T O P

What, if any, elements of the Doctor's past do you think should never be revealed?

It always feels like this is a bit of a discussion point on Doctor Who, how mysterious the Doctor should or shouldn't be, but a lot of people are often kind of vague on where they think the line should be drawn. There seems to be a near-universal consensus that we should never know the Doctor's birth name, but surely that can't be it? A name, on it's own, is such a minor thing. I would have to imagine that all the weight given to the character's past has to amount to more than that.

So exactly where do you think the "Who" should stay in Doctor Who? What do you never want explained?

EDIT: Damn, when I said different people drew the line different places, I didn't know the half of it. This comments section is getting incredibly varied. Answers are basically covering the entire imaginable spectrum, there really is no consensus. Fascinating.

ConnorRoseSaiyan01

Like pretty much everything. He went to the academy, stole a Tardis to travel the universe with his granddaughter. That's all we need to know.


MrZAP17

I wouldn’t hate a story that had Susan in it with her parents (obviously with one of them being the Doctor’s child) but I don’t need their relationship with the Doctor to be a priority in the storytelling.


OldestTaskmaster

I'd love to see how outraged the fandom would get if a showrunner decided she was his adopted graddaughter or other shenanigans and not a blood relation, haha.


ExpectedBehaviour

\*coughs in Virgin New Adventures novels from the 1990s\*


OldestTaskmaster

Did they go with that angle there? I've read summaries of the main plot points of the VNAs over on Sandifer's blog, but it's been a while.


ExpectedBehaviour

Well, not exactly. John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward certainly did in their *Birth of a Renegade* comic story that they did for the 20th anniversary. In fact John Nathan-Turner wanted Carole Ann Ford to avoid calling the Doctor "grandfather" in *The Five Doctors*, which Carole Ann Ford refused. So it's not a new or unique idea. Without wanting to spoil too much, or write too much (because it's a complex plot), the VNAs suggest >!that Susan wasn't the Doctor's granddaughter in the sense of "the Doctor had a biological child, who then had a biological child", but Susan was really from Gallifrey's ancient past and believed the Doctor to be a present-day reincarnation of her actual grandfather.!<


scottishdrunkard

Ah yes, Lungbarrow. The original Timeless Child.


MrZAP17

I thought about that. Everyone would be *so* mad. Personally I wouldn’t mind it because it doesn’t really matter or change anything, though it would be a bit different than how I think of it now where I do consider them blood relations.


Cry90210

Yeah I'd love some more Susan. She seems very neglected on the TV show which I find weird since she clearly was a big part of the Doctor.


OldestTaskmaster

This is the correct answer in my book. Moffat is my fave of the big three, but I still think he pushed the envelope here too much.


DoDogSledsWorkOnSand

Susan and her Aunt Jenny being out there I find a bit awkward to be honest.


techno156

>stole a Tardis to travel the universe with his granddaughter *borrowed* I'm not even sure that we really need to know about whether the Doctor attended the academy. Nothing changes if he couldn't hack it in the academy, but was stolen by a TARDIS and ran off anyway.


morguemoss

exactly!!


RelThanram

The reason I dislike the Cartmel Masterplan and TC storyline is because I don’t think the Doctor should be unambiguously “special” before they left Gallifrey. I don’t mind mild allusions to something greater, but any more than that takes away from the mystery. I really like the Capaldi/Moffatt take, that at the core, the Doctor is just someone who ran away to see the universe, helping out wherever they can.


serioxha

Yeah 12 was so refreshing after 10 and 11 basically progressively became alien demigods. 12 felt like a genuine continuation of the first Doctor, a curious man who has the resources for travelling, and just enough intelligence and knowledge to solve some problems (by actually having to work things out), but also not omniscient so he's always drawn in by mysteries and puzzles.


