Characters / Doctor Who Doctors

"Splendid fellows — all of you."

A Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, the Doctor (real name unknown) is the main character of this long-running show. Like all Time Lords, he has a life span measured in centuries, some degree of psychic ability, and the ability to regenerate when near death. Unlike other Time Lords, he became bored and/or terrified by the Gallifreyan way of life when he was young, stole an antique TARDIS, skipped town and "never stopped running".

The Doctor remains the same person throughout his lives, but different incarnations have different personalities. Showrunners tend to cast each Doctor as a subversion of the previous one in both attitude and appearance. Hence, the original stubborn old grandfatherly git became clownish, suave, loopy, calm, peremptory, manipulative, romantic, weary, harsh, hyperactive, adorkable and caustic. After the show's return in 2005, it's added a bit more Character Development than the classic series.

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    All Doctors (General) 
  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Doctor is prone to acting like this, depending somewhat on the incarnation. He's quite likely more intelligent than any human being in history, but he's prone to Buffy Speak, Disorganized Outline Speeches, Metaphorgotten, Cloudcuckoolander-ness in general, and can hardly pilot his TARDIS or even remember what its buttons and knobs do. Sometimes this is Obfuscating Stupidity, but often it isn't.
    • In "The Beast Below":
      (the Doctor puts a glass of water on the floor and stares at it)
      Amy: Why did you do that?
      The Doctor: Don't know. I think a lot. It's hard to keep track.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Many Doctors do this at least once in a while, but it's a particular specialty of Ten's.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Downplayed. He tries to stick to "meet new people, stop threat of the week, then fly off saying I Was Just Passing Through" - and disapproves of the Monk trying to "improve" history.
    • Varying from this trope does come back and bite him in the butt a few times, due to him introducing instability and change, but not sticking around to see the fallout. Ten changed Harriet Jones, (former) Prime Minister's fate, which allowed Harold Saxon to set up.
  • Allergic to Routine: It varies per Doctor. Five was quite okay with spending long periods of time just relaxing; Eleven gets intensely annoyed after about a minute. Twelve prefers using windows to boring old doors.
  • Almighty Janitor: UNIT's "Scientific Advisor", on temporary leave as of, uh... 1974. UNIT's relationship with the Doctor seems quite schizoid: As an institution, they grant him dictatorial powers whenever they need his help, while simultaneously hiding things from him that they know he'll disapprove of (and grumble when he steals away and hides such contraband from them, even when it is potentially genocidal).
  • Always Save the Girl: So far, four incarnations (Three, Five, Nine and Ten) have died trading their life for their companion's (it should be noted that in the case of Ten, it was a case of "Always Save the Cool Old Guy"). Subverted with Eight, as he died trying (and failing) to save a woman whom he had set his heart on being his next companion. Taken Up to Eleven with the Twelfth Doctor, who sacrifices 4.5 billion years and risks the entirety of creation to save one young woman.
  • Ambiguously Bi: From the Eighth Doctor onwards, he will flirt with his male and female companions and will mouth kiss just about anybody. The Ho Yay between the Ninth Doctor and Jack and the Eleventh Doctor and Rory are prime examples. Even back in The '60s, Jamie and the Second Doctor had fans who saw a truly spectacular Ho Yay going on.
  • Anti-Hero: Regardless of the incarnation, he's an arrogant and vain old man who does good in spite of himself.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: To varying degrees in every one of his incarnations. Exactly how extreme it is varies considerably, with Four, Six and Eleven being particularly severe cases. But as a rule the Doctor can rarely stand to stay in one place for very long and simply cannot focus on long-term projects. Despite the fact that the TARDIS obviously needed some maintenance, the only time the Doctor really put serious effort into it was in his Third incarnation, when the Time Lords stranded him on Earth. Even then he kept himself amused running around with UNIT.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: The Doctor seems to intentionally prefer old-fashioned clothes, especially waistcoats, which he's worn in several incarnations. Of course, as a time-traveler, everything is anachronistic apparel to him.
    • Even the Ninth Doctor, who outwardly appeared to be wearing the most modern outfit, was actually wearing a Kriegsmarine Captain's Jacket from World War II, a similar look to the War Doctor's brown leather overcoat.
  • Badass Grandpa: He's already an old man when we first meet him, and a grandfather to boot.
    • All incarnations of the Doctor are technically part of the same long lifespan, but aside from One, Three and Twelve are the only ones to look like old men. Honourable mentions to War, who's indicated to have started out young in "Night of the Doctor" and lived long enough to become the old soldier of "Day of the Doctor", and Eleven, who also lives long enough to go from being boyish to an old man, still fighting even when he's practically senile and needs a cane to get around.
  • Badass Pacifist: To an extent. The Doctor usually tries to use his wits to solve problems rather than violence.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: A master of it. After the introduction of the psychic paper in "The End of the World", the Impersonation Gambit is used more often.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A possible explanation for his fondness for Earth and humans. They've been much more welcoming to him than his home world has. In-story, he's likely to remember and repay any kindness shown him, provides that person doesn't cross the line with him afterward.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Doctor's met nearly every famous historical character, at nearly every important event in history, and generally has an anecdote or two about them. Churchill and the Prince of Wales have his phone number.
  • Being Good Sucks: Every Doctor will find themselves in a morally grey situation with thousands of lives at risk, and Take a Third Option isn't always on the table.
    Twelfth Doctor: Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose.
  • Benched Hero: The after effects of Three, Five, Ten, and Twelve's regenerations put them out of action for a time. Seven was immediately hypnotized to do the Rani's bidding, so honorable mention there. Two, Four, Six, Eight, Nine (as said in the expanded universe), and Eleven hit the ground running.
  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt or kidnap his companions. Or try to destroy the Earth; we're his favourite aliens. Don't try to harm or cheat innocent people. Or enslave people, especially kids. The usually calm Doctor will end you.
    • He has an incredibly short fuse for tyrants and oppressive governments, especially Gallifrey's. Even his nicer incarnations had way too much fun leaving regimes in flaming ruin.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Doctor is, fundamentally, a good person... who will blow up enemies, spaceships and entire planets if it saves the day.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Even the more serious incarnations have their Adorkable moments, often in the face of extreme danger. The Doctor would probably concur with Mel Brooks who said, 'It can take an army to bring down a dictator. But it takes a comedian to destroy them forever.'

