Peter Cushing Doctor = Grand Moff Tarkin

I’ve had a fun fan theroy for a while, that the Peter Cushing Doctor is The Doctor of Pete’s World.

Suppose that at some point he stumbled across a galaxy in his universe ruled by an evil tyrant, and he realized there was no way he could stop the tyrant. There was a small resistance movement, which needed more support to succeed, the people were just too scared and complacent. He was unable to inspire more people to resist by working for this resistance movement.

So he manipulated his way into the hierarchy of this evil empire. Seeing no way to mitigate the brutality to any significant degree, he decided to bring it to 11 instead, in hopes that the peoples anger would overwhelm their fear and complacency.

The Doctor of Pete’s World eventually decided he had gone too far in pursuit of a greater good. Thus, he refused to escape when he had the chance, and “Grand Moff Tarkin” met his final death on the Death Star as it approached Yavin IV.

This “theory” absolutely positively should not be taken seriously.


The Minister of War

In Episode 4 of Doctor Who Series 9, “Before the Flood”, O’Donnell mentioned a Minister of War.

There’s been a lot of speculation as to who it could be.  My theory?  John Frobisher, the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

We’ve had a callback to Caecilius already, but Peter Capaldi also played Frobisher.  I’ve been wondering if this will be drawn in, and this looks like a good way.

Now, Frobisher is believed to have commited murder/suicide by firearm.  But it’s worth noting that it’s harder than most people think to kill someone with a shot through the head, the standard aimpoint for firearms suicide.  For a rather dramatic example of taking a projectile through the brain and surviving, read about Phineas Gage.  Took a tamping iron through the skull, pieces of his brain falling out, and he survived for decades after, able to hold down jobs and such.  Granted, it wasn’t a 100% complete recovery, but he was functional.

So Frobisher putting a bullet through his brain isn’t guaranteed to be fatal or even guaranteed to cause serious permanent disability.  Especially given the stress he was likely under, what with the 456, arranging the logistics of handing over children to them, murdering his wife and kids, his aim may have been off.

So Frobisher survives.  It’s unlikely, but entirely possible.  Given the threat of the 456, the attempted turnover of all those children, while a crime against humanity under normal circumstances, might be excused as following orders in a situation with no good choices.  And then the murder of his family might qualify for some sort of diminished capacity or insanity defense after he broke down under the stress.

Eventually, perhaps Frobisher recovers, and becomes the Minister of War, and becomes involved in an event that draws The Doctor’s attention.  Perhaps, embittered by his experience with the 456, he goes on the offensive against aliens?

Tom Baker in “Day Of The Doctor”

Tom Bakers casting in “Day of The Doctor” was brilliant.

The obvious thing was they had to bring in a classic series Doctor and give him something to do.  Focusing more on the modern era is fine, but for the Fiftieth Anniversary, they really had to do something to call back to the classic era- and as amazing as it was, the Thirteen Doctor stunt I don’t think was enough.  I don’t agree with Colin Baker that they all should have had substantive roles- the run time alone of such an episode would have required a hideously large budget if it was to be done to any real quality.  I do like an idea I saw that in the Thirteen Doctors moment, they should have had new dialogue recorded, but much more than that would have been difficult at best with realistic budgets.

Tom was the best choice, easily.  For one, he served in the role longer than others in terms of time on the TV show.  7 years active in the role- this makes him highly recognizable as a symbol of the show.  A few fans promote alternate metrics, usually leading to McGann or McCoy getting the longest serving spot, but Tom Baker is nearly always given that honor.

Second, he’s the earliest surviving former Doctor.  If Hartnell, Troughton, or Pertwee were still around, you could argue one of them should have been pulled in, but they aren’t.

Third- storyline.  The Time War and the implications thereof have been major elements of the revived series.  “Day of The Doctor” actually showed some of it, the end.  But the beginning?  From the Daleks point of view, this occurred when the Time Lords sent the Fourth Doctor back in time to avert the creation of the Daleks, or failing that, to make them less dangerous.  Bringing in Tom Baker ties “Genesis of the Daleks”, where the war started, to “Day of The Doctor”, where it ended.  A major part of the classic series tied to a major part of the revived series, really showing that it’s not two shows- it’s all one show that just took an unusually long break between seasons.

Both stories also included a moral quandary of when, if ever, genocide can be justified.

Given the difficulties of properly including more past Doctors than they did, Tom Baker was, by far, the best choice for a classic Doctor.

The Doctor and Lorna Bucket

Lorna Bucket from “A Good Man Goes To War” had previously met The Doctor.  Eleven did not remember her, but it’s still unclear if he had forgotten her or had yet to meet her from his perspective.

I think he forgot.

From “A Good Man Goes To War”
Amy- “He’s not a warrior”
Lorna – “Then why is he called The Doctor?”

From “The Night of The Doctor”
Eight- “Make me a warrior”

He proceeds to regenerate into a younger version of the John Hurt Doctor, credited as “The War Doctor”.

Lorna Bucket first encountered The Doctor when he was The War Doctor, perhaps even during the Time War itself.  Perhaps he didn’t shed the persona of The Doctor as thoroughly as “The Night Of The Doctor” implied, even during his time as The War Doctor, and that’s why Elevens faked recounting of their adventures sounded right to Lorna?