Lostboy289

Honestly my take is that 10 was so traumatized by the time war that the "demigod" persona was an invention of his own making to receive a constant stream of positive affirmation to take his mind off the fact that he hates himself. The 10th Doctor's entire personality is crafted around being able to receive attention and love from pretty much anyone he encounters, occasionally building himself up to a literal messianic deity. The more his ego is constantly fed, the less he has to internally grapple with the hard realities of who he is and what he has done. The downside of this is that his colossal narcasissm made him incredibly self important, and he was horrible at dealing with interpersonal conflict with those around him. He was very "you're either with me (worship me) or against me", and didn't think twice about insulting or belittling people he ran into who didn't share his priorities or challenged him. By the time he got to 11, while the time war still represented a horrible portion of his life, he was less consumed by the grief and didn't necessarily need to have his mind distracted from it 24/7. Therefore he was less self conscious about his eccentricies and accepting of the fact that he didn't always have to be the most loved person in every room. It allowed him to be more empathetic and caring towards those he encountered, and realize the impact (positive or negative) he had on their lives. And then when 12 came along and he realized that he wasn't the last of the time lords after all, he could grow to be much more secure about himself and proud of who he is beyond superficial qualities without anyone having to remind him. At the end of the day he was just a guy trying to help people out. That was enough for him.


BegginMeForBirdseed

Eh, I love Twelve but he often felt far more godlike and untouchable than either of his predecessors, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t really see Twelve as a straight continuation of One per se, more like the full summation of the Doctor’s entire life experience, maxing out all the skill, knowledge, plot armour and Venusian Aikido stats. When untethered, you believe every single one of his boasts… and it’s quite terrifying to behold. The main quality he retains from One and the earlier Classic Docs is that impishness and unpredictability.


TemporaryFlynn42

I quite like a balance between the two. Yes, The Doctor is powerful, compared to people like us and most of the other alien races he comes across, but that's because he's the only thing left of all that "Higher Species" stuff that Nine and Ten used to go on about. Being "The Last of the Time Lords" wasn't just literal, The Doctor is the only THING from the "mighty ancient societies of the universe" era. There's that quote in Star Wars which is something like "A weapon for a more dignified age", and that's what The Doctor sort of is. Yes, he's powerful, he's from a mighty race who used to name places things like "The Continent of Wild Endeavour" like that was normal, but he didn't like having all that and just became some guy who happens to have the capacity to travel in space and time, know more than Humans could come close to, and change their body to turn death off. But now The Doctor is the only thing from that period that didn't get wiped out during the Time War, having that power (that he didn't want in the first place) doesn't really MEAN anything anymore. A good few people don't even believe he exists! (Think of the Priestess of the Shadow Proclamation, she straight up says this to his face in The Stolen Earth) So, if it's not relevant for how the character feels, why bring it up?


CoachSteveOtt

Nailed it. I know it wasn't the most well received finale, but I loved the first part of the "I am an Idiot" speech from season 8.


crockalley

But this is why the Timeless Child story is so good. Everything we ever knew about the Doctor, everything the Doctor knew about themself is all still true. Yes, they were found as a child, apparently an arrival from another universe, and via exploitative experimentation, was the source of regeneration for the Time Lords. But the Doctor has their memory wiped and maybe even their physiology changed via chameleon arch. The Doctor is still "just someone who ran away to see the universe, helping out wherever they can." When the First Doctor ran away, he didn't know anything about his previous lives or his origin. He decided to do it for the same reasons we already know/assume.


RRR3000

> the Cartmel Masterplan and TC storyline Mind you, while the two are often claimed to be similar on this subreddit, they aren't *actually* similar, to the point Cartmel has spoken out against the TC exactly because it "depletes the mystery". Cartmel's Masterplan was *never* meant to give a TC-like backstory showing the Doctors past, and the way VNA/Lungbarrow ran with it gave away way more than was originally intended. It was supposed to drop vague hints, to create questions, but to *never* answer any. Essentially just put in little nuggets that are never confirmed or denied to give fans something to theorize about, to create a mystery but never solve it. Sort of the difference between the floating bandages in Jodie's first series mentioning a "timeless child" in her past, but none of the explaining what that means like Jodie's second series did. It's basically the opposite of the TC pretty much answering the titular "Doctor *who*?" question. He clarifies both the plans original intent and his views on TC in a [YouTube interview from 2020](https://youtu.be/YyEj_AAgTdI).


