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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Of Doctors And Regeneration - Some Silly Thoughts!

So, we have a female Doctor, after months of speculation. Well, we have had a female version of the Master, everyone says, so why not a female Doctor? I think if they had given us a male Doctor after all that, there would have been howls of outrage from the fans. Especially after that scene where the Doctor tells Bill that Timelords don't worry about all that gender stuff. If that wasn't a powerful hint, then we needed a big marching band, preferably all female, to announce it. 

Me, I will wait for the stories before judging. All I can say is, if XX or XY Chromosomes don't count among Timelords, then that race is very, very different from ours, and it's a lot more than the two hearts, so it's highly unlikely that the Doctor is half human as suggested in the Paul McGann film. And I say this as a great Spock fan. 

Are all Gallifreyans Timelords? Do you get peasant Timelords like the peasant elves we meet in The Hobbit? There must be someone to grow the food and wash the dishes and so on. And as I recall, there was a barn in one episode. The Day Of The Doctor, I think. So yes, there probably are people on Gallifrey who don't go having adventures in time and space or playing politics on the Council of Timelords. Didn't Leela marry one? It's been a long time since I saw that episode, so don't complain if I got it wrong, just inform me. 

If there are ordinary people on that planet who don't regenerate, are they more like us, apart from the two hearts? With XX and XY chromosomes that don't allow them to change gender except by medical means? When you think about it, regeneration with the option of a new cycle of twelve for everyone could stuff up inheritance and you'd really have to keep the population down. 

Or it might just be those who graduate from the Academy who get that privilege... As I recall, the Master was offered a new round of regenerations in return for helping the Doctor in The Five Doctors, and it has since then been confirmed, so ability to regenerate can't be merely a genetic thing. And if it's not genetic, perhaps they can get around this whole chromosome issue. Problem solved! 

 Do the Timelords perhaps bring in children who have shown certain  abilities for training and give them the ability as part of the deal? 

Certainly, the Master has some amazing abilities. Think of the number of times he has come back from the dead, even in the Paul McGann movie, when the previous Doctor was bringing back his ashes, for heaven's sake! Maybe he/she will come back yet. In fact, I predict they will. Let's face it, we saw the last Dalek in New Who series 1 and we STILL have them! 

We know that there are children on Gallifrey - remember that episode where the Doctor is talking about how they are taken to stare into this abyss(he sensibly ran away)and we see a flashback in which a young boy who will become the Master is taken there and, it's implied, goes crazy as a result? (Talk about child abuse!) And yet, the first Doctor we saw was an old man with a granddaughter - seeing he was the first incarnation, not the first regeneration, surely he grew up and aged this first time. Hell, he must have been a child at some stage! 

There was an article in a fanzine I read years ago, speculating on what a Timelord family picnic might look like - the elderly man might be the youngest family member while the young girl is an aged Timelord on her final regeneration...that would be bizarre! 

One thing that I have always found mildly amusing is the matter of Susan. As far as we know, she is his granddaughter. That implies some sort of family life, or maybe a companion who managed to get into his pants. But as I recall, there was an early novel which told us that Susan was not actually related, she just called him "grandfather". See, someone worked out that having a granddaughter implied that at least once the Doctor must have fooled around - can't have that on a children's show! 

And with that particular silliness I will leave you. Feel free to comment, although if you have seen every last episode and remember the lot, I should explain that this is not the case with me and I would appreciate not being abused for having forgotten something. Let's keep this fun! 


Christine O Cheallaigh said...

While I haven't seen all of the Classic Who series (my first Doctor was Tom Baker), I have seen every episode (minus a few from the season just ended) of the New Who. If you've managed to see all the originals, good for you! :D I'd love to get hold of them, that way I could watch them whenever I wanted.

I don't know, sometimes I think the novels are just fan fiction that people can get away with writing for profit. Look at the Extended Universe Star Wars novels. Granted, at the time no one knew what George Lucas had planned regarding Luke and Leia's mother, but I remember several novels where Luke was searching for information about her, and one where he finally found an old woman who claimed to have known his mother and told him her name and what planet she was from and all that. And naturally, none of that information made it into Episodes I through III.

All that aside, the Doctor did refer to Susan as his granddaughter, and not just in the classic series. In the episode where Eleven takes Clara to a festival when she asks him if he's ever been to it before, he casually says yes, he took his granddaughter once. Clara is stunned for a second, because he didn't look old enough to have a granddaughter. In the Empty Child arc during the first season of the New Who, Nine is talking to that old man and the old man tells him that "I used to be a father and grandfather, and now I am neither", and Nine sadly replies "Yeah, I know the feeling." Kind of a clue to new fans who'd never watched the old shows that he had had a family once. So apparently, despite what some authors speculated, he actually *did* have children and grandchildren of his own at one point, even if Susan wasn't one of them. Who knows, as old as he was at the time he made that comment, she could easily have been a who-knows-how-many-greats granddaughter, instead of the daughter of one of his own children. Just because the First Doctor was his original incarnation, doesn't mean he couldn't have already been ages old at the time, and might have just gotten lucky enough to not need regeneration yet. That's a possible theory, anyway. I'll let fans who actually know more about science and all that debate the issue. I'll just keep calling Susan his granddaughter, regardless of how/if they were actually related, because that's what *he* does. Sometimes, family is not who you're related to, it's who you claim, and he obviously claimed her.
I don't know how (or if) they ever explained just how old the original incarnation was before his first regeneration, but there were a few episodes in the new series that showed him living through even more centuries, making him even older than he last said. Like the one where Eleven regenerated into Twelve, and he was on Trenzalore in the town called Christmas for over 300 years. And then there was the one where Twelve kept reliving the same day over and over and over again for like 100,000 years or something and the day restarted after he was killed by the Death-like creature. So who knows how old he actually is now, but he's way past the thousand-and-something mark. You might as well just use a flame thrower to light his birthday cake. :P But I think at some point even Twelve referred to his granddaughter, and he does have pictures of former companions on his desk at the university. I think Davros nailed it when he called them the Doctor's Children of Time. They're his family, whether they like it or not (and sometimes even when the Doctor doesn't like it), so I guess it doesn't matter if any of them are actually related or not. :D

Sue Bursztynski said...

Heavens, you have a great memory! :-)
You can actually buy quite a few of the original series. I've been buying them myself. There are a lot of missing stories and of those we still have there are missing episodes, although they are now animating the missing episodes when they have the voice tracks. The early episodes were made at a time when they were wiped after being shown. When it became clear that this series was going to be hugely popular they began hunting around the world for DW stories hidden forgotten in TV studio vaults. I think you can catch up on them easily enough.
Good point about how old the Hartnell Doctor might have been. Timelords do seem to have long lifespans, though I have to wonder how you could keep track of your age when you're constantly popping around in time and space. Maybe your TARDIS keeps track. It certainly seems to know when you're going to die/regenerate - I was impressed to hear the cloister bell ringing for Doctor 12, and did you notice him offering jelly babies? I think they do sometimes "revert" a bit just before the end. But we know the Doctor stole his TARDIS, presumably at a young age, when still at the Academy, so you have to wonder how long he was travelling before Susan. Ah, well, if he/she is around long enough, we may still find out.

The Star Wars novels were canon until they started the new round of films.

Yes, I take your point about family, but I still like the idea of the Doctor fooling around! ;-)