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Characters / Doctor Who Doctors

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Me, myself and I and him / Are all the same guy! note 
"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, they have a life span measured in centuries, some degree of psychic ability, and the ability to regenerate when near death. Unlike other Time Lords, they became bored and/or terrified by the Gallifreyan way of life when they were young, stole an antique TARDIS, skipped town and "never stopped running".

The Doctor remains the same person throughout their 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, dorky, caustic, and plucky. After the show's return in 2005, it's added a bit more Character Development than the classic series.


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In General

    All Doctors (General) 
The Doctor: There is good and there is evil. I left Gallifrey to answer a question of my own. By any analysis, evil should always win. Good is not a practical survival strategy - it requires loyalty, self-sacrifice, and love. So, why does good prevail? What keeps the balance between good and evil in this appalling universe? Is there some kind of logic? Some mysterious force?
Bill Potts: [...] Perhaps there's just some bloke, wandering around, putting everything right when it goes wrong?
The Doctor: Well, that would be a nice story, wouldn't it?

  • Absent-Minded Professor: The Doctor is prone to acting like this, depending somewhat on the incarnation. They're far more intelligent than any human being in history, but they're prone to Buffy Speak, Disorganized Outline Speeches, Metaphorgotten, Cloudcuckoolander-ness in general, and can hardly pilot their 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.
  • The Ace: Demonstrated well in "The Lodger" when poor Craig found out they were better than him at both his job and football, convinced his girlfriend to leave town, and talked to a cat, and that's on top of being a time-travelling Sufficiently Advanced Alien who's saved the world countless times.
  • 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. As a Time Lord, the Doctor is supposed to avoid "interfering with peoples or planets", but they get involved all the time. They try to stick to "meet new people, stop threat of the week, then fly off saying I Was Just Passing Through" — and disapprove of the Monk trying to "improve" history.
    • Varying from this trope does come back and bite them in the butt a few times, due to them 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. It should be noted that both Three and Eleven spent time marooned on the same planet in the same time zone, though during those periods, the adventures came to them.
  • 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 the Doctor dictatorial powers whenever they need their help, while simultaneously hiding things from the Doctor that they know they'll disapprove of (and grumble when the Doctor 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.
  • Ambiguous Gender: A fairly unique case. Each incarnation has a fixed biological sex, but the Doctor can change sex at regeneration and therefore has no intrinsic biological sex. Word of God states they are pangender or agender, as we understand it.
  • Ambiguously Bi: From the Eighth Doctor onwards, they will flirt with their 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, and some people have been shipping Doctor/Master since 1971.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Series 12 reveals that the Doctor has had their memory erased and that there were several incarnations before the First Doctor.
  • Anti-Hero: Subverted. Regardless of the incarnation, they're an arrogant person who does good in spite of themself. At worst, they've been vain and bitter, only helping others begrudgingly. But most versions see them with a genuine and deep want to help people and alleviate suffering. Yet even during their kindest incarnations, they have moments that are incredibly self centred, and it's been stated multiple times in-universe that their human companions are what anchor them to their altruism.
  • Asexuality: The Doctor's known to have had children before they left Gallifrey, but afterwards, while romantic inclination has varied from incarnation to incarnation, they've never really shown sexual attraction to anyone. However, things become a little ambiguous during the Moffat era, thanks to his fascination with the subject (and presumably by the fact that the Doctor believed there were no other Gallifreyans left, which left the possibility of an Interspecies Romance more open). In the original series, there was nothing textual with their companions (even leather-clad Amazonian warrior Leela), but the revival has changed that, giving their relationships more focus.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: To varying degrees in every one of their incarnations. Exactly how extreme it is varies considerably, with Four, Six, Eleven, and Thirteen 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 their Third incarnation when the Time Lords stranded him on Earth. Even then they kept themself amused running around with UNIT.
  • Attention Whore: The Doctor can drift into this at times. They like to be admired and adored, and that's part of both their hero complex and one of the reasons they have companions. On the other hand, they always leave before they can get credit for saving all of life and the universe.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel:
    • Doctors One (Edwardian academic garb), Two (long coat and bowtie), Three (smoking jacket, ascot, and ruffled shirt with lace cuffs), Five (cricketer's costume and Panama hat), Eight (frock coat, vest, and cravat), Eleven (tweed suit with leather elbow patches and a bowtie) and Thirteen (long coat and trousers with braces). Doctors Four, Six, and arguably Seven subverted this trope with bohemian outfits that were never in style. Nine, Ten, and Twelve avert this with a leather jacket (Nine) and contemporary suits (Ten and Twelve) which become anachronistic to their surroundings.
    • 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.
      Captain Jack Harkness: Nice job at blending in with the local colour. Flag Girl was bad enough, but U-Boat Captain?!
    • Five really mixed this up with his choice of an Edwardian-era cricketer's outfit combined with (at the time) modern-day sneakers.
  • Badass in Distress: They get tied up, handcuffed and so on almost as often as the companions, if not more.
  • Badass Pacifist: Whenever possible, the Doctor usually tries diplomacy 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 their fondness for Earth and humans. They've been much more welcoming to the Doctor than the Doctor's homeworld has. In-story, they're likely to remember and repay any kindness shown them, provided that person doesn't cross the line with them 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 their 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 aftereffects of Three, Five, Ten, Twelve, and Thirteen's regenerations put them out of action for a time. Seven was immediately drugged to do the Rani's bidding, so honourable mention there. Two, Four, Six, Eight, Nine (as said in the expanded universe), and Eleven hit the ground running. They are also sometimes put out of action for other reasons, such as in "Blink" or "The Dæmons", allowing the companions to get a Day in the Limelight.
  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt or kidnap their companions. Or try to destroy the Earth; we're their favourite aliens. Don't try to harm or cheat innocent people. Or enslave people, especially kids. The usually calm Doctor will end you.
    • They have an incredibly short fuse for tyrants and oppressive governments, especially Gallifrey's. Even their 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 dorky 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".
    • In general, whenever there's trouble, expect the Doctor to show up at the most dramatic moment possible.
  • Big Good: Their name inspires hope in all that is good and terror in all that is evil. Where they go, 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 they'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 their foot or forego the need to breathe for a few minutes, and can withstand massive amounts of electricity. Oh — and they have two hearts. Not to mention that when they are close to death they can avoid it by essentially reassembling their body and regenerating into a new one, which changes their personality, quirks, likes, and dislikes (and on one occasion gender), though they essentially remain 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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Doctor occasionally gives speeches directly to the viewer but it's ambiguous if they're truly aware of their status as a fictional character or just talking to themself like a loony. Almost every Doctor is guilty of having given a few sly glances to the camera or otherwise Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
  • 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.
  • Broken Ace: Implied to have had a miserable life on Gallifrey, takes losing companions really hard, is prone to constant Break the Cutie/Break the Haughty, and then came the Time War....
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: They never quite manage to pass as fully human (or whatever race they're impersonating). But they're 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 their mouth. His enemies are usually incapable of adapting to his silliness.
    • 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.
    • They've 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 their 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 their own 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.
  • Catchphrase: "Of COURSE!"; "I'll explain...later." And, of course, "Run!" (Individual Doctors also have their own.) They also tend to introduce themself with some variation of "Hello, I'm the Doctor!"
  • Celibate Hero: Despite frequently being accompanied by attractive companions, some of whom have an overt romantic crush on them, the Doctor's relationship with their companions remains platonic, despite occasional Ship Tease. This makes sense given that Time Lords are effectively immortal, and therefore have less need to procreate. However, they have had children and grandchildren, and eventually marry River Song in the New Series.
  • The Charmer: Whatever else happens to be part of the current incarnation, the Doctor is always an extremely charismatic individual, ranging from being endearingly dorky to irresistibly sexy, from a strong but warm side presence to a whirlwind of attention, from having a charming smile to being a force of borderline Glamour - all depending on the incarnation. They will often use their force of personality and likeability to get what they want, even if that's often at best weird and at worst morally reprehensible.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Most of the Doctors have a mischievous, creepy smile when faced with imminent danger, doing and/or saying something clever, when they’re up to something, or when confronting and taunting their enemies.
  • 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 "The 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All the incarnations of Doctor will at the very least have shades of this.
    • One was prone to making humourous (and rather weird) observations.
    • Two 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).
    • Thirteen seems to be the loopiest incarnation so far, her attention bouncing all over the place.
  • Colour-Blind Confusion: The novelization to The Day Of The Doctor says that the first two incarnations of The Doctor could only see in monochrome and that most later Doctors see colours differently from each other.
  • Contrasting Replacement Character:
    • Most incarnations of the Doctor are the opposite of their previous incarnation in some large, glaring way (while other parts of the characterisation shift more subtly). Over the classic series:
      • The haughty and moody First Doctor was followed up by the Hoboish and easy-going Second, who was succeeded by the grumpy, elegant and noble Third, the childish, scruffy, and carefree Fourth, the responsible, kindly and vulnerable Fifth, the obnoxious, but passionate and unyielding Sixth, and the playful and Machiavellian, and at times, ice-cold Seventh. The Eighth Doctor was honest, romantic and optimistic, and even a bit scatter-brained, in contrast to Seven's solitary scheming.
      • Done peculiarly in the Fourth Doctor's first season — half of the creative team wanted to differentiate the new Doctor by making him lighten up and be wackier after such a serious previous Doctor, and the other half wanted to differentiate him by making him darker and more brutal after such a noble previous Doctor. It is a real testament to the ability of Tom Baker and Robert Holmes that they managed to pull off both, at the same time.
    • Throughout the revival series:
      • The Ninth was less trusting and more conflicted compared to the Eighth. Ten was more chipper than Nine ever got, but also capable of far more ruthlessness when pushed. Ten and Eleven were both young and energetic, but while Ten was arguably more down-to-Earth and relatable to humanity than any other Doctor, Eleven was completely alien and out of touch with conventions of any kind.
      • The transition from Eleven to Twelve is fairly explicitly this — the light-hearted, confident, and somewhat goofy Eleventh Doctor, who was essentially an old professor in a young man's body, was replaced by the much grumpier and self-doubting Twelfth, who is best described as a brooding and rebellious teenager with the appearance of an older man.
      • The aloof, grumpy, introspective Twelfth is followed by the personable, cheerful, hands-on Thirteenth.
  • 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 fulfil 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 they Drive Like Crazy is that they're trying to do a six-person job, occasionally with a companion following their advice.
  • Cruel Mercy: Most of the time, they are nice enough to let their 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", "The Caves of Androzani", "The Night of the Doctor", "The Parting of the Ways", "The End of Time", "The Time of the Doctor" and "Twice Upon a Time".
  • Death of Personality: In addition to the Doctor’s appearance changing, their whole personality will change to reflect the regeneration.
  • Defector from Decadence: The circumstances behind them leaving Gallifrey (other than a desire to see the world) are unclear, but they were always critical of the stagnation of Time Lord society.
  • Depending on the Writer: Depending on the incarnation, the Doctor can be anything from an angry, grumpy, callous, arrogant, ruthless Jerk with a Heart of Gold Anti-Hero to a fun-loving, eccentric, clownish, childlike alien with an unscrupulous, manipulative streak to a dashing, charismatic, heroic Cultured Badass Ace with Insufferable Genius tendencies to a sensitive, vulnerable, fallible Gentleman and a Scholar.
  • 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 themself 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 weirdo and their companion(s) walk out and solve the whole damn problem.
    • Subverted in "Midnight". Those guys thought he was the cause of it.
  • Doesn't Like Guns:
    • With the exception of Six, no version of the Doctor has been exactly gun-happy — though some accepted them as a last resort, and they don't have a problem firing guns at inanimate non-sentient objects.
    • 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 time we see him fire a gun on-screen is when he is using one to write the words "No More" on a wall. Expanded Universe material shows that whereas every other TARDIS was armed to the teeth, the Doctor's TARDIS just used ramming.
    • 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 backup 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, and the Doctor makes sure that the Time Lord in question has at least one regeneration left).
    • Thirteen really seems to dislike guns, to the point that she gets pissed when Ryan tries to shoot the killer robots attacking them in the second episode of Series 11. (Granted, Ryan did end up making the situation worse due to his attempt at shooting at the robots.)
  • 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 them neck-deep in it. Either way: they arrive; trouble happens; trouble unhappens; they leave. And leave 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 become the norm that any villain who recognizes who this strange individual calling themself "Doctor" is immediately browns their trousers. A number of times the Doctor themself calls attention to their 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 Twelfth 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:
    • 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.)
    • In River Song's second appearance, she teases that the Doctor 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.
    • However, the TARDIS is meant to have six pilots, which explains why the Doctor is 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 they need to be.
  • Dying Alone: The Seventh, Eighth, War, Tenth and Twelfth Doctors all regenerated alone (though given that the last three were in the TARDIS, they don't count as a full example).
  • Eccentric Mentor: To many of their companions.
  • Era-Specific Personality: The Doctor changes personalities in every regeneration.
