When the BBC aired Doctor Who for the first time in 1963, who knew if they realized what kind of television programming they were introducing to the world. The show was originally created to be an educational show for children, and created by Sydney Newman, C.B. Webber, and Donald Wilson. Doctor Who is about the adventures of a Time Lord known as “The Doctor” as he travels through time and space in his TARDIS in the form of a police box. He travels with different individuals throughout the series known as 'companions'. The Doctor has the ability to regenerate into a new body - cleverly giving the series longevity by using different actors for the title character.
The series first aired from 1963-1989 with 25-minute episodes, and then went on a prolonged hiatus. Doctor Who then saw a comeback in 2005 when producer and writer Steven Moffat was part of the team that brought the series back to the BBC with a new doctor and new companions - and 45-minute episodes. Since then, the series has encountered a boom in popularity and the cult doesn't show signs of going away anytime soon. The series has earned many awards and acclaims, and is an international hit with a huge fan base in the UK, North America and even worldwide.
In total, Doctor Who has had 33 seasons (plus one TV film), and about 800 episodes (with 97 missing). Steven Moffat rocked the world of Whovians (the Doctor Who fanbase) when he introduced another Doctor (played by John Hurt) for one episode in between the Eighth Doctor played by Paul McGann (for one TV movie and a mini episode), and the Ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston in the 50th anniversary special. For the purposes of continuity, we will still refer to the Doctors in their original numbers as if John Hurt didn’t rock the number order that Whovians cherish.
With the much-hyped introduction of the twelfth Doctor, being played by Peter Capaldi, let’s take a look at the actors who have spent the longest time playing the world’s favorite time-travelling Doctor. Although we acknowledge that counting the number of episodes may be a bit controversial - given that the episodes in the first run of the series lasted for 25 minutes and the revival’s episodes are 45 minutes long - for the purposes of consistency, we’re going to count each episode as a single unit: These are the 10 most enduring incarnations of Dr. Who.
10 Christopher Eccleston (The Ninth Doctor) – 13 Episodes
9 Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor) – 31 Episodes
8 Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor) – 43 Episodes
7 Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor) – 44 Episodes
6 David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) – 47 Episodes
5 Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor) – 69 Episodes
4 Patrick Troughton (The Second Doctor) – 119 Episodes
3 Jon Pertwee (The Third Doctor) – 128 Episodes
2 William Hartnell (The First Doctor) – 134 Episodes
1 Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor) – 172 Episodes
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