Which Doctor is John Hurt?

The question everyone will ask until November 2013 is, of course: who is John Hurt’s ‘Doctor’?

John Hurt IS the Doctor!

We can only speculate, but it seems Mr. Moffat has left a wealth of clues (and possibly red herrings) for us to pore over in The Name of the Doctor.

Firstly, we have to investigate exactly what was said:

THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR: “The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose – it’s like a promise you make. He’s the one who broke the promise… He is my secret.”

HURT’S DOCTOR: “What I did, I did without choice – ”


HURT’S DOCTOR: “ – In the name of peace and sanity.”

THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR: “But not in the name of the Doctor.”

So it seems that, while this is a Doctor, it’s not the Doctor. It was him, but he did something so against the Doctor’s normal principles that he no longer could claim that title. Think back to 2010’s The Beast Below when the Doctor was convinced he had to kill a poor, innocent Star Whale: “And then I’ll have to change my name – because I won’t be the Doctor anymore!”

Hurt’s incarnation obviously did something terrible. Necessary, but terrible.

Doctor… Who?!

I think a clue as to who Hurt plays is provided by Richard E. Grant’s Dr. Simeon, better known as The Great Intelligence. He says that the Doctor, throughout time, has had many names: Storm, the Beast, the Valeyard…

The first name there could refer to the Daleks’ title for the Time Lord: The Oncoming Storm. There’s a big question mark over the Beast, but the one time we did meet a creature referred to as such was in 2006’s The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit, in which the Beast was seen as, essentially, the Devil. Doesn’t sound too promising for the Doctor, but then “the beast” could also refer to medieval Christian terms for “the devil” – a galactic colloquialism to describe beings of darkness and destruction.

And then we come to the Valeyard.


We’ve met the Valeyard in Trial of the Time Lord (1986) as he accused the Doctor of breaking the Laws of Time. The character is eventually revealed to be “an amalgamation of the darker side of the Doctor’s nature… Somewhere between [the Doctor’s] twelfth and thirteenth regeneration.”

We’ve also seen the Dream Lord in 2010’s Amy’s Choice, a manifestation of the Doctor’s darker side.

Is this what John Hurt’s ‘Doctor’ is…?

Inner Time

It’s likely that Hurt doesn’t play a future Doctor as the Eleventh clearly recognises him and is judgmental of his actions.

Presuming that this incarnation occurs somewhere between the on-screen regenerations, there aren’t many options as to when this actually occurred. We’ve seen most of the Doctor’s regenerations – though there’s some conjecture over the transition between the Second and Third Doctors. And that’s if he does occur during the Time Lord’s televised life.

Could his actions be the reason the Susan and her Grandfather left Gallifrey?

Meanwhile, we’ve always assumed that the Eighth Doctor fought in the Time War… But what if we’re wrong?

It’s been established that Matt Smith is, indeed, the Eleventh Doctor, notably in The Lodger (2010) and again in The Name of the Doctor. Thankfully, the inclusion of John Hurt seemingly need not interfere with our happy perceptions that Eccleston is the Ninth Doctor, Tennant is the Tenth and Smith is the Eleventh. Hopefully. (We’ll find out soon enough.)

He is not the Doctor. He’s just one of his bodies. And we’ve established that bodies are boring – the Doctor’s had loads of them!

So it’s likely that Hurt (who recently stated that he plays “part of the Doctor,” forming a “sort of trinity” with Smith and David Tennant in the 50th anniversary special) will be an incarnation between incarnations.

It also seems that this is the body that the Doctor had forgotten (maybe on purpose). It’s a long shot, but maybe this ties in with the Doctor deleting all trace of himself from the universe.

We should also remember that we’re simple humans. The events of the Time War supposedly go way over the heads of inferior beings (sorry, but that means us!), so maybe little of the above is true. Who knows what the Time Lords got up to in their battle with the Daleks? Who knows what atrocities and schemes they concocted? Their efforts were even too scary for the Master, remember…

I guess we’ll just have to wait until November to find out.

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  1. Adam says:

    I believe that this version of himself is the reason that William Hartnell’s version had to leave Gallifrey. The Doctor said he would never talk about this, and he has talked about the Time War numerous times, to enemies even. I don’t think this has anything to do with the Time War. All the Time Lords were involved in that and many horrible things happened as it was war and the Doctor was right there on the front lines of that conflict. He feels horrendous guilt over the events of that war, but not so much that he will not discuss it or even acknowledge that version of himself as The Doctor.

    We know that the 9th Doctor fought in the TIme War as suggested by his look. Close cropped military haircut, close fitted leather jacket, plain t-shirt, combat boots, etc. The 8th Doctor may have fought as well and regenerated into 9 during the conflict but we can’t say for sure really.

    Whatever this guy did, The Doctor recognizes as having to have been done. He knows there was no choice but to do it, but it was so vile and so heinous and disgusting to him that he doesn’t even acknowledge it as having been done by The Doctor. Like it was so bad that it split him and this guy exists outside of The Doctor persona. My only hope for the 50th is that the explanation lives up to the disgust and revulsion apparent in 11’s face and voice as he spits out the few sentences he does about him.

    It is possible that this was something that happened after he took the name The Doctor upon himself and he had to make this choice knowing what it meant, or it could be that this even lead him to take the moniker of The Doctor, but I feel almost 100% certain that it is a long ago event far predating the Time War. Of course, this is Moffat, we’re all probably wrong.

    • BlackOsprey says:

      But the 9th couldn’t have fought in the time war because his features, and accent, we’re new to him when he looked in a mirror at Rose’s house

      • Of course he could. He just didn’t look in a mirror for a while.

        • Yeah, I always found it hard to believe the Doctor used up his entire 9th life in the space of a year.

          • erifneerg says:

            That would sounds like The Doctor never to bother to notice he’s own appearance if he was busy with something as big like the time war.

          • STLShawn says:

            I like when they add “missing time” into the episodes. I assume to make room for novels and whatnot. It also gets past the whole “why does the companion feel so close to him when they have only known him for 4 hours” issues.

