This fan theory Steven Moffat posted in a chatroom in 1995 became a real Doctor Who episode

The Doctor Who head writer has confirmed to that he suggested the idea on an internet chat room 16 years before he used it in the series

Here at we love digging around among Doctor Who fan theories (and coming up with a few ourselves), so it’s nice to know that we have a companion in our hobby from within the show itself – showrunner Steven Moffat.


Confused? Well, it turns out that back in 1995 a young Steven Moffat (who has confirmed to that this story is genuine) posted an idea on the chatroom rec.arts.drwho, suggesting that the Doctor’s name may have actually been the inspiration throughout the universe for healers and wise men to call themselves doctors. 

Here’s the post in question (which you can see in its original form here, after we dredged it up from a reddit thread).

Steven Moffat (100043.121@CompuServe.COM) wrote:

Here’s a particularly stupid theory.  If we take “The Doctor” to be the Doctor’s name – even if it is in the form of a title no doubt meaning something deep and Gallifreyan – perhaps our earthly use of the word “doctor” meaning healer or wise man is direct result of the Doctor’s multiple interventions in our history as a healer and wise man.  In other words, we got it from him.  This is a very silly idea and I’m consequently rather proud of it.

Interesting stuff – but if you’re wondering why that idea sounds so familiar, try casting your mind back to 2011 episode A Good Man Goes to War, and in particular a speech made by Alex Kingston’s River Song (see the video and text below).

River: Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word Doctor means mighty warrior. How far you’ve come.

That’s right, Steven Moffat wrote his own fan theory into the Doctor Who canon, 16 years after he first came up with it. Now that’s dedication – as well as succour for any fan currently dreaming of seeing their own genderswapped SuperWhoLock slashfic make it onto TV screens.


Turns out all you have to do is spend 20 years becoming a successful TV writer over several genres, take over the BBC’s biggest show, bed yourself in with a strong first season, write a compelling script around your idea, convince everyone else who works on Doctor Who that your idea is brilliant, work with the actors to make it seem plausible and hey presto – your fan theory’s made it in. We never dreamed it would be that easy.