned with traffic cone orange spats, and a variety of cat badges. As a inside joke on the Doctor's post-regeneration makeovers, it's brilliant parody. (It becomes less funny when the Doctor continues to wear it.)
    • And then there's the equally eye-popping but less hard on the eyes outfit Colin wore during his stage play tours, with a unique candy-striped vest, a ruffled undershirt with even bigger question marks on the collar lapels, and a velvet aqua-coloured cravat.
    • Colin Baker actually wanted to dress in black velvet for the part (to quote, "a bit austere, ruffled sleeves, long black coat, black trousers"), which John Nathan-Turner shot down immediately due to it basically being the Master's outfit. Legend has it that JNT then turned down the first several versions of the design because they still retained some vestiges of good taste. Interestingly, the costume looks just fine when you remove the excess color (see the outfit Six switches to for a while in Big Finish).
  • Incoming Ham: Introduces himself to the world with some good old-fashioned snark!
    Peri: ...Doctor?
    Sixth Doctor: You were expecting someone else?
  • Insufferable Genius: Oh, boy. Described by many as a "raging egotist"... but he really was as good as he described himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The genuine heart of gold still existed in this Doctor... it was just buried under a whole lot of ego. And bluster. But mostly ego. Ironically, the Sixth Doctor may well have had the largest heart of gold of any of them, hidden way deep down underneath the ego. Colin Baker later said he based his Doctor on Mr. Darcy.
  • Kangaroo Court: "The Trial of a Time Lord" saw him put on trial for conduct unbecoming a Time Lord by a Gallifreyan court, with the charge later changed to genocide of a minor plant race. Six wasn't allowed to glimpse the evidence against him, the Master was called as a character witness, and most of the surveillance footage was fabricated anyway.
  • Knight Errant: Self-described in "The Twin Dilemma":
    Sixth Doctor: I'm a knight errant, not an errant fool!
  • Laughing Mad: His regeneration trauma ran the gamut of emotions, from "happy drunk" to "raving paranoia" and everything in between. The wardrobe change was interrupted by a bout of existential angst.
    "Nothing but the... urk!... grinding engines of the universe! The...crushing boredom of eternity! HAAAAAHahahahAHAhahahaA!"
  • Mood-Swinger: For all his egoism and posturing the Doctor always stands up for what is right. The extremes of his personality means that Six can be murderous one moment and almost tender the next.
  • Murder Tropes: Although previous regenerations had no problem with letting villains die horrible deaths or blowing up inhabited enemy shapeships, Six straight up grabbed someone (who very definitely did not have Joker Immunity) and murdered him using a cyanide rag. Admittedly, this was a violent knife-wielding alien who had stabbed the Doctor in the leg and was chasing him with the intention of killing him.
  • Nerves of Steel: Showed courage even in the worst situations.
  • No Indoor Voice: Six was quite shouty.
  • Number One Dime: He's apparently fond of cats, as evidenced by a brooch worn on his lapel (a Colin Baker embellishment, natch). Six was known to tap or stroke the cat before attempting something risky.
  • Regeneration By Falling Over: The Rani shot at his TARDIS with a disco laser, there was something involving a rainbow, and... then he was dead on the floor. From 1987 to 2015, that was the impression left when his Doctor was written out of the show before that scene was finally explained. Would you believe it took upwards of thirty years for the true cause of his death to be revealed?
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: Colin Baker's dismissal from the TV series led to no true regeneration story. By the time Colin finally got one, he couldn't appear in a filmed episode because he had aged out of the role. In lieu of a TV story, he performed an audio anthology that elaborates on his Doctor's final adventure, and due to the Anachronic Order of these audio productions, it's not the absolute last audio Colin signed on for.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Depending on the writer, the Sixth Doctor tends to go from "being smart" to "sounding like he not only swallowed a thesaurus, but all of the grammar teachers in England." This is also played up in some of his Expanded Universe appearances.
  • Tsundere: The harsh version.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Peri at first; it does take them a few episodes to get along without unleashing a hurricane of insults on each other.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Only used against the Sixth Doctor in terms of his attitude rather than his actions or history.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess Player: Once Six actually figures out what the hell is going on, his quick thinking and planning is pretty much this in curly blond hair and a multicoloured coat. That does, of course, depend on the Sixth Doctor actually being involved enough in the main story to realize what's going on —- one example left him clueless until the final 20 minutes of the story.
