Doctor Who celebrates its 60th Anniversary on the 23rd of November 2023. From the 20th to the 25th of November we are marking this milestone event with some Doctor Who Action figure reviews as well as taking a look back across the full 60-year history of the series and the various action figures that Character Toys have produced since 2005, immortalising the Doctor and his foes in 5.5 inch action figure format.
Our first stop is with the First and Second Doctors as we cover 1963 to 1969 and the black-and-white eras of William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton. The action figures from this era include both First and Second Doctors, as well as the early appearances from the show of the iconic Daleks and Cyberman.
As we move into the 1970's the Doctor Who serials regenerated into Colour TV and saw Jon Pertwee 1970-1974 and then Tom Baker 1974-1981 take control of the TARDIS. Both Doctors have seen multiple releases & costumed across the Character line.
The 1970s saw the introduction of The Master and Davros, as well as the first multi-doctor story with the 10th anniversary serial, the Three Doctors. We were also introduced to new foes including the Axons, Omega, the Giant Robot, and Magnus Greel - but also new allies including the regular appearances of UNIT as well as new companions including Jo Grant, Sarah-Jane Smith, Leela, and K9.
Tom Baker's 4th Doctor also took us into the 1980's and was then replaced by Peter Davison from 1981-1984 followed by Colin Baker's 6th Doctor from 1984-1986 at which point the series was put on a temporary hiatus. During this period the Doctor revisited old foes like the Daleks and new ones like the sinister Shard Jek. We were introduced to new companion Peri and also enjoyed more multi-doctor stories including the 20th Anniversary story, The Five Doctors, and Colin Baker's The Two Doctors.
The seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, was brought to reinvigorate the series and ran from 1987 to 1989 before the BBC finally decided to cancel the series fully. The McCoy era is the one I associate most with, and from which some of my favourite Doctor Who figures are drawn - particularly the Imperial Dalek faction with Emperor Davros and his Special Weapons Dalek, and the very shiny Silver Nemesis Cyberman.
And so we waited until 1996 for the next installment of Who when a joint venture between the BBC and Fox in the US gave us the TV movie, and Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor. Paul would go on to be a big part of the Big Finish audio adventures - alongside the other surviving Doctors - that filled the void for fans between 1998 and the series 'regeneration' in 2005.
After a 9-year break, Doctor Who returned in 2005 with the 9th Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston. We were also introduced to Rose and Captain Jack Harkness as well as the redesigned Daleks alongside a raft of new aliens such as the Slitheen, Cassandra, Jabe, and the Moxx of Balhoon.
Eccleston would only remain as the Doctor for a single season, handing over the TARDIS key to David Tennant as of the 2005 Christmas Special, and Tennant's 10th Doctor would remain at the helm from 2005-2010 across four seasons and a number of specials. During his time on the show, we saw the return of the Cybermen and The Master as well as meeting the Ood, the Clockwork Men, Scarecrows, Pig Slaves, Vashta Nerada, and the very frightening Weeping Angels.
Tennant's era also kicked off both the long-running Action Figure series by Character that now spans 18 years, and also a number of spin-off shows including the Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood. These shows also spun off their own action figures with Character creating a small line of Sarah Jane Adventure figures, while Sci-Fi Collector created a line of complementary Torchwood Collector figures.
Tennant exited the role of the Doctor in 2010 handing over to Matt Smith and the 11th Doctor. The 11th Doctor era ran from 2010-2013 and with him came the new companions of Amy Pond, Rory, and then Clara. We also met historic figures like Churchill and saw a redesign of the Daleks first to a WW2 paint job and then a full change to the Paradigm Daleks. Other notable foes included the Silence and the return of the Silurians.
It was Matt Smith's 11th Doctor who took us into the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who alongside returning Doctors such as the 8th Doctor's minisode, and then the return of David Tennant and Tom Baker in the 50th Anniversary story - along with the introduction of John Hurt's War Doctor who would go on to have further adventures in the Big Finish series.
The 11th Doctor's tenure would come to a close not long after the 50th Anniversary and we went into the 12th Doctor era alongside Peter Capaldi who remained in charge of the TARDIS between 2014-2017. The 12th Doctor era was relatively barren for 5.5 inch action figures with Character moving to a smaller 3.75 inch scale but we did see a few key characters released including multiple versions of the Doctor alongside Missy - the latest incarnation of The Master - and new companion Bill Potts. The series also revisited a few old favourites too including Davros and the Daleks.
The 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, took over from Capaldi in 2018 after the latter had regenerated in the 2017 Christmas special. The 13th Doctor era would span another 3 series as well as a handful of specials, running between 2018-2022. The Whitaker era introduced the concept of a group of companions - not really seen since the time of the 5th Doctor. A short resurgence in general release 5.5 inch action figures brought us releases of Yaz, Graham, and Ryan as well as the Doctor herself and a redesigned Dalek from the 2019 New Year special.
The 13th Doctor would exit the series in late 2022, ahead of the build-up to the 60th Anniversary. While a new Doctor had been announced as Ncuti Gatwa, the role of the 14th Doctor was a surprise return of David Tennant who will now steer the show through 2023 and the 60th Anniversary specials - handing over to Gatwa's 15th Doctor for Christmas 2023.
Keep Track of all the Doctor Who figures from Character Toys at our comprehensive
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About Me : As a child of the '70s and '80s I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force), and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licenses - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who, and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK-focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...