Wednesday, 24 February 2016




First Doctor stories are not the easiest to watch. But if you can look past dodgy "Plan 9 From Outer Space" effects, Hartnell's dialogue fluffs and actual scientific premises that have been proven wrong over the last 50 years, you find something really beautiful going on. The First Doctor actually grows. Or, more appropriately, progresses. He starts off as one type of person and goes through a series of life lessons that turn him into someone better. 

As successive actors came in to take over the role, the lead performers and production teams that worked around them made definite choices about how the character was to be portrayed. In some cases, an incarnation of the Doctor stayed as consistent as possible. Which was not an entirely bad thing. It created a sense of stability for the audience. But with other incarnations, an arc was built in to the character. They went through a process similar to Hartnell's Doctor. They started at one point and progressed. 

This series of analytical essays will look at those incarnations of the Doctor and try to chart that process a bit. We will site pivotal moments where we saw turning points in an incarnation's experiences that caused him to initiate changes in his attitude. We'll also talk about the people that influenced him to move in new directions. Basically, we'll highlight a journey. Or show a progression. 

We'll start with the most recent Doctor.


Before we really start picking stuff apart, let's look at two things that we see fairly consistently in the interpretation of a new incarnation that might be construed as character progression but we won't be crediting it for that.

1. Settling Into The Role

As the show progressed and the title role kept getting re-cast, it became more and more difficult for each actor to find some new "angle" for the character. So the first few episodes or even stories showed a Doctor who seemed very uncertain of himself, at first. As the show moved on, he became more confident. Probably the first time this was prominently noticeable was when Peter Davison took over.

This was not intentional character progression written into the character, though. But, rather, an actor finding his way into a role. By no means does this indicate an actor with a lack of talent, of course. If it indicates anything - it's that the Doctor is a complex character who is not easy to settle into.

2. A Nice Swansong

On the other end of the spectrum, we have also seen examples where the Doctor goes through a large stage of growth in his final story or even a final series of stories. The Third Doctor in Planet of Spiders (and, perhaps, just a bit of the ending of Monster of Peladon) is a great example of this. The Doctor accepts the consequences of his greed for knowledge and faces his greatest fear. An example of even greater magnitude would be the series of "Specials" we see in 2009 as the Tenth Doctor comes to terms with the fact that he will be passing soon. As those fateful four knocks get closer and closer, he becomes more desperate and morose.

While it's nice that these sort of things get written in to the character as the lead is ready to move on, I wouldn't say that this qualifies him as a Progressive Doctor (although, it could be argued that the "half-regeneration" at the end of Stolen Earth constitutes an incarnation of its own - so, maybe, Doctor 10b is actually progressive). This is just a special bit of character growth added at the end of a Doctor's era. If, for the rest of his tenure, he's been pretty consistent - it doesn't fit the parameters of my definition.

So, just to summarize: a Progressive Doctor is the result of a collaboration between the actor playing the role and the production team to move the main character through a series of changes that take place over an extended period of time. By extended period of time, I mean, several seasons or even the entire period of time that the actor played the role. The progression also usually moves in a positive direction.

Okay, we've got definitions out of the way. Let's look at an example of it.


"Matt Smith was channeling the Second Doctor and Peter Capaldi is totally emulating the Third." fans seem to be saying. While there were definitely some Througtonesque behavior to Smith's portrayal and Capaldi's made some costume choices that seem Pertweeish - this theory tends to fall apart after that. Similarities between Doctors' Three and Twelve are tenuous, at best. Both are crotchety, yes. But most incarnations are. But Twelve's arrogance and temper go way further through the roof than the Third could ever hope to.

If Capaldi's portrayal resembles any past incarnation - it's the Sixth Doctor. He's largely unconcerned with other peoples' feelings and is quite happy to praise himself. He's generally rude to folks (particularly when he first meets them) and seems more interested in ideas and concepts than he is people. Even the way he interacts with Clara highly resembles Six and Peri. Like poor ole Perpigillium, Clara is largely unimpressed with the new man that emerges after the regeneration. It doesn't help that he spends a large amount of time insulting and arguing with her. Over time, a strong friendship does develop. In the end, though, heavy tragedy overshadows their eventual separation.

