Prequels: The Night of the Doctor – discuss any prequels here

The minisode The Night of The Doctor is now on the official site. So it no longer counts as a spoiler, though some people may not want to see it.

Try and keep discussion of this and any other prequels before the 23rd here, if possible


  1. Wheeee!
    Minisode, minisode, minisode.

    More minisode.
    Okay, first thoughts.
    Well, he technically wasn’t lying, was he? He gets to be in the prequel.

    And this prequel tells us a few more things:

    The Hurt Doctor is officially the real ‘Nine’. I am so glad; I was beginning to feel such an anal git going ‘Tennant Doctor’ ‘Eccleston Doctor’ and ‘Smith Doctor’. 😆

    That means the Smith Doctor is the Twelfth Doctor; he can only regenerate once. Or can he? There’s certainly regeneration energy left (he used some for River) – but did River give him all her future regenerations?

    If the Valeyard is a thing, he’s up next. Or will be spun off at some point between now and the next regeneration.


  2. Hold on while I just pick my jaw up off the floor!

    That was certainly more revealing than most DW prequels!

    So we know now the Special will definitely be about the time war :O *does a little dance*

    I really liked how the showed a young Hurt in the reflection. Looks like the War Doctor has been fighting a long time.

    Really great that McGann got a part to play in it all. For a second I almost expected to see Ecclestone. After watching the “Night with Moffat” interview he mentioned how ridiculous it was that McCoy appeared in the McGann movie. A nice bit of smoke and mirrors there. For newcomers they will ignore the prequel but for us fans it is a very nice present.


  3. Thanks for setting up a blog for this @Bluesqueakpip. The problem is with these discussions is, of course, as a prequel this is supposed to be seen at this point really, and it is an official BBC release. I also think anyone who watches is will be delighted, even if a more outlandish theory or three are shot down a week early. 🙂

    Just to say though, I’m really happy that Moff isn’t the only one who has been “lying his arse off”. That was rather splendid for a number of reasons which I’ll dwell on later.

  4. I. Think. My. Brain. Has. Squee.

    I think I need a little lie down. Will be back presently…

  5. So glad to see Paul McGann back but that six minutes has just made me want to see so much more of his Doctor onscreen. Unlikely that we’ll see him next Saturday but it would be nice to see a multi-Doc story in the future (or a flashback one) and while we haven’t seen him at all yet, I can somehow imagine that Capaldi and McGann could work pretty well together.

    So we know now the Special will definitely be about the time war :O *does a little dance*

    Not sure we know that. Think I agree with @pedant that it may concern the downstream effects of the Time War and that the death and destruction that we see will largely be flashback. The thread of the synopses and trailers is that the Doctor will be facing his greatest enemy — himself. Not Daleks. Or Time Lords.

    However I think we’re being led up the garden path to think it is the Hurt doctor who is being referred to. I suspect that he is going to turn out to be one of the ‘good guys’ and that it is Matt’s Doctor who is going to turn into the wrong ‘un (perhaps even Valeyard?).  We’ve seen his Doctor portrayed as potentially ‘bad’ at least twice now. Is that some kind of foregrounding maybe?

    The Christmas episode may well be Matt’s last episode but do we know for sure that it’s as the Doctor, or at least the Doctor we know?

    Or is this all a bit too Zagreus?

  6. @steve-thorpe — it keeps making me think of the holy grail too. Does it maybe count as a whole new set of regenerations, or at least a big new clump of em.

    To my mind it’s not the normal run of things anyway so I’m increasingly thinking that all bets are off with regards to the 12 regenerations rule anyway…

  7. Cripes! Well I like your speculation @JimtheFish that:

    “…  it is Matt’s Doctor who is going to turn into the wrong ‘un (perhaps even Valeyard?)”


    What if the Valeyard has already manifested, but has cunningly regenerated as a doppleganger of the Smith Doctor to disguise his nefarious ways – so there have been two versions of Smithy Doctor all along <cough bow-ties cough>  and one of them, the one involved in the “endless bitter war” with Kovarian, the one the Pandorica was built for, is the Valeyard?

    However, I don’t know whether Moff will bring two “dark Doctors” into play at once, and I do think Hurt Doctor will be dark; that he will do things which should never be done “in the name of the Doctor”. 

    On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for getting the Valeyard story done and dusted if you want to start the Doctor off on a new cycle of 13 regenerations for the next 50 years (travelling with his granddaughter) as @Bluesqueakpip has suggested will be the Moff-plan.

