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The Future of Multi-Doctor Stories

Guest contributor Tom Mason examines some possibilities.

day-of-the-doctor-binding-alternate

Multi-Doctor stories are great, fantastic even! They bring in past Doctors that you love (or hate) into the current series and allow the viewers to see how they react to each other. So far, in the New-Who era, we have only been treated to one full-length multi-Doctor story, which was of course ‘The Day of the Doctor’. Notably, they only occur on anniversary episodes for obvious reasons as they are such a huge treat for the viewers. But the writers have a puzzle to try pick a spot from the Doctors’ timelines to make sure not to ruin the continuity of the show’s past (and future). Now, I believe the genius mind of Steven Moffat has already planned ahead…

How to bring back Eleven

time-of-the-doctor-tv-trailer-(14) old smithCast your mind back to ‘The Time of the Doctor’ and the Doctor’s battle on Trenzalore. Over 900 years of battling, the effects of war are apparent on the Doctor: Ageing. He ages significantly (as you would over 900 years) and it mainly shows to the viewers how long he has been on Trenzalore and is also the consequence of not being able to regenerate at the time. And that ageing, intentionally or not, has set up Matt Smith in a great position for future multi-Doctor Stories.

It has been well noted that Smith would like to return for an anniversary episode in the future, and Steven Moffat has set it up so the 11th Doctor can return to a future story with ease, without worrying about continuity errors or plot holes as such, and also not worrying what Smith looks like in the future.

So, cast your mind to the future this time, maybe to the 60th Anniversary where we are on the 14th Doctor starring Benedict Cumberbatch (you never know). It is of course a multi Doctor story and Matt Smith is involved. The 14th Doctor has to travel back through time to find his past selves to fight the Daleks or risk the universe imploding! (readers will no doubt have better imagination than I but you get the point!). Anyway, it doesn’t matter how Matt ages in real life as he would come from a certain time on Trenzalore which would fit his actual looks at the present. I wouldn’t be surprised that when he is in his 80s he would be part of the 100th anniversary episode. Maybe the Doctor has already been visited multiple times during his time at Trenzalore but we haven’t had the chance to see it yet.

What about the other Doctors?

tennant-ecclestonIt’s much harder for other Doctors as they really need to be alone, as you don’t see companions with them in multi Doctor stories, apart from the main Doctor at the time. This may have been a problem with Eccleston’s 9th Doctor as he always had Rose and sometimes Captain Jack with him, so it would have been harder for him to appear in an episode, but I’m sure Moffat would have found a way round it if Eccleston agreed for the 50th. (Suggestions from which time period he might have appeared from below!).

It worked for Tennant in the 50th episode as he appeared between ‘The Waters of Mars’ and ‘The End of Time’ in which he was on his own and exploring. We see him at the beginning of ‘The End of Time’ speaking to the Ood: “I didn’t exactly come straight here. Had a bit of fun, y’know? Travelled about. Did this and that.” Ten then continues to say: “Got married, that was a mistake, Good Queen Bess”, which is of course a reference to the 50th anniversary special. (Though I’m not sure how he remembered it as the time streams were out of sync, but still!).

As for the classic Doctors, I’m not in a position to comment as I have not seen ‘The Three Doctors’ or ‘The Five Doctors’, but I’m sure they will be talked about in the comments below.

To conclude, Matt Smith’s era ended with a bang, and a slight but certain hint of looking to the future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Capaldi’s Doctor have a certain time without companions when he is wondering about to use as a reference point, like Tennant’s, so that in the future, maybe he could return for a multi Doctor episode when his era has passed. I said it was a puzzle for writers, well Moffat pushed the final piece into the Matt Smith shaped jigsaw.

Step back in time...

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186 comments
Noybusiness
Noybusiness

The Two Doctors wasn't an anniversary, and the Second Doctor had Jamie with him. The Five Doctors featured various past companions, although they were taken out of time in the same way as the Doctors, rather than having been with them.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

Why do the Doctors need to be alone?  In the 3 Doctors they asked Fraiser Hines but he was not available due to Emmerdale filming.  They were going to ask one of the other 2nd Doctor companions to return but Pertwee also expressed a desire for the anniversary show to concentrate on the present cast.  The Five Doctors had companions and there is a lot of comments about the issues they had getting a companion for each Doctor.  

