SFX editor Dave Golder said that Christopher Eccleston, who is playing the Doctor in the new series, had a tough act to follow.
"The ninth Doctor will have to be pretty amazing to topple Tom Baker from his perch as the quintessential Doctor Who," he said.
"There aren't many children from the 70s who can't clearly remember peering out from behind the sofa to see Doctor Who with his hat, scarf, jelly babies and that wild curly hair."
Baker, 71, has gone on to star in the BBC One show Monarch of the Glen, as well as narrating the hit comedy Little Britain. More recently he was one of the voice talents in the film version of The Magic Roundabout.
Do you think Tom Baker is the best Doctor Who of all time? Or do you prefer one of the other Doctors?
All of the Doctors embodied a certain quality that gave them their own style and distinction, but generally your favourite doctor is the one you grew up with. I personally thought that McCoy showed another side to the Doctor and some of his stories are regarded by many as classics despite the pantomime nature of season 24. Peter Davison comes out top in my book, portraying an innocence and quality that some of the Doctors failed to grasp. His last season and regeneration are some of the best moments in the show's history.
Don green, Alloa, Scotland
An unsurprising choice, as Tom is by default the Doctor people usually remeber because of his tenure. I really think that the accolade should be split equally between Pat Troughton, Jon Pertwee and Tom, as in my honest opinion all three made Who what it was.
Gareth Stafford, Chesterfield, UK
Oh, come on! I am lucky enough to have seen all of the Doctor's incarnations as they occurred (okay, my recall of Hartnell is a bit vague). But the first one I really got to know was Patrick Troughton, and suprise! he's my all time favourite! Isn't it obvious that most people will go for the first one they properly encountered, and therefore Tom Baker, being the longest running, will get the most votes every time? To be fair, Tom Baker was very good, but personally, Messrs Troughton and Pertwee were both better by far!
Karl Williams, Malvern, UK
I remember, as a child, watching William Hartnell in black & white. He was mysterious and very scary - for me what Sci Fi was all about. No Doctor has matched up to him since.
Pamela Bulley, Bahrain (currently)
Peter Davison is my favorite Doctor of choice; problably because his character was the one being broadcast on my local PBS station when I first began watching the show in 1986. Years before, I had watched many episodes of All Creatures Great and Small in which Peter played Tristan Farnon. It was a nice contrast to see Peter go from the roles of Tristan to the Doctor. Tom Baker comes in second. It wasnt until several years later until I experienced the Tom Baker era. It must have made an impression, I have 20 foot long scarf in the closet. I'm just glad the show is back!
Matt McCormick, Beckley, West Virginia, USA
I always bristle at these kinds of polls. I think all the actors who played Doctor Who were just brilliant. My favorite would have to be whichever I happened to be watching at the time as each brough something unique and different to the role. If one has to choose, though, I'm going to use this opportunity to speak up for Sylvestor McCoy. I was growing out of Doctor Who as a teenager and his brooding, mysterious and grown-up performance coupled with the dynamic chemistry with Ace kept me hooked on the programme. I feel Sylvestor (and Colin Baker for that matter) have been getting a lot of negative press lately. I read articles regarding their years as sub-par and the reason for the cancellation. I respectfully disagree with this confusing assessment and thought some of their stories were fantastic. Rememberance of the Daleks and Curse of Fenric in particular showed exactly the kind of innovation and maturity that the critics of this era were clamoring for. I also had a chance to meet Sylvestor last year and he was a real gentleman to myself and all the fans present. Not every Doctor is for everyone, fair enough. And with all due respect to Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker (the quintessentail Doctors) in order for Doctor Who to go on and on, the mold has to be broken & the show must progress. I will always love my Genesis of the Daleks but can't wait to see how Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper will handle it. Now if only someone would sign a deal for a broadcaster for the U.S.
Tim Davis, Los Angeles, USA
Watching William Hartnell turn into Patrick Troughton is my first Dr Who memory, though I'm told I watched from the very first episode (I was born the same year the series was). For me Troughton, Pertwee and Tom Baker were the best, in no particular order. I liked Peter Davies and Sylvester McCoy, but I hated Colin Baker - though to be fair, that may have been the scripts. For me the Daleks were fun, and I loved seeing them. It was the Cybermen that scared me ...
Peter Paddon, Sunland, Ca, USA (Formerly UK)
Though I love Tom Baker, and think the scripts from his era were the best, my favorite Dr. Who was Jon Pertwee. His classy style lent the role a special dignity without compromising its humor.
