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The First Doctor

The First Doctor has been characterised as a crotchety old man but he was so much more, displaying childish delight, great charm, enormous warmth and a wonderful sense of mischief during his many adventures through time and space.

Fact title Fact data
Also known as:
Doctor Caligari, Theta Sigma
Home Planet:
The First Doctor inadvertently became engaged to be married whilst in Mexico!
First Appearance:
Regeneration Story:
Key stories:
The Time Meddler; The War Machines

We first met the Doctor in an old junkyard in Totter’s Lane, London. He emerged from the shadows but for a while he seemed to remain a part of their darkness - a mysterious, unsympathetic character who had little time for humans and showed no hesitation in placing others in dangers if it meant satisfying his own curiosity. He was possibly over-protective of his granddaughter, Susan, but his caring qualities were encased in a hard shell of petulance and contempt.

Our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it!
The First Doctor

Yet despite his aged appearance, this was the Doctor at his youngest and as he became embroiled in more adventures and discovered more about the universe, something striking happened. He softened. He grew fond of Ian and Barbara – the humans who had initially meant so little to him, and the heroic Time Lord that we know today began to develop… When asked whether the mighty Daleks dared tamper with the forces of creation, for instance, his reply was instant and unequivocal: ‘Yes, they dare. And we have got to dare to stop them!’ The figure of justice was starting to become more recognisable… And what courage! His oldest enemies once told him, ‘The Daleks are the masters of Earth!’ Without missing a beat he calmly replied, ‘Not for long!’

The First Doctor was blessed with an impish sense of humour. On Xeros, when hooked up - against his will - to a machine that read and visualised his thoughts, he was asked how he had arrived on the planet. To his interrogator’s astonishment he was able to mentally cloak the reality of the TARDIS and instead project an image of an old-fashioned bicycle… In the same adventure he hid in the casing of a Dalek and in both instances, he was unable to suppress laughter at his own cleverness.

The First Doctor once observed, ‘As we learn about each other so we learn about ourselves.’ Perhaps the Doctor was himself surprised by how far he come, in more than ways than one. ‘It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard,’ he remarked of his own travels to his early companions, adding, ‘And now it's turned out to be quite a, quite a great spirit of adventure, don't you think?’

The First Doctor continued to journey across the universe even after Susan had remained on Earth and Ian and Barbara had returned to London. A pattern had been set. This mysterious traveller could arrive at any point in time and space in his battered blue box and two things were certain. He was bound to find injustice and he was sure to fight it! But following his first battle against the Cybermen, the ageing process finally caught up with him and he reflected, ‘…this old body of mine is wearing a bit thin.’ The Doctor was about to regenerate for the very first time. The change signalled the end of the First Doctor, but as he himself noted, ‘It's far from being all over...