Doctor Who: Who is the longest-serving Doctor, actually?


In a variety of methods anybody who performs the lead position in Doctor Who is taking up the half eternally, “dooming” themselves to a lifetime of TARDIS questions in interviews and appearing as one thing of an envoy for the BBC sci-fi sequence even when they left it behind a long time in the past.

With that mentioned, after all, the incumbent Doctor all the time holds a better cachet, with whichever actor who performs the “present” incarnation of the Time Lord taking up even larger visibility and duty to followers, and a few taking up that duty for longer than others.

Some Medical doctors final years, some weeks – however just lately, we’ve discovered ourselves pondering an apparently apparent query. Which actor, technically, correctly, was the Doctor for longest?

Instantly, followers might be chiming in with the “actual” reply – nationwide treasure and Fourth Doctor Tom Baker, who appeared in the position from 1974-1981 (aka slightly below seven years), round three years longer than another Time Lord (David Tennant comes second with round 4 and a half years).

However was he really the Doctor for the longest? What of Sylvester McCoy, who whereas solely enjoying the Doctor on TV for a bit of over two years, solely regenerated in 1996, technically which means his reign lasted for almost 9 years, a great couple longer than Baker held the position?

And what of Paul McGann? Whereas technically enjoying the Doctor for only one evening in 1996, McGann was type of the incumbent Doctor till 2005, when Christopher Eccleston took over the position – as soon as once more, 9 years – with the Eighth Doctor usually showing in comics, spin-off novels and (performed by McGann) audio dramas, positively preserving the character alive throughout Who’s years in the wilderness.

Or may we rely McGann’s period as lasting even longer? In any case, his final look as the Doctor and regeneration – seen in 2013 mini-episode The Night time of the Doctor – “counts” as him enjoying the character on-screen, albeit not constantly. Together with that, may we are saying he performed the Doctor for 17 years? After which, can we add three years to David Tennant’s rely contemplating he performed the Tenth Doctor once more the identical yr?

And what of spin-off media? In Massive End tales, books and Time Lord Victorious tie-ins, McGann’s Doctor nonetheless lives on to today – although for that matter, so does Tom Baker’s Doctor. By that logic, has Tom Baker been grasp of the TARDIS for 46 years?

As with all dialogue making an attempt to interrupt down the twisted, sophisticated world of Doctor Who into laborious information, the reply is… complicated. Baker is the longest-serving Doctor… however after all McCoy counts… however who may low cost the years Paul McGann spent enjoying his Time Lord? It’s sufficient to make your head spin greater than monitoring the Morbius Medical doctors and sequence 6B.

Doctor Who - Paul McGann

Doctor Who – Paul McGann

Even a Doctor like Christopher Eccleston, who has definitively solely performed the Doctor for slightly below three months and never returned to the identical position since, is type of nonetheless the Doctor. Eccleston has attended conventions to speak about Doctor Who and recorded video messages in character for followers, whereas the Ninth Doctor continues to seem in audio dramas (simply not voiced by Eccleston) and books.

Possibly the easy reply is, then, that there isn’t a easy reply. May we simply rely on-screen hours in the position? Probably – however it appears unfair to forged apart McGann’s years of audio adventures. May we simply rely the years the actor spent on-screen as the “most important” Doctor? Probably once more – however it’s laborious to argue that Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor doesn’t “rely” in the TV film, if we rely years like 2016 and 2019 the place the TV present wasn’t actually on air.

Like the Doctor’s life in-series, the actors who play the Doctor overlap, crossover and infrequently meet, and it’s troublesome to put all of it out in easy, numerical phrases – irrespective of how a lot Whovians and, er, on-line articles may attempt to. Who is aware of? Possibly you really must be a Time Lord to work all of it out…

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