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RTD: Fans Can’t Ignore “Half-Human” Doctor

Doctor Who Revisited: Paul McGannOne of the most controversial elements in the 1996 TV movie is the scene where Paul McGann’s Doctor says that he is half-human “On his mother’s side.” Many fans have chosen to ignore this.

However, Doctor Who’s former lead writer Russell T Davies says that, although he doesn’t like the idea, it shouldn’t simply be ignored either.

Speaking on Who’s Round, Davies said: “I don’t like the half-human thing. He certainly isn’t half-human, but it’s less interesting to say it simply doesn’t count.

He adds: “I always wanted to put in a line where someone says to the Doctor ‘are you human?’ and the Doctor says ‘no, but I was once in 1999. It was a 24 hour bunk.’ Part of the reason I never put that in was it was a bit too self-referential but also I thought I’m spoiling the TV movie if I do that.

“In that time, like it or not, the Doctor was half human. Everything in that story says he was half human, so you can’t not count it. I don’t think we can ignore it.”

Step back in time...

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216 comments
Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

In The Night of the Doctor, when Cass shuts the door between them after finding out he's a Timelord, the Doctor shouts "I'm half human!". 

Cass looks at him, unimpressed, obviously not believing him.


The Doctor: "Well, that USED to work....Cass! I'm not leaving this ship without you...!"



Ah, I am a genius.

Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

The half-human thing was put in purely because the studio didn't believe American audiences could relate to a non-human protagonist - which is hilarious, given the show's current popularity over there. Paul McGann himself hated the idea, as did almost everyone involved, but was powerless to do anything about it. I personally love how in the Big Finish audios - which are essentially the Eighth Doctors true "series" - they just completely ignore it! If I remember rightly they even firmly establish through dialogue in an early episode that he is 100% alien. 


I actually think they could have easily rectified all this in The Night of the Doctor - when he's trying to convince Cass that he's trustworthy despite being a Timelord, Moffat should have had him shout "I'm half human!" through the door. Then when Cass just stares blankly at him, he should have mumbled to himself "Well, that USED to work...."


Eh? EH? How's THAT for good retconning? Damn, I should be writing for this show...

Joe Sewell
Joe Sewell

For the record, the half-human thing is probably the last surviving thing from the original script. If you watch McGann's audition (available as of this writing at http:// youtu.be/56h_JuBZ9_0), you'll see that the original script had the Doctor revealed as the half-brother of the Master, both of whom were sired by a Time Lord named Ulysses, descendent of Rassilon and rightful heir to the Sash. No matter what anyone desires, the movie hinges on the 8th Doctor's eyes being partly human. How that works into the Doctor's story is yet to be determined on-screen, which is really all that counts, McGann's naming of his Big Finish companions notwithstanding. Moffatt or his successor could brush it off as quickly as he did the creatures of "the Silence," or it could be as epic as the revelation of Trenzalore.

thefrostyqueen
thefrostyqueen

This one's super easy to explain.

Rule number one: The Doctor lies...

Dannie Madsen
Dannie Madsen

The crew behind the series says that he's half-human. Figure it out! It's the facts whether you like it or not.

social_crime
social_crime

They made so many things about Who so wonky in it, the regeneration was odd and creepy, the Doctor gong "Hulk Angry" breaking down the door. The lovesick thing, the human mother side. Want to buy remake. No audio or animation. Get them into costume and roll camera, enough of this silliness. Bring Mcgann back the right way.

The Living Angel
The Living Angel

The only thing that I take from the movie is the regeneration, the rest I choose to reject as utter rubbish. 

If it were written into the TV series then I would accept it. I dont really think that it would make all that much difference to be honest, and It would explain his effection for the human race.


BJAMES
BJAMES

If we take Tony Lee's IDW comic "The Forgotten" as any kind of canon, the Eighth Doctor explains that he used a malfunctioning chameleon arch to fool the Master. Why he did this was never explained or addressed, but it makes about as much sense as any other explanation.

Richy Woo
Richy Woo

Altering his DNA to half human on a whim for some wacky reason on some crazy adventure is not exactly out of character for The Doctor. I agree don't ignore this statement, explain it with a flippant throw away statement at some point.

Dannie Madsen
Dannie Madsen

I like that those of you who actually face the facts come up with reasons to why he is half-human. It would have been better if all of you just faced facts.

Dannie Madsen
Dannie Madsen

It should not be ignored. Like it or not, the Doctor was half-human. Tenth's Meta-Crisis was the first ever Meta-Crisis because a Meta-Crisis simply can't be. A Meta-Crisis is a half-human half-Time Lord. Meta Crisis was only created because some half-human DNA belonging to the Doctor mixed with Donna's DNA. Donna is human, and the Doctor can therefore only be half-human.

