Every Doctor Who regeneration scene ranked and rated

The Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) holds her sonic screwdriver.
Jodie Whittaker has regenerated, and a new, returning face has arrived in her place. (Image credit: BBC Studios/James Pardon)

Jodie Whittaker has officially left the Whoniverse behind, meaning there was a new Doctor Who regeneration scene to throw into the mix!

In "The Power of the Doctor", Jodie Whittaker said goodbye to her fam after one final nostalgic battle against some of her biggest foes. Classic and modern Doctor Who characters were thrown together to help put a stop to The Master's plan. The Doctor ended up getting wounded in the process, and the Thirteenth Doctor ended up going off on her own to regenerate into the 14th Doctor after watching the sunrise. 

Originally, we thought we'd be seeing Ncuti Gatwa's first appearance at that moment, but returning showrunner Russell T. Davies clearly had other plans, as she instead shapeshifted into the familiar face of David Tennant ahead of his return to the role for the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials coming our way next year. 

Since we've just had a regeneration, what better time is there to rank and rated every single one of the Doctor Who regeneration scenes that we've seen so far? Read on to find out where your favorite came in our list.

Every Doctor Who regeneration sequence, ranked

15. Colin Baker > Sylvester McCoy: Time and the Rani

Colin Baker mid-regeneration

The surrounding effects let this one down significantly.  (Image credit: BBC)

The regeneration itself was OK as far as it went (basically Sylvester McCoy losing a wig), but the stuff surrounding was below par, frankly. This included the worst TARDIS landing ever, with a poorly realized color trail that looked more like My Little Pony than Doctor Who.

14. Patrick Troughton > Jon Pertwee: The War Games

Screenshot of Patrick Troughton's regeneration

Patrick Troughton mid-regeneration. (Image credit: BBC)

Despite the suitably spooky sound, courtesy of the Radiophonic Workshop, visually this was simply too complex and the merry-go-round visual effects are distracting and, dare we say, a little bit silly, especially coupled with Troughton's unorthodox facial expressions.

13. David Tennant > David Tennant: The Stolen Earth

David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who

This fakeout regeneration allowed Tennant to stick around just a little bit longer. (Image credit: BBC)

Not a regeneration as such, but rather an aborted one, in order to heal himself after being shot by a Dalek. The lack of a new face may have you thinking it doesn’t count but, as the Doctor later found out, every single one counts. Luckily, they got a new set of regenerations, otherwise this could have been a big mistake!

12. Peter Davison > Colin Baker: The Caves of Androzani

Peter Davison as the Doctor

Peter Davison. (Image credit: BBC)

Once again, the effects department seemed to be all in a spin as faces of friends and foes alike came out of the Doctor’s mouth and circled him as he changed. Despite this, Anthony Ainley as the Master gave the transformation an impressive sense of menace, and there was a nice visual callback to the original credits for fans.

11. Jon Pertwee > Tom Baker: Planet of the Spiders

Jon Pertwee as the Doctor

Jon Pertwee's regeneration very much looked like an actual death. (Image credit: BBC)

As might have seemed fitting for a Doctor who had spent his time exiled on Earth, this looked like a proper death. It was an incredibly human moment for an alien – right up until the no-fuss fade as Tom Baker’s face appears. The effects department get a C-... definitely could do better.

10. Sylvester McCoy > Paul McGann: Doctor Who

Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor

Sylvester McCoy. (Image credit: BBC)

Despite the film being rubbish (well, it was), McCoy’s facial contortions made for a comparatively seamless transition between incarnations. McGann’s performance was pretty much the film’s only saving grace. If he’d had a chance to portray the Doctor in the series proper, he could have been great (see The Night of the Doctor for proof). As it stands, we feel like contestants on Bullseye, with Jim Bowen showing us what we could have won.

9. John Hurt > Christopher Eccleston: The Day of the Doctor

Screenshot of John Hurt mid-regeneration

We didn't get to spend too much time with the War Doctor. (Image credit: BBC)

This transformation finally completed the timeline so far and showed the rebirth of the Doctor. After teaming up with two of his future selves, John Hurt’s War Doctor returns to his TARDIS and the toll of his past life catches up with him, allowing him to finally transform into the Ninth Doctor.