  • Eternal Hero: They're always there to save the day, anywhere and anywhen they are 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 their true name, taking their name as "The Doctor" and only that. According to them, it is a promise, a symbol of who they are or rather want 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), they and their sapient spaceship are bonded to the point where the show calls her their wife, and they note that although they find Zygons physically repugnant, the species are surprisingly good kissers. The Twelfth Doctor mentioned that an emperor made of algae fancied him.
  • Famed in Story:
    • Erratically, since they tend to hop around space and time and are not actually universally known — but happens on many occasions.
    • It's later been revealed that, due to them, countless races across the universe do get the word "Doctor" intrinsically ingrained in their languages, denoting either a "Healer" or "Great Warrior".
    • By "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and "The Angels Take Manhattan", the Eleventh 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, they are very much this. Bad things happen when they start breaking their 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: They invoke 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 person 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 they come across things, creatures, and events that have no reasonable explanation, sometimes going so far as to ignore explanation and adopt an "It happened let's move on" mentality.
  • 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.
    • The Fifth was quiet and gentle, in contrast to his predecessor's Large Ham personality. The Sixth was back to being, if possible, even more bombastic.
  • 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?
    The Doctor: Because we all do, somewhere out there in the future, waiting for us.
  • 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 them often being left out by other Gallifreyan children. In fact, about the only friend of theirs we know of is the Master.
  • Friend to All Children: Consistently across incarnations, though Eleven probably most of all (he met his first companion as a child and never quite stopped thinking of her as one). Even crabby, reclusive One spoke more evenly to youngsters than he did with adults.
  • 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.
    • Thirteen is their first confirmed female incarnation.
  • Genius Sweet Tooth: Four loved Jelly Babies; Eleven preferred Jammie Dodgers. Thirteen has a custard cream dispenser in the TARDIS.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Even once they start to think of fighting the bad guys as a job, their main objective has always been to see as much of the universe as they can.
  • A God Am I: An immortal, omniscient alien with a time machine? ...Just get down on your knees and pray that they're never, ever in this mood around you.
  • A God, I Am Not: Their usual mode. They usually don't expect people to recognise them, let alone view them as a hero or (horrors!) see them as a being of nigh-invincible power; they're 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: They're marvellously rude to practically everybody they meet (even those on their side), and the only people they show genuine affection for are children and their companions. The Twelfth incarnation summed it up best as he was dying:
    "Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."
  • Guile Hero: Almost every incarnation of the Doctor prefers to use brains over brawn.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: While 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 Doctor being the Timeless Child, a mysterious being from another universe, contradicts it, though the Doctor might have thought they were half-human before discovering the truth. (The Expanded Universe went 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 themself 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, they're not averse to a swordfight, as shown in their third, fifth, and tenth incarnations. The 12th Doctor once duelled Robin Hood, though it was with a spoon rather than a sword. He later won a broadsword match with a daffodil.
  • Human Aliens: On the surface, they look 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.
  • Humans Are Morons: As much as the Doctor loves humanity, several incarnations get really frustrated with them. Nine called them "stupid apes" and Twelve declared Earth to be the "Planet of the Pudding Brains".
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Despite looking human (or the reverse, whichever), the Doctor and their race are completely different down to an anatomical and biochemical level. Just detecting their two hearts is enough to convince most human(oid)s of what they are (at least post-"The War Games"; before that point, they're Ambiguously Human).
  • Humble Hero: They're not modest, but they're essentially humble — might seem odd, but it's true. Though they show pride over their own brilliance and abilities, they don't consider themself special, they'd just as soon leave any credit for what they do to someone else, are very aware the universe doesn't revolve around them, and don't think it should, have dismissed any offers of power to them with some variation on "I wouldn't be very good at it", and can't seem to see that they're powerful enough that whole races devoted to the subjugation of the universe have banded together to try to destroy them.
  • Iconic Item: The sonic screwdriver and the TARDIS, of course. From 2005, the psychic paper.
  • I Hate Past Me: Tends to come up whenever interacting with their past or future incarnations.
    • "The Three Doctors" started this trend by 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 infighting between incarnations, One has generally been the exception, especially in the expanded universe. Most of his successors who have interacted with him have 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).
    • Meanwhile, when Ten and Eleven met they got along rather well, their squabbles being more akin to playful witty banter and the two sharing more than a few of their more expressive mannerisms.
    • Twelve found One's old-fashioned mannerisms (particularly when it came to gender) to be humiliating, while One experienced Future Me Scares Me upon learning just how much blood would eventually be on his hands (and thought his sunglasses were ridiculous).
  • 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 new series, even in unambiguously romantic relationships such as with Rose Tyler, Clara Oswald, and even their own wife, River Song, the Doctor is never heard to utter the phrase. Instead, they either waffle 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 them 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 they can. They've shown elements of this throughout their lifetime, but only recently have they really started to enforce the idea that they're 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 they have piloted the TARDIS exactly where they intended even if they're way off-course.
    • "The Doctor's Wife" justifies this when the TARDIS itself reveals that it always takes the Doctor and their 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 they will always outlive their 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 they got stolen by a TARDIS. They're generally rather good at it, to the point their 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. How much is an Indy Ploy and how much Xanatos Speed Chess varies from story to story.
  • 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 they got to be that weird by their standards. Seriously.
    • "The Timeless Children" reveals they're not actually a Time Lord (assuming that the Master's telling the truth)... but it still doesn't explain anything about why they're so weird.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: The Doctor comes off as arrogant, egotistical, and boastful as the next Time Lord but deep down they suffer from a deep-seated self-loathing that prevents them from believing they're a hero or even a good person even after the countless times they've saved the world. This gets played up a lot more in the revival series, in large part thanks to the Time War.
  • In Harm's Way: Nothing keeps the Doctor from adventure.
  • 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 they get up to when their companions are asleep. They do sleep on occasion but, as Twelve tells Clara in "Sleep No More", they do it when no one is looking.
  • In the Blood: The Doctor's character flaws — pride, arrogance, self-absorption, and inclination to think themself 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.
  • Jumped at the Call: They didn't just jump, they stole a TARDIS and went looking for it. Or did she steal them?
  • 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 traveller, usually not actively looking for wrongs to right, but they expect to find people to help wherever they go and embrace 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 thoroughly 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 their companions' ken (particularly anything to do with Time Lord tech), they'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 themself: very few of them actually get along, and Two and Three in particular spend every moment bickering.
    • The Doctor's relationship with some of their 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, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Doctors return to the original method, with certain items 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 they particularly don't want to get, so if this is one of her hints about their taste in fashion, they're probably ignoring it like the notice on the door.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The classic Doctors very much enjoy their incredibly long lifespan. 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 the Tenth Doctor 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 Twelfth 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 them, but they're known throughout the universe. River Song mentions that they can make an army turn and run at the mere mention of their name — and it has been shown that she was not exaggerating.
  • Loss of Identity: Every regeneration must deal with this and discover their new persona. How much it affects them 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 they are; 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, they veer into this territory.
  • Magnetic Hero: Everything gravitates towards them, first and foremost, their companions.
  • Master of Unlocking: And locking, at that, thanks to the sonic screwdriver.
  • Mayfly–December Friendship: They're a centuries-old alien with an indefinite lifespan, and the majority of their companions are ordinary humans. Even with a time machine, they're eventually going to outlive all of them. This is the main reason the Doctor tends not to visit former companions after they leave, and is painfully demonstrated when Eleven learns the Brigadier has passed away.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Any time they get involved with a non-Time Lord, this is the inevitable result.
  • Mr. Exposition: Since they typically know more than anyone else does.
  • Mr. Fixit: Even once jokingly called themself "the maintenance man of the universe".
  • Mr. Smith: Almost every time the Doctor needs a name, they simply use the bland pseudonym "John Smith". This is even the Third Doctor's official legal name during his time stranded on Earth working for UNIT.
  • My Future Self and Me: Occasionally, they team up with one or more of their own future incarnations.
  • Mysterious Past: The franchise has been around for fifty years and we still do not know the Doctor's real name or why they no longer use it, nor do we know much about their blood family or childhood.
    • 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 their home planet until Jon Pertwee took the reins.
    • We know they 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 they do "for reasons too vast and terrible to relate".
    • It is also never made clear exactly what made the Doctor want to steal a TARDIS and leave Gallifrey with their granddaughter, though possible explanations include disgust or dissatisfaction with Time Lord society, a desire to explore and help people out, or wanting to escape something they did or had happened to them on Gallifrey.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Doctor" doesn't always mean "healer" anymore in cultures they've visited. Then there's the other things some call them: the Bringer of Darkness, the Oncoming Storm...
  • Never Accepted In His Home Town: The Doctor has never gotten on particularly well with most of their fellow Time Lords. Even though they've saved Gallifrey multiple times, the High Council tends to view them as an embarrassment. Their saving the whole planet from the Time War seems to have brought many of the soldiers and ordinary citizens around to supporting them, but the higher-ups were still not fond of them.
  • 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 they practically squee 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-travelling slider.
  • No Name Given: 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 favour 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 their birth name since childhood — their former classmates at the Academy knew them only as "Theta Sigma", a nickname they apparently found somewhat embarrassing.
    • Steven Moffat believes there is "a terrible secret" behind why they never give their true name, to even those they love.
    • River Song knows their name; she says she made them tell her, and it took a while.
      The 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".
      The Doctor: Silence will fall when the Question is answered.
      Dorium: Silence must fall when the Question is answered.
      The 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!?
    • Ultimately the Doctor ends up arguing that their chosen name of "the Doctor" is more important than their birth name since it represents a promise of the sort of person they want to be.
    • Missy claims the Doctor's name actually is "Doctor Who" in "World Enough and Time", though the Doctor denies it. Given that both of them are Consummate Liars (and Missy is a complete Troll) there's no way to know who's telling the truth.
    • Given what "The Timeless Children" reveals about their past, it's currently open whether their "birth name" is the Timeless Child's original name, or whether it was given to them when they became the First Doctor.
  • Noodle Incident: Their final break from Gallifrey, though it apparently involved boosting the Hand of Omega before they 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 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 the Doctor's qualifications in thermodynamics, indicating that they were initially a physicist, not a physician, but then they went travelling the Universe for centuries with the explicit purpose to learn and explore. By the New Series, this has made them an Omnidisciplinary Scientist, which includes the occasional bit of medical knowledge. Physics and Engineering are still their 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 Insanity: They can go from a Cloudcuckoolander to an Anti-Hero in the snap of a finger.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Some Doctors ham it up more than others, and some (such as Three, Six, and Twelve) generally don't bother at all, but all are entirely capable of acting the fool to lure their opponents into a false sense of security.
  • 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 was 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."
    • Twelve took the opportunity to remind his successor of what being the Doctor means before finally giving himself over. "Doctor... I let you go."
  • Oblivious to Hints: Trying to list all the companions (and others) they've driven up the wall doing this to would take a while... How much is deliberate, or just them 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>
  • Older Than They Look: All incarnations of the Doctor are technically part of the same millennia-long lifespan, but One, Three and Twelve are the only ones that look like they're older than sixty. Honourable mentions to War, who's indicated to have started out young in "The Night of the Doctor" and lived long enough to become the old soldier of "The 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.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: And quite justified too. They've had thousands of years to learn.
    Thirteenth Doctor: You're a medic, I'm the Doctor.
    Mabli: Doctor of medicine?
    Thirteenth Doctor: Well, medicine, science, engineering, candy floss, LEGO, philosophy, music, problems, people, hope. Mostly hope.
    • Just a sampling of the disciplines they have shown proficiency in: biology, anatomy, astrology, astrophysics, paleontology, paleoanthropology, recreational mathematics.
    • Judging by statements from old classmates, their original degree/doctorate seems to have been in (astro?)physics and/or engineering (the Rani mentions qualifications in "thermodynamics", the Master "cosmic science"), but they've had a whole lot of time to acquire insane amounts of knowledge, and the curiosity to match.
  • Omniglot:
    • While they usually have the TARDIS to translate for them, they can speak several alien languages without it. They even speak baby. And horse. And dinosaur.
