How tall is Doctor Who?

Doctor Who returns to our screens on Sunday with The Waters of Mars. David Tennant is back as the Doctor. What evil will he face this time? And more importantly, who was the tallest Doctor?

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
3 min read

Doctor Who returns to our screens this Sunday with hour-long special The Waters of Mars. David Tennant is back in the TARDIS as the Doctor, with Lindsay Duncan and Shane off Neighbours guest-starring. We're big Who fans here at CNET UK, and we've been wondering: just how tall is Doctor Who?

A combination of the Internet Movie Database and the rather wonderful CelebHeights.com sorted us out for the heights of most of the actors to have played the wandering Time Lord. The BBC press office furnished us with new boy Matt Smith's height -- which had been forwarded to the relevant person with no comment on our request, except a single exclamation mark. The first two Doctors were harder to confirm, but we've backed up our figures by the simple expedient of squinting at black-and-white footage.

Enough talk. Time to reverse the polarity of the height chart to find out who is the tallest of the Doctors...


Sylvester McCoy 5ft 6in (168cm)

McCoy's question-mark jumper and broad comedic acting weren't to everyone's taste, but the seventh Doctor saw some of the series' best writing. Many of the authors (including Russell T Davies) and themes of the revived series had their roots in the post-cancellation New Adventures series of novels. No surprise though, that the seventh Doctor is first in our line-up as the shortest of the Doctors.


Patrick Troughton 5ft 7in (170cm)

The second Doctor's 'cosmic hobo' seems a benign presence, but don't be fooled by the impish exterior: Troughton captained a Motor Gun Boat during World War II.


William Hartnell 5ft 8.5in (174cm)

The kindly first Doctor often had a domineering, patrician presence, but Hartnell was roughly the same size as Troughton.


Paul McGann 5ft 8.5in (174cm)

Despite managing only one onscreen outing, McGann's eighth Doctor is technically the longest-serving, with the most appearances in spin-off novels, comics and audiobooks. By no means short, our favourite strapping McGann brother surprised us with how far down the list he appears.


Matt Smith 5ft 11in (180cm)

The man chosen to play the eleventh Doctor, yet to be seen onscreen, may be the youngest actor to take the role -- he's just 27 -- but is far from being the tallest.


Colin Baker 6ft (183cm)

Baker's bombastic sixth Doctor really was a man out of time, his tenure causing controversy with its violence and special effects increasingly left behind by US counterparts.


Christopher Eccleston 6ft (183cm)

Eccleston's leather-jacketed, Northern-accented ninth Doctor resurrected the series after 16 years off-air. Surprisingly, perhaps, he's nowhere near the lofty end of our lineup.


Peter Davison 6ft 0.25in (184cm)

Davison was the youngest -- and arguably the biggest name -- to play the role, with his boyish fifth Doctor topping six feet. Did you know he was in Magnum PI once? Well he was.


David Tennant 6ft 1in (185cm)

Relative unknown Tennant was catapulted to stardom as the lanky, gangling tenth Doctor. He's not quite the tallest, but he's surely the skinniest. Allons-y!

So who's the tallest? Click continue to see the two 1970s Doctors go head to head.

It's a Time Lord tie!


Jon Pertwee 6ft 3in (191cm)

The haughty third Doctor knew kung fu -- or rather Venusian Aikido -- and former naval intelligence officer Pertwee was certainly a commanding presence. He was also the only Doctor with a tattoo, which the actor acquired in mysterious circumstances during a drunken night in port.


Tom Baker 6ft 3in (191cm)

Whether this includes that enormous mop of curls is unclear, but you'd have to be tall to wear the fourth Doctor's enormous scarf. Apparently, Baker is magnificently sweary in everyday life.

But even these two giants of British television are dwarfed by another key figure in the Doctor Who story...

He doesn't look it in Doctor Who Confidential, but the man who spearheaded Doctor Who's 2005 revival is really, really tall.

Russell T Davies 6ft 6in (198 cm)

Nice one RTD. We look up to you -- literally.

Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars is on BBC1 on Sunday 17 November at 7pm. In the meantime get your sci-fi fix with our top ten evil computers, the ten worst kid + robot team-ups, and Red Dwarf's greatest technologies.