    Two, Four, Seven, Ten and Eleven are particular masters of this trope.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Lampshaded by Clara in "Deep Breath". The Doctor is suffering from his usual post-regeneration quirkiness and has apparently abandoned her. Clara predicts that if he really is the Doctor, he will turn up Just in Time to save her. And of course he does.
    • All thirteen of them work together to save the day in "The Day of the Doctor".
  • Big Good: His name inspires hope in all that is good and terror in all that is evil. Where he goes, freedom (and explosions) quickly follow. Frequently acknowledged as this, by friends and enemies alike.
    The Master: A cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The regenerations from one Doctor to the next. The Doctor is going to be fine, but he'll never be the same.
    • Very few partings with companions are not bittersweet. In "The Next Doctor", the Doctor stated that they ultimately break his heart. And both "School Reunion" and "The Girl Who Died" touch on the emotional toll losing a companion has on the Doctor.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: As a Gallifreyan Time Lord, the Doctor can do weird things like counteract cyanide poisoning given a bunch of weird ingredients, absorb radiation and expel it through his foot or forego the need to breathe for a few minutes, and can withstand massive amounts of electricity. Oh — and he has two hearts. Not to mention that when he is close to death he can avoid it by essentially reassembling his body and regenerating into a new one, which changes his personality, quirks, likes and dislikes, though he essentially remains the same person.
  • Blue Blood: It's heavily implied that the Doctor came from an aristocratic family back on Gallifrey.
    • Impoverished Patrician: If the run-down state of the barn and its location in a wasteland where the people "don't matter" (according to Rassilon) are any indication.
  • Born Lucky: With a little help from the TARDIS.
  • A Boy and His X: A Time Lord and his TARDIS. Or, as she sees it, the TARDIS and her Time Lord. The trope is referenced directly by name - "A boy and his box, out to save the universe" - in "The Doctor's Wife".
  • Break the Cutie: Each new Doctor starts out reinvigorated and carefree. Character Development sets in and the tone of the show grows darker until it's regeneration time.
  • Break the Haughty: Each Doctor has a massive ego and each one of them will find themselves put through the wringer eventually because of it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He never quite manages to pass as fully human (or whatever race he's impersonating). But he's probably more adept at whatever's happening than anyone else, even if it involves wearing a piece of celery or comically pulling eggs out of his mouth.
    • The Doctor is still registered as a full-time UNIT staff member, despite clocking in approximately once per decade and generally avoiding work like the plague.
    • He's also been Lord President of Gallifrey at least three times, and managed to skip out on that too.
  • But Now I Must Go: The Doctor has a habit of bringing your world down around you and then vanishing prior to rebuilding. This was deconstructed in "Bad Wolf" and "The Face Of Evil" (albeit that one was due to a Noodle Incident), though the Doctor didn't learn his lesson, hence perhaps why it's brought up again in "The Woman Who Lived" where Ashildr/Lady Me tells the Doctor that she looks after the world he leaves behind.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to The Master's Cain. It's never been confirmed on the show that the two are actual brothers, and the Doctor denies it in the revived series - although the Doctor isn't the most reliable source when it comes to his past. Even if they're not biologically related, the series makes it clear that they were as close as brothers growing up, so it still counts.
    • Inverted in one of their origin stories. In that story, a young Doctor and Master back on Gallifrey were being bullied and the Doctor snapped, killing one of the bullies. Death appeared and told the Doctor he would have to become her champion. The Doctor volunteered the Master instead, perhaps giving him his Start of Darkness.
  • Catch Phrase: "Of COURSE!"; "I'll explain...later." and of course, "Run!" (Individual Doctors also have their own.) He also tends to introduce himself with some variation of "Hello, I'm the Doctor!"
  • The Chessmaster: Neil Gaiman notes that the Ninth Doctor tires of having to explain himself, and would much rather lurk on the periphery and move people around from a distance. However, this trait is visible as far back as Troughton in "Tomb of the Cybermen." The lack of subtlety on the Doctor's part varies: Troughton shrinks into the scenery to hide, keeping himself unnoticed and underestimated. Tom Baker, on the other hand, hangs a bright neon "I am lurking in the scenery waiting to pounce and make my move!" sign over his neck. Sylvester McCoy is affable, but very cold, setting things up to give the enemy just enough rope to hang themselves.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Distress signals always get the Doctor's attention.
    Amy Pond: So is this how it works, Doctor? You "never interfere in the affairs of other peoples or planets"... unless there's children crying?
    Eleventh Doctor: Yes.
    • Clara's speech about how travelling can be an addiction could be pointing to this. The Doctor physically can't stop helping people.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: All the incarnations of Doctor will at the very least have shades of this.
    • One was prone to making humorous (and rather weird) observations.
    • Two's was mostly a case of Obfuscating Stupidity, though he was genuinely a bit dotty at times.
    • Three would frequently speak to the Master (a murderer who attempts to conquer the planet on a regular week-to-week basis) as though he were having a chat with a good friend, even during jail cell visits.
    • Four was as manic as his hair, offered jelly babies to pretty much everyone, and tended towards behaving like he was on a sugar bender most of the time.
    • Five wore a stick of celery on his lapel, and would often change his mind about where he wanted to go mid-stride and turn and dash in that direction without telling his companions.
    • Six truly believed his coat was fashionable and was reality-defyingly blind about his own lack of tact and subtlety.
    • Seven was daring and bold to the point that he casually walked between two men sword-fighting to the death, even tipping his hat as the two men stared at him in disbelief.
    • Eight was prone to making non sequitur observations in the middle of serious conversations and could be ridiculously Literal-Minded.
    • The War Doctor seized a weapon amidst the violence and mayhem of the Time War to write the words "No More" on a wall.
    • Nine believed being a tourist meant doing all sorts of crazy stuff you can do, just for the hell of it, and had a habit of generally ignoring human customs.
    • Ten would have random and over the top geeky fits over how wonderful humans are, sometimes randomly hugging them just for the hell of it.
    • Eleven is obsessed with bow ties and fezzes, believing them to be fashionable, even after women have been willing to destroy the latter to prove otherwise. He'll also openly refer to himself as a madman.
    • Twelve treats people more like interesting research subjects than like sentient beings, and flirts with a giant T-Rex (then denies that it was flirting).
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The regeneration conceit allows the various Doctors to be this to each other. While on a fundamental level the same character, each incarnation will have different traits emphasised.
  • Cool Old Guy: Strictly speaking, all of them are chronologically, but some regenerations don't even resemble the part. However, some of the younger looking regenerations like Eleven do embrace the concept. And the four oldest incarnations in terms of the actor hired to play the role (William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, John Hurt and Peter Capaldi) definitely fulfill the trope.
  • Courtroom Antic: Rather than face the indignity of hearing a guilty judgement during his mockery of a trial, the Fourth Doctor put himself up as a candidate for the Presidency. Six spent the bulk of his own trial heckling the prosecutor (the Valeyard), calling him Boneyard/Backyard/Barnyard/Knacker's Yard/etc.
  • Crew of One: Half the reason he Drives Like Crazy is that he's trying to do a six-person job, occasionally with a companion following his advice.
  • Cruel Mercy: Most of the time, he is nice enough to let his enemies surrender or redeem themselves. But if you've crossed the line? You'll wish you were just killed outright. Seven and Ten, in particular, could be incredibly brutal in handing this out.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The degree of deadpan and the preferred delivery method of it may vary, but you don't have to scratch any of the Doctors too hard to find the Grade A Snark contained within.
  • Death by Origin Story: Technically the regeneration of one Doctor into another is this, since the previous Doctor has to die for the new one to be born.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Regeneration episodes themselves tend to be very melancholy in nature; see "Planet of the Spiders", "Logopolis", "Caves of Androzani", "Night of the Doctor", "The Parting of the Ways", "The End of Time" and "The Time of the Doctor".
  • Defector from Decadence: The circumstances behind him leaving Gallifrey (other than a desire to see the world) are unclear, but he was always critical of the stagnation of Time Lord society.
  • Deus ex Machina: When you think about it from the perspective of a lot of the characters who only show up in one story, the Doctor himself is a Deus ex Machina. Think about it, these people are in the middle of a dangerous crisis, or in the early stages of one, and then out of nowhere, a strange blue box shows up. Then some guy and his companion(s) walk out and solve the whole damn problem.
    • Subverted in "Midnight". Those guys thought he was the cause of it.
  • Dissonant Serenity / Tranquil Fury: When sufficiently angered, the Doctor is quite capable of raining fire down on his enemies with a look of utmost calm.
  • Distressed Dude: He gets tied up, handcuffed and so on almost as often as the companions, if not more.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: No version of the Doctor has been exactly gun-happy, though some accepted them as a last resort (though rarely bullet-firing guns).
    • One was seen with a gun once or twice, though he preferred to immediately give it back to whoever was trying to shove one into his hands. He did carry a gun during an adventure in the wild west (in the novelization he even shoots someone by accident), but that was more to be in character.
    • Two held and handled guns quite a few times during his run, sometimes using them as convenient yet empty threats. He didn't evince any obvious distaste for guns in general, but he never did actually fire one. He also built a heat ray and used it to great effect against Ice Warriors.
    • Three would much rather karate chop a poor sucker than shoot him, though he did sometimes kill with a ray gun.
    • Four would pick up a gun if the situation called for it, and rather enjoyed himself with the things. (His aim, however, left much to be desired.)
    • Five actually blew away a couple of enemies with a ray gun, though only if there was no other option left.
    • Subverted by Six, who was more willing to pick up a gun than the others would a Sonic Screwdriver. The best example of this is in "Attack Of The Cybermen" (again, though, it was a laser gun, not a bullet gun). Six generally wasn't averse to murder.
    • Seven would never use a gun himself, but didn't mind when others used similar weapons like rocket launchers or ballistic explosives if the situation demanded it.
    • Eight used a gun several times. In his one televised adventure, he stole one from a police officer and used it to hold himself hostage (a rare occasion where a bullet-firing gun was used). Other times, he simply refuses to acknowledge them as guns, because "I don't use guns."
    • Unexpectedly played straight with the War incarnation, about whom his being unarmed was reportedly the first thing you notice (and for many, also the last). The only moments we see him fire a gun on-screen are when he is using one to write the words "No More" on a wall, and when he blasts a Dalek who sees this writing.
    • Nine held a gun twice: whether he would actually have shot is debatable. Then again, he also switched Jack Harkness' gun for a banana at one point. He also demanded information at gunpoint and, when his victim protested, said "I'm not gonna shoot you," and gave him the gun. Then continued demanding information, which the victim gave him.
    • As far as Ten was concerned: Swords, explosives, pet robots with lasers, flooding rivers, taping over electronic villains, erupting volcanoes, electrocution through a piece of the TARDIS, Fates Worse Than Death, throwing entire planets into black holes, fatally accurate satsumas and death by church organ? Perfectly legitimate methods of combat. Guns? NEVER. When his cloned daughter appeared to have been shot to death, he picked up the gun that did it and appeared to be about to blow away the man who fired, but said he never could. However, Ten did pick up a gun on his last day, when he realized that the Time Lords were returning. And he pointed it at Rassilon. He ended up firing the gun, though not at a person.
    • Eleven admits that he still "has a thing" against guns, but isn't quite as obsessed with avoiding them if using one can save lives. Early on, he used a gun to activate an anti-gravity thingy when being chased by Weeping Angels. He also admits that he likes using River as a back-up gun wielder, since she doesn't share his hangups, and he realizes full well how hypocritical that is. When his Berserk Button gets pushed hard enough, he can go into a violent rage and become very willing to point a gun at someone's head — a fact that genuinely terrifies him.
    • Twelve's opinion of guns is made clear when he tells a group of soldiers they don't have to be liked because they have the guns. However, he can be pushed far enough to pick one up: in the Series 9 opener, Clara's apparent extermination gets him angry enough to pick up a Dalek gun and aim it at Davros, although he ultimately decides to use it for something else, while in "Hell Bent", given the chance to rescue Clara from her imminent death, he actually fires a gun at someone (again, though, not a bullet gun).
  • Doom It Yourself: The TARDIS does actually have a manual, but the Doctor rarely bothers to follow it. The Sixth Doctor dismisses its instructions even when it could save his life, while Eleven later claims to have thrown it into a supernova after it disagreed with him one time too many.
  • Doom Magnet: It's actually a cross between being this... and a dedicated follower of Doom care of the TARDIS plonking him neck deep in it. Either way: he arrives; trouble happens; trouble unhappens; he leaves. And leaves an impression that often closely resembles a crater in the process of being built on or flattened out.
  • The Dreaded: As the series progressed, it has became the norm that any villain who recognizes who this strange individual calling himself "Doctor" immediately browns their trousers. A number of times the Doctor himself calls attention to his identity for that effect.
    • This effect seems to be especially prevalent with the Daleks, who nearly destroyed the entire Time Lord race in the Last Great Time War. To put things into perspective: There are Daleks deemed — by their own race of hate-filled genocide fetishists — too insane to control; they're too awesomely hateful to kill, so they're put into an asylum. Then there are a few Daleks deemed too insane to share a room with those Daleks; they're put into an intensive care room. They are the few who survived a fight with the Doctor.