With that in mind, we can't help but note another strong connection between Six and Twelve. Both have very prominent arcs built into their character. They are two of the most Progressive Doctors of them all.

Eventually, of course, we'll look at Doctor Six. But, right now, let's delve into this latest incarnation.

Capaldi's Doctor is largely unstable for the first little while after the regeneration Something similar occurs to Colin Baker's Doctor - so there may be a correlation, right there. Progressive Doctors can start on shaky ground.  Oftentimes, a Doctor has either physical or psychological issues from a regeneration. But Twelve seems to be suffering from both. This means, of course, that a lot of what we're seeing in Deep Breath may have little to do with what the Doctor will really be like once he settles into his new body. It's a device the show has been using since Throughton first took the reigns. It's one more trick that enables the actor a little extra time to find the character as he stumbles about losing consciousness or acting wildly erratic.

But there are one or two sequences in his first story that are, without a doubt, definitive to Doctor Twelve. The first is that moment of rage at the bridge over the Thames when the T-rex is destroyed. "Pudding brains", the Doctor starts calling everyone. Including his own friends. This incarnation will definitely assert his mental superiority over everyone else in the most arrogant and insulting of ways. He is, perhaps, a bit less abrasive about it than Six was. But the ego is still there in great abundance. The other big defining moment in Deep Breath comes near the end where we are left wondering if the android jumped or was pushed to his death. Again, like Six, this seems to be a colder, darker Doctor who might not value life quite as much as other incarnations did. There are times when darker deeds need to be accomplished to save the greater good. And this Doctor seems less afraid than others to accomplish that.


This, then, is the Twelfth Doctor's Starting Point - an arrogant self-centered man who lacks empathy. Human interaction, in general, seems like a foreign concept to him. Just look at how he's incapable of hugging Clara at the end of his first story.

This idea continues as we move into Into the Dalek. "She's my care-giver." is how the Doctor introduces Clara to the latest supporting cast, "She cares about people when I don't." Could we see either Ten or Eleven saying something like that? They were far softer sides of the Doctor's personality. But this latest incarnation doesn't really get people. They're good for telling him how brilliant he is (which they seldom do because he does it so well without their help) - but, beyond that, he has no idea how to deal with them. The Doctor's "murkier" morality also gets re-emphasized in this tale as he asks that poignant question: "Am I a good man?"

And the truth is: we're not entirely sure if he is a good man, either. Once again, I must reference Six. After his attempted murder of Peri and various other types of undoctorish behavior, he is dangerously close to departing too far away from the character's core values. It's not quite as harsh of a departure with this incarnation - but it's still there. The Doctor is a bit of anti-hero, again. Like the title character from the popular American medical drama "House" - we have someone who does good things, but he does some very unlikeable stuff, too. And the bad almost seems to outweigh the good. His treatment of Blue from Into the Dalek and Robin Hood in the next story are both great examples of this. Both get handled rudely and kindly in equal measures and we are not sure what to make of him. With Robin Hood, at least, things finish off on a good note. But we can't say the same for Blue. His new-found discrimination against the militairy leaves things very sour between them as he departs.

In general, it's the Doctors' social ineptitude that's making him so unlikeable. It's not only the fact that he can no longer hug people - we see it all over the place, now. His inability to join in the merriment with Robin Hood's men (he's even ready to tell one of them when he's going to die, showing he's now as socially ignorant as Strax was with Clara in Deep Breath). His total obliviousness to the dates Clara is trying to have in Hide and Time Heist. Even his desire to just want to talk about planets while he and Clara are "breaking up" in Mummy on the Orient Express. The examples are everywhere. This Doctor does not understand humans, anymore. Even worse, though, is the fact that he doesn't seem to want to blend in. He's quite happy as the Outsider.

The first real rays of compassion and humanity do start shining through in Time Heist. Not only do we see the Doctor going to elaborate lengths to re-unite the last two members of a species,  but we also see him form an actual friendship with Psi and Saibra. To the point where Psi even wants to see him, again. Considering he was berating Clara for making excuses for the Doctor's rudeness earlier in the episode, that says something about the impact the Doctor made on him. And we do get the impression Psi is offering himself up for future bank heists not just because the Doctor granted him his greatest wish. He has also come to like the man.