            There is also the idea that the Doctor can change appearance at any time (as Romana did), but it may be considered a bit too much vanity for most time lords. That’s why i always assumed the Ninth may have changed his appearance if he was looking for the Nestine, but didn’t want to be noticed as who he was (maybe he thought he was looking for someone who knew what he looked like).

            Just a theory.

      • tomprisoner says:

        My theory too. Hurt is “Who Zero”

      • Z4RQUON says:

        YES! And John Hurt also had an American accent.

    • Adam, I think there’s certainly something to what you’re suggesting and to what Philip said in his article. Whatever he is, I’m positive he doesn’t “shift the Doctors along” as the recycled Sun article said. And this is just for purely real-world reasons: there are so many products out there where Eccleston is the 9th Doctor (TM), Tennant is the 10th Doctor (TM) etc. (I’m thinking especially of the 50th anniversary book reprints where there are bloody great numbers printed on the spines.)

      So, I think he’s in the same category as the Valeyard – a potential incarnation of the Doctor, but not a definitive Doctor. Maybe he was a Doctor whose existence was wiped out by the events of the Time War. He existed, but then ceased to exist – and now he’s found a way back. Maybe he comes from an alternate (mirror?) universe, who knows?

      I get the feeling he’s done a Horrible Thing and, as you say, the 11th Doctor is truly disgusted by him. But rather than making him an evil character, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s portrayed as tragic. If anyone can portray a character like that, it’s John Hurt. Really looking forward to November!

    • Jerry says:

      I think that the idea that Hurt’s Doctor may be earlier than the First Doctor could be correct. One clue is what Dorium Maldovar said at the end of the wedding of River Song: ‘[as Doctor exits] The first question! The question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight. The question you’ve been running from all your life. Doctor who? Doctor who? Doc-tor *who*?’ The Doctor could hardly have been running all his life from the last great time war, I think we have to look back to when he first started running, back to when he “aquired’ his TARDIS. This would also explain why Clara didn’t recognise the Hurt Doctor. The Doctor’s personal timeline in the Name of the Doctor extends from the time he left Gallifrey until his ultimate death. If Hurt’s Doctor is the one who would become the First Doctor, he would not be included in the incarnations Clara saw.

    • Lewis Seymour says:

      My original thought was that he would be the Valyard – but now of opinion he is in fact the elderly 8th Doctor – McGann’s, and what he did out of peace and sanity was destroy the Time Lords – hence being disowned. Wasn’t the 8th Doc the only one not glimpsed in the episode at all?

  2. Geoff says:

    I’d also like to think he comes from a time close to or at the very beginning. I’ve never really been sold on the idea of the Valeyard being a sort of libo mid regenerationish (good made up word!) Doctor because to me such a persona can only exist internally but he has a body and is walking around breathing and talking! They did it in Superman 3 too and I didn’t like it in that either for the same reasons. I know it’s all total fantasy and anything can happen and if this is the route they go down I won’t loose any sleep but bearing in mind it’s the 50th year it would be nice if somehow John Hurts Doctor (which the caption clearly called him) tied the whole story of all the Doctors together.

    • Yeah, I never quite understood the Valeyard – a great character, but I didn’t get the “somewhere between his 12th and 13th regeneration”. So, what he’s the 12th then? The 12-and-a-half-Doctor? Just some strange alternate “potential” Doctor?

      • erifneerg says:

        I always thought is the Valeyard as something The Doctors spit out during the regeneration from 12 to 13. Some strange evil space alien/ghost/virus/bug latches on to the doctor. The Doctor starts to “rot” and starts acting similarly to the Valeyard. The Doctor realizes what’s going on and regenerates. etc etc… i feel like I’m outline a possible fanfict.

        • Fernando Trevino says:

          i would say that everyone brings up some amazing detailed ideas, but has anyone ever thought to think that maybe John Hurt could be the original? Everything has to start from somewhere, and I think that he was the reason The Doctor changed his name in the first place.I don’t think John Hurt’s Doctor is regeneration, but simply the original. What if he did something so drastic that he created the regeneration to hide his attrocities? Just like a criminal, he would change his name and apperance. Now he feels deeply disturbed by what he had done, and never mentions it or who he is simply because if they found him he would be punished. He now feels that it’s his duty to fix things . That to me could be what Matt ment when he said “but not in the name of the Doctor” The original did what he did, as who he was with the name he was given not in the name of the doctor. dunno but its a clever start..

    • Jo says:

      The Doctor has always said that he left Gallifrey because he didn’t approve of the ethics of the Time Lords. He believed in helping not watching.

  3. John Smith says:

    I feel, based on the dialogue between John Hurt and Matt Smith, and John Hurts outfit (9th’s leather jacket no?), that this will be The Doctor during the Time War. Perhaps it’s what he did at the end, to end the conflict, which caused him to relinquish his title as The Doctor.

  4. yorkshirened says:

    I think this is between 8th and 9th….a disowned Doctor. He pushed the button that destroyed the daleks and time lords…..

  5. Jeff Jefferson says:

    Not read them all yet. But number 9 had just regenerated before the start of the series. Says as much in 9th first outing, he looks in a mirror and is suprised at how he looks, if he fought it would have been the final days of the war. John Hurt is a special probably 8.5 version, perhaps a special incarnation for the war. Or i admit he could be the reason 1 left Galifrey, but I seriously doubt that Grand Moff would mess with that, the biggest mystery of all.

    • STLShawn says:

      And we’ve been given too many clues.
      There was the time war book, the strange way the 11th keeps referencing the first, etc etc.

      Wonder what the Vegas odds are?

  6. Russ says:

    I’m enjoying all the Above comments, hurt could be a future incarnation as the doctor said of his remains ” what did you expect, a body? I’ve had loads of them. This is me from gallifrey to trenzalore” wich I take as past, present and future. But on the other hand I’m thinking or the other! I love what Moffat has done here and every time I sit and think about this situation my mind delves into past stories and outcomes and connotations, and then I go off in another direction and trail of though. Brilliant…

  7. Jeff Jefferson says:

    Valeyard type, the one who used “the moment” to kill(imagine its underlined) all of the time lords, darleks, axons and what other species had got caught in the time war. That’s the mass genocide of trillions of lives no doubt. Hardly what a Doctor would do.