    • Both Ten and Eleven weaponised the word "Run", and were able to turn entire armies around at the very mention of their name. This status comes back to bite Eleven hard in Series 6, where it's revealed that in the Gamma Forest, "Doctor" does not mean "Helper of the weak and sick" like on Earth, but "Warrior", due to his sheer badassery. The Doctor does not think this is a good thing, and the whole affair inspires him to wipe his "dreaded" status from the universe and start over again without all the baggage of being a known quantity feared and exalted in equal measure.
    • The War Doctor. He comments on both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors looking at him with nothing less than "utter dread".
    • When the Doctor finally returns to Gallifrey and returns to his childhood home, a gunship shows up to drag him off. When he takes a step forward, the gunship backs up. The Doctor then draws a line in the dirt with his foot, and no one will cross it.
  • Drives Like Crazy: In River Song's second appearance, she teases that he deliberately shuts off the TARDIS's stabilizers and drives with the parking brake on. Word of Moffat has it that she was just joking, though.
    • Four once managed to land just in time for a cliff to explode on top of him and his companion. Peri at one point complains that Six caused three electrical fires and a power failure, nearly collided with a storm of asteroids, got lost in the TARDIS corridors twice, wiped the memory banks of the flight computer, jettisoned three quarters of the storage hold and burned her cold dinner. Ten outright admits he failed the TARDIS driving test. (You can tell.)
    • However, the TARDIS is meant to have six pilots, which explains why he's always running round the console and fiddling with seemingly random parts. When we do see six people piloting the TARDIS at once, they're able to do it smoothly without any prior training.
    • In addition to the lack of pilots, it doesn't particularly help that the Doctor refuses to follow the instruction manual either.
    • It has been confirmed (by the TARDIS herself) in the revival that many of the times the TARDIS made an unexpected stop or landed at the wrong time and place are due to the TARDIS itself taking the Doctor to where he needs to be.
  • Dying Alone: The Seventh, Eighth, War and Tenth Doctors all regenerated alone (though given that the last two were in the TARDIS, they don't count as a full example).
  • Eccentric Mentor: To many of his companions.
  • Era-Specific Personality: The Doctor changes personalities in every regeneration.
  • Eternal Hero: He's always there to save the day, anywhere and anywhen he is needed.
    • Though sometimes he isn't, a fact explicitly pointed out in the former incident.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Perhaps one of the most famous examples, and an invoked and justified one at that. The Doctor refuses to use his true name, taking his name as "The Doctor" and only that. According to him, it is a promise, as symbol of who he is or rather wants to be: Somebody who wants to help and heal. Of course, this leads to the classic Running Gag...
  • Expy: When the show began, the Doctor hovered somewhere between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain, and Steven Moffat described the first Doctor as a senile old man. At some point, the first story editor David Whitaker realized that since he had to carry the show, he needed to be more of a cut and dried hero. Who did they turn to? Sherlock Holmes. It becomes clear with Moffat penning versions of Doctor Who and Sherlock, since both come across as Insufferable Geniuses who both tend to say "Shut up, I'm thinking." Companions in general tend to fit the Watson role pretty well.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: One time, The Doctor flirted with a sentient tree and a Dalek (albeit one with the consciousness of a cute human girl), he and his sapient spaceship are bonded to the point where the show calls her his wife, and he notes that although he finds Zygons physically repugnant, they are surprisingly good kissers.
  • Famed In-Story: Erratically, since he tends to hop around space and time and is not actually universally known — but happens on many occasions.
    • It's later been revealed that countless races across the universe do get the word "Doctor" intrinsically ingrained in their languages due to him, denoting either a "Healer" or "Great Warrior".
    • By "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and "The Angels Take Manhattan", the Doctor has taken to removing all traces of his identity.
  • Fan of the Past: The Doctor is rather fond of Earth history.
  • The Fettered: Despite being a self-proclaimed "madman with a box" who thinks keep-out-signs are for other people, he is very much this. Bad things happen when he starts breaking his personal rules.
    "Good men don't need rules. Now is not the time to find out why I have so many."
  • Figure It Out Yourself: He invokes the "changing the future" excuse. Taken to massive extremes in "Kill The Moon" to the point in which he leaves a decision that could kill the entire planet to Clara and two others. Though it was all a test and he knew they wouldn't do it, and when Clara found out the truth, it alienated her to the point where she almost left the TARDIS for good.
  • Flanderization: Every incarnation of the Doctor has gone through this to one extent or another, where certain quirks and personality traits seem to become more magnified the longer any one actor stays in the role.
    • However sometimes they go through reverse Flanderization. The First Doctor became less stubborn and bad-tempered, and Six mellows out in Season 23, and more in Big Finish.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The Doctor, despite being a man who flies through space/time like it was a Sunday drive and has fought monsters, has very little patience for non-science based explanations, and refuses to accept there are such things as ghosts, Gods, and devils (though Twelve finally comes to accept ghosts). It becomes very obvious when he comes across things, creatures, and events that have no reasonable explanation, sometimes going so far as to ignore explanation and adopt a "It happened let's move on" mentality.
  • Foregone Conclusion: As revealed in "The Name of The Doctor", the ultimate fate of the Doctor is to die defeating an army at the battle at Trenzalore and have his remains entombed within the TARDIS. The Eleventh Doctor has apparently been aware of this for some time and refers to it as the one place he must never go.
    Clara: How can you have a grave?
    Doctor: Because we all do, somewhere out there in the future, waiting for us.
  • Foil: Each Doctor is a subversion of the previous one, but it's at its fullest extent with the War Doctor. Whereas his predecessors and successors are all technical pacifists with varying degrees of egotism, chessmasterness, etc., the War Doctor is a warrior with countless deaths on his hands, and is the most humble of his selves. It's most evident when he meets his future incarnations in "The Day of the Doctor": Ten and Eleven are cheerful man children with deep-rooted dark sides, while the War Doctor is dark on the outside, very mature and war-worn, with his good heart buried deep within himself. It is as if he was a yin-yang inverse of himself.
    • The Third Doctor was exiled to Earth, so the Fourth Doctor contrasted this with always being unable to sit still or take orders from authority.
  • Friendless Background: More than once, and more so in the newer series, it's been mentioned that the Doctor had a very lonely childhood, with one mention of him often being left out by other Gallifreyan children. In fact, about the only friend of his we know of is The Master.
  • Future Me Scares Me/I Hate Past Me: Tends to come up whenever interacting with his past or future incarnations.
    • The Three Doctors started this trend with having Two and Three often squabbling amongst themselves, with One occasionally reining them in and telling them to focus on the task.
    • In relation to the point above, when it comes to in-fighting between incarnations, One has always been the exception, especially in the expanded universe. All of his successors who have interacted with him have always seen him as a voice of reason, treated him with immense respect, and have always followed his advice.
    • Taken to its extreme with the War Doctor, whom the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh refused to admit even existed. The War Doctor, for his part, wasn't exactly impressed with Ten and Eleven either (at first).
  • Gender Bender: Missy claims to have known the Doctor "since he was a little girl", and if the two of them are to be trusted (a tall order, to be fair), that was not a lie.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Four loved Jelly Babies; Eleven preferred Jammie Dodgers.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Even once he starts to think of fighting the bad guys as a job, his main objective has always been to see as much of the universe as he can.
  • A God Am I: An immortal, omniscient alien with a time machine? ....Just get down on your knees and pray that he's never, ever in this mood around you.
  • A God I Am Not: His usual mode. He usually doesn't expect people to recognise him, let alone view him as a hero or (horrors!) see him as a being of nigh-invincible power; he's just someone who happened to be passing by who could and did help.
    Ninth Doctor: Don't worship me, I'd make a very bad god. Wouldn't get a day off for starters.
  • Go-to Alias: "John Smith", as well as several non-English variations on the word "who". The First Doctor once introduced himself as Dr. Caligari and the Tenth Doctor used former companion Jamie McCrimmon's name while pretending to be Scottish.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Heís marvelously rude to practically everybody he meets (even those on his side), and the only people he shows genuine affection for are children and his companions.
  • Guile Hero: Almost every incarnation of the Doctor prefers to use brains over brawn.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The idea's been brought up a couple of times, though whether it's true is uncertain. It's a delicate subject in the fandom. Eighth says he's half-human on his mother's side, and Ashildr/Me independently proposes it as a theory to explain the Doctor being the Hybrid of Time Lord prophecy. (The Expanded Universe has gone both ways with Eighth's statement and its supporting evidence, some parts going along with it, other parts claiming he was faking out the Master.)
  • Headbutting Heroes: With UNIT, people who use guns and even with himself on occasion.
  • The Hero: In the words of Donna: "He saves worlds, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures and runs a lot. Seriously, there's an outrageous amount of running involved. "
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Tin ones, in particular. Ten and Eleven still have nostalgia for K-9 and other robot dogs.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: While the Doctor isn't an action hero, he's not adverse to a swordfight, as shown in his third, fifth and tenth incarnations. The 12th Doctor once dueled Robin Hood, though it was with a spoon, rather than a sword.
  • Human Aliens: On the surface, he looks perfectly human, though Ten and Eleven have argued that humans are Time Lord aliens.
    Amy: You look human.
    Eleven: No; you look Time Lord. We were first.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Despite looking human (or the reverse, whichever), the Doctor and his race are completely different down to an anatomical and biochemical level. Just detecting his two hearts is enough to convince most human(oid)s of what he is (at least post-"The War Games"; before that point, he's Ambiguously Human).
  • Humble Hero: He's not modest, but he's essentially humble - might seem odd, but it's true. Though he shows pride over his own brilliance and abilities, he doesn't consider himself special, he'd just as soon leave any credit for what he does to someone else, is very aware the universe doesn't revolve around him and doesn't think it should, has dismissed any offers of power to him with some variation on "I wouldn't be very good at it", and can't seem to see that he's powerful enough that whole races devoted to the subjugation of the universe have banded together to try to destroy him.
  • Iconic Item: The Sonic Screwdriver and the TARDIS, of course. From 2005, the psychic paper.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: Word of God is that the Doctor should never say these three little words, even when the situation is appropriate. Although less of an issue in the Classic Era, there were still moments where he could have said "I love you" in a platonic context, if nothing else. In the Modern Era series, even in unambiguously romantic relationships such as with Rose Tyler, Clara Oswald, and even his own wife, River Song, the Doctor is never heard to utter the phrase. Instead, he either waffles around it (as the Tenth Doctor does with Rose in "Doomsday", saying instead "Does it need saying?" though his clone is implied to have whispered it to her in the later "Journey's End") or uses a euphemism such as "Do you think I care so little for you that betraying me would make a difference?" in "Dark Water" (confirmed by the showrunner and writer of the episode as a euphemism for "I love you") and "I had a duty of care" ("Hell Bent"). Sometimes other characters prevent him from having to say anything approaching it (as with Clara Oswald saying "Whatever you're about to say, I already know" as they prepare for her death in "Face the Raven").
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: ...just a madman/idiot with a box, helping out where he can. He's shown elements of this throughout his lifetime, but only recently has he really started to enforce the idea that he's most certainly not a hero; Eleven and Twelve in particular both had to force their companions to accept this.
  • I Meant to Do That: Some things just never change, and every Doctor pretends he has piloted the TARDIS exactly where he intended even if he's way off-course.
    • "The Doctor's Wife" justifies this when the TARDIS itself reveals that it always takes the Doctor and his companions not where they want to go, but NEED to go.
  • Immortal Immaturity: There's no point in being grown-up if you can't be childish sometimes.
  • Immortality Hurts: It would seem that regeneration never gets any less painful or disorienting. Each one is a miniature "death", of sorts, as the Doctor's brain is rewired with a new personality.
    "It's a bit dodgy, this process."
    • An alternate view of the trope: as stated in "School Reunion", the Doctor is always cognizant that he will always outlive his companions, stating to Rose Tyler, "You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of my life with you. That's the curse of the Time Lords." To date only three companions potentially could defy this, but the Doctor is unable to stay with them: Romana (a younger fellow Time Lord), Jack Harkness (after being rendered immortal by the Bad Wolf) and Clara Oswald (post-"Hell Bent").
  • Indy Ploy: Has been winging it since he got stolen by a TARDIS. He's generally rather good at it, to the point his plots can resemble multi-step plans, rather than the "pick stuff up, press stuff and/or prod it, and run with (or away from) what happens" they most probably are.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: The Doctor is, quite frankly, oddball, even for a Time Lord (heck, just liking Earth, let alone a particular corner of the universe that isn't Gallifrey, is outright weird for them). And we still don't really know all that much about how he got to be that weird by their standards. Seriously.
  • In Harm's Way: Nothing keeps the Doctor from adventure.
  • In the Blood: The Doctor's character flaws - pride, arrogance, self-absorption, and inclination to think himself superior to others - are all traits that can be found in every Time Lord from Romana to the Meddling Monk. And of course, they're passed down with every regeneration.
  • The Insomniac: As has been established since the early days of the series, the Doctor needs very little sleep. The mini-episodes "Night And The Doctor" offer a glimpse into the things he gets up to when his companions are asleep. He does sleep on occasion but, as he tells Clara in "Sleep No More", he does it when no one is looking.