    • This is notably a skill they developed gradually over the series — they didn't speak French during their exile, and picked up the more "exotic" things like "baby" in the quadruple digits.note 
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: The show posits that hundreds upon hundreds of myths are based on them and their adventures.
    River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.
    • It turns out that they're 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.
  • Outside-Context Problem: For almost any villain that encounters them, the Doctor is the unforeseeable Spanner in the Works — an oddly-dressed stranger with otherworldly knowledge and competence who just appears out of nowhere to bring your whole empire crashing down. Their recurring Rogues Gallery never know exactly when they will show up and dread them all the more because of their unpredictability, but can usually bet on them appearing at exactly the worst possible time.
  • Papa Wolf: The fatherly protective-ness started with looking after their literal granddaughter, expanded towards their (always much younger)companions individually, and then eventually the entire human race. This is part of why Danny Pink thought Twelve was Clara's "Space Dad"; an old-looking gentleman who looks after the younger people in their company.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The Doctor has waffled on their opinion of earthlings over the years. Thankfully, they can safely 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, they even had a special mallet for a while. 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. It's deconstructed on many occasions like "Midnight" or the Harriet Jones debacle because it leads him to think that he always knows the correct answer and everyone else needs to shut up and listen.
    • Every Doctor feels the need to be the one in charge and give orders, not take them.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Doctor is a Science Hero, but is rarely if ever shown doing any actual lab work. The only one who was shown consistently working on science projects was ironically the Third Doctor, who was far more of an Action Hero than the others.
    • Also applies to his being President of Gallifrey, as he scarpers off to go back to wandering the cosmos at the first possible opportunity, ultimately resulting in his being impeached and removed from office in absentia for not doing the work.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Prior to Thirteen, all onscreen incarnations of the Doctor were men, so only "he" was required. However, Thirteen is a woman; since her announcement, the compromise appears to be to refer to individual incarnations as "he" or "she" and to the Doctor as a whole as "they". Another train of thought advocates continuing to refer to the Doctor as a whole as "he", given the majority of their incarnations have been male.
  • 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 they put their hands on either side of a person's head. Sometimes they also put their forehead against the other person's forehead. And in the case of the latter, sometimes they do 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, their telepathic mojo has seen the most use when dealing with other Time Lords or other Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. They seem 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 themself, they 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.
  • Race Lift: The Timeless Child retroactively makes every Doctor except for Ruth into this, along with Gender Flip for the first 13, as her first incarnation was black and female.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Eleven claims to be 1200 as of "The Day of the Doctor", and according to the ebook Tales of Trenzalore, 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 they've pretty much forgotten their true age and by their Ninth and Tenth incarnations, simply began ticking numbers off from 900. What matters is that they're old, very old.
    • By the end of their Eleventh incarnation, they've 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 they were way back in their Fourth incarnation.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Every Doctor, especially the Second, Fourth, Tenth, and Eleventh, frequently indulge in this by coming up with plans Crazy Enough to Work.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Technically they never resigned as UNIT's Scientific Advisor, so they'll often find themself roped into helping them on this pretext, whether they want to or not.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Several of the Doctor's regenerations have left them loopy, sick, or otherwise out of sorts when bringing themself back to life. For example:
    • Two is in pain for a while right after regenerating.
    • Three spends an episode escaping from a hospital.
    • Four spends an episode trying to convince everyone that he doesn't need to go to the hospital because he's fit as a fiddle, but instead convinces them that he's not particularly sane.
    • Five removes random articles of clothing, forgets and remembers everything about himself at random intervals, temporarily reverts back to previous personalities, passes out multiple times, goes crazy, rides around in circles on a motorized wheelchair, floats in the air, spends an episode in a cabinet-coffin thing that Nyssa and Tegan have to carry him around in, and loads more ridiculous things. Needless to say, he had the most known problems thus far. This was true to the extent that the TARDIS thought it appropriate to drop medical supplies on his head at one point.
    • Six becomes dangerously psychotic and suffers from violent mood swings, first convincing himself that Peri is a spy and trying to strangle her, then declaring that he needs to become a hermit for everyone's safety when he realizes what he almost did.
    • Seven and Eight both lose their memories for a while (although for Seven that was more because he'd been drugged by the Rani). Eight had it particularly bad due to the regeneration taking longer than normal to kick in (he died in surgery and the anesthetic kept him dead "too long").
    • Ten briefly becomes extremely erratic and irrational before collapsing into a dramatic coma which lasts for most of the episode, and at one point, thanks to being woken up too early, his brain almost collapses.
    • Eleven has random fits of hitting himself, sometimes spasms painfully, has erratic and odd cravings for food, and walks into a tree. "Early days. Steering's a bit off."
    • Twelve's first action is to complain about the colour of his kidneys, and from there on out he forgets how to fly the TARDIS, discovers to his horror and confusion that he has obtained some kind of face blindness, and struggles with episodes of delirium and amnesia. It takes him a good chunk of the following episode to get his bearings.
    • Thirteen suffers partial amnesia, has a bout of disassociation causing her to think she's looking for a doctor rather than that she is the Doctor, and then once the initial crisis is done collapses into unconsciousness while her body heals.
  • Robo Ship: Companions come and go, but the Doctor and the TARDIS love each other eternally. It is 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 both of them die, she becomes the Doctor's 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.invoked
    • 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-coloured 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 colours). 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 original 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.
      • Come "The Snowmen", he moved on to a rather stylish Victorian suit.
    • The Twelfth Doctor's outfits tend to be minimalist, and he seems to put more effort into looking fashionable, but then there's the look he describes as "aiming for mysterious, but ended up as street magician", consisting of a black shirt dotted with white holes, hoodie, and his signature navy blue coat with red interior trim, sometimes with plaid trousers.
    • The Thirteenth Doctor's look, comprising a top with rainbow stripes, short blue trousers with suspenders, and a long pale lilac coat, is described on her own page as "raided the wardrobe of a 1980s' British kids' TV show". She got it from a charity shop, so this is the incarnation to play this trope most literally.
  • Science Hero: The Doctors often use their scientific knowledge to save the day.
  • Screw Destiny: Death at Lake Silencio a fixed point? Dodged. Their 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 their Eleventh incarnation. An extended scene from "Flesh and Stone" has Eleven 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 backyard and what do you get? A backyard.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Good wizards in fairy tales tend to turn out to be them. At the very least, they're 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 their brilliance, either.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: The Doctor tends to lick things to analyse them; though most seen with 10 and 11, they've 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.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: As soon as the monsters are defeated and the day's heroics are done, the Doctor and the companion(s) will often slip off back to the TARDIS, leaving everyone puzzled as to where they went. They also sometimes pop up out of nowhere.
  • Super Senses: All Time Lord senses are supposedly vastly superior to human senses; in practice, though, this is largely plot-driven.
  • Super Strength: Occasionally they do things like punch through a stone wall or break a rock with their 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.
    • This may be increased shortly after a regeneration; Four was able to karate chop a brick in half at the beginning of his first serial, but couldn't repeat the trick by the end.
  • 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 unravelling 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 they have used firearms on occasions, for the most part they are just very good at engineering situations that result in the destruction of their current adversary (sometimes on a genocidal scale) if that adversary fails to heed their warnings. They also sometimes outsource violence and killing to companions who don't share their 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 the Doctor's 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 Russell T Davies' first 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 their cooperation, since the Doctor's unreliability in such matters is notorious.
  • Temporal Duplication: Sometimes joins forces with other incarnations when one isn't enough, though this seems limited to different incarnations.
  • Time Abyss: As revealed in "The Timeless Children", they're older than Time Lord civilisation, a civilisation once mentioned to be over ten million years old - they provided the genetic material to uplift the Shobogans to Time Lords, and they stood in the ruins of Time Lord civilisation after the Master had destroyed it. And then there's the small matter of how long they spent on the other side of the rift Tecteun found them below.
  • 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 them into this territory. While their desire to avoid death is understandable, any time the Doctor tries to save long-time enemies such as the Daleks and Cybermen just make people want to slap them. The Doctor themself admits that those species are bred to do nothing but hate and kill, yet the Doctor keeps walking up to them and yelling "Let me save you!", often while they're pointing a gun, laser, etc. at the Doctor's head, usually risking themself, their companion, and the world in the process.
    • Once, when the Tenth Doctor is 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."
  • Toxic Friend Influence: In the revival, several people directly address how the Doctor not only positively motivates his companions, but keeps pushing them until it's almost destructive to their outside lives. Rose and Martha's mothers, and Danny Pink, state this directly. Martha actually confronts him on this to his face, before becoming the first companion to wilfully and decisively leave the Doctor for her own mental wellbeing (and to take care of the family that did get messed up), while the Doctor recognizes he didn't remotely appreciate her enough. Jack, Martha, and River openly state how he's an awe to be around, but they heavily question how much he actually cares about them when they're not around. Each time the Doctor does get saddened by this, but it's almost like he can't help himself.
    • Thanks to this trope, Jack, Martha, and River are the only companions who got to choose a relatively happy separation from the Doctor, in the entire run between the 8th, War, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Doctors.
    The Eleventh Doctor (to his user interface hologram): [shows himself] "No, no, no! Give me someone I like!" [shows Rose] "Thanks! Give me guilt!" [shows Martha] "Also guilt!" [shows Donna] "More guilt! Come on, there must be someone left in the universe I haven't screwed up yet!"
  • Tranquil Fury: When sufficiently angered, the Doctor is quite capable of raining fire down on their enemies with a look of utmost calm.
  • Uncertified Expert: By Time Lord standards, anyway; Romana got a triple first at the Academy, while the Doctor scraped through with 51% on the second attempt (and outright failed the TARDIS driving test).
  • Underestimating Badassery: Consistently the recipient of this. Very often the Doctor's enemies blunder into their path and completely fail to understand what the Doctor is capable of. This even applies to enemies who've encountered the Doctor before and know what the Doctor is capable of, but still don't think the Doctor can stop them. Only the Daleks seem to have the good sense to be afraid of them.
  • Undying Loyalty: They will never give up on their companions, even if those companions might betray them, intentionally or not. Exemplified to the fullest in their 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 programme:
    Twelve: Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?
    • Adam, a companion from the not-too-distant future in the first season of the revived series, became the first and, to date only, companion to be removed from the TARDIS strictly for bad behaviour. During a trip to the future, he tried to send his family back in his relative present information on the future to help them become rich. Once the Doctor finds out and solves the trouble caused by his recklessness, he drops the TARDIS back in Adam's present, erases the information, and sends him on his way. The Doctor can and does forgive his companions when they disagree with him, call him out, argue with him, or even straight-up defy him, but when they take advantage of him, or misuse the opportunity he's given them, then it's the walking ticket.
  • The Unfettered: The Valeyard (who collaborated with a monstrously corrupt High Council to steal Sixth's lives in order to survive), the Time Lord Victorious (who was entirely prepared to rewrite the timeline as he saw fit) and the War Doctor (whose actions during the Time War leave his future incarnations haunted by guilt) can attest to that.
  • 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 their existence obvious to anyone looking close enough.
    • They fully tried this on the War Doctor, to the point Clara only found out about him after entering the Doctor's timestream.
  • Villain Killer: Altogether, the Doctors have built up a very impressive kill count (either by their own hand or by providing other characters with the means to destroy a villain) over the course of almost sixty years of the franchise running and many serials and Expanded Universe stories. These include three thousand Sea Devils in "The Sea Devils", the Sycorax Leader in "The Christmas Invasion", a being heavily implied to be Satan himself in "The Satan Pit", countless Cybermen and Daleks (although the latter have a real hard time staying gone for good) and (although the real tale is complicated) they were assumed to have killed all of the other Time Lords in the Last Time War when they went full Omnicidal Maniac to try to win. The result: by the current time, the Doctor has developed a reputation as The Dreaded, which hinders just as often as if helps them.
  • 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 they can count, and saved the universe and all of reality itself repeatedly. They defeat intergalactic races of pure evil on a daily basis, think 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 their long life that they're disheartened by, but the fact that they know that they're forced to watch as their companions grow old and eventually die, all while they remain 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 anymore". 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 (and one-person crew) of a borderline-magical spaceship who gives strange orders and does strange things that usually tend to work. Throw in a slightly wonky moral compass, a fascination with the strange and terrifying, and a soft spot for kids, and they could pass for the Trope Namer.
  • 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. Then the Thirteenth Doctor discovers the Master's levelled Gallifrey for real, meaning that while she can go back there, there's nothing left to go back to.
  • You Talk Too Much!: Apparently the difficult thing is to stop them from talking, a criticism which has been levelled at every Doctor at least once!

