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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 12:27 GMT
Doctor Who anniversary: Your memories
Popular cult TV series Doctor Who celebrates its 40th anniversary on 23 November.

The first Doctor Who was played by William Hartnell in 1963 and ended in 1989 with Sylvester McCoy in the title role.

A TV movie version followed in 1996 with Paul McGann as the Doctor.

Which Dr Who was the best?
William Hartnell
Patrick Troughton
Jon Pertwee
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
Colin Baker
Sylvester McCoy
Paul McGann
Richard E Grant
6581 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed

A new series written by acclaimed TV dramatist Russell T Davies and made by BBC Wales will see the Doctor return to UK screens after a 14 year absence.

Send us your memories of Doctor Who. Tell us your favourite episode and the scariest. Who was your favourite Dr Who?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Your comments:

Marvellous programs. Each one stimulated the imagination. I'm having trouble getting behind the sofa now, I'm 71.
Henry Alken, USA

It was indeed the best use of a sink plunger and dust bin I had ever seen!...laughing. Seriously though as a child I enjoyed it much. Never could figure the police box idea though. Did they not go out way before 1970's? Would have been more amusing had Doctor who used an old Red BT phone booth. If Hollywood can only think up the Incredible Hulk, I dare to think Doctor Who is next for a revamp....laughing, maybe, perhaps? Naa would not happen!
Richard Sweetman, England

low budgets, hilarious special effects, and a place in my heart for each and every one of the characters
D P Bostaph, US
I started watching Dr. Who in college. Here in the States, it was seen mostly seen on government-funded Public Broadcasting. I'd stay up late on Saturday night to see the characters, follow the plots, cheer for the Doctor. There was an American-made sci-fi show on network at the same time. It had big budgets, great special effects, and cruddy scripts. "Doctor Who" had low budgets, hilarious special effects, and a place in my heart for each and every one of the characters. I was never tempted to change channels. Tom Baker was the best of the actors to play the Doctor, and Elizabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane...when I got my Mom interested in the show, she said she wanted me to marry a girl just like Sarah!
D P Bostaph, US

When I was little, Doctor Who was shown on the Public Broadcasting Service late Sunday night. We would take "Doctor Who Naps" after returning home from church if were to be allowed to watch the show. Since then, we have used the term "Doctor Who Nap" to refer to any nap taken on Sunday. My favourite episode is The Greates Show in the Galaxy with Sylvester McCoy. I am not sure why. Tom Baker is my favourite Doctor, but I really liked the writing for McCoy. Scariest episode huh? That crappy show that was shown over here on Fox. They ruined Doctor Who. How can you ruin a masterpiece?
Nathaniel Harty, USA

The scariest things I remember were the giant maggots in The Green Death (Jon Pertwee era) and the mummies from the Pyramids of Mars (Tom Baker). They gave me nightmares for weeks.
Jane, Wales, UK

When I was 6, my family were on the quiz show "Ask the family". I was too young to take part but went with them to the recording, and was sitting in the BBC canteen when John Pertwee came in and sat at the table next to us. Not really understanding the concept of actors at that age, I sat open mouthed staring at him, and told people for years afterwards that I had had tea with Doctor Who...
Mike, UK

I vividly remember hiding behind the sofa while the Daleks were on - I was terrified of them! William Hartnell was the best Dr Who in my opinion. In later years, I remember knitting and even wearing my very own Dr Who scarf!
Jane, USA

I have many fond memories of Dr Who in black and white followed by the Monkees on a Saturday night. The Cybermen invading a moon base still has vivid memories. What a pity the BBC did not look after its heritage. Only 1 episode of the Yeti invasion of the London Underground in existence.. shameful!
D. Morris, England

My mum took me to see Tom Baker in an organised event at a local supermarket... He told me; 'I've seen you hiding behind the couch' and I believed him! In retrospect he probably said that to all of the kids but I was convinced he could see me!
Robin Doyle, UK

I made a monster that was displayed at the Dr Who exhibition in Blackpool
Jules V, England
I remember having a crush on 'Jamie' when I was around 3 years old - I think it was the kilt! I also won a BBC comp when I was around 12 to meet Dr Who and go on the set (I made a monster that was displayed at the Dr Who exhibition in Blackpool!) I met Tom Baker and Lis Sladen and had the most fantastic tour of the BBC and the Dr Who set.
Jules V, England

When it's bad, it very very bad. This is one TV program which could have used a big infusion of money. Like many Brit low budget sci-fi productions, this one was awful, lacking in special effects, imagination, casting, and was just plain boring when compared to Hollywood's better efforts. This was an excellent example of why if you can't do something well, you shouldn't do it at all.
Mark, USA

