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Seventh Doctor
Also known as: The Professor
John Smith
Merlin (possibly; DW: Battlefield)
The Dentist
Race: Gallifreyan (Time Lord)
Home Planet: Gallifrey
Home Era: Rassilon Era
Appearances: Full List of Appearances
Actor: Sylvester McCoy
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do."
―The Doctor

The Seventh Dcotor was the seventh incarnation of the Doctor. Although originally starting out as an eccentric, light-hearted character, the Seventh Doctor's jolly persona eventually darkened into that of a mysterious, cunning, manipulator. Unfortunately, his schemes often strained the relationships with his companions, resulting in them losing their trust in him on several occasions. By the end of his life, this Doctor seemed to have become at ease with the universe, with his manipulative nature having somewhat mellowed.





Regeneration - Post-Regeneration

The origin of the Seventh Doctor is somewhat steeped in mystery. It is known that he regenerated a sixth time out of his sixth incarnation, which occurred immediately after his TARDIS was forced to land on Lakertya by the Rani. (DW: Time and the Rani).

Exactly how the Doctor was able to injure himself so severely during the attack has never been revealed. However it has been suggested that the regeneration may have been intentional in order to prevent the chain of events which could lead to the creation of the Doctor's evil future incarnation, the Valeyard. (NA: Timewyrm: Revelation) It has also been suggested that the regeneration was a result of the Doctor being weak from the events that lead to the destruction of the Lampreys. (PDA: Spiral Scratch) Another possibility was that he deliberately killed the Sixth Doctor so that a champion for Time could be born. (NA: Love and War)

Regardless of the cause, the Doctor's regeneration was followed by the expected period of post-regenerative trauma, which resulted in a somewhat chaotic, almost comic personality emerging, as well as amnesia which caused the Doctor to briefly mistake the Rani for his companion, Mel. Soon after his regeneration he indicated that he was exactly 953 years old at this time (the only Doctor to date for whom a specific age has been given soon after regeneration).

While still under the Rani's influence, the Doctor chose a new look for his persona, shedding the chaotic, clown-like attire of his predecessor for a more subtle suit and hat (noting to the Rani-Mel that his new incarnation had regained a sense of haute couture). It's not known if the Rani actually had any influence on the Doctor's new look. (DW: Time and the Rani)

Travels with Mel

After regaining his memory and defeating the Rani, the new Doctor continued his travels with Mel by his side. One of their first visits was to Paradise Towers (DW: Paradise Towers), followed by a visit to a Welsh holiday camp in the 1950s where they encountered the Bannermen. (DW: Delta and the Bannermen)

After a final adventure on Iceworld, Mel chose to leave the Doctor and instead travel with Sabalom Glitz, a con man who she felt could be turned to the side of right with her help. On Iceworld, the Doctor met Ace, a troubled teenager from 1980s Earth who had somehow been transported to the planet. After Mel's departure, Ace agreed to travel with the Doctor. (DW: Dragonfire)

Travels with Ace

The Doctor and Ace

One of the Doctor's first trips with Ace took him back to Coal Hill School in 1963, only a few days after he left Earth with Susan, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright (DW: An Unearthly Child). He returned in order to take care of unfinished business left behind by his first incarnation -- the retrieval of the Hand of Omega. This mission was disrupted by the arrival of two groups of Daleks and Davros; in defeating the Daleks, the Seventh Doctor displayed a growing darkness of character when he used the Hand to apparently destroy the Dalek homeworld, Skaro. (DW: Remembrance of the Daleks)

Afterwards, the Doctor and Ace continued their travels together. Notably, they encountered the Cybermen and Lady Peinforte, a woman who displayed distubing knowledge of the Doctor's true character, near 20th Century Windsor. (DW: Silver Nemesis) He also found himself reuniting with an old friend, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in an adventure that also reunited him with UNIT; during this event certain parties also claimed that the Doctor (either in his seventh incarnation or another) once lived in the time of King Arthur and was known as Merlin. (DW: Battlefield)

During his travels with Ace, the Doctor worked to heal his troubled companion, who displayed discomfort at certain memories of her earlier life, such as a fire she once started (DW: Ghost Light) and a fear of clowns (DW: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy); he even, inadvertently, caused her to meet and interact with an ancestor. (DW: The Curse of Fenric) During the latter event, the Doctor learned that the arrival of Ace, and several other intervening adventures, were arranged by Fenric, an evil entity the Doctor had encountered before.

Soon after, the Doctor once again met his arch-nemesis, the Master, and defeated him. During this event, he returned Ace to her home in Perivale and offered her the chance to stay on Earth; Ace, however, now considered the TARDIS her home, and they left in search of new adventure. (DW: Survival)

Time's Champion

In the years that followed, the Doctor continued to travel extensively, gaining and losing companions as he went. Ace left to fight in a war, but later returned, older and wiser (NA: Deceit). The Doctor also gained a valued companion in Dr. Bernice Summerfield, who was herself a fellow adventurer (NA: Love and War), and who remained with him for quite some time (long enough that the Doctor in his eighth incarnation later claimed she was his longest-serving companion (NA: The Dying Days).

The seventh Doctor's travels saw him reuniting with many past friends - not always in a positive fashion - including Peri Brown (NA: Bad Therapy), Romana (NA: Lungbarrow), Liz Shaw (NA: Eternity Weeps), and some of his former UNIT colleagues (NA: Happy Endings), among others.

Some events of the seventh Doctor's later years are shrouded in mystery. For example, there is an account of him physically changing himself into a human and living for a time as such, even falling in love with a human woman (NA: Human Nature) - however more reliable records show that a version of these events actually occurred to his tenth incarnation (DW: Human Nature/The Family of Blood).

