This one went exactly as I expected, top to bottom.
Here’s the results of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary poll. I figured that enough people only know the post-2005 reboot that the new Doctors would win, and that Tom Baker would emerge victorious among the oldies. For the record, here’s my personal list:
- Tom Baker – “My” Doctor, the longest-running and still the best. Great wit and gravitas, he saw the series through its glory years. Tom Baker is the Doctor for many fans, and he’s the main reason it became a worldwide phenomenon. One of the most unique performances in television history.
- Patrick Troughton – He had the toughest job as the first regenerated Doctor, and wisely took it in a completely different from Hartnell. His Doctor is full of humor and warmth, yet resolutely alien.
- David Tennant – The best of the “new” Doctors, by a stretch. Maybe the best pure actor ever to play the role (not counting John Hurt). Hampered by too many mediocre scripts but still great. Funny, warm and genuine without being too human. Too much kissing, though.
- Colin Baker – Easily the most underrated Doctor, booted by the idiots at the BBC who were in the process of killing the series after his second season. The most edgy Doctor ever.
- Jon Pertwee – The quintessential British Doctor – suave, dapper, a bit reserved. Loved to be on Earth and play the spy game with UNIT. Great chemistry with his companions, Jo and Sarah Jane.
- Matt Smith – Too young for the role, but managed to inject a certain “old soul” quality that often worked. Like Tennant hampered by too many mediocre scripts, unlike Tennant not a good enough actor to carry the show without vamping.
- Peter Davison – I love Peter Davison as an actor, but I’m not a huge fan of him as the Doctor. He’s just too innocent and too human for my tastes – though later interviews suggest that was the fault of the writers more than the actor.
- Patrick McGann – I only list McGann this low because we had almost no opportunity to see him work. Enormous unfulfilled potential – he may “look the part” more than anyone else, and he’s a terrific actor.
- William Hartnell – I can never look at “Bill” the same way after “An Adventure in Time and Space”, but I came to the series long after he’d left it and he just never fit with my image of the part.
- Christopher Eccleston – Another guy with untapped potential, but it’s his own fault as he quit after one season and severed all ties with the franchise. I like his edginess and Northern accent, but his episodes are mostly pedestrian. I prefer the way Colin Baker pursued this general style.
- Sylvester McCoy – I always felt McCoy was trying to channel Troughton and didn’t have the chops to pull it off. I never bought his buffoonery and he was unfortunately saddled with some of the worst episodes ever, leading to the series’ eventual cancellation.