On the sofa

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    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @whisht   The Cushing Doctor’s intermediate adventures are a lock.

    1)  The end of the first movie shows the Tardis ending up on a Roman battlefield.  That doesn’t match up any known Hartnell or Troughton adventure, or subsequent.  This would have to be Cushings own adventure (which admittedly might not have been any more extensive than the Doctor going “Romans!  I’m getting outta here.”

    2)  Between the first and second movie, the companions have changed.  Susan is still around, but the ‘granddaughter’ Barbara and her boyfriend Ian are gone.   And there’s a new companion, a ‘niece’ Louise.  Now, maybe Barbara and Ian got lost in the Roman era, or went off on their own or something.  But he couldn’t get Louise from the Roman era, which means that he would have had to have returned to our time.  And it also implies that a certain amount of time must have passed to allow for departure and enlistment.  And it implies that ‘things’ must have happened for Barbara and Ian to want to leave, or for Louise to show up and become accepted.

    3)  The Tardis control room is significantly different between the two movies.  The second movies control room is much more bolted down and advanced, with view screens and everything, and sufficient (occasional) fine control to land within minutes of a previous set down.   And the Doctor and his companions are now very polished in their use.  Again, it implies a period of time has passed.

    The almost unavoidable implication is that there was at least one, possibly a handful of intermediate adventures between the two movies.

    I kind of like the poignance of this interpretation of the Cushing Doctor.   Imagine:  “Nothing is quite right, you’re the pilot of a time machine that can explore the limits of space, but somehow, your body never quite seems to do what you think it ought to, one heart beats where you think sometimes there ought to be two, the cold affects you, you’re not as strong as you keep thinking you should be… all ghost impressions, obviously, you’re fit as a fiddle for a man your age.  Then there are the dreams, the half memories, the strange notions that slip in ‘a world of time travellers called Gallifrey’  other friends, other companions.  You’re a haunted man, haunted by a shadow world that you can never quite come to grips with.  Thank god for Susan, because when you look at your beloved granddaughter, you know that love is true not a shadow, that when you reach back for memories of Susan, they aren’t shadows, they’re so real and vivid that you can taste them, touch them.  Susan is the anchor of your reality, and you want to hold her and hug her and never let go.  And Barbara and Louise, to a lesser extent  though.  But… there’s a shadow over Susan, half memories of an older Susan, a darker age, a desperate period of flight and hiding, and even …  loss.   With desperate intensity you push those shadows away, hug and hold the granddaughter you love so dearly the only one you were able to save (where did that come from?) as long as you have Susan, as long as you have your love, you cling to it and hold tight.  Time and space are open to you, adventure awaits… just never turn around to confront the shadow behind you.”


    DenValdron @denvaldron


    11) Send not-quite-Gallifreyan-Doctor to mess with Daleks – hmm? erm.. oookaaaayy….

    This is the the key to the Cushing Doctor, the big question.  Why do his two recorded adventures parallel two of the adventures of the Hartnell Doctor?   It’s not a reproduction, each time, there are a number of differences, but overall the experience runs along similar tracks.  So its not the same, its different, but the same in its differentness.

    It’s almost reminiscent of Groundhog Day.  The Doctor is reliving the same day or adventure, with differences.  But the big difference is that the Doctor himself is different.   So that begs the issue – who is doing this to the Doctor?  He’s not doing it to himself, there’s no indication of it, and although we recognize the similarity with previous adventures, he has no memory of it.

    I believe that Cushing himself conjectured that the movies were the Celestial Toymaker manipulating the Doctor, changing his identity and forcing him to re-experience certain adventures.   It’s possible.  The Toymaker only had one appearance, and his powers and limits are not clearly spelled out.  But it would take more godlike power than the Toymaker seems to possess.  And it seems quite arbitrary.  The Toymaker is established as having it in for the Doctor, and the Doctor alludes that they’ve tangled before.  But the motive or plan seems lacking.

    Now, after that, through the series canon, there’s a very limited number of candidates who might have the power to screw with the Doctor in this way.   The Black or White Guardian, possibly Omega or Rassilon, maybe Sutekh, a small handful of uber-villains, and of course the Time Lords themselves.   These are mostly hypothetical candidates.

