Listen to the Doctor Who podcast: When should a Doctor leave the role?

Will Jodie Whittaker stick around for a few more years, and how long should a Doctor play the role anyway? We try to find out in this week’s podcast…

Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor in The Night of the Doctor

Apparently, Patrick Troughton once said that the ideal length of time to play the lead in Doctor Who was three years, and plenty of Time Lords – including the Peter Davison, Colin Baker and (albeit unwillingly) William Hartnell – have seemed to follow this pattern. But was Troughton right? And have any Doctors stayed past their sell-by-date?


In this week’s Doctor Who podcast, Huw and Morgan take a look through the rap sheets of every Doctor to date, working out who left too early, too late and at just the right time.

What exciting Doctor Who moments could we have been denied if Peter Capaldi left a year earlier, as many anticipated? And conversely, if David Tennant had stayed a year longer, would we have had one of the best Doctor Who series to date?

And, perhaps controversially, we also ask whether the longest-serving Doctor – Mr Tom Baker – overstayed his welcome in his last series of adventures, as suggested by the actor himself.

You can listen to all that, plus our attempts to work out who’s really the Doctor who stayed the longest – Paul McGann, if you’re wondering – in the YouTube video above.

Still fancy some Doctor Who chat? Listen now to last week’s episode about the mysterious Morbius Doctors, or the week before about whether Doctor Who itself was right to be cut short in the 1980s.

And if you’d prefer some further reading you can check out our extended look at who the real longest-serving Doctor is elsewhere on


Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021 – check out what else is on with our TV Guide.