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The Curious Case of the 9th Doctor

Guest contributor Neil Smith wonders just who is the real Ninth Doctor?

the-ninth-doctors

With a fresh set of adventures for the Doctor’s new incarnation just weeks away and now that the Doctor is finally into his second regeneration life cycle. It seems like a prudent time to take a look back at his first regeneration life, or more specifically the time between his 8th and 10th incarnation, where there exists the curious case of the 9th Doctor. Who was, should have, could have and is the 9th Doctor?

The world of Doctor Who is a complex thing, if we ask the question how many actors have played the Doctor the answer is not as simple as it seems. A simple answer would be 13 including Peter Capaldi, however if we include Peter Cushing, the movie Doctor and Richard Hurndall, Hartnell’s replacement in the 5 Doctors, things start to get a little murky. But we don’t have to stop there, if we add Trevor Martin, the stage Doctor, All the Doctor’s from the Big Finish’s Unbound series and anyone other than Tom Baker in the Brain of Morbius, then the Doctor count goes through the roof, and I’m sure the list doesn’t end there. So as you can see counting Doctors isn’t as simple as counting sheep.

In the midst of this multitude of Doctors, during the period between is 8th and 10th incarnation the Doctor was in his biggest state of flux, for want of a better word. Four separate actors can lay the claim to being the 9th Doctor. We all know that Christopher Eccleston is the official 9th Doctor, but it comes as no big shock to discover that he was not the first actor to be officially designated the 9th Doctor. That particular accolade falls to Richard E Grant, the Shalka Doctor as he is affectionately termed. He hit our screens a whole year before our man Chris. If we delve a little deeper to 1999 a certain Rowan Atkinson was the first actor to play the 9th Doctor for Comic Relief. More recently an unknown Doctor has been shoe horned in between McGann and Eccleston in the guise of John Hurt, leaving us with a final count of 4 separate actors who can state themselves as the true 9th Doctor.

rowan-atkinson-curse-fatal-death-doctor-whoFirst up is the Comic Relief Doctor in Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. You could argue against this inclusion on the basis that it was a one off joke, a Comic Relief skit, which is not considered part of the official canon. Which is true but you also have to take into account that it was produced by the BBC and written by none other than Steven Moffat and has been released by the BBC on DVD. Wikipedia bills Rowan Atkinson as the 9th Doctor and describes it as a production bridge between 1963 and 2005 version, due to a number of key personnel from both eras working on the production, so a level of continuity does exist. The Curse of Fatal Death has featured twice on the cover of Doctor Who Magazine and has also been covered in the DWM Archives. Not bad for an episode of Doctor Who, that’s not really Doctor Who. Between the Curse of Fatal Death and Scream of the Shalka, Rowan Atkinson was the 9th Doctor in the absence of anyone else in the role, even if he never intended to be. Which makes Rowan Atkinson the original 9th Doctor.

shalka-doctorNext up is the Shalka or REG Doctor in the Scream of the Shalka. Again you could argue that he was a one off, an oddity, a version of the Doctor adrift in its own continuity, in the realms of what could have been. But you can’t ignore the fact that he was designated as the official 9th Doctor and The Scream of the Shalka was the BBC’s only offering for the Doctor’s 40th Anniversary. He had his own musical arrangement, titles and even a funky new TARDIS interior, which continued along the design set during McGann’s equally brief tenure. So there is no denying the continuity and commitment from the BBC, until of course Lorraine Heggessey announced Doctor Who was to return to BBC 1. Any further stories were quickly cancelled and Richard E’s time as the Doctor was over and the world had a new number 9.

doctor-who-ninth-9th-doctor-eccleston2So finally we get to the official 9th Doctor, the real deal, prime time, Saturday night, BBC1 Doctor. The big hitter, the undisputed king of the 9th, our man from the north Christopher Eccleston. Call him what you want but you can’t argue with the fact that he is the official 9th Doctor followed by the 10th. Except he doesn’t follow the 8th, he is the Doctor who comes after the Doctor who came after the 8th. Maths was never my strong point but 8 + 1 + 1 = 10, not 9, so how does that work? It works when you strip the 8+1 Doctor of any numerical designation and call him the War Doctor.

