Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



The following is a list of people from the real world that appeared in Doctor Who, or any of its spin-offs, including historical figures and people who played themselves.

The first historical figure to appear in Doctor Who is a Venetian explorer Marco Polo, in appropriately named story Marco Polo (1964). Doctor Who of the 1960s introduced these characters in "pure historical" stories, where they never encountered anything extraterrestrial, besides the Doctor and his companions. The first example of a "pseudo historical" can be found in The Chase (1965), where the crew of the Mary Celeste has to deal with the Daleks. Such stories became common since Doctor Who's revival in 2005.

The first person to play themselves in Doctor Who was Kenneth Kendall, a newsreader in The War Machines (1966). Another newsreader, Jason Mohammad, holds the record for the most appearances in television media of any real world personality.

The Gunfighters (1966), The Myth Makers (1965) and The Haunting of Villa Diodati (2020) have the record number of historical figure appearances - 11, 9 and 8, respectively.


Name Actor Period Story
Several appearances
Elizabeth I Vivienne Bennett
Angela Pleasence
Joanna Page
The Chase (1965)
The Shakespeare Code (2007)
The Day of the Doctor (2013)
William Shakespeare Hugh Walters
Dean Lennox Kelly
The Chase (1965)
The Shakespeare Code (2007)
Albert Einstein Tom O'Leary
Nickolas Grace
1940s Time and the Rani (1987)
Death Is the Only Answer (2011)
Elizabeth II Mary Reynolds
Jessica Martin
Silver Nemesis (1988)
Voyage of the Damned (2007)
Charles Dickens Simon Callow 1869 The Unquiet Dead (2005)
The Wedding of River Song (2011)
Winston Churchill Ian McNeice 1940s The Beast Below (2010)
Victory of the Daleks (2010)
The Pandorica Opens (2010)
The Wedding of River Song (2011)
Vincent van Gogh Tony Curran 1890 Vincent and the Doctor (2010)
The Pandorica Opens (2010)
Richard Nixon Stuart Milligan 1969 Prequel (2011)
The Impossible Astronaut (2011)
Day of the Moon (2011)
Henry Avery Hugh Bonneville 1699 Prequel (2011)
The Curse of the Black Spot (2011)
A Good Man Goes to War (2011)
Single appearance
Marco Polo Mark Eden 1289 Marco Polo (1964)
Kublai Khan Martin Miller
Empress Claire Davenport
Maximilien Robespierre Keith Anderson 1794 The Reign of Terror (1964)
Paul Barras John Law
Napoléon Bonaparte Tony Wall
Nero Derek Francis 64 AD The Romans (1965)
Tigilinus Brian Proudfoot
Poppaea Kay Patrick
Locusta Anne Tirard
Richard the Lionheart Julian Glover 1190s The Crusade (1965)
Saladin Bernard Kay
Saphadin Roger Avon
Joanna Jean Marsh
Abraham Lincoln Robert Marsden 1863 The Chase (1965)
Francis Bacon Roger Hammond 1590s
Albert C. Richardson Dennis Chinnery 1872
Benjamin Briggs David Blake Kelly
Achilles Cavan Kendall c. 1200 BC The Myth Makers (1965)
Hector Alan Haywood
Odysseus Ivor Salter
Agamemnon Francis De Wolff
Menelaus Jack Melford
Priam Max Adrian
Paris Barrie Ingham
Cassandra Frances White
Troilus James Lynn
Bing Crosby Robert Jewell 20th century The Daleks' Master Plan (1965)
Charlie Chaplin uncredited cameo
Charles IX Barry Justice 1572 The Massacre (1966)
Catherine de Medici Joan Young
Gaspard de Coligny Leonard Sachs
Gaspard de Saux-Tavannes André Morell
Charles de Teligny Michael Bilton
Ike Clanton William Hurndell 1881 The Gunfighters (1966)
Phineas Clanton Maurice Good
Billy Clanton David Cole
Kate Fisher Sheena Marshe