Mordecai Shapiro, Santa Cruz, California, USA
Each of the Doctors was wonderful in his own unique way. Let me put in a special word for Colin Baker though, who, thrillingly, took more risks with his characterization and pushed the envelope further than anyone else. His great love for the series and the character shone through then and shines through still.
J Vail, Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
Patrick Troughton and then John Pertwee were the Doctors I "grew up with", though quite frankly I couldn't care less about who the best one was as I always watched "Garrison's Guerillas" on the other side instead.
Martin Lewis, Auckland, NZ
The best TV Doctor for me was Patrick Troughton although I have to say that all the others have really good qualities. And for those people who think that Colin Bakers Doctor was poor, I suggest that they take a listen to the Big Finish Doctor Audio range where his Doctor (along with Paul McGanns 8th Doctor) have really been given a chance to shine and show people exactly how they could have been given the time and the right scripts.
Colin Lambert, Birmingham
Tom Baker IS at timelord - if there is such a thing. Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!
Matt Ashman, Wickford, Essex
Sylvestor McCoy was the best in my opinion. He seemed to radiate mystery. Some of the story lines he was involved in rank as my all time favourites for any of the Doctor Who characters. Admittedly the earlier storylines in his first few forays with the character were weak, but he and the writing went from strength to strength. A pity the show was cancelled. He could well have been regarded by many more as the greatest of all, given more time....
F. Elliot, Auckland, NZ
Tom Baker has and always will be the quintessential doctor for the true Who fan, but I also hold Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy in high regard. Still plumping for Tom though as without him my girlfriend wouldn't be knitting me a full-length scarf. Marvellous.
Great to see Peter Davison finally get the recognition he deserves. He worked hard to uphold the core values of the Doctor's character, and was the last actor to get a proper stab at developing a new take on an old television favourite. Pity most of his detractors can't spell his name correctly. He's not related to Jim Davidson!
I was visiting the UK in 1975-76 and became hooked on Tom Baker's Doctor. His years were also the first to be shown in the US. I did not even know there had been prior doctors until he regenerated into Peter Davison's Doctor. So, like most who love their first doctor, I love Tom's regeneration the best. However, as I became a great fan of the entire series, I came to the conclusion that the best episodes often involve the best pairings of doctor and companion. I think Tom had three great pairings -- with Sarah Jane (the all-time best, in my opinion), with Leela (Louise Jameson), and with Romana II (ex-wife Lalla Ward). My second favorite pairing was McCoy as gentle tutor and friend to "Ace" (Sophie Aldred), followed by Troughton with Jamie (Fazier Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury). I also loved Pertwee with Jo Grant (Katy Manning), the ultimate "screamer." Of course, we must also mention the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and the men of UNIT. I think Pertwee best captured the proper relationship between a Time Lord's sensibilities and the terran militarism of the UNIT squad. Finally, the one companion to have a spin-off named for him (albeit 1 episode) -- the faithful but slightly snooty (pun intended) K-9. Can't wait for the new episodes! DGU
David G. Uffelman, Morristown, New Jersey, US
Tom Baker was Dr. Who. For me, none of the other actors quite captured the character. He played the Doctor as an alien. Always unpredictable and exciting, I wanted so much to be a companion. I have great hopes for Christopher Eccleston. He's a very good actor, and if the scripts are good, we are all in for a real treat. Thank you, Thank you BBC.
George, Boston, US
Tom Baker was the best. He signed my Dr Who annual and gave me a jelly baby. I thought he was made of magic.
Tom Baker embodied the role like no other actor. He IS the Doctor! Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and Davison were spot on, but Colin Baker and McCoy were never really believable. Rock on Eccleston!
John, Philadelphia USA
William Hartnell is my favourite version of Dr Who. I suppose, because he was the original, and the one I remember first: cantankerous, eccentric, quirky, eloquent and with a gravitas all of which defined the character for me.
Aelfwine Arden, London, England
My favourite has to be Patrick Troughton one doctor who always scared me more than the daleks. Oh, and he was my grandfather's cousin.
David Troughton-Smith, Streatley,Bedfordshire
Patrick Troughton was definitely the best actor to have played the part, but Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee the most charasmatic. I love 'em all and looking forward to enjoying Chris Ecclestone's portrayal as well. Long live the Doctor!
