06 January 2017

Who Has Written for the Most Doctors Who?

A thread on Reddit inspired me to try to figure out who has written for the most actors to have played the Doctor. This is quite a tricky question, of course, because you have to define your parameters. I decided pretty quickly to discount prose fiction because otherwise it all just gets out of hand too quickly: some Short Trips writers have written short stories featuring all eight pre-2005 Doctors, and then all they need is a couple new series novels, and BAM, twelve or thirteen Doctors. But I did decide to count audio, because hey, Colin Baker did read those lines aloud. So the rule is that the Doctor has to be played by an actor who played the Doctor on television, but the actor doesn't have to be playing the Doctor on television.

Here's who I think the top contenders are: (I'm not going to list anyone who got 5/13 just through audio because it's too easy to write for all five of the regular Big Finish Doctors. Sorry Paul Magrs and John Dorney and I'm sure many others.)
  • Andrew Smith
    • Four: Full Circle (television)
    • Five: Mistfall (audio)
    • Six: The First Sontarans et al. (audio)
    • Eight: The Sontaran Ordeal (audio)
    • War: Agents of Chaos (audio)
    • TOTAL: 5/13
  • Marc Platt
    • Four: Night of the Stormcrow et al. (audio)
    • Five: Spare Parts et al. (audio) 
    • Six: Paper Cuts et al. (audio)
    • Seven: Ghost Light (television)
    • Eight: The Skull of Sobek et al. (audio)
    • TOTAL: 5/13
  • Gareth Roberts
    • Six: The One Doctor (audio)
    • Seven: Bang-Bang-a-Boom! (audio)
    • Ten: "The Shakespeare Code" et al. (television)
    • Eleven: "The Lodger" et al. (television)
    • Twelve: "The Caretaker" (television)
      • He wrote three novels for Four that were later turned into audios... but he didn't write the audios so TOO BAD.
    • TOTAL: 5/13
  • Robert Holmes
    • Two: The Krotons et al. (television)
    • Three: Spearhead from Space et al. (television)
    • Four: The Ark in Space et al. (television)
    • Five: The Caves of Androzani (television)
    • Six: The Two Doctors et al. (television)
      • If Holmes had written The Five Doctors as originally planned, he would have netted 6/13. But he and Dicks tie for scoring purely off the classic run. In fact, I don't think anyone else even comes close!
    • TOTAL: 5/13
  • Nicholas Briggs
    • Four: Destination: Nerva et al. (audio)
    • Five: The Sirens of Time et al. (audio)
    • Six: The Sirens of Time et al. (audio)
    • Seven: The Sirens of Time et al. (audio)
    • Eight: Sword of Orion et al. (audio)
    • War: Only the Monstrous (audio)
      • Briggs could actually rack up Four through Eight just because of The Light at the End. And if you count Big Finish's recasts of One through Three (I don't, a position you could argue is inconsistent with some I will adopt elsewhere in this tally), he would actually get up to three more from it.
    • TOTAL: 6/13
  • Alan Barnes
    • Four: Trail of the White Worm et al. (audio)
    • Five: Castle of Fear et al. (audio)
    • Six: Brotherhood of the Daleks et al. (audio)
    • Seven: Gods and Monsters et al. (audio)
    • Eight: Storm Warning et al. (audio)
    • Ten: "The Infinite Quest" (cartoon)
      • Yes, you did forget there was a cartoon episode with David Tennant in 2007. Lucky you. You could argue Barnes should also get Three for Zagreus, but they were only archival clips, i.e., Barnes didn't actually write any lines for Jon Pertwee.
    • TOTAL: 6/13
  • Terrance Dicks
    • One: The Five Doctors et al. (television)
    • Two: The War Games (television)
    • Three: The Five Doctors (television)
    • Four: Robot et al. (television)
    • Five: The Five Doctors (television)
    • Six: The Ultimate Adventure (stageplay)
      • Even though Dicks script-edited the whole Jon Pertwee era, he technically never wrote for Pertwee until eight years later, in The Five Doctors. The Five Doctors actually presents something of a problem, as One was recast and played by Richard Hurndall. Which you could dispute as counting. So I guess I'm defining this as "actors who officially played Doctor Who on television, including recasts." And yes, I did count a stageplay!
    • TOTAL: 6/13
  • Mark Gatiss
    • Five: Phantasmagoria (audio)
    • Eight: Invaders from Mars (audio)
    • Nine: "The Unquiet Dead" (television)
    • Ten: "The Idiot's Lantern" (television)
    • Eleven: "Victory of the Daleks" et al. (television)
    • Twelve: "Robot of Sherwood" et al. (television)
      • Gatiss also wrote a Seven novel, Nightshade, which was turned into an audio, but Gatiss didn't write the script of the audio, so arguably it doesn't pass my no-prose rule. He doesn't get a point for One in An Adventure in Space and Time, either, since that's not David Bradley playing One, it's David Bradley playing William Hartnell playing One.
    • TOTAL: 6/13
  • Paul Cornell
    • Five: Circular Time (audio)
    • Six: 100 (audio)
    • Seven: The Shadow of the Scourge (audio)
    • Eight: Seasons of Fear (audio)
    • Nine: "Father's Day" (television)
    • Ten: "Human Nature" (television)
      • There was a point in time (2007, I guess) where Paul Cornell was the only person to have written for all the actively-performing Doctors. But then Tom Baker came back to audio in 2009 and Cornell hasn't written for the television show since, which is a shame. You could also argue he deserves a point for Richard E. Grant in Scream of the Shalka... but... ahahaha, no.
    • TOTAL: 6/13
  • Matt Fitton
    • Four: Death Match (audio)
    • Five: Equilibrium (audio)
    • Six: The Wrong Doctors et al. (audio)
    • Seven: Black and White et al. (audio)
    • Eight: Dark Eyes 2 et al. (audio)
    • War: Infernal Devices (audio)
    • Ten: Technophobia (audio)
      • Fitton has a big advantage in being the only Big Finish writer to have written for both the Tenth Doctor and the War Doctor.
    • TOTAL: 7/13
  • Steven Moffatt
    • One: "The Day of the Doctor" (television)
    • Four: "The Day of the Doctor" (television)
    • Five: "Time Crash" (television)
    • Eight: "The Night of the Doctor" (web)
    • War: "The Day of the Doctor" (television)
    • Nine: "The Empty Child" (television)
    • Ten: "The Girl in the Fireplace" et al. (television)
    • Eleven: "The Eleventh Hour" et al. (television)
    • Twelve: "Deep Breath" et al. (television)
      • Really he gets in here on two technicalities. Of course William Hartnell was long-dead by "Day of the Doctor," but if I count One's recast for The Five Doctors, I don't see how I can't count John Guilor's one line in "Day." Plus Tom Baker is technically not playing Four in "Day"... but he is playing a future incarnation of the Doctor, so he still counts as a Doctor actor playing the Doctor. But even though Two, Three, Six, and Seven also appeared in "Day" (not to mention "The Name of the Doctor") it was only via archival footage or stand-ins, so it doesn't count.
    • TOTAL: 9/13
As the Reddit thread concluded, not only is Moffatt winning, but he's winning by such a degree and in such a way it's hard to imagine how anyone else will catch him up-- at least, until Christopher Eccleston, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi also agree to do audio adventures in their dotage, allowing Matt Fitton to wrack up three more points.


  1. Great research! Though I think you should give it another run, including prose; I bet the top spot is not all that tightly contested.

    1. Thanks! Delving into the short fiction seems like a lot of work. My guess is that the winner would be Justin Richards by a mile.