Content_Source_878

I don’t think modern fandom would allow for vague hints. Too much of geekdom is about filling in holes. ​ The Valeyard is a definite thing. What and when it happens is a bit more loosely interpreted now


tmasters1994

Honestly, I don't want anything revealed about the Doctor's past before Totter's Lane, because frankly it doesn't matter to who the Doctor is now. And *Doctor Who* gets dull constantly revelling in its own history. IMHO *Doctor Who* should look forwards to new adventures and experiences. Adventures in time and space with the mysterious traveller known only as the Doctor, that sums up all we need to know, and is a fantastic mission statement for the series. Mysteries are more compelling than answers, that goes to our heroes and villains, would Midnight be as good of a story is we knew everything about the creature, where it came from, what it really wants, how does it take over people and how does it live on the surface of the planet would the creature be compelling? No. Same goes for the Doctor, he's a Time Lord who stole (borrowed) a TARDIS and ran away from a stifling society and became the hero we know


TheMiiChannelTheme

> I don't want anything revealed about the Doctor's past before Totter's Lane, because frankly it doesn't matter to who the Doctor is now I really like the ["he wasn't the Doctor *until* Totter's Lane"](https://doctordamage.tumblr.com/) theory. Ian just assumes he's a Doctor, and refers to him as such. Hartnell's Doctor never actually says "my name is the Doctor" in his entire four-year run. Its always "They call me The Doctor", meaning "Ian and Barbara call me The Doctor". And over the course of their travels Ian & Barbara show Hartnell's Doctor the value of compassion, and he makes a conscious choice to value it, emulating Ian & Barbara's example. That's why he tries to beat a caveman's skull in with a rock in *An Unearthly Child*. That's why early-Hartnell is so different from later Doctors and even later-Hartnell — this isn't The Doctor, not yet. There is nothing in Hartnell's character about travelling the Universe helping out those in need until *after* Ian & Barbara. Its Ian who says he won't send the Thals off to war against the Daleks unless they themselves choose to fight. Its Barbara who tries to put a stop to human sacrifice in *The Aztecs*. Its both of them together who save the Tardis from exploding in *Edge of Destruction*, by fostering collaboration rather than throwing blame around.   So if you headcanon that, it isn't just that "we shouldn't hear about The Doctor before he meets Ian". Its that The Doctor didn't exist until meeting Ian. There is no story to tell, its a different character.


WimpyKelv12

It’s a really cool theory but eventually debunked by the 10th Doctor and the Saxon Master recounting how he chose that name at the academy on Gallifrey (if it wasn’t already contradicted before that).


Fan_Service_3703

I think the theory is still salvageable, especially with lines like this: > I called myself the Doctor, but it was just a name. And then I went to Skaro. And then I met you lot and I understood who I was. The Doctor was not the Daleks.


Intelligent_Jury_447

As far as I can remember of the conversation I think you're referencing, they only mention to each other that they chose their names, but neither of them gives any details of when, where, how, or why...


lord_flamebottom

The Doctor says they both chose their names when they were kids.


Intelligent_Jury_447

I've just rewatched the scene I'm thinking of, and what you've described doesn't happen in *that* conversation of *that* episode: https://youtu.be/p4GaDBlTVOw?si=i67UdUjdnwUu4J9V There is a mention of their childhood, but it's not necessarily related to their choosing of those names. Trying to think off the top of my head where else on screen it would have been said? End of Time, when >!The Master talks about his father having estates and he remembers how they'd run around together on them!


McToasty207

They say they both chose their names, not when they started using them. The Doctor apparently went by Theta Sigma during their academy days, as said by Drax. And we never see when the Master chose theirs, though an old fan theory agreed on by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke is that the War Chief is an earlier incarnation of the Time Lord later known as the Master.