8. Peter Capaldi > Jodie Whittaker: Twice Upon a Time

Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who.

Peter Capaldi's regeneration saw him giving his instructions to the next Doctor. (Image credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Peter Capaldi's Doctor delivered some great monologues, and though this scene isn't quite as iconic as his "kindness" speech to Missy and the Master in "The Doctor Falls", "love hard, run fast, be kind" is a pretty good set of instructions for every future Time Lord. Bonus points here for the interesting POV shots and the excitement that spreads across Jodie's face before she's thrown sideways out of the TARDIS and starts falling down to Earth.

7. Jodie Whittaker > David Tennant: The Power of the Doctor

Close up of Jodie Whittaker's face mid-regeneration into the 14th Doctor

Jodie Whittaker mid-regeneration. (Image credit: BBC Studios)

Having said her goodbyes, the Doctor steps out to take in one last sunrise on her own before excitedly welcoming the new Doc with open arms. The actual regeneration scene here is shorter than others in modern Who, though the effects are impressive. This scene also gets bumped up for the big twist which saw her changing into one of the Doctor's past selves! 

6. Matt Smith > Peter Capaldi: The Time of the Doctor

Matt Smith as the Doctor.

Matt Smith's final episode kick-started a new cycle of regenerations. (Image credit: BBC)

The Eleventh Doctor is gifted with a new round of regenerations in this Christmas Special, preventing him from dying of old age. His first new regeneration came after a genuinely touching last few moments for Smith’s Doctor. As he pronounced with great confidence, ‘I will always remember when the Doctor was me,’ we all thought, ‘you know what? We will too.’ Extra points for the reappearance of Amy Pond to say a final farewell to her ‘raggedy man’ too.

5. Paul McGann > John Hurt: The Night of the Doctor

Paul McGann as the Doctor.

Paul McGann's Doctor is given the choice to choose what his regeneration can be. (Image credit: BBC)

Presented as a treat within a mini-episode, this was just great. Tasked with stopping the Time War by the Sisterhood of Karn, McGann’s Time Lord is given the chance to choose what his next regeneration will be. As he utters the line, ‘Physician, heal thyself,’ we say goodbye to the Doctor and welcome a warrior as the reflection of a young John Hurt peers back at us. The War Doctor is born!

4. Christopher Eccleston > David Tennant: The Parting of the Ways

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston kicked off new Who with an emotional goodbye. (Image credit: BBC)

After helping to put Doctor Who firmly back on the map in its modern form, Christopher Eccleston departed – for many fans too soon – with the first on-screen instance of regeneration in the modern Whoniverse, and it was certainly an explosive introduction for David Tennant to take to the stage.

3. David Tennant > Matt Smith: The End of Time

David Tennant in Doomsday

David Tennant's emotional goodbye is still the best of the bunch from modern Doctor Who. (Image credit: BBC)

A genuinely emotional farewell from an actor who had really made the part his own. When David Tennant says, "I don’t wanna go" we really get a sense that he means it, even though he knows it's time to go. 

The preamble to the change was long and drawn out, allowing the Doctor to revisit many of his past companions one last time. This stands in stark contrast to the dynamic arrival of the frantic Matt Smith who is forced into action to get control back of his crashing TARDIS. It's still the best of modern Who.

2. William Hartnell > Patrick Troughton: The Tenth Planet

William Hartnell

The first Doctor's regeneration is still one of the very best. (Image credit: BBC)

It’s almost impossible to imagine the impact of this when it was first screened. The idea of changing the lead actor in this way was revolutionary and the way that it played out on screen was simple yet very effective: the actors’ faces blended seamlessly (helped by a white dissolve) in a way that later transformations would have done well to emulate.

1. Tom Baker > Peter Davison: Logopolis

Tom Baker surrounded by Daleks.

Tom Baker's regeneration is our favorite of the bunch. (Image credit: BBC)

Why is this the best? Well, apart from saying goodbye to Baker’s longest-ever tenure as a trio of fantastic companions gathered around, the end of Logopolis also boasted one of the best music scores ever to grace an episode.

“The moment has been prepared for,” intoned Baker as The Watcher morphed with his body, and out of a chrysalis emerged the younger model.

Doctor Who will return in 2023.

With contributions from