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

The aging of the Doctors when they meet was dealt with in Time Crash.  The 10th talks to the 5th about that his presence is what has caused him to age and that he will be able to close his coat when he goes back into correct time stream.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

The 9th Doctor did not regenerate at the beginning of Rose so he can easily appear by himself in a multi Doctor story.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

So how can you write a complete article if you have not watched the 3 or 5 Doctors.

VictorWong1
VictorWong1

You know what? I'd like to declare a moratorium on appearances from the Classic Doctors. For at least ten years.


I don't just mean fresh appearances from Davison, the Bakers et all. I mean no more using clips of them, video and otherwise, in explaining who the Doctor is.


It started with The Next Doctor (infostamp). Since then we've had them in Eleventh Hour (Atraxi scan), The Lodger (memory transfer), Journey to the Center of the Tardis (audio murmur), Nightmare in Silver (regeneration threat), and of course the anniversary episodes Name and Day.


Frankly that's too much. We no longer need reminders of the show's past and heritage, and we need the Capaldi Doctor to focus forward.

simon delafield
simon delafield

Many years ago DWM did an April's Fool in which they claimed that the Tenth Planet was going to be remade with Davison appearing in the background alongside Hartnell. Years later ST DS9 did this of course with the Tribbles episode. Maybe now would be a time to do this for real? As Capaldi has recently mentioned Mondasian cybermen, the plot could revolve around the new Doctor finding that they plan to alter the past and going back to stop them - and being inserted into colourised and CGI'd scenes with Hartnell. Just a thought. 





RoweMatthew
RoweMatthew

Eccleston's Doctor had plenty of time travelling alone when he went to Krakatoa and the JFK assassination. So no worries.

thribs1
thribs1

I want a Fourth Doctor/Adric and Eighth Doctor/Dark Eyes crossover.

Doctor What and Where
Doctor What and Where

Indeed a good artcile. Nicely said.

 The Doctors who'd be easiest to return are 8, 9, 10 and 11. Hurt Doctor would wear his welcome, to pardon the expression, and all Doctor from before 8 might be stretching it, although one might argue a return of 7 might not be as impossible as it may have seemed.


Still, I personally look forward for 8, of all of them, to return for a proper story, in a Two Doctors, non-anniversarial mult-Doctor story.


Niow go and watch The Three Doctors and the Five Doctors. What are you waiting for? :)

Creepy_Ghoul
Creepy_Ghoul

In my opinion David Tennant could also return in an episode as the Meta-Crisis Doctor. Then there are no paradoxes needed.

12th's Sonic (Are we really in London? Are we?.)
12th's Sonic (Are we really in London? Are we?.)

Er.. Don't you remember the time that the 9th doctor left rose after the events of 'Rose' and then someone told him he should go back for her ? Maybe he could be from there in a multi doctor story.

The Bish
The Bish

Enjoyed reading that Tom, well done.


My thoughts on how to bring the various Doctors back in the future are as such...


First, Second and Third Doctors: Number of options here. You can either do it in a similar way to TDOTD or try Forrest Gump style camera tricks (like in The Name of the Doctor). The other option is to... recast. Maybe ask David Bradley to play the First Doctor and Sean Pertwee to be The Third Doctor (the resemblance to his father is uncanny) for example.


Fourth Doctor: Bring Tom Baker back as The Curator.

Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors: Use a Time Crash style explanation as to why Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy look older.


Eighth Doctor: As long as Paul McGann looks similar to how he does now then the Eighth Doctor can be plucked from sometime close to his regeneration in The Night of the Doctor. Otherwise follow the Time Crash route.


War Doctor: Simple really, pluck him out of the later years of the Time War.


Ninth Doctor: I think Christopher Eccleston still has a look about him to pass off the Ninth Doctor without any ageing concerns. I'd personally bring the Ninth Doctor in pre-Rose/newly regenerated as I think it would be fascinating to see how The Doctor felt in those early moments of his life. If ageing was a concern then use a River Song looks younger as she gets older kind of explanation seeing as we never saw a complete regeneration.


