Six decades, 12 regenerations, and hundreds of episodes have led us to the final Doctor. Let’s take a look back on Doctor Who’s ultimate comebacks — how everyone’s favorite Time Lord transformed into who he is today.


1. The Original Doctor: William Hartnell

When: 1963-66

How: The TARDIS lands in the South Pole while Cybermen from planet Mondas are attacking earth. The Doctor becomes ill of natural causes and retreats to the TARDIS to regenerate.



2. The Second Doctor: Patrick Troughton

When: 1966-69

How: The Doctor arrives on an unknown planet in the middle of The War Games, a plot where a mysterious alien race gathers human soldiers from different wars in Earth’s history to create a super army. In an attempt to send the soldiers back to their time periods the Doctor reaches out to fellow Time Lords for help, causing him to be placed on trial for interfering in the affairs of other races. His sentence? Exile on Earth and a new identity. Cue regeneration.

3. The Third Doctor: John Pertwee

When: 1970-74

How: Giant alien spiders from the planet Metebelis 3 come to earth to retrieve a crystal ball for their leader, the Great One. The Doctor demands to see the Great One and enters her cave to offer her the ball. Weeks later, the Doctor is fatally affected by radiation exposure from the cave and has to regenerate.


4. The Fourth Doctor: Tom Baker

When: 1974-81

How: The Doctor defeats the Master in a battle atop a radio telescope that ends in the Doctor falling to his death.

5. The Fifth Doctor: Peter Davison

When: 1982-84

How: While on the Androzani Minor, the Doctor and his companion, Peri, become poisoned by the toxic drug  Spectrox and contract Spectrox toxaemia. Once the Doctor finds the cure, milk from a queen bat, he gives it all to Peri, saving her life but forcing to regeneration in order to save his own.

6. The Sixth Doctor: Colin Baker

When: 1984-86

How: The Rani (a time lady [lord] who studied with The Doctor before becoming his foe) attacks the TARDIS causing it to go into regeneration. She manipulates the confused Doctor into believing that she is his assistant, Mel, and forces him to work on scheme to build a giant brain.

7. The Seventh Doctor: Sylvester McCoy

When: 1987-96

How: The TARDIS makes an emergency landing in San Francisco in 1999-in the midst of a Chinese gang fight. The Doctor is shot and later dies in the hospital when his surgeon (and future companion), Grace, attempts to operate on him.

8. The Eighth Doctor: Paul McGann

When:  1996

How: After dying in a space crash, the Doctor is temporarily resurrected by the Sisterhood of Karn, who beg him to end the Time War. After saying goodbye to his companions, the Doctor drinks a potion that triggers his regeneration.



9. The Ninth Doctor: Christopher Eccleston

When:  2005-2006

After being exposed to light from TARDIS’ time vortex, companion Rose uses her new powers to bring Jack back to life. When the power begins to destroy her, the Doctor kisses her to absorb the power and release back into the TARDIS. This act destroys the cells in his body and begins his regeneration into the tenth Doctor.

10. The Tenth Doctor: David Tennant

When: 2006-2010

How: In order to free companion Wilfred from the Master’s isolation chamber, the Doctor absorbs the radiation that held him. As the Doctor’s wounds heal, regeneration begins.

11. The Eleventh Doctor: Matt Smith

When: 2010-2013

How: After being trapped in Trenzalore for hundreds of years, the Doctor has aged significantly, believing he is in his final form. But when he receives a new regeneration cycle from the Time Lords his life is restored, as a new Doctor of course.


12. The Twelfth Doctor: Peter Capaldi

When: 2014

How: Tune in Sunday August 23rd for the 8th season of Doctor Who.




See more BBC stories of great #Comebacks
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Anglophenia: Best of British revivals – From ancient languages to boy bands, these British cultural artefacts fell out of favour, but were rescued from history’s bin.
Capital: The comeback kings – They rose to lofty heights and fell mightily. How some one-time giants got back into good graces.
Culture: Seven stages of movie stardom – Famous actors often burn brightly before falling on hard times. Here’s how they turn failure into success.
Future: ‘I bring the dead back to life’ – The radical procedure that involves replacing a patients’ blood with cold salt water could retrieve people from the brink.
Travel: A new dawn for Italy’s south – For the first time since the Grand Tour of the 18th Century, southern Italy is registering on savvy travellers’ radars.