  • Jumped at the Call: He didn't just jump, he stole a TARDIS and went looking for it. Or did she steal him?
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: A few incarnations of the Doctor have shown a fondness for cats, particularly Six, Nine, and Ten (though Ten was initially wary of them).
    Ten: No, I'm not really a cat person. Once you've been threatened by one in a nun's wimple, kind of takes the joy out of it.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: The Doctor loves a Spot of Tea and (depending on the incarnation) sweets like jelly babies or jammy dodgers.
  • Knight Errant: In theory the Doctor is just a traveler, usually not actively looking for wrongs to right, but he expects to find people to help wherever he goes and embraces the role of hero. There's usually a fair amount of damsel-rescuing too, considering one of the chief roles of companion is 'get into trouble'.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: So far, the only Doctor who's been consistently genuinely happy with being the dashing hero was Eight, and that's only because we saw a grand total of one adventure. He is throughly broken throughout his Big Finish storyline, and when he reappears on-screen at the time of his last adventure, and his regeneration, he'd become quite sour indeed.
  • Large Ham: Comes with the World of Ham the series is set in. All Doctors are hammy in their own way.
  • Lies to Children: When expounding on things beyond his Companions' ken (particularly anything to do with Time Lord tech), he'll resort to simplified analogies. Some of which work better than others; many of which get weirder than others, depending on which Doctor is explaining things. Eleven and Twelve get bonus points for regularly finding actual kids to analogy at.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With the TARDIS. Because they totally are. And with other regenerations of himself: very few of them actually get along, and Two and Three in particular spend every moment bickering.
    • The Doctor's relationship with some of his companions resemble this at times. Examples include Sarah Jane Smith, Romana (particularly the second Romana), Tegan, Peri, Donna and Clara. The trope is also applied literally with regards to River Song.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The first four Doctors, as well as the Seventh, usually based their outfits around variations on a theme, though the Fifth and Sixth Doctors played the trope straight with completely unchanging apparel. The Eighth Doctor only had one adventure, so the wardrobe was limited to that story. (He eventually moved on to a more modern outfit in Big Finish Doctor Who - for a given value of modern, anyway.) The Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors return to the original method, with certain items (the leather jacket, trainers, tweed jacket with bowtie, and boots respectively) typically remaining in place.
    • As a side-note, the Fifth and Sixth Doctors did get to change their outfits once or twice during their run for an episode or two. For the Fifth, it was disguises and costuming. The Sixth had variations, including a light vest that almost didn't melt one's eyes. Still, their wardrobes mostly went unchanged during their tenure.
    • The colour of the Eleventh Doctor's bowtie in series 5 changed depending if the story is set in the present or past (blue), or if it's in the future (red). Series six saw the blue change to a pair of custom ties, and once Clara came along we got a number of ties usually in purples. His braces/suspenders usually match his bowtie, as well.
    • Due to cold weather while shooting episodes, Eleven ended up wearing a much longer and heavier jacket for a few episodes.
      • After changing companions Eleven swapped out the tweed jacket for a purple frock coat and waistcoat.
    • Nine did make some very very very minor efforts to blend in but you'd not really notice.
    • Ironically, the TARDIS has an absolutely huge wardrobe. Of course, the Doctor can be very slow to pick up hints he particularly doesn't want to get, so if this is one of her hints about his taste in fashion, he's probably ignoring it like the notice on the door.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The classic Doctors very much enjoy their incredibly long life span. One, for instance, stole the TARDIS because he wanted to see everything and knew he would have the time to do so. (In Two's last serial and periodically since, it's implied he was running away from something very bad.) Then the Last Great Time War happened: The Doctor was never the same again and this trope became part of a Stepford Smiler mask.
    • Also began to be averted as the series introduced the notion of romance between the Doctor and the occasional companion. As he states in "School Reunion", his companions will grow old and die, but the Doctor will just keep on regenerating. This becomes an underlying theme of Series 9 as the Doctor becomes fixated on the possibility of one day losing Clara, arguably one of his most beloved (literally and figuratively) companions.
  • Living Legend: Some love the Doctor, some hate him, but he's known throughout the universe. River Song mentions that he can make an army turn and run at the mere mention of his name—and it has been shown that she was not exaggerating.
  • Loss of Identity: Every regeneration must deal with this and discover his new persona. How much it affects him seems to vary: the Seventh Doctor called it a "purely perceptual" change, while the Third and Tenth considered it death. It also tends to vary depending on which side of the regeneration he is; the Third and Tenth Doctors expressed these sentiments just before regenerating, while the Seventh expressed his sentiment after.
  • Mad Scientist: Any time the Doctor starts tinkering or building gadgets, he veers into this territory.
  • Magnetic Hero: Everything gravitates towards him, first and foremost, his Companions.
  • Master of Unlocking: And locking, at that, thanks to the sonic screwdriver.
  • Mr. Exposition: Since he typically knows more than anyone else does.
  • Mr. Fixit: Even once jokingly called himself "the maintenance man of the universe".
  • Mr. Smith: Almost every time the Doctor needs a name, he simply uses the bland pseudonym "John Smith." This is even his official legal name during his time stranded on Earth working for U. N. I. T.
  • Mysterious Past: The franchise has been around for fifty years and we still do not know the Doctor's real name or why he no longer uses it.
    • We didn't learn the name of the Doctor's species until the end of Patrick Troughton's run and we didn't learn the name of his home planet until Jon Pertwee took the reins.
    • We know he once had a family and even children, but "lost them long ago". Given how we never get any indication that (apart from Susan) they're still alive even before the Time War, it's possible this was one of the reasons the First Doctor so readily Jumped at the Call.
    • Neil Gaiman toyed with providing an origin for the Doctor in 'The Doctor's Wife'. Moffat turned down the idea, explaining the Time Lord does what he does "for reasons too vast and terrible to relate."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Doctor" doesn't always mean "healer" anymore in cultures he's visited. Then there's the other things some of them call him: the Bringer of Darkness, the Oncoming Storm...
  • Never Accepted In His Home Town: The Doctor has never gotten on particularly well with most of his fellow Time Lords. Even though he's saved Gallifrey multiple times, the High Council tends to view him as an embarrassment. His saving the whole planet from the Time War seems to have brought many of the soldiers and ordinary citizens around to supporting him, but the higher-ups were still not fond of him.
  • The Nicknamer: Several incarnations are known for this, from the First Doctor's intentional mangling of Ian Chesterton's name, to the Twelfth Doctor referring to Danny Pink as "P.E." (initially with contempt, but finally with affection).
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Depending on the situation and Doctors, the Doctor has shades of this, as he practically squees being around particularly interesting (regardless of how terrifying) monsters of the week. This trait was what drove the First Doctor to explore Skaro, as he knew how dangerous it was but faked a TARDIS breakdown to explore a Dalek city. This was even lampshaded by Clara, who asked Twelve if going on dangerous adventures is an addiction.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Doctor is a psychic alien time-traveling slider.
  • No Name Given/Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Doctor does have a name, but it's never been revealed.
    • There seems to be some sort of cultural convention for Renegade Time Lords to discard their birth names in favor of chosen titles (The Master, the Rani, the Monk, the Corsair...), but while Expanded Universe works featuring their pre-exile days will generally give their personal names, the Doctor doesn't seem to have used his birth name since childhood - his former classmates at the Academy knew him only as 'Theta Sigma', a nickname he apparently found somewhat embarassing.
    • Steven Moffat believes there is "a terrible secret" behind why he never gives his true name, to even those he loves.
    • River Song knows his name; she says she made him tell her, and it took a while.
      Doctor: River, you know my name! You whispered my name in my ear. There's only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. There's only one time I could!
    • Made into a major plot-point in the series finale of Series 6. It's resolved - but still not answered - in "The Time of the Doctor".
    Doctor: Silence will fall when the Question is answered.
    Dorium: Silence must fall when the Question is answered.
    Doctor: What is the Question?
    Dorium: The first question! The question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight. The question you've been running from all your life! Doctor who? Doctor who? Doc! Tor! WHO!?
  • Noodle Incident: His final break from Gallifrey, though it apparently involved boosting the Hand of Omega before he left. We know the origins behind the other renegades: The Master went off his nut, and the Rani's mutant mice attacked the President.
    Runcible: —?? Oh, I say. Weren't you expelled or something? Some scandal?
    Fourth Doctor: Oh, it's all been forgotten about now, old boy.
    Runcible: Oh, really? Well, where've you been all these years?
    Fourth Doctor: Oh, here and there, 'round and about.
  • Not So Different: He cut ties with his fellow Time Lords because he found them prideful, self-absorbed and arrogant, and yet no matter the incarnation he still possesses the same negative personality traits.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Initially. He says this almost word for word in one of the first episodes. Later in the classic series, the Rani, a fellow Time Lord and former classmate, mentions his qualifications in thermodynamics, indicating that he was initially a physicist, not a physician, but then he went traveling the Universe for centuries with the explicit purpose to learn and explore. By the New Series, this has made him an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, which includes the occasional bit of medical knowledge. Physics and Engineering are still his forte, though.
    • In "The Moonbase", Two claims he got a doctorate under Joseph Lister in Glasgow in 1888, although Lister left Glasgow long before that; Clara later asserts that he only graduated in the wrong century by mistake.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity/Obfuscating Insanity: He can go from a Cloud Cuckoo Lander to an Anti-Hero in the snap of a finger.
  • Obi-Wan Moment:
    • "A tear, Sarah-Jane? No, don't cry. While there's life, there's..."
    • The Fourth Doctor smiled weakly at his companions huddled around him, then gestured to his guardian angel, The Watcher.
    • The Ninth briefly held off his Regeneration so he could comfort Rose and prepare her for what's going to happen to him.
    • The Tenth Doctor willingly surrendered his life to save Donna's grandfather's, despite the old man's pleas. "Wilfred, it's my honour."
    • Eleven's send-off was a pithy farewell to both Clara and the fans as well. "I will always remember when the Doctor was me."
  • Oblivious to Hints: Trying to list all the Companions (and others) he's driven up the wall doing this to would take a while... How much is deliberate, or just him being scatter-brained, is debatable and, probably, changeable — even within an incarnation. The TARDIS is also not always impressed, if her complaint about the door is any indication. There is only one that didn't manage to pull this out where we could see it: the War Doctor. But that probably had more to do with not getting the chance to than not being capable of it. The general template is as follows:
    Whoever:"...Which is why I basically asked you not to do that!"
    The Doctor: "Really?! Well, you should have said so sooner."
    Whoever: <disbelief response tailored to character goes here>
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: And quite justified too. He's had thousands of years to learn.
    • Just a sampling of the disciplines he has shown proficiency in: biology, anatomy, astrology, astrophysics, paleontology, paleoanthropology, recreational mathematics.
    • Judging by statements from old classmates, his original degree/doctorate seems to have been in (astro?)physics and/or engineering (the Rani mentions qualifications in "thermodynamics", the Master "cosmic science"), but he's had a whole lot of time to acquire insane amounts of knowledge, and the curiosity to match.
  • Omniglot: He even speaks baby. And horse. And dinosaur.
    • This is notably a skill he developed gradually over the series - he didn't speak French during his exile, and picked up the more 'exotic' things like "baby" in the quadruple digits.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: The show posits that hundreds upon hundreds of myths are based on him and his adventures.
    River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.
    • Subverted in that example when it turns out that he's actually the "nameless, terrible thing", soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. Ouch.
    • The Doctor also encounters several such creatures and enemies.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Taking advantage of an obscure law, the Fourth Doctor narrowly avoids execution by putting himself up as a candidate for Lord President of Gallifrey. He claims the position later on as part of a plan to lure would-be invaders the Vardans into a trap, only to have his memory of that adventure wiped, and by the time Romana shows up, someone else has become President. The Fifth Doctor gets appointed President after Borusa is trapped by the Game of Rassilon, eventually getting deposed by "Trial of a Time Lord" for neglect. The Twelfth Doctor, meanwhile, gets appointed the nominal "President of Earth" in times of crisis, and President of Gallifrey again after he deposes Rassilon.
  • Papa Wolf: Towards both his companions individually and the entire human race.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The Doctor has waffled on his opinion of earthlings over the years. Thankfully, he can safety be called a humanist. This is in reaction to the many craven adversaries who represent the triumph of an elite over the weak. The Doctor holds that even the most ordinary person is unique and worth preserving.
  • Percussive Maintenance: When something goes wrong with the TARDIS' flight — hitting, kicking, he's even got a special mallet. When Adric tried to "think like the Doctor" to solve a flight problem, his solution was to smack the console. It worked.
  • Pride: An ego of awesome - and very frequently justified - proportions.
    • Deconstructed on many occasions like Midnight or the Harriet Jones debacle.
    • Every Doctor feels the need to be the one in charge and give orders, not take them.
  • Psychic Powers: The Doctor has some degree of psychic ability, though the details are fuzzy and mostly left up to the writers.
    • What we've seen so far is touch-telepathy requiring he put his hands on either side of a person's head. Sometimes he also puts his forehead against their foreheads. And in the case of the latter, sometimes he does it really hard.
