Doctor Who’s ‘rogue’ Doctors – digitalspy.com
12 July 2019 NEWS
Just 13 actors have played the lead role inDoctor Whoacross its 56 years on air – or 14, if you count John Hurt, who never actually fronted the series but guested as the ‘War Doctor’ in two TV episodes in 2013.
Lying just outside of the official line-up, though, are a number of ‘quasi-Doctors’ whose authenticity and place within the canon are hotly debated by fans. There are more of them in existence than you might expect, too…
1. Dr. Who
The mid-1960s saw the release of twoDoctor Whomovies – the only examples (so far) of the franchise crossing over to the big screen.
But rather than use the the TV show’s cast, then headed up by William Hartnell, producers opted to produce cinematic remakes of the first two Dalek stories, with Peter Cushing in the lead.
Set in a totally different continuity to the series, the films reimagined our alien hero as an eccentric human inventor who’d built the TARDIS in his back garden. No kidding. The best bit, though? The surname of Cushing’s character was actually “Who”. (His first name was never revealed – Trevor Who? Clive Who?)
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Steven Moffat later attempted to weave this version into the TV show’s mythology, revealing in his novelisation of ‘The Day of the Doctor’ thatthe two films exist in the Whoniverse as actual movies, with Cushing starring in big-screen adventures adapted from the Doctor’s “real” exploits.
2. The ‘Shalka’ Doctor
BBC Online – then known as BBCi – greenlit an animatedDoctor Whospecial in the early 2000s, which was promoted at the time as a bona-fide continuation of the live-action series.
Richard E Grant was cast to provide the voice for the then-official ninth Doctor in ‘Scream of the Shalka’, consisting of six 15-minute episodes streaming on the BBC’sDoctor Whowebsite.
‘Shalka’ sequels were plotted, but the announcement in late 2003 thatDoctor Whowould be returning to TV scuppered these plans. And with Christopher Eccleston now established as the *real* ninth Doctor (until the War Doctor showed up anyway), Grant’s animated incarnation was written off as ‘non-canon’.
Harsh. (If you’re interested, you can still pick up ‘Scream of the Shalka’ on DVD. It’s actually pretty fun.)
Grant returned to the Whoniverse anyway, of course, in the form of Dr Simeon (and the Great Intelligence) in the 2012 Christmas episode.
3. The Curator
Towards the end of ‘The Day of the Doctor’, Matt Smith’s eleventh incarnation wistfully contemplates giving up his life of adventuring in time and space to become a curator at the National Gallery. “You know I really think you might!” a familiar voice booms.
He’s then faced with an older man, one who looks very much like an aged version of his fourth incarnation (Tom Baker). “I never forget a face,” Eleven tells him. “I know you don’t,” the stranger replies. “And in years to come, you might find yourself revisiting a few.”
The implication is clear – though the script for the episode never makes it explicit, the Curator is intended to be a future incarnation of the Doctor, one who’s adopted an appearance similar to that of the fourth Doctor (which also makes Baker the only actor to have played two incarnations of the character).
“I do think of it as, in the distant, distant future, long after Jodie [Whittaker] and long after we’re all dead, the Doctor settles down and chooses a different incarnation per day to revisit,”writer Moffat later admitted. “I like that idea.”
4 + 5. The ‘other’ first Doctors
William Hartnell originated the role of the Doctor inDoctor Who‘s first episode from 1963, fronting the series until late ’66. He reprised the role for the show’s 10th anniversary story, appearing alongside his successors Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee in 1973’s ‘The Three Doctors’, but passed away a little over two years later.
That hasn’t stopped the show from featuring the first Doctor though, with Hartnell’s version of the character reappearing on two occasions, played by other actors. In 1983, 20th anniversary special ‘The Five Doctors’ cast Richard Hurndall, while 2017 episode ‘Twice Upon a Time’ had David Bradley play the part. (In something of an unofficial audition, Bradley had played Hartnell himself four years earlier, in the 2013 drama ‘An Adventure in Space and Time‘)
6. The Watcher
The first of a pair of ‘in-between’ incarnations.
In his final story, the fourth Doctor was haunted by a spectral figure, the Watcher (played by actor Adrian Gibbs) – when the moment of his regeneration arrived, their two forms merged, with Peter Davison’s fresh-faced fifth Doctor the end result.
The Watcher, we’re told, was “the Doctor all the time”, though it’s never made entirely clear *what* he is, why he exists and why none of the Doctor’s other regenerations were foreshadowed by the arrival of anyone/anything similar.
Still, a nifty one-off concept.
7. The Valeyard
Back when he was put on trial by the Time Lords (long story, literally – the trial took 14 episodes to play out) the sixth Doctor’s prosecutor was The Valeyard (Michael Jayston).
The villain was eventually unmasked as an “amalgamation of the darker sides of [the Doctor’s] nature” somehow given physical form – again, no clear explanation is given on screen as to what brought him into existence.
The Valeyard survived his first clash with the Doctor and so presumably still exists somewhere out there in space-time, plotting his revenge very sloooowly.
8-15. The ‘Morbius’ Doctors
The strangest one, or eight, of them all.
Back in 1976, theDoctor Whoproduction team made the arbitrary decision to reveal, rather significantly, that there were eight incarnations of the Doctor who existed before Hartnell’s ‘first’.
Tom Baker story ‘The Brain of Morbius’ sees the Doctor engage in a literally battle of wits with the titular villain, who uses a ‘mind-bending’ device – as Morbius faces off against the Doctor, past incarnations of the Time Lord appear on the machine’s display.
The screen ticks back through Doctors three, two and one, before revealing eight new faces. “It is true to say that I attempted to imply that William Hartnell was not the first Doctor,” said then-producer Philip Hinchcliffe. “We tried to get famous actors for the faces of the Doctor – but because no-one would volunteer, we had to use backroom boys.”
In the end, Hinchcliffe himself appears in the sequence, along with production unit manager George Gallaccio, script editor Robert Holmes, production assistant Graeme Harper, director Douglas Camfield, production assistant Christopher Baker, writer Robert Banks Stewart and director Christopher Barry.
This beingDoctor Who, it’s 40 years later and fans are still debating the veracity of the ‘Morbius’ Doctors. (Canonical or not, we love their headgear and natty facial hair.)