john-hurt-doctor-name-finale-revealThe War Doctor, the promise breaker, the actual 9th incarnation of the time traveller we call the Doctor, who chooses not to be known as the Doctor. A “may-fly Doctor”, as Moffat described him, who would appear for one episode only, to celebrate Doctor Who’s anniversary. A version that would abandon his name, fight the Time War and commit multiple genocide, with more or less all of it occurring when Doctor who was off our screens. He would ultimately be an incarnation the Doctor chooses to forget, the secret he would take to the grave, as it were. With all that said and done, he still was the 9th incarnation of the Doctor regardless of what he calls himself, and by the sheer logic of maths he is still technically the 9th Doctor.

Conclusion

So who is the proper 9th Doctor? Depending on what stance you prefer to take, anyone of these could be heralded as the true 9th, the original as one might say. One could state that it is Rowan Atkinson, even though he was never considered to be canon, by mere fact that he was the first. Richard E Grant has an even stronger claim by being the first official 9th Doctor, even if he was quickly shunted to one side. John Hurt’s Doctor has an equally strong argument by the fact that his Doctor comes directly after McGann’s 8th, which should leave him numbered 9. But when the push comes to the shove, the Comic Relief Doctor is just that, a comic relief, the Shalka Doctor is the almost was, but now never will be, and the War Doctor is the Doctor without a number. The 9th Doctor is therefore of course Christopher Eccleston, the official but not the original, not even the second but the third, and not even the last, he is the 10th chronological Doctor, who is designated the number 9. Christopher Eccleston the wibbly wobbly, timey wimey number 9.

Step back in time...

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174 comments
LordRassilon
LordRassilon

I haven't viewed 'Scream of the Shalka' in ages, but I don't actually recall a regeneration scene (from McGann), or any formal declaration of numbering. There's nothing to say that this darker, fiercer Doctor from a decade past, isn't the *future* of the Capaldi regeneration cycle.


The linear nature of viewing Doctors on-screen, is entirely tossed in the rubbish bin with the non-linear nature of time travel.


The Morbius scene, is of all else, the largest debate, and you can always consider these other faces, as earlier regenerations of Morbius, who seems to be the losing side in the mental combat. There is no official record of on what regeneration phase Morbius reached by the time he was (supposedly) executed by dispersal.


The fact that his brain, detached from his body, didn't regenerate a new body around it, could however, mark that as his own final incarnation, making the steady stream of faces more logical, after the fact.


(There's always a way to defend your own model of what is, and what is not canonical.)

LaraHarris
LaraHarris

Re the numbering; I think it's very simple. Eccleston was known as the 9th Doctor. Then we had 10 and everything was going along fine till then. Everyone was happy(ish). Then we had the 11th regeneration (as we fans thought) part used and part stored in a hand. Then we had Matt and there was some debate at that point amongst fans how the regen limit was to be counted and was that extra Ten regeneration an actual regeneration.

THEN we had the War Doctor thrown into the mix, he was a device used to tell the Time War story. Suddenly we had another Doctor. War Doctor *was* the 9th Doctor. A regeneration was used to get to him from 8, we're shown it. So, regeneration wise everyone shuffles along one peg (regardless of how 10's x2 was going to be handled.) We were then told very clearly in TOD that 10's x2 DID in fact count, a regeneration *was* used and the limit had been reached.

We din't *need to refer to Eccleston as anything other than the 9th (if that's how we choose to refer to them) In general Hurt will always be known in fandom as the War Doctor and in crazy fan rooms like this we will debate if Capaldi should really actually be known as the 14th Doctor lol




TheFirstMaster
TheFirstMaster

One does not simply deduce the case of the 9th Doctor.