  8. David F says:

    I think we’re stretching too far for explanations. I don’t see any possibility other than his being a ninth incarnation of the man who, the rest of the time, goes by the name of the Doctor. The dialogue clearly points to that possibility alone.

    It’s a brilliant move. It would be suicidal for the show to explore a pre-Hartnell story, yet exploring secrets from the main character’s past is an important thing to do. Luckily (although it didn’t feel like that during the nineties) the show’s hiatus provides an opportunity for revelations about the Doctor’s past without compromising the initial mystery on which the series depends.

    And it also allows for the current numbering of Doctors to continue. There might have been twelve physical manifestations of the man, but only eleven of them have, in his own mind, met his standards of what ‘the Doctor’ should be, so we can carry on as we were in that regard. It contradicts nothing that we’ve been told before, yet contradicts plenty that we’ve assumed. Which might be Moffat’s greatest ever stroke of writing.

    I hope the execution is as good as the concept. With Moffat, it isn’t always, but I’m being positive and telling myself that the faults of the (admittedly decent) series 7 are a sign that he was really, really distracted by the pressure to make the anniversary amazing.

    • steven87gill says:

      Agreed, it needn’t affect the numbering, as I’ve heard some refer to him ‘the forgotten doctor’ ( I like that one, very John Hurt)

      I like the idea that he could be the movie doctor, I can’t imagine anyone else portraying the doctor on the big screen. Also it keeps the movie within the who-niverse, which i like.

  9. Allan Shindel says:

    Years ago when, I believe, during the 4th doctor, there was a villain who was eventually revealed to be a future version of the Doctor who was actually evil. I can’t remember the name of the episode, nor what it was about, but I do remember than one fact. I wonder if the present doctor remembers his evil future self, and John Hurt is the one playing that role.

    • Ellie Chen says:

      Yes but John hurt obviously feels guilty about what he has done, if he was evil he wouldnt feel any regret?

      • exactly. Someone above suggested, as I refer again to their post in my own post here, that the audio Neverland may provide a clue, insofar as within the canon of that audio the Time Lords who did NOT fight had to donate lives and regenerations; therefore it can be assumed that the Doctor eventually DID donate, or fought- or both.

        The sad and regretful John Hurt Doctor cannot be the moralless and unrepentant TIMELORD VICTORIOUS (hint hint) Valeyard, UNLESS the Valeyard seen in 6th Doctor episode Trial of a Time Lord and related episodes was controlled by the Great Intelligence, due to the Great Intelligence’s entering the Doctor’s timescar in the current season ender, The Name of the Doctor. So again, I posit, he MUst be one of the other aspects i listed before:

        -not the Valeyard-

        so this leaves:

        the Beast
        the Doctor
        the Storm

        The Other
        the Threefold Man


        am I missing anything?

        i think that the Doctor WILL become the Valeyard, though, if he does not accept the Doctor he’s shoved aside as being unworthy; judgment, as we recall, is reserved for those who may judge, and the Doctor has killed many times in teh series before; just remember the fleet of cybermen he destroyed in season 6! Ergo, there must be SOMETHING ELSE he did… somethign WORSE than these things. BUt he is still called the Doctor in the credits; ergo again, something is fishy in Whoville, and John Hurt looks VERY MUCH like David Tennant in a certain picture of his… and VERY MUCH like the Valeyard in the season ender, which I think is a colossal red herring, UNLESS he was being manipulated by someone to do THE THINGS he did for which Eleven/Twelve so ruthlessly condemns him. Again, Twelve/Eleven/Smithykins is acting VERY MUCH like a judgmental troll here, leading me to believe that he is VERY close to becoming the Valeyard, not to mention al lthe hints we’ve been getting that he must -change his ways or else-. What say?


  10. John Shandler says:

    Paul McGann was the 8th. John Hurt is the regeneration after him, but is not called ‘The Doctor’. His name is ‘The Moment’. He then regenerates into Ecclescake after the Time War- the 9th Doctor (but 10th body). They are going to have to say something about that bloody regeneration limit soon!

    • Roman Stadtler says:

      There’s no longer a limit (if there ever really was; at one point, maybe during the Time War? I don’t remember, but I know it’s been mentioned, in show, that the Time Lords can bequeath more regenerations, or take them away, and that was done for the Doctor). In The Sarah Jane Adventures 2-part The Death of The Doctor, Eleven implies there is no limit to his regenerations.

    • Whirlwound says:

      Hurt’s “Doctor” *is* The Moment. I like that. Right up until I remember in The End Of Time that the council of Gallifrey talks about The Doctor still being in possession of The Moment.

      Unless they’re just talking about Hurt’s “Doctor” – who went by that name up until Mad Dan Eccles disowned him as a canon ‘him’.

      • Jan Bos says:

        When the Doctor talks about the dishonouring of Hurt, maybe he means that Hurt is the twelfth Doctor and that het came to the eleventh to tell how he will die ?
        So (Moffatstyle !!!) we already know who’s the 12th Doctor, but we will just realise that at Christmas !!! “The answer is in plain sight. “

  11. vortexter says:

    There is another explanation which is hinted at in the Big Finish audio ‘Neverland’ which is intriguing. Those who refuse to fight in the Timewar have to donate ‘lives’ and regenerations to those who do fight. A deleted scene has the Doctor challenged to donate for being a coward. I feel the Doctor would have possibly donated a life for the cause reasoning that it is not him and this would be the John Hurt persona. At some stage the Timewar would have gotten so bad that the Doctor we know would have had no choice but to get involved (Remember when the Nestene Consciousness has the Autons restrain the Doctor in Rose? “It wasn’t my fault, I fought in the war!”) And in the ensuing battles perhaps the Doctor had some regenerations given to him from other dying timelords. we here about the cruciform but not it’s function, perhaps it passes artron energy on and regenerations as well? The Dalek emperor took control of it towards the end and even the Master ran. We still assume the Doctor has a few lives yet but he may have more.
    Where was the place that Clara found herself in at the end of ‘The Name of The Doctor’? I assume its one of the battlefields of the Timewar, perhaps his past selves were even brought back to fight as they were all running around between them.
    I put it to you that he is The Doctor but a donated life. Scarred and afraid of pressing the button and desperate to be recognised as a Doctor, even by his own selves.