    The ability or injury here can be defined as:   1) Forced regeneration of the Doctor;  2) Devolution to human;  3) Memory blocking;  4) Re-experiencing previous adventures in time.   In terms of actual performance, the list of entities that can do that to the Doctor is pretty short.  The Time Lords are at the top of the list.

    I keep coming back to ‘why is he reliving past adventures.’   He’s not reliving all his entire series of past adventures – his first time voyage doesn’t take him to the Parallel Unearthly Child, but straight to the Daleks.   From the Daleks, he doesn’t go to a parallel series of adventures – no Parallel Edge of Destruction, Marco Polo, Keys to Marinus, etc.   He ends up with Romans with doesn’t seem to be in the Hartnell continuity, and seems to be his own adventure.

    The two adventures that he specifically relives are isolated from each other, with multiple adventures between and plucked out of the Hartnell continuity.  And they both involve Daleks, specifically, screwing with Daleks.

    Well, who out there has a mad on for the Daleks?  That would be the Time Lords again.

    So this begs the question:   Why would the Time Lords have the Cushing Doctor relive two of the Hartnell Doctor’s adventures with the Daleks.  The weren’t around for those encounters, the Hartnell Doctor was on the run.  So are they strip mining his memories?  Nope.  He’d still be Hartnell if that was all they were doing, and if it was just a memory search, they would be interested in fidelity of reproduction, not the numerous divergences and variations that we see.

    So the point must be, if they’re having him do the whole thing over again, with slight differences…. the point must be those differences.  Which means that the Time Lords are up to something, they’re playing some kind of game.   And its probably not to help out the Daleks.   So that suggests the whole thing is some sort of diabolical game or strategy that the Time Lords are trying to run on the Daleks.   What exactly, we don’t know.  But we can make some rough guesses.

    Repeating an adventure is essentially a groundhog day strategy.  If they’re trying to do a groundhog day, then two things are apparent.  They’re trying to avoid a paradox, and they’re also trying to make things turn out a little differently.

    Now, do we have evidence of them trying this crap before.   Sure – they explicitly sent Tom Baker to the beginnings of Dalek history do Davros, to try and pull the plug on the race.   They also sent John Pertwee to an early period when the Thals were still fighting it out with the early Daleks.  So yeah, they’ve got a record of trying this shtick.

    The question is, whatever they pulled, did it work?

    Yes.   Yes it did.

    How do we know?

    Because whoever ran the first Groundhog Day scenario on the Cushing Doctor, for whatever purpose…  they came back and did it again!   Which means that whatever they did on the first one worked well enough to justify the second attempt.

    Of course, that was probably a mistake.   Assuming this whole scenario, and putting myself in the shoes of the Cushing Doctor after Invasion Earth 2150, when the false memories are breaking down, and he realizes what’s been done to him, what’s been done to his memories and his family…  I visualize a towering, terrifying, unstoppable rage – a being fully willing to tear down the whole of Gallifrey, utter condemnation, unstoppable vengeance.   He must have terrified his handlers, the whole Time Lord command structure must have been shaking.  No wonder they purged what they could and then trapped him on Earth.




    WhoHar @whohar


    The more you write, the more considered it becomes. You should definitely combine all these forum posts into a blog post.

    What about this as another option – the Cushing Doctor is human but the TL’s are using him in place of the actual Doctor for some reason eg maybe they don’t want to get caught interfering. (I’ve not thought this through btw).

    DenValdron @denvaldron


    Yeah.  I’ll do that.

    Hmmm.  Interesting.  So they just grab up a fully human stooge or cipher and stick him into the Doctor’s role?  Interesting.  But then, why bother with granddaughters Susan and Barbara?    Let me think about it for a while.

    Whisht @whisht

    I’m with you @whohar – the more I read of @denvaldron the more I’m convinced!

    However that last phrase “Let me think about it for a while” makes me think of Deep Thought.



    And I’m scared.

    Craig @craig

    @ Everyone I have received another post by @htpbdet . This time it is his top twenty Doctor Who adventures since the reboot. You can read it here:


    budinacup @budinacup

    @craig Is there a forum where fans can discuss and vote for there  Episodes?

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    There are a couple of blog posts we are using for that started by @htpbdet.

    I’ve just added mine to this one which deals with the new series.


