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Doctor Who: John Hurt as … Who?

john hurt-doctor who

Let’s begin with a quick recap of the Doctor Who season finale, “The Name of the Doctor”: Our heroes visit Trenzalore and check out the Doctor’s uber-creepy grave. The Great Intelligence jumps into the Doctor’s timestream to kill him at every moment in his history. Clara jumps in after him and saves the Doctor at every point in history, thus meeting every incarnation of the Doctor that we’ve met in his 50 years on screen. Then good ol’ Doc jumps in after Clara to get her out. Oh, yeah, and River Song is already dead, and has been for a while. But that’s not the important bit (apparently)! The important bit is that we meet John Hurt in the final scene. Here’s a transcript for reference:

CLARA: Who is he?

DOCTOR: It’s me. There’s only me here, that’s the point. Now let’s get back.

CLARA: But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. 11 faces, all of them you. You’re the 11th Doctor.

DOCTOR: I said he was me – I never said he was the Doctor.

CLARA: I don’t understand.

DOCTOR: My name, my real name … that is not the point. The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, it’s like a promise you make. He’s the one that broke the promise.

Clara faints.

DOCTOR: He is my secret.

JOHN HURT: What I did, I did without choice.

DOCTOR: I know.

JOHN HURT: In the name of peace and sanity.

DOCTOR: But not in the name of the Doctor.

Then the title card: “Introducing JOHN HURT as THE DOCTOR.”

Anyone else confused yet? I’m convinced that there’s only one answer that makes sense. Let’s break it down.

The laws of television

Ignore the wibbly-wobbly stuff for a minute. By the laws of television, Hurt is playing a character named the Doctor. There’s no way around that. It’s on the title card; it’s clearly Steven Moffat’s vision. Speculation that Hurt is playing the Valeyard (an evil incarnation of the Doctor), or the regular old dude from Gallifrey who ultimately becomes the Doctor, are really hard to justify when you see it written on the screen in all caps with that boomy “something big just happened” noise going on behind it.

The laws of Moffat

Moffat is many things, but he is not subtle Clara mentions the number 11 twice in this scene. In “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS,” Clara just so happens to muck around with a giant book on the history of the Time War, like you do when you’re lost in the middle of the TARDIS being chased around by something. We’re going back to the Time War, like it or not. Even if our current Doctor does not want to acknowledge Hurt in his numbering system, Moffat wants us to ask that question in the days to come. Can a Doctor who does bad things be numbered among the Doctors?

The laws of spoilers

Hurt has stated that he plays “part of the Doctor” in a “kind of trinity,” which includes David Tennant. Trinity is very interesting here. He didn’t say as a part of a 12-man hit squad against evil-doers; he said trinity. We know that Number 9, Christopher Eccleston, refused to come on board for the anniversary special. Perhaps if he had, that trinity would have been the three Doctors of the modern era (a move that makes sense given the show’s young fan base). However, the “trinity” language seems far more linked to fate, destiny and religion. And you know who loves religion …

The laws of the Silence

The Silence, the religious order that created River Song just to prevent the Doctor from going to Trenzalore, hasn’t gotten a lot of attention of late. While The Great Intelligence clearly wants the Doctor to go to Trenzalore and answer the “First Question” (identified by Dorium Maldovar as “Doctor Who?”), the Silence did an awful lot of work to attempt to prevent those events from ever happening. Their prophecy runs like this:

“On the fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer, a Question will be asked, a question that must never, ever be answered.”

Story continues below

A few things bother me about the prophecy: Trenzalore as we saw it in “The Name of the Doctor” has no fields. It mostly has graves and burny bits. So whatever “fall” happens there must occur before the planet gets destroyed. As in, we haven’t seen it yet. Let’s also look at the phrase: “no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer.” Everyone failed to answer the “First Question,” except River Song. River is, by her own admission, not a living creature. “The Name of the Doctor” did not fulfill the prophecy. Those events have yet to take place. The Eleventh has yet to fall.

In conclusion

Moffat’s latest story arcs have been by and large about tricking fate. The Doctor “dies” and doesn’t die in “The Wedding of River Song.” He skirts predictions, twists words and runs. So how can the Doctor escape his fate this time?

For one thing, he might not be the Eleventh Doctor. If Hurt fills in the gap between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston (as some have suspected), that makes Tennant No. 11 and Matt Smith No. 12. So the “fall of the Eleventh” could involve a great sacrifice by Tennant, allowing our current Doctor to escape unscathed.

My prediction is that Smith’s Doctor must accept, acknowledge and number Hurt among his past selves in order to save his future. This fits with the themes of running from fate, only to find yourself at destiny’s door. It also fits with the theme that we’ve seen over and over again in Clara: She appears in many times, in many places, but she is always herself. We’re about to answer some questions about the nature of the Doctor. Is a man embattled, angered, “fallen,” still the Doctor? We’ll find out in November.


  • Bass Guitar Hero

    I think Hurt’s Doctor is an alternate incarnation–like the Valeyard. He’s the Doctor, but he’s also not. I don’t think they’re going to retcon things so that all the Doctors since McGann have to be renumbered.