  • You Look Familiar: Colin Baker appeared prominently in "Arc of Infinity" as a different Time Lord (a chief of security named Maxil, who shoots the Fifth Doctor) before he was cast as the Sixth Doctor. He likes to joke that he got the part by shooting the incumbent.

    Seventh Doctor 

Seventh Doctor

"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies."

Played by: Sylvester McCoy: (1987–89, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997)

The killer comedian, clad in Jay Gatsby summer wear from the twenties. This Doctor began as a sort of bumbling goof, but became a more manipulative and enigmatic figure when the show got a little darker (after back-pedalling away from it) in its final two seasons. Seven was even more passionate about justice than his predecessors, fond of The Plan, and a bit of a Knight Templar Parent to his companion Ace. These qualities came even more to the fore in the many, many Expanded Universe Doctor Who New Adventures novels he starred in. Hinted at numerous times to be much more than a "mere" Time Lord — a Story Arc which didn't quite pan out as such. What little made it into the show, however, added a few clues regarding his escape from Gallifrey, which appears to have included nicking the Hand of Omega as he went. Played the spoons (the musical instrument). For his Big Finish tropes, click here.
  • Aborted Arc: The so-called Cartmel Master Plan, whereby it would be revealed that Rassilon and Omega co-founded Time Lord society with a mysterious third individual known only as "The Other"; The Doctor would turn out to be the reincarnation of this person, in an attempt to return mystique to the character. Shades of this plan are seen in both "Remembrance of the Daleks" and "Silver Nemesis," both of which show that he knows how to operate Artifacts of Doom from Gallifrey's ancient past, and there was a plan for the Master to accuse him of being more than just a Time Lord. The cancellation of the show scuppered all this. Bits of it made it into the webcast "Death Comes to Time," and the episodes that were never filmed were eventually recorded as audios by Big Finish (though so far without the Cartmel Master Plan). Parts of the Master Plan made it into the New Adventures novels, especially in Lungbarrow. It's debatable how much this arc actually was aborted, however; several of the people supposedly involved, including Andrew Cartmel himself, have repeatedly stated that the Master Plan never really got beyond a few ideas thrown back and forth between writers and most of what it ended up being was just fans and later writers blowing things out of proportion a bit.
  • Amnesiac Hero: His post-regeneration story opened with Seven as a dupe of the Rani - though this was the fault of her amnesia serum, not random happenstance.
  • Batman Gambit: Often directly related to his status as Chessmaster.
  • Bookends: Both the start and the end of the life of the Seventh Doctor were really ignoble: hitting his head on the TARDIS console and being killed by malpractice committed by the woman who would become his next companion.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: He puts Ace through this in "The Curse of Fenric."
  • Celibate Hero: No Hugging, No Kissing was generally in place for the classic Doctors, but Seven displayed celibacy to the point that in a few Expanded Universe stories, his companions know he's Not Himself just from the fact alone that he suddenly fancies someone. Bernice Summerfield summarises that she's "never known the Doctor to have any concern for the trouser department."
  • Character Development: The Seventh Doctor began as an impish rogue who enjoyed showing up authority figures and loved a good mystery. Like Hercule Poirot (who follows a similar character arc), Seven frequently exploits the fact that nobody respects him or grasps the credible threat he poses. Seasons 25 and 26 toned down the sillier aspects a tad, with the Doctor starting out harmless in each serial and gradually getting ferocious by the end. McCoy was interested in exploring the links between Hartnell's Doctor and his present self, and Cartmel picked up on that, leaving clues left for the Doctor by his past (and future!) incarnations.
    • Then, Seven goes from a manipulator to a terror who breaks people with his manipulative schemes and eventually descends into heavy remorse, opting to travel alone. He becomes so weary that he grows complacent and forgets to check his TARDIS scanner on the one night when a Chinese-American gang was raising hell in the San Francisco alleyways.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: It always looks like he's up to something.
