Jumping the Gun: The 12th Doctor & Lost Episodes
Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull on the big recent rumours.
Since Series Seven culminated the world of Doctor Who has been buzzing with news, rumours and speculation. Matt Smith recently publicized the fact that he will be leaving come Christmas and thus fans have been making random conjectures over the next actor to portray the Doctor. Add in some groundless reports on the possibility of recovered classic episodes and more hypothesizing on John Hurt’s ‘the Doctor’, and you’ve got yourself one stimulated fandom.
I personally feel that we are jumping the gun in almost all areas; the BBC will release the name of the next Doctor when they choose to, and November is a long way off so there’s no point in enlivening ourselves with speculation on John Hurt. Let’s take everything one baby step at a time.
The Twelfth Doctor – who will it be?
Not one day goes by without a tabloid publishing articles on candidates for the next Doctor, and ludicrous names are arising. Rory Kinnear was the hot choice one week then Idris Elba before The Sun or The Daily Mail got bored and decided to fuel the fire on a female Time Lord with Sheridan Smith. All the aforesaid stars are wonderful actors and I feel each could bring something new to the Doctor but they won’t happen. Matt Smith was, essentially, a nobody. He wasn’t a household name and when he was announced as the Eleventh Doctor I’m sure all of us did a lot of research on him. David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston are different cases, of course but they were cast under Russell T Davies’ reign and not Steven Moffat. The latter we can only presume will make sure an unknown will take the mantle of the Doctor. I am all for this motion as I feel that Doctor Who makes stars and I’d rather have someone the public is unfamiliar with.
As much as the fangirls would like to think that Benedict Cumberbatch is being lined up to portray the Doctor the truth is, he’s not. The next Doctor will be a low-key but talented actor who will take Doctor Who fans by the scruff of their necks and propel them into a whole new world of danger, Daleks and a dashing new wardrobe.
Classic Episodes Recovered – is there truth in the rumours?
It’s crushing to know that somewhere out in the world many copies of old and missing Doctor Who episodes lie, in cluttered attics, in storerooms, in charity shops where the public disregard them and underestimate their value. These are the ‘lost stories’, an abundance of Doctor Who serials that survived the BBC’s disadvantageous 1970s ‘junking policy’. Out there former fans who purchased copies when they were younger house stories that many are desperate to see and the BBC have naturally launched a campaign to get them back; they’ve even animated some episodes. However, recently the scuttlebutt has it that the BBC has recovered some of these missing adventures and is keeping it a secret until November. It’s a feasible rumour but is there any substance in it?
Bleeding Cool appear to be the first to promulgate this canard and then Ian Levine, the notorious Doctor Who fan and forefather, piped up claiming he had evidence that he was conveniently not going to divulge. The forums were then abuzz with the thrilling possibility of getting more episodes and the Radio Times even took it upon itself to contact the BBC for an official statement, which goes as follows,
“There are always rumours and speculation about Doctor Who missing episodes being discovered – however we cannot confirm any new finds. We can’t confirm because it’s not true as far as I’m aware”
That certainly trampled the rumors but fans still believe that it could be a ruse and we could be in for a treat this November. I’d like to think so but realistically it’s unlikely.
Don’t allow yourself to take the tabloids’ stories as fact because they’re most unlikely untrue (although The Sun were right about Matt’s festive egress). One of the principles I hold when dealing with unsubstantiated news articles is to swallow them all down with an industrial quantity of salt. Who knows, Sheridan Smith might be the next Doctor but something tells me that it won’t happen, just have faith in Steven Moffat to cast a deft newbie who will become our brand new Doctor as adored as his predecessors.
Doctor Who is a growing part of British culture and the show is universally recognized so the chances of someone finding an old copy of a missing First or Second Doctor story is high. The BBC clearly don’t have any and that they’re not hiding anything from us, and that’s a shame, we all are in want of more Who. But on a positive note since Doctor Who is humungous nowadays it is more and more likely that misplaced episodes will be noticed and returned to the BBC.
The message I’m trying to get across is that speculation on the Twelfth Doctor is getting more and more absurd by the day. And the missing episodes palaver is rather insubstantial so I wouldn’t get your hopes up, but you never know, I could be wrong.
All I want to do, as a Doctor Who fan, is to re-watch episodes, prepare for the 50th Anniversary celebrations and gourmandize on a bumper packet of jammie-dodgers.