In the TV movie the Doctor says that he's half-human too, the Master says it too. The Eye of Harmony can only be opened by the use of human eyes. Why would the Master use the Doctor when he had Lee (who is human) right by his side? The Doctor said the line in a joking was, but he did most certainly meant it. Like it or not, the Doctor was half-human. This is most certainly a fact, and it cannot be ignored.

DawnTime
DawnTime

Not sure why people dislike this idea does not bother me at all.

TheOncomingSnow
TheOncomingSnow

He was half-human, but he wasn't born that way. He altered himself out necessity. He was not half-human 'on his mother's side'.

LordRassilon
LordRassilon

I always slated this to post-regeneration crisis. After all, if Coin Baker could mistake Peri for an evil faerie, or alien spy; the trauma of being nearly killed during a regeneration cycle could just as easily addled the mind of The Doctor; or it could have been a deception, masqued agaist The Master.


Many plot points in 'The Enemy Within' are clearly not standard fare for DW, being an American adaptation. 


I do however, find that Braxiatel, may be the son of The Doctor, and not his brother, as is suggested elsewhere. The line in 'Gallifrey', something along the lines of 'they were just family, an old man, and a young girl', (clearly referencing The Doctor, and Susan) points to Braxiatel seeing The Doctor as old, compared to himself, and Susan as young; positioning himself between. It isn't a great leap to think that if ordered to carry out a Burn Edict on his father, and his daughter, he would find a way out of that.

sushigal007
sushigal007

Oh, RTD, you'd be amazed what I can ignore. A joke about a human mother is not the only human-Doctor bit I'm pretending never happened.

doctorclu
doctorclu

Here is my take on it: "Theta Sigma" (Doctor's real name as said in a Tom Baker episode) was born of a Timelord Male and a human female. No problem. The half human aspect of the Doctor caused his first regenation (William Hartnell) to die of a heart attack after only a mere 230 years of age. This would be the last regeneration to die of natural causes and at such a young age for a Timelord!! However, when he regenerates into the 2nd regeneration (Patrick Troughton) all non-Timelord impurities are cycled out with the regeneration process, leaving him completely Timelord from then on. While the Doctor is most proudly Timelord, it is that Earthly heritage that drew the Doctor to be curious unlike other Timelords, and what drew him to observe the Earth more than the thousands of other worlds the Timelords monitor.

Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

I disagree, I am ignoring it quite pleasantly. But if someone should want to explain it some day, that would just be a bonus. I'm sure Moffat has it on a checklist somewhere.

kreehomel
kreehomel

I believe this was explained away in one of the Eighth Doctor's other format stories (i.e. comics or Big Finish). But if it wasn't, you just watch us RTD!



Polyphase
Polyphase

I don't like the idea either Russel but I'm glad you have respect for what's come before :)

GryphonSK
GryphonSK

Well, when the Meta-Crisis Doctor discovers that he's half-human, he's disgusted :P  So, I'm presuming the real 10th Doctor was not, in fact, half-human.


DouglasRayCurrie
DouglasRayCurrie

In "The Forgotten" mini-series, he admitted to his fellow prisoner, he said that to fool the Master.

Whoworld
Whoworld

1st this:  DOCTOR 7: No. I am not human. I am not like as you.
GRACE: Nobody is, Mister Smith.
DOCTOR 7: I need a beryllium atomic clock. This 1999, isn't it?
SALINGER: We can't wait any longer, Grace.
(The anaesthetist puts a mask over the Doctor's face.)
DOCTOR 7: No, I'm not human. I'm not human.


2nd (The Master has released Lee. Suddenly an image of the seventh Doctor appears above the Eye.)
LEE: Whoa! There's the guy I took to the hospital.
MASTER: The Doctor's past live.
LEE: The Doctor?
MASTER: That's what he calls himself. Doctor.
(The image is replaced by the eighth Doctor.)
MASTER: The new Doctor.
LEE: He's so young.
MASTER: Fascinating. See that? That's the retinal structure of the human eye. The Doctor is half human! No wonder. 


3rd:  WAGG: Grace says you have a big secret. What is it?
(The Doctor takes the Professor's shoulder and moves him to the side.)
DOCTOR: I'm half human. On my mother's side.
(They laugh. Professor Wagg no longer has his ID clipped to his lapel.)


4th:  DOCTOR: In seven hundred years no one has managed to open the Eye. How did you do it?
MASTER: Simple. Lee is human, you are only half. Lee, open the Eye for me, please.


then:  DOCTOR: Unless I'm mistaken, in her present state of mind that won't work! Her eye's aren't human any more.
MASTER: Watch.
(The Master kisses Grace hard, sucking his presence out of her. Grace's eyes return to normal.)
MASTER: See? Now they're human.


