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The First Doctor


The Eight Doctors
"Have you ever thought what it's like to be wanderers in the fourth dimension? To be exiles?"

The First Doctor: A Citizen of the Universe

The First DoctorWhen schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright meet the grandfather of student Susan Foreman, they see him as a crotchety old man with secrets to hide. While they gradually learn more about The Doctor, neither he nor Susan tells them the truth of their origins, and on occasion, The Doctor actually misleads them into believing that he's human (The Keys of Marinus, The Sensorites). At this stage The Doctor seems concerned with getting home (primarily for Susan's sake, since he rarely mentions it after she leaves). The Doctor never completely loses the arrogance that he initially displays to his new companions, but as their adventures continue his attitude gradually mellows as he learns what Susan already knows, that even ordinary humans have admirable qualities. He learns to respect and admire both teachers, and they come to consider him a friend. Many of their early adventures are the result of The Doctor's desire for knowledge, and it's only later, as he is influenced by his human companions, that he begins to act for more compassionate reasons. After Susan leaves, he welcomes the orphaned Vicki warmly and treats her as a surrogate granddaughter. When Barbara and Ian finally find a way home he's reluctant to let them leave and attempts to hide his feelings, but though he realizes that he'll miss them, he's happy that they return safely. More companions join and leave The Doctor through the rest of this incarnation, and he treats them all with this same mixture of bluster and compassion. Two companions die during an attempted Dalek conquest, and for a time he seems reluctant to interfere further in the course of history, but events convince him that he cannot stand by when there is evil to be defeated. After this his resolve seems firm again, even when the actions he takes against the Cybermen exhaust him and force him to regenerate for the first time.

Who IS The First Doctor?

The First Doctor The First Doctor has long white hair and a somewhat severe face. He dresses in the style of a Victorian or Edwardian gentleman, often wears a fur hat and a cape or cloak, and frequently carries a walking stick. The fact that he uses this cane as a weapon more than once suggests that it is a prop in both senses of the word. While he's capable of physical combat (The Chase, The Romans, and others), there's no denying that this form has its limits. He tires easily, has trouble breathing at high altitudes, and suffers backaches (Marco Polo). As is the case with most of his later selves, The First Doctor is a collector. The console room of his TARDIS is filled with antique furnishings and alien art, and he keeps specimens of creatures he's encountered (The Web Planet). He picks up a variety of souvenirs on his journeys, including a cane given to him by Kublai Khan (Marco Polo), Saladin's dagger (The Crusade), and the time-space visualizer which alerts him to a Dalek threat (The Chase). His most prized possession is a ring with a large blue stone, a ring with amazing powers (The Web Planet, The Daleks' Master Plan). He smokes a pipe, but soon gives up the habit (An Unearthly Child). He keeps a journal which includes maps of places he's visited, as well as the operating codes of various TARDIS machinery. He's unfamiliar with this TARDIS and is surprised to learn that it has some degree of telepathic or empathic powers, a feature that's never seen in later models (The Edge of Destruction). While The Doctor's telepathic powers have weakened with age (The Sensorites), he does have a limited ability to sense danger, which manifests itself as a prickling sensation (The War Machines). The Doctor carries an odd assortment of items which include matches, binocular spectacles, a magnifying glass, and a penlight, but like most of his later incarnations, he rarely has money in his pockets. For all his eccentricities and his occasional sour attitude, The First Doctor usually lives up to the claim he makes (The Daleks' Master Plan), that he's "a citizen of the universe, and a gentleman to boot".

Past: Homecoming and Exile Who's Doctor Who? Future: The First Doctor 2