  • Brian from Canada

    According to the Sun in the UK, Hurt is the true 9th Doctor: we never saw the transition, and the costume is a mix of 8th and 9th. And the reason he doesn’t deserve the name “The Doctor” or act like it is because Hurt’s Doctor was the one during the Time War.

  • Beast

    Look at the ages of the various doctors. They’ve all more or less flowed into younger incarnations. And then you have John Hurt pop up as The Doctor. One that likely was the incarnation between #8 and #9. He’s old again. Worn out.

    Given all the clues that have been dropped… this is the incarnation of the Doctor who was mostly personally involved with the Time War. We know that when Time Lords regenerate they can control it somewhat. So when #8 regenerated… I’m expecting that it was sorta kinda specifically focused on someone who would as John Hurt says… did what must be done.

    He’s the Time Lord who basically exterminated his own Race. And the Daleks. And everything else that was involved in the Time War. He commited genocide on a massive scale. That’s why he’s not “The Doctor”, because he basically violated everything that The Doctor believes in when he did that. And that’s why going forward the Doctor has always had a more dark edge to him at times.

    There’s a lot of clues that point to this in Moffat’s time on the show. A good example is the Space Whale episode. Which was written by who….. Stephen Moffat. One line of The Doctor’s dialogue pretty much sums up why John Hurt is not The Doctor. Because what he’s done violates everything that The Doctor stands for. Even if it was done with the best of intentions.

    Liz 10: What are you doing?

    The Doctor: The worst thing I’ll ever do. I’m going to pass a massive electrical charge through the Star Whale’s brain – should knock out its higher functions, leaving it a vegetable. The ship will still fly, but the whale won’t feel it.

    Amy Pond: That’ll be like killing it.

    The Doctor: Look, three options: One, I let the Star Whale continue, in unendurable agony for hundreds more years; Two, I kill everyone on this ship; Three, I murder a beautiful, innocent creature as painlessly as I can. And then, I… I find a new name, because I won’t be The Doctor anymore.

  • Vontszemű Gyula

    the only thing that bugs me is tha fact the Doctor states the Hurt Doctor is his secret. but his role in the Time War is not exactly the most heavily guarded secret in the universe and he definitely hasn’t been running from it his whole life.

    on the other hand, i believe the Silence’s prophecy has been fulfilled, the Eleventh fell when he deactivated the anti-grav and silence fell when the question was asked (note that when the Great Intelligence asks Doctor Who? there’s a pause of silence then the doors open) so technically it became true only in a very mundane way.

  • David Fullam

    We may get swerved, but I think that makes the most sense.

  • Patrick Maloney

    We are not going to the Time War, they did too much set up for the battle that took place in Tranzelore.

  • Ardo O.

    Prophesies aren’t always exactly as written which is why they always end up happening in ways we don’t expect. Fields don’t necessarily have to mean grass but could be used to describe the many gravestones. The Doctor being forced into a situation where he needs to utter his name to save his friends could be what explains the “no living creature can speak falsely or fail to answer” but then using River Song can be the away around actually hearing it. I agree with Brian that it’s very likely that Hurt is the true 9th Doctor but because he’s done bad things, he can’t be called the doctor. This has been hinted even during the 10th doctor’s reign when he says at one point that he might as well not be called the doctor if he couldn’t find an alternate way other than people getting killed/hurt.

  • Alex Johnson

    I’ve heard that being banded about…that the Hurt Doctor is the Time War Doctor. Here’s the thing. While the Doctor has been rather broody about the Time War, he acknowledges what he did. It’s something he had to do. Ten had no trouble preventing the return of Gallifrey after all. So why would he all of a sudden condemn Hurt for what he did? Unless it was something even worse.

  • Michelle Mista

    Agreed. The Doctor was adamant that even though that incarnation is still “him”, he’s not The Doctor. We’ll just call him Not!Doctor for now.

  • Adam Garcia

    I kinda see the Trinity as past (Tennant) present (Smith) future (Hurt).

  • Adam Garcia

    Plus It makes sense for it to about 10 and 11 teaming up against Hurt.

  • Ozzy

    I think Hurt’s Doctor was made by the time lord council from the Doctor. If they were willing to bring the Master back from the dead they are willing to force a form on the Doctor.

  • Ozzy

    Hurt’s Doctor could be what he calls the nightmare child.

  • Goalposthead

    But Eccleston’s, Tennant’s and Smith’s Doctor have all admitted that they ended the Time war so he can’t have been the doctor that ended the time war what Hurt did was darker than the Time war

  • dictionaryguy

    just a comment on the “fields of Trenzalore” part.
    It was technically a field as we saw it: a field of battle
    So realistically, the ‘fall’ can happen whenever they have their ‘little’ fight :P

  • Xed Alpha

    Personally think he’s a ‘discarded’ regenration (discarded by the time war and it’s lock). The doctor died during the war, meaning this ninth only existed purely in the war state and did something to essentially to remove the events of the war (including the ninth regeneration as a whole) leaving the doctor to exit the war, instantly regenerating into Chris Eccleston but without losing a life since the original ninth was deleted, and considering that doctor had lived in nothing BUT hell of that insane war, was he ever really the doctor (remember in the space whale episode where the doctor claimed his actions to put it in a vegetable state would render him something ‘not called the doctor’) This could very easily be an alternate ninth doctor. Wouldn’t be shocked to see 8 turn up at the last minute like he said was possible.

