Who is Doctor Who? The Definitive Guide (Part 3)

If you haven’t seen the first two parts of this series you can learn about the Doctor’s backstory, the TARDIS and the first three Doctors here, and then his gadgets and the next four Doctors here.

The Doctor’s Enemies

The Doctor has been traveling through time and space for over a thousand years. During that time he has build up quite a collection of foes that don’t want to back down. Whilst we’re not intending to cover all the enemies encountered over the decades in this particular guide we will address the small number who have had the biggest impact on our hero.

The Master is a Time Lord like the Doctor, but rather than being inspired by the infinite possibilities of the time vortex he was driven completely insane. He hijacked a TARDIS and went rouge from Gallifrey, initially encountering the Third Doctor when he attempted to take over Earth with the help of the Autons. His ultimate goal is to conquer the universe, but after several attempts have been thwarted by the Doctor his quest has often been sidetracked into trying to steal components from the Doctor’s TARDIS to supplement his own and seek revenge on the Doctor. Upon their first meeting the Master was already existing in his final regeneration, but through various nefarious schemes and a deal struck with the Time Lords he has managed to extend his life cycle for a further several regenerations.

The Master Doctor Who

The three main versions of the Master, played by Roger Delgado, Anthony Ainsley and John Simm.

His relationship with the Doctor has been a complicated one. For the most part they have been enemies but they quickly grew to respect each other’s intellect and talents. On occasion they have worked together to defeat common foes and manipulated each other into achieving their own goals. The Doctor rescued the Master from the Axions, the Master helped rescue the Doctor from the Death Zone and the Master supported the Doctor during his trail, but only because he feared the prosecutor. Since the Third Doctor encountered the Master they have been constant rivals.

Without a doubt The Daleks are the most well known enemy in the history of Doctor Who, familiar to more people than the Doctor himself. Encountered by the Doctor in his second adventure on their home planet of Skaros they are not, as some people assume, robots. They were once humanoid but through the machinations of the scientist Davros and mutation through long term exposure to radiation they are now tentacled, shapeless creatures who required housing in the mechanical bodies that make them distinctive. Their real form may be weak and helpless but their shells are extremely powerful and heavily armed. Their ideology is what makes them a true threat to the universe, believing that they alone are the only perfect race and all others must be exterminated. Their quest for purity of race makes them an unrelentless and deadly enemy. 


Outside and in.

The first time the Doctor was defeated and required a regeneration it was at the hands of the Cybermen. Like the Daleks they believe that they have achieved a level of perfection and all other races are inferior. Rather than being their own race the Cybermen are the result of human and cyborg fusion, creating a powerful mechanical body that is powered by a human mind and heart. They don’t seek to destroy other races but ‘upgrade’ them. Cybermen would round up human populations and feed them into conversion chambers where they’d be dismembered and rebuilt with their emotions repressed.


Since the reboot the one enemy who has had the same cultural impact as the Daleks and the Cybermen are the Weeping Angels. Appearing in three stories to date they have become synonymous with fear. At first they seemed to be stone statues of angels covering their eyes but they are in actuality the ‘Lonely Assassins’, and alien race with the ability to send people into in the time vortex with a touch. They have evolved to move with incredible speed, covering rooms in the blink of an eye, but their primary form of defence is their weakness…when being watched they revert to stone. Quite simply, if you are not watching them then they will get you. In their brief time on the show they have already claimed two of the Doctor’s companions.

Weeping Angel

Whilst some recurring enemies, such as the genetically built for war Sontarans and reptilian Silurians living near Earth’s core, have appeared many times over the years they have not shaped the show in the same way as those listed above.

And now to continue our break-down of the Doctors!

The Eighth Doctor

Played by Paul McGann

The Lost Hero

Years Active: 1996

Appearance: Tall and slender, with a sometimes droopy expression and shaggy long hair. After finding costumes for a party in a locker at a hospital he assembled an outfit comprised of an old frock coat, cravat, waistcoat and pocket watch.

Skills: Didn’t stick around long enough to demonstrate anything unique to this incarnation, as the Eighth Doctor only appeared on television in the ill-fated Doctor Who: The Movie.

Catchphrase: “Who am I?”

Personality: Wide-eyed and enthusiastic, not unlike the Fifth Doctor, he was at heart an old soul. He was an enthusiastic and wild character who would encourage those around him to embrace their life while they had the chance. The Eighth would frequently drop hints as to what the future held for people and nudge them in the right direction. Although he wold never appear anything less than optimistic this version of the Doctor had a dark side, due to the troubled times the Time Lord would go through. Unlike other regenerations the Eighth would often suffer bouts of amnesia.

Companions: Grace Holloway, the doctor who operated on him after the Seventh was shot, would become his companion during his battle with the Master.

Key Events: After being sentenced to death by the Daleks, the Master requested that the Doctor return his remains to Gallifrey. It was during this mission that the Doctor was forced to regenerate and battle the Master on Earth.

Regeneration: Unknown. When the Ninth Doctor appears in the series he had recently regeneration, but the circumstances surrounding the event for unknown.

The Ninth Doctor

Played by Christopher Eccelston

The Pained Wanderer

Years Active: 2005

Appearance: Tall and solidly built with short dark hair and a stern expression. He would dress in dark colours, with a black shirt, jeans and black leather jacket. British Earthlings would often comment of him sounding like he came from the north, to which he would respond with “lots of planets have a north”.