Wyatt Earp John Alderson
Doc Holliday Anthony Jacobs
Bat Masterson Richard Beale
Pa Clanton Reed De Rouen
Johnny Ringo Laurence Payne
Warren Earp Martyn Huntley
Virgil Earp Victor Carin
Grey David Garth 1746 The Highlanders (1966)
Ravensworth Terence Alexander 19th century The Mark of the Rani (1985)
George Stephenson Gawn Grainger
H. G. Wells David Chandler 1885 Timelash (1985)
Hypatia uncredited cameo 5th century Time and the Rani (1987)
Louis Pasteur 19th century
Queen Victoria Pauline Collins 1879 Tooth and Claw (2006)
Madame de Pompadour Sophia Myles, Jessica Atkins 1727-1764 The Girl in the Fireplace (2006)
Louis XV Ben Turner
Richard Burbage Jahaal Hartley 1599 The Shakespeare Code (2007)
Will Kempe David Westhead
Peter Streete Matt King
Agatha Christie Fenella Woolgar 1926 The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008)
Barack Obama uncredited 2009-2010 The End of Time (2009-10)
Gachet Howard Lee 1890 The Pandorica Opens (2010)
Jane Grey Amber Beattie 1553 Lost in Time (2010)
Ellen Elizabeth Rider
Marilyn Monroe off-screen cameo 1952 A Christmas Carol (2010)
Charles II Paul Critoph 17th century The Impossible Astronaut (2011)
Adolf Hitler Albert Welling 1938 Let's Kill Hitler (2011)
Mata Hari uncredited cameo 19th century Pond Life (2012)
Nefertiti Riann Steele 1334 BC Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012)
Henry VIII off-screen cameo 16th century The Power of Three (2012)
Robin Hood[1] Tom Riley 1190 Robot of Sherwood (2014)
Rosa Parks Vinette Robinson 1955 Rosa (2018)
James Blake Trevor White
Raymond Parks David Rubin
Martin Luther King Ray Sesay
Fred Gray Aki Omoshaybi
James I Alan Cumming 17th century The Witchfinders (2018)
Ada Lovelace Sylvie Briggs 1834 Spyfall (2020)
Charles Babbage Mark Dexter
Noor Inayat Khan Aurora Marion 1943
Nikola Tesla Goran Višnjić 1900s Nikola Tesla's Night of Terror (2020)
Thomas Edison Robert Glenister
Dorothy Skerrit Haley McGee
Mary Shelley Lili Miller 1816 The Haunting of Villa Diodati (2020)
George Gordon Byron Jacob Collins-Levy
Claire Clairmont Nadia Parkes
John Polidori Maxim Baldry
Percy Shelley Lewis Rainer
Fletcher Stefan Bednarczyk
Elise Sarah Perles
William Shelley uncredited
D'Artagnan John Greenwood Fiction The Mind Robber (1969)
Cyrano de Bergerac David Cannon
Blackbeard Gerry Wain
Kamelion as John of England Gerald Flood 1215 The King's Demons (1983)
Davinadroid Davina McCall 200,100 Bad Wolf (2005)
Anne Droid Anne Robinson
Trine-E Trinny Woodall
Zu-Zana Susannah Constantine
Played themselves
Kenneth Kendall 1966 The War Machines (1966)
Alex MacIntosh 1970s Day of the Daleks (1972)
Courtney Pine 1988 Silver Nemesis (1988)
Matt Baker 2006 Aliens of London (2005)
Andrew Marr Aliens of London / World War Three (2005)
Jason Mohammad 2006-2009 The Christmas Invasion (2005)
Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? (2007)
The Lost Boy (2007)
Voyage of the Damned (2007)
Turn Left (2008)
The Stolen Earth (2008)
Huw Edwards 2012 Fear Her (2006)
Derek Acorah 2007 Army of Ghosts (2006)
Alistair Appleton
Trisha Goddard
Gethin Jones 2008 Invasion of the Bane (2007)
Konnie Huq
Sharon Osbourne The Sound of Drums (2007)
Ann Widdecombe
Nicholas Witchell Voyage of the Damned (2007)
Richard Dawkins 2009 The Stolen Earth (2008)
Paul O'Grady
Lizo Mzimba Mona Lisa's Revenge (2009)
Patrick Moore 2008 The Eleventh Hour (2010)
Sian Williams 2011 The Wedding of River Song (2011)
Bill Turnbull
Meredith Vieira