  • tren87

    I dont think so because 10 said in the stolen earth that Davros and his ship fell into the nightmare child during the time war, which is what would have killed him if dalek kahn hadn’t of saved him. the means the nightmare child was something very big and massive.

  • Broyote

    The least likely thing to happen: John Hurt is playing the character from the old Doctor Who and the Daleks movie and this is an attempt to make that Doctor part of official canon.

  • zbaksh386

    shouldnt it be Which Doctor?

  • Kaysee L. Gore

    The Time War was in the comics. The comics, were based on the 8th Doctor. So BAM. John Hurt is NOT this warrior Doctor that ended the Time War.

  • Beast

    I doubt the comics are canon.

    Especially given there’s some profoundly awful comics.

  • Beast

    They should have got the guy who played Tarkin in RotS then. :)

  • Douglass Abramson

    Don’t ruin a good pun with semantics!

  • Sparkimus

    We also know that the Doctor lies.

  • Michelle Mista

    Very good point.

  • Michelle Mista

    I’m interested to see if we will revisit Trenzalore. They showed the cracked window of the TARDIS for a reason. The Doctor’s TARDIS and the grave TARDIS both have the same crack so it’s reasonable to think that it is the 11th Doctor that comes back to Trenzalore to die.

    Furthermore, the Doctor’s grave at Trenzalore is another one of Moffat’s beloved ontological paradoxes. Present Day Doctor had to enter his future grave to expose his time tunnel for the Great Inteligence to infect and for Clara to purge, which means that the Doctor still has to go to Trenzalore, at some point, to die so that the grave is there in the first place.

  • Neil Kane

    True, the Doctor abhors killing. He had talked down Captain Jack Harkness from using his gun when they went to the end of time. He would kill however but only as a last resort while still wishing for another option. John Hurt’s line about what his character did in the name of peace and sanity was said in a most desperate tone void of choice. That line alone gave a depth of melancholy only an actor of Hurt’s (funny how Hurt is his last name—okay maybe not so much) caliber can deliver.

  • Hamish Kanakaredes

    I missed the weekly Doctor Who blogs this year…

  • sillymander

    This is all weird, considering Hartnell wasn’t even the first.
    Reference Brain of Morbius.
    It’s weird. How many Doctors were there before Hartnell? The numbering has always been off…

  • Richard Orpheus Rahl

    Clara is more than the Dr is letting on, and i suspect because she is the “impossible girl” her intervention in saving the Dr will save the Dr from dying when he did. She is an impossible anomaly and so the laws of physics, time and space can be altered by her intervention which would otherwise be impossible even for the Dr to change alone!! She was able to read the book on the Time War and only a time lord can decipher that book, she survived entering the Time matrix which even the great intelligence didn’t survive. She will no doubt play a part a big part in defeating the John Hurt Dr, i can only conclude Clara is either a very powerful time lord or a race older and more advanced/intelligent than them!! Whatever happens ill be glued to the tv when it returns!!

  • Wes Grogan

    I’m going to play the wild card and bet that we’re actually looking at The Last Doctor with John Hurt. If Trenzalore is his graveyard and the Tardis died there, why wouldn’t we see the doctor that died? It’s not like they would ever actually show that on television anyway, so no harm in showing his final regeneration.