But, like other "Arrogant Doctors", Twelve will have his own fair share of backsliding. The promise he shows in Time Heist is immediately nullified in the next story. The Doctor's treatment of Danny Pink is truly deplorable. The huge confrontation they have when Clara sneaks her boyfriend into the TARDIS shows this Doctor at his most unlikeable. His near-uncontrollable rage as the soldier and the Time Lord butt heads is even greater than any eruption Six ever went into. Those rays of hope we just saw in the last story have definitely faded. In fact, Doctor Twelve seems to have gotten worse. He's  reduced to a ranting lunatic in that scene and we're not sure if he's ever going to bounce back. Particularly since things don't seem fully resolved between him and Danny Pink at the episode's conclusion. At this stage, even the cruel anti-hero we get introduced to in An Unearthly Child seems a bit more charming than the Doctor we're seeing here.


And still, the Doctor's inhumane behavior goes further. In Kill the Moon the Doctor crosses a line that not even Clara can tolerate. Like Peri, she remembers what the Doctor had been like in his previous incarnation and is able to make excuses for the way he currently acts. But, in Kill the Moon, the Doctor is so unsympathetic that he seems to see it as acceptable to just abandon her, outright. He actually believes it to be a gesture of kindness - that's how far removed he's become from his own sense of humanity. Cruelty now appears to be nice to him. Clara can no longer stand the man he's become and insists on leaving him.

And this is where we see the first major shift in the character's attitude. In all Progressive Doctors there are specific places in their eras where personality will start to change or even grow. In some cases, it's an external influence that causes this. In other instances, it seems to be more of just an internal motivation. With Twelve, his first major turning point is definitely caused by something outside of him. It's the fact that he's about to lose Clara.

Sure, he's insulted her a countless number of times since he's hit this new incarnation. But he's still values his Impossible Girl as much as he did in his eleventh body. And finally reaching a point of cruelty where she wants to leave him sobers him. He has to change his ways. And we see the beginning of that in Mummy on the Orient Express.

The change appears to be happening slowly, at first. We still see plenty of signs that he's out of touch with social discourse. The aforementioned sequence where he wants to just talk about planets rather than what's going on with him and Clara is a great example of this. But we soon see the Doctor is changing more than we realize. Thinking once more that he's up to another bout of cruelty, Clara delivers Maisie to the Time Lord to use in an experiment against the Foretold. But the Doctor suddenly turns the tables and makes himself into the mummy's next victim in order to defeat it. This is definitely not the same man who nearly left Clara on the moon to die and can't understand why she's upset. The fact that he takes the time to justify himself in his "sometimes we can only make difficult decisions" speech is another indication of change. He wants Clara to understand him better.

We see more signs of progress in the next few stories. In Flatline, he's angry with Clara for telling lies to Danny Pink even though he doesn't even really like the man. He gradually warms up to the kids in In the Forest of the Night. Other slight signs of a more socially-acclimatized Twelfth Doctor are starting to show.


As we move into the finale of Series Eight, we really start seeing a few huge jumps of progress in Doctor Twelve. Again, those leaps seem to happen without us noticing them until they're sprung on us as a surprise.

The turning points happen in a fairly rapid succession over the next two episodes. First, there's the Doctor forgiving Clara for betraying him in the dream sequence with the TARDIS keys. It shows a level of maturity we didn't think Twelve was capable of. To be honest, I would think most incarnation wouldn't have forgiven Clara for such an act. So we really must be impressed with the man.

Next is the "idiot in a box" epiphany that he has near the end of Death In Heaven. The very fact that the Doctor has chosen that moment to undertake a bit of self-exploration says something about what he's becoming. The whole Earth is about to be converted into a Cyber-army and he insists on sorting out his "Am I a good man?" question rather than deal with it. That's some pretty human behavior right there!

But realizing that he's just an idiot in a box does create a serious change in his attitude. From this point onward, the character mellows. He's sorted himself out and doesn't need to be quite so rough around the edges. He's learnt to like himself and can now start liking other people. He can even actually be nice to the people he likes.