    As much as I’d like to see them, the extended adventures of the Valeyard in the TARDIS can’t really be canon given that the show is a kids show in which the Doctor is the hero  and so a whole season-long regeneration of him as the villain might not be deemed to fly with the youngest audience.

    Hmmmn <gets lost in a series of dark reflecting mirrors>

  8. oh my f- I actually gasped. My boyfriend asked what was going on. I started to explain. Then I stopped.

    @Bluesqueakpip– I’m not so sure. It seems like a subjective numbering from now on. McGann was the eighth, that’s been clear for a while, but I’m so glad that he, like McCoy, got an onscreen death/regeneration. But is the point that here, he accepts a different title- the warrior- so even he doesn’t consider himself the doctor in the Hurt incarnation, although the universe (as seen in AGMGTW- and the titles disagree, just as they did in TNOFD. So Eccelston doctor considered himself the ninth doctor, taking up the work of a good man again.

    And if this regeneration was affected by whatever it was he drank, does it necessarily come out of his regeneration limit, or was it a specific extra regeneration?

  9. @miapatrick – I agree that they may be keeping the ‘official’ numbering by referring to the Hurt Doctor as The War Doctor.

    Yup, Prisoner Zero – he’s the Doctor without a number.

    For someone who’s been banging on about the meta-references to the history of the series in S7b – did anyone notice the meta-ref in this prequel?

    The Eighth Doctor dies in the crash. The Mother Superior says it quite plainly; The Doctor died. They brought him back to life for just long enough to regenerate.

    ::punches the air::

    So – the era of the Classic Doctors has died and we’re into the Time War. That said, I think we’re going to see the Time War through the War Doctor, and its fallout via Ten and Eleven (presumably we can at least use those numbers until next Saturday?).

    After all, even if they did nick all the S8 budget for The Day of The Doctor, I don’t think they can afford much more than one reasonably priced space battle.

    Oh, and everyone is lying their arse off. Good to know. 😀

  10. @Bluesqueskpip- yes to the lying. I had to admit, when McGann out and out denied involvement, it did make me wonder- suspicious person that I am…

    I’m really curious about the bringing him back to life to drink out of the cup. (a bit of a biblical reference? drinking out of the cup symbolising the surrendering of free will?) Was it because they needed him to drink out of it, to come back in a certain way, and they knew that this incarnation of the Doctor could be persuaded? Did they prevent/postpone a different regeneration?

  11. It’s really nice this, because according to ‘s sidebar it’s Paul McGann’s 54th Birthday. Nice present. 🙂

    Just great to see him, and hope it quietens down some of the bores who have been jerking their knees (thankfully not here) for the past year. Of course people are going to lie, otherwise you lose the excitement of surprise.

    Just massively good to see him in action, and it gives shape to the end game for Big Finish to work towards for his audios. Lovely acknowledgement of their work (and other spin-offs) in naming the companions. Those self appointed arbiters of what’s canon can now bore off if they suggest Lucie Miller didn’t happen. 😀

  12. @miapatrick

    I’m really curious about the bringing him back to life to drink out of the cup. (a bit of a biblical reference? drinking out of the cup symbolising the surrendering of free will?) Was it because they needed him to drink out of it, to come back in a certain way, and they knew that this incarnation of the Doctor could be persuaded? Did they prevent/postpone a different regeneration?

    Am puzzled by this – it seems to me all this was clearly explained in the mini-ep.


    Those self appointed arbiters of what’s canon can now bore off if they suggest Lucie Miller didn’t happen.

    Ah, but she didn’t happen until Moff willed her into existence! (As I understand it, the Beeb has always view the audio stories as canon)

  13. 😯

    Well I certainly wasn’t expecting to see the prequel till Saturday! What a wonderful surprise 🙂

    Oh, and everyone is lying their arse off. Good to know. 😀

    It appears so 🙂 Hmm, wonder how many more Doctors are waiting in the wings.

    @PhaseShift – Yep, I’m chuffed to bits that Lucie was name-checked. As a rule, I don’t view books/audio plays as canon but I’ve always made an exception for the 8th Doctor stories. I’d love it if they could film some of the Big Finish adventures as a series of specials (Lucie’s final story with the Daleks and Susan would be fab*). Probably unlikely though 🙁

    *@Everyone, if I ever say ‘fab’ again, please shoot me.