    • Plus, the Doctors are able to mind-meld with each other through "Contact!" (and, when necessary, with others via head-butt).
    • Historically, his telepathic mojo has seen the most use when dealing with other Time Lords or other Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. He seems to have only become adept enough to mind-meld with ordinary humans and the like after the Time War. When encountering time-displaced versions of himself, he can do a mind meld without physical contact.
  • Pungeon Master: Sad, but true: give any Doctor an excuse, and they'll find a pun to abuse. Some more than others. For the worst offenders, you need One, Four and Eight. But any of the others are also more than capable of knocking you over the head with a blunt verbal instrument alongside more subtle wordplay. While looking awfully smug about it, to boot.
  • Really 700 Years Old: He claims to be 1200 as of "The Day of the Doctor", and according to the ebook Tales of Trenzalore, the Eleventh Doctor spent over 900 years on Trenzalore during the events of "The Time of the Doctor". While various contradictory dates have been given in both the classic and revived series, Word of God is that he's pretty much forgotten his true age and by his Ninth and Tenth incarnations, simply began ticking numbers off from 900. What matters is that he's old, very old.
    • By the time of his thirteenth regeneration, he's bumped all the way up to two thousand years old.
    • The First Doctor was 450 or thereabouts when he regenerated, the Fourth was 748 when he first started running, the Fifth was exactly 814 when he started, the Sixth was exactly 900, and the Seventh was 953 when he first appeared (The same age as the Rani). Of course, the Doctor started losing track of how old he was way back in his Fourth incarnation.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The Second, Fourth, Tenth and Eleventh frequently indulge in this.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Technically he never resigned as UNIT's Scientific Advisor, so he'll often find himself roped into helping them on this pretext, whether he wants to or not.
  • Robo Ship: Companions come and go, but the Doctor and the TARDIS love each other eternally. Pretty much confirmed in-universe as of "The Doctor's Wife", in which they get to share a kiss. "The Name Of The Doctor" reveals that after they die, she becomes his tomb.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Various incarnations take this approach to their outfits. The later versions tend towards less outlandish but nonetheless distinctive looks.
    • The Second Doctor had a many-pocketed, unkempt coat to go with his 'space hobo' look.
    • The Third Doctor wore velvet smoking jackets and frilly shirts that Jon Pertwee had worn precisely because they looked silly. He also wore a cape most of the time. And his hair, fluffed out with rollers because the actress playing his companion teased him about his bald spot, slowly increased in size as his tenure went on. He also had a tattoo (in the 1970s, before it was cool).
    • The Fourth Doctor's first season outfit is a horrible shabby mess - an ugly shirt, a corduroy jacket with patches on the elbows, a tacky brown and yellow argyle cardigan, a crumpled up scarf used as a tie, scuffed shoes and baggy trousers - the aim being to reflect how young he was compared to the previous Doctors, foregoing 'mad professor' in favour of 'starving student'. And there's that scarf; a happy accident (they bought too much wool for the old lady who knitted it expecting her to only use what she needed to make a normal scarf, but instead she thought she was supposed to use it all up). As the Doctor's character developed it was decided he should begin to look bohemian and byronic - he grows his sideburns out longer, ditches the jacket for frock coats, swaps the cardigan for waistcoats, the scuffed shoes for boots with tall heels, and the tacky shirt for a plain ivory shirt with voluminous Victorian-style sleeves, themes he sticks to for the whole of the rest of his tenure. Having established a beautiful and romantic taste in fashion, he then goes on to bury it under huge hair, a big floppy hat and several layers of hideous and ill-matching scarf significantly longer than he is tall, with awesomely disastrous visual results. Certain stories exploit this by having him remove all the mismatched parts of his outfit in order to give him a few moments of looking actually good, usually when he's supposed to be dashing and romantic, or Darker and Edgier ("The Hand of Fear", "The Deadly Assassin", some scenes in "Image of the Fendahl", "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" and the punting scene in "Shada" come to mind). He tends to stick to browns with the occasional dash of dark red or purple - Word of God says the colour palette was inspired by the tendency to describe Tom Baker's distinctive voice as "dark brown". Early on he also has a habit of doing his buttons up wrong - he buttons up his cardigan so one side is longer than the other, buttons up his frock coat so the double-breast doesn't cross right, and (in "The Masque of Mandragora") does up his waistcoat all the way to the bottom, creating a weird bulge.
    • The Fifth Doctor's red-trimmed cricket outfit and decorative vegetable. Not many men can pull off a decorative vegetable.
    • The Sixth Doctor's ridiculous clown suit (to match his ego-inflated personality). At a who-con in Tampa, Colin Baker told the audience that he had chosen his garish coat specifically because he didn't have to look at it.
    • The Seventh Doctor's question-mark sweater (with question mark-handled umbrella) which might just have gone too far.
    • Subverted by the Eighth Doctor, who stole his outfit from the locker of someone who was going to a costume party. After rummaging through and apparently giving a certain amount of consideration to some really costume-y things, he settled on a rather peculiar but elegant Edwardian suit.
    • The Ninth Doctor averts this: his dark pants, dark-colored v-neck t-shirt, and a black leather coat coordinate nicely — though the coat may not be the best thing to be wearing in WWII England, as Captain Jack notes.
    • The Tenth Doctor wears a brown pinstripe or blue suit (it varies) with an open collar shirt, a tie and... Converse trainers (in three varying colors). Not to mention the duster. Believe it or not, the whole thing works.
      • The trainers-with-suit looked odder when Ten's stint started than it does now, since while it hasn't exactly become a trend, it definitely has its imitators.
    • The Eleventh Doctor got most of his outfit from what was lying around in a hospital while he was fighting two Starfish Aliens. The old professor outfit with a bowtie is actually one of the more "normal" ones.
      • For one brief, shining moment in the season finale, Eleven's outfit consisted of tight pants, button-down shirt, tweed jacket, suspenders, bowtie, and a fez. While holding a mop, for no particular reason.
      • And at the start of the next season, he has a stetson. However, River Song doesn't like him in hats and has an... unambiguous way of demonstrating this.
      • There's also his long-johns which he wore for the majority of "The Crimson Horror". It Makes Sense in Context but especially on Matt Smith's lanky frame, the effect is more than a little silly.
  • Science Hero: The Doctors often use their scientific knowledge to save the day.
  • Screw Destiny: Death at Lake Silencio a fixed point? Dodged. His unavoidable destined death at Trenzalore? Not so destined. Time Lords limited to twelve regenerations and then they die for real? "A thing happened."
  • Seen It All: By his Eleventh incarnation. An extended scene from "Flesh and Stone" has him claim that he's probably not only been to every star in the universe, but seen their beginning and end, too; the reason he needs to travel with companions is because of their wide-eyed reaction to the wonders of the universe, which he's begun to stop noticing.
    The Doctor: Make all of time and space your back yard and what do you get? A back yard.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Good wizards in fairy tales tend to turn out to be him. At the very least, he's confirmed to have been - well, will end up being - Merlin.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The Time Lords invented the game (as seen with the Game of Rassilon), and Four and Eleven in particular have a fondness for playing chess.
  • Smug Super: Not as bad as some cases, but not exactly quiet about his brilliance, either.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: The Doctor tends to lick things to analyse them; though most seen with 10 and 11, he's occasionally done this as far back as 2.
  • Spanner in the Works: This Rummage Sale Reject has turned up while you have an intricate and very delicate plan in play? All bets are now officially off...
  • Spell My Name with a "The": It would seem that Time Lords who are on the outs with Gallifrey — renegades, as it were — have lost their names along with their home. Other examples include the Master (of course), the Rani, and the mentioned-but-not-seen Corsair.
  • Super Senses: All Time Lord senses are supposedly vastly superior to human senses; in practice, though, this is largely plot-driven.
  • Super Strength: Occasionally he does things like punch through a stone wall or break a rock with his bare hands or something to remind you of this, though there's rarely dialogue devoted to it. The Eighth Doctor even managed (after several punches) to knock a steel door off of its hinges immediately following his regeneration, and the Eleventh managed to survive being hit by a Dalek laser, though the Dalek was greatly weakened at the time.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: The Doctor began wearing question marks when John Nathan-Turner took over as showrunner. It started with Five's and Six's collars, as well as Six's suspenders, and culminated in a pullover vest and umbrella for Seven.
    • When Four regenerates and Five is taking off Four's attire, particularly unraveling the massive scarf, you can see question marks on his collar, too.
    • Twelve claims he wears question mark underwear.
  • Technical Pacifist: The Doctor really puts the "Technical" in Technical Pacifist. Although he has used firearms on occasions, for the most part he is just very good at engineering situations which result in the destruction of his current adversary (sometimes on a genocidal scale) if they fail to heed his warnings. He also sometimes outsources violence and killing to companions who don't share his hangups, notably Leela, Jack and River.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Despite being on the same side, the Doctor and UNIT fall into this. It varies depending on the incarnation, but the Doctor generally disapproves of their military tactics (i.e. "shoot first, ask questions later"), while UNIT barely tolerates his arrogant attitude; the Brig and his team and later Kate put up with it, while the other officers don't. It was especially prominent in the Russell T. Davies era, where UNIT's increased aggression against alien threats (justified in the name of Homeworld Security) was met with nothing less than hatred by the Doctor (Torchwood shows them in an even darker light, just ask Tosh). The Moffat era reconciled them, but UNIT was still willing to go to extreme measures (like nuking London to save the rest of the world from an alien invasion). And under Kate's leadership they have a tendency to kidnap the Doctor to ensure his cooperation, since his unreliability in such matters is notorious.
  • Too Clever by Half: No Time Lord or Lady is ever afraid of blowing their own trumpet, and the Doctor is no exception. There's a downside to that: every last incarnation has had to spend a lot of time in episodes, serials or series digging themselves out of problems their own occasionally-too-smug intelligence has caused. Sometimes across regenerations.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Every so often, the Doctor's pacifism sends him into this territory. While his desire to avoid death is understandable, any time he tries to save long-time enemies such as the Daleks and Cybermen just make people want to slap him. He himself admits that they are bred to do nothing but hate and kill, yet he keeps walking up to them and yelling "Let me save you!", often while they're pointing a gun, laser, etc. at his head, usually risking himself, his companion, and the world in the process.
    • Once, when the Doctor was carrying out the typical "go towards something you should probably be going away from" version, River Song tells one of her crew to go with him and "pull him out when he's too stupid to live."
  • Trickster Archetype: Manifested one way or another in every incarnation.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Consistently the recipient of this. Very often his enemies blunder into his path and completely fail to understand what he's capable of. This even applies to enemies who've encountered him before and know what he's capable of, but still don't think he can stop them. Only the Daleks seem to have the good sense to be afraid of him.
  • Undying Loyalty: He will never give up on his companions, even if they might betray him, intentionally or not. Exemplified to the fullest in his Twelfth incarnation; when asked by Clara why he would still help her in spite of her betraying him, he responds with probably the most heartwarming statement in the 50+ years of the program:
    Twelve: Do you think that I care for you so little, that betraying me would make a difference?
  • Unperson: The Eleventh attempted to remove all traces of himself from history after getting "too big for the universe". However, according to River, all that has done is leave a big "Doctor-shaped hole" in history that makes his existence obvious to anyone looking close enough.
    • He fully tried this on the War Doctor, to the point Clara only found out about him after entering the Doctor's timestream.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Goes for most Doctors, but Five in particular was out to set some kind of record.
  • Walking the Earth: Suffers from permanent wanderlust.
  • We Do the Impossible: The Doctor flies in a time machine that can go anywhere and anywhen in the universe, has saved the Earth more times than he can count, and saved the universe and all of reality itself repeatedly. He defeats intergalactic races of pure evil on a daily basis, thinks crippling dictatorships is a rather average outing, and can do all of this with a kettle, a piece of string, and a screwdriver.
    The Doctor: Ah, the security protocols are still live. There's no way to override them; it's impossible!
    River Song: How impossible?
    The Doctor: Two minutes.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: By the Tenth and Eleventh incarnations, it's not so much his long life that he's disheartened by, but the fact that he knows that he's forced to watch as his companions grow old and eventually die, all while he remains looking exactly the same. As River Song lampshades, the Doctor doesn't like endings or having to say goodbye. Eleven has actually succeeded all too well at the above goal to "see everything" to the point that he "can't see it any more." This actually dates back to the Eighth Doctor — after crash-landing on the planet of Karn, he calls the flame of eternal life the "Flame of Utter Boredom."
  • The Wonka: The Captain of a spaceship who gives strange orders and does strange things that usually tend to work.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The First Doctor and Susan fled from Gallifrey in a stolen TARDIS and ended up in exile. The Fourth eventually does return home, but has to flee again right away; the Fifth gets out very quickly for the same reasons as the Fourth; the Sixth is forcibly dragged back and vows to never set foot there again. By the time the Ninth Doctor appears, he's destroyed Gallifrey. However, after "The Day of the Doctor", the destruction is subverted, and the Twelfth Doctor finally makes it back in the Series 9 finale - only to promptly leave again once he's got what he wanted.
  • You Talk Too Much: Apparently the difficult thing is to stop him from talking, a criticism which has been leveled at every Doctor at least once!

