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Published on October 13th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

Immortality Blues

Lucky previewers of The Sarah Jane Adventures story Death of the Doctor at the BFI on Monday were greeted with news that the Doctor is immortal…

The episode – which reunites the Doctor with Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant (former Third Doctor companion played by Katy Manning) – features a moment in which Clyde Lander (Daniel Anthony) quizzes the Doctor on how many times he can change.

Clyde, Luke and Rani all encountered the Tenth Doctor in David Tennant’s last recorded performance as the Time Lord in The Sarah Jane Adventures Series 3 story The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, which co-starred Nigel Havers doing his now familiar aging smoothy role…

According to The Guardian:

While the Doctor and Clyde Langer… are in the process of outwitting spooky vulture undertakers the Shansheeth, Clyde asks how many times he can regenerate.

The Doctor indicates that there is no limit. The action continues.

As we’v already seen, the 12 regenerations (13 body) limit imposed by the Time Lords is arbitrary. They offered the Master a new cycle of regenerations in The Five Doctors, and as recently as Last of the Time Lords, we found that the insane Gallifreyan had been “resurrected”. Indeed, it seems that even Rassilon himself was reawakened to lead the Time Lords against the Daleks (The End of Time).

So all of this should come as no surprise.

What do you think?

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.



8 Responses to Immortality Blues

  1. avatar Leosw4 says:

    I understand that a considerably increased limit was stated by the Doctor and seems like a ramdon, throw away line. This being written by Rusty was done probaly to wind the fans up, which it has it seems elsewhere.

    I wont say what the figure is, but no doubt Rusty and the Moff are having a right old laugh at the momement thinking about all those crazzed Who fans.

  2. avatar castellanspandrell says:

    If RTD has written the line to wind up Who fans, and if they fall for/become crazed by it, then that’s the fault of the Who fans for having such inflexible imaginations and getting worked up over diddly-squat.

    The ’12 regenerations’ thing was always going to be contradicted now that the series has a new lease of life and apparent longevity beyond 13 Doctors; in fact, it could be argued that it had already been contradicted in the ‘classic’ series anyway, per the news story above.

    Will wait to see the episode of SJA in question and hear the line; how the Dr says it could be very important – maybe he’s having a laugh at Clyde’s expense.

  3. avatar Rick714 says:

    This is a good litmus test as to who are insane fans with no lives versus those who just enjoy the good ride and are interested in a new tidbit about the legend.

  4. avatar Spaceman says:

    Oh they’re having a laff.
    And if it is a joke, then it’s a simple case of maths…
    For those that know the figure…
    Add the numbers together…
    If I’m right, cheeky geezers, uncles Rusty and the Moff..

    “You humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren’t there.” – 31st December 1999 };-{)>

  5. avatar Bow Ties Are Cool says:

    Let’s be honest, it’s just making canon what we all knew already, and to put a stop to tabloid writers making clever comments about it after reading the Deadly Assassin article on Wikipedia. They were never going to just stop the show because of a throwaway line from the 70s.

    That said, this clearly doesn’t make the Doctor immmortal. He can still die. 10th said it last christmas: “If I’m killed before regeneration then I’m dead.” Not to mention: “My people live forever, barring accidents.”

    No point getting excited about something we already knew.

  6. avatar IanOTimelord says:

    The 2nd Doctor said in the War Games that Time Lords can live forever baring accidents.

    I hope SM does not go with this rule as RTD is no longer Exec producer on Dr Who. Its down to SM.

  7. avatar Byron says:

    Good—as a longtime fan I’m glad they dealt with it in a quiet way. To make it the focus of an entire story or story-arc, as some other fans would like, would be of little interest to the average viewer. As was pointed out, there have been several occasions in the series (both old and new) where the Time Lords have skirted the 12 regeneration rule so it obviously was an artificial limit enforced by them. Therefore–no more Time Lord enforcement, no more limit. Others are also indicating that RTD has somehow ‘gone rogue’ by inserting this reference. Have no doubt that Moffat and his team were consulted on something this noteworthy.

  8. avatar lowiczanka says:

    We’ll just have to wait and see how they handle it before we go flying off the handle.
    For more about Time Lords’ regeneration read :
    http://lowiczanka.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/regeneration-of-the-doctor/
    Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith with the 11th Doctor.
    I really enjoyed the Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith with the 10th Doctor :)

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