Listening to the Tom Baker era signature tune still sends a shiver down my spine to this day (hope the Beeb use it for the new series). I vividly remember hiding behind the sofa from Davros during Genesis of the Daleks - I was 3 years old at the time!
Martin K, England

The Yeti in the London Underground! I still need to check that nothing is lurking in the tunnels 35 years later!
Neil, UK

Will Dr. Who be available to residents of the continental USA? I couldn't bear it they weren't. Please...or I promise the Daleks will get you. No couch is big enough to hide behind.
Margot Fraser, USA

I loved to see K-9, and of course, who could forget those teeth and curls?
Cathleen, USA
When I was very small it was very hard for my parents to get me to go to sleep at night. I had good reason to resist, when I couldn't sleep my dad would bring me downstairs and let me sit on his lap while he watched Dr. Who reruns on PBS. I'm told I loved to see K-9, and of course, who could forget those teeth and curls?
Cathleen, USA

I watched many episodes from behind the sofa. Still my most vivid memories are my undergraduate years. Sitting between an army officer and a post graduate botanist arguing about the Brigadeer's approach to shelling a biomass!
Steve Power, UK

Thank God for BBC America and PBS. I spent every Sunday night of my teen years staying up past midnight to watch the Doctor. I remember marking my episode guide every time I finished seeing a new one. I'm so glad the BBC is bringing this back. Only they could do it correctly, an American production would ruin it. Sure, the special effects might be better, but it was never about the effects. The stories were what made it so good.
Gary R, USA

Dr. Who has given me some great childhood memories. And who was the best Dr. Who? By far, Tom Baker.

My favourite Doctor? Tom Baker, no question. The fact that this obviously insane fellow could survive the ravages of space, time and the Daleks gave me new hope for humanity!
Chris, United States

I've liked all the Doctors, but William Hartnell is my personal favourite. My favourite episode is "The Aztecs". Scariest? "Dalek Invasion of Earth". Why have you left out Peter Cushing from the feature films? He was actually quite good.
Steve Politowicz, USA

Scared almost rigid by a monster apparently knocked up by the Blue Peter team in an off moment
Sue, UK
I agree with them all - hiding behind the sofa, scared almost rigid by a monster apparently knocked up by the Blue Peter team in an off moment. I'm not sure I want it brought back though - I think it might be too slick to have the same charm. Though as a challenge, I think my Dad's often repeated offer to give a bottle of good whisky to the first designer to invent a monster WITHOUT a pentadactyl (5 digit) limb still stands (yes, even the Daleks - once the shell was cracked)
Sue, UK

Unfortunately I missed most of it, but my husband still carries around his Doctor Who fan club card in his wallet and he has a Tom Baker scarf. Every now and again we rent the re-runs when we have a free evening.
Christine Wright, USA

I'd just like to offer some praise for Colin Baker. He is the forgotten Doctor. (I'm biased, I've met Colin - he's a lovely man.)
Dougie Lawson, Basingstoke, UK

I was terrified of daffodils for years because of Dr. Who. I'm another one who used to watch from behind the sofa.
Susan A, Brit living in the USA

Loved the program.
John Chupa, USA

I still check under the bed for Cibermen, aged 41
Sarah, England
My brother and I lived in terror of Doctor Who - we used to watch it over the banisters or from behind the sofa. I lived in fear of the Cibermen and the Sea devils. He hated the Daleks. Now I have my own daughter, she thinks we are mad. She just does not realise that there was nothing that compared to Doctor Who in the sixties and seventies. In my mind there never will be. I still check under the bed for Cibermen, aged 41.
Sarah, England

Receiving a letter from one of the actors of Dr. Who, Tom Baker. It was if Dr who the rouge/rebel hero had actually written me!! I was beaming for days.
Casper, N.M, USA

Dr Who was effective because it was innovative and new for its time. Any new series needs to be every bit as new as the Daleks were then. If the Dalek episodes were repeated today, the current generation would rightly ask, "How come they speak English?" and "How could a creature which can't get upstairs dominate the universe?" Times change - Come on BBC, stop dining out on the past and start creating again.
Howard, UK

To answer the question from Howard, UK, about how Daleks get upstairs - it's a lot easier now with all the wheelchair access ramps and lifts. The only place we'd stand a chance of survival would be the London Underground; they'd never get through the barriers or down the escalators.
Dave, UK

