The Ultimate Ranking of Doctor Who's Modern-Day Doctors

It's been 15 years since Christopher Eccleston kicked off a successful revival of beloved British sci-fi series Doctor Who, but how does he stack up against his four successors?

By Billy Nilles 26 Mar, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Doctor Who, RankingWENN; Zumapress; Shutterstock/E! Illustration

How's this for timey-wimey?

It's been 15 years since the TARDIS--that stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, for those not in the know--first returned to TV screens in the U.K. and abroad with the revival of Doctor Who, the beloved British sci-fi series about an alien doctor with the ability to regenerate their face whenever the actor playing them grew tired of the role. Returning on March 26, 2005, Christopher Eccleston assumed the role of the Ninth Doctor, endearing to a whole new generation the character known as the last of the Time Lords who travels around through time and space with a trusty companion or two while inside what appears, from the outside, to be nothing more than a blue police box.

And while his tenure didn't last all that long, Doctor Who remains a television staple across the globe, with four other actors stepping into the eccentric shoes of the Doctor when necessary. However, not all who've taken command of the TARDIS are created equal. In honor of 15 years of this modern-day Doctor Who, we thought we'd rank the five Doctors once and for all.

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We Ranked All of the Doctor Who Revival's Companions

Check out our ranking of the revival's five Doctors below!

5. Christopher Eccleston

Credit where credit is due, we all have Eccleston to thank for coming aboard in that first new season 15 years ago and getting the modern-day run of Doctor Who off the ground. But with just one season under his belt before he moved on, and a desire to avoid the eccentricities and flamboyance that made the Doctor such a beloved character prior to his arrival, it never felt like that great of a fit. 

4. Peter Capaldi

As the Twelfth Doctor, Capaldi was only around for three seasons. And in that time, his brusque approach to the character always kept him feeling just out of reach and hard to really fall in love with, especially when compared to the two Doctors he followed. We'd be lying if we said we were all that broken up when he decided to move on in 2017.

3. Jodie Whittaker

As our current Doctor--and Thirteenth overall--Whittaker has brought some much needed gender diversity to the habitually regenerating Gallifreyan's many visages. Following Capaldi's more nuanced approach, she's brought some whimsy and much-needed humanity back to the character. (Yes, we're aware they're an alien.) She's a breath of fresh air and well on her way to becoming one of the all-time greats.

2. Matt Smith

Joining the franchise in 2010 at the Eleventh Doctor, Smith was the youngest actor to ever portray the character. (He was just 26 at the time.) As such, producers had fun contrasting the character's world-weariness against the actor's youthful appearance. There was an energy and a playfulness to Smith's approach to the character, which, in some ways, made him not all that dissimilar from his predecessor. Not that that's a bad thing--his adventures with Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and River Song (Alex Kingston) over the course of his three seasons are some of our all-time faves--but if we're splitting hairs (and we totally are), the other guy did it first.

1. David Tennant

As the Tenth Doctor, Tennant set the gold standard, the approach that all others would ultimately be compared to. His Doctor was so charismatic and charming, you couldn't help but fall in love with him. It's no wonder Matt Smith's version felt so similar. Why mess with a good thing? Tennant was only around for three seasons, no longer than anyone else on this list, and yet it feels like we had much more time with him than that. He was that good.

Doctor Who is currently scheduled to return Christmas 2020.