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. I’m a Doctor. But probably not the one you were expecting.

    That’s why I wondered if this was supposed to be the CiN minisode. It’s such a great opening line when everyone’s expecting Matt Smith. 🙂

  2. @Bluesqueakpip I completely agree with you.

    My only feeling against this being the Children in Need minisode is that it is a bit dark when the CiN minisodes are usually comedy (although they failed on that score last year – in fact last year’s was a very dark day for the Doctor).

  3. What a nice surprise! But couldn’t they keep it under wraps again? This is becoming a habit. And not a good one. I admit that I reached a point yesterday where I just wanted to see the movie already and got a bit annoyed. Still I have not heard of any other series that slipped up so much. Granted, I never followed anything else on the telly so intensely.

    I got so excited when I watched the minisode. And watched it again. And again. And again. Whee and squee just like the rest of you. Then I started reading. Thanks @wolfweed for the interview (- also, trends for which country?)! And nice to share this excitement here.

    Some of you said prequel? I really hope this is a standalone minisode. Otherwise we have just watched six minutes of the movie which is round about 70 minutes long (waaaay too short). So taking out 6 minutes and showing them early is a pretty deep cut. I intend to enjoy every minute of the movie. And I want to see it in cinema for the first time.

    @JimTheFish I agree that the trailer suggested that Matt is hard on the line to loosing it. And what did Hurt say about privilege of lesser men to light the fire? Nah, forget that last part. 11 clearly despises himself/Hurt for what he did.

    @wolfweed “Pint of ‘Warrior’, please……. Thanks” What on earth mad him do it. Probably a fixed moment in time. Mind you, our Doctor now would rather kill himself, a Russian submarine crew and Clara than to start a war. AND they maybe made him immortal with that cup. At least no natural cause, maybe?

    @wolfweed at 3:00 he says “hang on” and I am so proud right now I could catch that. 2:30 I’d go with goddess or the long form of that girl’s name.

    To catch up on some other theories: Maybe that minisode was pre-Clara-jumping-into-time-stream?

    @Shazzbot I really don’t mind content as I like a direction and no wild guesses. I would mind however if that was something that will be incorporated in the movie. And sometimes one has to aviod ARSE, as @ScaryB and @Bluesqueakpip warned me (and quite right so).

    Furthermore I agree with @blenkinsopthebrave . Moffat needs a wide audience to be able to understand certain timings and time settings. That is why he generously showed us that. Maybe some casual viewers got curious and looked up the time war. There can be no other reason for him to be so frankly about all of this.



  4. Well, we have a house full of squee and no mistake.  Mrs Hatter and me both grinning like school kids from the moment Paul McGann appeared on screen.


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

    But being proved wrong has never been so satisfying.  Besides, theories we’re good at.  We’ll make some more 🙂

    @steve-thorp, @JimTheFish

    it keeps making me think of the holy grail too

    Me too.  Also means I can roll out a ‘the WarDoctor turns out to be Merlin’ theory 😉

    Thought it was interesting the suggestion that they could create potions to control the outcome of the regeneration, man or woman, young or old, wise or warrior.  Wonder if that’s laying groundwork for the means to make radical changes in future regenerations.  I would suspect that it does count as a legitimate regeneration though.  I wonder if he used a similar potion to regenerate back into the Doctor.

    I think I agree that we’re being misled assuming that ‘the Doctor’s greatest threat – himself’ is referring to After8.  I think it more likely something started in D10 and continued on into D11 – the hubris with regards to cheating death in The Stolen Earth, The TimeLord Victorious or some such.


    It occurs that if the non-regeneration/metacrisis Doctor in Stolen Earth did use up a full regeneration, then D11 is actually the final incarnation.  That would mean that between his 12th and 13th incarnations was that long explosive regeneration flight over London and perhaps something shadowy or more precisely, Valeyard-y emerged?  Which comes back to @Juniperfish ‘s doppelgangers.  I’d say if that was ever going to get explored, it would be in the 50th.  Maybe D10 and D11 need the assistance of an old warrior rather than a Doctor to stop whatever it is they’re facing?  And what better villains than the Zygons to advertise in plain sight that the episode is going to be about duplication?

    @craig – not sure that D9 ever stated that he’d just finished the time war.  He did however make it clear that he was just seeing his new face for the first time in Rose, suggesting either a lack of mirrors on board the TARDIS, or that he’d just regenerated.



  5. I thought it was quite badly acted on the 1st watch but the 2nd time, when I knew what to expect, it was a lot better. Great how McGann is probably the longest lived version even though he has the shortest screen time. He could definitely return now they’ve showed the aged version in his new costume

  6. @bluesqueakpip @craig

    I’m sure I read pre-publicity that said CiN will feature a preview clip from the Day of the Doctor rather than anything specially filmed. Anything seems possible though, with all the arses having become detatched due to lying. Remember all that filming Davison was doing for his “joke” protest. I can’t help thinking that’s due to surface soon. I wonder if McGann will be labelled as a “splitter”. 😀


    Some of you said prequel? I really hope this is a standalone minisode.

    In Who terms a prequel is separate from the episode – So it’s stuff like The Doctor meeting a young Clara on the swings before Bells of St. John, or the Great Detective stuff with Vastra for The Snowmen. It doesn’t contain any footage of the episode itself, is just designed to add to it, build up excitement.

  7. @Timeloop – Cheers. I think you’re right with ‘Hang on.’, but I still think it’s ‘Good’ @2:30

    Don’t worry – A prequel isn’t the same as a preview, a prequel is a story set before the main story.

  8. @PhaseShift Great, thanks. This is something very specific for Doctor Who, or is it all over the BBC?
    I’d have thought the prequel is something much like a prolog of a book and therefore part of the story. A little something ahead of the opening credits. I do get the feeling that I will see this minisode prior to the movie. Clara on the swings is more of a teaser, isn’t it?

    Love prequels, then.


  9. This minisode/prequel is very conclusive, isn’t it? There are not many hidden clues – I don’t feel the urge re-watch it the way I did with the trailers. Even though it contains vital information.

    The Doctor chose to be a warrior. No one forced it and his regeneration was not random.

    @wolfweed What are you implying?

  10. @Timeloop

    The “little something ahead of the credits” is called a cold opening. I may be treated as a prologue, or as a resolution of a prior cliffhanger. It is quite flexible. A prequel is a story that happened in the same universe, but before, the main narrative. This was definitely a prequel.

    And yes, the Doctor chose, although with an element of the “Gun to the head”, having had a 4 minute warning.

  11. Moffat’s certainly made it easy to cast a woman; quick trip back to Karn and any complaints about ‘radical change’ are covered.

    @Wolfweed – are you thinking that there might be an alternate female Doctor between Eight and Nine? Given all these dratted dopplegangers wandering around the place?

  12. @pedant – I think that this is something the Doctor chose accounts for a lot of the PTSD/sorry, so so sorry/I’m a monster. Whatever the War Doctor did, the Doctor himself chose to become that warrior. He can’t even tell himself it was a bad regeneration – he chose it.

    Fine, yes, middle of a war, bad things happening, people dying who didn’t need to, four minutes to live. All that. But he’s still the person who chose to become – someone who’d commit genocide.

    And that’s a long way away from the Doctor who would mentally debate whether he had the right to do that to the Daleks.

  13. I was hopping up and down with excitement when I first saw Paul McGann. If there was anything I wanted from a prequel it was this, the missing regeneration. Like @thommck I had some reservations about the acting on first watch but not on the re watch. I was reminded of what a good Doctor McGann would have been.

    In terms of theories this closes a lot of doors. Hurt Dr is the 9th regeneration though not the 9th Doctor. Moffat has sneaked in an extra regeneration without upsetting the numbering, a typical Moffat sleight of hand. However that does put the Doctor at his regeneration limit but also gives a hint as to how that might be dealt with. The sisterhood might well reward him for his efforts in the Time War with additional regenerations.

    Being a minisode he had to change quickly however I think he does not make the decision to become a warrior as lightly as it seems. I imagine that he had been “on the run” from the war for some time, trying to ignore it, hoping it will just go away, doing what the Time Lords do, turning a blind eye to the troubles of others. His choice of warrior is the only way he can approach the situation  and save the universe. A situation has arrisen that he, as the Doctor, is powerless to deal with, or at least, that is what he thinks. Maybe his future incarnations will teach him that he is wrong, or mitigate the harm he does.





  14. ha! what a wonderful surprise, for everyone! i almost feel as if it’s my birthday, too…

    cheers to paul for getting a little more love from the “official” side of who (moffat/the bbc). i’m so glad he (moffat) did this, for reasons i’ve stated before. especially, that this helps to bridge the span from BG to AG quite nicely… and in just under 7 minutes! think of all that could/will transpire over the course of the 70 minutes we’re going to get. i will not give up hope that a surprise or two more will be forthcoming in the 50th! but, if not, this merits a mighty feather in the cap of sir mof. (i also hope this will be a part of the theater presentation. can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be…)

    regarding the acting, i was not bothered by it. it felt very much “old who” to me, as is, right through to the special effects. a tiny bit rushed? yes, but, having read about the circumstances behind its filming, i imagine they just didn’t have time for a lot of re-shoots. two or three quick takes, pick the best one, then off it goes. i just hope they got in some other filming while paul was available, at a less hasty pace…

    (or, better still, maybe something with christopher?…)

    fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!

  15. I showed it to my boys last night to see what their reaction would be (as they haven’t seen the McGann movie). There were cries of “Who?”, “What!”, “He’s going to regenerate!”, “Time War!”

    I had to pause it on several occasions to let it all soak in and explain who/what was happening.

    We then all got a bit over excited talking about the order of the regenerations and who was “our” Doctor and they ended up going to sleep a bit late!

    One thing my 9y/o said that I hadn’t even contemplated, “If this is the Time War does that mean we’ll see the Master?”.

    I had to refresh my memory at but there is definitely potential there. The Master was supposedly ressurected by the Timelords during the Time War as the ultimate warrior (perhaps to battle the War Doctor?) but he ran away and chameleon-arched himself as Professor YANA. The wiki also mentions that when the Timelords tried to break out of the time lock in “The End of Time” that

    according to the Tenth Doctor, Gallifrey and the Time Lords were sent “back into hell” of the final day of the Time War. It is uncertain what happened to the Master himself, but it was believed that either he was sent with Gallifrey and the Time Lords into the last day of the Time War, or that he used up the last of his life energy in his attack on Rassilon and perished.

    So it would really make sense to see the Master and Timelords if the 50th is going to focus on those events

  16. My sons, who have also not been subjected to the movie were surprised by the acting credentials of McGann. I have told them to watch Withnail and I.

    I don’t think the Master was involved in the time war. Maybe wrong but assumed he only heard about it from a distance,

    One thing that struck me, ( and not for the first time) was that there is a certain B.5. feel about the time war. The Vorlons aka Time Lords verses the Shadows and the remainder of the universe is just collateral damage. Interesing as J.M.S. cited Dr Who as one of his influences in creating B.5 but now seems as though S.M. is drawing upon B.5 for inspiration. (Not in any way suggesting that that is a bad thing.)



  17. Oops. Just proof read, after posting of course, and noticed the lack of commas. Please forgive, it’s friday night, (Frriii-day Night”), so please forgive.

  18. Just watxhed this. Twas good. A bit too short for my liking anf I am a bit sad that is the end of McGann. What a terrific Doc he woukd have made.

    Puts paid to my McGsnn-Hurt Doc regen in the 50th. Almost right.

    So Smith is now 12 – or is he? Didn’t Moffat make a comment that fans should count the regens as they misswd one?

  19. Typing previous post on phone while tired leads to spelling mist cakes.

    So is Smith Doc13 or…dah dah daaaah…between 12 & 13?

  20. Just to be contrary for a moment –

    Isn’t anyone bothered that The Doctor chose to become The Warrior – something he’s always despised – rather than dying?

    And secondly, did Ohila mention ‘old, fat, tall, thin’ as an echo of Troughton’s regeneration?

  21. @Shazzbot

    Isn’t anyone bothered that The Doctor chose to become The Warrior – something he’s always despised – rather than dying?

    No. It wasn’t just a choice of dying. It was a choice of dying and letting the universe die with him.

    (And yes, old fat etc was a reminder that elective regenerations are canon – see also Romana)

  22. @Shazzbot – agree with @pedant. It wasn’t that he’d die. It was that Cass would rather die than be saved by a Time Lord. Would rather die than step into a TARDIS.

    Your people are seen as little better than the Daleks, the universe is near death, and you’re doing … what? Keeping your own hands clean while other people, people who could be saved, die around you?

    Mind, I don’t say he made the right decision; I think one of the fallouts from the Time War is that – at a very deep level – The Doctor suspects that his decision to become The War Doctor was wrong. That, in those hurried four minutes, he made the wrong choice. He chose to be a soldier, and now – however hard he tries – he can’t escape it. He can’t play ‘the man of peace’ any more, the one above the fighting who can negotiate a peace. All the warriors he meets recognise a fellow warrior.

  23. @Thommck

    The Master was supposedly ressurected by the Timelords during the Time War as the ultimate warrior (perhaps to battle the War Doctor?) but he ran away…

    I’d been thinking along similar lines but my thought process was that the plan was to resurrect The Master not to fight the War Doctor but to lead the Timelords in battle against the Daleks. Because he ran away though, Ohila had no other option but to recruit The Doctor as their ‘last hope’.

    It would be nice if The Master, as played by Derek Jacobi, made an appearance (in a prequel sequel?). I quite like the thought of Sir Derek and John Hurt acting the socks off everyone else in the scene 🙂

  24. @Bluesqueakpip – I utterly agree with you on the ‘he will always regret that decision’, even if as @pedant says, the universe probably would’ve died had he not made that decision (but … can we truly trust the Sisterhood of Karn?  What if they were lying? *)

    Another question – why didn’t 8 regenerate in the crash?  Are we to assume that counted as ‘barring accidents’ in terms of a Time Lord dying?  Surely we’ve seen him not regenerate when zapped by a Dalek; and we’ve seen him regenerate when dying of toxic poison etc.  It’s a bit confusing to me why he didn’t regenerate here (other than for story purposes).

    And another … does Karn look like Trenzalore, or is that just me?

    * regarding the universe about to end … we’ve all had theories about the Time War, and how it’s all happening at once.  But Cass’s situation confuses me (probably because I’m too focused on our theories) – is the universe, during the Time War, always about to end?  Which oppositionally means … it’s never going to end, just always be on the brink of ending.

  25. @FatManInABox – yep, that same thought occurred to me this morning – that the Master ‘ran away’ as @thommck said, therefore the Sisterhood of Karn recruited the Doctor as the only viable alternative.

    However … I just have a bad feeling about the SoK – I really don’t think they’re on the side of good.  Although they let him ‘pick his poison’ as it were, it feels like they subtly or not-so-subtly manipulated him into choosing ‘Warrior’.  They might not have planned this, but just took advantage of the situation which had been ‘foretold’.

  26. @Shazzbot

    You could be right. I’ve not seen the story that they were in previously so can’t really comment on their motivations but there did seem to be something ‘not quite right’ about them.

  27. I think, (totally contrary to my previous theories) that this is strictly linear. The universe is being destroyed by the time war and the Doctor choses the kind of regeneration that will enable him to save it. HE makes the necessary choice. In a way it is the kind of scenario that us pacifist types don’t like to acknowledge, the situation where a violent response if the only kind possible. He choses to be the warrior Doctor from necessity then later wipes that from his memory, something I am certain that a lot of ex soldiers would be familiar with. (Hope I’m making sense. It’s FRii-day night. 😉 )

    I think the Doctor was killed in the crash before he could regenerate. (In reality I doubt they would even have been able to identify the ashes from a crash like that.) I think there might be a secondary reason for bringing in the Sisters of Karn. They can get around the 12 regeneration limit which our dear Doctor is clearly closer to than we realised.



  28. @fatmaninabox

    I quite like the thought of Sir Derek and John Hurt acting the socks off everyone else in the scene

    That would be all kinds of awesome…

  29. @Pedant – snap!

    I was just looking at that myself. I was wondering, given mine and Shazzbot’s feeling that they’re up to no good, if there might be any reason for them to be manipulating The Doctor into becoming a warrior. Are they hoping that turning him ‘dark’ will hasten and/or guarantee the eventual arrival of The Valeyard and if so, for what reason?

  30. @pedant @FatManInABox – Guess ‘Brain of Morbius’ is next on my watch list … 🙂

    And there’s no way that ‘Cass’ as a character name is a co-inkydink.  So, was Moffat merely making a knowing wink to Brain … or … was Cass really who she said she was?

  31. @JimTheFish – as much as I like John Simm, I wish Chan Tho hadn’t killed The Master and Derek Jacobi had continued playing him. The brief glimpse we got of his take on The Master was downright scary!

  32. @Fatmaninabox Derek vs Hurt would be suitably epic, they’d just need to get Sir Ian McKellen back as the Great Intelligence to really blow the budget!

    @Shazzbot, I agree those Sisters don’t look very trustworthy, especially as they seem so desperate for McGann to accept. In regards to why he didn’t regenerate when the ship crashed, it’s because both of his hearts were stopped. That’s how you kill a Timelord. Simple really 😉

    To be honest, I found the whole SoK inclusion a bit odd. I understand they were using canon characters but it all seemed very “Merlin”. The line “here’s one I prepared earlier” also seemed unnecessary and cliche. I should probably watch Brain of Morbius but don’t you think they should be making the whole regeneration topic more defined and scientific, not mystical and medieval? I would have preferred them to have injected him with some Timelord DNA rather than drinking from a goblet in a cave.

    @pedant, perhaps you can enlighten me? Is the Doctor too novice a timelord to control his regenerations completely (unlike Romana was)? Is it just that he’s not concentrating hard enough!? 😛

  33. @Shazzbot

    was Cass really who she said she was?

    I just don’t know! I haven’t done this much ‘bonkers theorising’ for a while and what with all the trailers and a prequel to ponder, I think my brains about to melt 😀

    Need more coffee. Lots more 🙂

  34. @thommck

    don’t you think they should be making the whole regeneration topic more defined and scientific, not mystical and medieval? I would have preferred them to have injected him with some Timelord DNA rather than drinking from a goblet in a cave.

    Yep, I agree with you.  Is there a reason, perhaps related to Brain of Morbius (  🙂 ) why it was Merlin-like as you say in this prequel?  Is that how the SoK were originally portrayed?

    Someone with good BG Who knowledge, please help!

  35. @JanetteB and others, re: him choosing “warrior”

    What does he think he’ll get by choosing warrior? A strategic mind? Massive muscles? Maybe just the will to do what needs to be done? Warriors look very different on Earth, never mind all the universe!

    He didn’t necessarily get what he asked for! The Sister gave him a pre-prepared elixir (which may be the point of that cheesey line). For all he knows it could be “wimp”. Maybe it’s just a placebo and he just becomes whatever he thinks he needs to be?

    IMHO they should have just offered him the choice to regenerate and fight, or give up and die.

  36. @thommck

    Is the Doctor too novice a timelord to control his regenerations completely (unlike Romana was)? Is it just that he’s not concentrating hard enough!?

    It could be a question if ineptitude but I think it’s as much to do with the manner in which the Doctor regenerates. I imagine most Time Lords plan a regeneration (cf Romana) and mentally prepare themselves for it and thus have a much more controlled and easy time of it. The Doctor always regenerates in a crisis and as such is probably not really concentrating on it, just being focused on surviving and therefore making it more chaotic and traumatic than it probably needs to be.

  37. And is it just me that’s thinking that now having a ‘War Doctor’ means that we finally have a character suitable for a decent Who video game?

  38. @shazzbot – can’t help. My memory of Brain of Morbius is the regeneration controversy (we appear to see ‘Doctor’ faces before William Hartnell’s) and a man in a rubber suit wandering around with a goldfish bowl on his head.

    Oh, and Philip Madoc – who was really good.

  39. @shazzbot (@all)

    To be honest – the choice isn’t that much of a surprise to me, but I’m working with knowledge of the audio adventures. With the eighth Doctor, it’s a case of “try walking in these shoes”. As @fatmaninabox has also heard the Lucie Miller run, I’m sure he would agree that things REALLY didn’t go the Doctors way. He ends up reminiscing with Susan about their first adventure. How Chesterton stopped him caving in someones skull, but wondering if that is the kind of man he needs to be.

    It’s a new Universe to consider, and I think people unfamiliar with the material may be surprised how far it’s gone. Susan’s status as family for example – that’s pretty much answered.

    Big Finish are reporting a massive surge of interest in the Eighth Doctor audio. This article, announcing they are reducing the pricing of his adventures by dowload probably helped, and makes a point of they are “definitively canon”. How some fans will weep.

    I’ll just remind everyone, Human Resources is broadcast again next week on Radio 4 Extra (see the 50th blog), and the following week at a time TBA they are repeating Lucie Miller/To The Death (the end of Sheridan Smiths run as Lucie). If you are outside the UK, it’s perfectly legal to access BBC Radio stations live via the internet. Just Google Radio 4 Extra locally.

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