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The First Doctor (William Hartnell/Richard Hurndall/David Bradley)

The First Doctor, played by William Hartnell, was, by his own statement, the “original” incarnation of the Doctor. Holding himself in high regard, he was prone to criticizing those whom he felt were naïve or primitive compared to his intellect. However, he possessed compassion, warmth, and wit that made up for his egocentric nature, serving to act as a mentor and guardian figure in his elderly years. Originally a very difficult and curmudgeonly person, the First Doctor matured from an apparent selfishness and became more inviting. His happier, kinder characteristics fostered when he began to acquire an entourage of companions to accompany him throughout the wonders of the fourth dimension and learned to be a caregiver with a sense of justice in a universe afflicted by evils.

Beginning after he fled his home world of Gallifrey, his travels through time and space were mostly random owing to faulty components in his TARDIS. Initially, he traveled only with his granddaughter Susan Foreman. They settled for a time on Earth in 1963, where Susan was a student at Coal Hill School. He was forced to abruptly depart from Earth with Susan’s teachers, Ian Chesterton, and Barbara Wright, kidnapping them from their own time after they went to investigate their unusual pupil. After much travel with Ian and Barbara, he bade Susan farewell to allow her to live a happier life with a man with whom she had fallen in love.

Following Susan’s departure, the Doctor traveled for a short time with Ian and Barbara, before happening upon the planet Dido, a planet he knew from previous journeys. Here, he invited a new traveling companion to join him, Vicki. She reminded him of Susan, and the Doctor saw her as a surrogate to fill her spot in his travels with Ian and Barbara. Later, during a confrontation with the Daleks, the Doctor used one of their time machines to return Ian and Barbara to their proper time – something he had been unable to manage with his TARDIS.

Soon after the departure of Ian and Barbara, the Doctor and Vicki had gained a new companion in Steven Taylor, with whom the Doctor had a relatively uneasy relationship. Vicki eventually left the Doctor’s company as well, also after falling in love with a man she met on one of their travels. Steven soon became bitter towards the Doctor, blaming him for the several deaths of their traveling companions; Katarina and Sara Kingdom, but eventually forgave him. They were then joined by Dodo Chaplet. Ultimately, Steven decided to stay to help a civilization they had encountered, while Dodo was later injured in an adventure and decided to remain home in her own time.

Shortly before his battle with the Cybermen of Mondas in Antarctica in December 1986, the Doctor had gained two new companions in Ben Jackson and Polly Wright, to whom he was much more kind; he hoped to prevent them from leaving as Steven had. He met his end after battling the Cybermen for the first time. He was forced to regenerate into his second body from exhaustion and a loss of strength to maintain his ancient body after Mondas drained a large portion of his life force.