The final big turning point that we see in Series 8 occurs when he sits with Clara and they choose to lie to each other. Doctor Twelve, at the beginning of the season, would've never opted for such a thing. He would've wanted Clara to stay with him no matter what because he needed her. Now, he's prepared to let her live a happy life without him. Again, he's showing tremendous maturity. He even hugs her goodbye. A symbolic gesture that shows us just how far the character has come.


The Doctor and Clara sort out that they've been lieing to each other as they fight off Dream Crabs and start travelling together, again. And we move on to his second season.

The turning points in Series Nine aren't as distinct as they were in Eight, but we definitely see a serious softening of the character. His social abilities improve, too. He's actually forming healthy bonds with people. Even with someone who's a legitimate "Doctor Groupie" like Osgood - he develops a real friendship with. Making sure to let her know that he has just as much respect for her as she has for him. Considering how much he liked fishing for compliments through most of Series 8 - that's quite the accomplishment for him.

The Doctor's shift in attitude is clearly evident right from the beginning of the series. In Magician's Apprentice, he's complimenting Clara and actually being charming with her. He even hugs her without making it seem like it's a task. One might argue that this behavior is going on because he feels he's not much longer for the world, but he gives Clara another hug a few episodes later in The Girl Who Died. Which seems to indicate that this is a solid change in attitude - not the Doctor just feeling impulsive.

While the sonic sunglasses do have a real purpose, the fact that he wears them and has started playing electric guitar symbolizes another progression for this incarnation. The Doctor is trying to be more accessible or even "cool" (something he does considerably better than his last personae). Being cool was something he would've never cared about in the last season. But he's more interested in connecting with people, now.

Of course, he's not totally converted. There are still times when he's terrible with people and just can't relate to the emotional importance of something going on around him. It's for this reason that Clara has given him his "cards" to help him with what to say during such instances. It's good that we see these sort of things still being displayed. To have given the character too harsh of a pendulum swing wouldn't have worked. We should still see traits like this. Not bothering with certain social niceties is what Doctor Twelve is all about.

Still, this is definitely a Doctor who is now more comfortable with emotions and, once more, sees the importance of them. His pleading with Ashildr to re-discover her sense of humanity in The Woman Who Lived is almost shocking. If this story had taken place around, say, Into the Dalek or Robots of Sherwood, he would've been more inclined to encourage the immortal woman to be so cold and dispassionate. But he's a different man, now.

Of course, he owes a lot to Clara for helping him through this. Which is why he goes to the lengths that he does when he loses her in Face the Raven. In fact, the Doctor's attempt to save her in Hell Bent is an excellent example of just how human he's become. He's finally re-discovered Gallifrey. He's returning to his people. But this means nothing to him, anymore. Everything that he's doing with Time Lord culture is just so he can get to an Extraction Chamber and save Clara. She has done so much for him. Has helped him so much in his progression that he can't let her go.

You don't get much more human than that.


It's fitting, at this point, that River Song gets re-introduced into his life. Before this, the Doctor would've lacked the sensitivity needed to handle his wife. Particularly at the point in her timeline that they're meeting. This is the last time the Doctor will see her before she dies. He's now reached a stage of emotional maturity where he can handle that moment properly. When he reveals that they'll be spending the next 24 years together - we get the impression that they will be good years. But if he had still been the Doctor we had seen at the beginning of Series 8 - River would've probably given him the boot pretty fast!

Once more, of course, I'm behaving illogically with this essay. The Twelfth Doctor era isn't fully over yet and I've chosen to analyze it. More than likely, there will be a supplemental essay done once this phase of the show is complete but I still felt this was a good point to leave off on. Particularly when you consider the comparison I've been making between Twelve and Six.

After a vicious and surly Doctor in Season 22, we saw a serious softening of the character in Trial of a Time Lord. But, like Capaldi, Colin Baker only made his interpretation so much more accessible in his second season. His intent was to make his Doctor even more likeable in the future but, because of BBC politics, that never came to be.

Will we, at least, get to see a rough approximation of that arc in our current incarnation of the Doctor?

Let's hope so....

We'll give the Progressive Doctors Series a rest for a few essays and look at a major continuity glitch, instead. But the next installment of this series will go all the way back to the beginning. 