Tenth Doctor: We saw last year that David Tennant still looks the part so if sometime soon the Tenth Doctor can come from a similar time frame as he did in The Day of the Doctor. If it's later then use a Time Crash style thing again.


Eleventh Doctor: As Tom said, Trenzalore is the obvious place to pluck Eleven from as Matt Smith gets older. Whilst he still looks the part though I would say that the Eleventh Doctor should come from his 200 year "farewell tour".

NewWho2012
NewWho2012

I believe that David's Doctor still remembers his encounter with Elisabeth I and he still got married to her and there was still Zygons around at the time, but perhaps all the Multi-Doctor stuff was wiped from his memory, but the rest remained. I'm sure it would be possible.

Kermit9
Kermit9

Christopher Eccleston's Doctor could actually easily come back. There's a part in "Rose" where the Doctor asks Rose to come with him and she says no. He dematerializes in the TARDIS before then come back. But he could have gone anywhere after he dematerializes.

Doctor Who-The Master
Doctor Who-The Master

The Three Doctors found a way around no companions, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors had past companions. In Dimensions in Time, they where all the 7th doctor. And Time Crach had no companions on ither side.

TomSM94
TomSM94

Thanks for reading and commenting on my article everybody! Its not perfect, I know and in hindsight I could of made it a bit better and not try to finish it too quickly. Yes, there is an obvious mistake in which it should say 900 not 300 years on the second paragraph (sorry!). This is my first article and I enjoy reading your comments as they have been mainly positive! Thanks again :D

Edit: Thanks DWTV for changing the error :P




JFrance
JFrance

As for the Ninth Doctor I believe he had 100 years of adventures after Rose turned him down. That would explain the pictures of him in the episode and why he was 900 years old in series 1. I don't quite believe he had adventures before Rose because of his age and also because I think The Doctor would spot himself in a mirror or a reflective object in 100 years. As for The Tenth Doctor he may just have edited highlights of his wedding.    

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

I always thought there could be a multi Doctor conference call, a bit similar to the one in Day when they were all saving Gallifrey. And the good thing is about that, you can have the surviving classic Doctor's voices- as in newly recorded stuff and just show the most recent Doctors on screen. You could even have Sean Pertwee in a blonde wig for a brief time because he looks so much like his father. As for the First and Second Doctor, perhaps their feed is too dodgy because it's so long ago but you just about hear voice likeness artists (as proven successfully in Day: "Calling the war council of Gallifrey, this is the Doctor!"). McGann, Hurt, Eccleston, Tennant, Smith and Capaldi are all capable of returning within the next 5 years or so, depending on the circumstances of who is the Doctor within that time period concerning the latter. Anything after that, you are dealing with the age problem- suppose that didn't stop Tennant or McGann in the 50th anniversary... 


JFrance
JFrance

This is one of the things I like about The Day of the Doctor. Is that it reference's where War, Ten and Eleven have been before that story and you also know where they are going next. There's something quite fascinating about it.        

Kylephantom4
Kylephantom4

In the older multi doctor stories, specifically The Five Doctors, Susan and Sarah Jane appeared, as well as The Brigadier. Also Zoe and Jamie briefly appeared (as visions in the tower) but still, the actors returned there. Also you could say that Billie Piper did return in the 50th as a version of Rose. Also the reason why the 10th Doctor would remember the marriage between elizabeth is that maybe the memories of those are still there, but the doctors he met are not in the memories anymore.


gunslinger19
gunslinger19

im pretty sure they explain why past doctors look older in time crash.

The Finn
The Finn

Actually, you do see companions with the other Doctors in multi-Doctor stories. In The Five Doctors you have the incumbent Companions Vislor Turlough and Tegan Jovanka, but you also have Susan, the Brigadier, Sarah Jane and Romana (the Lalla Ward portrayal), although to be fair the last one gets caught in the Time Eddy with the Fourth Doctor. The Three Doctors doesn't feature past Companions, but it was meant to feature "everybody's favourite Scot", Jamie McCrimmon.

Kinko
Kinko

The important thing in multiple doctor stories is the chemistry/conflict that comes about when you have 2 (or more) doctors differing personalities together. This worked really well in 'the 3 doctors'. Thinking about the teased Capaldi doctor personality (stern, dark) I recon the perfect foil would be Mcgann's romantic and idealistic version. I'd really love to see that pair on screen more than any other... And so much of Mcgann's run happens off screen there shouldn't be and problems with continuity.