The Bish
The Bish


I really don't understand all this debate about Hurt and Eccleston and accusations that Moffat has "screwed up the numbering". Hurt is the War Doctor and Eccleston is the Ninth Doctor. Hurt doesn't have a number. It really is that simple.














Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

It's like I always say, "One can never have too many 9th Doctors." I've actually never said that, but I might just start.


Personally, I don't count the Shalka or CoFD Doctors to be canon at all (in fact, they're just about the only thing in all of Who fiction I consider non-canon), but they're both still as brilliant as any of the canon Doctors.

In terms with all the messed up numbering created by the War Doctor, I'm fine with Ecclestein being the 10th incarnation and the 9th Doctor. A lot of people seem to be calling him the 10th Doctor now or refusing to refer to him as the 10th incarnation because he's the 9th Doctor. Quite frankly, I don't care. He can be both. The War Doctor's an awesome idea that was well worth throwing of the numbering system.


DamianChristie
DamianChristie

Steven Moffatt has (somewhat incorrectly) claimed that it was the fans who came up with the numbering system for the Doctors (of course, in the The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors it was established very clearly in dialogue that the First Doctor was indeed the earliest Doctor and in The Five Doctors the First Doctor remarks "So there are five of me now!") but when you think about it the designated numbers we give them have never been in sync with their actual regenerations. Hartnell was actually the pre-regeneration Doctor and Troughton was officially the first regeneration in the Time Lord's first regeneration cycle. This actually makes Hurt's War Doctor the 8th regeneration and Eccleston is officially the "Ninth Doctor" in all aspects - he is both the official 9th incarnation we saw on TV and the 9th regeneration. Ditto Tennant as the Tenth Doctor - official 10th incarnation and 10th regeneration. Where it all goes pear-shaped again again is with Tennant's two on-screen regenerations. As confirmed in The Time of the Doctor, Tennant's first regeneration in Journey's End actually meant the Tenth Doctor was both the Time Lord's 10th and 11th regenerations! This then makes Smith's Eleventh Doctor the 12th and last regeneration - and Capaldi's 12th Doctor is actually the 14th regeneration - and the first of presumably another 12 regenerations in a fresh regeneration cycle (meaning after Capaldi there is the potential for another 11 Doctors!). My wife, of course, was confused by the numbering system for the Doctors even before the arrival of the War Doctor - she prefers to think of them by other designations, eg "Scarf Doctor" (Fourth), "Cricket Doctor" (Fifth), "Clown Doctor" (Sixth) and "Cute Doctor" (Tenth)! And to be honest, she has a point - she has absolutely no idea who I'm talking about if I refer to them by number!!!





Edoe
Edoe

To me, Chris Eccleston is the 9th Doctor. Yes, he might be the 10th incarnation but he will always be the 9th Doctor. As amazing as Hurt was, he was the War Doctor, he never called himself the Doctor. He was just the 9th incarnation.

floppy_who
floppy_who

Maybe the Shalka Doctor and Doctors 9 to 12 in the Curse of Fatal Death (I will never look at the sonic screwdriver in the same light again thanks to Joanna Lumley) are future incarnations from his next regeneration cycle....?

MoserGray
MoserGray

Thanks to Moffat, the numbering system has become more convoluted than ever before. If you don't agree, please remember it's okay to disagree with the programme and still be a fan of it. For the record, here are the Doctors
:


1. William Hartnell

2. Patrick Troughton

3. Jon Pertwee

4. Tom Baker

5. Peter Davison

6. Colin Baker

7. Sylvester McCoy

8. Paul McGann

9. John Hurt

10. Christopher Eccleston

11. David Tennant

12. David Tennant v1.5

13. Matt Smith


NEW LIFE CYCLE


1. Peter Capaldi


Matt Smith was the last and final incarnation of The Doctor in his original life cycle. Although we all came to know him as the 11th Doctor, he was anything but; he was in fact the 13th. Why he asked the TARDIS if he could still regenerate (knowing he was the last) in "Let's Kill Hitler" or had the Teselecta appear to regenerate in "The Impossible Astronaut" is anyone's guess, but I chalk it up to bad writing and plot holes.