We'll analyze the progression of the very First Doctor.

Thursday, 11 February 2016




The saga continues as we bridge the gap between the Age of Rassilon and the early days of the Doctor....


And so, Rassilon retreats to the Dark Tower in the Death Zone under mysterious circumstances. His Relics continue to be revered throughout the course of Time Lord history but their titles and meanings, oftentimes, become obscure and misunderstood. Still, he is respected as Gallifrey's Greatest Hero.

A great amount of time seems to pass between Rassilon's internment and the birth of the Doctor. Interestingly enough, we're not entirely sure how much. In The Three Doctors, our favorite Time Lord meets Omega for the first time. The Stellar Engineer speaks of the accident that banished him to the Black Hole and seems to be claiming that it only took place a few thousand years ago. But then we get that famous speech by the Sixth Doctor in Trial of a Time Lord: "Ten million years of absolute power, that's what it takes to be really corrupt!". Is this how long it's been since Rassilon set up Time Lord society and we now see the Doctor? It certainly seems to contradict Omega's claims in a pretty blatant way. But it gets even worse when Rassilon, himself, gets all grumpy in The End of Time - Part 2 and claims that the Time Lords have a "billion years of history riding on their backs".

Can we make any sense of this? Well, I've certainly tried. Omega has lost sense of time while trapped in the Black Hole (or, perhaps, time flows differently) so he thinks it's only been a few millenia since his accident. Rassilon is referring to the absolute earliest days of Gallifrey when his people first started messing around with the Untempered Schism. So our most accurate appraisal of how long the Time Lords have properly been around goes to 'Ole Sixie and his Trial of a Time Lord speech (it deserves to win - it's such a good monologue!).

Of course, if we want to get an accurate idea of how long it's been between the end of Rassilon and the beginning of the Doctor - we need to knock a few thousand years off from that number. Let's say Rassilon's Reign lasted a good 5 000 years or so (he seemed to have the ability to artificially extend his life that long). And the Doctor's been around for near a thousand years before he delivers the speech. So it's been about 9 995 000 years between the two great Time Lord Heroes. Give or take.


Before we actually get to the Time of the Doctor (see what I did there?!) we should probably talk about what may have happened before he arrived on the scene. The foundations Rassilon laid down all those many years ago appear to have stayed, more or less, the same since his departure. If anything changed, the Time Lords probably became even more bureaucratic as time passed.

Ten million years of being steeped in tradition is bound to have some consequences. Some segments of the population are going to get tired of things always being the same and are bound to rebel a bit. We know of, at least, two different movements that rose up against Time Lord society. Or, quite possibly, it's the same movement but one of the characters who discussed them was played by an actor with a very strong accent! Let's assume it's two different societies, though, and not an issue of pronunciation.

These two groups were Gallifreyans (some even appear to be actual Time Lords) that renounced the Principles of Rassilon and wanted to do things their way. The more passive of the two were the Shobogans. They simply left the Citadel and went out to live in the wasteland beyond. They brought no technology with them. They hunted and lived off the land. They even wore furs. It was a completely primitive existence. They usually lived in tribes although some led a hermit's existence.

The second group seemed a bit more violent. They were called the Sheboogans. They remained in the Citadel and committed acts of vandalism. We don't know much more about them. They may have still posed as healthy members of society and vandalized in secret. Or they may have found a place in the Panipticon to hide where the Chancellory Guard couldn't find them and enjoyed their lifestyle full-time.

Stealing a TARDIS and going out into the Universe does not seem to be something renegade Time Lords do until sometime after the Doctor is born. Before that, if you wanted to reject Time Lord society, you became either a Shobogan or a Sheboogan. One of those Shobogans, of course, would eke out an existence by himself and eventually became a mentor to the Doctor in his youth. Chances are he made that choice some time before the Doctor existed.


And so, nearly 10 million years after Rassilon leaves the Political Arena, a young Gallifreyan is born who will have as profound an impact on Time Lord Society as he did. Possibly more...

When, exactly, this Time Lord starts referring to himself as "the Doctor" - we can't say for sure. No doubt, it was fairly early on in his life. The Time Lords never seem to refer to him by any other name (there is a nickname - we'll get to that later).