First he isn't human and then he is half-human??  Why would the Eye open for humans when it is timelord tech??  OK I'll accept that retinal structure changes...somehow...but the other stuff???  I need a better explanation! 

Oodkind
Oodkind

My personal theory: Something was done at the hospital that made him have human DNA. Perhaps they pumped human blood into him or something. Since it wasn't Time Lord blood, it stayed when he regenerated. This made him register as human when the master scanned him. He was aware of this, and it was evidently pretty prominent in his mind, so he said it to that guy.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

The franchise has been pretty lax with its continuity for the most part, with details enforced according to whatever the people in charge have considered relevant at the time, or just happened to remember. This I feel gives people the luxury to have their own headcanon about what to count from different episodes, serial, novels and such.

Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

@social_crime I agree apart from what you say about the regeneration - I personally love the regeneration scene in the 96 TV movie. The lightening effect reminds me of the time-travel sequences in Terminator. People need to understand that the revival's depiction of regeneration is entirely new to the revival - in the original "classic" series the Doctor did NOT regenerate like that. In fact, in the classic series there was never a standard depiction of regeneration - they used a different effect, and a different depiction of regeneration every time. 


So considering they had nothing to really draw from when they did the 96 movie, I think what they achieved with the regeneration was a really good job. I actually prefer that regeneration to the yellow-light effect they have now. To me, THAT seems "weird"...

Maiden_Ty_One
Maiden_Ty_One

@The Living Angel And Paull McGann's portrayal as the Eighth Doctor, surely? Surely you take THAT from the 96 movie, as that was truly the best thing about it. 

In all honesty, the 96 move is nowhere near AS bad as people make out. There's no one criticism of it that I couldn't - and often do - make about the revived series. I'd even go as far to say there are some things they do better; the shoot style, for one, the directing, the music is actually pretty good. I also like the semi-companion Grace, considering she's American she could have been a LOT worse, and I actually think she has all the necessary qualities of a "companion". 

Where it falls down is the script, the nonsensical and completely contradictory story elements, and probably worst of all, Eric Robert's RIDICULOUS portrayal as the Master. 


When I watch that movie, I kind of skip all the Doctor-less scenes and just focus on Paul McGann's Doctor running around with Grace, and muse at how much better it could have been without all the rest of it. 

neowl
neowl

@Dannie Madsen

Except a Meta-Crisis isn't limited to Humans or Time Lords. It was an instantaneous biological Meta-Crisis, which was never perceived to be impossible, only the fact that it was a Human/Time Lord Meta-Crisis was deeemed impossible, and this is only by the Doctors knowledge. While the Doctor does know a lot, he does not know EVERYTHING. Also, by his own admission, it was Donna's part of the Meta-Crisis (the DoctorDonna) which was impossible anyway. A Human mind just cannot take a Time Lord mind. Simple as. Meta-Crisis Ten didn't have that problem, as the primary template for his creation was the Doctor (well, his handy "spare" hand) who is a Time Lord to begin with. Vastra (I'm plucking this one out of my arse, don't mind me) could have been there in place of Donna, and the Meta-Crisis would still have taken place, just creating a Silurian/Time Lord Meta-Crisis instead (I doubt Rose would have wanted Meta-Crisis Ten in this outcome!), and it may have been less or more successful than a Human Time/Lord one, we just do not know.

There may be other races out there in the Whoniverse that can successfully maintain a Meta-Crisis, hell, some species may have evolved in such a way that a Meta-Crisis is essential for their continued existence!

Back on-topic, I like to think the Half-Human part is real, and only pertains to Eight (something to do with the prolonged time "dead" as Seven before regenerating into Eight maybe?), only the "on my Mother's side" bit being a throw-away.


ilyootha is in the Divergent Universe
ilyootha is in the Divergent Universe

@Dannie Madsen Yeah, well, he also said once that he had built his TARDIS (as opposed to stealing it), so this also must be a fact...

The Eye of Harmony responding to human eyes was explained in the audio drama The Apocalypse Element, the events of which are even considered as the first battle of the Last Great Time War by RTD himself. The printed media have offered a few explanations to the Doctor claiming to be half-human (including one, I believe, where he is indeed half-human). The Meta-Crisis thing doesn't prove anything, there are many things in the Whoniverse that were said "simply can't be" and yet exist. There is nothing really that confirms the Doctor being half-human as a fact, so in the end of the day it's just up to everyone to decide for themselves whether should they ignore it or not.






Dannie Madsen
Dannie Madsen

Explain the line of Doctors then. Taking this as a remake and not continuation the Eight Doctor would be canonically non-existing. The Seventh Doctor turns into the Ninth Doctor.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@doctorclu I've also heard the supposition that he was 'half human" only in that regeneration. Years back in DWM I believe. I think a certain Matthew Jacobs (the writer of the TV Movie) was trying to please too many masters. The Doctor has said some crazy stuff over time, so perhaps as in "The Forgotten" he was just throwing out some BS. McGann has referred to Eight as a "bullshitting" Doctor at times, especially when he traveled with Lucie Miller.

