In its 50th anniversary year, the series is watched by an estimated 80 million viewers in 206 countries! Guinness World Records have honored it as both the longest running and most successful science-fiction series in the world. So it is no wonder that the show has attracted all types of actors over the years! From A-listers to up-and-coming stars, the show has allowed a variety of British actors to fulfill their sci-fi dream. We take a look at the ‘thens’ and ‘nows’ of the cast that gripped us to our TV screens. What did they end up doing? What did they end up looking like? Who did they marry? All your questions will be answered.
Louise Jameson As Leela – Then
Leela was a companion of the fourth doctor appearing in 40 episodes overall from 1977 to 1978. Leela was a warrior from the Sevateem tribe. For the pleasure of many of the show’s male fans, she usually dressed in a revealing caveman outfit and carried various forms of weaponry.
Having fallen in love with a Gallifreyan, Leela chose to leave the Doctor (and the show) to live on the planet of Gallifrey.
Louise Jameson – Now
Since leaving the show, Louise went on to star in many other popular TV shows such as Eastenders where she played Rosa di Marco for over two and a half years. She continued appearing in shows as guest appearances until 2013 when she moved away from the cameras to the West End.
Jameson starred in the play Gutted by Rikki Beadle-Blair and was nominated for Best Female Performance in 2013. She has continued to tour with the longest-running show in British Theatre, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.
Tom Baker As The Fourth Doctor – Then
Tom Baker took on the role as The Fourth Doctor and remained for seven consecutive seasons, holding the title as the longest lead. He is probably the most recognizable and iconic of the Doctors. Baker was far from famous when he became the reincarnation of The Doctor; in fact, he made a living from construction work.
Unlike his serious predecessor, the Fourth Doctor was more manic and sharp, while emotionally unpredictable. Tom’s character was known for his floppy hat, long coat, and the infamous long scarf.
Tom Baker – Now
Tom left Doctor Who in 1981 but struggled to gain work as he was too identifiable as the doctor. After some time, Baker returned to the stage where he starred as Oscar Wilde in Feasting The Panthers, alongside his television role as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Despite marrying co-star Romana II, the marriage lasted only 16 months. Six years later, Tom rekindled his relationship with Sue Jerrard, whom he’d met in 1977 when she was an Assistant Film Editor for an episode in the fourth season of Tom’s Doctor Who.
Frazer Hines As Jamie McCrimmon – Then
Frazer’s big debut came in 1966 when he was cast in the role of Jamie, the companion of the Second Doctor. Despite being cast for a one-off role, Frazer went on to play Jamie as a regular member from 1966 to 1969. He appeared in an extensive 117 episodes – more than any of the other “companion” actors.
Jamie spent most of his time traveling in the TARDIS until the doctor was sentenced and he was sent back to Scotland by the Time Lords. All memories but his first adventure with the Doctor were erased.
Frazer Hines – Now
Frazer decided to leave the show at the end of the sixth season as he found the work at Doctor Who was too exhausting. He took a break from his acting career and in 1972 he joined the cast of the popular British soap opera, Emmerdale.
Hines married twice, first to Gemma Craven and then to waterskiing champion Liz Hobbs. Sadly, in July 2010, Hines revealed that he suffered from colorectal cancer for eleven years, which he kept secret due to fear of pity. Frazer is now a well-known supporter of cancer research and the Bobby Moore Foundation.
Sylvester McCoy As The Seventh Doctor – Then
Taking over Colin Baker as the Doctor in 1987, Sylvester continued on the show until it ended in 1989. He also made a reappearance in 1996 in the Doctor Who television movie. McCoy, formerly a comedy actor, started the role off as a light-hearted, clown-like joker.
For fans’ pleasure, his role developed into a more manipulative, cunning character. McCoy was known for wearing a pullover sweater covered with question marks under a safari-style jacket, a white Panama hat, and always carrying his question mark-handled umbrella. As his personality darkened, so did his clothes.
Sylvester McCoy – Now
Sylvester was cast for many different roles after his reign on Doctor Who. He presented his own children’s television show called What’s Your Story? and appeared in well-known television series The Bill and Doctors.
In 2012, a decade after he auditioned for the role of Bilbo Biggins in The Lord of the Rings, Sylvester appeared in The Hobbit as Radagast the Brown. He continued this role in the next two parts of the trilogy. McCoy has a wife and two sons, one of which is the 3D artist for the Doctor Who video game.
Billie Piper As Rose Tyler – Then
In 2005, Doctor Who was resurrected and Billie Piper was cast to play the companion to the ninth incarnation of the Doctor. The Doctor discovered Rose at her workplace and her life had a complete turn around when she began to travel with him in the TARDIS.
