The Doctor is the title character and protagonist in the long-running BBC science fiction television programme Doctor Who. The character has also been featured in one made-for-television film, and a vast range of spin-off novels, audio dramas and comic strips. In the programme, "the Doctor" is the alias assumed by a centuries-old alien—a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey—who travels through space and time in his TARDIS, frequently with companions.
Since the show's inception in 1963, the character has been portrayed by twelve lead actors. The transition to each succeeding actor is explained within the show's narrative through the plot device of "regeneration", a biological function of his race that allows their change of cellular structure and appearance with recovery following a potentially fatal injury. The incumbent Doctor is the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, who succeeded Matt Smith in the role in the 2013 Christmas special "The Time of the Doctor" after he was granted a new "cycle" of regenerations by the Time Lords. The War Doctor and an aborted regeneration are counted in his previous cycle of twelve regenerations. A number of other actors have played the character in stage and audio plays, as well as in various film and television productions. The character has been generally well received by the public, with his enduring popularity leading The Daily Telegraph to dub him "Britain's favourite alien". On 30 January 2017, Capaldi confirmed that the tenth series would be his last.

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