  • 010011010110101

    Here is the thing tha struck me, if we think of all this as a bunch of word games. When asked how River knows the Doctor’s name, she says “I made him”, she doesn’t say “I made him tell me his name” she just says that she made him. Which makes me wonder if she ever said that she made him tell him. Or has she always said, in answer to the question of how he knows her name, simply responded, that “she made him”.
    In that, perhaps, she made the Doctor, perhaps she is saying, not that she made the doctor tell her his name, but that, she knows the Doctors name because she was the one who made him the Doctor, so she knows who he really is.
    And in that mix, we then add Clara, in the scenes we are given, we are given a conundrum about Clara, where, sometimes she seems to know the Doctor, and other times she does not. We know in the last three incarnations, she meets the Doctor, but doesn’t know who the Doctor is and what she is supposed to do. In the scenes we see, she knows the Doctor, and he doesn’t know her, perhaps even never notices her there in the back ground, but somehow she saves him every time.
    So who are these infinite Claras who have always been there but never seen? Well, the clue is in the first scene. The First Clara we are given, along side the first doctor and directs him towards the right Tardis (the Tardis who later doesn’t like her, perhaps becaus she remembers her) must be a Time Lord herself. She is on Gallifrey long ago as the tag line says, in a Tardis Repair shop, not the kind of place a human governess of victorian or other children might find herself. We see her, and she advises the Doctor, and the Doctor takes the advice as he and his grand daughter go on the run from the Time Lords, to hide out in junk yard on mid 20th century earth, the last place perhaps, the Time Lords would look for him.
    So, if in the infinite possibilities of the Universe, Clara always shows up in the right place at the right time, she can’t always be a simple human girl, sometimes she might just have to be born a time Lord, and maybe, just maybe, she has to be conceived inside a Tardis one time, and live her life in a contra time line to the Doctor, so that each time she meets him, she has spoilers that she must not reveal, lest it all come undone.
    So, perhaps, Clara, is the Riversong, and perhaps, Clara is also, the Doctors wife (who else could guide her husband to a differnt Tardis) and now here is the kicker. We are told by the Tardis that she chose the Doctor, not the other way around, and we see that the Doctor almost goes into another Tardis, except that Clara steps in to guide him to the right one. And that’s the kicker, see, Clara is Riversong, and Riversong is the Tardis, because if you need an intelect to guide the Tardis, what do you do, well perhaps you go to the worlds largest library, where are stored several minds with all the knowledge in the universe at their fingertips, and use them as the internal infrastructure of the operating system.
    And that is why the Tardis Riversong Clara, always takes the Doctor not where he wants to go, but where he needs to go. Because they know all of history, because they’ve lived all of history, as time lords, as humans, as companions, and they know where the doctor needs to be.
    When we first meet Clara, she is a digitized contiousness inside a Dalek, when we first meet River, she becomes a digitized conciousness inside the library. Time travel has always been possible for beings in a dream state, which these digitized conciousnesses are in all the time.
    As such at that point, they can move between all their lives, and all of time and space, and guide the Doctor to his destination. And they are there at the very begining, when the Doctor, as the Other (who like the 11th Doctor has removed himself from history, but can be rebuilt by the hole he has left) first conspires with Rassilon and Omega to create the Time Lord culture and society. And what they did, they did for peace and sanity. And though Omega had to be sacraficed, and Rassilon had to rise to Power to control time, the Other, the Doctor, could not live with his sin, and so he ran away, the clever boy that he was, but the Tardis insisted he remember to work to undo the evil that he Rassilon and Omega had unleashed by their first attempts to shatter tiem and space, and nd bring the universe under control.

    And then, where does that leave us, with all the mysteries left clear and wide open. Well, that leads us back to the begining, into the Untempered Schism that leads to all points in time and space, and in which we all are echos. But if the Doctor can close the schism, and leave time as a mystery that no one knows anymore. He can start all over again, traveling into a now truly mysterious univerese.

    Or somethign else, less crazy.

  • 010011010110101

    Doctor? No.

  • 010011010110101

    The best prophecies always come true in the most mundane way possible. Because the Universe laughs at those who demand certainty from the future.

  • 010011010110101

    sort of like a dying tardis, big and massive, and that lets you fall through time.

  • Biotinde

    Why does Hurt have to be between 1-11? This is the Doctor’s timeline at the time of his death, even the days that haven’t happened yet, why can’t Hurt be after Smith? Hurt’s Doctor seems to be looking out over the Trenzalore battle ground, since Clara participates all the other Doctor events in the past (and the Great intelligence is destroying all his choices, including the ones he hasn’t made yet, there would be theoretically Doctor personalities that she helps that we haven’t seen yet. River Song knew that Trenzalore was his grave and he couldn’t go there. The Doctor suspected it and never confirmed it. The Doctor knows his grave is a battlefield grave and the site of his final battle. The paradox of him being that close to his time stream or entering his time stream may have given him the memories of future events. I’m not saying he isn’t between 8 and 9, just that everyone seems to be focusing on that.

  • Robert Sienicki

    Well, he might be the Real 9th Doctor. As in “I said he was me, never said he was the Doctor”, so i guess he is one regeneration that doesnt do doctory-stuff, thus was not counted by other doctors as “the doctor”. So on 12 regeneration was 11 doctors, and one who didn’t do it right.

    Also – I hope it’s true, cause this is one and only place in the story of Who where they can do that. We didn’t see Paul McGann regenerate into Chris Eccleston. Anything could’ve happened then.

    Also how epic is that maybe Hurt is so dangerous and bad that Smith and Tennant have to teamup and join forces to stop him and make him regenerate into Eccleston.

  • LightningBug

    I think most people would say it is unlikely that Hurt is a post-11-doctor because the Doctor (Smith) calls him his secret and refers to him in the past tense (“he’s the one that broke the promise”). If this was a subsequent Doctor, it is unlikely that the current doctor would know about him to keep him as a secret, and he would have said “he’s the one that will break the promise” in the future tense. The way he’s speaking it really seems like Hurt is part of his past, not his future.

  • LightningBug

    Have you guys seen this image?

    Hurt is pretty clearly wearing the 9th doctor’s leather trench coat, and his vest and scarf very closely resemble the 8th doctor’s getup. It seems pretty obvious that he is the real 9th incarnation of the Doctor.

  • Eric

    We never saw a regeneration between Troughton & Pertwee, either. So two places. But that’s really, really unlikely…

  • Vontszemű Gyula

    I’ve been thinking the same. Maybe the Doctor in his first incarnation has seen his last incarnation (Hurt) and seeing how bad he’s going to become has resorted to help the Universe in any which way he can until that regeneration occurs. That would mean he’s been running all his life from this knowledge and at the same time set him on this path to fulfill this destiny.

  • Mr Lawless

    Surprise appearance by Eccleston, perhaps?