    Revival series Doctors (General) 

  • 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 "The Day of the Doctor", the Doctor was driven to make up for every single death they supposedly caused during the Time War. (See "Deus Angst Machina" below.)
  • Berserk Button: They HATE Daleks, even more so than before. How much depends on the Doctor: Ten is 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. Thirteen? She'll give them a warning and after an okay from her companions proceed to eliminate them!
  • Beware the Superman: The Doctor has long held themself to trying to avert this trope; part of the reason they have companions is that they keep the Doctor from going too far. But when tragedy leaves the Doctor 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 the 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."
  • The 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 one with longtime source of Foe Yay the Mistress.
  • Cartwright Curse: If they offer you the chance to come with them after an adventure, you're (relatively) safe. If they make 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 an overwhelming urge to notify their next of kin.
  • Catchphrase: "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.
      The Doctor: But in fairness, I'll give you one free bit of advice... Run!
    • The Eleventh invokes this when facing the Atraxi.
      The 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, they do 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 defence 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 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:
        The 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 
    • Twelve eventually becomes comfortable with who he is, but his long life as a hero has taken its toll on him, and when his regeneration begins he prefers to go out in a Heroic Sacrifice rather than change once again and continue fighting.
    • Thirteen has a notable lack of self-preservation, even admits that she's exhausted, and is very willing to commit a Heroic Sacrifice in "The Timeless Children".
  • 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 received a power-up from Gallifreyan benefactors, giving him enough juice to blast a Dalek fleet to smithereens. Twelve's regeneration also damaged the console room, but it didn't explode... at least until Thirteen tried pressing a button.
  • 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.
  • Does Not Like Spam: A lesser-stated Running Gag in the Revived Series is the Doctor's sudden distaste for pears, no matter the regeneration. Both the Tenth and Twelfth Doctors have gone on tangents about their hatred for the fruit (with Twelve, he has a bad habit of mentioning it in emotional moments).
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: A trait from Ten onwards. Since they've saved the Universe so many times, the least the Universe can do is ensure that their companions aren't taken from them 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 council estate 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 was struck by an inopportune senior moment when glancing at the controls, leading to the TARDIS being swallowed by a dinosaur(!). Thirteen actually was pitched out through the front door, leaving her falling through the air as the TARDIS disappeared above her.
    • 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 Nine 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 remodelled 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:
    • Their age was always uncertain in the classic era, largely due to Who's lax attitude to continuity. The new series decided that they honestly can't remember anymore 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 they've 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 begins questioning his morality, wondering aloud whether he is a "good man".
  • The Homeward Journey: Since the epilogue of "The 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 they do, they'd probably run off again afterwards.)
    • Twelve 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 dialogue, 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 I’m neither. But I’m still a Doctor."
    "Yeah, know the feeling."
  • Internal Homage: So far, each of the revival series Doctors has 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 Nine 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 demeanour. Matt Smith's favourite classic Doctor serial is the Second Doctor's "The 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, "The 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 their companions from Martha onwards. Rose, not quite as much. Clara, not at all. 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 habit of doing this, much to the Doctor's chagrin (they'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, enthusiastically calls Agatha Christie "brilliant!", 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. Thirteen, however, is a consistent name dropper, and she usually adds a Noodle Incident when she mentions them. When she meets Tesla, they get on like a house on fire!
    • 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.
  • 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. Thirteen finds herself in this position again in "Spyfall" upon discovering that the Master has wiped out all the other Time Lords... only to discover in "The Timeless Children" that she's not actually a Time Lord in the first place.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: With the exception of the War Doctor, all of their 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 they 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 the Doctor in their ancient legends as "The Oncoming Storm" and "The Predator of the Daleks".
    • Notable in that by this point, the Doctor has come to realize this and openly use it against their enemies as a way to attempt ending conflicts without actual fighting; ie: make enemy realize they're 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 Their Kind.
    Rosanna Calvierri: You should be in a museum... or a mausoleum.
  • 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: They're a madman/woman in a magical box who takes those they meet out of their hum-drum existences to see the wonders of the universe, changing their lives forever. Bonus points for Thirteen actually being a girl.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Usually male, and in that context, goes shirtless — or naked — with some frequency.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: They know if there's a mole on their back and the colour of their kidneys! And they can regrow limbs in the first phase of their regeneration cycle, or whatever! And they can relate their 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 rewritten, no mention is made of them when the Doctor returns to Gallifrey in "Hell Bent". Understandably, it's not a subject the Doctor likes to dwell on.
    Amy: Doctor, do you have children?
    The Doctor: No.
    Amy: Have you ever had children?
    The Doctor: [changes the subject]
  • Phrase Catcher:
    • Everyone seems to ask "Doctor Who?" It was used in the classic series as well (in the first ever story, even) but became more important after Eccleston and Tennant.
    • "Who the hell are you?" has become a frequent hostile first encounter remark in the new series every time the Doctor drops in uninvited — especially if it's a base under siege where nobody from the outside is expected to show up and their sudden appearance is instantly suspicious. And because the TARDIS makes everyone sound like they have a British accent when it translates to what its passengers are accustomed to, it will sound especially caustic, and the person who says this is almost immediately outed as the angry prick who will be at odds with the Doctor at every turn. In other words, when a character asks this to the Doctor, that's how you know they're the Jerkass of the bunch.
  • Popularity Power: The Doctor and their 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 the Doctor killed everyone in it. Then a temporal paradox makes them a Precusor saviour that thinks themself to be a killer.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Averted as it is never brought up, especially not in the context of masculinity, but the post-Revival Doctors do eat meat despite the Sixth Doctor's turn to vegetarianism in "The Two Doctors". The change was initially done to diverge away from any previous Author Tracts, not to make any particular statement. Maybe the Sixth and Seventh Doctors just got sick of Mel's carrot juice?
  • Running Gag: A few.
    • Ten and Eleven are both disappointed they're not ginger post-regeneration. The novelisations let the others get in on it as well: Eight privately wonders if the Sisterhood could make him ginger in the "Day of the Doctor" novelisation, Nine's examination of his face in the "Rose" novelisation has him wondering why he's never ginger, and Twelve reflects in the "Twice Upon a Time" novelisation that given his luck his next self's probably not going to be ginger.
    • 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, Thirteen her nose).
      • Also, the Doctor has a tendency to regenerate in the TARDIS and get in trouble because of it. In particular, Eleven and Thirteen's respective predecessors destroy the console as they regenerate, causing it to crash in flames as it hurtles towards Britain. While Eleven is left hanging, Thirteen is immediately flung out.
    • 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. Thirteen takes it back up, especially after finding out what the Master did to Gallifrey.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 décor, 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 Consciousness 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 Favourite 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 favourite 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 them 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 you’ve opened. Right above the Earth.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nu Who's Doctor appears tired of their 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.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: A mark of the Doctor's Character Development was that he started relying more on these and less on the Indy Ploy, though they are still often forced into the Indy Ploy. How much they use each varies from Doctor to Doctor and story to story.
  • 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 (Original Series)

    The "Morbius" Doctors 

The "Morbius" Doctors
Played by: Christopher Barry, Robert Holmes, Graeme Harper, Christopher Baker, Philip Hinchcliffe, Robert Banks Stewart, Douglas Camfield, George Gallaccio (1976)

"How far, Doctor? How long have you lived?!"

