Doctor Who – Every Regeneration Ranked

Jodie Whittaker’s run has finally come to an end, and it was of course capped off with Doctor Who’s trademark – a regeneration. Now that every Doctor has regenerated, I can rank them all!

When it comes to my rankings, I’m only looking at the regeneration scene itself – I’m not counting the episode’s quality beforehand or the reason behind the regeneration, and I’m going to ignore the following Doctor’s scene after it. So, how would I rank them all?

Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:

Bad

14 – The 6th Doctor (Colin Baker)

Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor had the worst opening lines of any of the incarnations, and he also had the worst demise.

Not only are the special effects cheap, but Baker didn’t even return to film the scene! It’s clearly Sylvester McCoy in a wig, and you have to just laugh at how badly they executed it.

Meh

13 – The War Doctor (John Hurt)

The most forgettable regeneration for the most forgettable Doctor.

I love John Hurt, but the War Doctor hardly makes an impression. His regeneration is just a quick line followed by some poorly super-imposed Ecclestone eyes.

OK

12 – The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker)

If I had watched this live in the 80’s, I would have been pissed.

Not only is the reason for the regeneration stupid (but I’ll try to ignore that), the white yogurt-y looking thing that morphs into Peter Davison is just plain weird. At least Baker goes out with a cool final line.

11 – The 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker)

The most recent entry, and the one with the most wasted potential.

I hate how they undercut Whittaker’s climactic scene with the focus group, and her final line of “Tag, you’re it!” was a suitably cringy way for the 13th Doctor to go.

Luckily, the visuals, location and stellar soundtrack almost made up for it. Never has a regeneration looked so peaceful!

10 – The 3rd Doctor (John Pertwee)

Pertwee falling out of the TARDIS is a cool shot, and “A tear, Sarah Jane?” is a great final line, but the rest is a bit anticlimactic.

A strange watcher interrupts the emotional moment, and the actual fade from Pertwee to Baker isn’t exciting and experimental enough.

Good

9 – The 7th Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

The most unique regeneration, the transition from McCoy to McGann is bizarre and borderline body-horror.

It doesn’t really match the regeneration style, but the comparisons to Frankenstein’s monster are pretty neat.

8 – The 2nd Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

They went weird for the 2nd Doctor’s regeneration, and I’m a bit mixed on the results.

Troughton does an excellent job with the facial acting, and the forced regeneration aspect is a fun twist, but it’s almost too silly for my liking. Still, I can appreciate what they were going for.

7 – The 1st Doctor (William Hartnell)

The very first regeneration – caused by Hartnell’s worsening health – and British TV would never be the same again.

It’s very bare bones, but I love the over-exposed effect they used to transition the faces. Footage of that era is few and far between, so I’m glad they payed homage to it in “Twice Upon A Time”.

Great

6 – The 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

It’s a shame that Christopher Eccleston left after just one season in the role, but he introduced an entire new generation of fans to the concept of regeneration.

The 9th Doctor is incredibly brave in his final moments, and the yellow particle effects became a staple for the series moving forwards. Overall, this was fantastic!

5 – The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

The 12th Doctor’s regeneration could be a little over-indulgent and pretentious at times, but it was a joy to see Capaldi on top form.

His extended monologue is filled with regret and fear, and yet he bravely decides to give up his life in his final moments. The only thing holding this regeneration back is the weirdly undercooked yellow particle effects.

4 – The 8th Doctor (Paul McGann)

They didn’t have to go so hard with the 8th Doctor’s regeneration, but I’m glad they did.

Paul McGann fits right back into the role, and the entirety of “The Night of the Doctor” is excellent. His regeneration after drinking the elixir is almost Shakespearian, and I love it.

Amazing

3 – The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith)

Moffat was always the best at writing long, emotional speeches for The Doctor, and I think he did it best for Matt Smith.

The 11th Doctor’s send-off is beautiful, and Amy’s return is the icing on the cake. The sudden snap to Capaldi was a little jarring, but at least it was something fresh and unique.

2 – The 5th Doctor (Peter Davison)

Bet you weren’t expecting to see a Classic Doctor so high up!

The 5th Doctor’s regeneration has everything I want from the climactic moment – heaps of drama, some cool visual and audio design, and The Doctor sacrificing himself in some way. For the technology at the time, they couldn’t have done much better.

All-Time Great

1 – The 10th Doctor (David Tennant)

One of the only TV scenes I’ve ever shed a tear to.

David Tennant was my Doctor growing up, so I was devastated to see him go. Luckily, he got the best send-off imaginable – the acting is phenomenal, the song “Vale Decem” is perfect, and the final line “I don’t want to go!” left me a blubbering wreck. Regenerations will never be more emotional than this.

Aaaand that’s my list. You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:

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2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – Every Regeneration Ranked

  1. I absolutely love reading your work! Your opinions are not only interesting to hear articulated, but Correct. This article is giving me a hankering for some classic Doctor Who, I’ll have to revisit… (small copy note: I believe it’s spelled Eccleston)

    Like

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