Series 7 Mysteries: The Name of the Doctor

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Guest contributor Shay Hatchard ponders over the finale mysteries and revelations.

It’s all still waiting for you. The Fields of Trenzalore, the fall of the Eleventh, and the question. The first question. The one that must never be answered…

NOTE: The following article holds major spoilers for The Name Of The Doctor. Please save the surprises for when you see the episode.


All of Series 7 has been leading up to this hotly anticipated finale. From Oswin/Clara’s shock debut in Asylum Of The Daleks, to her making her full time appearance in The Snowmen, to meeting her AGAIN in The Bells Of Saint John. Those dedicated Whovians have been following the “Woman Twice Dead” arc – theorising online, hooked to the television, desperate for clues, and if, like me, you’ve been speculating for months, you’ll hopefully have been keeping up with these articles each week (and with Broadchurch having made it’s conclusion months ago, what else have you got to look forward to on Mondays?) And you’ll also know that last week the finale was leaked to 200+ US subscribers, with the Series 7: Part 2 – Blu-Ray being shipped a week early. The BBC were so uptight about The Name Of The Doctor that they promised fans who had seen the episode a Matt and David clip from the 50th – if they could keep their traps shut. So was all the hype worth it?

Being completely honest, after the episode’s closing titles fell, I couldn’t help but feel just a tad disappointed. Not with the episode, or the (tremendous, may I say) acting, something just didn’t feel right. Maybe it might have been because a 3-series long arc had just concluded. Maybe it was because I had already figured out who Clara was before the episode (yes, I had. See the next paragraph if your interested in how). Or maybe it was the big shocking reveal of John Hurt being introduced as another Doctor.


Let’s start with Clara. I thought it was very clever how they incorporated her into all the old stories, and apart from some shaky CGI and green screen effects at times (I mean, come on, it would be impossible to make it perfect) it was a nice nod to the past, and as the Radio Times promised, it did make me fee like the anniversary was already happening! The “impossible girl”‘s reveal was for once probably not that majorly Timey-Wimey, and as promised we were given proper full answers, not left with tugging questions and thoughts. I think it was one of the biggest mysteries of NuWho, but also probably the most overlooked. The plot was simple, effective, but also made the fans who hadn’t figured it out previously, surprised and satisfied with the closure. Your probably wondering how I figured it out. No spoilers, no hints or teases, just from using the TV trailer and promotional images.

  • A promo pic where Clara is seen in the TARDIS with the Sixth Doctor clearly behind her.
  • In another of the images, she is seen shouting at a car – figuring out to be the third Doctor’s car ‘Bessie’
  • In the TV trailer, if you slow it down right at the end, you can see a body move into the “time tunnel”

And that’s how I figured that she wasn’t impossible – she was just a ordinary girl, but with a extraordinary mission. To go back through the Doctor’s timestream and BECOME Oswin Oswald, BECOME the Victorian Nanny. It was a theory, which became true. Kind of upsetting, as it ruined the ending a tad, but I also feel chuffed that I outsmarted Moffat.

Was I the only one who thought the Doctor’s name might have actually have been “PLEASE”? My heart stopped for a second, but then I knew it couldn’t be the case. In fact, it was revealed that River – who had been downloaded from the TARDIS – telepathically said the Doctor’s name. But if she was mentally linked to Clara, surely Clara also knows the Doctor’s name too? It was like when Clara went deeper into the TARDIS, and she began to remember the events of Journey To The Centre of the TARDIS. Surely she must have remembered reading his name in the “History Of The Last Great Time War”? Minor plot holes, ones that took no enjoyment from the story whatsoever, but plot holes nonetheless.

Other reveals aside, the really big one has got to be John Hurt making his debut as “the Doctor” right at the end of the episode. Forgetting Clara and the Doctor’s real name – this is what the episode was all about. If the 50th Anniversary filming rumours are anything to go by, we’ll be introduced to Hurt as the ninth Doctor; the forgotten Doctor, between Eight and Nine. The one that “blackened out the Doctor”, the one who wouldn’t follow the rules.

“What I did, I did without choice…”
“I know.”
“…In the name of peace and sanity.”
“But not in the name of the Doctor!”

It is clear that Hurt’s Doctor did something huge – something that made the name “Doctor” feared amongst races across the universe, something during the Time War. It’s clear that the Eleventh Doctor fears Hurt; fears the mistakes he made, fears the past and what he did that was so terribly evil. He states that it’s one of him but not one of the Doctors….does this mean that John’s Doctor lives by another name, the Doctor’s real name? Moffat certainly wasn’t lying when he said this could change the course of Doctor Who forever…

And this brings me to the conclusion of the Series 7 Mysteries. With hope you can expect to see me writing a new, very different series of articles soon – ones I won’t go into too much depth here, but hopefully set up the 50th well. I hope you all enjoyed these articles, and I’ll see you again later this year!