Exalos
Exalos

@doctorclu  Theta Sigma isn't his real name tough, but i like the idea how you handled the half human part. It's believable and doesn't break the rules of the show. Sounds kind of like Melody pond.



Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@doctorclu  Theta Sigma is not his real name. The Doctor said in "The Happiness Patrol" that it was just his nickname at the Academy.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

Moffat has already said his piece on the matter. He believes that the Doctor was lying, but that "explanation" doesn't hold much water since the Master also confirmed that the Doctor was half-human, and it was for that very reason that the Master needed him in order to open the Eye of Harmony (since it was keyed-in to human eyes). That's the thing; people either forget or they just don't know that it is an important plot point in the movie and not just some random claim from out-of-the-blue.


Dannie Madsen
Dannie Madsen

He was disgusted by his lack of two hearts. Tenth Doctor was half-human.

AlessandroArsuffi
AlessandroArsuffi

@Whoworld  The TARDIS's Eye of Harmony was modified to use the human iris in audio drama "The Apocalypse Element" (Sixth Doctor story), a story RTD believed to be canonical. As for the change from human to half-human: what if the Seventh Doctor's blood was contaminated during his death period and the Eighth Doctor's "genetic" mother is Grace Holloway? That might explain why Seven was pure Time Lord while Eight was half-human but only for one regeneration, than the War Doctor was reborn as a pure Time Lord thanks to the Sisterhood of Karn's Elixir.

Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

@Oodkind  That's a good theory, considering he had post-regenerative amnesia and was only just remembering who he was - he could have easily gotten confused if he was full of human blood.

A_Madman_With_a_Box
A_Madman_With_a_Box

@Oodkind  I had a personal theory that when he had a blood transfusion during his regeneration the human DNA became fused with his, but when he regenerated into the War Doctor the dominant Time Lord DNA took over.  S basically the Eighth Doctor was part human, but no other Doctor was.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@Oodkind  Well he probably did receive massive blood transfusions, and it would have been human blood. I'm guessing that if that explanation is the one we're going with, then his body eventually filtered out the human blood after a while. Personally, I waffle in between that and the "half-broken chameleon arch" explanation from "The Forgotten", because a Doctor like Seven would totally have planned that in advance, and it gives him a bit of his dignity back to make up for him being unceremoniously gunned down by some teen gangsters.

Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

@MaraBackman  I agree, I kind of don't mind it. I feel like some shows try too hard to define and stick to the cannon that they essentially "box themselves in". We'll never really know if the Doctor worked for UNIT in the 80s, exactly how many of the books, audios and comics fit in with the main cannon, or why the Doctor always ends up spending half his time saving Earth, but half of the fun is sharing theories and making stuff up for ourselves. In reality a show about time travel that's been going to 50 years is always going to be prone to plotholes, I think it's important not to let continuity get in the way too much.

ScottServeiss
ScottServeiss

Theta Sigma was first introduced as his nick name at Uni by Drax in Armageddon Factor.

calliarcale
calliarcale

@Dannie Madsen I take it you haven't seen much of the Seventh, then?  ;-)  He was pretty notorious for being a conniver.

BJAMES
BJAMES

@thelonelycenturion @Angie Whodini The Doctor's mother Penelope Gate was using a chameleon arch to hide from the Time Lords when she conceived and gave birth to the Doctor. I've heard that one too, though I don't recall where just at the moment. It's a fairly plausible explanation of a timeline that could have been rewritten at some point.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@Oodkind  Plus, the Eye of Harmony was already keyed-in to human eyes only by the time the Doctor regenerated, which suggests to me that there was some pre-planning on the Doctor's part.

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

The details are less important than retaining the core charasteristics of something, which is why most people choose to ignore earlier implications that the Daleks and Cybermen would have forsaken every bit of organic material and become entirely robotic. That is also why I personally don't care about the "UNIT dating controversy" and other such things, because they don't really matter and don't affect the big picture very much. Stuff like the Time War have become a major part of the mythology, on par with the creation of the Daleks and what we know of Rassilon and Omega, because these are elements that keep on influencing the plot years later. Things like that are more difficult to be ignored, but it is still possible to have even those not be a part of one's headcanon.

Romanadvoratrelundar
Romanadvoratrelundar

@MaraBackman Exactly. I mean, of course stuff like the Time War is important because it's pivotal to the mythos of the show, but things like the UNIT dating controversy or the real age of the Doctor don't worry me. Who cares if he's 100 or 3000? Besides, think hard enough and you can find an explanation for anything.