The First Doctor

Portrayed by: William Hartnell
Years active: 1963 - 1966
Series: Classic
Companions: Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton, Vicki Pallister,
Steven Taylor, Katarina, Sara Kingdom, Dodo Chaplet, Polly Wright, Ben Jackson

The Doctor was born on Gallifrey, the home planet of the Time Lord race, under "the sign of crossed computers" which was the symbol of maternity service on Gallifrey. In 1963, the First Doctor was hiding in a scrapyard in London on Earth, on the run from his own people, in a little blue box with his granddaughter, Susan Foreman. The little blue box, called the TARDIS by Susan, was a time machine that allowed the Doctor to travel through the whole of time and space, a device the Doctor stole from the Time Lords, though he insists he only borrowed it. The Doctor chose to live in London in 1963 for 5 months, intending for Susan to complete her education while he built missing components for his TARDIS using 20th century Earth equivalents and finding a hiding place for the Hand of Omega at the same time. Susan attended Coal Hill School, where two of her teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright grew suspicious of her knowledge and her grandfather. They followed her home, to the TARDIS, where the Doctor kidnapped both of them so they couldn't tell anyone about him or Susan, taking them to the year 100,000B.C. It was at this point that the TARDIS lost its chameleon circuit, sticking as a police box, and its ability to always tell their space/time co-ordinates.

The First Doctor could appear to be quite ruthless, as seen when Za was wounded by a tiger in An Unearthly Child (Classic Series), and considering killing Za himself so that his companions would not be slowed down trying to assist him, though he did relent and helped Za himself. The Doctor quickly realised that neither Ian nor Barbara bore him or Susan any threat, but his inability to pilot the TARDIS meant that he was unable to return them to 1963's London. The First Doctor was also adventurous, often leading to getting himself into trouble. When the TARDIS first landed on Skaro, the Doctor wished to explore the planet while his companions did not. The Doctor deliberately broke the TARDIS, saying that they would have to explore the planet to find the part to fix it with, though he later regretted this decision after meeting the Daleks for the first time and the Doctor chose to assist the Thals in their attack on the Dalek city. The TARDIS' malfunctions were quickly blamed on the appearance of Ian and Barbara by the Doctor, though when it became clear that it was a mechanical fault, the Doctor fixed it quickly enough, showing high skills with fixing the TARDIS.

The First Doctor with granddaughter Susan Foreman

The Doctor demonstrated care for his companions, though he was saddened to lose Susan after she found love on Earth in the 22nd century. Recognising that she wasn't a child anymore, the Doctor reluctantly left her behind, a decision he would regret for centuries. However, soon after leaving Susan behind, the Doctor picked up a surrogate in Vicki Pallister and the group continued to travel to alien planets and future and past time zones. Following another battle with the Daleks, the Doctor was able to successfully reprogram a Dalek Time Machine to take Ian and Barbara back to 1963's London, while picking up new companion, Steven Taylor. His relationship with Steven would be stressed at times while he was warmer with Vicki until she departed the TARDIS crew. In The Myth Makers (Classic Series), the Doctor acquired Katarina as a new companion, though both Katarina and Sara Kingdom would be the first companions of the Doctor to die during battle with the Daleks in the Daleks' Master Plan (Classic Series). When Steven eventually left the Doctor, on better terms than they had previously dealt with each other, the Doctor was soon forced to leave an injured Dodo on modern-day Earth where he acquired his final companions, Polly Wright and Ben Jackson.

The First Doctor was a mysterious character, who progressed from the selfish anti-hero seen in An Unearthly Child to a much nobler figure who fought to defend the innocent and truth. An aged figure, the Doctor was often exhausted by walking, though would gleefully enjoy a physical confrontation if the need arose. As with all incarnations of the Doctor, the First Doctor displayed great wisdom, though he was also prone to making mistakes, usually from his arrogance or rash judgement. The First Doctor was a short-tempered though brilliant scientist, but also irascible. He refused to bend his knee to the Kublai Khan, and gave rheumatic knees as his excuse, and would get particularly snappish with people who doubted that the TARDIS could travel through time and space. Unlike later incarnations of the Doctor, the First Doctor would resort to violence quicker when pressed, displaying strength and agility that belied his age, and had no problem with striking someone or something that threatened his own life. Also unlike later incarnations of the Doctor, the First incarnation showed contempt for humans, regarding them as mere primitives. With his age, the Doctor also showed some absent-mindedness, though this may have been done to fool his enemies into underestimating him. Also potentially due to his aged body was the Doctors age-related vulnerabilities such as rheumatism that would flare up if he was exposed to the cold, and unlike later incarnations, was a dependant on his companions as they were upon him. Often, Ian or Steven would save the day, though the Doctor's aura of power and intelligence was impossible to ignore.

The First Doctor smoking his pipe

The First Doctor often travelled to planets out of curiosity, rather than to help its inhabitants, regularly lacking to show desire to save Earth from invading aliens, though he would usually be convinced to do so by his companions. However, despite this lack of compassion shown towards other races that is shown by the Doctor's later incarnations, future incarnations of the Doctor always respected the First Doctor, visibly displayed in The Three Doctors (Classic Series), when the Second and Third Doctor's refused to work together, the mere presence of the First gave off enough of an authoritative aura to convince the pair to work in harmony. The First Doctor's authority over future incarnations was shown again in The Five Doctors (Classic Series) when he deduced the truth about Rassilon's gift of immortality before the others. Travelling in the TARDIS always proved to be a difficult task for the Doctor, no doubt due to it requiring 6 pilots and its systems often breaking down and would occasionally consult a small handbook.

The First Doctor also occasionally smoked a pipe, and reportedly built the TARDIS, though it has since been said that TARDIS' are grown and not built, it could be argued that the Doctor merely built some of its components before or after stealing/borrowing it from the Time Lords. The Doctor's greyish-white hair often gave him an aged look compared to late incarnations, and regularly dressed in Edwardian fashion, wearing frock coats and tartan trousers, though also occasionally wearing an Astrakhan or a Panama hat or a cape. He also wore half-moon reading glasses, though his Tenth incarnation would call into question whether they were actually needed for reading, or just to make him look even more intelligent than usual. Due to his aged body, the First Doctor often used a walking stick to aid him walk, which also became a useful weapon is required. Unlike later incarnations, the First Doctor also tried to blend in with the locals when he was travelling, often changing his clothes to fit in with the time period or planet he was in or on.

The First Doctor with companions Ben and Polly

At the end of the First Doctor's life, he encountered the Cybermen for the first time, but the encounter physically drained his already frail body. The effort required to defeat the Cybermen resulted in the Doctor collapsing in the TARDIS when they returned to it, and regenerating for the first time in front of astonished companions, Polly and Ben, regenerating into a younger faced fresh new man.