Doctor Who News John Hurt IS the Doctor!

Published on October 14th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Steven Moffat Discusses Hurt Doctor’s Genesis

So, just who is the John Hurt Doctor? What is he, where does he come from and how does he impact that life of our favourite Time Lord? Since he appeared at the end of The Name of the Doctor, this hitherto unknown incarnation has set comment threads and web forums a-chatter.

Speaking to SFX issue 241 – out on Wednesday – Steven Moffat offered some of his thoughts into the background for this incarnation, where he comes from (in a purely creative sense, you understand).

Why not a mayfly Doctor, who exists for one show only? I’d often thought about that. Would it be weird in the run of the series to have the 45th Doctor turn up and be played by Johnny Depp or someone? Would that be a cool thing to do? There was also the idea that if you could bring one classic Doctor back, you’d actually, impossibly, want it to be William Hartnell. You wouldn’t want any of the others.

You’d want him to come and say ‘What in the name of God have I turned into?’ That’s the confrontation that you most want to see, to celebrate 50 years.

That sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it?

Moffat then continues, referencing things that we think we know already thanks to The Name of the Doctor

Going round and round in circles on it I just thought ‘What about a Doctor that he never talks about?’ And what if it is a Doctor who’s done something terrible, who’s much deadlier and more serious, who represents that thing that is the undertow in both David and Matt. You know there’s a terrible old man inside them.

Well, here he is, facing the children he becomes, as it were.

SFX 241 is a big Doctor Who 50th anniversary treat, and you shouldn’t miss it. It goes on sale Wednesday 16th October!


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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 Steven Moffat Discusses Hurt Doctor’s Genesis

  1. avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

    I quite like that actually.

  2. avatar Christine says:

    Wednesday is the 16th of October! Just to let you know.

    • Oops :)

      • avatar Christine says:

        Haha, it was a small oops. And changed even quicker than I can follow you. I just didn’t want it to be like yesterday for such a small error. ..whether it’s the end of or the enemy (sorry, “forgot” the capitals).

  3. avatar Lozzer says:

    I’m sure Mr Hurt will be fantastic and I’m very excited about the 50th, but… I think my jaw would have really hit the floor if Paul McGann had turned around at the end of TNOTD.

    • avatar joesiegler says:

      I still like Moffat’s quite from somewhere (Comic Con maybe), where his answer as to why there aren’t more classic Doctors in the 50th.. “How do you know who is in the 50th”?

      It’s a valid response, we really DON’T know. I’m not expecting an 11 Doctors fiasco, especially in just 75 minutes, but we really do not know who is in the thing. :)

      I’m still hanging out hope that the Hartnell remark there is a carrot, and that they filmed something new with what’s his name who is playing Hartnell in “An Adventure in Space & Time”.

  4. avatar Paolo Sammut says:

    “There was also the idea that if you could bring one classic Doctor back, you’d actually, impossibly, want it to be William Hartnell. You wouldn’t want any of the others.”

    I did think that in Matt Smiths first season we saw the 1st Doctors image several times, not only in the sequence of past Doctors at the end of the Eleventh hour, but the library card in Vampires of Venice and the Hartnell and Troughton in the machine from the Van Gogh episode. I suspect that Steve Moffat is priming the new Who fans with his image ready to have him appear at some point. Maybe played by David Bradley

    • avatar Lozzer says:

      That would be a lovely touch if they did get David Bradley to play the 1st Doctor – it MUST have crossed Moffat’s mind… fingers crossed.

  5. avatar Paul McGann's Cat says:

    I don’t want to see Bradley as Hartnell. Sorry, but I never cared for Hurndall and I’m unlikely to go for Bradley either, especially since Hartnell appeared in the episode immediately preceding this one,.

    As for Moffatt’s “you’d want to see Hartnell and not the rest”, speak for yourself Steven. As much as Hurt is a wonderful actor, I’d much rather have seen a Classic Doctor for what is supposed to be a celebration of the show. Moffatt has gotten so wrapped up in this idea of the next 50 years that I’m worried that he’s turned this into a vanity project about what he things is the best idea and what he’d want to seem more than have a good old nostalgic romp.

    Still, I suppose only time will tell.

    • avatar WOTAN wants WHO says:

      like it hasn’t been a vanity project since he took over?