  • The Chessmaster: With varying success, often requiring the liberal use of Xanatos Speed Chess when things go awry. In the Doctor Who New Adventures, Seven's abilities are given real room to flex and are usually far more impressive. The Doctor smilingly weaves his web until it's too late for them.
  • Creepy Good: This Doctor could get scary. His life lessons to Ace in "Ghost Light" are downright terrifying.
  • Defiant to the End: Even as Grace prepares to operate on him, Seven begins planning the Master's downfall, asking for the atomic clock Eighth would need to repair the TARDIS. The comic "The Forgotten" also implies that Seven used a Chameleon Arch to turn Eighth half-human to fool the Master if he escaped.
  • Determinator: In the 1996 movie, he wakes up several times on the operating table, despite being heavily sedated, in order to attempt to warn everyone of what's happening.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The craftiest Doctor of them all got taken out by Asian crime elements... in the city of the Summer Of Love. That's rubbish luck even by his standards.
    • Nash Bozard put it best:
      If you listen closely, you can hear everyone from Davros to the Sontarans banging their head into a wall.
  • Dying Alone: This incarnation's end was especially sad; he ends up dying without any familiar faces by his side, powerless to stop his accidental killing by the hands of well-intentioned humans who only wished to help him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: An arguably unintentional example, but the very first thing the Seventh Doctor does upon regaining consciousness after regenerating is start to organise his schedule. The Doctor Who Expanded Universe would have the Seventh Doctor act as The Chessmaster who intentionally sought out particular conflicts rather than just happening to stumble across them as previously, and made a point of devising a plan for how to deal with the situation prior to arriving.
  • Expy/No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Famous Last Words: "I've got to stop... him..."
  • Fingerpoke Of Doom & The Paralyzer: Like most Doctors, he held disdain for physical violence, but could mop the floor with you if push came to shove. A simple poke brought down a neighborhood watchman twice his twice. ("Survival")
  • Foil: The manipulative and sneaky foil to the loud and straightforward Six. Beyond this, where Six was bombastic, loud and pompous, Seven is a lot quieter, friendlier and modest (for the Doctor, at least). And where Six was compassionate and empathic in his pursuit of justice, Seven can be incredibly cold and pragmatic when it comes to ensure the greater good.
  • Fun Personified: He starts out as this just after regenerating. His later stories turn him into a very dark Magnificent Bastard instead, although still with plenty of juggling, spoon dancing and hat tricks.
  • Future Me Scares Me: He finds out that in some future regeneration, in an Alternate Universe where the Arthurian legend is real, he'll become Merlin. Because of this, he has to spend an entire episode picking apart clues left to him by his future self.
  • Iconic Item: His straw hat, question mark handled umbrella (which he pretty much used as a third arm), and question mark covered sweater-vest. In the TV Movie (and New Adventures books), he lost the vest but kept the hat.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Seven could be pretty damn cold at times and he had the gaze to match.
  • Malaproper: In his early stories. "Time and tide melt the snowman," "A bird in the hand keeps the Doctor away." Philosophical gold, my friends.
  • Medical Horror: His final moments. Heavily sedated, Strapped to an Operating Table, and begging the sweet human doctor to stop shoving a camera probe into his arteries.
  • My Card: Handed out in "Remembrance of the Daleks"... out of thin air, at that. Sylvester McCoy had a small background with stunts and parlour tricks.
  • My Rule-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: In "Paradise Towers," the Doctor escapes custody by fabricating That One Rule to some jobsworth night watchmen. In "The Happiness Patrol," he brings a fascist dictatorship to its knees within just a few hours simply by following its laws to the letter.
  • Nerves of Steel: The Doctor knows the difference between a lean killer and a coward raining down death from rooftops. He has the audacity to sneak up on some snipers, puff out his chest and dare them to kill him honorably. And then snatches the gun away, when they hesitate. ("The Happiness Patrol")
    "Why don't you do it then? Look me in the eye. Pull the trigger. End my life."
  • Nice Hat: Which actually belonged to Sylvester McCoy. Seven liked to roll it up and down his sleeve.
  • Noodle Incident: "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" and "The Curse of Fenric" pits him against the Old Gods, and it's suggested that he's tangled with them before.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Nothing about his appearance or demeanor suggests that he is a threat.