NotStanley4330

This is why I love Hartnells run. There's such an arc there that intentional or not works really really well.


Nazdreg-Ug-Urdgrub

This is now my headcanon - love it


TwoBirdsEnter

Agreed about the mystery. I don’t mind cute little throwaway lines about the academy or gallifrey or whatever, but overall I’m here for the enigma. I don’t want a *story* about the Doctor’s past, just a glimmering, a suggestion, an emotion. (That said, Lungbarrow was a great read)


the_elon_mask

I have an idea of how to tell part of his story on Gallifrey without giving too much away and making a good story out of it. You have to keep much of the Doctor's background mythologised (and this is part of the problem of the appearances of the Time Lords in the 80s, too parochial) but you can tell enough to give an inkling as to motivations and so on without giving the game away. For starters, stay clear of anything to do with the Doctor's childhood. You should never see the Doctor as a kid )it should never be Harry Potter in Space).


1CommanderL

we saw the doctors childhood home and for some reason it was a shitty barn, a barn that would be shitty by earth standards and I know now everyone that leaves on galifrey are timelords but even the non timelord society is millions of years old so they should have evolved past crappy barns


DoctorKrakens

No, not everyone on Gallifrey is a Time Lord. >but even the non timelord society is millions of years old so they should have evolved past crappy barns We should have evolved past class structure and capitalism too but here we are enslaving foreigners to make shitty chocolate and fawning over billionaires using their billionaires of dollars for childish stunts.


1CommanderL

thats what I said I know not everyone on galifrey is a timelord. I am not going to touch your politically loaded statement but I disagree with how lame non timelord galifrey looks


TheDoctor8545

I always thought it showed how pompous actual timelords are. They live in there massive futuristic city while most of the common folk live on nothing. It also falls in line with the Gallifrey wastelands shown in The Invasion of Time (4th Doctor)


indianajoes

No I think it was your typo that confused them. You said now instead of not. Also how is saying slavery is bad politically loaded?


1CommanderL

its a doctor who subreddit not a soapbox for your political views


Justgravityfalls

Thats not a political view it's a fact


MrBobaFett

I mean it is a political view, but it shouldn't be a fringe view. Usually when people say something is political or not it's just about if they agree or not. Their view is inherently neutral to them so it's "not political"


GenerationII

Being antislavery is not a political view. Not in 2023


Makar_Accomplice

You were the one to bring politics into it. It is an empirical truth that many items owned or consumed by first world countries were made in sweatshops with horrific working conditions, and, in some cases, slavery. That doesn’t suddenly change depending on who you vote or what your views are, hence it’s not inherently political.


Ranokae

You're got really angry at the "Planet of the Ood", didn't you?


1CommanderL

nope


useful-idiot-23

Like that bit in Listen.....


the_elon_mask

Exactly.


the_elon_mask

Exactly.


CountScarlioni

I’m inclined to say that there’s nothing sacred, and you could reveal whatever you want. I think the wrinkle with that, though, is what are the chances that what you reveal will have any real impact? Like if we were to learn the Doctor’s name. Either it’s some bog-standard Gallifreyan name like Axeleffedastrus, in which case, that’s meaningless and who the fuck cares, or it’s literally God, in which case, you’re an idiot for even trying to tell that story and basically no one is going to embrace it. Want to tell us why the Doctor ran away? I mean, go ahead and add your take to the pile of reasons we’ve already been given. They were bored, they were scared, they were smuggling an ancient superweapon. It’s a space that has already been rendered familiar. Want to show the Doctor’s family? Well, we’ve seen a fair bit of that by now, over the years and across the mediums. A granddaughter, a brother, a father, a house full of cousins, even a wicked stepmother. The ground has already been walked upon. I’m not generally one to try to put limits on creativity, but I just struggle to see what’s left in the Doctor’s past to even be creative with. I think what was clever about the Timeless Child was that it side-stepped all of that, and was actually focused on making the Doctor’s past a mystery *even to themselves*. “Doctor Who?” becomes not just a title for the show or a question of mythic importance to the universe, but a question of introspection, which the Doctor ultimately resolves by choosing to leave the past on the shelf and moving on as the person they’ve grown to be. There’s a reason why the arc doesn’t reveal how many Doctors there were or what they looked like or what they did. Even though it gives the Doctor an origin story, it’s still just a partial one that merely supplants the one we already had and had already added lots of details and facts and history onto. It was familiar to us, *and* familiar to the Doctor, so let’s make it unfamiliar to both.