Is The Valeyard coming?

John Hurt at the end of “Name of The Doctor” was introduced as “The Doctor”. Dialog indicated that he is an incarnation from some time prior to 11- so based on the filmed regenerations, he’s either a Doctor Zero or 8.5. Anyways, he’s in the past.  That’s the important bit.

While 11 does not consider him worthy of the name “The Doctor”, he’s still a regeneration of the same Time Lord. This makes 11 the 12th incarnation.

And between the 12th and final, oh, The Valeyard.

I’ve seen mentions that the 50th involves some use of archival footage. I wonder if there will be use of “Trial of a Time Lord”?  In a show based around time travel and at least limited malleability of the past, they don’t technically have to go there to respect continuity, still, Moffatt surely knows that the time of The Valeyard is approaching if he doesn’t do something about it.

John Hurt and the Cartmel Master Plan

In the late 80’s, Andrew Cartmel developed a plan to reveal The Doctor’s origins.  Only a few bits and pieces of this made it to screen- Sevens “I’m more than just another Time Lord” is likely part of this.

Among other things, this involved revising the story of how the Gallifreyans became the Time Lords.  Originally, it was Rassilon and Omega, Rassilon being more on the political end, Omega being the engineer.  He would have added a third figure, called “The Other”, and at least heavily implied that The Doctor is a future incarnation of this figure.  In some of the novels, Susan Foreman was actually The Other’s granddaughter, and recognized The Doctor as a distant reincarnation of her grandfather.

Eleven talking about how Hurt’s character broke the promise does seem to suggest Hurt is somewhere in advance of the first incarnation, but I’m not convinced it rules this out entirely.  Perhaps he adopted the name “The Doctor” in part as a response to his first incarnations betrayal of what he stood for?  He presumably stood for something even before he adopted the name.  Maybe what Hurt’s character did was part of why he left Gallifrey in the first place?

My recommended starting points for Doctor Who

Doctor Who has been my favorite TV show for as long as I can remember.  Literally.  I’ve been a fan longer than the current Doctor has been alive.  I’m 34, and the show was already 15 years old when I was born.  So there’s a lot there, and it can be hard finding a solid starting point.

The revived series is a direct continuation of the old.  Well, they skipped some in universe time, but its the same Time Lord, it’s not a remake or reimagining or anything like that.  It just picks up a few years later in The Doctors life- this has been reinforced several times when they showed his prior incarnations and they were all the classic era Doctors.  

That being said, the revival did pull a major reset button in killing off all of the other Time Lords in the time period they skipped over, making it easier to get into.  You could start watching with any episode and catch up on the basics fairly quickly, but for a show with as long a history and as complicated a mythology, it can help to choose a specific point to start.

The introduction of a new Doctor is a good place, you don’t have to worry about things like regeneration popping in too quickly, and you often get a new Companion who needs an infodump.  For the new series, these are “Rose”- the first of the new series, with Christopher Eccleston in the lead.  ”The Christmas Invasion” is David Tennants first full episode, though he briefly appeared in Ecclestons last(The Parting of the Ways).  Matt Smith made his full episode debut in “The Eleventh Hour”, though again, he was briefly in Tennants last, “The End of Time part 2”.

I’d recommend “The Eleventh Hour”.  He’s my favorite Doctor, and there was a bit of a shift in tone away from science fiction and towards fairy tale which has worked out wonderfully(though I was skeptical at the time).  Amazing balance in his era between an overall story arc with episodes that can be enjoyed standalone.

Another good point to start would be the introduction of a new Companion.  Companions are humans(usually) who travel with The Doctor.  Most of the time they have little to no idea of what goes on outside Earth, so they require an infodump very early, which can help new viewers catch up- and even absent the specific information, following the companions journey from “it’s bigger on the inside” to “galactic superhero” can help get you up to speed.  

Apart from “The Christmas Invasion”, the episodes above all serve for this.  ”The Doctor Dances” introduces Captain Jack Harkness.  ”The Christmas Bride” introduces Donna Noble, who becomes a continuing companion in “Partners in Crime”.  Martha Jones comes on board in “Smith and Jones”.  Rory Williams joins his then fiancee Amy on the Tardis in “Vampires of Venice”.  The new Christmas special, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, introduces yet another companion.

Some one off companion episodes of note, that can serve well for new viewers: “The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon” has Mark Shepard playing a disgraced former FBI agent that helps the Tardis crew.  There is an unresolved cliffhanger in the beginning, but it doesn’t impede the stories strength when viewed standalone- but it’s a hell of a payoff if you stick with the season.  I’d also suggest “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, with Rory Williams’ dad showing up as the deal with, well, dinosaurs on a spaceship.

“Blink”, a season 3 episode, is also frequently recommended.  While it doesn’t fit the above categories, it is very light on other stuff you need to know to enjoy it, and goes into the nonlinear storytelling that Moffatt loves so much.  It’s not a linear story told in a nonlinear way, the story is actually fundamentally nonlinear.  The Weeping Angels introduced here are an incredibly effective monster.

As for showing it to kids, it’s popular with kids but it’s also known to scare them, and the production staff delights in this- they loved being scared by it when they were kids. Just consider your own kids and how they react to scary things.