    • zarbisupremo says:

      You must have listened to a different version of Neverland from the one I have ! There’s no mention of the Time War or donated regenerations anywhere in that story. It was released in 2002, 3 years before the series came back, before we’d even heard of the Time War.

      • vortexter says:

        As I said its in a deleted scene which is in the first Big Finish scriptbook when the Doctor is in the Matrix being shown by Romana the possible future of Gallifrey.

      • vortexter says:

        The Timewar stretches back to the 8th Doctor books with Faction paradox. The show stole/borrowed from them. And further back than that if you consider the Doctor averting the creation of the Daleks in ‘Genesis’ as the trigger for the time war and the Supreme Dalek capturing the 5th Doctor and duplicating him and Tegan and Turlough to return to Gallifrey and assassinate the members of the high council in’ Resurrection of the Daleks’ as retaliation for that event.

        • zarbisupremo says:

          RTD said that the Time War from the series was a completely different event from the war against The Enemy in the books.

  12. Doug says:

    Interesting that the Great Intelligence would know of the Valeyard. That character was last seen at the Doctor’s trial at the very end of “The Trial of a Time Lord”. So, obviously, he may still be around, which begs the question just how many Time Lords are running around when the Doctor is the last of the Time Lords. I guess if the Valeyard’s The Doctor, then there is still just one, in many forms in his time line (answering my own question, I guess). So, John Hurt could be a Valeyard-like version of the Doctor, or the Valeyard himself. There has been no hint of another Doctor apart from the 11 we’ve seen on the series, when they play out all the versions on screen there wasn’t a mystery one between 8 and 9. I would think that the Silence would know about another version if they were worried about the fall of the 11th and the answer to the oldest question.

    • Peter Klubek says:

      Why can’t he be the Peter Cushing version of the Doctor from the Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965)/ Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966)? Peter Cushing is of course dead, but John Hurt could fill in. He could be a sort of parallel universe Doctor that would really tie all the versions of Doctor Who together for the 50th.

  13. TimeChaser says:

    Interesting theories being tossed about here.

    I don’t think I agree with the people who’ve suggested this could be a pre-Hartnell incarnation. He obviously comes after the Doctor chose his name if he’s “the one who broke the promise”. And in Dalek, Nine readily gloated to the Dalek that he was the one who destroyed the entire Dalek fleet, and he’s admitted to destroying Gallifrey. So, if we are to assume Hurt’s Doctor occurs somewhere in the Time War, perhaps he did something before these events that he could not live with. Either he regenerated from being wounded or came to his senses and saw what he’d done and forced a regeneration (much like the 90s novels suggest Seven did to Six), and so it was Eccleston’s Doctor who ended the Time War rather than have the madness go on any longer.

  14. STLShawn says:

    First things first,,,,, the name of the doctor is BooBoo Schnuckums KissyFace the third (that’s why he keeps it secret). We know that they “choose” their names adults, my assumptions has always been when they “graduate” and become time lords from the ranks of Gallifreyans. I would imagine they give some speech, have a ceremony, and recite their “promises” to help others and do no harm with their newly acquired awesome power. So, when there are no options, do they have to question their vows and do what they have to do?

    so many red herrings,,, the time war book, Clara’s reality, Porrige’s feeling about being the “one who pressed the button” and destroyed a galaxy, the way they keep coming back to 1’s “borrowing” the Tardis, River’s timeline, squirrels playing cards,,,,, Ahhh going to be a wonderful ball of timey wimey plot lines i’m sure.

    • true. squirrels playing cards… but in the Time War, we surely had dogs with cigarillos.

      So? SO?????????

      I posit that the John Hurt Doctor is the Doctor-Donna. It sounds very Other/Doctor to donate that one to the Cause, as the person above said about the audio Neverland, which I have not watched. Doctor-Donna was like the head of John the Baptist on a Silver Platter for that kind of situation. Three things to remember:
      the Doctor is a coward
      the Doctor is NOt a coward
      the Doctor is ashamed, self-righteous, and self-denying, when he should not be.

      for the sake of philosophical musing,
      what is the only thing worse than fighting in a war?
      not doing it.

      i say the John Hurt doctor is the true Doctor, and the Doctor we are following around is NOT. He acts much more like the Valeyard or something similar. Like the Other. Or he could be the Other.

      To my knowledge, there are six aspects of the Doctor to consider:

      the beast
      the valeyard
      the storm

      the other
      the doctor
      the threefold man

      all six of which form a seventh, The Doctor, the Whole Man.

      consider the obvious boolean:


      That’s my take on it so far.

      • and i forgot a few words, my apologies:

        Keeping in mind that Moffat is a libra, consider the inherent -DUALITY- of the obvious boolean:

        IF CLARA was split in pieces, THEN the Doctor was as well.

    • also, do I know you?

      • zarbisupremo says:

        Can I have some of what you’ve been taking ? 😉

        • why yes, yes you may. I am a libra sun, virgo moon, scorpio rising with ASD. Come to the lark side; we have My Mysterious Doctor… the Rokeby Venus from Zork Nemesis, and Puppies. 😉 hi!

        • Also ,why is it that people keep saying that to me? Could you define that for me, because I am always fascinated when someone describes me in this way… maybe in a word or two? I want to understand in as few words as possible…

  15. I say he’s either supposed to be whatever happened to 8 or something really wacky that the Clara copies couldn’t fix.

  16. rickjlundeen says:

    I think the two most likely scenarios—given the clues we have to work with— are A) Hurt’s character is some amalgam like the Vale yard or B) he’s the much aged McGann 8th incarnation who ended up doing all the dirty work during the Time war.

    Although, I have to say, that one theory put forth by Vortexter regarding him being a donated incarnation for the war effort is easily the most intriguing.

  17. Nolan says:

    Um….he could be a future incarnation. Since John Hurt’s Doctor is in the 50 anniversary with the 10th and 11th Doctor. 11 could know what Hurt did because 10 saw what happened. But I like everyone’s theories so far as well. I for one hope that it is the Valeyard.

