Tennant topped the poll with 10,518 votes, but family tensions are likely to escalate this week due to the actor arriving at the bottom. In 13th place, with 315 sparse votes, was Peter Davison, the fifth physician and father of Tennant’s wife, Georgia.
Just 95 votes behind Tennant was Whittaker, the first woman to play Time Lord. Each got 21% of the vote. Third in the poll was Peter Capaldi with 8,897 votes (18%), followed by Matt Smith with 7,637 votes (16%) and Tom Baker with 3,977 votes (8%).
Huw Fullerton, Radio Times’ sci-fi and fantasy editor, said it was striking that Tennant came out on top more than a decade after leaving the show.
“With Jodie Whittaker on her heels and a great performance for other recent medics like Peter Capaldi, it looks like the fans have other Time Lords in their hearts as well.
Tennant was three years old when he told his parents he wanted to be an actor because of Doctor Who. In 2005, his dreams came true when he was cast to succeed Christopher Eccleston in the hit revival of Russell T. Davies, staying for three series.
He is perhaps one of the UK’s most famous Shakespearean actors and the star of many hit TV shows including Broadchurch and Good Omens, but for many people Tennant will always be Doctor Who. Last week, playing serial killer Dennis Nilsen on the ITV Des, there were probably people wondering, “Is this Doctor Who?” ”
In an interview with The Guardian, Tennant was gleeful about the care the Doctor brings throughout his life. It is, he says, “a wonderful and humbling thing, but it means accepting an adjustment to your life.”
The Radio Times conceded that the question of who is the best doctor is one it has asked repeatedly over the years. But with Whittaker at the helm – “and with no sign of his handing over the Sonic Screwdriver anytime soon” – now seemed like the right time to reignite the debate.
There were rules. Voters could only choose “lead” doctors – “actors who canonically held the role of titular doctor at one time or another”, which meant not John Hurt (“the war doctor”), Jo Martin (“The Fugitive Doctor”), Peter Cushing (a Doctor movie, not considered part of the Doctor Who canon) or David Bradley (who played the first Doctor in the rebooted series).
This meant that Paul McGann, the Eighth Doctor, who starred in the 1996 TV movie, could be included. The film, on a large budget, was the first attempt to revive the series after being cut by the BBC. It failed in that regard, but McGann, who also played the Doctor in an audio drama, still managed to get a respectable 1,427 votes, or 3%.
1. David Tennant 10 518/21%
2. Jodie Whittaker 10 423/21%
3. Peter Capaldi 8 897/18%
4. Matt Smith 7 637/16%
5. Tom Baker 3 977/8%
6. William Hartnell 1 983/4%
7. Paul McGann 1 427/3%
8. Christopher Eccleston 1 144/2%
9. Jon Pertwee 1 038/2%
10. Patrick Troughton 915/2%
11. Sylvester McCoy 462/1%
12. Colin Baker 359/1%
13. Peter Davison 351/1%