    Revival series Doctors (general) 

  • Adorkable: It came and went with Classic Doctors, but it's become permanent after Eccleston.
    • Even the War Doctor engaged in this. His overall personality was grim and applied, but he was nearing the shift toward the adorkable phase. He seemed interested in the fez that fell through the time window, and had a doting grandpa moment when he mistook his future selves for companions. Better yet, he made snappy jokes at his captors. He also grinned like a delighted child when he sonicked the memory controls in the Black Archive because it was probably the first time in that life he got to act like his old self again and make peace instead of war. Overall, War was a very humorous and well-meaning chap. But the icing on the cake was when War started cheering with unadulterated delight when he learned that saving Gallifrey was still possible. And after saving Gallifrey, the last problem he ran into was which TARDIS was his among the other Doctors' police boxes.
    • The Ninth Doctor, easily the most serious of all the New Doctors, head-bopped to Soft Cell in "The End of the World" and had two uncomfortable first attempts at dancing in "The Doctor Dances". Also the moments of slightly awkward, raw emotional honesty ("I could save the world but lose you."; "You just assume I'm... You just assume I don't... 'dance'.") and the sweet, childlike glee and fanboyish squee he's capable of.
      Ninth Doctor: Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay! Now you can expand!
    • The Tenth Doctor is particularly Adorkable when he whips out the Purely Aesthetic Glasses.
    • Eleven thinks he's much cooler than he really is. See "WHO DA MAN?!" and "Bowties are cool!" Also, his dance moves.
    • Twelve seems a bit bashful when on the receiving end of a hug, and keeps up Eleven's dorky dancing.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Eleven learns that he's known as "The Predator of the Daleks", by the Daleks themselves.
  • The Atoner: Previously, the Doctor saved planets for the fun of it, as well as out of a hazy sense of justice. Prior to "Day of the Doctor", the Doctor was driven to make up for every single death he supposedly caused during the Time War. (See "Deus Angst Machina" below)
  • Berserk Button: He HATES Daleks. How much depends on the Doctor: Ten was more willing to forgive, while Nine and Eleven hate them with a passion. Whereas Eleven tries to negotiate/scare them into fleeing (granted, after attacking a tea-bearing Dalek with a spanner), Nine flies into a rage and stays that way, literally foaming at the mouth. War? They're dead the second he runs into them... or they run into him. Twelve is closer to Ten: he hates them just as much as his previous selves, but some part of him wants to believe that they can be redeemed.
  • Beware the Superman: The Doctor has long held himself to trying to avert this trope; part of the reason he has companions is because they keep him from going too far. But when tragedy leaves him alone for one reason or another, the revival Doctors can end up having significant breakdowns that result in actions that risk all space and time.
    • The Tenth Doctor decides to change a fixed point in history by saving several members of Bowie Base One in "The Waters of Mars" when originally all hands were lost, having decided that — since as far as he knows there are no more Time Lords — he is now the "Time Lord Victorious" and a virtual god. Only the suicide of Captain Brooks is able to set history back on its proper, though now sadder, course and cause him to realize My God, What Have I Done? Still, he doesn't accept this as a sign he's been around too long and needs to accept his "death" by regeneration until the denouement of his next and last story, "The End of Time".
    • The Twelfth Doctor, in the wake of betrayal and capture by Ashildr and the Time Lords (people he had saved rather than let die/destroy), the death by Senseless Sacrifice of his beloved companion Clara Oswald (who had become his Distaff Counterpart along with a Living Emotional Crutch), and subsequent lonely torture in his own confession dial under watch of the Time Lords is Driven to Madness and endures a Self-Inflicted Hell for billions of years to escape said dial. He emerges as The Unfettered Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, willing to defy his people (it doesn't help that the powers-that-be show No Sympathy for his suffering), become a renegade runaway again, and risk the universe's existence on the Tragic Dream of saving Clara Oswald from the grave and giving her a "happy", safe life without memories of him — an action that again defies a fixed point in time and which he usually tries to stop others from doing. Clara finally manages to induce a Heel Realization in him and beyond giving her up for good, ends up also losing his key physical and emotional memories of her, unable to recognize her or why he was willing to go so far to save her. As he succumbs to Mind Rape, he tells her that this is only right and proper because he broke his own rules, and amends his creed to "Never be cruel and never be cowardly, and if you ever are, always make amends."
  • Big Damn Kiss: Started with Nine's final episode, and has been repeated many times over since then. Ten usually had it happen to him unexpectedly. Eleven actively loves kissing people left and right. Twelve, meanwhile, finally gets a Big Damn Kiss with longtime source of Foe Yay the Mistress.
  • Bi the Way: Word of God from both Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have stated that gender doesn't much matter to the Doctor or to Time Lords in general, the latter saying "gender is 'fluid' on Gallifrey". Neil Gaiman confirmed that Time Lords sometimes change sex when they regenerate, which gives some cultural context for the idea, and this eventually gets shown onscreen in series 8 with the Mistress. Nine and Eleven (who both happily kiss their male companions) are a bit more obvious about it than Ten.
    • The idea was carried over from the Eighth Doctor Adventures, in which the Eighth Doctor is blatantly bisexual and spends a lot of time kissing his companions regardless of their gender. Scream of the Shalka, which was supposed to be an official continuation of the classic series, had a different Ninth Doctor and the Master as a couple (though it's subtle enough that Paul Cornell needed to confirm it via Word of Gay). Although Eccleston's Ninth Doctor essentially overrides Grant's, the road was paved for massive amounts of Ho Yay between the Tenth Doctor and John Simm's Master. (It should be noted that Cornell also intended as unspoken back-story for the Shalka Doctor that he recently lost a wife back on Gallifrey, hence his sour disposition and reluctance to engage emotionally with the android Master or the new companion until right when the serial was about over, so it was easy to miss the nuances.)
  • Cartwright Curse: If he offers you the chance to come with him after an adventure, you're (relatively) safe. If he makes the offer when you're in the middle of one, you have a very good chance of being a Mauve Shirt.
    Rory: Every time the Doctor gets pally with someone, I feel the urge to notify their next of kin.
  • Catch Phrase: "Run!". Nine, Ten, and Eleven all have used this on multiple occasions.
    • The Ninth Doctor's first line in the revived series was actually "Run!"
    • The Tenth Doctor split this suggestion between his allies and his opponents.
      Doctor: But in fairness, I'll give you one bit of free advice... Run!
    • The Eleventh invokes this when facing the Atraxi.
      Doctor: I'm the Doctor. Basically... Run!
    • This evolution from caution to threat is a major part of the Doctor's darkening spiral that leads to several races outright fearing the Doctor.
      • Avoided with the War Doctor. As the steadfast warrior incarnation, he does NOT run, since he isn't bound by the same principles of the Doctor to flee.
  • The Cowl: On the one hand, the Doctor is a hero who protects children and saves the day. But equally, he does it by being even scarier than the monsters. This process began a bit with the Seventh Doctor's New Adventures novels and was cemented by Nine's "Oncoming Storm" speech.
  • Crazy Sane: As noted in Stepford Smiler below, Matt Smith believes the Doctor, especially the Eleventh, tends to act absolutely bonkers simply as a defense mechanism to stop himself from going really off the deep end.
  • Creepy Good: The Seventh Doctor was already plenty creepy in the classic series, Eight's eerily tranquil moments of anger followed by frothing outbursts in the Big Finish audios made him go from creepy to chilling, and War, Nine, Ten, and Eleven add quite a few more notable moments. War's very presence on a battlefield made a whole Dalek platoon abort a mass extermination to find him because they knew they were toast if they ignored him (they still got wiped out when the War Doctor brutally ran them down with his TARDIS), Nine scared the bumps off an entire army of Daleks, Ten became intensely scary during "The Waters Of Mars", and Eleven's extremely secretive nature terrifies his companions at times. But Twelve, dear God, Twelve... he scares himself with his own inner darkness and starts questioning if he's good at all. Then he gets pushed, not of his own choice, off the deep end and over the cliff, and unleashes the seven bells of hell on the Time Lords... It's glorious. Horrifying, but glorious.
  • Death Seeker: The first four revival Doctors have been more inclined to self-sacrifice than their predecessors (War had no intention of living through the Time War but the Moment judged that he would live; Nine admitted that he didn't actually choose to survive the end of the Time War). Neither Ten nor Eleven appreciates an outside force telling them Your Days Are Numbered, but they're still pretty cavalier about their own survival.
    • The Ninth has subtle shades of this in his first few appearances; after the Time War, he seems almost gleeful at the prospect of mortal danger.
      • Unless he dies in a dungeon... in Cardiff.
      • His first reaction to a distant scream is to run towards it:
        Doctor: That's more like it!
    • Ten catches a bit of this after his separation from Rose. Especially in series 4, where he regularly attempts heroic sacrifices and puts his life in danger. Toward the very end of his life, though, he became very attached to this regeneration and goes to questionable lengths to keep it. Probably because Word of God confirmed that Ten only lasted nine years in-universe. note 
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: In a sense, Time Lord regeneration has been weaponized — a far cry from the kaleidoscope dirt naps of previous Doctors. The new regeneration effect is a massive buildup and release of energy. War's regeneration was the first to erupt with a flood of energy spouting from his arms and head. When Nine died, he warned Rose to keep at a safe distance, and Ten's expelled radiation and energy blasts caused the TARDIS console room to explode. Eleven receives a power-up from Gallifreyan benefactors, giving him enough juice to blast a Dalek fleet to smithereens.
  • Deus Angst Machina: The War Doctor, when presented with a chance to undo the time lock on Gallifrey and Take a Third Option, is given pause once he considers how many lives he saved because of his guilt over killing his people. He elects to save them anyway — but the parting of the Doctors will erase each of their memories. This means that once the War Doctor regenerates, he will damn the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors to centuries of guilt for a genocide they think they caused. "I'll have to live with that."
  • Died Standing Up: All revival series Doctors to date have regenerated whilst standing.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: A trait from Ten onwards. Since he's saved the Universe so many times, the least the Universe can do is ensure that his companions aren't taken from him in the most heart-wrenching way possible. Many characters point out that's not how it works.
  • Fallen Angel: The War Doctor and, to some extent, the 10th Doctor. More to the point, the popularity of handsome, beatific David Tennant coupled with his Doctor's frequent about-faces in morality contributed, in an odd way, to his Hazy Feel Turn later on down the line.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: These Doctors have a bad habit of regenerating while the TARDIS is still in mid-flight. Ten's landing was particularly rocky, bouncing around the streets of Rose's tower block like a pinball. Eleven nearly pitched himself out through the front door, flailed around while the ship hurtled across London's skyline, managed to claw his way back into the console room, fell through the console room and into the TARDIS' upturned swimming pool, and finally landed in someone's garden... sideways. Poor Twelve is struck by an inopportune senior moment when glancing at the controls, leading to the TARDIS being swallowed by a dinosaur(!).
    • The War Doctor regenerated mid-flight as well, though we don't see the outcome of that one.
  • Fisher King: A non-magical example. The War Doctor and his TARDIS become shabby from lack of upkeep, with a dingy, bare-bones TARDIS console cobbled together from scrap, and restoring the original roundels to signal a return to his scientific roots. Nothing too fancy, not even a whole lot of order to where things are placed. In his Ninth and Tenth incarnations, the Doctor begins to flesh out the console room into a coral layout. Though the TARDIS for the Ninth and Tenth Doctors remains basically the same, the TARDIS is lit in a more dark-green way while 9 is still in a dark state of mind from the Time War. After he regenerates, the TARDIS is more brightly-lit, but it arguably gets a lot less inviting as he sulks from postwar trauma, looking shabbier than ever, with exposed wiring, rusty rails, and mechanical groans. Mind you, the Tenth does not appreciate people calling attention to it (he hits the roof when Wilfred criticizes his housekeeping, and again when War is aghast to see Ten has "let this place go a bit" and Eleven dismisses it all as his counterpart's "grunge phase"). The 11th Doctor finds himself with a new lease on life, and the TARDIS changes into a brightly-lit rumpus room to reflect this frivolity.
    • In "The Snowmen" we see that after the loss of Amy and Rory the Doctor has remodeled the TARDIS interior with a darker colour scheme, the decoration has become more spartan and sterile and he's not bothering to turn on the lights. It has nothing to do with his depression, seriously!
      • But then Twelve comes along following the revelation he has saved Gallifrey and decides the TARDIS needs some elegance and warmth again. He changes the time rotor lighting to an inviting amber and sets up all sorts of shelves and furniture, making the room far more attractive and pleasant. It's now cozy and padded, taking the best bits from every console room of the series.
  • The Fog of Ages:
    • His age was always uncertain in the classic era, largely due to Who's lax attitude to continuity. The new series decided that he honestly can't remember any more and just started counting from "900" at some point.
    War Doctor: How old are you now?
    Eleventh Doctor: I don't know...I lose track. Twelve hundred and something unless I'm lying. I can't remember if I'm lying about my age, that's how old I am.
    • The Twelfth Doctor in particular has trouble remembering all his adventures, even ones that were very emotionally charged at the time. He can remember all of his companions, but specific trips get harder to remember.
  • Friend to All Children: Every Doctor has a soft spot for children, especially 11. The one thing that haunts the War Doctor is how many children will die if he activates the Moment. Come Twelve's time, though he may be the most abrasive and aloof regeneration of the revival series thus far, even he can still connect with them, as seen in "Listen." Generally speaking, this seems to be the one trait that transcends every shift in personality. Invoked under tragic circumstances in "Face the Raven" when Clara, preparing to meet her death, talks the Doctor down from going on a roaring rampage by reminding him, "Your reign of terror will end with the sight of the first crying child."
  • Going Native: The groundwork was already there in the classic series, but post-Time War Earth really is the closest thing to a home he's got. Ten came close to outright saying this in "Voyage of the Damned"; Twelve basically did say it in "In the Forest of the Night", referring to Earth as his planet.
  • Heel Realization: Has perfected being a Technical Pacifist, but eventually realizes this can be much more insidious than simply killing people.
    • Twelve in particular has begun questioning his morality, wondering aloud whether he is a 'good man'.
  • The Homeward Journey: Since the epilogue of "Day of the Doctor", the Doctor's been keeping an eye out for the chance to free Gallifrey and its people for good. It's not going too well. (Word of Moffat notes that even if/when he does, he'd probably run off again afterwards.)
    • He finally makes it back in the Series 9 finale - and promptly runs off again afterwards, as per Moffat.