  14. @Pedant

    😆 You misunderstood. I meant if I ever said ‘fab’ in another post, then you could shoot me.

    Doh! Just said it again.

    I’ll just stand by this wall, fire when ready…

  15. Did someone call for a shotgun?  🙂  No, @FatManInABox, I could never shoot you.  Even if you DID say ‘fab’ three times in a row.

    Now, click your heels, and think of Kansas …

  16. Well, I’ve been dying to see this since lunchtime when I saw it was out but my phone signal wasn’t really good enough to watch, and HMG really doesn’t like me watching iPlayer even in breaks!

    Can a 55 year old guy squee?

    Anyway (or is that anywho?), just a few thoughts….

    Was the sonic the same one as in the tv movie? Was the regeneration effect different? It seemed whiter than recently.

    More generally, will we see this at the cinema?

  17. Like everyone I thought this was great, and fantastic to have a bit of actual drama after the trailers. And what a drama? The end of Eight! (Can we call Hurt Aftereight 😀 ).

    So pleased for McGann, so glad he was lying. It feels like Moffat saying “Did you think we’d forget you?” And, as @PhaseShift points out, is great that his audio work also gets recognised.

    Like some others, I think the 50th will be set many years after the Time War, with The War Doctor haunted by his past. A past that all three Doctors (do they count as three Doctors – this is getting confusing) may have to revisit to save themselves. Or something…

    Although I can’t remember if Eccleston said he’d recently ended the Time War. Even if he did, maybe they have to end it again, maybe a different way, that reboots everything.

    @Wolfweed Good spot that it was the Karn on the Spoilers thread last night by the way.

  18. As @thommck said:

    That was certainly more revealing than most DW prequels!

    Amongst all the squeeeing (and I count my own ululations in all that cacophany … hence my inability to post until now!), is anyone, dare I say … a tad disappointed that it was so straight-forwardly … well, ‘content-full’?

    Scores of well-thought-out theories now ground into dust.  A week early.

    Yes, it’s wonderful, all the information we’ve learnt, but I feel strangely let-down that it wasn’t a Moffat-teasing conundrum, but instead a full-fledged Prequel.  As if for any other programme but Doctor Who.

  19. @wolfweed From the blog you linked, Moffat says

    I love regeneration episodes – there’s nothing more exciting! And in the anniversary year we get to see two regenerations… That’s pretty cool!

    Might the ellipsis cover up for ‘or three’?

  20. Didn’t someone (ie probably @Phaseshift or @wolfweed) post a bit of gossip a couple of months ago that McGann was in a minisode of his own of some sort?  I got my hopes up, then came all the denials and the disappointment.  Then the trailer arrived and a few of us thought we’d seen McGann somewhere in it, but it was Jemma Redgrave and I got all disappointed again.

    So hurrah!  Not a three Doctor episode but a four!  Could Ecclestone also make an appearance dare I hope?



  21. @chickenelly – I posited a theory, but it wasn’t based on any evidence. Someone did say something like McGann not being in Australia (or somewhere) meant he was probably shooting for Who…

  22. @Wolfweed and @chickenelly – it was me. I didn’t know what he was in, though. But he, McCoy and Colin Baker were all doing a series of convention gigs – except McGann missed one. And the one he missed was during filming for the 50th.

    I’m terribly pleased at the namecheck for all the audio Companions, though. He’s officially the Eighth Doctor, whose adventures mostly took place on audio. A nice salute for the 50th Anniversary.

  23. For anyone (in the UK) who wants to watch the Prequel immediately preceding the Trailer (which does give one ideas of all sorts 🙂 ) :

    I’ve always thought the Trailer was too cut-up to glean anything important in terms of What Follows What … and that is certainly even more apparent when watching the trailer after the prequel, which is a straightforwardly-seeming beginning-middle-end story …

  24. This might sound odd, coming from a self-proclaimed unreconstructed romantic, but I think the motivation for giving McGann 6 minutes of screen time as the Doctor was for narrative reasons alone. Moffat does everything with a purpose, and he obviously wanted to establish the context of the Hurt Doctor for the audience before they watch the 50th. This minisode achieved that purpose brilliantly.

    Does Eccleston have to appear at the end of the 50th as the Hurt Doctor regenerates?  Not really, seeing as how Moffat was able to use an old stock photo of Hurt to establish the regeneration.

    So will Davison, McCoy and the Baker boys get their own appearances? Only if there is an absolutely necessary narrative reason, I think.

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