Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Doctor Who: The Time Crash of Five Doctors in 2013?

Ah, you can already hear Whovians all over the world salivating at the mere idea...

In a recent interview, Doctor Who's fondly-remembered Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, has stirred up hopes of a new multi-Doctor story for the show's 50th anniversary in 2013 with comments that he would be willing to return for a special reunion episode.  McCoy, who still reprises the role of the Seventh Doctor in new audio adventures for Big Finish Productions, remarked that modern computer technology could be used to bring back earlier Doctors who have died in some capacity or make the older surviving Doctors appear thin again.

This news comes on top of Paul McGann, the Eighth Doctor, debuting a new Eighth Doctor costume for vague "promotional purposes" last month at a convention in New Zealand.  Naturally, no official word of a potential "The Eleven Doctors" reunion special has been announced for 2013, but it does seem that the idea is becoming more of a possibility.  So if such a reunion special did happen, which of the eleven Doctors would we most likely see?

The First, Second and Third Doctors are sadly deceased, although William Hartnell's First Doctor was portrayed by actor Richard Hurndall in the 20th anniversary special "The Five Doctors," so recasting the roles is potentially an option.  Ideally, Patrick Troughton's son David and Jon Pertwee's son Sean would be natural choices to portray the Second and Third Doctors respectively if they were willing.

The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, is thankfully stlll with us but he'll be 79 years old in 2013, so his reprisal seems unlikely, although some type of vocal appearance or cameo as a different character isn't out of the question.

The Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, recently reprised the role in 2007 for the Children in Need charity special "Time Crash," written by current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and set between the episodes "Last of the Time Lords" and "Voyage of the Damned."  "Time Crash" also established an explanation for the aging of the actor, chalking it up to a by-product of being taken out of his timeline, which could be used to explain the appearances of other older Doctors from the original series.

The Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, will be 70 years old in 2013 and barely resembles his 1986 self as it is.  As with Tom Baker, though, a vocal appearance or cameo as a different character is certainly possible.

The Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy?  Well, obviously he's up for it, even though he'll also turn 70 in 2013.  His last physical appearance as the Seventh Doctor was in 1996 for the TV Movie, so provided some quality makeup, costuming and/or computer manipulation is utilized, McCoy's Doctor could be on the table.

The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, turns 54 in 2013 but he still looks great.  I imagine we'd see McGann in this new Big Finish costume instead of his TV movie costume, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a very small price to pay to see him get one more shot at portraying the Doctor on screen.

The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, is considerably more problematic.  As recently as June of this year, Eccleston remarked that he quit Doctor Who in 2005 because he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture" that the crew had to work in and that he would have to "blind himself" to things he thought were wrong.  Some bad blood there, obviously, so the big question is whether Eccleston would be willing to set it aside for the sake of the reunion.  Unless I read something more encouraging from him between now and 2013, my own guess is that he wouldn't.

The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, should pretty much be a given unless there's a major schedule conflict that prevents him from returning.  Tennant is well-known as a fan of Doctor Who before he even took on the role in 2005, so I think the opportunity to appear in another multi-Doctor special would be just about impossible to resist.

So provided that Matt Smith is still the current Doctor in 2013, for what would be his fourth year, I think we're looking at a reunion special starring the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, for a total of five, or with the First, Second and Third possibly played by someone else, making for a total of eight. 

Using just five Doctors would be more manageable in terms of story, while the other six could be referenced using various techniques involving old footage or CGI wizardry.  However, from a purely fannish standpoint, it would be more fun to see eight Doctors bickering with one another than five, especially if it helps introduce younger Doctor Who viewers to what was so appealing about the earliest Doctors.  Whatever happens in 2013, though, at least it means we'll have fifty years' worth of Doctor Who characters and stories to enjoy for many more years to come...


  1. I think I'd be pretty okay with them having the Tom Baker impersonator from DEAD RINGERS standing in for the Fourth Doctor. I wish there could be some olive branch extending from Moffat to Eccleston.

  2. Yeah, it would be really nice to have Eccleston on board, wouldn't it? Still, Tom Baker was a bit pissy about returning to the series for a while as well, if I recall correctly, but he eventually mellowed.

  3. Yeah, Baker did suddenly find himself in the mood to reprise the role in multiple audios. And he's joked about wanting to be in the new series as the Master.