  • Hurting Hero: The Time War left very deep emotional scars. In one line of dialog Moffat manages to say everything you need to know about the New Doctor, and it's not even the Doctor who's talking: ("The Empty Child")
    "Before this war I was a father and a grandfather. Now Iím neither. But Iím still a Doctor."
  • Insecure Love Interest: More often than not.
  • Internal Homage: So far, each of the revival series Doctors have inherited traits from and taken inspiration from a particular classic series Doctor:
    • The War Doctor homages Hartnell's First Doctor: a curmudgeonly, critical old man who is exasperated by his younger companions, but who has a hidden heart of gold underneath. 1 and War both remarked they were "wearing a bit thin", with One stubbornly putting off regeneration, but War was actually happy about running out his natural body clock.
    • Although Eccleston is quoted as having watched the Fourth Doctor serial "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" to prepare for his role, some consider the Ninth Doctor to be a refinement of Colin Baker's controversial Sixth Doctor: an impatient, sharp-tongued fellow who gradually cools as the audience grows to trust him. Indeed, the 9th Doctor's sojourns to Satellite 5 ("The Long Game", "Bad Wolf") are essentially a modernized retelling of "Vengeance on Varos" and other politically themed Who stories from the Eighties. In "The Unquiet Dead", he meets and inspires a famed fiction writer from the 19th century, just like Six did in "Timelash". In his sixth adventure, Nine is duped by a distress signal sent from a captive Dalek, similar to the Sixth Doctor's plight in Big Finish's Jubilee. Even Colin Baker himself has commented that the Ninth is the sort of Doctor he wished he'd been allowed to play. Colin also said he wished he'd been allowed to dress like Eccleston's Doctor; a dignified black ensemble rather than an eye-melting rainbow suit.
    • The Tenth Doctor is most similar to Davison's Fifth Doctor, whom David Tennant grew up watching. Both Doctors are the most emotional and human, deadly-accurate with a cricket ball, have bad luck with commuter planes, put glasses on when focusing, broke their sonic screwdrivers, inexplicably wear trainers to accompany their formal wardrobes, semi-frequently encounter the Master, and face tragic endings to their lives. (Most of these traits are lampshaded when the Doctors meet up.) Davies' "Utopia" also owes a debt to "Frontios", in which the TARDIS "drifts too far into the future" and discovers a colony of humans struggling to survive on the outer rim. Other obvious homages include "Black Orchid"/"The Unicorn and the Wasp" (Merchant Ivory whodunnits) and "Mawdryn Undead"/"School Reunion" (both set at a boarding school and showcasing a semi-retired companion).
    • The Eleventh Doctor greatly resembles Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor, right down to the bow tie and awkward, clownish demeanor. Matt Smith's favorite classic Doctor serial is the Second Doctor's Tomb of the Cybermen. Additionally, the names of their primary companions sound similar (Two had Scottish Jamie and English Zoe, while Eleven had Scottish Amy and English Rory). Both the Second and the Eleventh Doctors battled against the Great Intelligence. And then there's his final episode, "Time of the Doctor", a.k.a. the longest "Base Under Siege" ever.
    • Twelve draws most of his inspiration from Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor. This incarnation has even less patience for flatfooted military types than he used to, tangles with dinosaurs, and brooks no disrespect from mortals. His interaction with others seems to flit between gentlemanly charm and sledgehammer-like arrogance (see his banter with Robin Hood and Psi for the best examples), and he's inherited Three's Deadpan Snarker tendencies as well. Clara's blossoming romance with Danny Pink adds to the homage; Twelve meddles with Clara's love life much like Three gloomily looked on as Jo and Cliff sealed the deal or interrupting Jo's planned nights out with Captain Yates. Externally, he wears costumes with jewelry and red inner lining. The most blatant sign of this homage is the fact that Twelve's primary antagonist in his first season is a Delgado/Ainley-inspired new regeneration of the Master.
      • Capaldi's Doctor is somewhat of an homage to the First Doctor, symbolizing a "reboot" of the character's bimillenial lifespan. (The Eleventh Doctor expired once his regeneration cycle was up, whereupon he was given a fresh set of lives by the Time Lords.) This incarnation can no longer be defined as the War Doctor, or the Last of the Time Lords, or the "Oncoming Storm." He's starting from square one: aged, runaway Time Lord in a TARDIS he doesn't know how to fly, with a companion who teaches at Coal Hill School. With the addition of ex-soldier Danny Pink and absentee student Courtney, he has a complete set. (Barbara, Ian, and Susan, respectively.)
  • Just Friends: To his companions from Martha onwards. Rose, not quite as much. River is also an exception (given that they're married), if you count her as a "companion".
  • Kidnapped by an Ally: Kate Stewart has a bad of habit of doing this, much to the Doctor's chagrin (he'd rather she'd just ask for help).
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Though Classic Series Doctors loved to name-drop, they were much more low-key about meeting famous people. In "The Unquiet Dead", Nine is practically beside himself upon discovering the horse and carriage he's just hopped into and demanded to "Follow that hearse!" belongs to none other than Charles Dickens. His fanboy squeeing even causes him to briefly forget that he's supposed to be rescuing Rose! Ten boasts of snogging France's most famous mistress, is excited by the prospect of seeing William Shakespeare perform live for a crowd, and went into major histrionics when he met Captain Adelaide (though it was very much Played for Drama); Eleven was reduced to actual incoherent squee noises when he finally realised who Melody Pond grew up to be. Eleven also really enjoys watching Amy squee over befriending Vincent van Gogh. Twelve claimed he became a hyper mess after meeting Shirley Bassey.
    • Unlike previous Doctors, Ten is fascinated by the whole idea of meeting past and future incarnations of himself, and follows them about like a bad smell. ("Time Crash", "The Next Doctor") Gloriously reversed in the 50th anniversary special: He's already in a foul mood when Eleven turns up, making wisecracks at his torrid love life.
  • Large Ham: The Tenth Doctor devours any scenery unfortunate enough to be in his path whenever he's on screen. Then again, it is David Tennant...
  • Last of His Kind: For centuries, the Doctor thought the others were destroyed in the Time War, and sealed in a time lock for good measure.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: With the exception of The War Doctor, all of their Famous Last Words can also be taken as the actor expressing their thoughts on leaving the role behind on a meta level.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: There is more of this in the original series Doctors but the revival Doctors feel it on their better days. The Doctor experiences a lot of heartbreak, but still feels that life is worth living so long as there's something left to see in the Universe. Besides, if he were dead, who would protect the Earth?
  • Living Legend: Known and feared across all of time and space. It's no small thing that the Daleks refer to him in their ancient legends as "The Oncoming Storm" and "The Predator of the Daleks".
    • Notable in that by this point, he's come to realize this and openly use it against his enemies as a way to attempt ending conflicts without actual fighting; ie: make enemy realize he's the Doctor —> enemy runs away/gives up/puts up far less resistance. Eleven found himself on the fast track of learning how much this bit him in the ass.
  • Living Relic: As the Last of His Kind.
  • Made of Iron: Ten and Eleven seem to possess some great durability, as they are able to withstand attacks to their bodies and not regenerate because of it. For example, Ten was hit by one of the Master's electro beams and was able to go on, while Eleven was hit with a weakened Dalek beam and survived.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: He's a madman in a magical box who takes those he meets out of their hum-drum existences to see the wonders of the universe, changing their lives forever.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Goes shirtless — or naked — with some frequency.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: He knows if there's a mole on his back and the color of his kidneys! And he can regrow limbs in the first phase of his regeneration cycle, or whatever! And he can relate his entire life story by head-butting you. This is more common in the revival series, where writers have toyed around with the implications of regeneration.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Post-Time War, the Doctor's children and grandchildren are all presumed dead. While Clara offhandedly calls them "missing" after the war's outcome is retconned, no mention is made of them when the Doctor returns to Gallifrey in "Hell Bent". Understandably, it's not a subject he likes to dwell on.
    Amy: Doctor, do you have children?
    Doctor: No.
    Amy: Have you ever had children?
    Doctor: (changes the subject)
  • Phrase Catcher: Everyone seems to ask "Doctor Who?". It was used in the classic series as well (in episode 1, even) but became more important after Eccleston and Tennant.
  • Popularity Power: The Doctor and his TARDIS seem to grow in power as ratings increase. On two occasions, the Tenth Doctor saved the day thanks to hundreds, if not thousands of people chanting his name ("Last of the Time Lords", "The Next Doctor"), and the TARDIS is now a registered tow truck for planets.
  • Precursor Killers: After the Time War since he killed everyone in it. Then a temporal paradox makes him a Precusor savior that thinks himself to be a killer.
  • Running Gag: A few.
    • Ten and Eleven are both disappointed they're not ginger post-regeneration.
    • On a similar note, the Doctors get self-deprecating over some part of their new bodies post-regeneration (Nine his ears, Ten his teeth, Eleven his chin and hair, Twelve his kidneys(!) and eyebrows).
    • The Doctor's relationship with Queen Elizabeth I, as referenced in "The Shakespeare Code", "The End of Time", "The Beast Below", "Amy's Choice", "The Wedding of River Song", and "The Name of the Doctor". Particular attention is drawn to her nickname, and how she "cannot use it anymore". (Interestingly, people always think of the nickname "The Virgin Queen", which points to an obvious conclusion, but the nickname the Doctor actually cites is the much less specific "Good Queen Bess".)
  • Sad Clown: Ten and Eleven, in particular, keep up a bit of an act. The act is dropped with Twelve, however, who no longer hides behind silliness ... except on those occasions in which he does.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Often combined with Screw Destiny and Take a Third Option. Perhaps the most magnificent example occurs in the 50th anniversary special, when the War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors call the War Council of Gallifrey and assure them that they'll do everything they can to save the planet and its commoners, without so much as firing a shot. While the members of the council admire the bravery and resolve of the Doctors, they question the technical feasibility of the idea, and especially the reasoning. Cue the following lines from the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor:
    Eleventh Doctor: Because the alternative is burning...
    Tenth Doctor: ...and I've seen that...
    Eleventh Doctor: ...and I never want to see it again!
  • Ship Tease: While the Doctor's only explicit, onscreen romances are with River Song and a few one episode companions like Astrid and Reinette, there are varying levels of sexual tension with almost every companion. Everyone but Mickey and Sarah Jane gets at least one kiss. Donna, the epitome of Just Friends, does it because the Doctor needs a shock. The relationships with Rose and Clara are also romantic in nature (per Word of God and watching the episodes themselves as they deliver the message with the subtlety of a sledgehammer), however due to The "I Love You" Stigma it's possible to interpret even these relationships as being no more than friendships (despite both characters saying "I love you" directly at the Doctor).
  • Shipping Torpedo: The trope is played for laughs whenever Captain Jack Harkness is around, given that Jack is a Lovable Sex Maniac and an Extreme Omnisexual. It became a Running Gag that the Doctor (both Nine and Ten) would torpedo Jack's attempts at flirting with, well, everyone.
  • Stepford Smiler: A constant with each of the new Doctors. Eleven went so far as to manifest his subconscious, who proceeded to mock his new TARDIS decor, cockamamie outfit and mid-life crisis.
  • Super Cell Reception: Some Doctors occasionally use the Sonic Screwdriver or other alien tech to give a phone Universal Roaming, allowing it to make a call from anywhere, anywhen to anywhere, anywhen. Without any special dialling code or anything. Only interference either from Satan or the nearby black hole in "The Impossible Planet" is able to put it out of range.
  • Survivor Guilt: The Ninth Doctor left the Time War with a Thousand-Yard Stare. The Tenth and Eleventh also suffer this on occasion, the Tenth in particular after the loss of Rose and River Song but it likely hits him harder as Eleven, and the Eleventh after Rory dies in Season 5 and especially after both Rory AND Amy die (so to speak) in Season 7.
  • Terror Hero: The War Doctor simply had to appear on a battlefield to get his enemies running scared in "The Day of the Doctor". And not long after he had regenerated, the Ninth Doctor held onto that threatening presence in "Rose". It made the Nestene Conciousness freak out because it knew what the Doctor was like during the Time War, which only just ended. The Doctor, fresh out of that war, was stewing with anger and wrath that magnified his menacing qualities even further. Later on, the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors both used their reputation to scare off the Vashta Nerada in "Forest of the Dead" and the Atraxi in "The Eleventh Hour" respectively. Finally, in "Deep Breath", the Twelfth Doctor could terrify an emotion-lacking android into acknowledging the human feelings it had acquired by defeating its own logic, or merely freak out a vagabond by acting crazy and just on the sheer scare factor of his scowling face!
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Bananas have been popular with Nine ("Bananas are good!"), Ten ("I think I just invented the Banana Daiquiri!") and Eleven, and all three use the fruit to distract overly gun-happy people with. (This was notably also a favorite tactic of the Eighth Doctor in the novels, before the revival series started. He'd run up to a guard, wielding a banana, and yell "bangbangbangbangbang!" while his companion stole the confused guard's gun.)
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: By the end of the Time War, the conflict had become so unmanageable that the only way out was to destroy everything, either via Rassilon's plan to collapse time into itself—thereby elevating the Time Lords to incorporeal gods—or trapping the planet inside a moment in time, effectively ziploc-bagging the war in perpetuity. The Doctor opted for the latter, leaving him the last Time Lord still alive. Rassilon managed to Fling a Light into the Future in an attempt to revive their homeworld, but as that would also bring back the nightmarish hordes still fighting the war, the Doctor (with help from the Master) put the kibosh on that pretty quick. Thankfully, while the war is still sealed off, Gallifrey survives at the end of the universe; the Daleks destroyed themselves in their own crossfire.
    The Doctor: You weren't there. In the final days of the war. You never saw what was born. But if the time lock's broken then everything is coming through. Not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child. The Could-Have-Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres. The war turned into hell! And that's what youíve opened. Right above the Earth.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nu Who's Doctor appears tired of his lonely, blood-soaked existence and actively suicidal at times (especially Ten), but also desperately runs from "death" when his time seems to be up. Part of it is the Doctor's not-entirely-false suspicion that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that Time Lords are too powerful and dangerous to be trusted with immortality.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Many, many notable episodes. The Ninth Doctor held off the Dalek Emperor and his half-crazed legion of hybrids until he was literally the last man standing. (Cap. Jack went out like a champ, but was soon brought back via the time vortex.) The Tenth Doctor held his own war-mongering President at gunpoint rather than allow him to set foot on Earth. Eleven once shook fists at all of the Doctor's accumulated enemies and dared them to try and take the Pandorica away from him; and then he did it again on Trenzalore.

