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Moffat Questions “Twelfth Doctor” Title

capaldi-deep-breath-ms-costumeSteven Moffat has called into question calling Peter Capaldi’s incarnation the “Twelfth Doctor”.

Speaking in SFX magazine he says: “I’m just going to throw this continuity grenade back at Doctor Who fans and say, “You are all wrong!” He has never called himself the anything-th Doctor in the show.

“If the Doctor was a real person and walked in here, and you said, “Which incarnation are you?” he’d have to think, just as you’d have to think about how many houses you’ve lived in. He never thinks of himself as a numbered Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor means the twelfth actor to have played the lead in Doctor Who. That’s all it means. There is no such character as the Twelfth Doctor and never has been.

“It’s a long time into the show before any such nonsense ever comes up. It’s purely us lot, us fans, wittering on about calling him the Third or the Fourth Doctor – which is actually quite an unpleasant thing to do. It doesn’t feel right at all when you type that. I had to do that for the [50th] special. It was the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, and it felt like a betrayal, in a way. But what else could you do?

“Out of curiosity I looked at what they did in “The Five Doctors”. They didn’t number them at all. Do you know what they called them? The Hartnell Doctor, the Pertwee Doctor…”

Step back in time...

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587 comments
NikkiBanksImvu
NikkiBanksImvu

i thought that the doctor only had 12 times to regenerate himself.

Doctor huh the 3rd inc
Doctor huh the 3rd inc

The time lords become time lords an are granted their regeneratuons at a young age after the are taken as children to gaze into the untempered sigzime. before that they are like you an I... just with two hearts.

donjuannebulon
donjuannebulon

I would love a Doctor that admits that Time Lords are evolved offshoot of us Terran Humans. It would make sense that he shepherds the best of humanity, and protects the Earth because his ancestors, us, survived by going back to the beginning of the universe to guide time into creating themselves. Also it would be a great secret if only he knew that fact. It would undermine the Timelord's snobbery if they didn't know they were the continuation of humanity. The greatest works of The Timelords is behind them. 










They rely on technology they don't understand, type 40 TARDIS, The Moment, to sustain themselves. Wouldn't it rankle them to know their revered founders, and The Doctor were closer to basic, one-hearted humans than themselves, and that's why They achieved so much authority and power early in their history only to stagnate and fall victim to such closed-minded creatures as The Daleks,  was because they made themselves less human in pursuit of stability and immortality? 

felixvitae3
felixvitae3

If the master can then why can't he?

Possible Girl
Possible Girl

The numbering is simply an easy 'out of whoniverse' way of identifying which incarnation one is talking about. If you were thinking 'in whoniverse', he would probably would not call himself "First Doctor" or "Hurtnell Doctor" (that second one for obvious reasons. Honestly, he probably wouldn't identify his past incarnations for his own purposes, seeing as all of them are him. To clarify for other people (like Craig) he may say which incarnation he is, though.

Tardis Stowaway
Tardis Stowaway

My understanding of it was that 'the 12th Doctor' was essentially the same thing as saying 'the 12th incarnation of the Doctor'.


If I take myself, for instance, whilst I'm not a Time Lord with different incarnations, by the end of my life there will have been a Baby Me, a Child Me, a Teen Me, an Adult Me and an Old Me. They are still all me, surely, but the adjective used to describe them differs in relation to the differences between the versions of me - each of those will have been slightly different people. Apply this to the Doctor, who's every regeneration can differ greatly from those before, and I don't think it is an unpleasant thing to do - it's marking the incarnations that make up his life just like you would number the chapters of an autobiography.


That may not make sense to everyone, it was quite hard to put into words, but that is my belief towards this.

Timmy2423
Timmy2423

Rit you lot Moffat is wrong as I posted the day of this article about the five doctors I can confirm that the doctor does count his lives! If you don't believe me watch the doctor who movie at 2.10 in to the movie as Paul McGanns doctor is talking he says " a time lord has 13 lives. The master had used up his. But rules never Ment much to him. Now I'm nearing the end of my 7th life." So there you lot go no basis for arguments. The doctor does count his lives. He does count his regenerations. As it's clearly said by the 8th doctor "nearing the end of my 7th life"

DeanAlexander
DeanAlexander

Love or loathe Russel T Davies - he knew when to keep his mouth shut. Moffat has no social intelligence whatsoever.

antouziast
antouziast

When the Doctor knocks his head against Craig's in The Lodger he does refers himself as the Eleventh doctor !

