Doctor Who's ten best uses of facial hair

Feature Jeff Szpirglas 23 Nov 2012 - 07:31

To mark the 49th anniversary of Doctor Who's first broadcast and the month of Movember, here are 10 very fine examples of Who facial hair…

Every November, a wave of free-flowing upper lip growth sprouts across the globe with the spread of Movember, a month of extreme moustache growing in the name of men’s health. There have been many masterful moustaches in geekdom, and Doctor Who alone boasts a bearded botanical garden worthy of Kew. To mark the 49th anniversary of Who's first ever broadcast then, here are but ten of the best…

10. The Doctor 

In Day of the Moon, Matt Smith makes a Doctor Who first when, having been imprisoned in Area 51 for some ungodly span, sprouts a beard that would do any hippie proud. This raises a huge existential question of how much time previous Doctors spent grooming themselves. For nearly fifty years, the Doctor never so much as sported even two o’clock shadow, save for Tom Baker’s impressive sideburns. It’s possible the effects of the TARDIS do much to keep its crew looking youthful – as evidenced with the disappearing beard of Steven (Peter Purves), or non-beards of everyone from Adric to Captain Jack.

9. Wyatt Earp (The Gunfighters

Everyone sported wicked facial hair back in the Wild West, clearly a time in which Movember spanned the whole year and much thought was given to the health of one’s prostate gland and/or ten gallon hat. See also: A Town Called Mercy.

8. Li H’sen Chang 

If you can get past the somewhat racist depiction of a Chinese man by a Caucasian actor, John Bennett’s Chang sports a pretty nifty goatee, particularly when his eyes are flashing hypnotic beams of white light (powered by either Weng-Chiang or a night at the opium den, still unclear).

7. Sabalom Glitz 

Tony Selby’s sleazy scam artist Glitz must have some time on his hands to constantly razor in the stripes on his sideburns with such precision. This is the second character on the list with way-cool facial hair from a Robert Holmes story, and guess who’s next…

6. Milo Clancey 

You either dig The Space Pirates or you don’t, and part of that love/hatred comes down to the character of intergalactic prospector Milo Clancey. It’s not just the moustache you love or loathe, but the checkered shirt, bad attempt at a southern drawl, and the eyebrows that migrate across poor Gordon Gostelow’s forehead. Eat your heart out, Yosemite Sam!

5. Theodore Maxtible 

In Evil of the Daleks, Marius Goring sports enough facial hair for three supporting characters. Throw in his crazed eyes, a lust for turning metal into gold, and a shock of wild head-hair, and you’ve got a man more terrifying than the entire army of daleks he’s working for.

4. The Sensorites 

With their white, wispy beards, this race of eyeless telepaths menaced William Hartnell’s first season. They’re like the love children of Santa Claus and the Ood, itself a thought far more terrifying than anything the Sensorites ever did on television.

3. The Brigadier 

Sure, the stache ain’t real. But it suits Nicholas Courtney so well that whenever he’s without it (Inferno, Mawdryn Undead), its absence is alarming.

2. The Master 

There’s a notable regression in the use of facial hair as we move through incarnations of the renegade Time Lord. Roger Delgado was clearly the goatee’s undisputed Master. Anthony Ainley’s beard lacked his predecessor’s malicious moustachioed powers, and the new series scraps the goat altogether. The big question: now that we’ve used up both the Brig and Master, who could possibly be left for the number one spot?

1. Tom Selleck 

Just kidding! But we’re pleased you scrolled down this far.

1. The War Chief 

Possibly an influence on Wes Bentley’s facial hair as Seneca Crane in The Hunger Games, no one’s face in the series – new or classic – was ever as finely manicured as this.

This author is so impressed with Edward Brayshaw’s intergalactic styles that he’s decided to try it out for Movember himself. Please enjoy Jeff’s journey, and feel free to donate to a great cause here (and check out his scary new middle grade novel here). 

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LOL at Tom Selleck. Made my day. But no love for Ben Browder's beard? He has some unfortunate history with facial hair (namely Farscape's 'Jeremiah Crichton' in which he wore a fake beard and 'Crichton Kicks' which was the real deal) and he rocked it in 'A Town Called Mercy' playing Isaac!

Tom Baker was the first doctor to have an onscreen beard (not a real one but I don't think many of these beards were real ...) in The Leisure Hive

Tom Selleck!! Funny.


Philip Madoc rocked a pretty serious goat as Solon in Brain of Morbius. It actually rivalled the Master's goat. One of the all-time greats! lol

Scorby had some killer facial hair. Haha.
If they ever make a list of the Doctor's top 10 spazzes, at least 2 of them would be Tom Baker yelling at Scorby. What a great character!