Moffat counted the aborted regenerated in "Stolen Earth" as a regeneration (despite RTD never intending it to count). This could mean a few things...


A. The David Tennant Doctor regenerated into himself.

B. The Meta-Crisis Doctor that grew from the hand counts as a Doctor.

C. While the regenerated energy was used, The Tennant Doctor used it to heal himself and siphon off the rest into the hand before it could change him. Why all Time Lords don't do this - especially after their hands grow back after being cut off as evidenced in "The Christmas Invasion" - can again be chalked up to bad writing and plot holes.


John Hurt was indeed The Doctor. Seeing how he never caused Gallifrey's destruction, and instead was instrumental in helping to save it, one could say that he reclaimed the name of 'The Doctor', making him the true 9th Doctor. Also, everyone on Gallifrey knew who he was and they no doubt still called him The Doctor, as did the Daleks in all likelihood.

Angie Whodini has Ravio's bracelet
Angie Whodini has Ravio's bracelet

By sheer chance, I watched  part of the Day of the Doctor today, and this article made me rewatch The Curse of the Fatal Death and this is what I come upon:

TCotFD- Companion: "He was never cruel and never cowardly..."

TDotD- Ten: "never cruel or cowardly..."

I'm not sure what to make of it other than: that's some memory you've got there, Moffat!



ShalkaDoctor
ShalkaDoctor

Glad to see the Shalka Doctor get some recognition! It's truly a shame that he is considered non-canon as I would have liked to have seen Grant's take on a more...reserved Doctor. I myself have been dabbling with some fan fiction/unofficial short stories for him here and there as a means to create my own spin on his Doctor. Not sure if it'll ever actually see the light of day, unfortunately.

Anyway, I've always seen this whole "numbering debate" a bit nonsensical. The War Doctor himself didn't even want to call himself the Doctor, and his redemption in Day doesn't really serve as any sort of retcon for the numbering in anyway. At least not to Eccleston's or Tennant's Doctor. I'd imagine Smith's Doctor, whilst alone, probably even debated the topic himself (with himself, of course) and would most probably have shruged off the difference, saying something along the lines of "Well, if anyone out there--anyone in this universe, anyway--is keeping count, there's no point in confusing them at this point", before digressing and rambling about bowties or the one time he "lost a game of intergalactic strip poker onboard a ship with Guy Fawkes and the impending threat of the 51st Sontaran Battle Fleet".

Temporal Tomato
Temporal Tomato

I like to believe that the Shalka Doctor is the Doctor's true 9th incarnation, if he hadn't crashed on the planet Karn and chosen his next body via the elixir, changing the course of the war. In the DWM article on Shalka it was implied that the Time Lords had been fighting in a war and had retreated into the Matrix, which would have been the original outcome of the war had the Doctor not become the War Doctor.

Unibot
Unibot

I count Chris and Hurt as the Ninth Doctor. I'm weird like that. 

connellmatthews
connellmatthews

This article has infuriated me to the point of writing a comment. Christopher Eccleston IS and always will be the 9th Doctor. You're wrong if you think otherwise,

lkeels
lkeels

The ONLY thing you have to do is look at the credits of the 50th anniversary special.  ALL the Doctors are listed, in numerical order, and John Hurt IS #9.  There is no disputing this.  If he was the "War Doctor," he would have been listed as such and he is not.  He is right there with the others, #9 in line.

ClaireAbraham
ClaireAbraham

The Doctor does not really number himself. That is a convenience that the fans have added to help keep the situation straight and remember more clearly which episode they are discussing. The Doctor has now regenerated 12 times; one of those regenerations did not refer to himself as The Doctor because he was primarily a warrior. Calling him the War Doctor both awards him his proper place in the pantheon while taking note of his peculiar circumstances. 


Rowan Atkinson did a nice parody of the Doctor, but that's what it was - a parody. He was never intended to be a separate incarnation of the Doctor. 


