Doctor Who News The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who by Paul Cornell

Published on August 22nd, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

The Missing Incarnation Confirmed?

Paul Cornell has written a one-off Doctor Who strip for IDW, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who – and a frame in the preview (illustrated by Jimmy Broxton) seems to indicate that John Hurt’s Doctor is the ninth incarnation, as rumoured by many fans.

It’s been the hot topic ever since The Name of the Doctor ended – just how does John Hurt’s incarnation fit into things? Is he from an alternate reality? Does he predate the First Doctor? Could he be a lost incarnation? The answer might just be below…

[spoiler ]

The frame, below, takes the form of an Andy Warhol portrait of the Doctor’s various incarnations, apparently first referred to in Cornell’s novelisation of The Scream of the Shalka (itself out on DVD soon) – another story that features what has since become an alternative incarnation. In the lower-left corner, you should see a single portrait, seemingly in shadows, situated between Doctors eight and nine…

Can you see the missing incarnation of the Doctor?


(You can see the full page at


Of course, we can’t take the events of a comic strip as complete canon (although Cornell himself would have something to say on that particular topic!) and it certainly shouldn’t be interpreted as leaking or spoiling what actually unfolds in the 50th anniversary… but then, what other explanation is there?

A the very least, let’s welcome the fact that Paul Cornell has written a new Doctor Who story. It’s been six long years since Human Nature/The Family of Blood, after all… The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who.


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About the Author


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+.

25 Responses to The Missing Incarnation Confirmed?

  1. avatar Scott Varnham says:

    All of the Doctors look off-model, especially 10.

    • Personally I think it looks as though the Third Doctor has been dipping into Jo’s makeup bag… He must have really enjoyed dressing up as the Global Chemicals cleaner…

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Or channeling the Joker. Perhaps this was the painting the Doctor once mentioned that Andy Warhol had done………..

    • avatar Barry says:

      You forgot the spoiler alert.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      The artist may as well have included a picture of the missing Doctor as we wouldn’t have been able to tell who it was anyway – poor old Jon Perwtee looks ancient and as if he’s been sucking an orange mivvi…

  2. avatar Karen Filby says:

    It was obvious to me from the dialogue John Hurt’s character predates the first Doctor

  3. avatar Christopher Syn says:

    It could just as easily be a “Scream of the Shalka” reference, as Cornell wrote that one, too.

  4. avatar Al says:

    I assume this it the finale comic strip for IDW’s monthly comic that they were talking about. Question is whether it’s an in-universe story or not, because Cornell is a serious Doctor Who writer, and has been for years – yet he uses the character name “Doctor Who” in the title. I think I’ll wait and see what the final story looks like before I make any assumptions. I think we’re reading too much into the IDW stories between this and the alleged reference to Hurt’s Doctor in “Sky Jacks”. Unless IDW is giving the BBC the middle finger for taking away the licence, I can’t see them being allowed to put out major spoilers like this, given the lengths the Beeb went through to keep Capaldi a secret and the near-total lack of real spoilers emerging from the anniversary special. It’s fun to speculate, though! Personally, I think the silhouette looks like Capaldi more than Hurt.

  5. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    I love the comic strips, Big Finish audios, the New/Missing Adventures, the BBC books, the old BBV/Reeltime productions, the Dalek movies etc… But anything that isn’t BBC 1 Doctor Who simply isn’t Canon (with the exception of Dimensions In Time which is certainly NOT canon). That doesn’t stop us from trying to fit what we each personally like from the spin-off media into the canon TV Whoniverse. It’s each to their own. What I consider canon outside of the TV series may not be to another’s liking and vice versa. That is part of the brilliance and beauty of this phenomenon we all love! There is SO much out there. If you like something make it fit in, if you don’t then ignore it and pretend it never happened!

    • The problem with that viewpoint is that the TV series isn’t canonical to itself…

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        Sorry, in what way?

        • Where do you want me to start?

          “Bring me Doctor Who”

          Olympian Time Lords vs Old Men vs Ikea

          A Time Lord has 12 regenerations… unless he gets offered a new cycle, or is resurrected (see the Master, Rassilon)

          Varying dimensions of the TARDIS exterior

          Temporal grace

          To name just a few :)

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            Is “Bring me Doctor Who” a reference to The War Machines? If it is was then wasn’t WOTAN’s terminology derived from Dodo’s mind, who may simply have been thinking “Doctor who?” as she didn’t know his true name?
            The regenerative cycle and numbering (first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin) was first acknowledged as not a natural occurrence in The Five Doctors when The Master was offered an new set of regenerations. The 11th Doctor confirmed in a throw-away line in Death Of The Doctor that the 12 regenerations rule no longer applies (presumably due the the destruction of his world and people).
            The varying dimensions of the TARDIS exterior, in the simplest way put, are production issues, not narrative. A police box is a police box after all.
            I believe The Doctor also mentioned in Let’s Kill Hitler that temporal grace within the TARDIS was a clever lie when Mels shot a gun at the console.
            Besides, all these examples are from within the TV series and do not need to incorporate spin-off media to fit.

