Royal Mail reveals Doctor Who stamps

William Hartnell William Hartnell was the first Doctor Who, inhabiting the role from 1963 to 1966
Patrick Troughton Patrick Troughton took over as the second Doctor, leaving in 1969
Jon Pertwee Jon Pertwee was the first Doctor to be seen in colour when he made his debut in January 1970
Tom Baker Tom Baker travelled in the Tardis for eight years, and is frequently voted the most-popular Doctor
Peter Davison Peter Davison replaced Baker in 1982. Aged 29, he was the youngest actor to take the lead role until Matt Smith
Colin Baker Colin Baker played the sixth Doctor between 1984 and 1986
Sylvester McCoy Sylvester McCoy was the last of the Doctors in the series' first run, which ended in 1989
Paul McGann The shortest-lived Doctor was played by Paul McGann, who starred in a one-off special in 1996
Christopher Ecclestone The series was reborn under the guidance of Russell T Davies in 2005. Christopher Ecclestone won the lead role, but left after one series
David Tennant David Tennant is another favourite with fans of the show. He ran through three assistants in his five-year tenure
Matt Smith Matt Smith is the current caretaker of the role, and will guide the show through its 50th anniversary

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Tom Baker, David Tennant and Patrick Troughton are to feature on a special set of Royal Mail stamps in 2013.

The collection marks the 50th anniversary of sci-fi show Doctor Who, with all 11 Doctors getting their own first class stamp.

Four of the show's most notorious villains, including the Daleks and the Cybermen, star on the second class set.

The show first ran from 1963 to 1989. A successful revival returned it to Saturday night schedules in 2005.

Andrew Hammond of the Royal Mail said the commemorative selection "pay tribute to the brilliant actors that have played the Doctor over the years, as well as the adversaries that helped make the show so popular".

The time travelling adventurer is currently played by Matt Smith.

Joining him for the 50th anniversary year is new co-star Jenna-Louise Coleman, who played Clara in the Christmas Day episode, and will be the Doctor's new companion in the 2013 series.

Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman Matt Smith and Jenna-Lousie Coleman

The show's head writer, Steven Moffat, has promised "tremendous surprises" for the golden anniversary, but says he will be keeping them under wraps.

"They wouldn't be surprises if I accidentally said them now, would they?" he said at a preview screening of the Christmas episode.

"But I promise you, we're going to take over television," he added.

The writer has even kept the secrets safe from his leading man.

"We're as much in the dark as the majority of other people," Smith told BBC Radio 1. "I imagine I'll get to read something in January, February time."

However, the actor promised: "We'll make it the biggest and the best year, hopefully in the show's history."

The Royal Mail stamps will be available in March.

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