The Shalka is basically in an alternate universe. To call him the Ninth Doctor is to confuse the issue, not to clarify it.


If we consider that the numbering system exists solely to keep us clear on which incarnation we are discussing at any given time, then the best way to accomplish that is to agree that Christopher Eccleston is the Ninth Doctor.

Polyphase
Polyphase

 anyone other than Tom Baker in the Brain of Morbius

? I've tried and tried but cannot make sense of this statement. Also I thought the War Doctor wasn't called the The Doctor ?

CLARA: But who is he?
DOCTOR: He's me. There's only me here, that's the point. Now let's get back.
CLARA: But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. Eleven faces, all of them you. You're the eleventh Doctor.
DOCTOR: I said he was me. I never said he was the Doctor.

Ollie Walton Harrod
Ollie Walton Harrod

@The Bish Well it's simple enough to understand why people get annoyed though. As John Hurt's Doctor is technically the 9th Doctor, even though that's not what he is called.

I blame Christopher Eccleston though, for not taking part.

The_Eternal_Dalek
The_Eternal_Dalek

@DamianChristie  No, Tennant is the 11th and 12th incarnations, making him the 10th and 11th regenerations.


As for the nicknames, at least it was better than the other lists I've seen around: Norman Hartnell, Partick Thistle, Worzel Gummidge, The Scarf, The Vet, Sixie, The Real, Renault McGann, Big Ears, Ten-Inch. (it was too old a list for the others)

Hibernus
Hibernus

@edoe101 But he did call himself the Doctor. Twice in one episode, in fact.



"Also the Doctor, standing ready."

"But for now, for this moment, I am the Doctor again."

CassandraAtticum
CassandraAtticum

@MoserGray On the commentary track to the episode, RTD said he didn't think the regeneration into the hand counted as a regeneration, but David Tennant did. 

robohappy
robohappy

@MoserGray Its downright depressing that they made Smith the 13th incarnation and then rushed the whole "he is on his last life" storyline in one very bad, very rushed episode! Why did Moffat include 10ths aborted regeneration! I would have been happy with Peter being the last incarnation as long as they acknowledged it early in his story, and did not rush a explanation in his regeneration episode!

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

He didn't ask the TARDIS if he could still regenerate. Watch the scene again. He says, "So, better regenerate then, that's what you're saying?" and then the TARDIS says, "Regeneration disabled." How do you know that, had the TARDIS not said, "Yes," that he wouldn't have said, "Yeah, well I can't anymore so what should I do about that?" As it is, all he is doing is asking what the TARDIS intends to suggest. It just shoots him down before he can bring up the issue of not having any left. And as for the Teselecta, it's a robot. It doesn't have a limit. The Doctor had to make his death look convincing. The hand regeneration and, more explicitly, the War Doctor were not public knowledge. Smith's incarnation was believed to be the eleventh, so if he hadn't started to "regenerate" there, then it would have blown the whole ruse. And had Moffat not counted the hand regeneration, there wouldn't even be a limit. If the hand regeneration were counted, then the whole point of the limit would be completely destroyed. It had to count in order for the limit to still matter, because if it didn't count, then why don't all Time Lords lop off a finger and carry it with them to circumvent regeneration? Not only would they get to retain their active incarnation indefinitely, but they also wouldn't have to deal with the personality rewrite or post-regenerative trauma. That would be "bad writing." Counting the hand regeneration actually gave it some consequence. Before, it was just a complete "get out of jail free" card, whereas if you count it, all plot holes are neatly avoided. But if RTD had reeeally wanted it to not count, then he should have made that clearer on-screen. That's the same reason why we don't all count the Morbius Doctors; Terrance Dicks meant for them to be pre-Hartnell incarnations, but since that wasn't established very well on-screen, it can be (and did get) safely ignored.


TheEleventhWheatley
TheEleventhWheatley

@Angie Whodini It was a favourite phrase of Terrance Dicks to describe the Doctor, I think its usage in the 50th and TCotFD was a little tribute to him.