As you can tell by the name, my parents were BIG Dr. Who fans. While I have seen the show while I was growing up, it has been very interesting growing up with the name of one of the Dr's assistants as my own.
Adric Petrucelli, USA

After 12, yes 12! hours of Dr Who on UK Gold yesterday I am proud to say my 3yr old boy is now quite happy to 'dexterminate' just about anyone and anything. There's plenty of fans about for another 40 years of this fantastic program.
Jan, UK

My fondest memory of Dr. Who was not an episode of the show but meeting Jon Pertwee at a convention in Austin, TX. The local PBS station held a special reception for the convention guests before the convention itself started, and I fondly remember Jon making a grand entrance in full costume. He was charming whole time, warm and genuinely interested in the fans. I will always remember him as a grand gentleman. Thank you, Jon, for the memories.
Chris, USA

Genesis of the Daleks scared me like no other program
Steve, UK
Genesis of the Daleks scared me like no other program. I would be delighted to have it back, but not if it is to be "tamed". Fear of the unknown is the best kind of escapism and Tom Baker added a kind, but also slightly sinister layer to the role. The Doctor should be a "mysterious" character who has hidden depths (and not ferrets!!) whose humour should be very dark, intelligent and very sarcastic. A lovable rogue, to which Tom Baker excelled! Would be great to see another "two doctors" type role with Tom guest staring. Well done BBC for this.
Steve, UK

I absolutely hated it, if Dr. Who came on I would change channel straight away. I can't think of a television programme I hated more.
Paul Martin, Ireland

It's about time I saw the back of the couch again.......
Art, UK

Tom baker is and will always be my favourite.
Lejone Matsoso, Lesotho

November 22nd 1963 JFK died. November 23rd 1963 Dr. Who was created. Was this considered in the Warren Commission report? We should be told!
Simon, England

So they had tennis balls as a coat, sink plunger as an arm and couldn't climb stairs. But, they scared the pants off me. I'm not too sure who was frightened the most, me or my daughter.
Ginger, Great Britain

The beauty of Dr Who was it was written in a time when special effects weren't as wizz-bangy as they are today so there had to be a good storyline. The series failed in its later years because the producers forgot this basic fact and tried to make it like a UK Star Trek. Some of the stories - Robots of Death comes to mind - are so good they could easily be remade into big screen hits with all the special effects added.
Chris Ransom, Colchester, UK

Doctor Who wouldn't have been half as scary, and therefore as addictive, without its theme tune. Delia Derbyshire's astonishing signature tune arrangement was easily the most frightening thing about.
David Prolazini, UK

Dr Who was such an important part of my childhood, that in 1975 I realised my lifetime ambition of building a Dalek (from the flawed Radio Times plans) with my college friend Dick Nunes. One of the worst days of my life was when the finished Dalek was stolen. This led to features on Blue Peter and Police Five, and perhaps one of my most embarrassing moments was when my attempt at a Dalek voice was played live during the Blue Peter programme. Oh how I bless the absence of home video in those days!
Sheyne Lucock, UK

I may be 34 years now old but I still have a deep distrust of the Cybermen!
Toby, Spain

Lucky us, here in Canada 40 episodes back to back on BBC Kids. Yippee...
Simon Johnston, Canada

I used to attend Dr Who conventions in the North West for a good number of years
Paul Gibbons, UK
Tom Baker is and will always be my favourite. I used to attend Dr Who conventions in the North West for a good number of years, but Mr Baker never made any personal appearances until about 10 years ago. I remember travelling all the way down to London on the train, and getting my copy of Dr Who Weekly number one signed. Got all the surviving Doctor's autographs at the time apart from Peter Davidson who always seemed to dash off just as it was my turn to get his autograph. Golly Good chaps, all of them!
Paul Gibbons, UK

When watching the Daleks, wondering why people didn't just climb some stairs.
Graham Ridler, Hong Kong

My favourite doctor was Patrick Troughton with all the monsters. My favourite episode story is "Web of fear", who can forget the Yetis in the underground? My most memorable episode is the beginning of the Pertwee era. "Spearhead from Space, with the plastic dummies coming to life" and "The Silurians", where you only see through the eyes of a Silurian in the first episode. It scared the life out of me and I missed the rest of that season.
Philip, USA

I agree with Phillip, USA about the plastic dummies. That not only had me behind the sofa but screaming in terror passing gents' outfitters for years. I thought it was Patrick Troughton in that but I could easily be mistaken. Such delicious horror from a seemingly ordinary prop.
Matt, UK

