Ten Thoughts About Doctor Who: The Name Of The Doctor

Okay, yes, there are spoilers for The Name Of The Doctor. We’re going to be talking about the episode. Probably best not to watch it before you have, whether on TV, iPlayer or on DVD a week ago.

1. You Know, This Could Have Been The Anniversary Episode


And maybe it was. We got appearances from a bunch of old Doctors and one undiscovered one. We got the moment the Doctor and Susan stole the TARDIS, we had the Doctor graverobbing his own body (and just how much would Lawrence Miles fans have been screaming about that similarity between The Name Of The Doctor and Alien Bodies?) we even got a mention of The Valeyard. And we got a new Doctor, a shamed Doctor, a rejected Doctor, who did the things the Doctor would never do…. roll on November. The Doctor’s 50th, two days after my 41st.

Glad to know The Doctor dressed the part before he left Gallifrey… not sure where the Hartnell footage was from but running from the portal in The Five Doctors gave us footage for Troughton and Pertwee, Invasion Of Time gave us Baker I, Arc Of Infinity gave us Davison, Dragonfire for McCoy and extras in clothes and wigs for Baker II, McGann and Eccleston. Which clarifies that the Doctor we saw at the end was none of them…

But I have to ask, was The Second Doctor at San Diego Comic Con? It looked like a bit like it. Can we have that novel please?

IMG_6007 IMG_6008

2. Close Your Eyes, Doctor


The Doctor, blind to all around him, to where the kids are, to what Clara is, to his ultimate fate…

3. Come And Have A Go If You Think You’re Hard Enough


Steven Moffat is Scottish. From Glasgow. So he’s perfectly okay to cast Glaswegians as, basically, cannon fodder for Sontarans. Although they do fight back and don’t take it personally. I can see Moffat on a night out in his home town wondering if he was basically surrounded by Strax’s brethren. Come on Archie, hit him on the back of his neck.

4. Whispers In A Top Hat


Somewhere between the Snowmen, The Spoonheads and The Silence, we have The Whispermen. Also with a touch of Buffy’s  The Gentlemen to them. And do we have an answer to what The Silence were now, something formed and directed by The Great Intelligence?

5. The Tomb Of The Doctor


Never has The TARDIS looked quite so Kubricky.

6. “Please”


I did think that the password might just be the only thing that a Doctor Who bad guy would never say. And thus never get access. Damn that Ziggy River Song!

7. The Fall Of The Eleventh IMG_6179

Well, we got his fall, as promised on Trenzalore. Whether that means the TARDIS falling from space, his grave, or his fall down his own timeline (which he kind of also did in The Big Bang, didn’t he?), I don’t know. The prophecy came true three times?

8. River Song Is Al. But A Kissable One. Ziggy, Then,


Trenzlore. A place where “no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer” according to Dorian. Apart from the Doctor it seems, he seems to have no trouble failing to answer to virtual River. River may have died the first time we met her, but this seems like a final farewell to the character. And you also got what many have wanted… a proper kiss.

9. Yes, He Said “The Valeyard”


“He will have other names before the end. The storm. The beast. The valeyard.”

Yes, that’s right, the Valeyard got mentioned. From somewhere between his twelfth and final regeneration. But here’s the thing. If John Hurt is Doctor Nine and Matt Smith is Doctor Twelve, we are now much closer to the Valeyard than we ever thought, and now he’s part of New Who continuity, no longer being brushed under the carpet. And if Matt Smith is indeed leaving at Christmas and, I dunno, Ben Daniels is taking over as The Doctor, he will not only be The Last Doctor but will have loosed a Valeyard upon the universe. Is Moffat about to remake Trial Of A Time Lord?

But also is he… The Beast? From “The Impossible Planet”? Surely not?

10. John Hurt Is Not The Doctor

He said it himself. He is not The Doctor. He does not get to use that name. Because of what he did… presumably in the Time War? But no one told the BBC credit department immediately afterwards.


So is this Doctor now the Scream Of The Shalka Doctor? And if so, why did he look and sound so much like the Great Intelligence?


Bonus Thought: The woman who gave Clara the Doctor’s phone number, who worked in the phone shop. For the best helpline ever. We thought it was River Song. Could it, splintered across time, have been Clara?

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.