Neil Clarke, London SW11 UK
I grew up with all of the Doctors. For me, my favourite always has been John Pertwee. He had class and style none of the other Doctors had. But each other Doctor had their saving graces. Sylvester McCoy was the most modern and quizzical; a true Doctor of the 90's. William Hartnell had a gentlemanly grace none of the others had. The rest, I leave to others to point them out.
Joe Carpenter, London, UK
I remember watching the very first Dr Who, and every one since. The best Dr Who for me was Patrick Troughton followed by William Hartnell. Tom Baker was a fun doctor who followed the dandy Pertwee. The ones that followed seemed to mock and play it up. Hopefully the new one is more down to earth, in a off world way!
Glenn Renshaw, Newbury, Berkshire.
Tom Baker was easily the best Doctor, however I am getting slightly annoyed at the number of people at the BBC whom when reporting on the New Series mention that either the Daleks can not attack you if you go upstairs or that the solution to this problem will be explained in the new series. This was sorted out in Season 25 Remembrance of the Daleks where you can clearly see a Dalek ascending a flight of stairs in pursuit of the Doctor.
Tim Thomas, Burton upon Trent
It's wonderful to see Peter Davison feature so highly in the poll ¿ I only became a fan of the show a few years after the series had ended, but I remember seeing some Davison stories when I was younger and they've really stuck in my mind ever since. He was a brilliant choice for the role, a perfect contrast to Tom Baker's often over the top performance.
When I hid behind the sofa the Doctor was William Hartnell so he would probably get my vote. But in truth I think all the actors who have played the Doctor over the years have simply conveyed a different aspect of his enigmatic character. This is one series that has been enhanced rather than undermined by a continuous change of the lead role.
I grew up watching Peter Davidson playing the doctor and he naturally until a few years ago he was my favourite. I now live in the USA and my local PBS station a few years ago on Sunday nights played the whole series from start to finish. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the early days with William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. Patrick's last episode "The War Games" is amazing for its time. I am really looking forward to the new show as I feel Ecleston had a lot to offer to the character by taking it in a new direction. Both Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy tried to play the doctor like previous actors and it did not work. So far there has been no news on a US air date. Rumours are either the Sci-Fi channel or BBC America will show it. I still keep hoping the BBC will finally launch a subscription based download service of its programs. I am sure there are many ex-pats like myself who would pay for the content as US TV sucks.
David Jones, San Francisco, CA, USA
How could anyone doubt that Dr Who is really William Hartnel1, followed by Patrick Troughton??? It would be like suggesting that James Bond isn't really Sean Connery...!!!
Michael P, Manchester, UK
The poll has got it spot on. Tom Baker was not only the best Doctor but had also had great companions although K-9 is the exception.
Louise Jameson, London, UK
I agree entirely with Dylan Beck, in that Sylvester was "my" Doctor with whom i grew up watching (Im 26)... but he sits in 2nd place as Patrick Troughton is the best Doctor, with Jon Pertwee in 3rd.
Reese Porter, Cambridge, England
The poll results mirror my own favourites. Tom Baker went out on a high; well before his time. I reckon Christopher Eccleston could well end up being a very close number 2- it's good to see that the BBC have given some serious thought and attention to giving us a new Who that we can all be proud of (with the bonus of a Northern accent!)
craig waterworth, London, UK.
I think it is not fair to have a poll of this kind and it is not completely accurate. These are the reasons why. Firstly, Tom Baker was the longest running Doctor, averaging an extra three years on the rest. Secondly, most people who use a computer or know how to use a computer are in the generations that grew up with Pertwee and above. Thirdly, Pertwee onwards was in colour and with exception of the specials Hartnell and Troughton never appeared in colour, so younger audiences are put off by watching Black & White. Lastly, how can you compare Hartnell and Troughton to the rest of the doctors when most people who have voted have not seen all the stories and never will as a lot of the stories are missing.
Barry Fowler, Herts
William Hartnell and Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee were all great. How about Peter Cushing, who everyone seems to forget played the Doctor in two films. He was quite quirky too!
I will always remember rushing home to watch Doctor Who on KTCA, our local PBS, when it started in August 1981, 5pm every night. Got introduced to Leela, I wasn't old enough top know why I liked her, but I did. While I was introduced to Doctor Who with Tom Baker it was Peter Davison who I truly contacted to when he arrived in 1983, Okay a year after his BBC premier, but that¿s what I got.
Jeff Johnson, Minnesota, USA
I would like to say that my favorite Doctor is Tom Baker because he was the one I started off with back in the early 80's here in the states, but I then have since grown a fondness towards the second Doctor with the very few episodes that do exist. I really hope this new Doctor does a good job, too bad we won't get it here in the states...yet.