Rose’s relationship with boyfriend, Mikey Smith began to decay as she formed a liking for the Doctor. In return, the Doctor’s feelings were reciprocal and he comes to depend on her, even sacrificing his ninth incarnation for her.
Billie Piper – Now
After Doctor who, and before her 2013 appearance in the 50th Anniversary special, Billie performed a very different role where she played the lead in The Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She starred in a number of other television series and films.
Piper is well-known for her marriage to (16-years) older DJ and presenter, Chris Evans after only six months of dating. The couple divorced in 2007. She re-married actor, Laurence Fox, gaining two sons, yet it has been reported the couple are no longer an item.
David Bradley As The First Doctor and Solomon – Then
In 2012, Bradley played the role as evil Solomon in the episode named, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. Solomon was known as a true sociopath. His character was greedy, ruthless, and would do anything to get what he wanted.
A year later, Bradley was called back to Doctor Who to play a very different role. He portrayed the character of the First Doctor, a more mysterious character, taking over from William Hartnell who had passed away in 1975.
David Bradley – Now
David Bradley has made a recent reappearance in Doctor Who, starring in the 2017 final episode, “The Doctor Falls.” He made another come back in the 2017 Christmas special, “Twice Upon a Time.” At the age of 75, he is the oldest actor to play this role.
Bradley is well known for his roles in the popular TV series, Game of Thrones, and movie, Harry Potter. David now lives in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he serves as President of the Second Thoughts Drama Group.
Carole Ann Ford As Susan Foreman – Then
Carole was spotted for the role of Susan in her appearance on the TV show, Z-Cars. She played the granddaughter and original companion of the First Doctor in the first seasons.
It is revealed that she and her grandfather are exiled from Gallifreyan and have been traveling through space and time in a machine named TARDIS. Through the run of the series, it is learned the Doctor, aided by Susan, stole the TARDIS.
Carole Ann Ford – Now
Ford has since worked in a vast acting career with appearances in theatre, movies, and on the television. She has also featured in many quiz shows and worked as a glamor model in the late 1950s. She remained close friends with William Hartnell after leaving Doctor Who and was devastated by his death in 1975.
Ford is married with two daughters. She is currently teaching voice, presentation skills, and dialogue coaching to politicians, businessmen, after dinner speakers, and actors.
Lalla Ward As Romana – Then
Romana, short for Romanadvoratrelundar, was played originally by Mary Tamm (1978-1979). However, when she decided to not sign up for the second season, she was recast and the role was given to Lalla Ward. Romana was a Time Lord from planet Gallifrey and the companion to the Fourth Doctor.
Romana had two on-screen incarnations with somewhat different personalities. The first was exceptionally clever and strong-willed, sharing many traits with the Doctor. She was even capable of killing when necessary. In her second incarnation, she was more bubbly and free-spirited.
Lalla Ward – Now
Unlike many of the other cast members, Lalla moved away from acting and worked as a textile artist and ceramicist. She has also recorded many audio books and written two books of her own on knitting and one on embroidery. Ward devotes much time to her charity work as a trustee for the Actor’s Charitable Trust.
Ward was in a relationship with her co-star Tom Baker whilst working on Doctor Who, but this marriage lasted only 16 months due to their work commitments and different lifestyles.
Richard Franklin As Mike Yates – Then
Mike Yates was a recurring actor on the show. He played the role of a Captain in the fictional military organization U.N.I.T., in the 1971 season. He then continued as a regular in the show in the 1970s.
Yates worked alongside the Doctor, fighting off alien invasions and the Time Lord. He was calm, efficient, and had a good rapport with his men. In the 1973 season, Yates was brainwashed by the artificial intelligence, BOSS, leading to his medical leave from the unit and later resignation.
Richard Franklin – Now
Richard has returned to the screen as Captain Mike Yates in a number of the Doctor Who spin-0ffs. In 2002 Franklin wrote The Killing Stone, a novel featuring Yates as the main character. Alongside his other television appearances, Franklin is a political activist.
He has taken part in many United Kingdom general elections. In 1997, Franklin ran unsuccessfully as a member of the Referendum Party for Hackney South/Shoreditch. His association with a radically perceived party came as a surprise to some of his fans.
Paul McGann As The Eighth Doctor – Then
Paul McGann starred as the Doctor on the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. The film was intended to relaunch the series after its cancellation in 1989, but while it was successful in the U.K., it failed to attract an American audience.
Paul only portrayed the Doctor on screen one more time in the 2013 episode, “The Night of The Doctor.” He played the role as a happy adventurer, falling in love with companions Grace Holloway and Charlotte Pollard.
Paul McGann – Now
Since Doctor Who, McGann has continued to appear on British television. Perhaps his most notable role since Doctor Who was in the 2002 adaptation of Anne Rice’s Queen of the Damned. In 2010, he played a major role in the long-running BBC mystery series Jonathan Creek, as well as appearing as a regular in the crime drama Luther.
