This isn't going to be a normal Top Five post. That would be much too difficult to write and rank. I am going to start with my favourite Doctor, then work my way down from there. I have different tiers of Doctors, within which I cannot decide an explicit ranking. Therefore, without further ado, here is my top five tiers of Doctors. I can't do anything the simple way.... -sighs-
Note: A large amount of time passed during the writing of this post and this order underwent some heavy reshuffling and opinions changed leading to many rewrites, so just go with it...
First TierThis one is solely reserved for my favourite Doctor:
The Fourth Doctor
Portrayed by Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor (and also the longest serving Doctor) is my favourite due to the energy he brought to the part. Baker's sole ambition was to make the show as enjoyable as possible for his audience, something which he put forward in his portrayal with excellent conviction, even if he didn't have the best material to work with. His comedic performances with excellent ruthlessness was a brilliant combination, and I can't really sum up into words how good he is. Though that could just be me writing this at 2am.
Second TierHere you will find the Doctors I consider to be excellent, but not quite the best:
The Sixth Doctor is the most underrated Doctor. Colin Baker brings a fresh energy to the role and during his time as the Doctor, you can see his character develop massively. He gels well with his companions, yet still keeps the abrasive side to the character. It's a shame that the BBC weren't fully backing the show once it came round to this era, but Baker puts his all into his portrayal despite of all the bad press and cancellation efforts.
Despite some shaky patches for the show during Matt Smith's time as the Doctor, one constant brilliant element to the show was his acting talents shining through. The progression of the show during this time was great for my tastes, as it moved from fairy-tale to a darker fantasy. I liked how this Doctor reacted to personal trauma, as he took time to recover from it rather than jump straight back into adventures and keep talking out his traumas, but more on that later....
Third TierThese Doctors give a good, solid performance:
Patrick Troughton's Doctor was the first one to take over the lead role, giving him the great responsibility of selling the changes to the audience. The Second Doctor was a lot more active than the First Doctor making him less reliant on his companions. Troughton's Doctor also brought a more juvenile characteristic to the role, yet could still play serious when the role demanded it. He brought a humour to the role which has stuck around for the show's history.
The late 1980s was a rough time for Doctor Who. After defying cancellation once, the show was under great scrutiny from the powers that were. For me, the Seventh Doctor, portrayed by Sylvester McCoy, got off to a rocky start, but once he was paired with Ace, the show began to improve despite the reduced production values. His character showed echos of the Second Doctor, with silly and serious sides when they were appropriate.
This Doctor brought the show back with a bang in 2005. Portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, this Doctor was possibly the most human yet, showing the pain and grief caused by his loss in the Time War. This Doctor got more personal with his companions, making his character more relatable then his previous incarnations and more appropriate for the modern audiences. Despite the 'damaged goods' character, Eccleston could also play a more comedic chatacter towards the end of his tenure when Captian Jack joined the TARDIS crew.
Widely considered as the best Doctor by the young fans of today (many of whom are ignorant to the classic era), I find that David Tennant's Doctor is suitably eccentric, alongside the ability to be comedic and serious in the appropriate circumstances. However, this Doctor became too attached to Rose and his new inability to move on from lost companions meant his Doctor was almost too human. This Doctor was at his best with Donna when Rose was completely out of the picture.
The current Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, has got off to a decent start. So far, I am thoroughly enjoying his tenure with Capaldi being one of the shining lights in the not so good episodes. While this Doctor has not yet been fully developed and explored, in episodes we have seen so far, the Twelfth Doctor has been shown to be practically inhuman. He isn't as tolerant as other incarnations towards humans, but I hope that he mellows over time like the First Doctor.
Fourth TierThe following are still good, but have some character flaws:
The original Doctor was portrayed as a wise, learned old grandfather by William Hartnell, and this enabled him to come across as kind and caring some of the time, but also crotchety and intolerant at other times. These contrasts in characterisation sometimes make his performance seem disjointed, however, Hartnell's excellent acting abilities allow him to steal any scene, regardless of his health issues later in his tenure.
This Doctor's era got off to a brilliant start with Jon Pertwee's partnership with Caroline John. As intellectual equals, they had an agreeable relationship with mutual respect. However, with intellectectual superiority over later companions, the Doctor began to show arrogance. However, the earth bound format of much of his era gave Pertwee lots of chance to establish chemistry with the UNIT regulars.
Portrayed by Peter Davison, this Doctor had an excellent charm and a great relationship with most of his companions. However, there were times when he could be hapless and childish, often leading to immature arguments between him and his companions, such as Adric. Nevertheless, the Doctor held up some Doctor-ish traits such as pacifism and getting there with minimal bloodshed. Also, I find that due to a large number of companions in his era, character development could be limited at times.
Fifth TierI don't have enough experience with these Doctors to pass a suitable judgement upon them:
At time of writing, I have only just recently watched the TV Movie, and I have to say, I really think this Doctor had great potential. Paul McGann brought an excellent personality to the role, despite the narrative issues in the film. However, his character was much more developed in the Big Finish audio dramas, but I haven't been able to listen to many of those.
John Hurt's forgotten Doctor is portrayed brilliantly, with most of the Doctor's human qualities stripped right back making this Doctor seem even more alien than the rest of them. However, with only his 50th Anniversary appearance to go off, this Doctor's full development was limited.