Last night's episode of Doctor Who: Fugitive Of The Judoon took the internet by storm. And while there were a few haters, the majority of response I've seen, even for those who have not been on board for the last two years, was overwhelmingly positive – and they surprised themselves for liking it 'despite everything'. And, as the 'Who' in the title of Doctor Who has become less and less over the years, as more and more has been revealed, last night the title seemed fresh again., Doctor… Who? Here are the three best theories we have, to the question Doctor Who?
1) A Newly Revealed First Doctor?
Before we met the Doctor, as portrayed by William Hartnell, could this have been the Doctor? The Zeroeth Doctor? Her TARDIS is in the police box appearance, as it gained in Totter's Yard in London in the 60s. Potentially this could have meant that the Doctor regenerated while on Earth with Susan, and this story is set during that time period, the Doctor having jumped ahead fifty years and using the Chameleon Arch to hide. That Doctor was also on the run from the Time Lords. But we have seen that Doctor steal the TARDIS, helped by Clara, in The Name Of The Doctor, where we also saw the Doctor as a young white boy – as well as stressing about his first upcoming regeneration in Twice Upon A Time. But memory can be a funny thing when it comes to the Doctor – he managed to forget all about being the War Doctor for ages. And this Doctor does have some thematic similarities, what with all those guns.
2) A Newly Revealed Third Doctor?
We have also seen every regeneration of one Doctor to the next, with The Day of The Doctor providing the War Doctor's transformation into the Ninth Doctor – or his eyes at least. The only one we never saw was between the Second and Third Doctors. The Patrick Troughton faced Doctor was changing, at the hands of the Time Lords … then the Jon Pertwee Doctor fell out of the TARDIS at the end of The War Games. In The Two Doctors, it was revealed that the Second Doctor and Jamie kept working together, employed by the Time Lords on a number of missions before being sent to Earth. It could be that Gat was one of the Gallifreyans who employed the Doctor. Howver. if you wanted to insert a Doctor into the past run, that would be the place to do it.
3) A Future Doctor?
Very much mirroring The Next Doctor, where the Tenth Doctor met a man who believed he was the Doctor and the Tenth presumed he was a future incarnation of himself. But this actually is the Doctor – but neither can remember each other. The Thirteenth Doctor believes that this Doctor – and Gat – have to be from her past, one she can't remember, as they don't know what happened to Gallifrey. Has she forgotten herself, just as she forgot the War Doctor for a few regenerations? Or is time out of synch, River Song-style, and the future version of herself is dealing with Gallifrey's past, with no memory of what the Master did, let alone why. When the Doctor meets herself/himself, they never remember the details of the encounter, just vague generalities…
4) A Parallel Doctor
This feels the most fitting. We have established parallel universes in Doctor Who in Inferno and Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday – though the Doctor generally discovers they don't exist in those timelines. What if this is one in which they do? So we have a new Doctor who could be of any regeneration, who never built a sonic screwdriver, who has a more cramped TARDIS (still with the roundels) and a little more handy with a gun, and hand-to-hand violence – like the Third Doctor and his Venusian akido. We've already seen a version of the Tenth Doctor living in a parallel universe with Rose – though he was unable to regenerate. He also had a bit of the TARDIS to regrow it on his world. Could this Doctor be that Doctor, who found a way to regenerate and forgot about sonic screwdrivers? Or a different parallel Doctor entirely? if so, why does this Doctor and Gat not know they are in a parallel universe to their own? And which universe does the new Master belong to? It is also notable that Spyfall threw up the idea of multiple Earths before revealing they were the same Earth in different times. And Orphan 55 gave us a future Earth – but one that is not set in time. A potential Earth, a parallel Earth. It may also be notable that Cyberman have been seen as creatures who can break the dimensional barrier from one world to the next, could this all be the fault of the Lone Cyberman? Whatever it is? Where does the Timeless Child fit in? What was Jack Harkness trying to do?
5) It's All A Lie
They wouldn't do that, would they?
Either way, The Fugitive Of The Judoon was a cracking episode, possibly my favourite since Heaven Sent, and looks to be setting up the rest of the stories this season, in a Key To Time fashion… any further theories worth considering? Aside from the old 'he's just making it up as he goes along'…