An octet of mysterious faces glimpsed on a monitor during the Fourth Doctor's mental showdown against the resurrected brain of the Time Lord Morbius, alongside the known past faces of the Doctor. These faces were intended to represent unseen past lives of the Doctor, portrayed by the production crew of the show. Their "canonical" note  status is still a controversial and hotly debated topic in the fandom. The so-called Morbius Doctors went unseen and unreferenced for decades, barring some very minor cameos in a few Expanded Universe works, until 2020 unexpectedly saw them return to the picture in the main series…

  • Ambiguous Situation: The identity of these figures was, and still is, a topic of fierce debate. Their debut story strongly implies that they are the Doctor's unseen past lives from before he was William Hartnell, which was playfully confirmed by the production staff who played them. The montage of their faces succeeds a montage of the known faces of the Fourth, Third, Second and First Doctors. Given that the thirteen regeneration limit was established in "The Deadly Assassin", only a year after "The Brain of Morbius" aired, this would imply that the Fourth Doctor was near the end of his natural regeneration cycle. This, of course, proved not to be the case.
    • Some fans speculated that these faces actually represented Morbius's past lives. This is inconsistent with the presentation of the episode since Morbius only shows one of his past faces before the Doctor starts showing his. Also, these incarnations' peculiar dress senses are distinctly Doctor-like.
    • The possibilities that Time Lords have more than thirteen lives and that the Doctor has had many unseen past incarnations has been kicked around many, many times in the show and expanded universe media. The show would eventually acknowledge these faces again in the episode "The Timeless Children", during a similar psychedelic sequence of the Thirteenth Doctor blasting out of the Matrix with her memories of them.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: It's a surefire clue that these guys are definitely meant to be the Doctor. Even by usual standards, they all dress splendidly. Hinchcliffe's Doctor, as just one example, dresses like a Stuart nobleman, complete with a long, curly wig.
  • Badass Beard: In contrast to every onscreen incarnation of the Doctor (at the time of their debut), many of these guys have facial hair.
  • Battle in the Centre of the Mind: Their first appearance was during a mind-bending contest between Morbius and the Doctor, inspiring their collective nickname.
  • The Bus Came Back: They debuted in 1976's "The Brain of Morbius", but it took until 2020's "The Timeless Children" for them to finally reappear.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Subverted. As the rules of regeneration became firmly established and the First Doctor was clearly established to be the original in subsequent stories, the Morbius Doctors as a concept faded into trivial obscurity. That is, until everything about the Doctor's past was revealed to be a lie in "The Timeless Children", and they unexpectedly returned.
  • Canon Welding: They are implicitly connected to the Timeless Child legend central to the Thirteenth Doctor's story arc, appearing in another psychedelic sequence of the Doctor remembering her past lives while she undergoes a major existential crisis regarding her discovery of her past identity as the Timeless Child.
  • Nice Hat: Many of them wear stylish, antiquated hats.
  • Psychic Block Defence: Both of their appearances in the show proper saw the current Doctor's powerful memories of them being used to protect their precious brain, first against Morbius, later against the Master's Matrix trap.
  • You Look Familiar: Assistant Floor Manager Graeme Harper previously provided his likeness to the Earth Adjudicator's credentials which were stolen by the Master in "Colony in Space". In fact, the exact same image of Harper as the Adjudicator was reused, prompting speculation by official artist Paul Hanley that the Adjudicator was always the Doctor in disguise.

    The Watcher 

The Watcher
Played by: Adrian Gibbs (1981)

Adric: Why are you prepared for the worst, Doctor?
Fourth Doctor: Because he's here.

A manifestation of the Doctor's future incarnation who helped him during his fourth regeneration.

  • Eyes Always Shut: Has some rather weird statue-like features like this one.
  • Femme Fatalons: Sports pointy claws for some reason.
  • Future Me Scares Me: The Fourth Doctor is visibly disturbed by his presence (which means impending regeneration) hence the quote.
  • Leitmotif: This ominous theme always plays whenever he appears.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Adric decides to call him "The Watcher" because that appears to be his thing, silently observing.
  • Nightmare Face: His face is somehow unformed and rather clay-looking.
  • No Name Given: He's just "the friend of the Doctor". "The Watcher" is a nickname given by Adric.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: How exactly he's following the Doctor and transported Nyssa from Traken to Logopolis is never revealed.
  • The Voiceless: Other characters refer to him speaking but even when he's having a dialogue scene with someone it's always shot from a distance and inaudible.

    The Valeyard 

The Valeyard
Played by: Michael Jayston (1986)

"There is nothing you can do to prevent the catharsis of spurious morality."

The Valeyard was a particularly antagonistic Time Lord, who first appeared in "The Trial of a Time Lord". It was eventually revealed in Part 13 the Valeyard is really the Doctor. Or, rather, a future aspect of all the Doctor's evil and malice born from his 12th and final regenerations (except that information came from the Master and which regenerations he's referring to exactly is a bit muddled at this point). Though the Valeyard only showed up in the TV series for that one story, presumed dead and alive at the same time, he will happen someday...

  • Aborted Arc: Steven Moffat ultimately decided to ignore the matter of the Valeyard's existence when writing "The Name of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor", stories which concerned the future fate of the Doctor and his gaining of a new regeneration cycle, respectively (however, the Valeyard does receive a brief shout-out as one of the many names the Doctor will take before his death). The Valeyard was mentioned again in "Twice Upon a Time", suggesting that he's not actually aborted, he's just been pushed back.
  • Ambulance Chaser: He seems to be this at first.
  • Big Bad: Of the Trial of a Time Lord arc.
  • The Bully: An unfortunate trait that exceedingly parallels the Sixth Doctor’s own abrasive, condescending personality. When Glitz appears in the Matrix, the Valeyard takes the time to immaturely call him names (“Oaf! Microbe!”), before moving back to mock the Doctor some more.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Once it's revealed that he's the main villain of the Trial of a Time Lord arc in "The Ultimate Foe", he starts to nonchalantly reaffirm that yes, he's a villain.
  • Character Tics: As he notes during "The Ultimate Foe", he still displays some of the Doctor's habits and eccentricities.
  • Continuity Nod: In "The Name of the Doctor", it's stated the Doctor will come to be known as the Valeyard.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: To the entire Time Lord High Council. At least until the Master pulls the lid on his ultimate game plan. Then he makes the transition into full Big Bad.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: The Master believed that he worked for him, but the Valeyard's plan all along was to obtain the Sixth Doctor's remaining regenerations for himself.
  • The Dreaded: By both the Master and the Doctor.
  • Driving Question: Exactly who are the twelfth and final (at the time implied to be thirteen) incarnations of the Doctor the Master spoke of? Meta-Crisis Ten, born as an offshoot from aborted regeneration number twelve? Eleven, who is his twelfth life born from his final regeneration in the original cycle? Twelve, his first life in the new cycle and thirteenth overall? The actual Thirteenth Doctor? The Dream Lord? Or some other incarnation in the future considered to be the last one?
  • Enemy Within: The Master's ambiguous wording when describing him infers that he's either the Doctor himself, after all his evil took over him in a potential future, or...
  • Enemy Without: The Doctor's evil split from him.
  • Evil Counterpart: Played literally straight for this one. He's either the Doctor after all his evil took over him, or straight up the Doctor's evil split from him. Either way, he's an evil counterpart of the Doctor.
  • Evil Feels Good: He has no qualms about preferring to be evil.
  • Evil Gloating: Part of his evil hamminess.
  • Evil Is Hammy: And revelling in it. Not that anyone's complaining...
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: As the High Council and the Master found out to their cost.
  • Evil Knockoff: Of the Doctor, intentionally.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: The Doctor's reaction to the Valeyard's true nature is one of abject horror. It's been argued that the Doctor is petrified of him returning in any form. The Expanded Universe went further on this, to the point that in the New Adventures the Seventh Doctor temporarily sealed away the Sixth Doctor's personality for fear he'd become him. Hell, even the Master fears him.
  • Expanded Universe: He was brought back, and apparently killed off, in the BBC Seventh Doctor novel Matrix. Big Finish also brought him back in Trial of the Valeyard, which also has him telling his backstory (though said backstory turned out to be bait for his attempt to lure the Doctor into a trap; however, the Doctor says there might have been some truth to this story).
  • Face–Heel Turn: One possibility for his conception is that he's the Doctor after all his evil took over him.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Part of the issue with the Valeyard is that, previously, the Doctor always had the option of self-sacrifice if a cause was worthy enough. From the 12th Doctor onward, he likely doesn't have this option, as his death could unleash the Valeyard, who helped kill billions just to set up a Grand Theft Me gambit to steal the Doctor's remaining lives.
  • A God Am I: Shows signs of this when bragging to the Doctor about his mastery of the Matrix.
  • Hanging Judge: While admittedly he's the prosecutor in the Doctor's trial, it's clear that he wants the Doctor executed. If the trial was run on Earth laws he would have soon run into Artistic Licence – Law.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the novel Millennial Rites, when debating with a manifestation of the Valeyard in his mind, the Sixth Doctor concedes to the Valeyard's point that sometimes the more ruthless course of action is necessary, but the Doctor nevertheless rejects the idea that he has to enjoy such actions to commit them.
  • Master of Illusion: When he escapes into the Matrix.
  • Meaningful Name: The name Valeyard is said to mean "Doctor of Law" in Gallifreyan (so good luck finding it in any dictionary).
  • Mugged for Disguise: If the final moments of "The Ultimate Foe" are anything to go by, he seems to have robbed the Keeper of the Matrix of his robes.
  • Noodle Incident: His apparent history with the Ainley Master.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: How the Valeyard even came into existence is unknown.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: At first he seems to be just another stuffy bureaucrat that's merely doing his job. Then the Master shows up and reveals what he's really in it for.
  • Not So Above It All: There is a golden moment where he's lecturing the Doctor in his typical dour manner, even explicitly stating that he "wishes not to be contaminated by [the Doctor's] whims and idiosyncracies"... then when Glitz tries to participate in the conversation, the Valeyard teleports directly behind him for the explicit purpose of insulting him in a rather comedic way. Then again, his compulsion to out-cool adult male companions and recurring characters was always one of the Doctor's character flaws...
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: He initially appears to be an embodiment of everything that the Doctor despises about Time Lord society: a corrupt, officious, loudmouthed paper-pusher taking advantage of a decadent system. It makes it all the more shocking when it turns out he is the Doctor (sort of).
  • The Plan: The Valeyard's plan revolves around setting up a trial to frame the Doctor for the illegal actions of the Time Lord High Council, which he uses to try and steal the Sixth Doctor's remaining regenerations for himself — so that he can become a full being once again. However, on top of this, the Valeyard also uses the setup of the trial to jack into the computer that records all of time, warp the records, and set up a death trap to kill off the entire Time Lord leadership in one blow! Oh, and this was all set up to begin a coup d'état of the entire Time Lord society! Yeah, he's good. All of that, while pretending to be The Dragon for everyone but the Doctor, and everyone but the Doctor being powerless to stop him once they realize his intent.
  • Psycho for Hire: He seems to be this, before becoming the Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Purple Prose: Prone to overly-verbose language in "The Ultimate Foe", because his dialogue was penned by Pip & Jane Baker. His page quote is a fancy way of saying it's impossible to keep an evil nature hidden beneath the guise of a good one.
  • Put on a Bus: It's been over 30 years since the Valeyard last appeared in his "am I dead or not" ending.
    • The Dream Lord from "Amy's Choice" is another manifestation of the Doctor's dark side, suggesting the Valeyard part of the Doctor is not entirely dead.
    • The Valeyard is name-checked by the Great Intelligence in "The Name of the Doctor", as one of the names the Doctor supposedly will take before the end.
    • In "Twice Upon a Time", the Testimony also namechecks the Valeyard as one of the Doctor's many names.
  • Shadow Archetype: To the Doctor.
  • The Spook: There is much mystery surrounding him.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In "The Mysterious Planet", he's tampered with the evidence in the Matrix, though not to as great an effect as he has in following stories.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: At least until the Master reveals what his true nature is.
  • Wham Line:
    The Master: They made a deal with the Valeyard — or, as I've always known him, the Doctor — to adjust the evidence! In return for which, he was promised the remainder of the Doctor's regenerations!
    The Valeyard: My lady, this-!
    The Doctor: Just a minute! Did you call him... The Doctor!?
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Ties in directly with his Large Ham status. And, wow, it's fun to watch.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: For the Doctor.



