Doctor Who News SO just Who Is The John Hurt Doctor?

Published on November 9th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Moffat: Hurt Doctor Has “been around”

Be he the ‘Dark Doctor’, a shadowy, earlier fallen incarnation, or even the eight and a half Doctor; one thing is for sure, Steven Moffat won’t be drawn on the specifics of just where in space and time John Hurt’s Doctor fits.

But that won’t stop him teasing you.

Speaking to SFX Moffat confirmed that this incarnation of the Doctor has been, possibly literally, through the wars; with every facet of his look and attitude tuned to reflect that battle scarred, weary soul:

John Hurt’s costume is quite striking. Is it meant to be a patchwork of previous Doctor costumes?

Not particularly. I can see why people say that. Looking at it face to face it didn’t occur to me as a patchwork of previous Doctors at all. It’s a rougher, tougher Doctor. It looks like somehow he’s been through it a bit. We are saying ‘This isn’t a Doctor who’s just appeared, he’s been around, he’s been in this form for a while.’ So one of the notes was make it look as though he’s been knocking around in this incarnation for a bit.

Hurtling through time and space; legends spread and evidence builds – it’s a contradictory existence for any Time Lord with a reputation and depending on who, or indeed, what you chat to, it might not always ring true.

The same can be said for fandom; opinions are at war, factions break out in the name of the Doctor all the time. So for someone who has their own, very clear idea of who the Doctor is (for his sins), it must have been a thrill for Moffat to final, definitively shape the cannon without contradiction:

And that includes shaping John Hurt’s face fuzz too:

And he’s the first bearded Doctor, too…

I suppose he is – apart from Tom Baker in ‘The Leisure Hive’. Well, he asked if he could keep his beard, and I looked at it and I thought actually, he looks quite good with it. And it’s another indicator that he’s not a fresh-born Doctor. We didn’t want to imply that he’d just been around for a little while. There’s a whole lot of stuff you missed! It’s a nice thing to be able to say in the show, and for no one to be able to contradict you, that there were years that you didn’t know about… we lied and lied, there’s a whole big old chapter you didn’t know.

Are you ready to change everything you thought you knew about the Doctor? Or are less accepting of Moffat’s “unseen chapter”? Are you encouraged by the changes you have seen already or are you ignoring everything and reaching for the big friendly button?

(Via SFX).

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About the Author

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Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.



16 Responses to Moffat: Hurt Doctor Has “been around”

  1. avatar Francis O'reilly says:

    Go for it’ Moffat. “Change’ my dear, and not a moment too soon.”


  2. Matt had a beard briefly, as well. Colin Baker appeared in character on Blue Peter with hirsute face also!

  3. avatar Robert Cyberman says:

    I have 2 theories regarding Hurts’ Doctor. Moffat has previously stated Hurt is NOT Doctor 8.5.

    1 – In the recently aired trailer we see 11 stating that he remembers Hurt, but 10 saying he doesn’t. The Human Doctor does not have the capacity to regenerate, therefor he will age like normal humans. Could it be possible that Hurt is the Human Doctor (10.1) in a later stage in life, which is why 10 doesn’t recognise him?

    2 – Jenny (The Doctors Daughter) is only made up from the Doctors DNA, therefor IS The Doctor and can regenerate. Lets call her the Jenny Doctor. We know timelords can change sex, making it plausible The Jenny Doctor could have regenerated into a man. This would also explain why 10 didn’t recognise Hurt.

    Only theories, would be interested in your views on them.

    • avatar Robert Cyberman says:

      Keep in mind both of these 2 theories would preserve the current (known) Doctor order and still make Hurt a Doctor

    • avatar David F says:

      Where in the trailer does the tenth Doctor say he doesn’t remember the Hurt Doctor while the eleventh says he does? I think you might have misconstrued it, because nothing like that happens as far as I can see.

      I think the storyline is pretty simple at its heart. This was a life that the Doctor had between the cancellation of the old series and the new one. That’s what was clearly suggested in The Name of the Doctor, and what actors and producers have said in interviews, and what we can glean from trailers. It fits perfectly. It’s fun to theorise, but there’s no reason to think it’s more complex a set-up than that.

      • avatar John Miller says:

        It COULD be anything. That’s the whole point. Right now we could all come with dozens of theories that DO fit the continuity. Some will be brilliant, some batshit insane, some just shit.

        I just hope that the actual episode lives up to all the magnificent speculation and discussions. After all the time, thought etc. people have given to the end of The Name of the Doctor, if the reveal turned out to be something less inspired than what you read on an internet site…

    • avatar Geoff says:

      Imaginative ideas Robert but I think they are too “Fan-y” for a general audience so probably not what’s going to happen.

  4. avatar William Godlove says:

    What if Hurt’s Doctor is simply an older version of Mcgann’s? The Time War is certainly a big gray area as far as the Doctor is concerned. It would keep Mcgann’s current audio adventures well within the canon of the series AND serve as a bridge between the eighth and ninth.

  5. avatar Howard Railton says:

    sounds like Moffat is presenting Hurt as a perversion of the doctor, despised and shunned by anyone with a moral compass. That does seem a miserable thing to do to a much loved children’s hero.


    • How so? Seems like your interpretation of comments, rather than anything actual, at this stage.

      Rather an OTT response, bearing that in mind…

  6. avatar DonnaM says:

    I’ve veered from “a pre-Hartnell incarnation” to “The Valeyard” and back to the “post-McGann, pre-Eccleston” theories so far – thank goodness there are only a couple of weeks to go because all this speculation is giving me a headache!

    The one thing I’m increasingly certain of is that the special will put an end to the regeneration limit somehow, and good riddance to it! It would be, in my opinion, a rash move to meddle with the numerical sequence of Doctors we’ve all accepted until now unless it was done with that long-term plan in mind.

    I wonder if the dreadful thing the Hurt incarnation did was something to do with that?


    • I had him down as Doctor 2.5 for two days last week, but now I’m certain he’s an alternate 9th – or even, Rassilon forbid, the actual 9th incarnation of the Time Lord we call Doctor.

  7. avatar dr jon says:

    What if the timelords gave the dr a new full set or live’s in the timewar to fight on longer as a last resort they had brought the master back to fight the daleks they gave him the power to regenerate again, and also brought rassilon back to lead them.so john hurt may have become the 9th dr. And when he regenerated into chris eccleston dr 10 he could not live with the bad things he had done in the time war so disowned him with the title of the dr taken from him he became the 9th dr again.And that would give the dr a new full set of life’s to carry on for another 50 years.


    • “What if the timelords gave the dr a new full set or live’s in the timewar to fight on longer as a last resort they had brought the master back to fight the daleks they gave him the power to regenerate again…”

      This is in line with my theory. I think it works, especially if the Time Lords were losing the war.

      • avatar stlshawn says:

        wasn’t it mentioned that during the time war they were constantly being struck down and regenerating. And wasn’t there something about the Master being “resurrected”. Maybe it was an imposed limit of regenerations that was reconsidered as the war raged on.

        No matter what though, looks like this will be a blast!

  8. avatar dr jon says:

    The timelords were being defeated in the time war so they took drastic actions by exstending there regenerative powers and also using the matrix to resurrect other timelords even ruthless ones who would do anything to win the war.This would start the rot in timelord society so the doctor was left with no choice but to end it,this may have something to do with rose and john hurts dr.Rose did look into the hart of the tardis so the power may still be with her.

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