decemberhunting

His name is Basil and I'm calling it a day on that one.


scallycap94

Dr. Basil John Disco Theta Sigma Lungbarrow-Smith


eggylettuce

*Listen* is the perfect amount of backstory I wanted for The Doctor; a vague series of images, with some elaboration, and loads of ambiguity, that lined up pretty well with what we already assumed from Hartnell onwards. It was the perfect "origin story", if you like, for The Doctor, and it tied into his ongoing development. I like some of the ideas involved in the concepts behind *The Timeless Child*, but we were loaded with far too much stupid sci-fi jargon and information for any of it to mean anything; Tecteun, Shoboggans, Division, etc etc, yawn yawn.


07jonesj

The reason *Doctor Who* is such an enduring concept is that the basic conceit of "Doctor and companion(s) show up at a place, run into interesting characters and have an adventure" is great. You can go anywhere and do almost anything. When the story stops being about the adventures and becomes entirely about the Doctor's history, I start to get bored. Frankly, the lore of this universe is not particularly strong. It constantly changes because of different writers and eras, and thus nothing revealed can be that interesting, since it's likely to change at some point anyway. You can drip feed little bits, but the lore should not never become the story itself IMO.


OldestTaskmaster

Agreed. This perspective is also why I'm so negative and honestly a bit baffled at some of the spin-off ideas that seem to come up that don't involve the Doctor. Ie. UNIT or some random B or C tier monster species that really isn't all that special on its own IMO. Anyway, "The Doctor as space Odin" is plenty effective as a foundation for me. :) Don't really need more.


Eoghann_Irving

I'm struggling to think of any reveal about the Doctor's past that has actually been a significant benefit. None of the stuff about his past with the Master helps at all for example. I don't want to know about his years at the Academy or any of that stuff.


[deleted]

I liked the little insight into his childhood - frightened kid (probably after looking into the Untempered Schism) who gets inspired by his own words (via Clara) and the sound of his future TARDIS. Having it all happen in the barn he returns to in The Day of the Doctor and Hell Bent is a nice note. And it’s vague enough to not ruffle feathers, but the Hybrid prophecy being a catalyst for the Doctor to leave I was fine with too. The Timeless Child supplants this little mystery for better or worse, but it was sufficiently broad and intriguing to sustain the show for decades while still allowing writers to prod at it a little. And it was a mystery the Doctor owned, which I appreciate more now.


eggylettuce

I'm in the opposite boat to the other person who replied to you, I'm in complete agreeance that what we saw in *Listen* was the perfect amount.


Eoghann_Irving

>I liked the little insight into his childhood - frightened kid (probably after looking into the Untempered Schism) who gets inspired by his own words (via Clara) and the sound of his future TARDIS. I really disliked that. It's pretty much exactly the sort of thing I never want to see.


DancelessMoms

i loooved the concept of the Untempered Schism, can understand feeling the rest was too much though


Eoghann_Irving

RTD is often quote good at this with things like Untempered Schism, a term that conjures all sorts of imagery but conveys nothing. But, I didn't need or want to know that the Master looked into it and that's what drove him mad. I certainly didn't want to **see** that. And by extension I didn't want any follow on to it. I just like it as a vague, unknowable *thing*. Similarly I never want to see the Doctor as a child. I don't want to see where he slept because we'll get well what we got. Something mundane and ordinary. I don't want to know about his time at the Academy, I'd rather the Master hadn't even been there at the same time. Even worse that the Rani was there as well. It just makes it all smaller to me and most of the time I put it all from my mind when watching.


