It seems to me that the Doctor looks younger at every incarnation.

Am I the only one having this sensation?

  • Given a choice, why would you re-incarnate into an older body? Nov 5, 2013 at 16:06
  • The Master made that exact point during one of his regenerations.
    – PeterL
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:21
  • 3
    Uh, duplicate-marking folks: please read both questions. In fact, please read both questions and their respective answers. We're talking an order of magnitude of difference, almost literally: this question asks about apparent age, which is in the realm of 25-60 years. The other question is about actual age, so in the realm of 450-1100 years. It's totally insane to consider these duplicates.
    – Martha
    Nov 5, 2013 at 23:04
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    @Martha all of the information in the accepted answer here is in the accepted answer from June 2011 in the other question (except for Capaldi, and since he hasn't appeared on screen so we don't know his story yet, that's correct IMO). Note that the wording is "already has an answer here", not "was asked exactly the same here".
    – Tony Meyer
    Nov 5, 2013 at 23:44
  • The 5th Doctor was 29 I believe when he first got the role, so it's not unusual in Dr. Who to have a young doctor. Though such a difficult role is usually better played by an actor with some maturity, one could argue that there are some young actors who can handle it. Nov 18, 2013 at 0:06

2 Answers 2


Below are the ages of the actors who have played the Doctor on the day they first played him:

Actor Name : Age at Debut (Age when next actor took over)

  • William Hartnell : 55 (58)
  • Patrick Troughton : 46 (49)
  • Jon Pertwee : 50 (54)
  • Tom Baker : 40 (47)
  • Peter Davison : 29 (32)
  • Colin Baker : 40 (43)
  • Sylvester McCoy : 44 (53 -- this is a bit of an odd one since they were off the air at this point, but McCoy did appear in the movie to regenerate)
  • Paul McGann : 36 (54 -- only made two on-screen appearances)
  • John Hurt : 73 (73)
  • Christopher Eccleston : 41 (41)
  • David Tennant : 34 (39)
  • Matt Smith : 27 (31)
  • Peter Capaldi : 55

From that, the transitions go Younger-Older-Younger-Younger-Older-Older-Younger-Older-Younger-Younger-Younger-Older, so of the 12 actor transitions, 7 have gone from older to younger, while 5 have gone from younger to older. It doesn't change the count if you stick with McCoy's younger age (or his last appearance in the regular series).

  • I don't know if the actor's age counts: it's frequent to see actors performing as younger because of their look (Michael J. Fox is a famous exaple). Maybe the title of the question is wrong, it could have been: "It seems only to me that the Doctor looks younger at every incarnation?"
    – greenkey
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:32
  • 7
    I'm not sure how this would be answerable other than by the actor's age -- they are all playing a character who is very old but looks much younger. How old a person looks is pretty subjective.
    – PeterL
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:37
  • Is anyone else thinking Jon Pertwee did a lot of physical stuff for a 50 year old? Nov 5, 2013 at 17:34
  • I've heard the reason they created the character Harry Sullivan was because Pertwee was having a hard time with the physical stuff required of him, but they regenerated into the 4th at the same time which made Harry a little redundant. Thus, Harry was around for just one year/series
    – PeterL
    Nov 5, 2013 at 19:38
  • I don't think age really matters to the writers that much, they just want a man who will be suitable for the role of the Doctor. E.g: the 5th Doctor was noted for being youthful in nature and appearance, but when he regenerated into his 6th incarnation, he was played by a man who was a bit older than him. Then when he regenerated into his 7th incarnation, he came out looking only very slightly older looking, but when he regenerated into his 8th incarnation, he was noticeably younger looking. Long story short, age doesn't matter as long as you have an actor who fits the bill.
    – L.J Rob
    Oct 23, 2014 at 21:58

Used to be the case, however Peter Capaldi is a lot older than Matth Smith.

  • 3
    Wait for after the CGI department is done with him.
    – bitmask
    Nov 5, 2013 at 16:05
  • 2
    :-) Anyway my answer was pretty dumb, it's just that earlier doctors looked so much older because I was so much younger then.... Nov 5, 2013 at 16:17

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