  • Vontszemű Gyula

    Maybe the Doctor in his first incarnation has seen his last incarnation
    (Hurt) and seeing how bad he’s going to become has resorted to help the
    Universe in any which way he can until that regeneration occurs. That
    would mean he’s been running all his life from this knowledge and at the
    same time set him on his path to fulfill this destiny.

  • waaa kim

    …It’s pharkin’ John Hurt dudes….. The shite just got real……

  • Joe Sorbera

    Pretty good article overall, but I disagree that the prophecy wasn’t fulfilled. The “fields of Trenzalore” were a battlefield graveyard (much like Gettysburg), the “fall of the Eleventh” can mean his descent into the time stream (or the TARDIS falling, or his almost death), even though River said the words, the Doctor didn’t know she would, and was being forced to say his name under threat of his friends’ deaths.

  • Andrew Breneman

    The “Fall of the Doctor” was him forcing the TARDIS to land on the planet. The “Fields” were the Fields of tombstones.

    And the question was asked by The Great Intelligence. The Doctor didn’t have to answer it because the memory of River Song did.

    As for what number Hurt is? He could easily be the TimeWar era 9th Doctor, who partially regenerates into the original 9th due to injuries he sustained a the end of that battle.

  • tokuiten

    Adding to that, in “The Beast Below”, the Doctor says that if he euthanizes the Star Whale, he’d have to find another name, because he wouldn’t be the Doctor anymore.

    This is definitely one of Moffat’s themes.

  • Wyrdrune

    maybe hurt plays “the other” or a similar figure… in the new adventures books (printed in the hiatus after sylvester mccoys run) and hinted by stories from andrew cartmel, the other was a contemporary of rassilon and omega, who later got on rassilons bad side when he became more of a tyrant, the other had to vanish, and much later resurfaced as the gallifreyan that would become the doctor.

  • Parrott

    In the comic Booster Gold, Rip Hunter explains that a time traveler’s name must be kept secret, because knowing a time traveler’s real name puts them in danger of being found vulnerable in their past. I always assumed that was the reason the Doctor hid his name.

    Now I see this John Hurt doctor, and I see it differently. What if this is not a new incarnation, but how the first Doctor looked before he became old. What if the reason he chose call himself the Doctor, and go gallivanting about the cosmos was to atone for some evil deed he did in his youth (at least time lord standard of youth). What if he broke something, and he chose the name the Doctor because he has spend all of his lives trying to mend it.

    Leaving was his new start to living.

  • Blartfarble

    I think John Hurt is the Time War Doctor. As others have pointed out, it isn’t really a secret that the Doctor ended that war by essentially destroying the Daleks and the Time Lords. What is not known however, is how the Time War began. What if the John Hurt’s character did something that actually caused the conflict and is therefore responsible for all its subsequent atrocities?

  • demoncat_4

    i been thinking hurts doctor is the version that the doctor turns into to stop the master once and for all. but has to do something so bad that he can’t ever use the name and also trenzalore is where this battle takes place and hurts doctors answers the question that should not be answered.

  • Phred D

    I think the notion that John Hurt is a between 8 & 9 (8.5) is novel. I am of the mindset that John Hurt is Doctor Zero (0). This is the being that became the Doctor.

    Tennant made a living clone “human” doctor. Could this be the human doctor clone at an older age?

    The only other option is a regeneration went wrong making a mirror doctor that affect things in a negative way.

  • Jonesey

    While ONLY Moffatt knows for sure, I think the Trenzalore prophecy was more or less fulfilled as stated. The “fields” were BATTLEFIELDS, which the Doctor notes as soon as Clara sees the gravestones. I am not positive off-hand but think he mentions something about the soldiers being buried where they feel. As for the “fall”, the TARDIS literally fell to the planet after refusing to enter normally , forcing the Doctor to disable the artifical gravity. As far as the question is concerned, I belive it was what we already knew it was: Doctor who? The question DOES NOT say a “living person” had to answer it, only that the question WOULD be asked and SHOULDN’T be answered.

  • Jonesey

    The TARDIS literally fell to the planet when the Doctor turned off the gravity, so this could be what they were referring to.

  • Godfather Morlock

    Well it could be a possibility indeed,however I do not think he is what the doctor calls the nightmare child,if he really is one of the “horrors” the doctor listed during the return of the timelords he would be the could’ve been king and the army of neverwhere and meanwhiles might be other being whom the timelord forced into a form or made temporal duplicates of.

  • ian ward

    It wias he old doctor, before the first.

  • jason malinoski

    That might be hard to accomplish.

  • disqus_D6HJ8k4THl

    I think Hurt is the original incarnation of the
    Doctor before he became the Doctor. Whatever evil act he did was done
    long ago, and after his transformation into Hartnell he took on the name
    “the Doctor” (perhaps because that’s what Clara called him as he was
    stealing the Tardis) and left Gallifrey to runaway from his (secret)

  • dexter

    Well since a timelord has only 13 lives I believe that the doctor is on his 12th not because the idea that John Hurt is the link from 8 to 9 but because David Tennant regenerated but kept his same form so leaving enough residual energy for one new doctor but JH might just be the doctor that brings an explanation to what happened in the time war.