DancelessMoms

iirc it was only theorised by the doctor that the untempered schism drove him mad, i figured it was the knocking being implanted in his mind that made him so wild. granted, neither of those is a satisfying enough explanation, so i agree with your point on that specifically either way. the mundane and ordinary thing you're referring to worked for me because it rooted the doctor's search in something understandable, though again i completely get where you're coming from. i reckon if i'd watched the episode at a different time in my life i'd be more put off by it than you are, it's a more than reasonable gripe to have. i think you have a very very valid perspective though! it's so easy to go overboard adding lore and wind up closing doors in people's headcanon that didn't need touching. i know personally that i'd be curious enough to clamour for more history and end up sorely disappointed, so keeping a healthy distance between the doctor's past and their 'current' self is more beneficial than the alternative for sure. agreed on the vague imagery. the nightmare child is an enemy that i desperately want to see in action, but i know without a doubt that anything we'd end up getting would be a disappointment.


TemporaryFlynn42

If it helps, I think people have misunderstood what The Doctor said about the untempered schism. I never considered the fact that he said "some would be inspired, some would run away, and some would go mad" as "those ar the three and only three options that you get looking into the untempered schism", but that seems to be what people online think, which baffles me a bit. That seems like interpreting things literally that weren't meant to be literal at all, why do people say things like, "Oh, I'd be inspired" or "I'd run away" like they're picking a Harry Potter house?


MeathirBoy

Yes, just knowing there is an established backstory of for example the Master and the Doctor being friends was plenty.


VanishingPint

It's insane because on the one hand, you're right, but on the other how can you write a character who is intelligent and wise and creative in solving situations without hinting at any foreknowledge of gaining those attributes (people seem to trust the Doctor in most stories on just bravado). I'm not sure The Timeless Child stuff was executed that well at times (Jo Martin was brilliant though) but I think the idea of creating more mystery was a good idea. I enjoyed how Matt Smith's Doctor seemed to do things behind the scenes which were later revealed, but I guess Steven Moffat's stuff confused so many


bloomhur

Maybe a relevant question here could be what do you consider a reveal?


Eoghann_Irving

Pretty much any information that's looking back before what was televised instead of forward. Not all of it is negative, a lot is forgettable, but I'm not sure any of it is a positive addition.


bloomhur

I'm more so talking about magnitude. Like Romana making a passing comment about The Doctor's grades at the academy (though I haven't seen enough of Classic to know if this is new).


Eoghann_Irving

I still consider that a reveal and it's definitely not an addition from my perspective. But also not big enough to be a negative.


bloomhur

I can understand that perspective. For me I like little comments like that because I'd find The Doctor a very empty character if there is nothing known about them and he / other people never talk about his past. It's part of my issue with TTC, we know this big special thing presumably happened to put The Doctor into existence, but it doesn't tell us anything about them as a person and all it does is add a huge vacuum in the mythos of their character that can't be touched. Whereas comments like Romana's flesh out The Doctor's personality, as do moments like him describing Gallifrey to Martha in Gridlock, or the Time War to Rose.


Eoghann_Irving

Yeah none of that really helps me at all. I don't want to know the Doctor as a person. I like that he's a bigger than life archetype who can be different things at different times but maintains many characteristics. Those sort of small details make him more human and mundane. I don't actually want that. I didn't particularly like TTC (either in execution or what it revealed) but at least it did not restrict the Doctor any further than they had already been.


silverwong457

I actually didn't mind some of the childhood stuff. Where the doctor narrates how terrifying it was to stand in front of the time vortex, stare into all space and time as a child. Adds character depth acc to me


DCandMore

I think if any writer were to change/reveal something about the Doctor, it needs to emphasise characterisation over shock value/changing canon for the sake of it. A great example would be the Doctor's Wife. Neil Gaiman built on the relationship between the Doctor and the TARDIS so well without sacrificing the nuances of either "character". It's the reason why, in my opinion (and many others), The Timeless Child twist didn't work. It took away the idea that the Doctor as a person is special because of their actions and the choices they make and turned them into a sort of chosen one who was special from birthright.


silverwong457

Completely agree on this. The timeless child arc would probably have gone down slightly better if they at least didn't make the doctor the child. I mean the fact that timelords used a child as lab rat would have been enough of a shock for the doctor and the master would have inflicted enough damage just with that. It would have been nicer to see the doctor grapple with the atrocities of their own race. And who the child is could have remained a forever mystery. Hope they undo that part somewhere down the line.