Like all Gallifreyan youth, the Doctor is led to the Untempered Schism at the age of 8. It doesn't go well for him. He chooses to run away when he sees it. Perhaps there's an acceptable level of cowardice that a child can show at the ritual but he seems to have exceeded it. He still wishes to become a Time Lord but it doesn't seem likely he will be accepted into the Academy. It's suggested to him that he pursue a millitairy career, instead. It's at this point that the Doctor discovers a barn that is somewhere near the school he's studying at (it's just a normal school for Gallifreyan youth - not the Time Lord Academy)  that he likes to stay in at night. Apparently, he goes there to cry himself to sleep and not be heard by the other students in the dormitory he stays in. On one of the nights that he's sleeping there - Clara travels back in time to meet him and accidentally gives him a scare. Implanting in him the idea of "hiders" -  a creature he will try to actually prove the existence of many years later. She also offers him a bit of encouragement and warns him of a time in his future where he could, potentially, make the worst choice of his lives.

Somehow, the Doctor does still make it into the Academy. His studies as a Time Lord begin. He quickly gets a nickname: "Theta Sigma" - or "Thete", for short. He befriends two other students who will come back to haunt him in his future as a renegade. These two Time Lords will come to be known as the Master and the Rani. He will also study with Drax for a bit. Drax will also go renegade but won't prove to be as malevolent. It's unclear, however, if Drax passed his final exams and became a Time Lord or is just a very technically-proficient Gallifreyan who is able to steer a TARDIS.

Azmael, one of the Doctor's teachers at the Academy, will also leave Gallifrey and become the benevolent ruler of a planet named Jocunda. The Doctor also studies under Borussa for a bit. Someone else who will play a significant role in his future.

Sometime during his studies at the Academy, the Doctor wanders into the Matrix Cloisters and is nearly lost forever. Fortunately, the Cloister Wraiths choose to help him out. As they do, they teach him the secret concerning the Prophecy of the Hybrid.

It's probably around this time that the Doctor also starts visiting a lone Shobogan who lives on a hill near the Academy. The hermit becomes a mentor to him and offers him some of the most significant advice at a crucial point in his life. On his first attempt to pass his final exams, the Doctor fails. Viciously upset, he leaves the Academy and goes to his mentor to cry out his sorrows to him. Without answering, the old hermit simply points to a nearby flower. The Doctor is touched by its simple beauty and comes to some sort of understanding about the nature of the Universe. He is at peace.

Shortly after that, the Mentor chooses to leave Gallifrey. His work is done - he will meet the Doctor, again, at another crucial point.


Emboldened by his encounter with his mentor, the Doctor returns to the Academy and is granted a second attempt at the final exam. He manages to scrape by and is granted the power and prestige of a Time Lord.

It is probably sometime around this point that the Corruption of Morbius occurs.  The Doctor claims in Brain of Morbius that he had a brief a moment of telepathic communion with the evil Time Lord and recognized his brain pattern. So the event probably takes place after he becomes a Time Lord. The ability of a psychic recognition of that nature is probably only bestowed on Time Lords so that they can recognize each other in different incarnations. But, given how active the Doctor becomes after being granted his title, Morbius' uprising has to happen fairly early on. Any later in the Doctor's career, and he might have been more involved in taking Morbius down. Which we don't get the impression happened. The Doctor probably never meets Morbius directly but saw him several times on Public Register. Which enables him to recognize him telepathically all those years later.

Morbius, of course, was a member of the High Council who turned into a megalomaniac and attempted to dominate the Universe. He left Gallifrey and formed a huge intergalactic cult that followed him until the Time Lords intervened and brought him to justice. He was executed on the planet Karn.

It's possible that Morbius' excursions into the Great Beyond became a source of inspiration for the many renegade Time Lords we start seeing in the next little while. Time Lords were known to rebel but they still remained on Gallifrey. But after Morbius, others would start abandoning their homeworld in search of adventures in time and space. This would be the Doctor's fate, eventually. But not before he makes a bit of a name for himself.