    Other Incarnations of The Doctor 

The Watcher

The Watcher was a future incarnation of the Doctor who helped the Fourth Doctor in "Logopolis" and played a part in his regeneration into the Fifth Doctor. For more information, see his entry on the "Other Supporting Cast" subpage.

The Valeyard

This incarnation of the Doctor is the main antagonist of "Trial of a Time Lord" and a formation of the evil and dark side of the Doctor. For more information, see his entry on the "Villains" subpage.

The "Meta-Crisis" Tenth Doctor

When the Tenth Doctor was shot at the end of "The Stolen Earth", he used up a regeneration by putting the energy into his hand that was severed in "The Christmas Invasion". When Donna Noble later touched the hand by accident, the stored energy reacted with her DNA, creating what is essentially a half-human clone of the Doctor. The clone was sent to live out its life with Rose in the alternate universe, albeit a human life with no regenerations. For more information, see his entry on the "Other Supporting Cast" subpage.

The Dream Lord

The Dream Lord is the main antagonist of "Amy's Choice", and is eventually revealed to be, similar to the Valeyard, a personification of the Doctor's rarely-seen dark side and self-loathing. For more information, see his entry on the "Villains" subpage.

The Curator

First seen in "The Day of the Doctor", The Curator is heavily implied to be a future form of the Doctor, having gone back and revisited some old faces. Specifically, Tom Baker's. His entire appearance is a major spoiler for that episode, and as such his information was kept heavily under wraps until the release. For more information, see his entry on the "Other Supporting Cast" subpage.

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who Revival Series Doctors, Doctor Who Revival Series Doctors General