Doctor Who is a dick. Or a percentage of a dick, at least

All the Doctors Who

A little while ago, I was having a discussion on Twitter* with @stu_n and @mpphilips about who should be cast as a female Doctor Who, should that ever be something under consideration. My suggestion of Mary Louise Parker did not go down well. This was on the general grounds that Mary Louise Parker ‘is irritating’.

Everything is in the eye of the beholder, etc, but my counter to this point left my conversational partners stunned, I tell you. Stunned. Because I suggested that the Doctor is supposed to be irritating and casting Parker would at least be consistent on those grounds.

Are you stunned by this? Maybe you are. The Doctor is the hero of the piece, not even an anti-hero. He does good things. Surely he should be nice. Or not irritating, anyway.

However, I think it’s actually the case that Doctor Who is a dick, who does all kinds of dickish things but gets away with them because he’s the hero and occasionally has a companion who subverts his dickishness.

Now, he’s not all dick, clearly. In fact, I have a theory that each Doctor lies on a ‘dick-fey’ continuum, with the vast bulk of his personality from incarnation to incarnation being a mix of these two traits. And here’s a handy guide to exactly how much of a dick/fey he is with each incarnation, so you can see how right I am.

  1. Hartnell: Dick who becomes more fey
  2. Troughton: Fey with a hint of dick
  3. Pertwee: Dick
  4. T Baker: Huge dick
  5. Davison: Fey with a hint of dick
  6. C Baker: Colossal dick
  7. McCoy: Fey who becomes more dick
  8. McGann: Fey
  9. Hurt: Dick
  10. Eccleston: Huge dick
  11. Tennant: Dick
  12. Smith: Fey dick
  13. Capaldi: Ultra dick

You’ll note that Doctor number 8 – Paul McGann – is the only one who has no dickish qualities whatsoever and that’s probably because he had so little time on-screen that he never had the chance to display his innate dickishness**.

What do you think? Have I rocked your world? Am I massively off base? Is the Doctor actually all fluffy and lovely and extremely endearing?

* Obvious promotion of my Twitter account to suggest that fun and exciting conversations can be had if you follow me
** If you count audio and book adventures as well, then Doctor 8 is not only the longest running of all the Doctors but gets to show his innate dickishness on many, many occasions.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.