  • LightningBug

    The thirteen lives rule is almost certain to be thrown away, and never mentioned again. The original writers could not have predicted that the doctor would still be popular and profitable after 11 incarnations. If they had predicted this, it probably wouldn’t have ever been a plot point to begin with.

  • Jman Meeks

    Actually I believe that Hurt’s Doctor is “The Other”. If anyone will recall, The Other is one of the founders of Gallifreyan Society, who then dies and reincarnates to first doctor. When Susan went back to find her grandfather “The Other”, she finds the first doctor who she then realizes is The Other.

  • John G

    “He’s the one who broke the promise.” That mean that at one point he was “The Doctor.” Personally I don’t think the numbering is going to change I think Hurt is playing an old 8th and he broke the promise during the time war.

  • John G

    He acknowledges what he did to stop it not what happened during the time war.

  • Thor

    The secret I think will be the name he chose during John Hurts time…his current ( also why he abhors violence so much ) nature. Like if during this form he chose The Storm, or The Warrior some so far away from his previous form he has not be able to shift away from it.

  • Becca

    I don’t think that is possible, if Hurt was the future than Smith’s Doctor wouldn’t have known who he is.

  • Adam Garcia

    But he knew where he was buried…

  • Matthew R. Albaugh

    One theory floating around my head is this; Hurt is the Eleventh Doctor. The Doctor has many times talked about parallel universes and the like; perhaps Hurt answers the Question on the Field of Trenzalore, while for Smith silence falls. I haven’t heard anything about the Valeyard until now, or if I did I don’t remember.

  • Fabien

    Why everyone keep thinking that John Hurt and Matt Smith are different Doctors? We are still trapped inside the whole Doctor timeline, past present and future: John Hurt can even be an old Matt Smith and Matt Smith knows that John Hurt did what he “did without choice” because he is the one who did it in the end and he saw his future actions in the paradox of his own timeline. This way the numbering is preserved and John Hurt says he’s “part of the doctor” because he’s only the future of him, not the whole.
    That’s how I see it.

  • Sherman Dorn

    Only because the Victorian Era prisoner gave the coordinates to Vastra.

  • Sherman Dorn

    … except that in the post-“Name of the Doctor” video, Smith and Tennant are clearly talking about Hurt’s Doctor as bemused by them.

  • Sherman Dorn

    We know a few things: Smith’s Doctor says Hurt’s broke the promise implied by the title The Doctor; and Hurt says he acted “without choice.” I remember Harlan Ellison many years ago saying the gist of Doctor Who is action, making choices for hope, in contrast with the Gallifreyans who lorded it above time, observing but never interfering (or making things better).

    Hurt’s Doctor pretends he had no choice. Like many others, that makes Hurt’s Doctor being the one in the Time War the most likely backstory — but not necessarily the heart of the 50th Anniversary, and I really don’t think the plot will focus on that. My guess is that Tennant’s and Smith’s incarnations will have to deal with the fact that they’re stuck with Hurt and have to work with him, though they detest what he did and what he left them as memories.

  • kevinmcd28

    except that makes no sense since the valeyard is basically the 12th doctor according to fluff.. maybe the 50th anniversary episode lets him escape the valeyard … and would allow future regeneration’s continuing D. Who….. he would know of the valeyard since he saw him in the trial of a timelord and cannot escape him since he saw him making it time locked…but its potential which would make it un-time locked…..i guess

  • Adam Garcia

    Yes, and Clara told him the coordinates and he knew that was where he was buried.

  • Adam Garcia

    And how does that negate him being the antagonist?

  • Fred

    I think Hurt is an older 10… the one sent to live with Rose with only one heart who can age…

  • Polish John

    You are amazing.

  • Louise

    When I first saw the episode, the end truly baffled me. I have only seen the recent seasons of Doctor Who, so doctors 9, 10 and 11. And I have seen all of the episodes in the past two years. Now, in the final few episodes, a lot has been said about his past and the whole Clara-situation. After thinking about it a little, this was my theory: John Hurt is the first Doctor who did not take the Tardis and run away. So he is the actual personality of Doctor Who before he became the Doctor. But after reading all of this, I realize I am probably wrong. Still wanted to share my idea though, hoping a lot of others thought that too and I’m not too much of an idiot ;)

  • TD

    As we saw Clara on Gallifrey, there has to be a time lord version of her … possibly more than one.

    There is a lot of excitement about what John Hurt has to do with everything, but there is the question of who Clara is became bigger, not smaller.

    But we already got some answers to some big questions. Namely, why trouble seems to follow the Doctor everywhere, and also the question of how and why he is always able to get out of it. He has two people in his timeline constantly trying to counter one another, and the Doctor is ultimately just along for the ride.

  • The Nth Doctor

    Remember what Tennant’s Doctor said in the End of Time, Part 2? There was an army of never-weres and might-have-beens fighting in the Time War. What are the odds that Hurt’s Doctor is one of those?

  • The Nobody

    So what happened to the Great Intelligence? Did it die? Escaped? Or is it still within the Doctors timeline thingy. If GI still lives I’m guessing that it manifested itself into a past evil incarnation of the Doctor, in which Hurt plays, that never existed in the first place.