  • One of the Kids: Officially declared not a yawny Olster! ("Paradise Towers") He's been at this game long enough to not patronize feral teenagers and as a result is declared a man of "high fabshion" and "ice hot."
  • Papa Wolf: When it comes to Ace, he's got this trope down pat. Particularly in the Expanded Universe.
  • Parental Substitute: Ace's father is never mentioned, and she has a bad relationship with her mother, so the Doctor ends up becoming a father figure to her.
  • The Power of Rock: The power of blues, showtunes and spoons.
  • Principles Zealot: Seven doesn't wander around aimlessly as much as prior versions. He's a man on mission. By Season 26, the Doctor goes around toppling dictatorships for sport. In "The Happiness Patrol," he makes a bet with himself to dismantle their entire police state by sunrise (he does).
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Not dressed like one for a change, but he was polite in a classic way.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Extremely.
  • Retired Badass: By the TV movie, he's done with plotting great harebrained schemes because he regrets more than the lion's share of them and feels like his regeneration isn't too far off.
  • Scenery Porn: His TARDIS eventually becomes a lush drawing room full of books, candles and Steam Punk gadgets.
  • Self-Deprecation: The Big Finish branch of the Expanded Universe has given the Seventh Doctor a few unintentional (on the Doctor's part) jabs at his rather lackluster death in the TV Movie. The best jab, by far, was "I will not die to the sound of elevator music!" when trying to escape a depressurizing airlock playing opera at him. Guess what he died to.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's extremely entertained by Ancelyn and Brigadier Bambera.
  • Slapstick: Especially in his early stories (why walk down a hall when you can slide?), and later exploited to bring down his enemies. Like the actor playing him, Seven is a born music hall performer, impressionist, and magician.
    • After dispensing with the Psychic Circus, he's forced to put on a show for his toughest crowd yet: the Gods of Ragnarok. About the only stunt he doesn't perform is stuffing ferrets down his trousers or spraying seltzer up his nose.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: While heavily sedated, and trying to explain to nice Dr. Grace that he's not human and could she please take that camera out of his arteries. She doesn't listen, and he dies.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Seven loves doing this. It's in a good half of his stories.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Seven's great love — his words are far and away more effective than any physical threat.
  • Tranquil Fury: This Doctor ran cold rather than hot, and his anger forecasted a slow but certain doom once provoked; where Six would boil over, Seven simmered. On a few occasions, he had to bring Ace to heel when she lost her temper, stating that she was "no good" to him or others this way.
  • Trickster Mentor: Became this in his second season, as focus shifted to his companion Ace. As a result, Ace became the most fleshed-out companion, whilst the Doctor became ever more mysterious.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs/Scottish English: McCoy was actually the first Doctor to not speak with a Received Pronunciation accent. He's very Scottish.
  • Unflinching Walk: He calmly walked out of a building that then promptly exploded and appeared not to notice. (The pyrotechnicians had over-rigged the charge and McCoy was fairly certain he was now dead, but kept moving on the off-chance he wasn't a pile of ash after all, since there was only one take they could do.)
  • Waistcoat of Style: In the television movie, along with a plain necktie.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Until the Ninth Doctor's exploits, the TARDIS saw more vandalism done to it than during any other Doctor's watch. Since no surface in Paradise Towers is safe for long, the Police Box gets covered in graffiti almost immediately after it's parked. In "The Happiness Patrol," it was painted bright pink(!) by Helen A's shock troopers after touching down on Terra Alpha.
  • Weapon of Choice: His brain (and, technically, words). This is the first Doctor to get a Dalek to self-destruct by talking to it.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The Seventh Doctor's death in a nutshell. The Doctor lands in San Francisco, and barely gets two feet outside the door when a Chinatown gang immediately opens fire on him. No wonder he rarely goes to America.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Seven tends to keep his eye on the big picture, and while he won't directly kill anyone, he's been known to leave — or nearly leave — psychological scars, especially in Ace. He gets called out on it. Hard.
  • Where It All Began: In "Remembrance of the Daleks," Seven makes a return trip to Totter's Lane to tie up some loose ends; The Daleks just happen to be pursuing the same object. According to the Vicar, this episode is set mere days after "An Unearthly Child."
