The Doctor
Third doctor
The Third Doctor
Portrayed by Jon Pertwee
Tenure 1970–1974
First appearance Spearhead from Space
Last appearance Planet of the Spiders
Number of series 5
Appearances 24 stories (128 episodes)
Companions Liz Shaw
Jo Grant
Sarah Jane Smith
Preceded by Second Doctor
Succeeded by Fourth Doctor

The Third Doctor is the third incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science fiction series Doctor Who. He was portrayed by actor Jon Pertwee.

Within the series' narrative, the Doctor is a centuries-old Time Lord alien from the planet Gallifrey who travels in time and space in his TARDIS, frequently with companions. When the Doctor is critically injured, his body automatically regenerates; as a result, his physical appearance and personality change.

Pre Universal Experiment HistoryEdit


The Third Doctor was a suave, dapper, technologically oriented, and authoritative man of action who not only practised Venusian Aikido (or Karate) but enjoyed working on gadgets and riding all manner of vehicles, such as the Whomobile and his pride and joy, the canary-yellow vintage roadster nicknamed "Bessie," a construct which featured such modifications as a remote control, dramatically increased speed capabilities, and inertial dampeners. The First Doctor, upon meeting the Third, described him indignantly as a "dandy."

While this incarnation spent most of his time exiled on Earth, where he grudgingly worked as UNIT's scientific advisor, he was occasionally sent on covert missions by the Time Lords, where he would often act as a reluctant mediator. Even though he developed a fondness for Earthlings with whom he worked, he jumped at any chance to return to the stars with the enthusiasm of a far younger man than himself. If this Doctor had a somewhat patrician and authoritarian air, he was just as quick to criticise authority, too, having little patience with self-inflated bureaucrats, parochially narrow ministers, knee-jerk militarists or red tape in general. His courageousness could easily turn to waspish indignation; it is thus no surprise that a common catchphrase of his was, "Now listen to me!"

Despite his now-and-then arrogance, the Third Doctor genuinely cared for his companions in a paternal fashion, and even held a thinly veiled but grudging admiration for his nemesis, the Master, and for UNIT's leader, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, with whom he eventually became friends. In fact, even when his much-resented exile was lifted, the highly moral and dashing Third Doctor continued to help UNIT protect the Earth from all manner of alien threats.

In general, this incarnation of the Doctor was more physically daring than the previous two and was the first to confront an enemy physically if cornered (both of his previous incarnations nearly always attempted to dodge, flee or negotiate rather than attack). This often took the form of quick strikes, with the occasional joint lock or throw—usually enough to get himself and anyone accompanying him out of immediate danger, but usually not to the extent of a brawl, in keeping with the Doctor's non-violent nature. He only used his fighting skills if he had no alternative, and even then generally disarmed his opponents rather than knocking them unconscious. Indeed, his martial prowess was such that a single, sudden strike was usually enough to halt whatever threatened him, and at one point he reminded Captain Yates (physically as well as verbally) that Yates would have a difficult time removing him from somewhere when he did not want to be removed.

Perhaps due to his time spent on Earth, or maybe just as a function of his pacifistic and authoritative tendencies, the Third Doctor was a skilled diplomat and linguist, as well as having an odd knack for disguises; all of this, combined with his formidable galactic experience, often allowed the Third Doctor to play a central role in the events in which he found himself.


Always charismatic, this Doctor had a personal manner of dress that is the most ornate of his various incarnations, favouring frilled shirts; velvet smoking jackets in blue, green, burgundy, red, or black; evening trousers in colours matching those of his smoking jackets; formal boots, riding boots, dress shoes, and Inverness cloaks for his regular outfit; with variations and accessories including bow ties, cravats, and leather gloves. All of these earned the Third Doctor the nickname of "The Dandy Doctor."