  18. V.S. says:

    I started watching Doctor Who back in 2005 and fell in love. Now I am convinced I absolutely must watch all the original episodes so I am better prepared to have a proper discussion. None of the viewing since 2005, I think, can prepare any of us for whats coming in the 50th. I don’t want to be left out when the lifer fans all do a collective gasp. I must go back further in the timeline! To Netflix!

  19. KJ5IK says:

    I remember watching the 6th Doctor way back when on trial by a Time Lord tribunal for the trumped up charge of genocide. I seem to recall at the end of the story arc that his future self was behind all of the shenannigans with the 6th Doctor asking “What happened?”. There was no answer to that as I remember. Maybe we’re about to get one.

  20. Mikea says:

    Does no one think that he is perhaps the 8th Doctor, but as an old man.

  21. barry whysall says:

    i cant help thinking how great it would have been had it been mcgann standing there instead of john hurt

    • Philip Bates says:

      Hmmm. Not sure. Depending on how the 50th plays out, how would McGann fans (myself included btw) react to him being not the Doctor; the one who didn’t keep the promise, the one he’s ashamed of?

      I figure most would do that ‘this is proof Moffat doesn’t like the 8th Doctor’ nonsense…

  22. Karan B Mehta says:

    Was this the last appearance of River Song? It shouldn’t be because we still haven’t come across an episode where the Doctor tells her his name. I am reminded of the Tenth Doctor telling Rose how she needs to look after the metacrisis Doctor because he was born in battle. I think John Hurt’s Doctor will eventually end up marrying River Song; after all if he is the Time Lord who ended the Time War, then he needs much healing and River is the right person for it. And because John Hurt’s Doctor isn’t the Doctor, he will go by his original name. And hence she will know the Doctor’s real name. And then they can go on by themselves through space and time, building themselves a TARDIS, which would probably explain why River is so good with the Blue Box! And I keep wondering if the Doctor’s name is Jim the Fish!

    • zarbisupremo says:

      I take it that you must have missed The Wedding Of River Song ? 😉

      • Karan B Mehta says:

        Of course not, but didn’t he just tell her to look into his eye? And all the appearances of River Song until now do not still justify her knowledge about the Doctor, if at all the reason she should know the Doctor so well is because she should have jumped into his timeline and saved the day. Of course considering she was mentally linked to Clara, she probably knows his every form. The other interesting bit is how she meets the Tenth Doctor and compares diaries clearly not knowing that he is the younger Doctor. Which probably means that she sees the Doctor differently and can’t distinguish between his various physical forms. It just doesn’t add up! She has spent most of time with only the Eleventh Doctor! But that isn’t sufficient either… she’s had very little exposure to the Doctor. She had only being reading about him. We know of River Song’s origins and her end. But the middle is like time- wibbly wobbly, timey-wimey! And that is not how River would like us to remember her.

        • zarbisupremo says:

          Calm down, you do know that River is a fictional character, don’t you ? I don’t think she’s likely to be bothered about how we remember her. 😉

          The 10th Doctor didn’t have a diary for her to compare her’s with when they met in the library and I’m pretty sure that the 11th told her his name when they were on top of the pyramid.

  23. Claws-on says:

    The Doctor encountering his mortal remains is a theme in the 8th Doctor book “Alien Bodies” by Lawrence Miles, another of his ideas, in “Interference” is that a paradox is created and the 3rd Doctor regenerates into the 4th in circumstances different from the TV version. The Doctor’s history is tampered with.

    It is possible that the 8th Doctor regenerates into a John Hurt version of the 9th during the Time War, this 9th fights and carries out atrocities in the name of sanity and as a result of his actions, which could potentially end the war, his timeline is damaged to the point that the 8th’s regeneration is altered and he becomes the Eccleston 9th. This version could remember the Hurt version, because the Time War screws reality up so badly, but the Hurt version could have existed only in a bottle universe – another recurring theme in New Who.

    • zarbisupremo says:

      I’ve read those books too, and I can’t help wondering what Mad Larry Miles is thinking of The Name of The Doctor. I remember being shocked when I read about the 3rd Doctor’s premature regeneration in a hostile place where he was never supposed to be. I thought the war between the Time Lords and The Enemy storyline was a bit of a mess in the end, I couldn’t really understand it, probably the result of ‘too many cooks’.

  24. TonyS says:

    No he’s not a witch doctor 🙂

  25. Spacephantom says:

    The suggestion that John Hurt is playing the Valyard, or a Valyard like character, doesn’t sit well at all with what we know in my opinion. The Valyard was not an actual incarnation of the Doctor.And from what we’ve seen of the Doctor’s dark side (The Valyard and the Dreamlord), why would such a creature do anything “in the name of peace and sanity”?

    I think by far the most likely explanantion is that Hurt is the Doctor who fought in the Time War, and was forced to take such terrible actions that he renounced the name “Doctor” (as others have said here). I.e. the incarnation between the 8th and 9th. There are a few explanations that can’t be ruled out, Such as a pre-Hartnell first incarnation, a future incarnation, e.t.c. But Just in terms of resonance with what we know of the Doctor’s history, for me, the “Time War” incarnation is not only the most likely, but would be the most satisfying in terms of the story.

    • zarbisupremo says:

      I don’t see how John Hurt’s Doctor can be the Valeyard, I mean Michael Jayston is still alive and working as an actor, so if they were bringing the Valeyard back, there’d be no reason not to cast Jayston.

  26. TonyS says:

    Perhaps, during the Time War, “our” Doctor was injured and in need of medical attention. Perhaps the John Hurt character refused to make a house call and suggested that he take two aspirin (which as we know could prove fatal to the Doctor). Maybe this is what provoked the 8th Doctor to regenerate. For this reason, John Hurt’s character has forfeited the name of “Doctor”?

  27. Adam says:

    What everyone seems to forget is that a number of Time Lords have names which are more like titles (Doctor, Master, Corsair), and that as opposed to their true names (which thankfully is still unrevealed excepted in written Gallifreyan), they chose those.

    From “The Sound of Drums”:

    The Doctor: I’m here.
    The Master: Doctor.
    The Doctor: Master.
    The Master: I love it when you say my name.
    The Doctor: You chose it. A psychiatrist’s field day.
    The Master: As you chose yours. The man who makes people better. How sanctimonious is that?

