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Why did each of the Doctors leave the show?

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Doctor Actor Reasoning
First William Hartnell Left due to health issues primarily, although it's also been said that a salary dispute was part of the reason, and he didn't get along with the producers that replaced Verity Lambert.
Second Patrick Troughton Left to avoid typecasting and/or being too familiar with a single role; he'd only intended to stay 3 years. He also said he 'barely slept in 3 years' and needed a break.
Third Jon Pertwee Believed it wouldn't be the same after his good friend Roger Delgado (the Master) died and Barry Letts announced his intention to leave as producer.
Fourth Tom Baker* Mutual agreement after 7 years, spurred on in part by the arrival of a new producer who wanted to make changes.
Fifth Peter Davison* Took the advice of Patrick Troughton and left after 3 years to avoid typecasting.
Sixth Colin Baker* Fired on the orders of BBC controller Michael Grade. See Why did Colin Baker leave Doctor Who for a full explanation.
Seventh Sylvester McCoy* The original series ended during his tenure, and he came back to pass the torch in the 1996 TV movie.
Eight Paul McGann* The 1996 TV movie never spawned a series or sequel, because of low ratings in the US. However, McGann has never stopped playing the Doctor, as he has performed in literally dozens of officially licensed audio dramas for Big Finish productions. He holds the record for longest sustained performer of the Doctor. However, when Russell T Davies launched the revival series in 2005 he chose to allow viewers to start with a clean slate, and thus began with the Ninth Doctor already in place rather than continuing with McGann.
Ninth Christopher Eccleston Left due to behind-the-scenes "politics".
Tenth David Tennant Chose to leave because, as he put it, he'd never leave otherwise. Also, he was becoming much in demand for movies and he also wanted to do more stage work like Shakespeare, and also he felt it was a good time because Davies was leaving and a new production era was going to begin under Steven Moffat.
Eleventh Matt Smith Chose to leave for similiar reasons as Tennant. One of the main reasons was, as he said at his interview, he loved doctor who and he didn't want to leave but he wanted his role to continue being watched and never grow old. So he left so no one would become bored of his doctor.

*Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann continue to play the Doctor in audio dramas produced by Big Finish, AudioGO, and/or BBC Audio.

Other Doctors besides the main 11:

'Dr. Who' Peter Cushing He played a human scientist named Dr. Who in two movies in the 1960s that were not part of the same continuity as the TV show. He was signed to do a third film, but the second movie didn't do very well at the box office, so the third was cancelled. He later played the Doctor (this time one closer to the TV version) for the pilot episode of a planned radio series in the late 1960s, but the series never went into production.
Substitute First Richard Hurndall He was only cast for one story, and there were no further multi-Doctor stories before his death a few months later.
'Shalka' Ninth Richard E. Grant Almost as soon as Scream of the Shalka was released on BBCi and Grant was announced as the Ninth Doctor, the new broadcast TV series came together and plans for future animated webcasts were dropped.

There were also the four alternate Doctors in the 'Doctor Who: Unbound' series (Geoffrey Bayldon, David Warner, David Collings, and Arabella Weir), who were only signed up for one or two stories. The other replacements for unavailable Doctors are still doing them.

See Also Edit

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