  • Worst Aid: Bullets? Not a problem. Paramedics mistaking your alien heart rates for fibrillation? That's another matter.

    Eighth Doctor 

Eighth Doctor

"The universe hangs by such a delicate thread of coincidences - it's useless to meddle with it unless, like me, you're a Time Lord."

Played by: Paul McGann (1996, 2013)

The bouncy, charming romantic, slowly darkened into an aggrieved poet by loss and sorrow. From the little we saw of him, the Eighth Doctor was a chatty, passionate figure who reveled in life and living and — uniquely among the Doctors — seemed to enjoy giving people hints about their futures. Notably, he was the Doctor who shattered the No Hugging, No Kissing policy forever, happily snogging his companions just because he wanted to. He also claimed to be half-human, which was either ignored or denied in later stories. Got fleshed out considerably in the Expanded Universe media, including the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels (tropes here), the Doctor Who Magazine comics (tropes here) and the Big Finish audio series (tropes here), before finally coming Back for the Dead in the TV series. And along the way to that return onscreen, he really went through the wringer. The happy, cheerful days this Doctor enjoyed were soon a distant memory, as he was subjected to an unfairly tortured existence as the violence and loss across the universe rapidly grew until it kindled into the Last Great Time War.
  • Always Save the Girl: Until the very end.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Starts out this way, and manages to find new and exciting ways to contract amnesia every couple of stories — both in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels and in Big Finish.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Gets this gem in "The Night of the Doctor":
    Cass: Where are we going?
    Eight: Back of the ship.
    Cass: Why?
    Eight: Because the front crashes first. Think it through.
  • As the Good Book Says: Eight quotes Luke 4:23 before downing a potion which changes him into the War Doctor.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In reaction to scheming Seven, Eight can't stay on one task or thought for more than two seconds. Everything carries the same weight. This became his principal trait in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels.
    • ...to the point where, dying and with four minutes left to live, he proclaims boredom due to no books, TV, or knitting on hand.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Victorian clothes, long hair and Grace's ex-boyfriend's shoes.
  • Back for the Dead: He appears in "The Night of the Doctor" to regenerate into the War Doctor.
  • Badass Longcoat: Has a beautiful green one during the Made-for-TV Movie. His second appearance has it longer, greener, and much more badass. His (so-far) audio-only second outfit is a badass leather peacoat.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: As a symbolic shedding of his peacemaker persona, Eight gets tooled up in "The Night of the Doctor".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
    Make me a warrior now.
  • Bookends:
    • Begins his existence as a man fighting to reclaim his identity as the Doctor and ends it as a man who renounces his identity as the Doctor in order to fight.
    • In the TV movie, the Doctor steals his Wild Bill Hickok costume, but specifically does not take the gunbelt. Here, before regenerating, he picks up the Badass Bandolier his next incarnation wears.
    • He regenerated from the Seventh Doctor several hours after his previous incarnation's "death". He regenerates into the War Doctor after dying permanently in a spaceship crash and being briefly resurrected by the Sisterhood of Karn in order to regenerate.
    • At the beginning of Eight's life, after Eight tells Grace that he is a Time Lord, she runs from him, locks the doors to her home, and declares him a madman. At the end of Eight's life, after Eight tells Cass that he is a Time Lord, she backs away from him, deadlocks the door to her ship, and declares him as despicable as a Dalek. While the former ends up regaining trust in him, the latter takes her fears to the grave, reflecting the darker atmosphere that the Eighth Doctor lived through amidst the death and destruction of the Time War.
    • In The Eight Doctors, which takes place moments after the TV movie, the Eighth Doctor says: "Let's just say that I'm a Doctor. There's more than one, you know. Clearly, I'm not the one you were expecting." The lines are repeated almost word-for-word by this Doctor in his final appearance.