Difficult to pinpoint a favourite episode or Doctor so I'll go for Delia Derbyshire's arrangement of Ron Grainger's music as the highlight of Dr. Who. Not only is it one of the greatest theme tunes of all time, it is one of the greatest pieces of music of all time.
Scott, Nottingham, UK

I was only four when Doctor Who ended on TV, but the 1996 movie was fantastic and properly introduced me to the series. McGann is the Doctor, everything that all the other fine actors before him were and more. Can't wait to see the series back in 2005!
Kaye, UK

I live in the US now but as a child growing up in England I have wonderful memories of Doctor Who, the music sent shivers down my spine and I still remember hiding behind the settee as a very young one when the Daleks came on, loved it! Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker are my favourites
Sharmalie, USA

Doctor Who is the most creative and universally loved programme ever made by the BBC. No other programme has captured the viewers' imagination in such a way, and I hope that the new series will embrace all the values and electricity that the show had in the past: good story telling, good acting and cutting edge special effects! Happy 40th Birthday Doctor!
Tim Burchell, Bristol, UK

It fed my imagination, made me laugh, and scared the living daylights
Steve, London
When I was a kid I adored it - it fed my imagination, made me laugh, and scared the living daylights out of me! I don't think Mary Whitehouse, who hated Dr Who, ever understood how much we enjoyed being scared! Jon Pertwee was 'my' Doctor - then Tom Baker came along and took a great show even further. Really, it was just the most exciting thing on TV - until the mid-eighties. The last few years were awful - the stories were meant to be clever and ironic but it just came over as silly and poorly constructed.
Steve, London

We all sat glued to the telly on a Saturday night for Dr Who. I really don't think a new series will recapture the feeling of awe that we all had during each eagerly awaited adventure. Kids nowadays are too used to fast computer games and high tech special effects. Imagination had a lot to do with watching years ago. Dr Who should be left alone and enjoyed as it was. There will never be a more terrifying evil than the Daleks. Dr Who deserves to be celebrated 40yrs on so Happy Birthday from one of your biggest fans.
Meg, Scotland

As a child I was terrified yet captivated by Dr Who, I used to watch it from behind the settee! I remember screaming one night there was a cybermat on my bedroom floor. I'm now in my 40's and am constantly reminded of it by my dear old mum!

We happened across Tom Baker in a duel with the Brain of Morbius and were immediately hooke
C Brandt, USA
In the early 80's, we had moved to Alaska and were spending a quiet winter evening flipping the few stations available. We happened across Tom Baker in a duel with the Brain of Morbius and were immediately hooked. Campy, witty, and reluctant to take itself too seriously, Dr Who is good entertainment. Our favourites remain Baker, Davidson, and Pertwee.
C Brandt, USA

My favourite doctor was Jon Pertwee, although William Hartnell comes a close second. My favourite story has to be "Genesis of the Daleks". It fleshed out the history of the Doctor's main enemy and it was good to see Davros get his come-uppance when his creations turned on him - a bit of a morality play there, I think.
Paul, England

When I was about 10 years old we went to an automated car wash for the first time. Our parents couldn't understand why we were so terrified of the green rollers sweeping over the car. They forgot that the night before we'd seen Dr Who fight the Green Death. You have no idea how sad I am that living here in the States I can't share the Dr. Who legacy with my daughter.
Merrilie, USA

I'm 50 now, and I well remember William Hartnell as the first Doctor, although my favourite of all time is Patrick Troughton, for his sheer character. And Wendy Padbury as Zoe tweaked my young hormones. Perhaps it's just me getting older, but the more recent Doctors have not seemed very good.
Andrew Howlett, England

I remember as a kid having to admit to children at school that my sister and I weren't allowed to watch Doctor Who because it was scary. Not to us, but our mother got scared!
Chris C, England

It was the Saturday after Christmas '63 - the horse racing was over, and the results service complete. My brother and I sat in front of a little brown box and saw a Dalek for the first time. Two fans were born! My favourite Doctor has to be William Hartnell - "the original you might say"; it is not easy to chose one episode but a front runner has to be the Pyramids of Mars; and the scariest - never let a 10-year old see 'Fury of the Deep'!
Paul Cheesman, Thailand

As a young boy growing up in the East End of London me and my mates one day found a life size Dalek that you could stand inside in, in the grounds of Dr Barnardos home that had recently closed on Pitsea St. Every day we would come home from school and there it was, nice as pie, no ranting and raving about 'exterminating' things and people. One day when we came home it had been stolen, probably by an adult but stolen none the less. That hurt more than when my Chopper bike was stolen.
Gary, USA