    At some point in his 900+ years, he did something so unspeakable that he keeps his true name a secret and everything associated with it a secret. His actions in the Great Time War are not a secret, loads of people know about it.

    Also, were I a betting man I wager David Tennant plays the one-hearted Doctor that is with Rose in the parallel universe, which is why he and Billie Piper are in the 50th Anniversary show.

  28. Bob James says:

    Not to wander off topic, but I just wanted to note how nice it is to see Doctor Who fans excited about discussing this show we all love. We’re all anticipating what’s going to happen next, and no one is demanding Moffat be fired, slagging off Moffat, the current series, stating that something is rubbish, or calling for the show to be cancelled. Different ideas from different people who all love the show. Nice and civil, and fun! Here’s to the future, and counting the days until November comes! I for one, am looking forward to being surprised……..

  29. Mugen Pharoah says:

    Hurt could be a special ‘amalgam’ doctor.

    Look at his costume. it looks a bit like a fusion of different Doctors’ outfits. What if the Time Lords, in their desperation (and remember the Master was resurrected as a weapon in the Time War) used temporal engineering to construct an ‘ultimate Doctor’ and transformed the Eighth into the Hurt Doctor. He then goes on to do terrible things that goes against everything the Doctor stands for.

    At the end of the Time War, this temporal engineering was undone, and the Eighth Doctor was restored to regenerate into Eccleston. No numbering would be upset, and the Doctor still has the memories as the amalgam Doctor.

    Alternatively during the Time War the Eighth Doctor was critically injured. During the chaos of the Time War time fragmented and several alternate Doctors were created out of one regeneration, Hurt being one of these Time War Doctors (there are others…Shalka Doctor(?!), Eccleston Doctor…they are all the ninth. Only at the end of the war does the timeline stabilise and he continues on as the NInth as we know him.

    “I watched it happen. I made it happen” says the Ninth in ‘Dalek’ in series 1, in reference to the Time War….so this could fit…..maybe the incarnations had to fight for their survival. Maybe the Hurt Doctor escapes from the Time War……oh the possibilities!

    • zarbisupremo says:

      I like that idea, although I had an idea that the John Hurt Doctor might have been a duplicate Doctor, created by the High Council because the real Doctor was either unable or unwilling to participate in the Time War. I always thought the Valeyard was created by the High Council, so that’s where my reasoning comes from.

      Alternatively, he could be a potential Doctor who was brought into being by interference in the Doctor’s time stream.

    • APH says:

      In one of the recent issues of a Doctor Who / sci-fi related publication, there’s something about Paul McGann being “the Dark Doctor” – showing him wearing the outfit we see Eccleston in during “Rose”; in the upcoming (or current) comics and audio dramas

  30. Rob M says:

    Without a doubt John Hurt’s Doctor is the Time War Doctor, it is supported by the fact that Clara finds a book about the Time War in the TARDIS’s library, and it states the Doctors real name inside it. As for what he did, he still killed off two entire races one of them being his own. Which is more than enough to not be worthy of the name Doctor. As he said he had no choice, and he did it in the name of peace and sanity. The Timelords were going to ascend to higher beings and destroy the rest of the universe, so he had no choice but to kill them all to save everything else in the universe.

    As for the Valeyard, he is coming and with it being the Doctor’s 12th regeneration he is due to turn up. My money is that the ‘fall of the eleventh’ has nothing to do with Matt Smith’s Doctor and everything to do with the metacrisis Doctor. As fall can mean two things that he dies or that he turns evil, and now that we know that Tennant’s Doctor was the true Eleventh (notice as well it doesn’t mention anywhere that it had to be the Eleventh ‘Doctor’, just the Eleventh) then we can assume that it will effect Tennant’s character and not Smith’s. Perhaps even making Tennant into the Valeyard.

  31. Rupert Bath says:

    I am going for the Time War Doctor…the end of Time showed how insane the TimeLords had become leaving the Doctor with no choice but to wipe out his own kind. It is possible that had Eccleston’s Doctor now met Rose he may have continued to leave the title of Doctor behind him. Since he never uses his own name when he met her he may have introduced himself as The Doctor out of habit but for much ‘Rose’ he is deliberately distancing himself from her in order not to be The Doctor. Once he had defeated the Nestene and saved humankind he may have felt that he had gone someway toward atoning the Time War and started to feel he could earn the title of Doctor one more

  32. Jan Bos says:

    It’s not THE Doctor, but A doctor. So I believe it’s maybe the Master ?

  33. Im more inclined to believe this is a later stage (oldre) version of Paul Mcgann. If you look on the web for ‘new look’ mcgann you will see that he changed the look of the 8th doctor for some of the front cover Who fiction. Now given the fact that the 9th doctor 100% was not at the time war (The first episode he appears in, he looks in the mirror and comments on his newly regenerated features) my conclusion is that the 8th Doctor is involved with the time war. This ravaged and aged Joh Hurt is the 8th Doctor at his desperate and war like state. He has given up his peaceful approach and adopted a different mantra…Thoughts?

  34. J W says:

    Perhaps he’s a Doctor from an alternate timeline that ultimately never existed but he somehow survived. It was called ‘The Time War’ after all. Who knows how many alternate timelines were created then wiped away like chalk from a chalk board. Perhaps he couldn’t live with the consequences of what he’d done so he erased, or caused to be erased, an entire timeline to undo it all; but, being at the epicenter of events, he was shielded from reality shifting around him and lived on in this new timeline where an alternate version that never became him lived on to regenerate into Eccleston’s Doctor.

  35. Dalek Killer says:

    I’m reminded of the end of War Games. The 2nd Doctor refused to choose from samples of faces that the Timelords showed him. If the Timelords can reach through time to manipulate an 8 year old boy who later becomes the Master with the “Sound Of Drums”, who’s to say that the Timelords foresaw a need to create/manipulate the Doctor for their own purposes. In other words, the 3rd Doctor was meant to look differently if the 2nd Doctor had willingly regenerated. The John Hurt Doctor is a Doctor from an alternate timeline if the Doctors after #2 looked different.