          • But that’s just the point. There is nothing in The War Machines that explains where WOTAN got the name from. You can try and rationalise it as much as you like, it still isn’t canonical to the TV show.

            And while the Doctor said 543 (or whatever) regenerations in Death of the Doctor, Steven Moffat indicated last night that the old limit is still in his mind – which again contradicts.

            Do you see – there’s no internal canon! This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, of course. There’s a recording, I believe, of a discussion about canon that I chaired with Paul Cornell, Mark Michaelowski and Simon Guerrier – I’ll see if I can have it dug out and feature it on Kasterborous sometime soon…

          • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

            I completely agree with you Christian. Too many fans are hung up on what is and isn’t canon – the BBC has no official canon policy for Doctor Who. A lot of people seem to forget this fact.

            Everyone can have their own personal canon. For me, the sixth doctor comic strips are just as much as part of my childhood as the series – for me, Frobisher the Whifferdill definitely flew around with the doctor in the Doctor’s personal timeline.

            Can I add a few more in series inconsistencies all taken from the series that get conveniently ignored:

            Time Lords can live forever, barring accidents

            The Doctor is half human

            The Doctor never heard of the Daleks when he first met them yet he seems au fait with their history subsequently…and the Daleks were involved in the ancient Time Lords’ games in the Death zone.

            Not tampering with history.

            The Doctor’s age he’s been a scientist for “several thousand years”.

            The doctor being a contemporary of Omega and Rassilon.

            It might be fun to come up with ‘canonical’ explanations but it doesn’t change the fact the series contradicts itself many times and long may it continue, Much more interesting than the stuffy attitudes to canon of Star Trek and Star Wars – which have official canon policies. Yawn.

          • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

            All I can do Christian is repeat word for word what i said in my original post:

            It’s each to their own. What I consider canon outside of the TV series may not be to another’s liking and vice versa. That is part of the brilliance and beauty of this phenomenon we all love! There is SO much out there. If you like something make it fit in, if you don’t then ignore it and pretend it never happened!

            And no, there is nothing in The War Machines that explains where it got the name from. What is certain is that nothing in spin-off media is needed to reconcile it if one wishes to. And whatever is in Moff’s mind regarding the regeneration issue will remain that (in his mind) until something of substance from him, of future production teams, disproves it in the TV series.

            I’d be very interested to here the discussion you talk about if you can find it. If you do I hope you upload it to the site :)

          • I hope to find out whether it is still available soon…

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Great point, Christian. That’s one of the many wonderful aspects of Doctor Who’s mythology, that while some things remain constant, other things change. Something, an event, a person, can be canon at one point and then not somewhere along the line. The timelines can change, be altered, be in flux. Most especially in light of the fallout from the Time War, the Universe itself can have significantly been altered, and be subject to alteration. The NA’s, MA’s and BBC PDA’s and EDA’s engaged in this dynamic within their contexts (and even there, those contexts were subject to flux), but in my opinion, kind of lost their way for the most part. This mythology is not merely about Space and exploring and discovering it in a linear fashion. It’s also obviously, about Time, which by no means has to be explored in a linear fashion, and causality within the Doctor Who universe can be entirely subject to those with the power to manipulate and mold it. Fixed and Flux can be anywhere, anytime, anyone. It could all be true, and none of it could be true, and then all over again. That’s where I think Lawrence Miles really tapped into something with Faction Paradox. Time itself, History as we know it (knew it?) can be changed and manipulated by agents and agencies with the power and technology to do so. With the Time Lords gone (as least as far as being an enforcement, preservationist, maintaining factor and force), everything, or just about everything, is up fro grabs for anyone who can take hold of it. We still don’t know exactly what happened during the Time War (although we may be closer to finding out), and we’re still not completely aware of all that was left in its wake. And it is nice to see Paul Cornell back in the Whoniverse, being the brilliant longsuffering soul that he is, putting up with us narrow minded, “conservative” Doctor Who fans.

      • The three dirtiest words in Doctor Who are canon, continuity, and consistency…

  6. avatar James says:

    my theory is that the John Hurt Doctor is the 8th who aged naturally (for a Time Lord). he regenerated into the 9th after the Time War and his run began at the start of 2005 series

  7. avatar Wayne L. says:

    This is so screwed up…….John Hurt was NEVER a DOCTOR ! He gave up the title during some phase of the Time War when instead of helping he murdered several to end the war!

    • And yet he’s credited as The Doctor.

      As opposed to, say, Hernandez or Fred.

  8. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    Haha. Hernandez! love it. That would have got so many more tongues wagging if the caption had read “Introducing John Hurt as Hernandez”! I think Moff may have missed an opportunity there!

  9. avatar Bob James says:

    Or how about John Hurt as……………Romana!

  10. avatar JBW says:

    I think we’ll find out that John Hurt’s Doctor was made an offer by the Time Lords, via Rassilon that he couldn’t refuse or was forced to accept, and perhaps knowing the only way out of it was to end the Time War in the manner he did. Perhaps the events in the Time War could have affected how regeneration cycles are governed both in a biological and Time Lord legal sense (desparate measures, etc.).

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