    For the old series


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Hmmm… I noticed on the Recently Active side bar @stratcat01 hasn’t commented as yet, and this is a bit cheeky but (Wave)

    No pressure if you prefer to lurk, but I once welcomed you on the Guardian blog, I think, with a link to “I am the Doctor” at the Proms. Here we are, on “Closing Time”.

    I couldn’t miss the opportunity to welcome you to two blogs 😀

    StratCat01 @stratcat01

    @phaseshift <waves back>

    Thanks so much for the greeting! I’ve only gotten back on, what, earlier this week? It’s taken me this long to catch up! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the NotD episode and it’s possible consequences, as well as everyone else’s comments before chiming in! Whilst is true that I lurk, I do so while thoroughly enjoying everyone’s banter, as always!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @stratcat01 – Thanks for the reply. I have to go out a bit later so when I saw your name I really couldn’t resist. A pleasure to have you join our other US correspondents!

    Allon-zee @allon-zee

    Hi !

    I’m new here. Just this week watched tNotD, and realized that in France, there’s not many people to endlessly theorize about Doctor Who with, so I thought to join the doctor who forum.

    So hello to eveeryone !


    StratCat01 @stratcat01

    @phaseshift – Indeed, tis a pleasure to be here, and to be welcomed among the other US correspondents! 🙂

    Craig @craig

    @allon-zee Welcome. I hope you enjoy our ‘bonkers’ theorising, and I look forward to your own theories.

    DenValdron @denvaldron


    What about this as another option – the Cushing Doctor is human but the TL’s are using him in place of the actual Doctor for some reason eg maybe they don’t want to get caught interfering.

    Possible, but difficult.

    Here’s the thing.  The Time Lords are very very rarely in front of the camera.  At times, they are shown talking to the Doctor or among themselves and coming to decisions or deciding on actions.   These are the best times to explain their actions and motivations, but these are usually specific explanations for specific situations.   We can use these to generalize to or speculate about broad motivations and strategies, but this is inferential.

    Most of the time, we see their actions, often from a remote vantage point.  ie, they seize the Tardis and stick the Doctor somewhere.  From this, we can only really infer their tactical perspective and their strategies.  The tactical perspective is often fairly straightforward, but not necessarily so.  If they stick the Doctor in front of Morbius, well, its obviously to wax Morbius.   But in other situations, the outcome and objectives are not so clear.  They want something to happen, but is that something what actually happens?  And how does it fit into overall strategies?   Again, we’re stuck with making inferences.

    Inferences by nature are speculative.  It’s a maybe thing.  They’re hard to test.  One effective way to test an inference, is to see if multiple inferences line up.  Another effective test is to see if an inference is consistent with proven data.   ie, if the arrows keep pointing to the same direction, then you’ve got something.  So in this case, supposing we’ve got two or more clear cases which show the Time Lords pointing the Doctor at the Daleks as a sort of weapon – then we can probably validate the inference that this is what they are doing in a third case.

    So let’s test out this hypothesis:   “The Cushing Doctor is actually a human that is being used as a kind of placeholder for the Doctor in a ‘groundhog day’ sort of sortie against the Daleks.”

    Okay – before or after?   If this comes before the Hartnell adventure, this speaks to a vaster amount of power and control than we’ve previously expected from the Time Lords.  Hartnell was supposedly running free.  This would imply that he was a pawn every step of the way.  This doesn’t seem consistent with what we know.  This is also unlikely, though not impossible, because in the chronology of the series, the Hartnell adventures seem to come first.  So let’s dismiss that possibility.

    So then assume it comes after.  The Time Lords are reproducing a Hartnell adventure, with a human catspaw in the Hartnell role.   Why?  Well, obviously to screw with the Daleks.  But how?  Why aren’t they using Troughton, or a regeneration of the Doctor?  Is the real Doctor too uncontrollable?  Possible.  So if the Cushing Doctor is a genuine human, this would imply  that they’re using extremely fine control.  ie, more overt and more detailed control than they could achieve with a real timelord.   This is heavy duty puppeteering.

    Plausible deniability wouldn’t be an issue – we’d be looking at an extreme level of puppeteering, and a basically ignorant and highly manipulated dupe running around with de facto time lord tech?   Nope, this isn’t on the down low.  They’ll be leaving big fingerprints.