LucasW
LucasW

I believe it was Terrance Dicks who came up with that little description of the Doctor. A nice bit of fan service there by Moffat.

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

I read that he actually took that line from a Terrance Dicks quote in "The Making of Doctor Who" (although that was in 1972, whereas "The Curse of Fatal Death" was in 1996, so the same principle could still apply; it just means that Moffat didn't come up with the quote). Actually, Moffat has many ideas that you can tell have been swimming around in his head for a long time. What River says about us taking the meaning of the word "doctor" from the Doctor's actions was first put forth by Moffat in a Usenet post in the 1995. "The Curse of Fatal Death" has the Doctor saying that he's "put a lot of work into [the universe]," a quote which pops up again in "The Eleventh Hour" in reference to Earth. The book "Continuity Errors" has a ton of these, such as the Luna[r] University, the "biggest Library in the universe," the Doctor's distinction as a "complex space-time event," and basically the plot of "A Christmas Carol" with the Doctor changing history in order to make somebody a nicer person. It's really quite fascinating. :P


lkeels
lkeels

@connellmatthews Then you are saying the BBC and the producers of the series are wrong, because John Hurt is credited as the 9th Doctor.

Clara Laurinda
Clara Laurinda

@connellmatthews You have actually READ the article have you not? That's exactly what the article says, if you read it right through to the end. It agrees with you completely so your response baffles me.

ShalkaDoctor
ShalkaDoctor

If nothing else, for marketing purposes, Hurt is the War Doctor/the Warrior/The Other Doctor/The Renegade, and Eccleston is the Ninth. In regards to merchandising, the BBC has not, and I'm sure will not, change that. That, in itself, would cause too much confusion and conflict within Doctor Who's marketing and merchandising community. If you think this debate is drawn out now, just imagine fans arguing about the 11th Doctor's sonic and why it's the blue one and not green. Anyway, the official 50th Anniversary merchandise would seem to agree with this, simply due to things such as "The War Doctor action figure" and The Other Doctor Sonic Screwdriver." It sounds weird to say "for the sake of sales, the retcon will never actually happen", but I think it somewhat rings true in this case.

Dear me, I sound like a Beeb Executive or something..

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

However, he was credited as "The War Doctor" in "The Night of the Doctor", and Moffat has said repeatedly that the numbering systems remain unchanged due to the fact that War rejected the name of the Doctor, thus making him not a "Doctor." You can't say that a green apple is a red apple, because although it is still an apple, it just isn't red. It's really not that hard of a concept to grasp. Also note that those same 50th Anniversary credits list Billie Piper's character as "Rose" even though she played the Moment. So already, they're generalizing. Plus, credits are metatextual anyway. The actual in-show content takes priority. Unless you want to start calling the Doctor "Doctor Who" since he was credited as that for a long time.


NeutronFlow has a spoon in his pocket
NeutronFlow has a spoon in his pocket

@ClaireAbraham 'the numbering system exists solely to keep us clear on which INCARNATION we are discussing'

 'the best way to accomplish that is to agree that Christopher Eccleston is the Ninth Doctor' 

Christopher Eccleston is the tenth incarnation. 

I'm intrigued. 

How can that be the 'best way'?





The_Eternal_Dalek
The_Eternal_Dalek

@Polyphase  Messed up comment. There were eight "pre-Hartnell Doctors" shown in The Brain of Morbius (which have since been retconned as Morbius' previous selves).


If anything they make Hartnell "The Ninth Doctor" not Tom Baker.

NumberNine
NumberNine

There's a controversial scene in the episode "The Brain of Morbius" that shows all of the doctor's past incarnations, including some coming BEFORE William Hartnell's first doctor. The show has since ignored this scene, as the 12 regeneration limit was invented a few episodes later.

Hibernus
Hibernus

@The_Eternal_Dalek @DamianChristie So, I'm curious, would you also say that River Song was the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth etc. incarnation of Melody after she used up those regenerations?