An incarnation of the Doctor who will be Merlin in an Alternate Universe based on Arthurian legend with Sufficiently Advanced Magic. Mentioned in "Battlefield". A similar incarnation named Muldwych appears in several Expanded Universe short stories by Peter Anghelides where he's a red-haired man (yes, he's finally ginger) in an Afghan coat and yellow knitted waistcoat (based on a description in the Battlefield novelisation). However, there is also an Expanded Universe short story ("One Fateful Knight" by Peter David) where Eighth takes the role.
  • The Ghost: He goes unseen throughout "Battlefield", though his influence is keenly felt.
  • Wizard Classic: He becomes Merlin.

Other Incarnations (Revival Series)

    Doctor Moon 

Doctor Moon

Played by: Colin Salmon (2008)

"What I want you to remember is this, and I know it's hard: the real world is a lie. And your nightmares are real. The Library is real, there are people trapped in there. People who need to be saved. The shadows are moving again."

A literal moon with artificial intelligence that orbits over the biggest library in the universe, manifesting in virtual reality as the human physician Doctor Moon to monitor the Library's central computer consciousness, CAL. Although the concept never made it to screen, the character's creator Steven Moffat intended for Dr. Moon to be the very last incarnation of the Doctor whose consciousness was saved within the Library.

  • Aborted Arc: Dr. Moon's possible fate as the Doctor's last incarnation uploaded to the Library mainframe goes unsaid in the televised story, leaving it an Ambiguous Situation for viewers to decide themselves. Also, River's connection to the Doctor was revised in later arcs, as her last encounter with her beloved before her team's fateful mission to the Library turned out to be with the Twelfth Doctor, not the Forty-Fifth Doctor (though considering a night on Darillium lasts 24 years, it's still a possibility she met both).
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: If you accept the premise that he is a virtual avatar of a far-future Doctor, he may count as the first canonical black incarnation seen onscreen.
  • All There in the Manual: His connection to the Doctor was belatedly revealed in a 2020 Doctor Who Magazine article and has yet to be used in a narrative context, though the idea has been widely accepted by the fanbase (and Russell T Davies). As the game-changing episode "The Timeless Children" opened the floodgates for noted Doctor Who writers to discuss their own ideas about the Doctor's past and future, it seems to still be on the cards.
  • Dare to Be Badass: He gives young Charlotte a hell of a Wham Line that the real world, as she perceives it, is a lie and that her nightmares of a giant library filled with carnivorous shadows are actually real. There's people trapped inside it that need help and only she can save them.
  • Friend to All Children: While he seems a little untrustworthy at first, he ultimately shows he has a child's best interests at heart, just like any good Doctor.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Dr. Moon keeps CAL's consciousness, as well as all the other "saved" human inhabitants, in a realistic suburban setting where she believes herself to be a normal human girl. It's eventually revealed that CAL was once the girl, Charlotte Abigail Lux, whose mind was uploaded to the Library.
  • Punny Name: His name turns out to be incredibly literal. In the real world, he's a manmade satellite resembling Earth's moon who acts as an antivirus firewall to the Library's computer systems. The humanoid form we meet is merely his virtual avatar.
  • Reality Warper: In the cyberspace of the Library, he can instantaneously accelerate the passage of time simply saying variations of the phrase "And then... you went to *X*", as well as influence the virtual world in other subtle ways.
  • Together in Death: Although they don't seem to recognise each other in their current states, he and River reunite in the Artificial Afterlife of the Library where they continue to live happily ever after.

    The "Meta-Crisis" Tenth Doctor 

The "Meta-Crisis" Tenth Doctor
Played by: David Tennant (2008)

"I'm part human. Specifically, the aging part. I'll grow old and never regenerate. I've only got one life, Rose Tyler. I could spend it with you, if you want."

An unusual tangent from the Doctor we know as a side effect of his sidestepped eleventh regeneration. He was the final result of the original Doctor losing his hand in a Sycorax duel, which Jack rescued and returned to him. The Doctor kept it with him until a Dalek got in a cheap shot and made him regenerate. The Doctor, having a vain streak at the time, cheated the regeneration and used his severed hand as a container for the energy that would recreate his body. This in fact counted as far as his allotted regenerations went, leaving the Doctor with one last regeneration in his first cycle.

Donna Noble interacted with the hand while it was coursing with regeneration energy that tried to heal the limb as though it was still a part of its Time Lord owner, but didn't have enough DNA to recognize the full picture of the Doctor's body. Donna's DNA got sampled and used to fill in the gaps, causing the hand to sprout into a whole new Doctor with a bit of Donna's temper inside him. He picked up her human body, leaving him a Time Lord brought down to human level- what he called a "biological meta-crisis". It led this clone to choose a different path from the Doctor, reciprocate his love for Rose Tyler in his stead, and live a happy life in a parallel universe with her.

However, the original Doctor also noticed the clone resembled his attitude right after coming out of the Time War, like the Ninth Doctor before mellowing out, and fewer qualms about killing his enemies. He left Meta-Crisis Ten in her care to help him overcome these dangerous qualities and satisfy her love for him that he couldn't provide as a Time Lord.

  • Big Damn Kiss: Shares a very passionate one with Rose when he reveals that he really loves her, which the Tenth Doctor could not say because Rose would never leave his side and he would outlive her.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • The Doctor's hand was involved in a great deal of important events before it finally turned into him.
    • The regeneration used to create him becomes important later on in "The Time of the Doctor" when it turns out that, because of this, the Eleventh Doctor is actually the thirteenth and the last regeneration of his first cycle.
  • Cloning Blues: Averted. He has no angst at all over being a clone. He doesn't even care that he's half-human. Nor does he have "I'm not real!" sort of blues. "I am the Doctor."
  • Composite Character: Wears Ten's suit and shoes, has Donna's characteristics stacked against Ten's, and resembles Nine, also wearing a plain, collar-less shirt without buttons or a tie to go with it, similar to Nine's habit of wearing stripped-down attire and simple V-neck sweaters.
  • Darker and Edgier: With respect to the Tenth Doctor he's much more unhinged and definitely less apprehensive about murder.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Not only does he look just like Ten, he has all of Ten's memories, experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Fanservice: Born from an unclothed hand, he's naked right off the bat when it grows into a complete body.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Part human, part Time Lord.
  • Happily Ever After: With Rose in exchange for the original Ten because he gets to grow old with the woman he loves.
  • Hot-Blooded: Being created with the help of Donna's DNA gave him this. Unlike the Doctor, he doesn't hesitate to obliterate a Dalek fleet with the flick of a switch.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The Daleks had nearly destroyed the Universe, and if he left them around, even without a reality bomb they could still destroy the cosmos. He explicitly points this out before flipping the switch.
  • Love Confession: Implied and confirmed to tell Rose "I love you" in an inaudible whisper in her ear, triggering a kiss.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: He's an Artificial Human clone of the Tenth Doctor created from the combined DNA of him and Donna Noble.
  • Naked on Arrival:
    Donna: It's you!
    Meta-Ten: Oh, yes!
    Donna: [pointedly looking away ] ...You're naked.
    Meta-Ten: Oh, yes.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Ten makes it very clear his clone's creation was against his wishes after seeing him off millions of Daleks with the flick of a switch. This hits way too close to home and Ten is furious.
    Ten: Because we saved the universe, but at a cost. And the cost is him. He destroyed the Daleks. He committed genocide. He's too dangerous to be left on his own.
    Meta-Ten: [accusingly] You made me.
    Ten: Exactly. You were born in battle, full of blood and anger and revenge. Remind you of someone? That's me, when we first met. And you made me better. Now you can do the same for him.
    Rose: But he's not you.
    Ten: He needs you. That's very me.
  • The Slow Path: One reason Ten left the Meta-Crisis Doctor with Rose; no advanced age or regenerations and no TARDIS.
  • The Unfettered: The other reason Ten left his clone with Rose. He casually committed genocide on the Daleks. While Ten had his own moral code and wouldn't resort to killing unless it was absolutely necessary, Meta-Crisis immediately acted to blow the Daleks up. This scared Ten into wondering just how much terror he could bring to the universe if someone didn't reform him, so he decided Rose could do the trick after remembering how she reformed him when he was Nine.

    The Dream Lord 

The Dream Lord
Played by: Toby Jones (2010)

"Dream Lord. It's in the name, isn't it? Spooky. Not quite there."

A strange, incorporeal being who once trapped the Doctor, Amy, and Rory in two worlds, making them choose which was real and which was just a dream.

  • Anthropomorphic Personification: He's a personification of the Doctor's dark side; more specifically, his self-loathing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often, especially at Rory's expense.
    Rory: If anyone here's the gooseberry, it's the Doctor.
    Dream Lord: Now there's a delusion I'm not responsible for.
  • Enemy Within: He only exists inside the Doctor as his worst enemy: himself.
  • Evil Redhead: Looks like the Doctor finally got to be ginger after all.
  • Expy: For the Valeyard. Scarily enough, he might actually BE the Valeyard.
  • Fan Disservice: At one point, he dresses in a Ready for Lovemaking style while Amy is alone with him in the TARDIS.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's having so much fun with all his different costumes. He is genuinely Affably Evil towards Amy, though.
  • Graceful Loser: He withdraws gracefully after the heroes identify the real world. It's just an act; turns out the "real" world is also a dream.
  • Great Gazoo: A dark, malevolent dream-based version of this.
  • Intangible Man: He has no physical form. The Doctor briefly wonders if this is his motivation.
  • Jerkass: Very much so, since he's willing to express the sorts of thoughts the Doctor typically holds back.
  • Laughably Evil: His bowtie and short stature bring to mind a demented Troughton, which makes sense, considering that that's exactly who he is.
  • Meaningful Name: "Dream Lord". As in he creates and controls dreams. And is one, brought on by psychic pollen feeding on the Doctor's darker thoughts.
  • The Nth Doctor: It's heavily implied he's a manifestation of the same dark side that gave rise to the Valeyard.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He talks to the Doctor entirely in these.
    Dream Lord: If you had any more tawdry quirks you could open up a tawdry quirk shop. The madcap vehicle, the cockamamie hair, the clothes designed by a first-year fashion student. I'm surprised you haven’t got a little purple space dog just to ram home what an intergalactic wag you are.
  • Whole Costume Reference: Normally is shown wearing a variation of the Eleventh Doctor's wardrobe and briefly adopts a similar blue suit and tie as the Tenth Doctor at one point. His other costumes are also, more subtly, this.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: It's implied that he's still out there. If he is indeed the Doctor's dark side, then he may live for as long as the Doctor does.

    "The Curator" 

"The Curator"
Played by: Tom Baker (2013)

"I'm only a humble curator, I'm sure I wouldn't know."

From what is suggested on-screen, the Curator may be a much, much older incarnation of the Doctor following many regenerations. He chose to retire from his adventures through time and space, and became the curator of the National Gallery. He looks suspiciously familiar. (The Titan Comics expanded universe has since confirmed that the Curator is a future incarnation of the Doctor.)