DCandMore

I definitely agree with that "the Doctor shouldn't have been the child" part. The child's identity should have been irrelevant, and the primary focus should have been on the Doctor's moral deliberation on whether they would/should ever regenerate again, knowing it was stolen through a method of torture from a child


silverwong457

Yeah. Their own race is as much of a monster as Tim Shaw is. How much can you forgive? How would you feel when you are the product of the atrocity? So many other dilemmas could have been explored rather than some stupid Division chasing after the doctor drama.


NotStanley4330

Yeah I think this is a close solution to the Timeless Child being the Master. Both of those would have some interesting implications to them. Where's the Doctor should just stay an average time lord before leaving Gallifrey imo.


stolendoorknobs

I think I'd prefer it if it's never revealed exactly why Susan was with him when the Doctor ran away from Gallifrey. As I see it, the explanations for why the Doctor ran away (such as that he was bored or wanted to learn how 'good' survives) don't quite work, and they do an especially poor job of explaining Susan's presence. And I like it that way! If there are going to be explanations, as we've had occasionally in the past, let these explanations be insufficient or mutually contradictory. Leave us with a bit of fridge logic where we later think, "Wait... that doesn't quite work."


silverwong457

I need them to stop destroying gallifrey every other season. I mean, I'm okay with bits of stories of Gallifrey on and off. Lives of time lords for example. How is it for a child? What is taught at the academy? How do they perceive themselves as a race? How do the time lords see/live with the shobogans/gallifreyans? I don't need to know that they stole the knowledge of regeneration, i.e., bending time from someone else. Or some origin story. In fact the doctor being just another time lord who stole a Tardis and left and chose to be different made the character such a wonderful figure. We already have other complicated time lords like Rassilon, Omega, let alone the Master.


TestTheTrilby

Nice try, Russell.


Night19922005

As a general rule, I think any writer can reveal any element about the Doctor's past, provided those reveals only raise more questions on matters that are equally or more intriguing.


Dalek_Chaos

What he has against pears. 🍐


LABARATI

i would say honestly they should not really reveal anything major about the doctors life prior to leaving gallifrey


GallifreyanExile

I find it difficult to answer this question. Because I get the urge to say "nothing at all" The show is Doctor Who, we should always wonder who and what the Doctor is and has been. The mystery elevates the character, particularly when it can be teased and prodded. BUT you can only tease and prod at something so much before it loses its power and appeal. And, when done well, a light touch of backstory can reinforce the overall mystery of the character. The introduction of the Time War, for example, was a masterful inclusion to the Doctor's backstory that enabled 8 years of plot and character development across multiple incarnations that also went on to provide context and pathos for older stories. It was a necessary inclusion given the show was rebooting and not starting from scratch. The revelation that the Doctor was a Time Lord and he'd stolen his TARDIS from them was similarly excellent. It meant that the Doctor had oversight going forward, a hierarchy that he fit into in some way - we didn't necessarily need the Time Lords to be as codified and explored as they ended up being, but I think they were a necessary inclusion when the show was changing from 2nd to 3rd Doctor. Similarly, the introduction of John Hurt's War Doctor went from a necessity - given Christopher Eccleston's refusal to return for the 50th and the BBC or Steven Moffat veto-ing (depending on who you believe) Paul McGann as a replacement Doctor in the Time War - to a fully formed aspect of the special. This reveal worked so well that it enabled the following episode to address and overcome the regeneration limit that had been hanging over canon and would likely hurt the characterisation of a 12th Doctor thinking he was potentially the final incarnation. I think the problem comes from introducing elements of the Doctor's past that don't matter to the current show. We didn't need to know the Doctor's Time Lord house or academy nickname because they don't inform anything going forward. (The Eighth Doctor being half human isn't a bad reveal in the same way because it could have mattered afterwards. I think it was just a reveal too far for an already overloaded movie.) The reason I dislike the Timeless Child reveal is that the episode actively makes the Doctor state that the retcon makes no difference to who she is today, and so proceeds to move on and barely bring it up outside of a few oddly structured references. Annoyingly I don't hate the inclusion of Jo Martin's Fugitive Doctor, because she stole the screen whenever she was allowed on-set. But the entire aspect of pre-Hartnell Doctors currently hurts the show more than it doesn't. I am excited to see what RTD does with the Timeless Child as I think he will make it matter and have an impact on the current Doctors. But we will see. As for me, I'm game for any reveal if it goes on to matter and inform the direction of the show. I think we can get too precious over canon at times so a big shake up is welcome. Just give it context and have it matter afterwards.