I don't think it makes sense to count David Tennant as both 11th and 12th. It was the same incarnation. Not every regeneration results in a new one.

DamianChristie
DamianChristie

@NeutronFlow @connellmatthewsTrue, Eccleston's the 10th incarnation of the character - but he's also the actual ninth regeneration in the Doctor's regeneration cycle. Hartnell was a pre-regenerative Doctor and it was Troughton who was the first of the Time Lord's 12 regenerations ! That actually makes the War Doctor the 8th regeneration and makes Eccleston almost the Ninth Doctor in all aspects - 9th regeneration and 9th official incarnation on TV!

DamianChristie
DamianChristie

@The_Eternal_Dalek @Polyphase As the Fourth Doctor would say, "Empirical poppycock!" While it was the intention of the production team of the day to suggest that the other faces were incarnations of the Doctor pre-Hartnell, stories before and since The Brain of Morbius (eg The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, Mawdryn Undead) have disproved this and affirmed that Hartnell was the First Doctor. There is NO SUCH THING as a Morbius Doctor! The theory is non-canonical nonsense, lacking even less credibility than the Shalka, Curse of the Fatal Death or Cushing Doctors!

Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!
Amy is uniting the Earth Kingdom!

"which have since been retconned as Morbius' previous selves" -Not by any official source as far as I'm aware? I thought that was just the fan-explanation. Personally, I gladly accept those faces as being the faces of the Other.


davidbrummy
davidbrummy

@NumberNine It is not ignored but what we is generally accepted is we are seeing Morbuis's previous incarnations.  

The_Eternal_Dalek
The_Eternal_Dalek

@Hibernus @The_Eternal_Dalek @DamianChristie  I wouldn't use it because we don't know how many regenerations River Song had, but in principle we would have to.


Time Lords have twelve regenerations for thirteen incarnations. If he uses up one without changing his body it still goes to the next incarnation, he's on the same body though, so he's the Tenth Doctor, eleventh body but eleventh and twelfth incarnations (could get even more horrendous if he "revisits some old faces in future").


It certainly makes sense.

MoserGray
MoserGray

@Amy says Peter Davison is the Thirteenth Doctor!  You keep saying that, but I'm not sure you understand what that means. I mean even I don't know what you mean. Are you referring one had to count the hand regeneration so we can get to the last Doctor so Moffat could be the one to tackle the regeneration issue, or... ??? The Doctor can regenerate 12 times, giving him 13 bodies, there is a limit. Well, not anymore that is.

ClaireAbraham
ClaireAbraham

@Angie Whodini @NeutronFlow @ClaireAbraham Right. It means not changing the nomenclature with which we are accustomed. The nomenclature exists only as a method of promoting a common understanding. It has nothing to do with the essential essence of the Doctor.

Polyphase
Polyphase

@davidbrummy @NumberNine Only saw this again recently and the faces you see are supposed to be the Doctor because Morbius is winning the mind bending competion. As the faces roll by Morbius says

 "How far, Doctor? How long have you lived?

ClaireAbraham
ClaireAbraham

@NeutronFlow @ClaireAbraham @Angie Whodini No, it just means that he had to be squeezed into the nomenclature, wedged between two more firmly established Doctors. The conceit of referring to each one by his number is an entirely semantic enterprise that exists only so we can communicate with each other about the particular manifestation in question. What we call him has nothing to do with who he is, and calling him the War Doctor enables us to install him in the pantheon of Doctors without displacing three other Doctors and causing complete confusion. Honestly, myself, I wish they'd gone with McGann since Chris wouldn't do it, and avoid this whole mess, but I guess Moffat liked the idea of getting an actor with Hurt's reputation to be the Doctor for a day. 


If Hurt is called the War Doctor, everybody knows who is being discussed. If some people doggedly insist on calling Hurt the Ninth Doctor, there will be confusion and misunderstanding every time we discuss any Doctor in the New Who era.