Doctor Who (British TV Series)

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Doctor Who
Series 23
Aired Since 2 August 1994
  • Science Fiction
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
Created by Various
Written by Various
Directed by Charles Armitage (Current)
Staring Lenny Henry
Peter Bowles
Trevor Eve
Robert Lindsay
Anthony Head
Peter Capaldi
Russell Tovey
Ian Glen
David Suchet
Country of Origin Untied Kingdom
(inspired by American Original)

Doctor Who is an British science-fiction television programme broadcasted by the BBC based on the American series of the same name. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called Doctor Who, an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human. Doctor Who explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. The TARDIS exterior appears as a red phone booth, which is a more common sight in England that the original series’ barn. Although the series was immensely popular in Britain from 1994 to 2002, ratings fell dramatically during the period from 2002 to 2014, but has since seen a moderate revival in viewership. Although generally the series has not been as commercially successful as the original, it maintains a cult following amongst some of it’s audience.

The initial casting of Lenny Henry as Doctor Who was somewhat controversial as he had never starred in any major television dramas, having only acted in comedies unlike his American counterparts. Henry’s last episode were his Doctor Who re-generates into Peter Bowles’ Doctor Who remains the most watched episode of the UK series. There had been concerns that Bowles would not be able to appeal to the younger audience members like Henry had, however his tenure was filled with charming acting and fantastic writing which ensured he maintained high viewing figures. When Bowles departed the show in 2002, most of the original crew did as well. Bowles was succeeded in the role by Trevor Eve, who’s attempts to make the character seem sullen and tormented made him just seem whiney and immature, which quickly turned away viewers. In 2005, the BBC sent a letter which asked for Eve to depart the show, which he did, and was replaced by Robert Lindsay.

Originally, Lindsay was supposed to play Doctor Who for three series, however departed the role at the end of his first series over creative differences. He was replaced in the role by Anthony Stewart Head, who although a capable actor, failed to grasp the mood of the general audience and his contract was not offered for renewal. Peter Capaldi’s performance as Doctor Who largley praised by critics, however his time in the show was plagued with bad writing, low budgets and an overall lack of direction. Since his time on the show, Capaldi’s era as Doctor Who has been positively re-evaluated by fans. His replacement, Russell Tovey, delivered a charming performance however the storylines he appeared in were negatively reviewed as being overly comedic and not taking themselves seriously enough.

The show received a revival in popularity when Iain Glen was announced as the next Doctor Who. Glen’s portrayal of Doctor Who was complimented by entertaining storylines, an increase in the quality of the writing and a new production team. Glen’s portrayal of the character captivated audiences by travelling to unique sets and times not touched on before in the show. When Glen departed the show in 2018, David Suchet was announced as his successor. Suchet’s character has been popular so far with audiences, re-imagining the character as more gritty, intelligent and emotionally troubled whilst still maintaining the show’s charm and optimism.

Gallery of Doctor Whos in the British adaptation[edit | edit source]

General Rankings of Doctor Who portrayals[edit | edit source]

1. Lenny Henry
2. Peter Bowles
3. Ian Glen
4. David Suchet
5. Peter Capaldi
6. Anthony Stewart Head
7. Russell Tovey
8. Robert Lindsay
9. Trevor Eve