  • Tim

    People are speculating on whether or not John Hurt is playing the Doctor. I believe he is. The Doctor is suffering from the effects of PTSD and John Hurt is the incarnation who was called upon to be a warrior and not a healer. So naturally, once John Hurt did awful but necessary things to end the great time war, his later versions seek to deny that this grizzled veteran who looks weary and defeated is one of their own. Isn’t that what happens to veterans? Aren’t they often forgotten and denied? Don’t we put our soldiers into unenviable positions? I think this is a brilliant storyline, and a great way to recognize the cost to people who fight in wars, only to be forsaken when they should be respected for what they endured.

  • Brian from Canada

    The regeneration is explained by the regeneration of 3rd to 4th: the Time Lords interfere again, meaning they triggered the transformation from 2nd to 3rd. And the transformation from 6th to 7th happens with a TARDIS crash; the TARDIS “crashes” on Earth at the end of the 2nd Doctor in a way to make it unable to leave.

  • diegopane

    there are some good arguments here, the theme of running from destiny only to find yourself at destiny’s door wil for sure have a big effect on the special. I think john hurt will play the doctor who “ended” the time war the one who actually destroyed many races in one moment.
    my arguments are in the beginning of the reboot ecclestons looks himself in the mirror apparently for the first time, then it was said that he regenarated during the great battle and finally the fact that this man is not the doctor goes perfectly since he would be what river song told the doctor in demons run that because he fought for such a long time some people thought that doctor wasnt the name of a healer but of a warrior.
    Therefore john hurt is that warrior who ended the time war and killed millions upon millions of people

    That being said with moffat at the helm all bets are off

  • Liam Tyssen

    Time can be rewritten. Maybe he’ll pull off something to reverse it from ever happening

  • teddybowties


    River is, by her own words, DEAD. But, being a digital ghost isn’t really dead. i say the DOCTOR is the one who is DEAD. John Hurt’s doctor is either the Real Doctor, the COULD HAVE BEEN KING or ONE OF THE MEANWHILES. or NEVERWERES…

    The SILENCE could be the Neverweres/Meanwhiles, as well, which would mean that the DOCTOr created them. SHOCKER.

    sweet. I don’t see Hurt’s Doctor being the bad one; just the traumatised, forgotten veteran that must be reabsorbed and accepted for the Doctor to be whole, hence the trinity comment.

    another theory:

    PLUs, consider the title of THE BEAST BELOW.

    Smith is The Beast. He is all over the place, psychologically, the most unstable of any of the Doctors, and most definitely THE MOST LIKE SIX.
    Half-Ten in Pete’s World is The Valeyard. He chose to kill because they -deserved it-. Hence the Valeyard.
    Hurt’s Doctor is the Storm. he called change, and what do storms do? They CHANGE THINGs, for Better or Worse, WITHOUT CHOICE. He did what he did without choice, as all storms do.

    in essence,
    THE DOCTOR IS THE COULD HAVE BEEN KING who created the Meanwhiles and Neverweres, aka the Silence and others like them.

    THE JOHN HURT DOCTOR IS THE STORM, who is unlike the Valeyard in that he is obviously sorrowful and ‘did without choice’, just like a storm would, bringing the elemental nature of change to the table, just as a storm would.

    THE HALF-HUMAN TEN IS THE VALEYARD, who killed because the daleks -deserved- it, judging indiscriminately and completely in character with the Valeyard.

    this season is chock full of delicious psychological alchemy, if you just look for it.

    and the kids find this stuff faster than we do.


  • Josh

    Just a few things i would like to point out, When John Hurt states that what he did was “in the name of peace and sanity” maybe it doesnt mean he did it to restore/on the side of peace and sanity, but literally took the name meaning peace and sanity (like how the Doctor does things in the name of the Doctor)

    Unrelated to what I just said, Maybe This secret doctor has a connection/is the Nightmare child, which was some sort of unknown enemy in the time war that supposedly killed Davros?

    Just food for thought

  • masterjace

    To seal the time war it takes 3 Dr’s Past, Present, Future, all working together at the sametime. The John Hurt Dr. is the Past or original Dr. The mad man that was torn apart by the war. It was all given away in the shows if you follow them. The Dr. giving away his past to Grandfather, the shows are all interconnected. I see so many connections in each show to the other one. But mainly The Rings, The Crimson, The Name, are all extensions of one another. I have a feeling that the “Real” Dr. could be asleep in some “Tricksters” illusion like Donna was in, and what we have seen with the last 3 Dr’s have been that illusion, a lie a story, a what is. The same dates are always repeated in the show. Smith will break free at the end and chose to be the Dr. he is but we will see Hurt as the Dr in some machine maybe the TARDIS in suspension. The Wars, fights, trips, all illusions to keep his mind sharp keep him fighting. Like a VR world game to keep him from shutting down. Or a what if, what could be, should be, crystal ball type thing. The Dr. looking at what his future will be, could be, seeing all the lives he will touch. The Great Intelligence is part of that. I suspect even part of the Dr. himself or the TARDIS. Clara is she the TARDIS or another trap to keep him in the game? She is not what she claims to be. There were questions on another site about Trenzalore the death of 10 billion with the GIT, that is something that she told the girl in The Rings, her mother told her at Blackpool, she got lost 10 billion people died, her mother came and found her, will always come looking for her. The TARDIS exploding I am not sure that its not still the original from before and that the Dr. could still even be in the Pandorica too.