In late 2006, Paul and his wife divorced after 15 years of marriage. He remarried with actress Susannah Harker, but they reportedly called it quits in 2008.
Sophie Aldred As Ace – Then
A 20th-century Earth teenager from London, Ace was the Seventh Doctors’ companion and a regular in the series from 1987 to 1989. She is considered one of the Doctor’s most popular companions. She was extremely loyal to the Doctor and, despite insecurities, put on a tough, streetwise exterior.
Her weapon of choice, disapproved of by The Doctor, was a powerful explosive she called “Nitro-9,” which she mixed up in canisters and carried in her backpack. Ace took over from companion Mel, and enthusiastically adventured with the Doctor in the TARDIS.
Sophie Aldred – Now
Sophie continued her previous career as a presenter on television shows for children. Throughout the 2000s she has worked extensively as a voice-over artist for television advertisements and has also provided voices for animated series such as Bob the Builder, Sergeant Stripes, and many more.
Aldred provided the voice for the famous character Dennis the Menace in the 2009 series, Dennis and Gnasher. She had an affair with comedian Les Dennis during his first marriage and then went on the marry actor Vince Henderson.
David Tennant As the Tenth Doctor – Then
Tenant played the role of the Tenth Doctor in over three series and nine specials. He is a charismatic and charming adventurer whose likable and easygoing attitude can quickly turn to righteous fury when provoked.
He is the only incarnation of the Doctor who chose to abort one of his regenerations after being hit by a Dalek ray, redirecting the energy into his hand, healing the damage he had sustained without needing to physically change.
David Tennant – Now
Tennant went on to appear in the 2011 Fright Night remake, voiced a character in How to Train Your Dragon and starred on Jessica Jones, and Broadchurch. He has also made appearances on stage since joining The Royal Shakespeare Company, most famously known for this role in Hamlet.
Tennant married actress Georgia Moffett, the daughter of the Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison. Together they have four children, including a son from Georgia’s previous relationship, whom David adopted.
Timothy Dalton As Rassilon – Then
Rassilon was one of the founders of the Time Lord civilization and was also known as the single greatest figure of Gallifreyan history. After his physical death, Rassilon stayed active in the Matrix and manipulated the Doctor into performing many missions for him.
During the Last Great Time War, he was resurrected from the Matrix to lead the Time Lords, and he tried to find ways to break the time lock and escape the war. After the Doctor saved Gallifrey, Rassilon was overthrown, banished, and converted into a Cyber-Leader.
Timothy Dalton – Now
Since his guest role in Doctor Who, Timothy is best known for playing James Bond in the films The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). He featured in many period dramas, such as Wuthering Heights in 1970.
After some time, Dalton moved to the theatre and performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Timothy Dalton is the highest-profile actor yet from the Bond film franchise to have appeared in Doctor Who. He was in a relationship with musician Oksana Grigorieva and they had a son together before parting ways around 2003.
Peter Davidson As The Fifth Doctor – Then
Dressed in a variation of an Edwardian cricketer’s kit, the Fifth Doctor was the most open and vulnerable of all the Doctors, seemingly naïve and inexperienced, acting like a child excited to see new worlds. Like his first two incarnations, the Doctor often traveled with multiple companions in his TARDIS.
During his final adventure, the Doctor accidentally exposed himself and companion, Peri, to unrefined spectrox, contracting fatal spectrox toxemia. After receiving an antidote for one, he decided to save Peri.
Peter Davison – Now
Since his career on Doctor Who, Peter immediately landed a role in Anna of The Five Towns and later featured in the American show Magnum, P.I. After many guest appearances, Davison returned in 2000 for another major role, that of David Braithwaite in At Home with the Braithwaites.
Davison married his third wife, actress and writer Elizabeth Morton, in 2003. As mentioned, his daughter from his second marriage, Georgia Moffett, married David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor. Certainly a family of fans!
Alex Kingston As River Song – Then
Alex Kingston played the fictional character, River Song, a “child of the TARDIS” and the wife of the Eleventh Doctor. She was mostly human, with some Time Lord DNA. She was the daughter to previous companions, Amy Pond and Rory Williams.
She had great strength and ability to regenerate having been conceived on board the TARDIS as it traveled through the time vortex. River is a companion and eventual wife of the Eleventh Doctor. She was one of few to know the Doctor’s real name.
Alex Kingston – Now
Kingston appeared in a number of British television dramas before and after her appearance on Doctor Who. Despite featuring in the fourth season, she later revisited the role in a whole fifteen episodes a few years after. She took on parts in iconic dramas such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law & Order.
Two years after marrying fellow actor and long-term partner, Ralph Fiennes, they separated due to Fiennes’s affair with his co-star. Kingston has remarried twice since and now resides in the United States.