Similarly muddied are events that may have seen the Doctor taking his place on Gallifrey among his clan, the House of Lungbarrow (NA: Lungbarrow). Also shrouded in mystery are the exact circumstances that led to him being sent to Skaro (presumably before he destroyed it) to retrieve the remains of the Master after his execution by the Daleks. (DW: Doctor Who)


The Seventh Doctor dead on an operating table in San Francisco.

The Seventh Doctor apparently "died" twice.

The first death occurred at some point during his travels with Ace, although it is possible this occurred in an alternate universe/timeline, or was part of a larger, unchronicled scheme. (WC: Death Comes to Time)

At some point following his family-related visit to Gallifrey (NA: Lungbarrow), the Doctor was assigned to transport the remains of the Master from Skaro to Gallifrey, but due to interference from the Master the TARDIS arrived in late 1999 San Francisco.

The Doctor walked into a gangland gunbattle and was shot once straight through the shoulder and twice in the leg. Although rendered unconscious and taken to hospital, it is determined that the bullets caused only minor injury. However, when an X-ray revealed an abnormality (caused by the Doctor's second heart), specialist Dr. Grace Holloway undertakes exploratory surgery. Unfamiliar with Time Lord physiology, and not heeding the Doctor's warning, Holloway damages the Doctor's circulatory system with her probe, causing him to die on the operating table. Unlike previous regenerations, however, the change this time did not occur for several hours, a delay the eighth Doctor later attributed to his being under anaesthesia at the time of his "death". (DW: Doctor Who (1996))

For a list of Seventh Doctor stories in the order in which he experienced them, see Seventh Doctor - Timeline.


Although initially somewhat of a clownish figure, as he matured the seventh Doctor became a darker character, manipulative and frequently seeing the 'bigger picture' rather than the world before him. Often, he would not sufficiently explain this bigger picture to his companions. An example of this occurred when the Doctor emotionally devastated Ace by labelling her, among other things, an "emotional cripple" during his battle with Fenric; this was necessary in order for her to briefly abandon her belief in him (weakening Fenric's power), a fact that he did not explain until later. (DW: The Curse of Fenric)

Psychological Profile


The personality of the Seventh Doctor was originally much more light-hearted and prone to clownish behaviour, which masked the Doctor's intellect and courage against evil. However, as time went on, he took a much darker turn. This "darker" side would come to define him, as the seventh Doctor became a master manipulator who saw the battle between good and evil as a game of chess and everyone around him as pawns, to be manipulated in the pursuit of stopping evil.

The Doctor considers the consequences of a decision he has to make.

Despite his manipulative actions (it is believed that he used psychic powers to make Mel leave (NA: Head Games)), the seventh Doctor did care for his companions and had a paternal relationship with Ace, which ultimately soured when Ace found herself unable to deal with the Doctor's growing emotional coldness.

Habits and Quirks

The Seventh Doctor was a consummate fan of the game of chess, to the point of treating his companions and enemies as pieces on a chess board. This is most notably seen in (DW: Silver Nemesis) and (DW: The Curse of Fenric)

He's also famous for his "rolling Rs", due to the fact that this incarnation, for reasons never explained, adopted a distinct Scottish accent.

Despite being known for his dark persona, the seventh Doctor was known for his use of words to resolve problems as opposed to violence.

He liked to carry around a question mark umbrella, often using it for practical purposes unrelated to keeping the rain away. (DW: Remembrance of the Daleks)

A habit occasionally displayed was a tendency to mangle and combine earth idioms, such as "Time and tide melt the snowman" and "A stitch in time... takes up space".

Also early in his incarnation, the Doctor showed a knack for playing the spoons as a musical instrument, though this was seen less as he matured.

Key Life Events

As the events of the novel Human Nature were later adapted for a Tenth Doctor television episode, it is unknown if this story are actually canon or if they occur in an alternate timeline/universe.

Behind the scenes


Actors considered for the role of the Seventh Doctor before McCoy was cast included Rowan Atkinson (who later played the Ninth Doctor in The Curse of Fatal Death), McCoy's mentor Ken Campbell, Chris Jury, Tony Robinson and Alexei Sayle.

Cartmel Masterplan

Season 25 and 26 had broad hints that the Doctor was not simply a Time Lord, as previously shown and stated. This overarching plot, conceived by Script Editor Andrew Cartmel and referred to by fans as the Cartmel Masterplan, was designed to restore an element of mystery towards the Doctor and his true nature as in the stories of the First and Second Doctors.

For futher discussion, see Cartmel Masterplan.

Parodies and pastiches

  • After the original series ended, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred went on to play a character called the Professor and Ace, respectively, in a series of audio adventures produced by BBV Productions. Initially the stories were clearly based upon Doctor Who, but these connections were lessened when the character was renamed the Dominie and Aldred's character Alice.
  • McCoy also parodied his version of the Doctor in the BBV production, Do You Have a Licence to Save This Planet? in which he played the Foot Doctor. Although the film featured several monsters from Doctor Who, this production is not considered canonical in any way.
  • In the BBC series, Doctors, Sylvester guest-starred as Graham Capelli, an actor who had played the title role in The Amazing Lollipop Man, a cult 1980s children's television series of the same name. The Lollipop Man had many similarities to the Doctor.

External links

The incarnations of the Doctor
Companions of the Seventh Doctor
Melanie Bush  • Ace
Other media
Frobisher  • Olla  • Ly-Chee  • Bernice Summerfield  • Chris Cwej  • Roz Forrester  • Wolsey  • Antimony  • Catherine Broome  • Hex  • Elizabeth Klein (announced)

This article uses material from the "Seventh Doctor" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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