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Published on October 19th, 2013 | by Nick Kitchen

The Second Phase of Doctor Who?

Could Doctor Who be heading off on a new journey for its second 50 years? That’s what silver-tongued Steven Moffat appears to be hinting at in a recent interview.

Speaking with SFX about the upcoming special, The Day of the Doctor, Moffat teased that the Doctor has found his mission:

We’ve got to set the Doctor off in a brand new direction. It’s chapter two of his life. Now something happens to him that changes the way he thinks and the way he will adventure from now on.

You can celebrate an anniversary in many ways – - I think the most productive one within the narrative is to say, ‘This is where the story really starts. This is where he finds his mission, he finds his destiny.’

Let us take time to assess the score, shall we? We already have a huge episode celebrating the 50th Anniversary coming up. Did I mention that David Tennant and Billie Piper are along for the ride? What about the mystery of John Hurt being revealed? And let’s not forget the upcoming Christmas regeneration from Smith to Capaldi. That’s enough to get even the most causal Whovian to become excited. Now, we factor in the importance of the events of the upcoming special: the “Mad Man with a Box” who has travelled all throughout time and space with little thought of where he was headed next will finally have a guiding purpose.

The stakes have always been high for the 50th Anniversary special, and with each passing comment and tease from the “Moff”, they only seem to get higher. Balancing fandom expectations and reigning in new viewers was always going to be a huge challenge; adding the narrative needed to propel Doctor Who’s future, and you have almost unattainable expectations. Can Moffat succeed? Can he deliver on all of these claims and promises in 75 minutes?

And probably most importantly, what is the Doctor’s mission? Share thoughts down below!

(Via SFX 241)


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About the Author


“That’s bacon! Are you trying to poison me?” And from that line on, I’ve been unable to stop watching, reading, musing about the Doctor. As a recent transplant to the Whoniverse, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Who-related knowledge as possible. That journey has taken me from the Tenth Planet to the Fields of Trenzalore and gently set me at the edge of my seat for what’s next. It’s an honor to be here and I plan to bring a unique perspective. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey alongside me.

19 Responses to The Second Phase of Doctor Who?

  1. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    I have always found one of the most appealing aspects of the character to be that he is is in essence a lonely wanderer through time and space. More often than not being unaware of where and when he will land next, and who or what he’ll me when he arrives. Regularly picking up ‘strays’ to take on the ride to, perhaps unconsciously, keep him from straying too far into the darkness that he is of course more than capable of and to prompt him to continue to love the universe after such a long life and to fight all the evils he continues to face. I have every faith in Moffat but I agree that he has an impossible task ahead of him to please everybody. Not sure what I think about the word ‘mission’ but I will reserve judgement (as we all should) until I’ve seen what appears on screen.

  2. avatar David F says:

    I’m sure it will only be a “new direction” in the sense that the 2005 series was underpinned by the new direction of the Time-War’s aftermath. It was still Doctor Who as it had always been, but underpinned by an extra narrative motor to create mystery and give the Doctor substance. I guess there’ll be something new that similarly hovers in the background, informing his character where needed.

    Moffat has talked about “game-changing” episodes several times before, but none has ever dented the central construct of the show.

  3. avatar Joyce says:

    I have to say I don’t understand the need to change or play with the central concept too much. He is an exile, a lonely wanderer who has and sometimes creates adventures. Mostly the show is at its best when it’s not about the Doctor ( an increasing pre-occupation of Moffats) but about the people and creatures he meets. A simple backstory to great story telling. What’s to change?

  4. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Yeah, I think it really will be just “a new direction”—can’t make too much out of half of what he says. Hartnell ventured into a lot of historicals, Troughton had the monster of the week, Pertwee was based on earth with UNIT and Baker seemed to blend all of it together and brought it to a higher level. The ’80′s floundered around a bit aimlessly but they gave us a direction again in 2005 with the Time war status. I think a brand new setting/direction is a good idea and something I’ve thought about. don’t be too surprised if there’s not a more setting in the era of Vastra and Strax.

  5. avatar simon magellan says:

    Jenna Coleman said much this in an interview a while back – that after the special, their would be a clean slate and a fresh start.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens – but I wonder if the complete absence of any sign of Rose in the publicity photos and the “Bad Wolf” in the poster might suggest some timey wimey shenanigans are afoot…

  6. avatar Colin says:

    I’m trying to take Moff’s comments (about anything, really) with a pinch of salt. Much of what he says is either flat out misdirection, or its vague enough to lead to wild speculation. I *do* think with Capaldi they’ve cast someone with the potential to be Pertwee-esque. And the Pertwee era, with its Earth-based stories, and the heavy involvement of UNIT, was certainly a change in direction for the show.