  36. Adam says:

    The events of the Time War are not a secret. Simeon calls him the “Slaughterer of the 10 Billion”. The Daleks that have time and again escaped the Time Lock obviously know what he did, as does the Silence. When Rassilon escapes the Time Lock and reveals to the Master the source of the drumming, the Doctor gives ample reason for his actions to end the Time War. When he is in the pocket universe tracking down the Corsair’s emergency beacon, he tells House to fear him because he killed all of the Time Lords. Calling him a missing or forgotten regeneration is much too obvious and too easy.

    If he was from an alternate timeline, he wouldn’t be a part of the one Clara steps into.

    Also consider Hurt’s own statement that he plays a “part” of the Doctor. The Time Lord we all know and love CHOOSES to call himself the Doctor. The Doctor is what he DOES not who he IS. What if whatever John Hurt plays has never had a physical incarnation of his own. What if he is the true nature of the Time-Lord-Whos-True-Gallifreyan-Name-Has-Not-and-Should-Not-Ever-Be-Revealed. It says “John Hurt as The Doctor” because what the heck else could you call him? Don’t forgot “The Shakespeare Code” when the Carronites can’t find a name for him (old magik!). The episode title is “The Name of the Doctor” and that’s exactly what John Hurt is.

    • Hey Adam, just want to point out a fundamental flaw in your definition. Only one Dalek has broken the time lock, and that was Dalek Caan, heading back into the Time War, not out of it.

      The Daleks in S1 had been cast into the vortex before the end of the Time War.
      The Cult of Skaro went into the void before the end of the Time War.
      The Daleks in S4 were borne from Davros’ cells.
      The Daleks of S5 were the remnants of Davros’ troops (not pure Dalek, but “Davlek”) before ceding to the Progenitor Daleks, who would have remained as pure Dalek cells in an ark without the Doctor’s accidental ratification.

      Additionally, I don’t think there is anything “obvious” about what the Silence know. After all, they have been conspicuous by their absence.

      Nothing to say about your other points, though, well made on the whole 🙂

  37. Gabe Horne says:

    Maybe The Doctor got Hurt in the Time War.

  38. Geoff says:

    I really really hope it’s not a link to the Valeyard, as I said I’ve always had an issue with what he actually was but I don’t actually care anymore, it’s do long ago! Like the issue of The Doctors mother being human it should be just left to slip away and get forgotten. I hope they don’t use the 50th to address dodgy plot lines from an ill conceived story from 25 years ago, especially when there’s a “missing” story we’d all love to see resolved: the journey from 8 to 9.

    • APH says:

      The Valeyard was “a culmination of the Doctor’s darker side, somewhere between his 12th and final regenrations” (as The Master reveals during the Doctor’s trial). Given that, if you count the 2nd Doctor as technically being his FIRST regeneration (as far as we know, at least), then Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor is only his 10th regeneration, meaning that he has another 3 to go…this however contradicts that, seeing as the Master destroyed the remaining chance that the Timelords had of re-creating Gallifrey, and that the Doctor is the last of his race (as far as we know – with exception of the Monk, the Rani, and any other strays who wouldn’t have benefitted from being on the side of their own race during the Time War), is he still bound by this rule?

  39. Jan Bos says:

    Yeah, from 8 to 9, there’s plenty stories in that. I would like that

  40. Lynda B says:

    Might want to check out this new clip from today on the official site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p019hr50

    Strax says “this one has the look of a battle-hardened warrior” referring to the “Hurt Doctor”…

  41. Jan Bos says:

    Maybe, the Doctor won’t reffering to him as the Doctor, so maybe he’s the original 9th Doctor ?
    That explains why we didn’t see anything of him on the screen.

  42. Dave says:

    The Doctor, but not the Doctor…. I think the answer is already there, he’s the Other. John Hurt said he’s part of the Doctor, check, part of a trinity, check (the Other, Omega & Rassilon), the Other was implied to be an earlier incarnation of the Doctor in Silver Nemesis (which happens to be the 25th Anniversary special, another connection with the 50th Anniversary special)

    • zarbisupremo says:

      I must have missed that bit all those times that I’ve watched Silver Nemesis over the years.

  43. Parallox says:

    I have to give away spoilers, but the Doctor’s real name is…. Bob 🙁

  44. James walters says:

    I think john hurts doctor is the other from the Cartmel Masterplan (look it up) that places the doctor as the other ( a shadowly figure who was one founders of the time lord culture) alongside rassilion and omega. He was mentained at have power greater then rassilion. In fact rassilion tried to stop him from leaving. He killed himself to remove himself from one game as a king to become a pawn again, i.e. the doctor. And in the mind of moboius episodes it showed other lifes of the doctor beyond what was shown.

    The thing with regenations was a limit put in place by rassilion to prevent anyone from being immortal. Also in the five doctors special a whole new set of lives was offered to the master to help the doctors out. Without Gallifrey limited the pool of lives now the doctor can keep regenerating.

    • this reply is to james walters…

      Yes… my 45 or so years old British ninja-midget friend who is a Lord… maybe/not… and is friends with Certain People… maybe/not…9 he can;t possibly have done al lthe things he;s said he has so he’s probably lying but still he’s nice to me so…) says that the Doctor IS the Other, and that the Could’ve Been King is Rassilon. We KNOw the Doctor is the Other, most probably.. but… i posit that the DOCTOr is the Could’ve Been King. Rassilon began the Time Lords with the other two; he already WAS King.

      THIS MUST BE IT. also, my fanfiction The Return Heptalogy posits this eventually. With a behelit. anyone who knows what these two things are… HI IT’s MEE!!! bahaha

    • APH says:

      Brain of Morbius. But I know what you’re referring to (read my 2 comments below, if you please)

  45. James walters says:

    And the doctor who fought in the time wars was the eight shown in one of the comics during russel’s run. Where he got himself thrown in prison to wait for the arrival of the key for the demat gun to make the moment that time locks the time war

  46. The ‘Mystery-doctor’ is actually the real third doctor from hypothetical season 6B. While working for the CIA the second doctor had a mishap and regenerated and was forced by the timelords to do even more of their dirty work. He cut a deal with the timelords *for the sake of his own sanity* to do something really bad so they would them cut him loose and let him regenerate into John Pertwee.
    I want at least a snickers if this turns out to be true.

