“I think you should go back to your DVDs and count correctly this time,” said Moffat. “There’s something you’ve all missed.”
Well you all had some interesting theories about what he means as our comments section testifies. And while we cannot consider every single one of your brilliant – and let’s be honest, occasionally off the wall – theories, here are a selection.
For Mohammed Habib the issue is clear: “The doctor has only regenerated 11 times (including Peter Capaldi). The doctor has 13 regeneration. Not 13 bodies. People think because there has been 12 doctor’s there have been 12 regeneration’s. nobody regenerated into William Hartnell.”
Well that would solve matters, if he is right, and there’s a certain logic there. But for some of you there haven’t even been that many regenerations.
Ryou_Bakura postulates the fascinating theory that Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee are – wait for it – one and the same Doctors.
As he explains: “‘The War Games’ Patrick Troughton’s last story. [spoilers] He didn’t regenerate. He was exiled to Earth. The Doctor said that was dangerous because he would be recognized too easily. So The Time Lords altered his appearance. Not technically a regeneration.”
In a similar vein Mick Snowden deploys some clever thinking about the word regeneration, claiming “when the 1st Doctor regenerated in The Tenth Planet, his successor referred to it as a ‘rejuvenation’”.
Suggesting that TARDIS-assisted ‘rejuvenations’ may be different to bona fide regenerations he posits the theory that Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell are one and the same Doctor – Troughton being a “rejuvenated” Harntell.
And because Troughton’s Doctor is then exiled and his appearance merely altered according to the theory then “Jon Pertwee is still the 1st Doctor” And on the theory goes meaning that Eccleston is actually the fifth Doctor and, with TARDIS assisted rejuvenations still not counting and with all those recent Doctor “rejuvenating” in the trusty blue box, then, wait for it, Matt Smith is still the fifth Doctor.
Or at least I think that’s the idea and it’s one which gives the Doctor plenty of deaths before he’s in trouble.
A good many of you focus on River Song and the donations of her regenerations to the Doctor. You differ a lot in your views on this but the upshot would be that he has many more than the allocated 12 thanks to her generosity.
But if Jonathan Evan Stern is to be believed Capaldi could just be the fourth Doctor. Whooah there. Here goes:
“Perhaps a fellow Time Lord gave up his body to John Hurt’s Doctor in order to end the Time War making Christopher Eccleston the first life in this regeneration cycle. That would make Peter Capaldi the 4th.”
Eagle eyed fan Karla Bradley13 claims to spotted a reference by Matt Smith’s Doctor that “he could regenerate 200 and something times” and saying that “another Doctor” said it was “just a law on Gallifrey”
Which Doctor Karla? And is this really true? If so and if it is “just a law on Gallifrey” it is a law which can easily be broken then?
But what of John Hurt’s Doctor? The missing Doctor who will be appearing in the fiftieth anniversary episode? Considering we don’t even know, er Who he is – well that hasn’t stopped you thinking.
“What if John Hurt is the older version of the 10’th doctor (the one who was left with Rose)?” asks Mary Tcholadze. “But in that case Capaldi will still be 13th.”
10th? Twelfth? Fourth? My head is hurting now.
Ultimately however, Moffat can probably do pretty much what he likes. Time can be bent, rules can be superseded. It is fantastic make believe after all, as Christopher Culbertson makes clear:
“Perhaps we will see hurt regenerate into Eccleston, who knows…thing about wibbly wobbly, timey wimey is Moffatt can go through and find the gaps in the history and put whatever he wants in there.”
As long as we don’t count Peter Cushing’s Doctor, then?
Or Rowan Atkinson’s in the Comic Relief skit Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death when he regenerates into Richard E Grant and then Hugh Grant and then Joanna Lumley?