If you thought you knew all the secrets of Doctor Who regeneration after series 12 finale The Timeless Children, think again – because a special new online scene starring ex-Doctor David Tennant and Anna Hope has thrown all sorts of new twists into the mix.
Written by former showrunner Russell T Davies to tie in with a recent watchalong of his 2006 and 2007 episodes New Earth and Gridlock, the short audio scene – called The Secret of Novice Hame – catches up with Anna Hope’s cat-nurse character on the occasion of her death, where the people of New Earth gather round her bower to pay their respects after her long and eventful life.
She’s waiting for one well-wisher in particular, however – David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, who finally makes an appearance (with Tennant reprising his old role) in a visit explicitly linked to the travels he made to old friends in 2010 exit episode The End of Time: Part 2.
“I’m on something of a final journey myself,” the Doctor tells Hame. “Got a little bit poisoned, as you do. And everything’s about to change, so… I’m just saying goodbye.”
However, Hame wasn’t sure whether the Doctor who visited her deathbed would actually be the Doctor she knew – because after 5 billion+ years of history, she’s heard of Doctors we’ve never even considered.
“I have heard so many stories about him over the years – his hundreds of faces and forms,” Hame says in the video over a hand-drawn background image.
“The men and women and animals who have taken that name. And yet the one who comes for me is so familiar. This one is mine.”
Yes, you read that right – animals. In a cheeky aside, Davies (who previously added some post-Jodie Whittaker Doctors to his Target novelisation Rose a few years ago) seems to have suggested that future incarnations of the Doctor need not take human form.
To be fair, why would they? All the ones we’ve seen so far have looked like us, sure – but every Doctor was (apparently) male until fairly recently, so who’s to say what the rules really are?
All of which is to say… we welcome the Fourteenth Doctor!
Bear with us – it might be a while before we see them in action.
In all seriousness, Davies throwing this fun detail (alongside the idea of “hundreds” of Doctors) isn’t necessarily some game-changing piece of canon – it’s mentioned in passing in a fun little lockdown-produced video, and it’s probably not intended to be taken too seriously.
But it’s still an interesting reminder that when it comes to Doctor Who canon, everything is till up for grabs, and the rules are made to be broken.
And it doesn’t mean we’re not still desperate to find out what Novice Hame’s secret really was – or which “other Doctors” she expects to learn the truth about the New Earth trap…
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Doctor Who returns to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021