Doctor Vell, San Antonio, TX USA
I always disliked Peter Davison's Doctor. Nothing beat William Hartnell for me.
Sarah Sutton, Dagenham, Essex, UK
Everyone seems to love the Doctor they grew up with - mine was Sylvester McCoy (I'm 23). But he's beaten into second place by Patrick Troughton. He'll always be the best Doctor!
Dylan Beck, London, UK
Why not repeat all of the Dr. Who episodes that there are copies of and let us all decide? It's unfair to comment when it is over ten years since most of us watch an episode.
Matt Prescott, Oxford
I only started watching Dr Who recently as my boyfriend is a huge fan. It has to be said that the only ones I've truly enjoyed have been the ones with Tom Baker's Cheesy grin. On the other hand I wouldn't have had to learn to knit if a different Dr had been the most popular. 2 months in and I still have 3 feet of scarf to go!!
Tom Baker is the Dr I'd rush home for and for whom I jeopardized my grad school results: the all-night, week-long Dr Who marathon always came up during finals. I would have risked all to see Baker battle wits with the villainous Master. Night after night.
Natalie, Evanston, Illinois, USA
Tom Baker is my favorite - but I guess it comes down to who was Who when you were at the right age! I also really enjoy the Pertwee and Davison years and always enjoy the regular repeats of all the Doctor Who shows. I got the impression that the latter Doctors were dealt a poor hand in terms of scripts and resources - the BBC seememd to have lost interest by that stage.
Neil, Abingdon, UK
Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy all the way- I love all the Doctors but these two had the most enjoyable stories.
Roy Trromlley, Cardiff.
John Pertwee was the best doctor and no matter what the situation, himself and his lisp would be on hand to deal with Daleks, The Green Death and Cybermen with a sense of urgency yet knowledge. Third? He should be first!
Luke Barnard, Crystal Palace, London
Tom Baker was, is, and always shall be the Doctor. For me he was born to play the part, he had the other world quality that stood him apart from the other actors in the role.
Dave Hoare, Stevenage
Colin Baker is my favourite Dr Who actually - which places me at odds with most of my generation as I am old enough to recall watching the first ever episode in 1963. I just loved his irrascible unpredictability and the one-liner quotes which undoubtedly made him the "sound-byte" doctor.
Jenny Day, Cornwall (Nr Galifrey) UK
Like so many others, I follow the common path of having the first Doctor I watched as my favourite, so Tom is the one I associate most with the role. And I think this is going to be Chris Eccleston's biggest challenge. Invariably in the press and in conversation Baker T's version is the one that is most cited as being iconic - both in the visual imagery of floppy hat and scarf and his manic, sometimes over-the-top portrayal. From the little I've seen and heard about Chris in the role I'm confident that he will be more than up to the task of challenging everyone's views and I wouldn't be surprised if it was his interpretation that topped viewers polls in years to come. I know it's very early days but I'm certain he's in with a fighting chance.
Tom Baker topped the poll because you genuinely believed he was an alien, he had that unique, other-worldly quality (from 74-78, after that he degenerated into a caricature of himself). Peter Davison was a poor successor, not because of his acting, but his youth. At 30 he lacked the authority to be The Doctor. He'd be an ideal choice for the role now (after Christopher Eccleston of course!)
Stephen Laing, Stockton-on-Tees
Tom Baker was definitely a great doctor (just read the other comments to prove that!), but I have to say that Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee were my favourites. William Hartnell was also a good doctor as he WAS the original. It will be interesting to see how Christopher Eccleson will follow on as the doctor as I was not particularly happy when I heard he would be the new doctor, but I could grow to like him, as my mind isn't completely closed....
Matt Fenn, Sevenoaks, UK
While Tom Baker was the most iconic Doctor I think the storylines towards the end of his tenure left a lot to be desired. Peter Davidson, meanwhile, had consistently excellent plots throughout his time in the Tardis.
Jeremy, London, UK
It's a hard decision. But for me it has to be William Hartnell. Quirky and at times a bit nippy, he set the standard for all the other Doctors to follow.
Andy Stevens, Glasgow
I was 10 years old when my favourite, Patrick Troughton changed into Jon Pertwee. Both had the ability to terrify me more than the Daleks or Cybermen! They seemed to live the part of the Doctor. I still treasure my autographed photo of Jon.
Richard Jackson, Rotherham, UK