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Incarnations of the Doctor Guide

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My guide for the incarnations of the Doctor that have appeared on TV. As with my other guides, this guide only covers the TV series and does not cover incarnations that have only ever exclusively appeared in books, comics and audios. Characters that are holograms or manifestations such as the Watcher, Brendan, the Dream Lord and the Valeyard are not included here, nor are clones like the Metacrisis 10th Doctor and the Ganger 11th Doctor.

Timeless Children
Played by multiple actors

These are the earliest known incarnations of the Doctor and existed back during the very early days of Gallifrey. They were found beneath a portal in the sky leading to another universe, having fallen through it, and were found waiting by a Shobogan traveller known as Tecteun. The two returned to Gallifrey together and Tecteun adopted the child. However she began experimenting on her after an accident caused her to regenerate, and after going through six separate incarnations Tecteun finally discovered what allowed the child to regenerate and implemented it into herself, creating the first ever Time Lord. After this a seventh incarnation of the Timeless Child was seen being initiated into the Division, a secret Gallifreyan agency hidden from the main population. These incarnations were played by:

Timeless Child 1 - Unknown Actor
Timeless Child 2 - Unknown Actor
Timeless Child 3 - Grace Nettle
Timeless Child 4 - Leo Tang
Timeless Child 5 - Jac Jones
Timeless Child 6 - Unknown Actor
Timeless Child 7 - Jesse Deyi

Ruth Doctor
Played by Jo Martin

This Doctor ran away from the Division for reasons currently left unknown and used a chameleon arch to biologically turn herself into a human woman who believed herself to be named Ruth Clayton. When a squad of Judoon under employment of the Division located her in Gloucester in the year 2020, her agent instincts kicked in and she tore off the horn of the Judoon captain, which led to her questioning who she really was. The Thirteenth Doctor helped her escape to a lighthouse Ruth claimed belonged to her family and it was there that she was able to regain her true identity, becoming the Doctor once again. Both she and the Thirteenth Doctor were taken to the Judoon spaceship, but were able to evade arrest after the Ruth Doctor used their own laws against them. She returned the Thirteenth Doctor to her own TARDIS and then presumably left to continue travelling freely.

Morbius Doctors
Played by multiple actors

Very little is known about these incarnations of the Doctor and they have only been seen once in the show, with the exception of the sixth who has been seen twice. Officially they were first seen in The Brain of Morbius during the climactic battle between the Doctor and Morbius. Using a mind bending machine to test their mental wits against one another, Morbius was able to make the Doctor's faces appear on the machine in reverse order. As he shouted "back to your beginning!" eight faces previously unseen in the series began to appear, all of which were meant to be placed before the incarnation played by William Hartnell and thought to be the first. These Doctors have only ever appeared as still images, one of which was reused from Colony in Space, technically making that story the retroactive first appearance of any Morbius Doctor. The Morbius Doctors were played by:

Morbius Doctor 1 - Christopher Barry
Morbius Doctor 2 - Robert Banks-Stewart
Morbius Doctor 3 - Christopher Baker
Morbius Doctor 4 - Philip Hinchcliffe
Morbius Doctor 5 - Douglas Camfield
Morbius Doctor 6 - Graeme Harper
Morbius Doctor 7 - Robert Holmes
Morbius Doctor 8 - George Gallaccio

Incumbent Doctors
Played by multiple actors

These are the thirteen Doctors who we are currently familiar with the most, and who have been the incumbent Doctor in the role at some point in the show's history. An incarnation exists between the eighth and ninth, but was not a leading role and was retroactively introduced during another Doctor's era. The thirteen incumbent Doctors were played by:

1st Doctor - William Hartnell
2nd Doctor - Patrick Troughton
3rd Doctor - Jon Pertwee
4th Doctor - Tom Baker
5th Doctor - Peter Davison
6th Doctor - Colin Baker
7th Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
8th Doctor - Paul McGann
9th Doctor - Christopher Eccleston
10th Doctor - David Tennant
11th Doctor - Matt Smith
12th Doctor - Peter Capaldi
13th Doctor - Jodie Whittaker

War Doctor
Played by John Hurt

This incarnation comes between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors, but isn't officially numbered due to being retroactively introduced in 2013 during the Eleventh Doctor story, The Name of the Doctor. This Doctor fought in the Time War after the Eighth Doctor met the Sisterhood of Karn and chose to become a warrior. He was seen as a young man in his reflection upon regenerating and fought in the war for hundreds of years, becoming much older and more bitter as he did. Eventually he grew tired of the war and stole a deadly weapon known as the Moment, which he intended to use to destroy Gallifrey and end the fighting. However the Moment's sentient interface took the form of Rose Tyler as the Bad Wolf and opened up gateways into a potential future allowing him to meet the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. Seeing the man that he would become, he was convinced to instead help save Gallifrey by putting it in a pocket universe, although he wouldn't be able to remember it due to his personal time stream being out of sync. Returning to his TARDIS, he regenerated due to his body wearing a bit thin.

Played by Tom Baker

Although not explicitly stated outright in the episode itself, this character seen in The Day of the Doctor was heavily implied to be an incarnation of the Doctor from the far future who had chosen to revisit his favourite past faces and retire from saving the universe. He met the Eleventh Doctor in his art gallery where the two of them discussed the painting Gallifrey Falls No More. The Curator encouraged the Eleventh Doctor to go searching for it, confirming to him that his plan to rescue it had worked and that it was out there somewhere waiting for him. Having told him everything he wished to say, the Curator left the room. He previously met Clara off-screen and had told her he wanted to speak the Doctor, as she mentions just before the two incarnations meet.
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JJW1992's avatar

I don't think the Ruth Doctor is before William Hartnell; personally I think she's like the War Doctor and was between Doctors 2 and 3. I keep thinking, if the Time Lords captured the Doctor and forced them to regenerate into a child, wiped their mind and confiscated their TARDIS, why then would they allow that child to grow up, take the name Doctor again and just happen to find the exact same TARDIS which retakes the form of a Police Box? I do think the Timeless Children and the Morbius Doctors are before Hartnell. Maybe the 7th Child became the Division's first and best agent, and stayed with them until Morbius 8, who either became expendable to them or wanted to quit so they forced him to regenerate, wiped his mind and reduced him to childhood. The boy grew up and took the name Doctor, eventually growing disillusioned by the Time Lords so he stole the TARDIS and ran off, regenerating into the 2nd Doctor. When the Time Lords finally captured the 2nd Doctor, maybe before banishing him to Earth they forced him to work for the Division again. There were a series of novels that used this idea to explain how the 2nd Doctor fit into the multi-Doctor stories despite being older and not having Zoe or Jamie anymore. The Doctor regenerated into the Ruth Doctor, who tried to flee and used the Chameleon Arc to hide, until she was found by her far future self, agent Gat and the Judoon. After getting her memories back she tried to stay ahead of the Time Lords, but they eventually caught her, degenerated her back to the 2nd Doctor, wiped his mind and place him back into the banishment beam, regenerating into the official 3rd Doctor.