  • Ascended Fanon: Metafictionally, this Doctor is the third appearance by Tom Baker as the "Narrator Doctor" from two 90s video releases. Whether he's "really" that Doctor is probably up to the individual viewer to decide.
  • Blatant Lies: While he skirts around the question of being a future incarnation of the Doctor and even claims not to be at one point, the Eleventh Doctor doesn't doubt that he's speaking to his future self for a second.
  • Cool Old Guy: A very old man who may or may not be the Doctor and who's still as affable as ever.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Again, he implies that he's one of the Doctor's regenerations but at the same time doesn't give anything definitive.
  • Fiction As Coverup: Mentions in the novelization that The Brigadier hated his idea to novelize The Doctor's adventures so people would think they were fiction.
  • Iconic Outfit: Averted, but not: even though he's "revisiting the old favourites" in terms of faces, he's seen without Tom Baker's trademark scarf. Word of God has it that he gave it to Osgood.
  • Interactive Narrator: He claims to be writing the novelization on psychic paper. He occasionally comments on what readers are doing and tells us to be quiet so we don't disturb the characters.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: The novelization is the result of him doing this.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: His conversation with the 11th Doctor doubles as Tom Baker congratulating Matt Smith on becoming one of his successors in the role of the Doctor. This ties into the end of An Adventure in Space and Time, where Matt Smith appears (in character) and meets William Hartnell.
  • Meaningful Name: In Latin, the name Curator stems from the verb curare, which means to take care of or to cure. In other words... a Doctor by yet another name.
  • Narrator All Along: The end of the novelization revealed he was writing the parts between chapters.
  • No Name Given: Just "The Curator".
  • Nose Tapping: Who knows, indeed.
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: The novelization says the tourist board asked him to design robotic ravens to replace the ones that left the Tower Of London.
  • Retired Badass: Gave up saving the universe and settled down to become a simple museum curator on Earth. Just as Eleven mused he could do one day.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • He tells Eleven that Gallifrey was saved in "The Day of the Doctor", and encourages the Doctor to look for it. Which leads into the Myth Arc of Series 8 and 9.
    • Mentions that the Doctor may revisit familiar faces in the future, something that technology is slowly allowing as an option.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The whole existence of the Curator is basically an enigmatic tease that the Doctor is going to live a very long life and eventually end up going into retirement... and not just for a short amount of time, but for real. The presence of a work of art in the background of his scene that looks identical to TARDIS roundels has also got people speculating that this is a clever hint that the museum is in fact the interior of the Curator's TARDIS — but then again, it could just be a meaningful selection to hang in the museum by the Curator because the Doctor loves the "round things", and at the very least, the sculpture strongly hints at the presence of the Doctor being the one actually overseeing the museum all along.
  • Visual Pun: Who knows? Who... nose.
  • Wham Line: His introduction, startling the Eleventh Doctor with the same voice and features as his fourth incarnation.
    Eleven: I could retire and become the curator of this place.
    Curator: You know, I really think you might.
  • Wham Shot: When he shows his face, both Eleven and fans know that he is the Doctor because he's played by Tom Baker.
  • You Look Familiar: invoked He has gone through enough regenerations that he started "revisiting old faces" (but only the favourites!). In this case, he looks like an older Fourth Doctor.
    Eleven: I never forget a face.
    Curator: Oh, I know you don't. And in years to come, you might find yourself... revisiting a few. But just the old favourites.

    The Fugitive Doctor (Unmarked Series 12 Spoilers

The "Fugitive" Doctor
"I'd quite like it if you got off my ship now."

Played by: Jo Martin (2020-)

"Let me take it from the top: Hello, I'm The Doctor. I'm a traveller in space and time, and that thing buried down there is called a TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimension In Space. You're gonna love this."

A mysterious incarnation of the Doctor who spent years undercover in Gloucester as a tour guide believing she was human. But when the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions, along with a hired squad of Judoon, converge while the latter are hunting her as a fugitive, her true identity is revealed.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Neither she nor Thirteen have any memories of being the other, and have no idea where they fit relative to each other in the Doctor's timeline... or even if they're not alternate Doctors altogether (though an interview with Chris Chibnall in British newspaper The Mirror indicates she is not an alternate or parallel Doctor, no fake-outs or tricks, she's the real deal). Thirteen guesses, based on the available evidence, that she's a past incarnation — but if so, it's a past she doesn't remember. "Once, Upon Time" seems to back up her being a forgotten past incarnation.
  • At Least I Admit It: Calls Thirteen out on her lack of moral high ground.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Admit it, "Ruth Clayton" is a certainly more distinguishing name than "John Smith".
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Is willing to at least threaten people with weapons even if she won't shoot them herself, and is in general far more aggressive than Thirteen specifically, but also other new series Doctors in general.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Has a pair of "brainy specs" like some of the other Doctors were fond of.
    • Uses a Chameleon Arch to erase her memories and go into hiding as a human much like the Tenth Doctor did back in "Human Nature".
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the tradition of Classic Doctors especially, she has a very dry, condescending sense of humour.
  • Happily Married: Ruth Clayton's husband Lee, who both clearly loves her... and also knows who she really is the whole time.
  • Hero of Another Story: What she ultimately turns out to be. Although "The Timeless Children" makes it clear that she is the Doctor, exactly where she fits into the timeline is not made clear. Like the Curator before her, she essentially says that perhaps it doesn't matter either way.
  • Humanity Ensues: Used a Chameleon Arch to turn into Ruth Clayton of Gloucester.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Downplayed. She's not worried about meeting another incarnation of herself, but she is concerned about the temporal feedback loop if her TARDIS lands too close to Thirteen's (which hasn't been an issue for the TARDISes of other incarnations, as seen in "The Day of the Doctor" and "Twice Upon a Time").
  • Race Lift: The first non-white-appearing version of the Doctor we meet, though not the first non-white-appearing incarnation, regardless of how she fits into the sequence.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: She's on the run from the Time Lords partly because of a job that she didn't exactly accept and can't exactly leave, although she's clearly trying to.
  • Sassy Black Woman: She's taken the form of a black woman, and she has a razor-sharp wit.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: "Senior" is a bit of an exaggeration (her human disguise is only in her 40s), but she has a dignified yet irascible edge reminiscent of Twelve and the older Classic era Doctors. It starkly contrasts the younger and politer Thirteen. Jo Martin confirmed that both her look and attitude were influenced by Twelve.
  • Trigger Phrase: The text Lee sends her turns Ruth into a badass who's able to defeat a squad of Judoon with martial arts and a stolen gun. It leaves her unsettled afterwards because she doesn't see it as being her.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Wears a very nice navy one with gold buttons.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's very hard to talk about her without revealing she's a version of the Doctor.

    The Timeless Child (Unmarked Series 12 Spoilers

The Timeless Child

Debut: "Spyfall" (2020)
Regeneration Story: "The Timeless Children" (2020)

What appears to be the Doctor's earliest incarnation known to any history, a mysterious child from an unknown dimension or universe, with an infinite capacity for regeneration, who became the source of the proto-Time Lords' ability to regenerate.

  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Before the First Doctor, courtesy of a secret group they belonged to known as the Division.
  • Monster Progenitor: The Timeless Child is essentially this for the Time Lords, as their capability to infinitely regenerate basically enabled the existence of the Time Lords to begin with. By extension, the Master further claims that the Doctor is also this to the regenerating Cybermen he created, under the notion that he made said Cybermen from the corpses of Time Lords.
  • Mysterious Past: A child from an unknown dimension or universe who somehow ended up in this one.
  • No Name Given: Referred to mainly as the "child", or the "timeless child".
  • The Nth Doctor: Went through numerous incarnations (including race and gender changes) before the Doctor we know.
  • The Older Immortal: Being the Timeless Child, a being who predated Time Lord society, effectively makes the Doctor this to the vast majority of, if not all, Time Lords.
  • Playing with Syringes: The child went through several regenerations before Tecteun discovered the secret of regeneration, implied to be linked to her experiments.
  • Really 700 Years Old: It was Tecteun's discovery of the child, and the secret of regeneration they held, that enabled the Shobogans to become Time Lords, which makes the child older than Time Lord civilisation and puts them easily into Time Abyss territory - if the Sixth Doctor's rant is accurate, the Doctor is well over ten million years old. What happened to the child between then and the Doctor we know is unknown thanks to their Laser-Guided Amnesia, but Thirteen's flashback in her escape from the Matrix suggests that some of their incarnations included the faces from "The Brain of Morbius". And we don't know whether or not she went through other incarnations before Tecteun found her.
  • Resurrective Immortality: They have this even more than the Time Lords themselves, possessing an infinite number of regenerations rather than the standard twelve. However, it should be noted that they are the Monster Progenitor of the Time Lords, with the Time Lords' ability to regenerate being derived from them.
  • Retcon: The Annual for 2020 reveals that the Child has the same 12 Regeneration limit as the Time Lords would come to inherit.
  • Time Abyss: See Really 700 Years Old above.
  • Unperson: The Division successfully erased them from history, even to themselves, wiping their mind clean and forcing them to regenerate into a child, who would grow up to become the First Doctor.

    Brendan (Unmarked Series 12 Spoilers


Played by: Evan McCabe (2020)

A red-headed orphan found in the middle of a road by a kindly Irish couple named Patrick and Meg. He has a peaceful, quiet life as he trains to be a police officer, but his illusions of normalcy are shattered when he falls off a cliff... and somehow walks away unscathed. His entire life is revealed to be a parable of the Doctor's mysterious origin as the Timeless Child, concealed deep within the Matrix by the Time Lords.

  • Allegorical Character: An internalised example, as he is an allegory for the Timeless Child, while his parents symbolise the Time Lords who stole them and wiped their memories.
  • Brick Joke: He's ginger, as later Doctors always aspired to be, though they can ironically never remember being him due to constant memory wiping. Of course, he was also merely a projection representing the life of the Doctor, and the Doctor themself may not have ever looked like him in reality.
    • Gallifrey had previously been mistaken for a place in Ireland in "Human Nature".
  • By-the-Book Cop: From what little we see of him, he's a good young copper.
  • Foreshadowing: As a child, he’s seen wearing a jumper very similar to the Seventh Doctor.
  • Invincible Hero: He falls off a cliff after pursuing a mugger and survives unscathed.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: He's literally trapped in the Matrix.
  • Memory-Wiping Crew: He's strapped to a chair and painfully subjected to this by his own father and the police sergeant, who are actually stand-ins for the Division.
  • Oireland: Brendan lives in a stereotypical Arcadian ideal of Ireland, full of lush green fields and cobblestone roads.
  • Superman Substitute: His origin of being discovered by a kindly couple only to develop superhuman strength and durability seems to mirror Superman more than the Doctor.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: He gradually begins to understand that something very wrong with his world, though he remains unaware that he's a Matrix replicant of the Doctor.

The Doctor's gadgets

    Signet ring 

Signet ring (First and Second Doctors)

A ring decorated with a large blue crystal, primarily worn by the First Doctor. The ring gave the Doctor several strange abilities, but it was entirely abandoned after his first onscreen regeneration into the Second Doctor, as it no longer fit on his finger.

  • Put on a Bus: The ring was immediately discarded after the First Doctor's regeneration into the Second. The Second Doctor later relied on the sonic screwdriver, which replaced the signet ring as his primary gadget.
    • The Bus Came Back: In some comics and novels, the Seventh Doctor rediscovers the ring and begins wearing it again for a brief period. It also plays a surprisingly large role in the "Sonic Adventure" storyline of the mobile game Doctor Who Legacy, which sees the Master steal all of the Doctor's sonic gadgets, but since the signet ring does not run on sonic energy, it is overlooked and becomes the Doctor's sole gadget once again.
  • Ring of Power: A seemingly ordinary ring that gave the Doctor several powers, namely the abilities to supply power to the TARDIS doors, hypnotise less intelligent organisms to his will, and protect himself from electric shocks.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Subverted. Ben, skeptical that this new man was really the same Doctor he knew, tries to get the Second Doctor to wear the signet ring as a test. The ring no longer fits on the new Doctor's finger, fuelling Ben's suspicions, but the Doctor logically justifies this by comparing his regeneration to a moth being unable to fit back into its chrysalis after metamorphosis.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Twelfth Doctor also wears a ring, but it appears to just be an ordinary gold band with no special properties. It's Peter Capaldi's actual wedding ring, which he refuses to remove. For an In-Universe explanation, it's been speculated, later confirmed, that it is to honour his marriage to River Song. As a possible Continuity Nod to the scene of the Second Doctor being unable to wear the First Doctor's signet ring, the Twelfth Doctor's wedding ring slips off the Thirteenth Doctor's finger after regeneration.