Skills: The Ninth Doctor was first and foremost a scientist, preferring an analytical route to solving problems rather than sneak around or go on the attack. The Ninth was the first incarnation since the Fourth to make frequent use of the Sonic Screwdriver.

Catchphrase: “Fantastic!”

Personality: Often considered to be the darkest incarnation of the Doctor, the Ninth is a stern and often intense character. He is never one to suffer fools, but will recognise those with the spark of adventure and whisk them away on a journey. Despite his drawling northern accent and working class appearance he was in every way the intellectual and was particularly interested in science and causality. He was possibly a braver version of the character, never backing away from a risk to himself for the betterment of others.

Having witnessed the destruction of his people in the Time War against the Daleks, from which he was the only known survivor, and facing a lonely future as the only member of an extinct race the Ninth Doctor was often brooding. He would divert himself by focusing on enjoying the present rather than dwell on either the past or the future.

Companions: Shortly after regenerating the Tenth thwarted an attack on London by the Autons, during which time he met Rose Tyler. The two formed a very close bond and the Doctor would also interact with her family and friends. It was the Tenth Doctor who first met Captain Jack Harkness, a time traveling and immortal rouge who would cross paths with him many more times.

Key Events: As well as meeting Rose and Jack the Ninth Doctor witnessed the rebirth of the Daleks and their subsequent attempts to destroy all other life in the universe.

Regeneration: After being trapped by the Daleks Rose accessed the time vortex and absorbed a dangerous amount of energy. The Doctor transferred the energy to himself with a kiss, causing him to regenerate on board the TARDIS.

The Tenth

Played by David Tennant

The Wide-Eyed Explorer

Years Active: 2005-2010

Appearance: Again tall and skinny, which seems to be the most common form for the Doctor to take, with spiky brown hair. He discarded the dark clothes of the Ninth and instead dressed in a blue pin-striped suit, striped tie and red Converse All-Star sneakers. He usually wore a long brown trenchcoat over the top and would wear thick rimmed glasses or 3D glasses when needed.

Skills: Whilst he isn’t lacking in engineering and mechanical skills he was more adept at cobbling together quick fixes from whatever’s at hand rather than follow the scientific route.

Catchphrase: “Allons-y!”

Personality: A much more goofy and excitable character than the previous, with a tendency to babble with excited. He would sometimes spout nonsense to keep his enemies off guard. His light-hearted and chatty nature would lead him to form stronger bonds with his allies, and he would feel deep regret for those he couldn’t help or save himself. When pushed, or when innocent was threatened, he would demonstrate an unforgiving nature.

Companions: Rose Tyler continued to travel with the Doctor up until she got trapped in a parallel dimension. He then travelled with medical student Martha Jones, short tempered office worker Donna Noble and a small number of companions who clocked up one adventure each (Astrid, Jackson, Rosita, Lady Christina, Adelaide and Wilfred).

Key Events: The Tenth Doctor saw the departure of Rose Tyler, one of his most significant companions of the series. He was also the first to encounter the Weeping Angels. His tenure also saw the return of a number of classic villains including The Master, Davros, the Cybermen, the Sontarans and the Silurians. He also produced a cloned daughter and reunited with Sarah Jane Smith along with K9. During his Tenth incarnation the Doctor first met River Song, who would later become (has become) his wife.

Regeneration: Like he’s done a number of times in the past the Doctor sacrificed himself for another, in this case Wilfred Mott. When one of them had to expose themselves to 500,000 rads of radiation the Doctor took Wilfred’s place. After travelling around the Earth to say farewell to his companions over the years he returned to the TARDIS to regenerate. After expressing that he didn’t want to go the explosive release of Time Energy caused massive damage to the TARDIS, leaving the Eleventh to steer the out of control machine back to Earth.

The Eleventh

Played by Matt Smith

The Arrogant Goofball

Years Active: 2010-2013

Appearance: Again tall and skinny, with a pronounced chin and a long, floppy fringe. He would dress in a tweed suit with a range of different bow-ties, which he insists are ‘cool’. Some variations would occur, including suspenders, a fez, a stetson, a purple coat and a long green military jacket.

Skills: He’s adept at riding a motorbike (up walls when needed). He’s the most manipulative Doctor since the Seventh. His elaborate schemes are set up to trip his enemies up at the last minute once he’s allowed them to think they’ve won.

Catchphrase: “Bow-ties are cool.” Variations include the insistance that fezzes, stetsons and various other items are also cool.

Personality: He’s the most childish of the Doctors, alternating between vanity, silliness and ignorance. Over-the-top dancing, supplying a bunk-bed for the Ponds and impatience are common indicators of his childish nature. Sometimes this feels like an attempt to hide the pain he feels over the loss of his people and family, and other times it seems to be way to get people to lower their guard. He’s a highly secretive character, sometimes betraying his companions trust to keep his secrets.

Companions: After crashing in the garden of a young Amelia Pond he returned twenty years later to take her on an adventure. Before long they were joined by her fiance Rory and on occasion his future wife River Song. After the death of the Ponds at the hands of Weeping Angels he became intrigued by the impossible girl, Clara Oswald Oswin, and she joined him in his travels.

Key Events: Much of the Elevenths adventures would take place over long stories involving the mystery behind River Song and their subsequent marriage, the Pandorica prison designed to keep him trapped by his enemies, the invasion of the Silence and the return of the Great Intelligence. More recently he travelled to his own tomb and discovered how Clara manages to exist at different points of history.

Regeneration: We’ll find out at Christmas!