  47. Kole says:

    Why Matt smith is awesome as the doctor for three or four years and I want Matt Smith stay on doctor who

  48. shawn kennedy says:

    Does anyone remember a while back when a Doctor Who movie was being discussed? Moff saying the BBC would be giving him input on it? The big question them was who would play him in the movie that based on fanboy outcry would be about the Time War. Well maybe this move is how Moff is making a movie doctor canon. And who better for a movie version than an oscar nominee and big name like Hurt?

  49. Michael Gates says:

    Could it just be that “The Doctor” is a family title chosen and passed down in the Doctor’s family for one who rises up to do great things? That Hurt is simply a father, brother, or uncle, that took the title of “The Doctor” before the series Doctor and didn’t live up to it? Hurt is the Doctor’s secret. Could Hurt be another seperate time Lord still alive? Someone the Doctor is so ashamed of that he even calls himself the last of the Time Lords, ignoring Hurt and not wanting anyone to know he exists?. Hard to say, I’m the Doctor. The Last of the Time Lords. Well, except for the family black sheep, who did terrible things.”

  50. Jan Bos says:

    Whatever it is, Moffat had it done that we talk about the show for months. 😉
    Nice going.

  51. The Doctor64 says:

    Ok, does no body rember that in “The Name of the Doctor” John wasn’t wearing 9′ leather jacket, we was wearing a long trench coat, and he wasn’t wearing a plain shirt under it, and of he was an 8.5 regeneration and he broke the promise how could he be the Doctr anymore? I think that that he is the next regen. Because if anyone has kept up with Who news you would know that 11 is going to regenerate during the Christmas episode, so he was the 12th doctor until he did something terrible. Another thing, he destroys alien races that choose the wrong thing all the time, the daleks he has killed loads of and the timelords were currupt by the end of the war, he gave them a choice like everyone else he has to kill and they chose wrong, that’s not what this doctor did, I thinks the version of the Timelord that Hurt plays is the 12th but he and his conpanion(s) were in such danger that he couldn’t give his enemy a chance, and he didn’t just kill them, he destroyed them

    • I hope so. The Other is BALAB. Badasslikeaboss. MOFO. LOLZ.

      But if they make john hurt’s character evil, whoever he plays, i will not be happy. Because he seems genuinely upset that he ahd to do whatever it was. I still say it has somethign to do with the Neverweres and the Could Have Been King.

  52. Jan Bos says:

    “The answer is in plain sight”
    John Hurt IS the 12th Doctor.
    He came back to the 11th to tell how and when he will die. Therefore, the 11th doesn’t like him.

  53. APH says:

    Don’t forget: (A) The 10th Doctor “split” into 2 separate versions of himself when he decided to be with Rose on the parallel Earth. (B) Technically, though he’s classed as the 11th Doctor, it’s only his 10th regeneration (there were no KNOWN regenerations before William Hartnell), meaning that he still, in theory, has 3 more before the culmination of his regeneration cycle: however, we don’t know if this is still true, due to the complete dissolution of the Time Lords and Gallifrey – is he still bound by their rules of regeneration cycles? (C) Romana went through considerable “options” for her second regeneration (D) What happened to the 2nd Doctor when the Time Lords chose a face for him? Did they “splinter” him into alternative timestreams before settling on the Pertwee version, and in later regenerations (perhaps during/post-Time War) the Doctor learnt this dark secret, generated by the Time Lords to retain their integrity and create an alternative “back-up” should the Doctor actually die (as such)? (E) There have been several Virgin novels regarding future regenerations of the Doctor (following the 7th/McCoy, prior to the 9th even being thought of!)

    These are my observations, having followed the show since the 2nd episode of The Sea Devils (re-screened on ABC (Australia) at the tail-end of the 1970s), and watching practically the entire show on DVD back-to-front (Hartnell thru Smith) — as well as having read virtually every single spin-off or informative publication

  54. APH says:

    Oh…in the novelisation of The Curse Of Fenric: the Doctor reveals that he is one member of The Triumvirate – the original 3 who founded Gallifrey and begat the Time Lords:::so who knows exactly what powers he has over the others of his planet? Would any of the others (Rassilon, Omega are potentially the other 2) have the power as such to bring forth the utter destruction of Gallifrey, or have the “final say” in that being the last option? And – contrary to what’s been said in past episodes of the show (namely between The Master and The Doctor) – we never learn (prior to Clara mentioning it in THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR to the First Doctor) when exactly the Doctor took on that moniker: in the novelisation of The Moonbase, the 2nd Doctor reveals that he “studied in Edinburgh with a Doctor Bell” (late 19th century), whereby he was granted the title of DOCTOR and received a Doctorate. He simply would’ve kept that moniker, although throughout the development of the series (particularly in the final episode for this year) this fact has become extremely convoluted and has lost it’s origins. Also, at one point the Master (I believe to either Peri or Tegan, though it could’ve even been earlier) revealed his gaining of his name sprang forth from his self-referral as “Master Of Hypnosis” (or something along those roots).

    And whatever happened to the TCE (Tissue Compression Eliminator) that was (sadly) destroyed by the Doctor many years ago (somewhere during his 4th – 5th versions): a helluva lot more sinister than the lame “laser screwdriver” (or whatever it was meant to be)!

  55. Z4RQUON says:

    Am I the only one who noticed that John Hurt’s Doctor had an American accent?

    • Jan Bos says:

      He broke the promise, so maybe he’s theregenerated Doctor from the parallel world where Rose is ?
      (I know, that Doctor can’t regenerate, but hey, it’s Moffat !!!

  56. Khrome says:

    My theories.. 1) Who Zero.. the original “Other” who became the Doctor to attone for his horrific sin. 2) If Hurt is another aspect..The Valeyard or a bad regenation going by another name.. then he would not count as being a Doctor.. therefore the numbering of Doctors is still correct.

    • Jan Bos says:

      If you really ask me, it don’t cares.!
      What really cares me: AND an unknown Doctor AND a 12th Doctor. I think it’s to much in a short period.

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