“It’s started, I can’t stop it now, this is just the reset, a whole new regeneration cycle, ooh. Taking a bit longer, just breaking it in. It all just disappears, doesn’t it? Everything you are, gone in a moment; like breath on a mirror.”
So said Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor right before he regenerated into Doctor No. 10 (Peter Capaldi). His words are as good a way as any to describe the transformation the Doctor goes through when it’s time to welcome whoever is coming next.
The Time Lord’s ability to regenerate is something that was first seen on screen way back in 1966. At the time, the actor playing the Doctor, William Hartnell, was becoming increasingly unfit to play the role due to deteriorating health, so the BBC scriptwriters came up with the regeneration process to keep Doctor Who on our screens after his departure.
To date, there there have been 14 regenerations. On the 25th of December 2023, the Doctor will regenerate again when Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role. Will he be a worthy successor to David Tennant? Only time will tell but we have every confidence that he will be.
In this article, we list all of the regenerations in series order. Which of these do you most remember? Let us know in the comments below.
William Hartnell > Patrick Troughton
Story: The Tenth Planet
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor’s body was wearing a bit thin after his life force was drained during the destruction of Mondas.
Patrick Troughton > Jon Pertwee
Story: The War Games
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor was forced to regenerate by the Time Lords as punishment for stealing the Tardis.
Jon Pertwee > Tom Baker
Story: Planet of the Spiders
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor’s body had been exposed to radiation poisoning after prolonged exposure to the Great One’s web of Metebelis crystals.
Tom Baker > Peter Davison
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor’s body was weakened after he fell from a tower during a battle with the Master.
Peter Davison > Colin Baker
Story: The Caves of Androzani
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor contracted spectrox toxaemia on Androzani Minor.
Colin Baker > Sylvester McCoy
Story: Time and the Rani
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor sustained physical injuries when the Rani attacked the Tardis.
Sylvester McCoy > Paul McGann
Story: Doctor Who: The Movie
Reason for regeneration: Following a non-fatal shooting, the regeneration was triggered during surgery at a San Francisco hospital when an exploratory camera clogged a vein.
Paul McGann > John Hurt
Story: The Night of the Doctor
Reason for regeneration: After drinking from a chalice given to him by the Sisterhood of Khan, the Doctor chose to regenerate into a warrior in readiness for the Time War.
John Hurt > Christopher Eccleston
Story: The Day of the Doctor
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor’s body was wearing a bit thin.
Christopher Eccleston > David Tennant
Story: The Parting of the Ways
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor sacrificed his life to save Rose Tyler by absorbing the energies of the Time Vortex.
David Tennant > Matt Smith
Story: The End of Time
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor was exposed to radiation poisoning while saving the life of Wilfred Mott.
Matt Smith > Peter Capaldi
Story: The Time of the Doctor
Reason for regeneration: After nearing death from old age, the Time Lords granted the Doctor a new regeneration cycle.
Peter Capaldi > Jodie Whittaker
Story: Twice Upon a Time
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor resisted his regeneration after it was triggered following an explosion but an encounter with the First Doctor convinced him it was time to change.
Jodie Whittaker > David Tennant
Story: The Power of the Doctor
Reason for regeneration: The Doctor was mortally wounded by a destruction beam which was redirected towards her by the Master.
David Tennant > Ncuti Gatwa
Story: The Church on Ruby Road
Reason for regeneration: The 14th Doctor and the 15th Doctor bi-generate after an attack by The Toymaker.
Which regeneration scene had the most impact on you? Let us know in the comments below.