    I would assume that the ultimate objective is the same, to create an altered reality more suitable to the Time Lords, and it had enough success that they tried it again.

    So, how do we test this hypothesis.   Let me try and work it out.  Any theory has consequences – you test a theory by following the consequences.   Under this Hypothesis, does the Cushing Doctor need Susan and Barbara and Ian?  Possibly, if the Time Lords are trying to reproduce absolute fidelity.  But that doesn’t hold up, since  there’s a great number of variations – why fidelity in some ways, and not in others.  The choices don’t seem to follow.

    Even assuming fidelity…  But that’s fidelity to the events, not the underlying emotions.  A fully human Cushing Doctor doesn’t need Susan the same way that a suppressed time-lord/human Cushing Doctor does.   He wouldn’t necessarily come to the same trauma of losing Susan at the end of Invasion Earth.

    So if we were trying to determine whether the Cushing Doctor was an actual human, or a Time Lord in disguise, the events immediately following Invasion Earth, offscreen would be our key.  A Human Doctor would keep on going, a suppressed Time Lord Doctor would have his break.   Within the logic of the universe, we don’t see this either way, so the only thing that might help us decide is that there was no further movie, this was the apparent end of the Cushing Doctors adventures.  This implies that there might have been a breakdown, which would put us in ‘suppressed time lord’ territory.   Of course, it may be that the adventures are simply unchronicled, or that the Time Lords gave up the experiment as not productive enough.

    On this line of inquiry, I’d be inclined to  choose the suppressed Time Lord as the better option to a fully Human Pawn as a case of Time Lord meddling.  Both theories seem workable, its just that the first seems more efficient, accounts for more data effectively, and leaves fewer loose ends, it bears out the consequences better.

    How else can we test?   Is there precedent?   We have a lot of record of the Time Lords manipulating the Doctor in various ways.  We can reliably assume that if they did it a lot in other instances, they might be doing it again in this instance.

    Not so many instances of the Time Lords playing this kind of game or this sort of manipulation with humans.  On the whole, most of the Time Lord society seems to have relatively little interest in humans.  There’s the Master and the Monk of course, but they’re renegades.  The Time Lords seemed to view the Doctor’s affection for humans to be a quirk.  I have no sense that humans were their ‘go to’ species.  Again, a fully human Doctor Pawn seems less likely.

    Finally, it’s clear that the Time Lords would be in control of the original Tardis, and therefore in control of the Doctor.  So the decision would be a choice for a ‘groundhog day scenario’ – use a suppressed Time Lord Doctor (ie, the one they have on the shelf), or use a human pawn to fill the Doctor’s role?  Which would they choose?  Why?  What’s the tangible advantage of a human pawn?  Why wouldn’t they use a suppressed Doctor?

    It’s speculative, and I’m unwilling to rule it out completely.  But I don’t think that there’s sufficient support for the Cushing Doctor/Human Pawn hypothesis versus the  Cushing Doctor/Suppressed Time Lord.

    Lula @lula

    Take a break from bonkers theorizing for a moment (I continue to smile at those convinced we’ve seen the last of River Song, bless your hearts!) and please enjoy this:


    Pretty amazing, huh?


    Anonymous @

    @lula – Ha ha!  ‘Pond Warden’ !  🙂   Gotta love us Brits.

    The article mentions that Doctor Who had been filmed in the area in Colin Baker’s time as the Doctor.  Please, pretty please, any of you PG (Pre-Gap) knowledgeable people, remind us whether the 6th doctor (note the lower case ‘d’ in honour of HTPBDET) ever had Daleks in his stories?

    Anonymous @

    @lula – you need to go to Page 18 of ‘The Name of the Doctor’ episode thread, and find Craig’s postings of the 5 ‘mini-episodes’ (a bit more than half-way down).  This is assuming you don’t own the DVD(s) and haven’t seen them.

    Babe, I’m the biggest fan of River Song’s character of them all – but besides the heart-wrenching TNotD moments, these sort-of prequel bits are fairly hardcore in setting our expectations of seeing our favourite companion (well, ‘wife’ but did we really see the wedding?  so, ‘partner’  😀  ) ever again.  🙁


    wolfweed @wolfweed
    Lula @lula

    @Shazzbot  I own S6 on DVD and those minisodes are included on that set.  But I’m firm in my knowledge that she’ll return.  (The character definitely, maybe not always Alex Kingston.)  What’s that word again?  Oh, right…SPOILERS!