    • In a meta example, Eight's life began with Sylvester McCoy coming Back for the Dead after a six-and-a-half year hiatus to pass the torch to Paul McGann. It ended with McGann coming Back for the Dead after a 17 year hiatus to retroactively pass the torch to John Hurt.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Has a habit of randomly snogging people when he gets excited, and was consequently the first Doctor ever to be properly romantic with his companions. His kiss with Grace in the movie was as much a surprise for the audience as it was for her. Has another Big Damn Kiss in Big Finish with companion Charley, although it's played for horror, with Grace (again) and Destrii in the comics, and with companions Sam, Fitz and Bernice Summerfield in the novels.
  • Break the Cutie: "The Night of the Doctor", leading to his Despair Event Horizon and regeneration into the War Doctor.
    • This comes after more than a decade of Break the Cutie adventures in Big Finish. By "The Night of the Doctor" he seems to be barely holding on after all he's been through.
  • Changed My Jumper: for "The Night of the Doctor" Paul McGann got his wish and has a Badass Longcoat, similar in style to the Tenth Doctor's but in a dark green, along with a well worn and broken-in revision of his TV movie outfit that's much less stylized than his original costume. It's a mix of his classic TV movie costume and his updated Dark Eyes look from Big Finish Doctor Who.
  • Character Development: His long arcs with his Big Finish companions lead him to adopt a much more solemn outlook on life — and he ends up world-weary and alone in the very end.
    • It doesn't help that most of the companions he recited in "The Night of the Doctor" prior to his regeneration were killed during his travels. In fact, only one of them is still alive, and the Doctor was made to think they also died.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: During the Time War, he actually tried to save Davros from the Nightmare Child.
  • Classy Cravat
  • Clock King: Perhaps in an attempt to ease Americans into the setting, this Doctor has a collection of clocks inside his TARDIS (because he's a Time Lord - geddit?). On a deeper level, Eight exhibits an ability to sense the fate of people and see into their timestreams. Another suggestion of this occurs when Doctor handles the Wild Bill Hickok costume he adopts as his outfit; he seems to pick up a psychic impression from the period clothing.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He's a bit loopy even by Doctor standards, though it doesn't stop him getting the job done.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: "Charley. C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly..."
  • The Dandy: With his Victorian ensemble he gives Three a run for his money as the best dressed Doctor.,Even when his clothes become ragged by the Time War they still have a rugged charm to them.
  • Dead Man Walking/Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Actually dies (as in permanently) in a spaceship crash, but is temporarily brought back to life for around 4 minutes by the Sisterhood of Karn, so he could choose his next regeneration.
  • Deal with the Devil: His decision to accept the Sisterhood of Karn's offer to pick his next incarnation definitely has this vibe.
  • Death Seeker: Claims he won't leave Cass to die while she refuses to leave with a Time Lord. This means he stays on a spaceship as it crashes, killing him (for good). He appears to be broken enough from the Time War to accept this, or perhaps he feels culpability for the atrocities of his people.
    • He certainly wasn't happy about being revived, at least; referring to the Sisters of Karn's elixir, he calls them the "keepers of the flame of utter boredom" and, when glaring at the goblet he's to drink, Eight angrily screams at them to leave.
  • Defiant to the End: A running gag in the Big Finish audios. When Eight's in danger of dying, he gets snarky. There's a nod to it in "The Resurrection of Mars" ("he uses it to suppress his fear"), and of course it recurs in his second — and terminal — live-action appearance: When informed he has 4 minutes to live, the Doctor brashly lists off a half dozen hobbies he could indulge in that time. "Bring me knitting!"
  • Despair Event Horizon: Having endured, and run from, the still waging Time War, his failure to save the pilot Cass, and the accompanying realization of the reputation his people has brought upon themselves, appears to serve as the final straw on his state of mind. With some coaxing from the Sisters of Karn, he resignedly embraces his regeneration into the War Doctor. This comes after being thoroughly broken by his adventures in Big Finish Doctor Who.
    Doctor: I don't suppose there's any need for a Doctor anymore.
  • Distressed Dude: Courtesy of the Master, who's trying to steal the rest of his regenerations.
  • Ditzy Genius: Possibly the ditziest Doctor of them all, at least at first. Not so much later on.
  • Downer Ending/Cerebus Syndrome: Started out as the sunniest Doctor yet, with an unadulterated glee about the prospect of living that would not be seen again until his Tenth or even Eleventh iteration. By the time he got to Karn, however, he is a broken and emotionally haggard man who believes he deserves to have his life ended in agony.