Zoanon
Zoanon

Technically speaking, the 10th once stated that he was going to die, implying that there is going to be a change, and that who he is right now, will be different to who he will become. Capaldi is the 12th Doctor, it's as simple as that. If you compare the 11th with the "original" are they the same person? Well yes and no. He's still the Doctor, but different, physically and mentally, but the essence of the man still remains. I don't care what anyone says, Capaldi is the 12th Doctor. He's the Doctor, the 12th incarnation, so therefore he's the 12th.

jamesgrayh
jamesgrayh

I don't understand why he keeps feeling the need to tell us there's no such thing as the "[number] Doctor" - he did it during the 50th anniversary publicity as well, but at least that was relevant to the story of Day Of The Doctor.


I know he wants to reinforce to viewers that all the incarnations are the same man, but we get it. The Doctor doesn't number his face... we get it. In that sense there is no such thing as the Twelfth Doctor... we get it. .......However, WE do number them - that's just how we refer to them.

He can stop telling us this now.


They're all my favorite Doctor
They're all my favorite Doctor

What's amusing about this is that it would be a reasonable point to make pre-Moffat era. He's the one who peppered the show with references to "eleven" and the "eleventh doctor."

This is why there shouldn't be such long breaks between seasons. Even the Moff (who I think is a great writer) gets bored and starts talking rubbish, bless his heart.

Ste_Zace
Ste_Zace

hes half human too remember

badblokebob
badblokebob

It is a pretty daft thing to get worked up about.

And if he wants to refer to something as "unpleasant", surely the new breed of fans who just call the Doctors by a number (e.g. "10" rather than "the Tenth Doctor") are worse, because they've COMPLETELY REMOVED HIS ACTUAL NAME! Gasp.

TeriCrossChetwood
TeriCrossChetwood

It's just a form of convenience for the fans. Chill out, Moff.


Lemonhead118
Lemonhead118

This is why I love Moffat. He knows that a lot of people will read what he says out of context and will make a lot of people angry

JFrance
JFrance

My Dad has never called The Doctors by their numbers, he has always called them by the actors names or if he is talking about a specific story then he calls him simply The Doctor. My Dad doesn't find it unpleasant calling The Doctors by their numbers but I think calling The Doctors by the actors names just works for him. As for me I call them by both numbers and names depending on how I feel.        

Gallade Zero
Gallade Zero

What about in The Lodger, where he shows Craig visions of all his past selves, then points to his face and says "Eleventh"?

IanOTimelord
IanOTimelord

In the Five Doctors, Hundell says to Davison, "Regeneration"? Davison replies "Fourth"!

Hurndell "Goodness me! So, there are five of me now! ". So its clear that Davison is the 5th Doctor. I wish Moffat would stop confusing things.

JackGould
JackGould

He calls himself the Eleventh in The Lodger and Clara literally says the line 'You're the Eleventh Doctor' in The Name Of The Doctor.

thribs1
thribs1

But to us, he's the 12th Doctor. Nothing wrong in calling him that.

Polyphase
Polyphase

I always get the feeling that Moffat dislikes fans, Some of the criticisms are pretty bizarre.

wittering on about calling him the Third or the Fourth Doctor – which is actually quite an unpleasant thing to do

I cannot for the life of me understand what's unpleasant about it

TheTARDISTeam
TheTARDISTeam

@jamesgrayh  'He can stop telling us this now.' Does that mean people will stop asking as well? lol. You think he's telling us because he enjoys going through it each and every time? 



JamieJones723
JamieJones723

@thegeorgeyoung McCoy upon realising he's been tricked by the Rani in his premiere storyline, "Time of the Rani" says "this doesn't bode well for my seventh persona." Moffat clearly has his views on the matter, but the show's history disagrees.



mczolly
mczolly

That is exactly what he says in his reply. "It’s purely us lot, us fans, wittering on about calling him the Third or the Fourth Doctor."

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

Moffat's not the one who started this.

Basically the fans have moaned at him (apparently) about how calling him the 12th Doctor is wrong. And so he's just replying to that by saying both, it was you fans who started calling him that, and, I'm one of you on this, I agree.

Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

As has been said a gajillion times on this article (mostly by me), that was for Craig's benefit, to help him digest the concept of a face-changing alien. Citing a statistic. The Doctor was not attempting to define himself as a person.


Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

That is what Moffat is comparing to counting the number of houses that you've lived in. Yes, it's a statistic that you can be aware of and talk about, but it's not really a part of who you are as a person. It's just a figure. If asked, the Doctor can supply an answer, but he's not going to say to himself, "I am who I am because I am my twelfth incarnation." To continue with the house metaphor, that would be akin to me stating my current address in addition whenever somebody asked for my name.

mczolly
mczolly

He says that's his eleventh face. And Clara is not the Doctor himself.

eksortso
eksortso

@Polyphase Moffat's a fan too, but he's dealing with an occupational hazard. He's in the slightly uncomfortable position of having to address the same issues that the fandom's been arguing over for 50 years. As the show runner, his brain is broiling in this stuff, and if he isn't choosing words carefully as he writes and edits scripts, he's talking about his choices at conventions, which is where this bit of news comes from.







Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

@Polyphase Hear hear. Seriously, what else are we supposed to do? With 50 years of history we have to find some way of identifying each Doctor, and it's a lot easier to write "One" then "Hartnell" etc. Yeah, it IS just a fandom thing, the same way that the "new" and "classic" series is a fandom thing, but I don't get why it's a problem. Just because we like to call 'Doctor Smith' 'Eleven' it doesn't mean we actually mean anything by it...

jamesgrayh
jamesgrayh

@TheTARDISTeam @jamesgrayh Nobody needs to ask him for him to tell us, as he just seems to bring it up wherever possible. I also didn't say he enjoys telling us, I'm saying he takes it upon himself to tell us this information too often - I understand he wants to reinforce in people that the 'Twelfth Doctor' is the exact same man as all the others and that The Doctor never names himself "Tenth/Eleventh/Twelfth/etc" Doctor, but we know that.

We know he doesn't call himself that, but we DO call him that. That's the only reason I'm finding The Moff telling us this over and over a bit tiresome - because it doesn't apply. He wants to change the way we look at it by throwing in a "continuity grenade" and yet the naming thing doesn't affect the show or character because numbering The Doctors faces is just an easy way for us to refer to various incarnations - that's why it's getting tiresome.

Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

The TV movie. Better yet, though, he says that he is human in "The Sensorites", and "The Evil of the Daleks" implies that he was once a human, but became mutated by his extensive time-traveling.


jamesgrayh
jamesgrayh

@Ollie Walton Harrod @Ste_Zace He claims he's half-human in the '96 TV Movie.

I put it down to post-regeneration madness.... until it's mentioned properly again, then I'll consider it canon

jamesgrayh
jamesgrayh

@Amy is Hannibal Playing devil's advocate for a moment, we/you can't claim what The Doctor's intentions were with that. But I think since Matt Smith's face IS the 11th face he has considered to be "The Doctor", I think it's pretty evident that he was referring himself as the 11th Doctor (or 11th face to hold the title of "The Doctor", if one was to be picky).

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@Amy is Hannibal what about the whole 'fall of the eleventh'

I'm on Moffat's side here. But he is kind of wrong. Only kind of because he is right in saying the Doctor has never referred to himself as being a numbered Doctor.

But the eleventh Doctor has been referred to as that plenty of times.

RoseMoran
RoseMoran

@Romanadvoratrelundar @Polyphase Not to mention we've had two actors with the surname Baker in the role of the Doctor. Writing Four or Six eliminates the confusion (not to mention helps new fans who don't know the names of all the actors yet :/ )

Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

I can if his intentions were obvious. He had just headbutted Craig and transferred his "general background." The Doctor was specifying it for him in order to make it clearer. Learning that your new flat mate is a time-traveling, face-changing alien who lives in a giant ship in a police box is a lot of non-specific, contextless information to take in at once. There's really no reason to assume that the Doctor is introducing himself personally there, since he had already introduced himself as "the Doctor" in the beginning of the episode, and had just given Craig the gist of who he is.


Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!
Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!

The "Fall of the Eleventh" was a description of events from the perspective of outside observers, who are also not the Doctor. Basically, he's saying exactly what you did, that the Doctor, personally, doesn't really care what number he himself is and never refers to himself by his number. Moffat isn't talking about nods or meta-references like the Fall of the Eleventh or the Doctor's football jersey. But what I don't get is his drama over having to write "the Eleventh Doctor" in a script, and saying that it's "unpleasant." It's really not as big of a deal as he's making it out to be, and I'm saying that as someone who's generally a big supporter of the Moff.


jamesgrayh
jamesgrayh

@Amy is Hannibal Obviously he was specifying to Craig. My point is, The Doctor was blatently referring to his then-self as being the 11th Doctor (understandable, since he IS the 11th, whether he numbers his faces or not).

If you want to argue with that, do enlighten me as to what on earth else he meant by: *points to himself* "eleventh!" ....