    If you watch season 7.2 out of order it makes more connections.

    The Rings the color red or crimson a Timelord color

    the same marks around the eyes as in the Crimson Horror, Name

    Same marks around the eyes blind woman and the little girl, Red Leech, Vampire, Pilgrims, sacrifice, so many more connections as if its the same story just jumbled up a bit to confuse. Same with Nightmare is Silver, WiFI, Journey to the center, even cold war to some extent. Not going to give it all away but I think I have it all down now. Still dislike Moffat as a writer and think he is lazy. I picked up on all this the first time through. I think I know what the Hurt show is going to be all about, not even sure it will be worth watching.

    I have given everyone enough to think about get you pointed in the correct directions to make your own choices, it’s all given away in Rings, and the Name just look for it. You should see what I am trying to say. At best it’s another lost child get’s Mommy Daddy back Via the Dr. Clara is copied to the Library hard drive for safekeeping, so we will see River again. Lots more to come. Has any of the Last 3 Dr. regenerations even been real or simulations, lots to pick apart. I feel very confident in what I have found, not going to drag a lot of show history into it, Moffat seems to forget that there is a history at times. Keep it simple act like there is no history, no rules, just BS your way through it.

  • Usako

    Don’t forget that Tennant still exists as a time lord who is not the doctor, in the parallel earth with Rose. So, it could also just be that split off copy that Hurt was referring to as part of a “trinity”, simply meaning there are three ‘copies’ of the doctor together all at once.

  • Namnoot

    Yeah, I don’t think he’s the Time War Doctor because Ninth, Ten and Eleventh have been so very candid and open about what he/they did. It has to have been something worse, if that’s possible, for an incarnation to be disowned. And it can’t be an older Eighth Doctor because we saw Eight with the others.

  • Ozman

    Whatever you do, don’t forget the saying… The doctor lies :)

  • qaz25

    That sounds amazing.

  • robthom

    I liked Matt Smith but I stopped watching after they got rid of Karen Gillan.

    She was the butter on the bread.

    But I’d watch Hurt as the Doctor.

  • The Thirteenth Doctor

    Episodes such as the Eleventh hour wouldn’t make since if Hurt was nine, Tennant was 11 and Smith was 12. It’s obvious that Hurt would be between McGann and Eccleston.

    Moffat’s tricked us. Don’t you see? It’s the most obvious.

    Eight went through the Time War, and Hurt is either the Valeyard or a parallel universe Doctor.

  • well actually

    yes but the comics dont always stay canon for instence in one comic we are given a completly different story on the creation of the daleks that didnt evan involve davros

  • RS

    One question that I have is what ever happened to the Doctor’s Daughter (Jenny)? Could she have a role in the creation of Clara?

  • gallifreygirl2007

    and you believe what the Sun says? o.O

  • gallifreygirl2007

    what? what? WHAT? o.O

  • UnderINK

    For those yapping about how the Doctor gets younger with each regeneration, this is patently false. It’s only a very slight trend.

    Two was, and looked, younger than Three. Four, Five, and Six were younger than Seven. In fact, all Doctors from Six to Ten were older than Five. Nine was older than Four, Five, Six, and Eight.

    They’re tending to get younger on average, but the trend is extremely slight. Matt is not some sort of anomaly, as he was only two years younger than Peter Davison (Five) when he took over the role of the Doctor. There’s always been young Doctors speckled about his cycle of regeneration, so there’s really no problem in that respect. And if you did go by the general trend of age, then it would make the most sense for Hurt to play a regeneration preceding Hartnell (like The Other, implied in the novel Lungbarrow), as Hurt is over 70 himself (by far the oldest incarnation, therefore in that line of logic, would be the ultimate predecessor).

  • Macarena Dorminey

    Candid and open about the Time War? what? have we been watching the same show? 1) every time he must talk about it he gets the hunted look on his face and all that. 2) don’t forget that what little we know we have learned over the course of 8 years for us, but for the Doctor it’s been hundreds. To me Eight was given an order to execute, but the Hurt notDoctor is the one who did what needed to be done. E know a fragment of what happened there, bits and pieces. Hardly the whole story.

  • Ziggy Palmer

    Ya’ know i was watching the Doctors revisited last night for Tennant, and at the end of the episode i had a grand theory for John Hurt. What if John Hurt is the clone of 10 from the hand? The half human, half time lord hybrid. This would explain the line

    “What I did, I did without choice.

    DOCTOR: I know.

    JOHN HURT: In the name of peace and sanity.”

    At the end of the episode, the human 10 killed the majority of the dalaks. An act of genocide that the doctor did not agree with, he went to live on his days with Rose in the alternate universe. We really didn’t hear much from him again.

  • Steven Appleton

    The sun turned out to be right…

  • The 12th Doctor

    I think John Hurt was the Alternate Doctor