    We’ll see… not long to wait now. :)

  7. avatar TimeChaser says:

    Moffat loves to tease. Who knows what this new direction will be? Perhaps the Bad Wolf hint in the poster will mean Rose alters things for the Doctor. Perhaps he discovers that some Time Lords survived, or left something behind that if found would bring them back without messing up time and space, and the Doctor’s mission is now to seek that out. A treasure hunt, rather like the Key to Time.

  8. avatar DonnaM says:

    To be honest this is the first thing I’ve heard that actually has me slightly worried about the anniversary ep! All this talk about “finding his mission” and “destiny”…. it’s all a bit grandiose and I don’t care for that, really.

    Hopefully it simply means “we’re dealing with that regeneration limit stuff, dealing with the Time War and moving on from there.”

    I’m sure Moffat’s much too smart, however much he tries to tease us, to tamper too much with the basic premise of the show!

  9. avatar John Miller says:

    Indeed. Adding interesting new ideas and concepts to give the show a whole new dimension is good. “A clean slate” would be crap.

  10. avatar simon magellan says:

    Actually, thinking about it, doesn’t this contradict what he’s said about tying up loose ends at Xmas anyway? If there’s a clean slate, what loose ends would there be?

  11. avatar lara says:

    i keep wondering if moffat isn’t digging himself into a bigger and bigger hole.

  12. avatar John Miller says:

    Hopefully the inclusion of Hurt, Because We Want To, Tennant and The Daleks means that the Doctor can finally forever get over the guilt of ending the Time War. He did what he had to do without exemption. In fact there have been more Daleks in the tv show AFTER the Time War than before. He can move on, and we will never ever have to hear him whining and being all emo about what he did.

    • avatar gmx0 says:

      More Daleks, but less Time Lords.

  13. avatar Ranger says:

    Hmm. I’m not sure I like the idea of the Doctor with a “mission”. I think one of the reasons that DW has survived so long, is that its structure is so loose – anthing can and will happen. You start adding a mission and you tighten up the structure, every story will be geared to resolving that mission and the fun of not knowing what you’re going to get goes out the window. Having said that, the Doctor has had missions in the past – the Key to Time for instance and it has worked, but only because it’s been limited. If the new Moffat mission is along those lines then OK. But in the case of DW I’m not a fan of long story arcs (though loved it in Babylon 5!).

  14. avatar Marc Atkinson says:

    I think the 50th will deal also with the Doctor’s regeneration limit and we’ll find out the Matt is actually the LAST Doctor (his other regeneration a having been used up by the John Hurt Doctor and the ‘regen energy into the hand’ but at the end of season 4)…. So I think the Doctor will have used up all his 13 lives and get given a whole new regeneration cycle at the end of the 50th (where we’ll also see Capadi’s Doctor briefly) this allowing a whole new set of adventures to begin…:)

  15. avatar dailypop says:

    What a surprise. Another gimmick that will forever change Doctor Who from Moffat. So another companion-centric series with a convoluted year-long plot that fails to deliver the goods?

    Why not just tell a damned story?

  16. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    It all sounds like woolly spin – nothing to fear. Steven Moffat can’t do anything that would harm the series’ basic principles.

    Personally, I’d prefer to see the Doctor as a wandering Time Lord again. It would actually be a refreshing move after years of arcs, some of which have been more successful than others. Probably won’t happen, though, due to the nature of modern serial drama.

    But I’ll tell you what I want – what I really, really want:

    Apart from the first ever series, there have only been 3 seasons in Who’s history not to feature returning foes. (S7, S13, S16 (Key to Time), all of which are generally viewed positively within fandom.)

    As much as I’ve loved some of the recent returns for baddies and am looking forward to the Zygons, I’d like a fresh approach with that proviso, just for one season – no Daleks, no Cybermen, no Master, Weeping Angels, Ood or Silents or whatever – to force the writers to come up with new ideas.

  17. avatar Kev Clancy says:

    These are exciting times. Dr Who is gonna be watched by more people than ever in less than a month’s time. No programme can survive 50 years,with a little blip, unless it touches the hearts of people and means something. I have converted my Dutch girlfriend and her two children who never miss an episode now. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from,what you do, it’s cool to love Dr Who!

  18. avatar Kev Clancy says:

    Bring back more multi-episode stories next year. I want cliffhangers. Not ones like Slyvester McCoy in Dragonfire but ones like Barbara with the Dalek. Still possibly the greatest cliffhanger in TV.I’m not old enough to have seen it at the time. Anybody out there who did? It must have been amazing.

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