DanDrew1
DanDrew1

11 was on trenzalore for a minimum 900 years, not 300. But indeed, sounds good

BJAMES
BJAMES

Just between the Ninth Doctor's initial departure, and his return to Rose to mention that his ship travels in Time as well, any number of adventures could have taken place. Except one thing stood in the way. Christopher Eccleston. Check out Charlie Higson's short story "The Beast Of Babylon" for just one such example.

Oodkind
Oodkind

Trenzalore could be an interesting pick-up point for later stories, as it could actually show us the allegedly bitter war AND bring back Smith. Smith also has the convenient 200 years between The God Complex and The Lodger. Bringing him back is fairly easy. As for Tennant, we could do the same thing as in the 50th, or perhaps between Rose and Martha or Martha and Donna. We know he traveled on his own a bit between then, so it could be a good pick-up point. Though Tennant may not be young enough anymore to do his young Tenth Doctor personality in ten more years. As for Chris, we really don't know anything about him. He must have had some time between DotD and Rose fighting the Nestene. That could be a good pick-up point.

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

Nine could always have dumped Rose off for a day with her mum or something. Stuff like that's easy to explain away.

Timhogan
Timhogan

I take your point but I don't really agree with this personally.  From what I gathered during the time jumps of Time of the Doctor, he remained on Trenzalore the entire time.  For one, his TARDIS wasn't there (which I like to use as an explanation for the aging because the Doctor tends not to show any age unless he's separated from his TARDIS, even when the master blasts Tennant.  5 in Time Crash could be explained because he's in a different version of his TARDIS, and from Time of the Doctor it showed Hartnell's Doctor stole the TARDIS already aged which is why he was so close to his old age regeneration.) and back to Trenzalore.  Reason number 2 would be that even if say the 14th Doctor was to show up and get 11 to come into his TARDIS, then that'd break the stalemate that the Doctor had with the Daleks his entire time on Trenzalore which would hurt the continuity way too much.  I mean it's only 9 years from now, Smith is fairly young, I doubt he's going to age poorly either.  I'd much rather see a version of The Doctor with Amelia from all the random adventures they went on off screen that we didn't see.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

@RoweMatthew exactly.  He did not regenerate at the beginning of Rose so he is fine.  The main issue is Eccleston not wanting to return.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

@The Bish I think you should have written the article.  The only way we will see the 9th though is if they recast it.  Eccleston has made that clear.

Doctor What and Where
Doctor What and Where

@The Bish Really, the Ninth Doctor could also have been travelling alone or with different company during those moments in Rose when he left and then re-appeared. If we take Day of the Doctor literally, it could mean that the Ninth Doctor was a 100 years old before he regenerated into Ten.

Creepy_Ghoul
Creepy_Ghoul

@The Bish In case of who to cast for the Second Doctor, they could cast Frazer Hines. His faces looks right for the part and he has done an imitation of Troughton's voice many times for audio. And believe me, I heard it in a trailer and it sounded as if Troughton was still alive.

Doctor What and Where
Doctor What and Where

@Kermit9 The 50th special says that between the War Doctor and the 11th, there spans 400 years. Knowing that Ten is one of the shortest living incarnations with just six years, and 11th having done 300 years (inexplicably), its possible that the Ninth might've done 100 or close to that years. Plenty of adventures for him to go into.

Kranitoko
Kranitoko

@JFrance After rose turned him down? After he left her, he went right back to remind her it travelled in time as well. 100 years didn't go by. In the movie, he was over 1000 years old and even travelled for 600 years during audio books... but then he said he rounded his age to a different system meaning he adjusted his age to what we know of it now back to Earth.  So don't forget the years the War Doctor had (the war doctor went from young to old so that was many years itself), and of course he regenerated, maybe had 1 or 2 adventures during his regeneration phase on his own to get himself going, and then maybe stopped at Rose's for a cup of tea and found out what he looked like.

NickyArmstrong
NickyArmstrong

@JFrance Perhaps the ninth Doctor was long-sighted and that was the first time he saw himself in a mirror at the right distance.