    Sonic screwdriver 

Sonic screwdriver (Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, War, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors)

"Harmless is just the word, that's why I like it! Doesn't kill, doesn't wound, doesn't maim. But I tell you what it does do: it is very good at opening doors."
The Tenth Doctor — "Doomsday"

The Doctor's most iconic and prolific gadget, introduced in his Second incarnation. More officially designated as a "sonic probe", its cute nickname is derived from the fact that its original onscreen purpose was purely to unscrew bolts and bypass locks. Since then, it has become an all-purpose super-gadget with an impressive array of functions and applications. The sonic screwdriver has had a number of redesigns over the years while usually retaining the same software, comparable to other iterative staples of the show like the Daleks, the TARDIS, and the Doctor themself in this regard.

  • Advertised Extra: The Eighth Doctor wields it on the Blu-Ray cover of the 1996 TV Movie, even though it barely appears in said movie and the Doctor never really uses it.
  • Blue Is Heroic: The sonic used by the Ninth and Tenth Doctors had a blue LED, paralleling the colour of the TARDIS and representing their heroic personalities. After overcoming a particularly arduous arc that saw him almost descend into villainy, the Twelfth Doctor gets rewarded by the TARDIS with another blue screwdriver, this time with a more elaborate design.
  • The Cameo: A retro-looking model appeared briefly in the 1996 TV Movie, in the same chest containing the Master's remains. This was the first time it appeared onscreen in fourteen years.
  • Companion Cube: Many jokes have been made about the Doctor's emotional dependency on the sonic screwdriver. Upon witnessing its destruction at the hands of a Terileptil, the Fifth Doctor solemnly remarks that it was as though he just saw an old friend get murdered. His later incarnations are very attached to it.
  • Deus ex Machina: Despite its negative reputation for this trope, the sonic screwdriver is rarely used to singlehandedly solve any climactic struggles, though it does help the Doctor escape certain death many times.
  • Do-Anything Robot: A common complaint about the screwdriver is that it can seemingly do anything if the plot demands it. Some writers have introduced consistent limitations to combat this reputation, such as the recent Weaksauce Weakness of being unable to affect wooden objects introduced by Steven Moffat.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A memorably, uh... phallic scene in "The Day of the Doctor" sees the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor compare their sonic screwdrivers. As Eleven's outsizes Ten's, Ten accuses his future self of Compensating for Something.
  • Emerald Power: The Eleventh Doctor's sonic has an emerald glow and may be the most powerful iteration yet.
  • Fountain of Expies: A number of the Doctor's companions and enemies have made use of similar sonic gadgets. To name a few:
    • Romana's own sonic screwdriver. The Fourth Doctor was so impressed with her design that they decided to swap sonics.
    • Bernice Summerfield's sonic trowel. Later used by River Song and thoroughly mocked by the Doctor.
    • Jack Harkness's sonic blaster. Nicknamed the Squareness Gun by the Doctor since it can cut square-shaped holes in walls. Also later used by River Song.
    • Sarah Jane Smith's sonic lipstick.
    • River Song's own sonic screwdriver. Once thought to be a future model of the Doctor's main sonic, it was actually a separate device given as a gift during their long night on Darillium together and was secretly used to store a copy of River's consciousness in order to "save" her from her destined Heroic Sacrifice at the Library.
    • John Simm's Master's laser screwdriver. Far more deadly than its sonic counterpart, it could also rapidly accelerate a person's ageing processes thanks to reverse-engineered technology derived from Professor Lazarus's youth-restoring machine. After regenerating into Missy, she replaced it with the less lethal sonic umbrella.
    • Miss Foster's sonic pen.
  • Insistent Terminology: Expressing his distaste for his future selves' screwdriver etiquette, the War Doctor insists that the sonic screwdriver is supposed to be a scientific instrument, not a water pistol.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: The War, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors combine the power of their screwdrivers to blast a Dalek into a wall. So much for "scientific instruments".
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The elusive "red setting" of the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor's sonics (though first seen on River Song's). It makes the sonic harder to interfere with, though doesn't do much else but look more intimidating.
  • MacGyvering: The Thirteenth Doctor constructs her new sonic in a garage in Sheffield... with a box of scraps!
  • Magic Wand: It is often compared to one, just as the Doctor is often labelled a magician. With his magic wand, the Doctor swoops in to fix any problem that presents itself.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Appropriate for a sonic device, it can be used to amplify sound frequencies to debilitating levels, especially when used in tandem with another sonic device.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Oh boy. To list just a few of its abilities:
    • Lock and unlock doors.
    • Scan objects.
    • Burn flammables.
    • Hack computer systems.
    • Enhance sounds, signals and frequencies.
    • Control almost any machinery.
    • Act as a flashlight.
    • Remote explosive detonation.
    • Amplify other devices beyond their usual capabilities, such as transforming ordinary mobile phones into "super-phones" with near-unlimited range across time and space.
    • Disarm weapons and electronics.
    • Mobile communicator.
    • Make complex calculations as a permanent subroutine.
    • Conduct medical scans.
    • And finally... tighten and unloosen screws.
  • The Nth Doctor: The 50th anniversary special introduces the idea that the sonic screwdriver is always the same device with the same software architecture, it just changes casings as the Doctor changes his faces.
  • Put on a Bus: For fans of the modern series who would expect the sonic screwdriver's ubiquity, it may be a surprising revelation that the sonic was ejected from the Doctor's arsenal for many years in the Classic era. After it was destroyed by a Terileptil in "The Visitation", the Fifth Doctor elected not to rebuild it and the device did not appear again for the remainder of the original series. This was due to producer John Nathan-Turner's fear that it had become too much of a Deus ex Machina Do-Anything Robot as well as a crutch for the writers. However, this did not stop other writers from inventing one-shot facsimiles to perform similar functions to the screwdriver when needed.
    • Decades later in Series 9, it was once again retired briefly in favour of the sonic sunglasses, which continued to be used even after the sonic screwdriver was reintroduced in the next series.
  • Running Gag: Steven Moffat gets much mileage out of other characters mocking the Doctor's tendency to wield the ostensibly harmless sonic screwdriver like a lethal weapon and asking him if he intends on assembling a cabinet at his opponents.
  • Single-Task Robot: Originally, the sonic screwdriver's name was entirely descriptive of its intended function: it was a screwdriver that unscrewed bolts with sonic waves. That was it. Its range of applications has expanded considerably in the subsequent decades, turning it into a Do-Anything Robot.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: During the long period when the sonic screwdriver was explicitly barred from use, the pseudononymous writers of "Attack of the Cybermen" snuck in the sonic lance for the Sixth Doctor, which had more emphasis on cutting but was otherwise identical to the screwdriver. The Eleventh Doctor later used the sonic cane for one story, which is basically just a longer sonic screwdriver. The Twelfth Doctor's sonic sunglasses, seen below, is the only screwdriver-substitute to get any significant mileage.
  • Technical Pacifist: Although the Doctor prides himself on his beloved gadget's lack of offensive ability, owing to his overall distaste for violent weaponry, the sonic screwdriver has been frequently shown to damage people and objects, usually through indirect means. The Doctor has often used the sonic to deafen his enemies or blow up their guns in their hands, for example. Since the Eleventh Doctor's tenure, it has been outright capable of blasting things away with a powerful concussive wave.
  • Telepathy: Like the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver can be operated telepathically, so a person only has to point and think for it to do whatever they want. This also seems to be how it conveys information from what it scans to the Doctor.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: How many times? It doesn't do wood!

    Psychic paper 

Psychic paper (Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors)

A handy new gadget introduced during the series' revival in 2005 which quickly became almost as renowned as the sonic screwdriver. A seemingly ordinary sheet of blank paper kept in a wallet, the psychic paper telepathically imprints whatever a person subconsciously expects to see (for example, if the Doctor wants to get past some building security, the paper will claim he is a health and safety worker or something along those lines), making it an excellent tool for infiltrating secure locations and cutting down the amount of questions asked.

  • Charm Person: The paper helps to better justify the Doctor's talent for getting strangers to instantly trust him, since it tells them he is someone with authority. The Classic era often padded out episodes with long sequences of people deliberating over whether they can trust the Doctor or not, a problem the psychic paper helped to reduce.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Certain especially intelligent (or especially dull) individuals are able to see through the illusion. Torchwood staff are specifically trained against it.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Basically serves as the Doctor's answer to one. Ironically, stupid or weak-minded people can be harder to influence, since the psychic paper requires imagination to work.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Played for Laughs. When the Eleventh Doctor tries to use the psychic paper to convince someone he's "universally recognised as a mature and responsible adult", the paper only produces a bunch of meaningless squiggles. The Doctor lampshades that he's finally made a lie too big for the paper to compute.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Casually introduced at the start of the Ninth Doctor's tenure as though it had always been there. It works well since it fits into the Doctor's repertoire perfectly.
  • Telepathy: As the name suggests, it works through telepathy and psychic suggestion.
  • You Are in Command Now: The Doctor gives past companions Ryan and Graham two sheets of Psychic Paper so they can investigate happenings as the Doctor does.

    Sonic sunglasses 

Sonic sunglasses (Twelfth Doctor)

With his sonic screwdriver left in the care of Davros, the Twelfth Doctor takes to wearing a pair of black sunglasses which, as it turns out, serve as his new sonic gadget throughout Series 9 and 10.

  • Blind Seer: After getting blinded by exposure to the vacuum of space, the Doctor augments the sunglasses to connect to his optic nerves and give him rudimentary vision of his surroundings, though they are only capable of detecting solid surfaces in a crude Matrix-like interface. Deconstructed as the Doctor clearly struggles with everyday tasks, needing Nardole to explain obvious things happening right in front of him, and has to conspicuously wear them at all times, including indoors. This becomes fatal when he gets trapped in a room with a deadly bacteria and cannot operate the door panel to get himself out, since the sunglasses cannot display the screen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Doctor's overprotectiveness of his sunglasses initially comes off as a joke until he reveals their true functionality and uses them to evade the Daleks.
  • Cool Shades: With the debut of the Twelfth Doctor's new rockstar image, the screwdriver gets switched out with some cool shades kitted out with wearable technology.
  • Dual Wielding: Even after getting a new screwdriver from the TARDIS, Twelve still finds himself using the sunglasses in conjunction with it.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: A lot of unusual somethings, just like the screwdriver:
    • Instantly reform the TARDIS after HADS dispersal.
    • Browse the internet.
    • Grant x-ray vision.
    • Scan objects.
    • Communicate with a computer simulation version of himself via email.
    • Activate machinery.
    • Partially restore the Doctor's sight after he is blinded.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Introduced at Capaldi's suggestion so that poorer children unable to afford expensive sonic screwdriver merchandise could still pretend to be the Doctor on the playground with a simple pair of sunglasses. Aww...
  • Rule of Funny: Twelve gets his stuffy old First incarnation to wear the sunglasses, for no other reason than it's hilarious.
  • Running Gag: The sunglasses have an Embarrassing Browser History. There's... something in there that the Doctor would rather remain private.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Pridefully unwilling to admit his blindness to himself or his companion Bill, the Doctor finds himself awkwardly wearing the sonic sunglasses to aid his vision indoors and at night.

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who Revival Series Doctors


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