At thirty, Matt Smith is the youngest ex-Doctor ever. He was generally well liked as the Doctor, acted in political drama Party Animals beforehand and played gay writer Christopher Isherwood in one off drama Christopher and his Kind in 2011 and 1948 Olympic Games drama Bert and Dickie last year.
But what about all the previous Doctors?
How did they find life after leaving the Tardis?
Is there life after Who?
Life: 1908-1975. 1st Doctor: 1963-1966
Before: Hartnell appears in the title role in the first Carry On film, Carry On Sergeant, crops up in Peter Sellers’ The Mouse That Roared and comes to a nasty end courtesy of Richard Attenborough in Brighton Rock.
During: Hartnell was the first to establish the role but was forced to retire on health grounds. He died in 1975.
During and after: Despite a career stretching back to the 1920s, Hartnell will always be primarily remembered as the First Doctor.
Life: 1920-1987. 2nd Doctor: 1966-1969.
Before: A Second World War veteran and an experienced character actor appearing in everything from Z-Cars to Jason of the Argonauts.
During: Troughton’s stint is fondly remembered as the man who saved the series once Hartnell retired but he quit after being overworked by a punishing schedule.
After: Troughton was far more than just the Second Doctor. His most famous non-Who role was as the unfortunate priest in horror classic The Omen. He was a regular on TV (A Family at War, the Box of Delights) before his death in 1987. His sons David and Michael are distinguished actors today.
Life: 1919-1996. 3rd Doctor: 1969-1974.
Before: A veteran of comedies such as The Navy Lark and small roles in Sixties Carry on films, Pertwee was seriously considered for the role of Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army before Arthur Lowe got it. By coincidence, Jon’s cousin Bill Pertwee was cast as Warden Hodges in the same show,
During: The first Doctor Who to appear in colour. Boosted the series after it was once again left at low ebb by Patrick Troughton’s departure. He is still a favourite amongst older Who fans.
After: Pertwee is as famous for his role in the sinister children’s series Worzel Gummidge and for voicing Spotty on the cartoon Superted. He died in 1996. His son Sean Pertwee is known for roles in the films Dog Soldiers, Event Horizon and slightly more macho roles than his father.
Born: 1934, age 79. Fourth Doctor: 1974-1981.
Before: Like Troughton, Baker crops up in a Sinbad film.
During: The famously eccentric Baker played the Doctor for longer than anyone else. He is usually ranked alongside David Tennant as the most popular of the Time Lords.
After: He has one of the most recognisable voices in the UK and his narration on comedy series Little Britain was crucial to its success. Despite numerous roles (Blackadder II, The Life and Loves of A She Devil) it may be that Baker’s eccentricity have denied him true stardom. He remains much better known for the Doctor than anything else.
Born: 1951, age 62. Fifth Doctor: 1981-1984.
Before: Best known as vet Tristan Farnham in James Herriot TV drama All Creatures Great and Small. He was also the “dish of the day” who briefly appears in TV’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and was married to Sandra Dickinson who played Trillian in that series. The couple wrote and performed the songs on children’s show Button Moon.
During: Davison had a tough act to follow in Tom Baker, particularly as Davison was the youngest ever Doctor (by some way) at the time. But he was a popular Doctor in the end.
After: Had a healthy career in the Eighties on All Creatures Great and Small, A Very Peculiar Practice (alongside David Troughton) and remains a likeable presence on TV today. Davison Is also the father in law of David Tennant strengthening his ties to the Who empire still further.
Born: 1943, age 70. Sixth Doctor: 1984-1986.
Before: Baker is the only previous actor (before Peter Capaldi) to have appeared in a previous episode of the series as another character. He played Colonel Maxil in the 1983 Peter Davison story Arc of Infinity.
During: An unhappy spell as the Doctor. Baker was so annoyed after being sacked that he refused to participate in the traditional regeneration sequence forcing Sylvester McCoy to use a curly wig and hide under special effects. Some have suggested a link between Baker’s firing and his first wife Liza Goddard’s relationship with BBC 1 controller Michael Grade.
After: Baker was recently on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
Born: 1943, age 69. Seventh Doctor:
Before: A regular presence on children’s TV in the Eighties appearing in Eureka (a sort of Horrible Histories about the origins of inventions), Jigsaw and Tiswas.
During: Initially criticised for being too comedic, McCoy was Doctor when the show was cancelled in 1989. Few blame this solely on him, however. The show was in decline throughout the Eighties.
After: Enjoyed perhaps his biggest role ever this year as the eccentric Radagast in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films.
Born: 1959, age 53.
Eighth Doctor: 1996.
The most famous of the McGann brothers, he was the unnamed “I” in Withnail and I (1986), World War I deserter Percy Toplis in The Monocled Mutineer.
The 1996 TV movie was a disastrous flop. Few blame McGann for this although his career probably hasn’t benefited from talking the role. He remains a busy actor though.
Born: 1964. age 49.
Ninth Doctor: 2005
Before: A well known name from roles in Cracker and Our Friends In The North on UK TV in the Nineties and film parts in Danny Boyle’s debut Shallow Grave, as the rebellious Earl of Essex in Elizabeth and the villain in Gone In Sixty Seconds (alongside Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie).
During: Eccleston’s Doctor was popular and successfully revived the series in 2005. But Eccleston seems never to have intended to be a long running Doctor and announced he would step down after one series following the screening of his well received first episode.
After: Has played John Lennon in Lennon Naked on TV and remains buy in film and TV but it’s hard to tell if he benefitted from playing the Doctor or not.
Born: 1971, age 42.
Tenth Doctor: 2005-2010.
Before: Best known for his roles in TV’s Blackpool and Casanova before being cast as the Doctor at about the same time as being cast as Barty Crouch in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
After: One of the most popular Doctors, Tennant has benefitted from the role more than any other actor. He is now a hugely acclaimed star of stage (particularly Shakespearian roles) and screen (Broadchurch, The Politician’s Husband, Munich air disaster drama United! and many more). Yet to achieve film star status, he is nevertheless hugely successful and has escaped typecasting.