Which Doctor was the longest?

Answered by Edward Huber

The question of which Doctor was the longest-serving is a bit tricky because it depends on how you define “longest-serving.” If we are looking at the actors who have played the Doctor on television, then Tom Baker holds the record for the longest tenure. He portrayed the Fourth Doctor from 1974 to 1981, appearing in a total of 172 episodes.

However, if we broaden the scope to include all portrayals of the Doctor, then Paul McGann technically holds the title of the longest-serving Doctor. McGann played the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 TV movie, but he has also appeared in numerous audio adventures and other spin-off media. He has continued to portray the Doctor in audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions for over 20 years, making him the actor who has played the role for the longest continuous period of time.

It’s worth noting that McGann’s portrayal of the Doctor in the 1996 TV movie was met with mixed reactions, and the show was not picked up as a series. However, his performance gained a cult following, and his Eighth Doctor has become a beloved incarnation among fans. Despite the lack of television appearances, McGann’s portrayal has been highly regarded and his continued involvement in the audio dramas has kept his Doctor alive in the hearts of many fans.

Speaking from a personal standpoint, I have always had a soft spot for Paul McGann’s Doctor. His portrayal brought a sense of charm, wit, and vulnerability to the character. The TV movie may not have been perfect, but McGann’s performance shone through, leaving a lasting impression.

In summary, Tom Baker holds the record for the most episodes as the Doctor on television, making him the longest-serving Doctor in that regard. However, if we consider all portrayals of the Doctor, Paul McGann takes the title due to his extensive involvement in audio adventures and other media. Both actors have left their mark on the Doctor Who universe, and their contributions are celebrated by fans worldwide.