He’s already redefined the counting system for the Doctor’s incarnations, and now Steven Moffat tells us that actually, we’ve been wrong for 45 years. The Doctor IS the Doctor, not the Nth Doctor.
Yep, he’s either missing the point or trolling us again, and given that Steven Moffat’s time as a Doctor Who fan goes back many, many years (and he was active in online fandom in the 1990s) then one has to wonder why he wants to get us talking. After all, he even admits he’s stirring, in the recent SFX Magazine interview Moffat states:
“I’m just going to throw this continuity grenade back at Doctor Who fans and say, “You are all wrong!” He has never called himself the anything-th Doctor in the show.
“If the Doctor was a real person and walked in here, and you said, “Which incarnation are you?” he’d have to think, just as you’d have to think about how many houses you’ve lived in. He never thinks of himself as a numbered Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor means the twelfth actor to have played the lead in Doctor Who. That’s all it means. There is no such character as the Twelfth Doctor and never has been.”
Now, this is fine. Really, it is. Indeed, reading this through again, one wonders just who Steven Moffat is talking to. After all, who actually thinks the Doctor refers to the Tom Baker incarnation in the third person: “Fourth Doctor”? Naturally, Moffat goes on, explaining that “It’s a long time into the show before any such nonsense ever comes up. It’s purely us lot, us fans, wittering on about calling him the Third or the Fourth Doctor – which is actually quite an unpleasant thing to do. It doesn’t feel right at all when you type that. I had to do that for the [50th] special. It was the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, and it felt like a betrayal, in a way. But what else could you do?”
Unpleasant? That’s an odd way of putting it. Hey, Moff: he’s not real, you know? Noting that in The Five Doctors, the script notes “…didn’t number them at all. Do you know what they called them? ‘The Hartnell Doctor, the Pertwee Doctor…’” overlooks one thing.
Steven, it doesn’t really matter. We’ll always be calling the Doctor “nTH” and I suspect a few people will keep on doing it now just… because. Also, don’t expect BBC Books or Doctor Who Magazine to start changing the way they name their single incarnation publications anytime soon…