Peter Capaldi, like so many before him, is soon to leave the role of the Doctor. While we’ll all miss Capaldi, fans are eagerly awaiting the news of who will replace him. But, as every Who fan knows, time is not a straight line — and the past is as important as the future. As we look toward the future of Doctor Who, we also think of those we’ve left behind. Who was the best Doctor? But maybe that’s the wrong question. We should be asking not “Who is the best Who,” but “what is the best part of each?”

When it comes to Doctor Who, I find it hard to pick just one actor as the best. There is a case for each of them because they’re all awesome. Now I’ve never seen the classics, so I’m starting with Eccleston and going to the present.

Eccleston Was Fantastic!

He brought the series back! He was awesome because he had a great dark side and an infectious sense of humor. Who can resist smiling when they see this face:

With the ears you could fly away with.

That smug mug is, well, Fantastic. He gets a reputation as “The Serious Doctor,” and for good reason too, but he brought such joy to the role that we kept watching after hearing the words “Are you my mummy?” He was scary when he needed to be, but he was unbelievably fun to watch. The Bad Wolf episode, where he got put into Big Brother, makes me laugh just thinking about it. He was the Doctor before it became such a coveted role in modern culture, and that is thanks to to the level of quality that he had set as the standard. He may not have had the best episodes, but YOU CAN’T SKIP 9.

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Allons-y Alonzo! Tennant was Perfection!

David Tennant is an amazing actor (all of the doctors are, as you have to be to nail this role). He had amazing chemistry with everyone he came into contact with. He was hilarious at times:

He was heartbreaking at other times:

I’m so sorry……

And freaking terrifying at other times: no photo, just think back to “Midnight.” “Midnight” is also (in my opinion) the best episode of Doctor Who. The minimalist set and invisible monster let the writing stand on its own and it’s brilliantly effective.

Tennant also had some amazing companions. The follow through with Rose from Eccleston to Tennant was masterfully done. The chemistry between Tennant and Billie Piper is palpable and makes their separation even more heartbreaking. And no one is more heartbreaking than Donna; her ending couldn’t have happened without the hilarious relationship she had with Tennant.

Tennant had an amazing range and saw the Doctor through some of his happiest and saddest moments. From talking about the color of his new liver to the infamous “I don’t want to go,” he gave it his all and it was something beautiful.

READ: Love Ten? Check out this interview with the writer of Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor!

Geronimo! Smith made Bowties Cool Again

As the youngest actor to step into the role, Matt Smith had some pretty big shoes to fill. He was a brilliant jumping off point and was amazing in his soft-reboot debut in “The Eleventh Hour.” Matt Smith brought more camp to the show than the two before him with his running gags about fezzes and bowties and it was just so much fun. Viewers were on board with him by the end of his first episode:

I’m the Doctor. In other words: Run.

Plus, Murray Gold’s “I am The Doctor” made everything ten times as epic. He also knew how to pack the emotion and intimidation when he needed to, which was even more effective in contrast to his witty status quo. He could make you laugh in one episode, and reduce you to tears in another:

Like Tennant before him, Smith had some amazing companions. The family dynamic that comes across with Amy and Rory is different from what we’ve seen so far in New Who, but it was a breath of fresh air and really revitalized the role of the companion. They were there for each other. Sure, they were also there for the Doctor, but he wasn’t the be all end all of their lives. And the mystery of Clara kept fans guessing, always a good thing with Who.

The best thing in Smith’s run, however, was in the 50th-anniversary special. Just through the look in his eyes, you could believe that he was older than John Hurt’s War Doctor. A young man with the acting chops to pull that off is just amazing!

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5-Seconds on the War Doctor

Though, if I’m going chronologically, I should have put John Hurt (may he rest in peace) before Eccleston. But I’m going in order of appearance. This is a short bit, but he was the Doctor on the day it was impossible to be. ‘Nuff Said.

The Clock Strikes Twelve: Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi may have had a harder job than any before him upon stepping into the role: being an older-Scottish man who had to win over an audience who, up until now, had been getting used to a young and quirky Doctor. He was a complete change for the series, and he absolutely nailed it. Though his first season had mostly weak episodes, he was able to shine regardless. He has taken the camp to a new level with his thick old man routine, sonic-sunglasses and, well…

He really came into his own by the beginning of his second season and he made the Doctor a dorky rock-and-roll grandfather. He has been amazing, with season ten being an amazing ride (omg John Simm is back and also Missy! Sorry, back to the Doctor). Capaldi was an unexpected but rewarding change for Doctor Who and he is, once again, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill.

READ: Do you love what Stephen Moffat has done with DOCTOR WHO? Take a look back at the highlights from his run!

Capaldi’s run also introduced Bill Potts, who brought new levels to casting. Bill was a woman of color, and this was addressed regarding historical attitudes toward people of color. She also brought in a much needed bit of LGBTQ+ representation. Bill was something that stood out in the midst of other companions, and her casting shows a step forward in terms of diversity on Who.


All of the Doctors were something different. They were all great and comparing them becomes like apples and oranges. Anyone who can handle the Doctor is a ridiculously talented actor! We’re about to learn who’s next for Who, and it has us on the edges of our seats. Personally, I would love it to be Hayley Atwell, but she has expressed no interest in the role. Hopefully, we get either a Doctor of a different race or gender because, as great as they have all been, we need a change from quirky white guys!


  1. Snowdon

    July 16, 2017 at 9:22 am

    I’d seen some of the Fourth Doctor episodes way, way back in the 80’s, but never really got into it back then. It was decades later when I finally decided to see what all of the fuss was about and figured “Where better to begin than the beginning?” So I started with William Hartnell’s Doctor…and fell in love with the series.

    Hartnell’s version of the Doctor stuck with me and I find myself comparing every Doctor to him. There’s been some great Doctors since, but the first remains my favourite.

    Then I saw “An Adventure in Space and Time” and David Bradley nearly perfectly brought everything I loved about Hartnell’s Doctor back to life. I’m honestly more excited to see Bradley playing the First Doctor again for the Christmas Special than I am to hear who the next Doctor will be.


    • David Grinthal

      July 16, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      I know, I was so happy when I saw David Bradley walk out of the mist. The fact that he will actually be portraying Hartnell’s Doctor in the series-proper (for lack of a better term) is brilliant! After watching his performance in “An Adventure in Space and Time” I was just excited that they threw Matt Smith into Hartnell’s last scene, now we’ll actually have a moment with the original Doctor to see how far we’ve come in the last 50+ years. I’m so excited for Christmas and I’m also very interested in where the show will go next with Jodie Whittaker as the mad (wo)man with the box!


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