The Doctor’s Hairstyles




Doctor Who fans always spout chapter and verse on the Doctors’ differing personality, attire and appearance, but how often do we focus on his hair? Hair is important and the Doctor is a man whose hair constantly changes totally and utterly every incarnation. Quite literally, hair today, gone tomorrow. Isn’t it time we carefully combed through the Doctors’ locks?

The First Doctor

William Hartnell, the actor, wore short hair, but donned a wig. His First Doctor had a imperious white mane of hair, fitting with the grandfatherly authority of this incarnation.

The Second Doctor

Troughton’s Doctor had a Beatle’s haircut, albeit a very scruffy one, totally in line with his clownish performance. It was a world apart from the smart, slick and parted hairstyle of his lookalike Salamander in “The Enemy of the World”. However in “The Five Doctors” his hair was more mop-like and in “The Two Doctors” a little greyer. Troughton explained his original hairstyle in a 1986 interview: “Michael Craze was responsible for me wearing that absurd Beatles cut, he and Anneke Wills. Just before we went on, we got down to make-up and I’d had a lovely wig fitted that made me look just like Tom Baker, actually, or Colin, and I put it on, and they both looked at me and said ‘You look like Harpo Marx and we’re not going on with you in that wig’, I said ‘Don’t be ridiculous’, they said ‘No, sorry, no’. So they took if off and started doing things, combing it and lifting it and all that, and I ended up like the Beatles, which is totally out of date. Not that that matters to a Timelord!”

The Third Doctor

When we first met Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, his hair was trim and tidy. It was ever so slightly brown and not completely white as we have always associated with him. As the years went by, his locks gradually acquired more bouffance and bounce. This upsurge in hair volume was thanks to actress Katy Manning. When she joined the series, she gently teased Pertwee about his thinning hair and he, sensitive soul that he was, remedied the problem with bigger and bigger perms over the following seasons. 

The Fourth Doctor

In “The Five Doctors” Sarah Jane gestured the Fourth’s appearance to his predecessor who correctly guessed “All teeth and curls!”. Indeed the Tom Baker’s curly hair was part and parcel of his trademark look, along with the obligatory scarf and jelly babies. The Fourth also wore quite distinctive sideburns, often lost underneath his mop of curls. Over his tenure the look basically stayed the same, with varying degrees of volume and curliness. However producer, John Nathan Turner, in his book “The Tardis Inside Out”, tells of a mysterious illness which befell Tom Baker during his final season. It caused his hair to straighten and in “The State of Decay” the Fourth Doctor’s wispy curls were the result of a perm. In “The Day of the Doctor” when Baker made his glorious return to the show as a mysterious future incarnation of the Doctor, he had whiter, flatter hair which added to this new Doctor’s gravitas and mystique.

The Fifth Doctor

Beneath this Doctor’s beautiful blond hair lies a Time Lord mystery. Between adventures, especially in the Fifth’s first season, his hair would mysteriously and quite noticeably change in length. It was as if that baldy, “The Watcher”, jealous of the Doctor’s attractive coiffure, had deliberately thrown a spanner in the regenerative works, causing it to never stop changing. In reality there was a much simpler explanation. At the beginning of the “Doctor Who” production block Davison had already had his hair cut short for other acting commitments such as “All Creatures Great and Small” and was then allowed to grow his hair several inches whilst shooting Doctor Who. The problem was that the episodes in Season 19 were broadcast out of production order, resulting in inexplicable bursts of hair growth and even more inexplicably the opposite, from one story to the next. Davison himself has commented on DVD that fans can tell the production order of his stories just by looking at his hair. When the Fifth returns to the series in “Time Crash” his Tenth incarnation mocks his bald patch. Maybe the Watcher had the last laugh after all!

The Sixth Doctor

If we manage to districate our gaze from his colourful attire, we might just notice the Sixth’s dark blond curly hair. It was fairly short initially but gained length and bulk in his final season. The Sixth Doctor looked quite dashing with his longer locks in “The Ultimate Foe” as they blew hither and thither on the windy beach inside the Matrix.

The Seventh Doctor 

For practically all of his run, the Seventh’s short dark hair didn’t change in style. McCoy’s hair was generally smart and on occasions looked very elegant indeed, for example in “Ghost Light”. It also complemented his dark brown jacket. Only when McCoy returned in the TV movie did his hair acquire some length. A little more forehead was on a display and the style had a more old-fashioned professorial feel to it.  

The Eighth Doctor

In his first adventure the Eighth Doctor presented us with a flamboyant and Byronesque coiffure. McGann, like Hartnell, sported a wig over his own extremely short hair. When the Eighth Doctor took us all by surprise and returned to our screens in “The Night of the Doctor” his hair resembled the new look Big Finish had devised for him in “Dark Eyes”, although it was a little longer. Gone was the stylised hair from the TV movie. McGann had returned with his own hair on display,  which was darker and a little dishevelled.

The War Doctor

This new addition to the line of Doctors had short, dark hair and a fringe post-regeneration, but as he aged, his hair became spiky and unkempt. 

The Ninth Doctor

Eccleston’s Doctor bore the shortest and most utilitarian hairstyle of all the Doctors. His cropped soldier-like hair fitted perfectly with his sometimes gruff and grizzly persona and matched his no-nonsense attire in its simplicity.

The Tenth Doctor

Was this the first Doctor to make an effort in front of a mirror? Gelled up and spiky with long sideburns his hedgehog hair came across as youthful and cool. However it did change on occasions. It was unstyled in “The Christmas Invasion”. The Doctor had a 1950s-style quiff in “The Idiot’s Lantern” and his hair was flattened forwards in “The Runaway Bride” Likewise in “The Day of the Doctor” it looked flatter than usual and perhaps a little more “grown up”. 

The Eleventh Doctor

When Matt Smith was first introduced as the Doctor, aside from his manic hands, it was his crazy hair which grabbed the public’s attention. Its shape and style was just odd and therefore perfect for an alien. His impossibly long fringe seemed to defy gravity. Over time the Eleventh’s hair would gradually smarten up, with a notable exception in “The Day of the Moon” when it grew long and straggly after the Doctor was imprisoned. It is ironic that the Doctor who boasted the wildest hair at the outset was actually bald for part of his final adventure. This was true both in the story and real life, as Smith had shaved off all his hair for a film role and consequently was forced to wear a wig for his final appearance as the Doctor. The Eleventh’s hair would again be wild and unwieldy for one last time as he aged into the elderly Doctor we saw fighting the Daleks on Trenzalore.

The Twelfth Doctor 

What next? Our latest Doctor seems to have quite sensible hair of a practical length. Some may tire of the Pertwee comparisons, but Capaldi’s short, naturally grey hair has something of the Third Doctor in his first season. The “Radio Times”, on the other hand, has compared his hairstyle to that of Blur frontman, Damon Albarn. 

Will the Capaldi coiffure stay the same? Or will it gradually change? Time, as always, will tell. It is quite simply a case, if you pardon the pun, of “Hair we go again!”

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