A strange cosmic phenomenon known as the Medussa's Cascade starts affecting the Nature of Time. When he was still just a young lad of 90, the Doctor seals if off before it can do much damage. He is revered for it but the fame causes him to be more and more reckless. We learn that he accidentally loses Gallifrey's moon for a bit in some other wild misadventure. Apparently, he also steals away the Lord President's daughter.

It's more than likely that he does mellow for a bit when he finally meets the Love of his Life (perhaps the President's daughter?). Impulsively, the two marry quite young (by Time Lord standards) and have a child shortly, thereafter. For the next century or so, the Doctor does attempt to live a more sedate life. For the sake of his family. His child grows up, also marries young and has a child, too. The Doctor and his grand-daughter become very close very quickly.

His relationship with his wife, however, disintegrates and the two of them separate. Shortly thereafter, he starts becoming restless again. He tries to stir things up politically. Attempting to get the Time Lords to become more involved with the rest of the Universe. His campaigns fail, however. Gallifrey is too set in its ways.

But the Doctor notices that some Time Lords are starting to go AWOL. They're not just leaving the Panipticon to live out in the Wasteland, they're leaving Gallifrey, itself. Azmael, a teacher he greatly respected back at the Academy, is one of them.  He decides to employ a similar tactic.

Deciding no one will miss a TARDIS that's been recalled, he steals away with his grand-daughter and they venture out into the Universe. It is at this moment that he meets one of Clara's "splinters" for the first time. The encounter is so brief and so long ago that when he does meet her again in his Eleventh Incarnation (which is really his Thirteenth) he doesn't recognize her. But it is this Clara Splinter that advises him to take the Type-40 TARDIS that will eventually become frozen in the form of a police box as it visits 1960s Earth.

We know the rest from here....

There you go, a full account of the things that could've happened on Gallifrey before the Doctor's life actually starts being televised. You're welcome Brian Stewart! And now, the Big Question: Would you like a Part Four that chronicles all the affairs of Gallifrey during the TV series? It all seems pretty straighforward from this point, onwards. But if you'd like to see it documented, anyway, I can do it. Let me know in the comments...

Missed the other installments of History of Gallifrey? Here they are: 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Friday, 5 February 2016



Another installment of "Quick Fixes". An essay that tackles a few of the minor continuity issues that aren't big enough to merit a full posting. Here's my take on a few smaller problems in Doctor Who canon...


Davros may be one of the Doctor's greatest foes but there is a problem with the huge leap of knowledge he has in Resurrection of the Daleks.

In his first story, he is a brilliant scientist from the planet Skaro who comes to grips with the facts that a strange time traveller named "the Doctor" is interfering with his Mark III Travel Machine project. In his second appearance, the Daleks come back for him many years later to aquire his help with the Movellans. The annoying time travelling Doctor shows up again and causes more problems. At the end of Destiny of the Daleks, Davros is cryogenically frozen so he can be brought to the appropriate intergalactic government and made to answer for his crimes against humanity. But Davros still doesn't know who this Doctor fellow is. He has no idea where he came from or what he's about. He's just someone who keeps creating problems for him.

But when Davros is freed from his cryogenic prison in his next televised adventure - we run into a little situation. Almost immediately, he identifies the Doctor as a Time Lord. Later, when the Doctor is holding him at gunpoint, the Skarosian Mutant displays all kinds of knowledge about Time Lord culture, in general.

The big question, of course, is where did Davros get the oppurtunity to learn this? He doesn't appear to know any of this stuff during Genesis or Destinty of the Daleks. We're guessing that, for the most part, he was frozen in a block of ice til he was released in Resurrection of the Daleks (he may have been thawed out to receive his sentence at his trial but that wouldn't have been for long and he would've been under heavy guard the whole time).  So how did he learn about the Doctor being a Time Lord and what Time Lords are like when there are a whole bunch of civilizations out there who never became advanced enough to even know of their existence?

A snippet of dialogue in Part Two gives us a clue:

DAVROS: Ninety years! Ninety years of mind-numbing boredom!
LYTTON: You were conscious the whole time? 

This bit of dialogue almost creates a problem of its own. How can someone sit in suspended animation for so long and not be allowed to sleep but come out of it with any kind of sanity intact? Even someone as strong-willed as Davros would be a drooling mass of incomprehensensible madness under those sort of conditions.