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @lula    Revelation of the Daleks, last adventure of the 1st season of Colin Baker.

    Anonymous @

    @DenValdron – I thought you were creating a single blog post for your Cushing Doctor theories?  It would really be better to have your thoughts collated all into one place, in a blog to which people could react and comment, rather than scattered in this ‘on the sofa’ thread across multiple posts like so many Claras fragmented into the Doctor’s timestream.

    Tournikate @tournikate

    @lula I sure hope so – although I don’t have any supporting evidence or theories as to why or how she could/would.  I was not a fan of River Song until a season or so ago…I think it was after the Lets Kill Hitler episode that I started really caring about her as a character and now since TNotD I had a little cry! I felt as thought she would come back somehow from the library and when she did – sort of – I was so thrilled only to have to say goodbye seemingly for good moments later

    **sudden urge to start making cookies and drown my sorrows by eating them all**

    @Shazzbot – I hold out a sliver of hope just because it hurts too much to say goodbye forever…nothing totally impossible in the whoniverse right?!

    Tournikate @tournikate

    oops didnt see how to delete a double entry so I just changed it lol

    Anonymous @

    @tournikate“it hurts too much to say goodbye forever”

    One thing I’ve learnt about Doctor Who on this site, is that the AG (After-Gap, ie., post-2005 series) companions have had much more of a lingering goodbye than most of the PG companions.  Most of the latter were unceremoniously dumped on another planet or in another time/space, or left of their own accord, or had their memories wiped (a la Donna, but without the ‘best friend virus’), or died.

    River extracted the goodbye she wanted from the Doctor in TNotD.  If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.  🙂


    BadWulf @badwulf


    I always imagined that the Cushing Doctor was a construct of the Daleks early in their history, using information that they had actually gleaned from their two early interactions with the Hartnell Doctor, and that they were training simulations for the Daleks to:

    (A) Train new Daleks in combat against their most dangerous enemy

    (B) Explore “what-if” scenarios to see if these interactions could possibly have been won by the Daleks.

    This would explain the  differences between the *real* events (as chronicled in the TV series), the glamorisation of the Daleks appearances, and the gaps in the Daleks’ knowledge of this adversary.

    DenValdron @denvaldron


    Give me time.  It is a lot of work to pull these things back together.


    Very interesting scenario.  Let me think on it.


    If I may crave your indulgence (and in the absence of a formal “Off-topic” space:

    The pornography of news

    Anonymous @

    @pedant – is that your own blog site?  I do like this turn of phrase (emphasis mine):

    “it wasn’t the brutal truth that is the problem, but its repetition ad numbium beyond any need to inform.”

    Craig @craig

    @pedant Great post. Chimes with many of my thoughts. Michael White (who I often find difficult to agree with) linked to this in The Guardian yesterday, which is the best comment on the media reaction I have ever seen as, basically, is based on real expert opinion, and is not about this event in particular:


    But, yes, we probably do need some sort of off topic place. Anybody have any ideas? Real Life should be kept out of this place as much as we can, but I am also happy for people to promote their posts/blogs if we can find a way to do that too.

    But let’s refocus on Doctor Who.

    Anonymous @

    @craig – I’m all for a no-real-life-based Doctor Who site myself.  Real life is challenging enough, and this place is a godsend to me for ignoring all that!

    PS thank you for posting the mini-sodes.  Can I add a crown to my avatar, then, for posting ‘The Most Insane Theory Of Them All’ (TM), seeing as you’ve already given me my prize?  🙂

    Craig @craig

    @Shazzbot Feel free to add a crown. Although I’m sure someone will steal it with more bonkersness at some point!

    Anonymous @

    @craig – they will have to prise this crown from my cold, dead hands … 😈


    @Shazzbot  – yep, it’s mine

    @craig – yeah, Brooker at his best is devastating (see also Bowling for Columbine, which makes essentially the same point).

    Re Real Life – I think we have an intelligent and thoughtful enough membership (as well as zero-tolerance of trolling and abuse) to have an “In the Pub” section to complement “On the Sofa”.