As kids, we would sit in the hall and only watch it through the glass door of the living room because we were scared of the Daleks. Can't see my own kids being "fooled" like this nowadays! PS I have asked Santa to get my husband a remote control Dalek for Christmas.
Chrissie, Scotland

It was through my parents that I started to watch Doctor Who. I was 4 and Patrick Troughton was the Doctor. Tom Baker was my favourite, but I also liked the others. I see Doctor Who as a programme that teaches people of all ages the difference between good and evil and entertains at the same time. Long Live Doctor Who
Peter Thomas, London, UK

I grew up in the UK and have very fond memories of Dr Who. My earliest recollection is of Patrick Troughton's version but Jon Pertwee and the UNIT gang were my all-time faves. Still love it now, as my shelf-creakingly large collection of videos and DVD's will confirm!
Anthony, USA

I remember as a child going to see a Doctor Who special exhibition at Madame Tussaud's, complete with Daleks. I gingerly approached one, and either due to a motion sensor or someone hiding inside, the wretched thing came to life with a scream of 'EXTERMINATE'. Of course post traumatic shock counselling was not available then...
Chris Sterling, London, England

I hope when the new series returns it will still retain some of its homespun charm
Marion, UK
I am 43 and saw all the doctors over the years. I faintly remember watching the first William Hartnell episodes and the programme was a major part of my childhood and teenage years as we watched it every Saturday. To me the Doctor that most stood out was Patrick Troughton. He seemed to be part of the Beatles era and even had a Beatles haircut although we didn't realise it at the time. I hope when the new series returns it will still retain some of its homespun charm and not be too glossy and computerised.
Marion, UK

I remember as a student having to walk 3 miles or so in all weathers to the student union to see Dr Who on Saturdays .. and having to get there early if I wanted a seat ! But William Hartnell was the best - and I often wondered how Barbara and Ian got on on their return to London.
RikG, UK

When I was in college, twelve of us religiously crowded around a tiny TV set in an even tinier room, watching Tom Baker and his lovely cohorts every week on PBS. It was worth every bit of discomfort and greasy pizza!
Shaz, USA

38 years old, got the books, got the videos. Shame on the BBC for no repeats but there is UK Gold much to my wife's displeasure. Then again she could never understand. Pertwee for me although I guess it depends who you grew up with. Tom Baker a close second. The Green Death for episodes.
Paul Day, Scotland

I think Paul McGann's TV movie, and his subsequent audio appearances as the Doctor are some of the best in the series history. Him and Colin Baker are for me the best and most underrated Doctors of all. I think Paul McGann deserves another crack of the whip on TV in the new series.
James Turner, UK

Dr Who's real strength was the script writing and excellent performances
Martin, Coventry, UK
I once won a fancy dress party dressed as a Dalek that my Dad built for me - it looked almost as good as the actual Daleks! Dr Who's real strength was the script writing and excellent performances. It didn't need great special effects or cheap thrills, and the concept meant the show was never restricted to one setting or location. Having said that, the last few years of the show were painful to watch - poor scripts and stories highlighted the bargain basement effects - it became like watching dreadful fan-fiction.
Martin, Coventry, UK

It's a shame that they are just memories. Unless you spend a fortune on DVDs, videos or satellite television there is no way to enjoy this marvellous programme. How the BBC can justify its repeated refusal to repeat episodes when it wastes our money on the endless drivel of reality and games shows is criminal. For the record Tom Baker is my favourite and from what I recall Brain of Morbius one of the scariest.
Jules, UK

I recall it being a focal point of the week - a time when the family sat and enjoyed television together and Monday morning playgrounds were full of 'Daleks'. Happy, happy days!
Martin Hoscik, UK

By far the best has to be Tom Baker. He reinvigorated the role which took the edge off me hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks turned up.
Frank, Scotland

Still watch the repeats. It's good to now realise how simple but effective the set pieces actually were. Great memories of making my very own cardboard 'K9' whilst staying with my grandparents one summer holiday. Favourites: Daleks, K9 and Tom Baker as the Doctor.
Danksi, UK

On my first day at the BBC, I was told to tear up a transparent plastic bag into small strips and tape them to a board. At the time, I had no idea why, but I knew it was for Doctor Who. This was then photographed through a polarising filter in an incredibly complex series of rostrum camera moves to create the rainbow of colour that became the tunnel in Tom Baker's opening title sequence. Groundbreaking technology at the time! My second job was to dip a toothbrush into white paint and run my fingers across the bristles pointing at a large sheet of black card. And so a far distant galaxy was born. I couldn't believe I was actually getting paid to have such fun!
Joanna, British in America


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