    • avatar ZeroRoom says:

      I don’t think ‘vanity project’ is a fair statement. You’ve just discussed your views on what you think would be appropriate and Moffat is a long term fan just like the rest of us. It just so happens that his fanboy dreams get to become canon because he worked his butt off to get into the position of showrunner.
      So if you’d rather have seen a classic Doctor if you were show runner that’s what you would have done. Who knows if then people wouldn’t have had another ‘I’d rather have seen’ comment to make about you if you were in that position? Of course we all have our ideals and dreams about what we would or wouldn’t do if we were in charge – but we’re not. If we want to be, and therefor direct the show where we think it should go, then let’s get into a career in writing and work until we get offered the job – but rest assured there would be just as many people accusing us of running it at as a vanity project simply because we have the opportunity and the budget to let our fanboy dreams run wild. I have my personal problems with some of the Moffat era DW but just like Letts or Hinchcliffe or JNT he’s the current man with the vision and the say. Doctor Who is not a democracy scripted by fan committee – it’s a TV show with an executive producer. It has it’s tides and eddies maybe, but thank god Nu Who is run by old school fans who are keeping the spirit alive rather than just being in the hands of commercial producer X who could have destroyed in a commercial ratings grab.

  6. avatar vortexter says:

    The Genesis of Hurts Doctor came about because Chris E didn’t want to do it. Pure and simple.

  7. avatar Chris says:

    Could this possibly be a younger 1st doctor before he stole the tardis? He did have a name before the doctor and he wasn’t loomed old.

  8. avatar dr jon says:

    I think Vortexter made a fair point,if Chris E had said yes to the 50th then we would not have the John hurt Dr.And we still would have no classic Dr’s in the show As Moffat sounds like he only wanted Bill Hartnell with what he said.But ask most fans of the show and they would settle for any of the other Dr’s,be it Tom Baker Peter Davison or Colin Baker.

  9. avatar Charlie B says:

    I doubt if he was loomed at all. Time will tell .

  10. avatar vortexter says:

    Moffat had a script written for the three new series Doc’s and a provisional ‘yes’ from Eccleston but then Chris changed his mind hence the several meetings together. Faced with a looming start date Moffat cast a similar role- Doctor Hurt and tweaked the script a little. No grand masterplan, just an effective practical way forward.

  11. avatar Tommycot says:

    We overcomplicate. Remember what medium Emma Grayling said in Hide; that there was something cold inside The Doctor…. The confrontation is between the dark and the light, rather than between any of the incarnations.

  12. avatar Geoff says:

    I’ll tell you what though, back room politics aside, from a pure TV point of view (which is what counts) it was pretty awesome for a man of my age who knows who John Hurt is to see him turn to face the camera in the final seconds of TNoTD and then see THAT caption come up on the screen. Up there with the “Destroy them at once!” cliffhanger in Earthshock in terms of sheer fan “eeeeeeeek, squeal!” moments as far as I’m concerned.

    It’s easy to get bogged down with Eccleston and McGann comments, and I know why people do because understandably they really want to see them again but putting that aside the Hurt reveal was a brilliant and unexpected cliffhanger.

    • avatar lozzer says:

      Brilliant but definitely not unexpected. I think it was the worst kept secret of new Who.

  13. avatar Howard Railton says:

    Hurt’s Dr is a phoney, and an insult to fans.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      The only thing that is insulting is your assumption that you speak for all of us.

    • avatar Victor says:

      Oh dear…

    • avatar Dick Johnson says:


  14. avatar Gruff says:

    Asides from the difficulty of getting filming arranged around 11 Doctors (and casting replacement actors for Bill, Pat and Jon and body doubles for Tom, Peter, Colin and Sylvester) then the only way to really do a multi-Doctor story was to feature some (or all) of 8 to 10 alongside 11.

    Given 8 and 9 still could feature and may just be a part of the Grand Moff’s Subterfuge Mission – I doubt this, but I still would not put much past him – then to feature an extra Doctor, for whatever reason will be great (in my own humble opinion) especially as it means that we will get such a fantastic actor as John Hurt (not just as a one off character, but as a one off Doctor).

    I hope that for the 60th there’s no bitchiness about the Hurt Doctor not appearing!

    Anyway, to my actual point (there is one? you ask)…

    Why didn’t people complain about the lack of Doctors 4 to infinity appearing in The Three Doctors?
    – couldn’t the Time Lords have gathered them all up (before Matt Smith was even born – was Tennant?)

    Why didn’t people complain about the lack of Doctors 4 and 6 to infinity appearing in The Five Doctors?
    – couldn’t the Time Lords have gathered them all up (still before Matt Smith was even born)

    Why didn’t people complain about the lack of Doctors 1, 3, 4 and 5 and 7 to infinity appearing in The Two Doctors?
    – couldn’t some/all of the Doctors have chanced upon themselves discovering Androgums and Sontarans eating their way through a Spanish village… Oh dear my head’s exploding trying to understand the plot to this one… stand well back… booooom!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. avatar vortexter says:

    If the Moff wants a mayfly Doctor then we’ve got one. Paul McGann.

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