To find an answer, we've got to look ahead to The Wedding of River Song.

Poor old Dorium gets his head chopped off in A Good Man Goes To War, but we learn that his affluence gets him some preferential treatment. Somehow, his severed head is kept alive. It also had a Wi-Fi chip implanted into it so that he could have the intergalactic equivalent of the internet beamed into his brain to keep him entertained. My guess is that Davros was given a similar chip before his sentence was carried out. Being the genius that he is, he was able to eventually hack his way into certain hidden files that contain information concerning the Doctor and the Time Lords. When Commander Lytton and his taskforce, at last, release him - he is quick to show off his new-found knowledge.

Of course, another big question arises about Davros in this particular story. Where did he get that weird injector thingy that turns people into his slave? My guess would be that he's always had it. Even though there have been previous occasions where it may have served him well, he never sees fit to use it til that fateful moment on the prison ship.


The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion was a magnificient story with one of the best monologues in the history of the whole series. But there is a plot point that it mentions but never clearly explains. Steven Moffat even offered a bit of an elaboration in a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine - but he seemed only so serious in his answer.

The problem that exists with this story is that it explicitly stated that 20 million Zygons are now living secretly among us. We know that the Zygons have developed shape-shifting technology that allow them to duplicate the image of other beings and impersonate them. So it's entirely possible for them to do that. The Big Question is: How are they doing it?

According to what we've learnt about Zygons, the people they duplicate need to be incarcerated in some way. They tuck them into a weird alcove or place weird blobby bits on them. In this particular story, we see them trapped in pods. So did the Zygons do this to 20 million people and take over their lives? How would UNIT allow this? If they didn't and both the human and their Zygon duplicate are living independent lives, how do you deal with that many people being copied? It would get pretty complicated with just a few people being doubled - but 20 million? It's just a little too logistical of a mess.

I think the key word to focus in on is the fact that Zygons are commonly referred to as shapeshifters. Not "doubles" or "duplicators" or something like that. A shapeshifter indicates to me that they can copy someone, but they can also create forms of their own. I'm inclined to believe that the identities the Zygons took on were images they made up on their own. They took the basic template of a human body and came up with random appearances. The people they impersonate have not properly existed.
The fact that we see examples of shapeshifting technology that we've not seen them accomplish in previous stories and even get dialogue claiming they have improved this ability gets me to believe this idea even more. Yes, Zygons can still duplicate other peoples' image - but they can also just make up entirely new human appearances. It's still a pretty tall order to create 20 million false identities for people that have never existed - but it's considerably easier than trying to get 20 million copies of people to exist on the same planet.


A question that has persisted through both eras of the show: what is travel aboard the TARDIS really like?

We've seen exterior shots of the TARDIS where the Doctor and companion(s) enter at the end of the adventure and the time capsule vanishes within seconds of them embarking. But we've also seen shots of the interior of the TARDIS after the crew have entered from outside and they spend several minutes chatting (or, during the 80s, arguing) before the Doctor finally sets the time rotor in motion and gets the TARDIS dematerialising.

Equally so, we've seen exterior shots of the TARDIS leaving Point A and going to Point B instaneously. Other times, when we see that sort of trip being done - but with interior shots - it seems to take several minutes.

So what, exactly, is going on? Does the TARDIS have good days where it can dematerialize and rematerialize quickly? And then rough days where it doesn't go so well?

My guess would be that time runs a little bit faster inside the TARDIS. So you can enter it and fart around for a few minutes before taking off - but, in the Outside World, she leaves immediately. Being one of the most sophisticated time vessels in the Universe, it would probably be easy to have that sort of trick in place.

Why would you have it, though? Well, my guess would be that when the Doctor is travelling alone - he frequently shuts that feature off. But if he has companions aboard, he keeps it running. Humans (or Trakenites or Alzarians and so on...) are accustomed to a bit of travel time when they're in a vehicle. To suddenly deprive them of that might be a little disconcerting. So a "fast time" optional feature is built into a TARDIS just in case you want a little lag between destinations. Just so it feels a little bit more like a legitimate trip.

Here's the first installment of Quick Fixes, by the way: