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. On the Sisterhood of Karn, they are pretty much as in Brain of Morbius. They’ve made a religion of their everlasting life, and the regenerative powers of Numismatron gas which is a rare element. I talked in the Time Lord blog about Brain of Morbius. It’s in the same system as Gallifrey, and the Sisterhood aren’t generally big fans of the Time Lords, who have a habit of draining their supply when the Regeneration technique goes wrong. The Doctor is probably the only one they would trust (and that was earned in Brain of Morbius).

    So, although the scene is surrounded by “mystic mumbo-jumbo” (Fourth Doctor) it is technical. The Fifth Doctor and the Master (as mini-Master) later fought over another source of the gas in Planet of Fire. The Master wanted to restore himself and extend his life.

  2. @Pedant

    Fan – bloody – tastic!!!

    I’ve never seen I Cladius, I was a bit to young when it was first broadcast but I’m very tempted.

    My first thought of JH in that scene was ‘Naked Civil Servant’ and DJ put me in mind of Sarek (Spock’s Dad for the non-Trekkies out there) for some reason – I think it was the wig 😉

  3. @phaseshift – my problem with the audio adventures is simply that they’re audio. I’ve never been able to get into radio plays, often as I’ve tried. I’ve given the Eighth Doctor adventures a go. I can tell that they’re very good, but my attention will wander off about ten minutes in. Then when it comes back, I’ve missed half the plot. 🙁

    Or I don’t quite ‘catch’ what people are saying and miss half the plot…

    Are there any scripts around?

  4. @janetteB, @geoffers. I agree completely with your take(s) on the minisode. I think it worked perfectly to provide context for the Hurt Doctor in the 50th. I also agree that it is linear (and all the better for being so) and has a perfect BG feel and tone to it.

    Also agree that it does have a slight B5 feel about it (in a good way). And as @janette B points out, JMS was influenced by BG Who, and this is influenced by B5. All that works for me.

    So, one of the few times that I eschew an even more complicated reading, and one of the many times that I applaud SM’s talent.

  5. Does anyone else want to bet that Tom Baker is going to make an appearance in the 5oth?

    We’ve had a reference to the 4th Doctor in one of the trailers (the girl wearing the multi-coloured scarf as Clara and the Doctor look at the painting) and now a 4th Doctor adventure The Brain of Morbius.

    I say he’ll be there! Maybe just as a voice-over but…


  6. I recommend I Claudius (or I Clavdivs, as I have always called it). It has aged surprisingly well, and if you watch that ep from the start there is a very young Patrick Stewart as a bonus spot)

  7. Of course, this means we have 100% seen this doctor before.


    He is the Doctor in the 50years trailer with his back to us?


    Its John Hurt in Mcganns clothes?!  Bandolieer and all!

  8. Oh, and apropos of nothing and in the interest of bringing joy and light to your lives, one of my mates at school, in honour Hurt’s I Claudius turn, named his band Caligula and the Foetus Eaters.

  9. @BlueSqueakPip

    my attention will wander off about ten minutes in

    I used to have that problem too. It may sound daft but I’ve found that if, instead of listening to them on the radio, I ‘watch’ them on Freeview ch708 I can concentrate better. Having just a bit of visual stimulation seems to help.


    Sadly I’ve only heard three Doc8/Lucie stories, The Cannibalists, Scapegoat and the afore mentioned Lucie Miller/To The Death (glad that’s being repeated – I’ll remember to record it this time). Actually, make that 3 and a half. I heard some of The Beast of Orlok. Yes, from what I remember, ‘stuff’ did hit the fan a few times.

  10. I just flailed so hard I almost injured myself.

    So The War Doctor does horrible things to try and stop the Time War — not win it, but stop it, I imagine — and then afterwards we get tragic and wounded Eccleston and then slowly recovering but still quite wounded Tennant and then mad PTSD Smith.

    Dang it, I’m going to have to listen to the Big Finish Audio now, aren’t I? Had them on the bottom of the pile since they might not have been canon.

  11. @shazzbot – if we’re looking for reasons to go back to the Sisterhood of Karn –

    this clip is interesting.

    I wonder if Moffat is hinting that the First Doctor isn’t the first life of The Person Currently Known As The Doctor?

    The other point I’d note is that the Sisterhood agreed not to crash random spaceships if they strayed too close to Karn. But they did have that ability…

  12. @bluesqueakpip

    Sorry to hear that. I don’t think you’re unique though, if it’s any comfort. I’ve always listened to radio plays and even I sometimes lose the plot, as it were. With the Who stuff I find it easiest to sit back in a darkened room with no distractions close my eyes and try not fall asleep. 😀

    I know a few script books were released at one point (there is an American result for them on Amazon), but that only covers a few, and not the later ones which probably are of more interest because they work towards the AG years. Subscribers (which I’ve never been) get to download scripts as extras, but I don’t know if they are available in any other way.

    I was sure there was a plan a few years ago to sell them after a while mainly targeted at deaf/hard of hearing fans, but I just searched their forum and didn’t come up with anything. I’ll have a snoop about over the weekend. It may be worthwhile to send an e-mail actually.

    Shame Terrance Dicks is all but retired. He could do novelisations!

  13. Ok

    1/. Joining in the sqee-ing but as a proper geezer I’m doing it internally and not telling anyone 😉

    2/. Timelord science is elevated here. Thus War Doctor is Dr. Zero and HTPBDBMM are 1-8 in the First Regeneration cycle with 9-11 really 1-3 in cycle two

    3/. Rose is really the Bad Wolf Rose moving bits in time around again, she is everywhere, wouldn’t be too surprised if she had something to do with Clara at some stage too




    4/. Moff was telling the truth when he said the answer to regeneration was already in the public domain


  14. Ohhh and. and, and


    5/. I’m looking for the Doctor……. Hurt Doctor knows he needs the real Doctor(s) to heal himself

    A story of redemption, kleenex tissues by the sofa in case dust gets in your eyes chaps 😉

  15. @Rob – brilliant.

    Another thing in the public domain; the mind-bending battle between Morbius and the Doctor shows regenerations before William Hartnell. The exact number is debatable, since the Doctor was fighting Morbius – some of them may have been Morbius. Or all of them may have been Morbius, but the production team of the time said some were the Doctor. They wanted to imply regenerations before Hartnell. Hartnell would thus become the First Doctor.

    Okeydoke – if we presume there were three or four (tardis wikia for some reason presumes three) then it’s possible that the reason the Eighth Doctor didn’t regenerate is that he’d run out of regenerations. The War Doctor becomes the one who gets nicknamed ‘The Valeyard’. Or creates the Valeyard, or has the Valeyard spin off as some manifestation in the Time War.

    The Eighth Doctor is then the last Doctor in the first set of regenerations – and we’re only on No. 4 in the new set.

    Of Doctors; we’re at no. 11 of the people in that body who have kept the promise implicit in The Name of The Doctor.

  16. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee doesn’t even begin to cover it 😉

    (Just back from a few days in a pocket universe with only public wifi – could see the prequel was there (with McGann’s mug on the preview pic, and LOADS of activity on here, talking about it, but not enough broadband to watch it 😯  )

    I think everyone’s pretty much covered my thoughts on it, but I’m definitely in the huge amount of love for it camp! And delighted that my Doctor’s-been-off-on-a-50/900-years-in-a-day-timeout-to-avoid-his-responsibilities theory is not dead for at least another week 😉

    Am also delighted that Moffat’s been able to pull off another surprise appearance after Clara’s debut in Asylum. And chuckling at the rumblings that will be going on certain dank and slimeycorners of fandom at the appearance of the Sisterhood, and no doubt a bit of spluttering from those previously in high dudgeon about McGann apparently being ignored. Haha, and yes, this is what happens when you get actors to “lie their arse off”.

    ::goes all mysterious:: Following my trip to the TARDIS set last month and the VERY tiny bit of info I prised out, I would not be at all surprised if some other former actors from the show make red button appearances 😉

    ::feels like the week before Xmas and I’m more excited than the most exciteed 3 year old::

  17. @JanetteB

    I agree with you re the analogy you made about the challenge pacifists face. That struck me very forcefully as I watched it. It’s a big question.  Even if you don’t believe in violence, does there come a time when actually it’s not only a valid choice but in fact the only (moral) thing to do?   More than that, it’s your responsibility.  The Doctor distancing himself from the actions of his fellow TimeLords (and we’ve seen many times over the years (as @Phaseshift eloquently described in his blog on the subject) they are at best often morally reprehensible) is all very well, but he is one person who can, and probably should, be challenging them on their actions, not dropping out for a gap year (even if he’s doing good community work while he’s at it)).

    A bit like putting an elastoplast on a scratch on someone’s knee when their head’s been blown off?

    Do you ignore someone like Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein etc, and let them continue unchallenged or do you call them out on it? And if you challenge, what’s the best way to do that?  If the WarDoctor ends up going in like Rambo, I’d suggest that’s here he goes wrong. I suspect the TimeWar is perpetuated cos there are 2 very equally matched opponents who escalate it by each getting a gradual technological edge (but not enough for outright victory) till the fallout stretches universe-wide.

    Interestingly it feels to me that Moffat is hitting a stride here. That the last 3 years have been him working within the existing canon, but building in the foundations of a major change, waiting till the 50th till he can really start to tell the Doctor’s story the way he wants to.  I’m with @Bluesqueakpip that I strongly suspect (and have been saying since the before this Forum started) that we have not been seeing things from the perspective we think we have, and that perspective is about to change dramatically 😉


  18. Things I particularly liked – all the little meta-references they stuffed in, inc –

    I’m the Doctor. But probably not the one you were expecting” (just brilliant; fell off the sofa at that)

    The choices of elixir – fat/thin, man/woman etc – it’s simultaneously a dig at those who think they know best about the casting of the Doctor AND it sets up (infinite) possibilities for future regenerations – WHY the doctor COULD now be female is now canon 😉  And it’s kept within the mythology – ie Ohila says that “TimeLord technology as moved on” – so it’s still open as to whether regeneration is a natural gift or a tech-add-on; it could easily be natural, but enhanced by tech.

    Personally I love the Sisterhood – very dark, with their own (selfish) agenda, working in the background with an unknown amount of influence – the Bene Gesserit of Dr Who 😉


    Hurt Doctor knows he needs the real Doctor(s) to heal himself


    And last thoughts (probably!) for now – re the number of regenerations – isn’t it great that in a 50 year old programme that’s endlessly speculated on, it’s still not possible to nail down exactly how many regenerations there’s been 😉

    Re dark Doctor – as I mentioned before, with Hurt’s War-Doctor they can go as dark as they like without destroying the mythos. But yes, wouldn’t it be interesting if Matt turns out to be the Valeyard*?!  The kids would never be able trust anyone again!

    *copyright @Bluesqueakpip


  19. I’m so glad I saw this when it was first released and got the full blast of the surprise. After about an hour it was everywhere that it was McGann in the prequel, even as the thumbnail pic on the BBC site. For such a well kept secret they sure blew the lid off it quickly. I hope it didn’t spoil peoples enjoyment (like you @scaryb)

    I agree that we will at least hear all previous Doctors, even if we don’t see them

  20. Very slowly catching up on all the little extra treats that came out for the 50th.  I missed this little gem completely!

    Just wow!

    Reflects my recent discussion with @pedant about why daleks are scary. They’re not fast, but they’re very hard to stop – I believe I used the prhrase – 1 dalek is all you need to cause havoc.

    It’s tightly directed and scripted. That flip to red at the end is chilling.

    It also strongly suggests that there were a lot of ordinary Gallifreyans caught up in the Time War;.  The important (as in megalomaniac) ones were at the High Council plotting the destruction of everything so they could “ascend”* – the Arcadia scenes suggest more ordinary Gallifreyans were involved. (as @Bluesqueakpip‘s mentioned).


    *TDotD – rather than undermining the events in EoT, underlines the extremity of the situation that Rassilon & co were facing. But the Doctor’s solution, even in his intention to use the Moment, is to try to make it better for others, even if it means killing everyone on Gallifrey (including the Daleks, so the rest of the universe gets to live), and even though he knows he will have to live with the consequences.  And eventually he finds the solution which means “everybody lives” (albeit in stasis, and lost).  The High Council are only interested in saving themselves.

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