Brian Cox 2010s The Power of Three (2012)
A Night with the Stars (2013)
Alan Sugar 2010s The Power of Three (2012)
Nick Hewer
Sophie Raworth
Jenny Hill 2010s In the Forest of the Night (2014)


Name Actor Period Story
Several appearances
Queen Victoria Deborah Watling
Lizzie Roper
Rowena Cooper
1890s The Barnacled Baby (2001)
The Wax Princess (2014)
6 appearances (2016-2020)
William Shakespeare Jem Bassett
Michael Fenton-Stevens
The Time of the Daleks (2002)
The Kingmaker (2006)
Sieur d'Eon Jo Castleton
Nickolas Grace
Sabbath Dei / In the Year of the Cat (2003)
The Sword of the Chevalier (2017)
The Duke of Wellington Ron Moody
Granville Saxton
Other Lives (2005)
The Curse of Davros (2012)
Jane Austen Maureen O'Brien (narrator)
Nathalie Buscombe
Frostfire (2007)
False Coronets (2018)
Napoléon Bonaparte Peter Purves (narrator)
Jonathan Owen
Mother Russia (2007)
The Curse of Davros (2012)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart John Sessions
Teddy Kempner
1791 My Own Private Wolfgang (2007)
A Requiem for the Doctor (2018)
Mary Shelley Julie Cox 1816 Mary's Story (2009), The Silver Turk, The Witch from the Well, Army of Death (2011)
Christopher Marlowe Matt Addis
Rick Yale
1590 Point of Entry (2010)
The Death of Captain Jack (2018)
Alexander the Great John Dorney
Aly Cruickshank
323 BC Farewell, Great Macedon (2010)
The Death of Captain Jack (2018)
Hephaeston William Russell (narrator)
Luke Williams
Henry VIII Paul Shearer
16th century
Recorded Time (2011)
Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated (2019)
Harry Houdini Tim Beckmann
John Schwab
Smoke and Mirrors (2013)
Harry Houdini's War (2019)
Sigmund Freud Adrian Lukis
David Sibley
Return of the Repressed (2013)
Conflict Theory (2020)
Frederick Abberline Adrian Rawlins 1894 The Monstrous Menagerie, Murder at Moorsey Manor, The Wax Princess (2014)
Winston Churchill Ian McNeice, Iain Batchelor 1890s, 1940s, 1950s 11 appearances (2016-2020)
Jeremy Thorpe Tim Treloar
Nicola Walker (narrator)
1970s Damascus (2016)
The World Beyond the Trees (2017)
Single appearance
Alessandro di Cagliostro John Wadmore 18th century Birthright (1999)
Mary I Anah Ruddin 1555 The Marian Conspiracy (2000)
Charles Darwin Miles Richardson 1835 Bloodtide (2001)
Fitzroy George Telfer
John Houseman Jonathan Rigby 1938 Invaders from Mars (2002)
Orson Welles David Benson
Edward the Confessor Lennox Greaves 1055 Seasons of Fear (2002)
Edith Sue Wallace
Anne of France Nicola Bryant 1626 The Church and the Crown (2002)
Louis XIII Andrew Mackay
Richelieu Michael Shallard
George Villiers Marcus Hutton
De Chevreuse Wendy Albiston
John Montagu Michael Chance 1762 Sabbath Dei / In the Year of the Cat (2003)
George III Eric MacLennan
Earl of Bute Mark Grieg
Amenhotep II William Franklyn c. 1300 BC The Roof of the World (2004)
Daft Jamie David Tennant 1828 Medicinal Purposes (2004)[2]
Mary Patterson Glenna Morrison
William Burke Kevin O'Leary
Billy Hare Tom Farrelly
Elizabeth I Kate Brown 1588
A Storm of Angels (2005)
Francis Drake Cameron Stewart
John Dee Ivor Danvers
Constantine I David Bamber 325 The Council of Nicaea (2005)
Fausta Claire Carroll
Arius Steve Kynman
Athanasius Martin Parsons
Robin Hood Duncan Wisbey 12th century Wildthyme at Large (2005)
Max Miller Roy Hudd 1936 Pier Pressure (2006)[3]
George, Duke of Clarence Arthur Smith 1483-1485 The Kingmaker (2006)
Richard III of England Stephen Beckett
Edward V Katie Wimpenny