  • Dull Surprise: One of the notorious aspects of the movie. Paul McGann couldn't move his forehead too much without the seam of the wig showing, which is part of the reason why he hated it so much. In the minisode, he's not dealing with a cheap wig anymore and has the freedom to be quite expressive, though most of his facial reactions show either fear, sadness, shock, or most of all: vein-pulsing explosive anger.
  • Famous Last Words: "Physician, heal thyself."
  • Foil: His upbeat and forgiving attitude contrasted Seven's Magnificent Bastard tendencies.
  • Final Speech: Gets a brief final monologue before his regeneration.
    "Charley. C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly...friends, companions I've known, I salute you. And Cass...I apologize. Physician, heal thyself..."
  • Five-Finger Discount: In his single TV adventure, the Eighth Doctor demonstrated a talent for pickpocketing people while directly speaking with them. He uses this talent to steal an ID card and a gun... which he uses to hold himself hostage.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Though they ultimately decide to part ways, the first person he meets who fills the traditional role of companion is the redheaded Dr. Grace Holloway. As soon as he gets over his regeneration trauma, he snogs her a few times out of sheer joy. (She's also the only companion ever in the TV series to directly inadvertently kill him, thus forcing him to regenerate from Seven to Eight.)
  • Got Volunteered: Since the alternative was being Killed Off for Real with the universe still in peril.
    Doctor: I would rather die.
    Sister: You're dead already. How many more would you let join you?
  • Heroic Bystander: He refused to fight in the Time War until he had no choice.
    Eighth Doctor: It is not my war. I will have no part of it.
  • Heroic Suicide: Enforced by the Sisters Of The Flame.
  • Iconic Item: His fob watch and Edwardian dress. Also, his shoes, which fit perfectly.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He was this close to rescuing Cass and packing off to a brand new adventure... until she saw his TARDIS, whereupon she recoiled as if in the presence of the Death Star or a Nazi flag.
  • Important Haircut: Eight's "Night" attire looks like it's seen a few wars already, and his hairstyle follows suit.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes/Icy Blue Eyes: Used in alternating ways to highlight both the lighter romantic sides of his personality as well as the more understated darker ones. The former is prominently on display in the movie promo-pictures, while the latter has come to the forefront in the Dark Eyes and "The Night of the Doctor" promo-pictures.
  • Innocent Fanservice Guy: Gets a a few shirtless scenes right off the bat, while still very confused and amnesiac.
  • It Has Been an Honor/To Absent Friends: Before consuming the Sisterhood's regeneration elixir, he raises a toast to each of his Big Finish companions.
  • Keet: Extremely.
  • Kirk Summation: "You want dominion over the living, but all you do is kill!"
  • Large Ham: With big arm gestures.
  • Long Bus Trip: Seventeen years between regenerations.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Starts off as this, squeaky-clean shaven and bright and cutesy. Then the breaking starts and he migrates directly toward Hunk, now sporting Perma Stubble, an Expository Hair Style Change, and a much grittier outlook on life. But somehow, the pretty boy and hunk qualities merge at the end of his life to create pure Badass.
  • Loose Canon: The first destruction of Gallifrey, in the EDAs that is, was the one the Eighth Doctor enacted to save Gallifrey from Faction Paradox (The Ancestor Cell). A previous book, Alien Bodies, introduced the War storyline which would become central to the Revival Series: the loss of the Time Lords results in a universe where the laws of time are no longer being enforced ("The Book of the Still"). The Big Finish anniversary episode "Zagreus" cleared up the confusion over those novels' canonicity, by stating they're an alternate timeline possibility (and forcing Eight to watch that alternate self for a bit). Although Big Finish still tends to be, as Nicholas Briggs likes to put it, "a bit naughty" in regards to canon, and has Eight referencing the novels and the comics a few times later on.
  • Man Child: Easily the most boyish, carefree and bouncy Doctor when he's not in trouble.
  • Messianic Archetype: The only hope to stop the Time War from tearing the universe apart? Drinking from a goblet? Quoting the Bible?
