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You may be looking for the Doctor.

Doctor was a title used by physicians and the holders of certain advanced university degrees.


According to River Song, the word came from the renegade Time Lord known as the Doctor. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War) The Doctor himself seemed to concur with this claim; the Fourth Doctor told Harry Sullivan "You may be a doctor. But I am the Doctor. The definite article, you might say." (TV: Robot) The Twelfth Doctor likewise clarified to Grant that he was the Doctor and that he "started it", claiming himself to be "The one. The main one, the original.", he went on to say that all other doctors were "based on [him]" and "now everyone who wants to sound clever calls themselves doctor." (TV: The Return of Doctor Mysterio) The First Doctor also claimed to be the original doctor upon hearing his twelfth incarnation call himself "the Doctor". (TV: The Doctor Falls)

While the term originally and typically meant "healer" or "wise man", some cultures by the 52nd century used the word to mean "great warrior" due to their fear of the Doctor. It was implied that the word's true origin had been forgotten. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War) The Eleventh Doctor considered the title to mean "total, screaming genius" and "modest and a tiny bit sexy." (TV: Asylum of the Daleks) In the 21st century, the title could be mistaken for the moniker of a drug dealer. (TV: The Lodger) While Dr Solow mentioned in 2084 that her training as a doctor meant that murder did not come easy to her, (TV: Warriors of the Deep) by the 45th century, to behave like a doctor was to kill people. (AUDIO: Plague of the Daleks)

In fact, the title originally meant to the Doctor that they were upholding their promise to "Never [be] cruel or cowardly; never give up, never give in." (TV: The Day of the Doctor) The Eighth Doctor liked to believe that being called "Doctor" meant he was a good man, and the War Doctor decided he was "Doctor no more" when he broke this promise, intending to join the Last Great Time War. (TV: The Night of the Doctor)

General Staal of the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet recognised "doctor" as the name of the "facechanger" and enemy of the Sontarans who led the battle in the Last Great Time War. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem)

Association with the Doctor[]

Such was the title's association with the Doctor that individuals, including the Doctor themself, could mistakenly presume the mention of the title as a reference to the Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor, upon hearing Rusty address him as "doctor", mistakenly assumed that the Dalek recognised him only to learn that it was promised medical assistance. (TV: Into the Dalek)


A GP was a kind of doctor. Dr Melton was a GP. (AUDIO: A Mother's Son)

Academic distinction[]

A doctorate could be awarded for those who had attained a certain level of specialised knowledge in a certain subject. Two such people were Bernice Summerfield and River Song, who both acquired a doctorate in Archaeology. (TV: Closing Time, PROSE: Return of the Living Dad) A PhD was also a form of doctorate. (TV: Reset) Petronella Osgood acquired a PhD from King Henry's University. (AUDIO: The Sacrifice of Jo Grant, Power Cell)

The Doctor as a medical doctor[]

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When asked by Polly Wright if his name implied he was a medical doctor, the Second Doctor claimed he graduated in Medicine in 1888 in Glasgow, (TV: The Moonbase) though Clara Oswald would later explain that he graduated in the wrong century. (TV: Death in Heaven) On other occasions, the Doctor's first, (TV: "The Forest of Fear", "Mighty Kublai Khan") second, (TV: The Krotons) fourth, (TV: The Ark in Space, PROSE: Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes) and fifth incarnations claimed not to be a doctor of medicine. (AUDIO: Red Dawn)

The First Doctor once claimed to be a doctor of medicine as well as "numerous other disciplines". (AUDIO: Last of the Romanovs) The Thirteenth Doctor identified herself as a doctor of medicine, science, engineering, candy floss, LEGO, philosophy, music, problems, people and hope, but mostly hope. (TV: The Tsuranga Conundrum) She claimed to have obtained a doctorate at the University of Gallifrey. (COMIC: Herald of Madness) The Eleventh Doctor confirmed that he was both a doctor of medicine and of cheesemaking. (TV: The God Complex)

The Fourth Doctor simply said he was a doctor of "many things", (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen) or "just about everything", placing emphasis on "just about". (AUDIO: The Darkness of Glass) The First Doctor claimed to be a "doctor of science". (TV: The Massacre) When questioned, the Sixth Doctor replied that he was a doctor of "this and that, mostly that". (AUDIO: The Spectre of Lanyon Moor) The Tenth Doctor introduced himself as a doctor "of everything" on Silo 16, leading Professor Yana to recognise him as a fellow scientist. (TV: Utopia)

Despite all this, the Doctor has shown medical knowledge on several occasions. (TV: World War Three, The Doctor Dances, New Earth, The Age of Steel, Smith and Jones, The Shakespeare Code, Planet of the Ood, The Poison Sky, The Unicorn and the Wasp, The Vampires of Venice, et al.)

In several circumstances, the Doctor let others think their title was to be intended as a physician. The Saxon Master mentioned the Doctor's title as being "the man who makes people better". (TV: The Sound of Drums) The Doctor, in various incarnations, was known to assure people, "It's alright, I'm a doctor." (TV: Meglos, Ghost Light, The Shakespeare Code, Vincent and the Doctor, Knock Knock)

When the Twelfth Doctor admitted that he doubted Davros' claim to be dying, even when face to face with him, Davros quipped that the Time Lord was "not a good doctor", to which both men laughed. (TV: The Witch's Familiar)

First Doctor[]

  • With the pirate Cherub and his party, who called him "Sawbones" — seaman's slang for a ship's doctor. (TV: The Smugglers)

Second Doctor[]

Third Doctor[]

Eleventh Doctor[]

Thirteenth Doctor[]

Behind the scenes[]