Lol at Tom Selleck. A little bit of comedy genius.

Tom Selleck must surely come top of ANY moustache list!

PS - If, before the end of the month, you go to Redbubble dot com, look up the artist Paulychilds, buy my "Gentleman's Guide to Film & TV Moustaches" T-Shirt, Greetings Card or vinyl sticker then I will donate the proceeds to Movember!

"If you can get past the somewhat racist depiction of a Chinese man by a Caucasian actor" Erm nothing racist what so ever about this, John Bennett portrayal of Chang was excellent, maybe he was the best actor for the job at the time, who knows.

But if you point out that it's racist, even if it clearly isn't, it just highlights it for all & causes an issue. I also say bring back gollywogs, which were not racist either. (Ridiculous country we're living in)

There wasn't anything racist about the way Bennett plays Chang; the racist part to modern sensibilities was the BBC casting a white guy and making him up to look Chinese instead of casting a Chinese actor in the role. (I suppose someone somewhere could reply "What if they auditioned dozens of Chinamen for the part and none of them could act well enough for Doctor Who, so they had no choice but to cast a white man!" but that would be silly.)

My point was yes there wasn't anything racist about the way the part was played & their very likely wasn't anything racist about the way the BBC cast the role at the time.

It was the way things were done back then. Black & White Minstrel show, It Aint Arf Hot Mum etc, things were a lot more liberal back then it seems.

My point really is that the original comment of "If you can get past the somewhat racist depiction of a Chinese man by a Caucasian actor" was unnessasary & is highlighting an issue that really isn't there.

Why do I get the feeling you aren't Asian? Privilege rears it's ugly head.

For a few episodes, Peter Davison's Doctor had some pointed sideburns that he must have spent some time on...

Yes, how could DoG ever forget the beard the decrepit old 4th Doctor grew in "The Leisure Hive". That beard was mean! Need to get a photo of that one on here.

He was cast because there simply no available actors of that ethnic background available, nothing wrong with that at the time.

Harold Meaker!

What about Kettlewell from 'Robot'?

I'm pretty sure use of the word 'Chinaman' (or its plural in this case) is itself considered racist.

Lots of things were done in the BBCin the 70s and 80s and just because they were 'the way things were done' does not take away the problems with them. The casting was racist. The episode is great. The two things can be the same.

At this point in our society, unless you're attacking Caucasians or Christians, then everything is "racist". Overly-sensitive drama queens, sad they can no longer point to a racial "cause" to elevate them in the public eye as "victims". It's the 21st century. Let's grow up and move on, shall we?

Maybe nothing extraordinary, but Wilf Mott sported some very nice whiskers, too, that suited him fine. Would love to see him back for the 50th Anniversary. He and Brian could be great foils for one another. Maybe a nod to past companions without actually visiting the companions themselves?

What about david tennant, he had sideburns ALL the time.

Isn't it a bit of a cheat giving the Master the top 2 spots? Sure, it's two different incarnations, but still.

What about Shockeye? Granted, his facial hair wasn't mandibular, but come on... If you want facial follicles, he's got to be in the top 10.

Really? Got your hands on an actors' census of the era, did you?

That was "The War Chief", not "The Master". Non-cannon licensed media has identified him as a different Time Lord, and nothing in cannon has identified him having any relation to The Master.

Don't act like a moron

I won't. I'll leave that to you, since it seems to be your expertise.

First of all, a "cannon" is something used to fire projectiles in warfare. The word you couldn't find was "canon". And, as everyone but you seems to know, Doctor Who has never made any pronouncement on what is or is not canonical.

And if you seriously can't see anything that ties the character Edward Brayshaw played in The War Games to the character Roger Delgado played from Terror of the Autons to Frontier in Space.....then you clearly weren't paying attention, or you weren't ''acting'' like a moron.

I stand corrected, you are not acting. First off, a single spelling error in the era of autocorrect and a population that spells like a cat running across a keyboard is utterly meaningless. Second, canon is inherently anything in the official primary outlet, in this case, the TV series. Official channels can expand that to other material, but if that were relevant here, it would only further my point. As to your claim of there being a connection between the characters, I have seen every episode involving either character and read extensively on the Master. The theory of the two being the same is old and well known, as is the utter lack of supporting evidence. The same rumors exist for the Meddling Monk, but aren't as popular.

Regardless, saying someone is "acting like a moron" out of the blue is never acceptable behavior. You deliberately made this hostile when you could simply have made your comments and received a respectful disagreement back. Choosing to turn this hostile is moronic, and you will get no further response from me to satisfy either your trolling or fantasies about some magic connection that doesn't exist.

Or in other words, you know you're wrong, and you want to go out with a long, rambling post where you refuse to admit your error.

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