Richard Linzi Matthews
Earl Rivers Jon Culshaw
James Tyrell Chris Neill
Oliver Cromwell Clive Mantle 1649 The Settling (2006)
Socrates Paul Shelley 430 BC The Oracle of Delphi (2006)
Plato Scott Handcock
Marcel Proust 1913 Year of the Pig (2006)
Isaac Newton David Warner 17th century Summer (2007)
Vlad III James Purefoy 1462 Son of the Dragon (2007)
Radu Douglas Hodge
Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder Will Thorp 101 BC 100 BC (2007)
Aurelia Lucy Paterson
Julia Caesar
Clara Harris Lysette Anthony 1865 Assassin in the Limelight (2008)
John Parker Eric Loren
Henry Clay Ford Alan Marriott
John Wilkes Booth Paul Dubois
Thomas Eckert Mikey O'Connor
Dick Turpin Nicky Henson 1738 The Doomwood Curse (2008)
Margaret Thatcher Nadine Cox 1980s The Ultimate Adventure (2008)
Howard Carter Benedict Cumberbatch 1902 False Gods (2008)
Joseph Banks Ian Hallard 1770 The Transit of Venus (2009)
James Cook William Russell (narrator)
Florence Nightingale Jeany Spark 1854 The Angel of Scutari (2009)
Sidney Herbert Hugh Bonneville
Nicholas I
William Russell John Paul Connolly
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy John Albasiny
Hamilton Seymour Sean Brosnan
Percy Shelley Anthony Glennon 1816 Mary's Story (2009)
George Gordon Byron Robert Forknall
John Polidori Ian Hallard
Claire Clairmont Katrina Cooke
James II Andrew Fettes 1688 The Glorious Revolution (2009)
Mary of Modena Frazer Hines (narrator)
James Stuart
George of St Albans Joe Thomas 1199 Castle of Fear (2009)
Qin Shi Huang Deborah Watling (narrator) 210 BC The Emperor of Eternity (2010)
Francis Walsingham Ian Brooker 1590 Point of Entry (2010)
Edgar Allan Poe Eric Loren 19th century Nevermore (2010)
Sitric Silkbeard Terrence Hardiman 1006 The Book of Kells (2010)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Mark Meadows 1894 The Demon of Paris (2010)
Ptolemy Lagus William Russell (narrator) 323 BC Farewell, Great Macedon (2010)
Michael Faraday Nigel Lambert 1854 The Four Doctors (2010)
Jumbo 1885 The Wondrous Box (2011)
Tom Thumb
Nikola Tesla Duncan Wisbey 1890s Chronoclasm (2011)
Anne Boleyn Laura Molyneux 1536 Recorded Time (2011)
Oscar Wilde Alan Cox 1890s Beautiful Things (2012)
Marshal Ney Robert Portal 1815 The Curse of Davros (2012)
Boudica Ella Kenion 60 The Wrath of the Iceni (2012)
Grigori Rasputin Tim Chipping 1903 The Wanderer (2012)
John White Philip Pope 1590 Voyage to the New World (2012)
Wanchese Ramon Tikaram
Walter Raleigh Mark Lockyer
Eleanor Dare Emerald O'Hanrahan
Francis Drake William Russell (narrator) 1587 The Flames of Cadiz (2013)
Hypatia Susan Franklyn 5th century The Library of Alexandria (2013)
Æthelfrid Rachel Atkins 918 The Lady of Mercia (2013)
Ælfwynn Catherine Grose
Earl of Wessex Stephen Critchlow
Fritz Haber Carole Ann Ford (narrator) 1933 The Alchemists (2013)
Christopher Columbus Cameron Stewart 1492 Trouble in Paradise (2013)
Laika Samantha Béart 1963 1963: The Space Race (2013)
Arthur Conan Doyle Steven Miller 1894 The Monstrous Menagerie (2014)
Jack the Ripper Patrick Drury The Wax Princess (2014)
Aristophanes Samuel West 421 BC Mask of Tragedy (2014)
Cleon Alisdair Simpson
Geoffrey Chaucer Gareth Armstrong 1400 The Doctor's Tale (2014)
Henry IV Joseph Kloska
Tom Chaucer
Isabella Alice Haig
Thomas Arundel John Banks
H. G. Wells Hugh Ross (narrator) 20th century The Piltdown Men (2014)
Bronisław Huberman Stephen Critchlow (narrator) 1936 String Theory (2015)
Antonio Stradivari 18th century