Master Michael Moon
Master Michael Moon

@JFrance I would quite like to see the Ninth Doctor return in a post regenerative state, leading up to the events of Rose.

Kylephantom4
Kylephantom4

@The Finn Keep in mind that scene with Tom Baker and Romana was just a recycled clip from the unaired episode Shada

Ottoman14
Ottoman14

He had his TARDIS with him for the 600 years after Clara visited for the second time, and he looked like Gandalf by the end of it

Malohkeh
Malohkeh

@Timhogan It could have been wiped from his memory, with him returning at the same time he left. After all, past Doctors don't usually remember the events of multi-Doctor stories.

davidbrummy
davidbrummy

@Creepy_Ghoul @The Bish I do not think Frazer would do it.  He was very close to Patrick and doing a voice over is one thing compared to be in a full episode.

JFrance
JFrance

@Kranitoko @JFrance What I mean is, The Doctor might of had 100 years worth of adventures in those few seconds of him leaving Rose and returning to Rose. So for Rose it was a few seconds but for The Doctor it was 100 years. Do you see what I mean.          

Timhogan
Timhogan

@Malohkeh @Timhogan Well it's not really a question of him remembering it, that's not the problem.  Even if he was gone for only a minute, that breaks the stalemate he had for the entire time he was on Trenzalore.  That's the problem.  It'd make much more sense to pick a time when the Eleventh was off traveling all over the place on off-screen adventures like we knew he was doing before Trenzalore.  Like how Tennant in Day of the Doctor came from the time he was traveling before End of Time.  There's plenty of moments they could choose from and do the standard memory wipe when the time-lines corrected themselves.  I just think taking an aged Eleven from Trenzalore would cause much more of the "plot holes" they are trying to avoid than if they took Tweed Matt and Amy during their off-screen adventures.  Or even Clara and The Doctor because it also seems like they may of had some off-screen adventures as well.  I think the main reason for the Trenzalore idea is to explain any aging shown by Smith, but again, in 9 years from now I doubt he's going to look like an old man.  He'll only be what, 40 years old?  He also doesn't seem the type that's going to age poorly, he'll probably be like McGann and while looking a bit older, won't be hard for him to throw back on the Tweed and a wig (if necessary) to look like his old self.

ChrisMcMillan
ChrisMcMillan

@Timhogan @Malohkeh it's not breaking the stalemate due to the fact that the tardis would take him and return him at the same moment, despite the lost memory of it happening.


Timhogan
Timhogan

@ChrisMcMillan @Timhogan @Malohkeh It kind of would.  I mean The Doctor is never that accurate with precise moments, it'd be way too risky in the off chance he happens to miss it by a couple seconds, causing a gap in the time-line allowing the Daleks to move in and destroy Trenzalore which would undo the future regenerations the Doctor gets, not to mention two of the same TARDIS trying to land at the exact same moment at the exact same time at the exact same place is something that we've learned is a big no-no in Doctor Who, otherwise bad things tend to happen.  If the 14th Doctor wanted to enlist the help of his past selves, why would he choose a moment that is so dangerous that the slightest miscalculation could cause the universe to explode, when he could just as easily choose a point that has absolutely no danger what so ever.

Creepy_Ghoul
Creepy_Ghoul

@davidbrummy @Creepy_Ghoul @The Bish That's also an option. But something else I thought of, I don't know if it would work, but how about this: We know many people want to see old companions back, but the trouble is that many of them look to old to travel with their respective Doctor again. Perhaps following stunt could work: They cast lookalikes to play the young versions of the characters, but when they speak, it's the voice of the original actor coming out of their mouth. I'm pretty sure fans would love that.

Goldenchest
Goldenchest

@Timhogan @ChrisMcMillan @Malohkeh"why would he choose a moment that is so dangerous that the slightest miscalculation could cause the universe to explode, when he could just as easily choose a point that has absolutely no danger what so ever."





That does sound like a very Doctor-ish thing to do though: trolling his past selves by whisking them off on random adventures at the worst possible times. As for having to land at the exact same moment at the exact same time at the exact same place, the Doctor's made bigger gambles before and survived :P