    Tournikate @tournikate


    “River extracted the goodbye she wanted from the Doctor in TNotD.  If it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.  :-)

    That is such a good way of looking at it….that might help to keep in mind for when I rewatch 🙂


    chickenelly @chickenelly


    He He

    Craig @craig

    @pedant I like “In the pub”. Anyone object to an “In The Pub” thread for real life chat on politics, news and general rants? Could get messy but will at least be all in one place. 🙂

    Tournikate @tournikate

    @craig  i am having a moment here….found a great pic that I wanted to share over on TNotD thread but can’t seem to figure out how to post it… help?

    Craig @craig

    @chickenelly I really did LOL 😀

    Craig @craig

    @tournikate Is the pic on the web already? If not you need to load it up somewhere e.g. Photobucket

    Get the link to the pic by right-clicking and viewing image info. Copy that. Then when posting, use the text tab in the top right corner of the posting box. Click “img” and paste the link there. You will then be asked for a description, but that can be anything, it doesn’t show up on the page.

    Any problems please get in touch – email me or send me a Private Message (a PM).

    Anonymous @

    @craig — In The Pub sounds ideal — (not the first time I’ve used that phrase, I suspect….) That’s a thread where the fur might start flying, I suspect…

    Anonymous @

    @chickenelly – I acknowledge your superior crown.


    But you ain’t neveh gonna beat my Jenny-is-in-the-Doctor’s-timestream theory!

    {throws gauntlet}

    {remembers we’re on the sofa, so said gauntlet must be picked up in TNotD thread, or in the new pub}

    @craig – can the pub be called ‘The Dead Bird’?  *innocent face*

    Craig @craig

    @pedant and @jimthefish Just setting it up. See you there!

    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish“That’s a thread where the fur might start flying”

    Or, the fins start flapping … 😈

    Craig @craig
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Anonymous @

    @wolfweed – classic!

    WhoHar @whohar


    Can I just add: a well thought out and nicely written piece. Well done.

    WhoHar @whohar


    Thanks for responding to my ramblings earlier on. A bit of the lawyer about your response, in terms of the flow of logic. This is a good thing.

    I also like @badwulf‘s suggestion and look forward to your response to that.

    DenValdron @denvaldron


    I always imagined that the Cushing Doctor was a construct of the Daleks early in their history, using information that they had actually gleaned from their two early interactions with the Hartnell Doctor, and that they were training simulations for the Daleks to:

    (A) Train new Daleks in combat against their most dangerous enemy

    (B) Explore “what-if” scenarios to see if these interactions could possibly have been won by the Daleks.

    This would explain the differences between the *real* events (as chronicled in the TV series), the glamorisation of the Daleks appearances, and the gaps in the Daleks’ knowledge of this adversary.

    Okay, been thinking of this.   Some reflections.

    * Wouldn’t have been early in their history.  In their early history, the Daleks hadn’t mastered time travel.  It’s tough to generalize because Daleks history doesn’t seem to line up with Doctor History.  For instance, in some Dalek adventures, they’re so feeble that they can be disabled by throwing a coat over their sensors, rely on an external power grid, or power broadcasts, and can easily be destroyed or defeated by stairs.  On other adventures, they’re hard core time travellers and unstoppable  killing machines.   The Daleks that Hartnell has his first encounter with are definitely early Daleks, they’re still fighting the Thals on their own homeworld, which is a radioactive ruin.  The Daleks from Invasion Earth on the other hand are a quantum leap up – interstellar terrorists.  The ones from the Chase are actually able to hunt a Tardis through time and space.

    * The two interactions with the Cushing/Hartnell Doctor, are vastly far apart in Dalek history, and are punctuated by intermediate encounters with the Troughton, Baker and Pertwee Doctors.   It’s not clear why the Daleks would single out these two encounters (of course, within the actual real life history of the show, there had only been two or three Dalek adventures by that time) (but within the logic of the series… different thing).

    * So the ‘early Daleks’ just wouldn’t possess the mojo to pull this off.  At best you’d be looking at the late period Daleks, the ones who had mastered time travel and interstellar travel on a massive scale.  Time War Daleks perhaps.