  • Morton's Fork: The circumstances of his death, the Time War, and the intervention of the Sisterhood of Karn hand him one of these. Either die for real, and condemn the universe to a horrific end at the hands of the Time Lords, the Daleks, and all the other too-horrible-to-think-of things that spawned from their battle, or cast aside everything he's sworn to be and join the fight in order to end it. He chooses the latter option, and apparently has regretted it ever since, despite it actually having worked.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Eight has a habit of losing his shirt with some frequency in any medium he appears in, and spends his first few minutes in the movie dressed in just a sheet.
  • Nice Shoes: "THESE SHOES!"
    • Also part of a running gag, as Three and Four both babbled about their shoes shortly after regenerating (of course, because they had the TARDIS key in them)
  • No Indoor Voice: When excited or upset, he tends to go wild with the volume.
    Eighth Doctor: The Master wants to take all my remaining lives... SO THAT HE WILL LIVE AND I WILL DIE!
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Something he shares with a few other Doctors. While his Trauma-Induced Amnesia eventually gets better, his sense of personal space definitely does not.
  • Not So Different: As Cass points out to him, he and the Time Lords as a whole have committed so many atrocities during the Time War that there really is little difference between them and the Daleks.
  • Older Than They Look: Obviously, being the Doctor, but this incarnation in particular. If Big Finish is counted, this version lasted roughly 1000 years; the longest living Doctor until the Eleventh.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: As seen in "The Name of the Doctor", he had a mostly off-screen adventure with the Second Doctor.
    • His (audio drama) Big Finish adventures are given a shout-out in "The Night of the Doctor".
  • Pretty Boy: Bordering on foxy, even.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: After seeing his reflection for the first time after regeneration, whilst wandering about the hospital: "WHO! AM! I?!"
  • Refusal of the Call: In "The Night of the Doctor", we learn the Eighth Doctor steadfastly refused to take any part in the Time War, even after it started to rip the universe apart. It is only his own death and forced resurrection by the Sisterhood of the Flame which causes him to break this rule and regenerate into the War Doctor.
  • Retroactive Precognition: An ability no other Doctor has ever shown again. Fan explanations vary from "it's a regeneration trauma thing" to "maybe Eight is special" to "Rule One: The Doctor Lies".
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Played with. Eight stubbornly refused to leave Cass despite telling him, quite clearly, to shove off. He's at the emotional crux of being broken and won't have any more of it. So he decides that if she's going to die, it would be worse if he went on living, dooming Cass to the fate of her own choosing, and having additional blood on his hands after losing multiple companions and loved ones. This time, he'll gladly allow himself to bite the big one. However, the crashed ship lands on Karn, causing a sequence of events that transform him into the War Doctor.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In gorgeous Victorian clothes.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: The gun that Eight pulls on himself was actually the policeman's. He's great at sleight of hand.
  • Take My Hand: To the Master, who refused and let himself be dragged into the Eye of Harmony; and to Cass, who refused and elected to die instead of being saved by a Time Lord, seeing it as the better alternative. (It's a bit of a recurring trope for Eight that offering to take someone's hand ends very badly.)
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: In a way. He chooses to cast aside being a good man, being the Doctor, when he drank the chalice of the Warrior.
  • Took a Level in Badass: A fatal example. At the end of his life, he chose his next regeneration to be a 'warrior' so he could fight in the Time War. The Doctor regenerates almost immediately afterward.
  • Take Up My Sword: When considering his options for his next life, the Doctor pointedly claims Cass' bandolier off her corpse.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Regenerating several hours after his death and under the influence of surgical-grade anesthetics apparently constitutes less-than-ideal circumstances.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Came with the outfit.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: Wakes up in a morgue in the middle of amnesia-inducing regeneration trauma. Finds a few feet of camera probe coming out of his chest. His first day was a bit scary.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: This only applies to his televised appearances, a whopping two over the course of 17 years.
    • It is worth noting that Big Finish took the wheel and patched up the vast in-between space. The Eighth Doctor has been somewhat of a phantom in the TV series, but far from it in audio format. Ironically, and fittingly, Paul McGann was once quoted as not owning a TV in his household to watch the post-movie Doctor Who, making the actor just as distanced from the new developments as his Doctor!