Benjamin Franklin Peter Purves (narrator) 1894 The Founding Fathers (2015)
Hatshepsut Sakuntala Ramanee Distant past The Eye of Horus (2015)
Tutmosis Matthew J Morgan
Theodora Sarah Woodward 540 The Secret History (2015)
Procopius Tony Millan
Flavius Belisarius Giles Watling
Justinian Tim Wallers
Richard the Lionheart Stephen Critchlow (narrator) 12th century The Warren Legacy (2015)
Galileo Galilei John Woodvine 1639 The Galileo Trap, The Satanic Mill (2015)
Rembrandt van Rijn Richard James 1658 The Waters of Amsterdam (2016)
Julius Caesar Alistair Petrie 55 Living History (2016)
Maurice Ravel Andy McKeane 1890s Maurice (2016)
Bram Stoker Jonathan Forbes The Woman in White (2016)
Henry Irving Edward de Souza
Michelangelo Matthew Kelly 1511 Fallen Angels (2016)
Thomas Cromwell John Shrapnel 1538 The Eighth Piece / The Doomsday Chronometer (2016)
Alexander III 19th century The Torchwood Archive (2016)
Robert W Paul Nigel Whitmey 1890s The Flickermen, School of Blood (2016)
Niccolo Machiavelli Mark Frost 1514 The Ravelli Conspiracy (2016)
Guiliano de Medici Jamie Ballard
Leo X Robert Hands
Emily Brontë Laura Riseborough 1845 The Window on the Moor (2017)
Douwemout Van Der Meer Giles New 1756 The Behemoth (2017)
Constanze Mozart Rosanna Miles 1791 A Requiem for the Doctor (2018)
Catherine the Great Marilyn Le Conte 1785 The Death of Captain Jack (2018)
Ian Fleming Gyuri Sarossy 1941 Human Conflict (2018)
Isambard Kingdom Brunel James MacCallum 1828 Iron Bright (2018)
Marc Brunel Christopher Fairbank
Franz Kafka Tim Bentinck 1920s Whodunnit? (2018)
Salvador Dalí Gethin Anthony 1922 Muse of Fire (2018)
Elissa Ajjaz Awad Distant past The Phoenicians (2019)
Pygmalion Jo Ben Ayed
Bitias Youssef Kerkour
Hiarbas Raad Rawi
Aphra Behn Neve McIntosh (narrator) 1666 The Astrea Conspiracy (2019)
Nell Gwyn
Ada Lovelace Finty Williams 1852 The Enchantress of Numbers (2019)
Colonel Wildman Andrew Havill
Edvard Scheutz Glen McCready
Wilhelm Grimm Arthur Hughes 19th century L.E.G.E.N.D. (2019)
Jacob Grimm Leighton Pugh
Marcus Tullius Cicero Samuel Barnett 63 BC Tartarus (2019)
Terentia Laura Riseborough
Marcus Minor
Duleep Singh Paul Bazely 1893 Fortitude (2020)
Mary Seacole Mandi Symonds 1855 The Charge of the Night Brigade (2020)
Georges Melies Frazer Hines (narrator) 1908 Deleted Scenes (2020)
Nicholas II Leighton Pugh 1918 Last of the Romanovs (2020)
Anastasia Romanov Alex Tregear
Yakov Yurovsky Dan Starkey
Grigory Nikulin George Weightman
H. P. Lovecraft Alan Marriott 1937 The Lovecraft Invasion (2020)
Rob Roy MacGregor Charlie Ross Fiction City of Spires, Legend of the Cybermen (2010)
Demon as Claudius Nigel Anthony 46 The Relics of Time (2010)
Nostradamus David Schofield Duplicate The Doomsday Quatrain (2011)
George Gordon Byron Glen McCready Apparition The Enchantress of Numbers (2019)
Marilyn Monroe Mark Reynolds (narrator) Manifestation Decline of the Ancient Mariner (2020)
Played themselves
Tony Blackburn 1997 The Rapture (2002)
Angela Rippon 1980 Doctor Who and the Star Beast (2019)


  1. The historicity of Robin Hood is not proven and has been debated for centuries.
  2. Robert Knox, an antagonist of the story, shares his name with the real world doctor who was involved in the events depicted in the story. However, he is stated not to be the "real" Knox.
  3. One of the characters in the story, young actor Billy played by Martin Parsons, could be interpreted as William Hartnell.