    * No question that the late period Daleks had enough control over time and space to manage a simulation of this nature.  But why would they?  Daleks are nothing if not ruthless.  Running simulations of an early period adventure when they were rather less capable and competent wouldn’t teach them anything.  It’s possible that this was not a simulation, but a Dalek driven ‘groundhog day’ scenario, but if so, what’s the motivation?

    * More problematically, if its a Dalek driven simulation or ‘groundhog day’ event, why use a terrestrial human being?  As opposed to the trillions of aliens that the Time Lords and Daleks would have had access too, many of  whom look human.  Why start things off on Earth, why encumber the fake Doctor with a family, etc. etc.  The Daleks seem to like to cut to the chase, I think that they’d just decant a simulation Doctor with memories – and in fact they decanted or built a simulation Professor with memories.  They wouldn’t set him down in London in the 1960’s to putter around until he got around to starting his time machine… or had his grandaughters boyfriend set it in motion.  We just see far too much of the Doctor on his own time.

    * I’m not sure I buy the notion of simulation to train new Daleks.  I’ve not seen any evidence that they use simulations or work that way.  Rather, they seem to be deep into converting and programming.  And I don’t see the merit of late period Daleks training in inferior early period situations and chassis.

    * The notion of the Daleks running simulations as a means of combatting or trying out techniques against the Doctor is kind of interesting, and does seem to be Dalek like.  But again, the format of these simulations doesn’t seem like it would produce useful information.  Again, late period super-daleks just don’t have much to learn running simulations with early or midle period ‘stone age’ daleks – what worked or didn’t work back then wouldn’t have any bearing on the modern situation.

    * Finally, a big problem is that I don’t see anywhere in the canon which suggests that the Daleks were running stuff like this.  There’s no precedent to support that they might be doing this here.

    * By way of analogy, I can point to at several instances where the Time Lords actually sent the Doctor, willingly or unwillingly, on missions, some of which were explained to him, some of which were not, including two or three occasions where they pointed him at Daleks.  So my notion that the Cushing Doctor’s ‘Groundhog Day’ adventures might be another Time Lord plot using the Doctor as a pawn has some foundation – I can’t prove that they’re doing it here, but I can show that they’ve done this sort of thing a few times before, and that at least improves the probability that this might be what’s going on here.

    * I can’t seem to point to anything that the Daleks have done which would amount to the same sort of precedent or prior conduct, to give a foundation which would improve the probability – ‘ie, they’ve done this kind of thing before, so there’s a good chance they’re doing it here.’

    Ultimately of course, there’s no way to prove one theory or another.  What it comes down to is trying to assemble enough of a case or theory from information provided by the Canon series to assign probability.   It’s not an off/on or yes/no or true/false dichotomy.  It’s how well and how comprehensively we can fit the data, what’s most likely, or less likely.   I can’t reject your theory, but I think that I would assign it a much lower probability than my own.

    I also think that my own theory is…. for want of  better words, more elegant and satisfying.  It incorporates the Cushing Doctor as an actual Doctor, implies a hidden history, has an emotional resonance and fits neatly in the context of the Time Wars, and is based on multiple references and precedents in multiple episodes.

    Your theory amounts to a Dalek video game, which is certainly a genuine potential that I can’t dismiss.  But it just doesn’t seem as grand or satisfying to me.  Of course, that’s a matter of subjective prejudice and it might be very satisfying and more satisfying to you.

    It reminds me of the various theories which suggest that the Cushing Doctor’s adventures are ‘just a couple of movies based on rumours or stories received, in the real Doctor Who universe’,  or which are ‘simulations or diversions of some sort’ by the Doctor or some other party.   My problem with these theories is that the bottom line is that they make the Cushing Doctor unreal.  In whatever variation, the Cushing Doctor becomes a fictional Doctor in a landscape of real Doctors.  For some reason, I find that very unsatisfying, perhaps it’s just too ‘meta’ for me.

    Personally, I like the notion of the Cushing Doctor as a real rather than fictional entity in the Doctor Who universe.Ergo, for these reasons, I think that my theory of the Cushing Doctor as a ‘suppressed Time Lord, under the thumb of Gallifrey and put into a Groundhog Day’ situation works better.

    This means no disrespect to you personally, or your ideas.  It’s just my take.  I hope that I have not offended.

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