Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Introducing John Hurt as “The Doctor”

The placement of those words on the screen during the last episode of series 7 of Doctor Who reresents only the second time in the show’s fifty year history that the show has acknowledged the existance of a home audience during the show itself. The only other occasion was just before the end of the seventh episode of the Dalek Masterplan when the doctor faced the camers, raised a glass and wished everyone at home a merry christmas. I have been thinking about what this overlay on the screen during the show was intended to mean for over a week now and have reached the conclusion that it was a deliberate error intended to mislead those watching.

At the point where the words appear the main characters are inside the doctor’s timestream where Clara has been opposing the Great Intelligence who has been trying to make the Doctor fail in any one of the many successes that he achieved during his life. As such Clara has become familiar with and interacted with all of the Doctor’s incarnations past, present and future. That she doesn’t recognise this character as the Doctor immediately implies that he isn’t. With the Doctor too being inside his own lifestream he too would have at least temporary access to all his future memories as well as past ones so that he recognises who the person is does not imply that they are someone from his past.

In Trial of a TimeLord the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor has abandoned the name Doctor and instead refers to himself as ValeYard. That adventure and many others make it clear that the Doctor only has thirteen incarnations (twelve regenrations) and those occasions where images of the Doctor have been shown the sequence makes it clear that the current incarnation played by Matt Smith is the eleventh. Therefore if unidentified person Clara asks about were to be the Doctor the only one he could be is the twelfth and that she doesn’t recognise him would mean that hge doesn’t last long enough to have a situation where he needs saving by Clara.

Making this character the twelfth Doctor with that short a span before regenerating again would mean that he wouldn’t be able to appear in the 50th anniversary movie for more than a few minutes with the eleventh Doctor regenrtating into hima and his regeneration into the Valeyard following soon afterwards. That series eight has already been announced eliminates that possibility.

John Hurt therefore is not playing the Doctor despite what the text on the screen claims as there is no incarnation of the Doctor left for him to play. Any suggestions that he is playing an older eighth Doctor (which is the only other remote possibility) is eliminated by the fact that Paul McGann who originally played that part was not asked to play the role.

The only possibility left is that Clara did not manage to fully repair the Doctor’s life to its original path without traces of the alternatives remaining. The character that she doesn’t recognise is the Doctor but one that is an echo of where she failed to block interference by the Great Intelligence. This regenreation is therefore from an alternate timeline where the Great Intelligence succeeded. Depending on which of the Doctor’s adventures was disrupted by the Great Intelligence in creating this alternate Doctor he could be any of the Doctors from the second through to the thirteenth. The only evidence for which of these he might be is the way he is dressed which has been clearly identified by many fans as being a cross between the way that the eight and ninth Doctors outfitted themselves. The most likely possibility therefore is that he is an alternate ninth Doctor – an echo of what the ninth Doctor would have been had the Great Intelligence succeeded in defeating Clara in one of her attempts to block his interference with the eighth Doctor. That the biggest disruption to the history of the Doctor (the time war) also occurred during this period also makes this the most likely point in the Doctor’s entire history that such an alternate echo might not have been completely obliterated by Clara’s actions (assuming that there is no similar point in the Doctor’s future that we have not yet seen).

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