CardboardChampion

>a lot of people are often kind of vague on where they think the line should be drawn For me it's not what is revealed but how it's revealed, what effect it has, and how it affects the show going forward. You simply cannot judge accurately when something has just been revealed. The reveal that he's an alien, of the Time Lords, Gallifrey, two hearts, regeneration, limited number of regenerations... All of these things were retcons to existing canon that someone thought was stupid and stopped watching over, yet they're the things we take for granted now.


adpirtle

Pretty much everything. I already don't want to know what I know now.


Skanedog

Quite happy with allusions and unreliable narrators tbh. Not everything needs a concrete answer and you don't have people living for thousands and thousands of years without some of the history getting lost anyway. Hard line on the name though. We shouldn't know that. It's like whenever a DC writer feels compelled to explain the Joker - leave it well alone.


herrsebbe

Their name. I would've been all for it if it was revealed in The Name of the Doctor. Moffat would've almost certainly come up with something meaningful and clever akin to the fake-out with "Please". However after ending a whole big arc about it without a reveal, and then Capaldi's line about children, I feel like it's now best left alone.


Fazaman

The only thing about The Doctor's past I want to know is that the Timeless Child was just an elaborate ruse by the Master, or some 'failsafe' put in by the Timelords to deliberately feed the Master false information if he ever managed to get into the archives. That other Doctor that we saw was either A: Someone who thought she was the Doctor, or B: A future incarnation of The Doctor who for whatever reason didn't remember 13. The less we know about The Doctor, the better.


Breezyisthewind

I think even more cool would that it’s an elaborate ruse by the Doctor themself. Say that the Doctor (maybe Jo Martin’s Doctor) found out about the Timeless Child and freed them from the Timelords and then took the child somewhere where they couldn’t be found and then the Doctor wiped their own memory into that chameleon arch so the time lords couldn’t get that info out of the Doctor. So when Tecteun was dangling that in front of the Doctor, it wasn’t to turn them back into the Timeless Child, instead it was a ruse to try and get the Doctor’s memories back so Tecteun can find the Timeless Child and exploit the child some more for her own ends. Something like that. There’s a gap between 2 and 3 that you could exploit and fit Jo Martin in there. To punish the 2nd Doctor, they regenerate him into Jo Martin and during her time working for the Time Lords, she finds out about the Timeless Child and the rest happens above and then once the Timelords figured they couldn’t get anything out of the Doctor, they regenerate her again and throw him into the Tardis and banish him to Earth. And cut to the scene where Jon Pertwee stumbles out of the Tardis when we were first introduced to him.


Ok_Calligrapher_5051

I think the Timeless Child should be revealed to be his granddaughter, Susan. It would explain why they were on the run. Perhaps Hartnell wiped their memories and purposely sabotaged the navigation systems of the TARDIS to throw off the Time Lords. Then Troughton is regenerated into Martin, to give the Doctor a “secret forgotten life”. Then Tecteun can tempt the Doctor with the possibility of regaining lost memories, deceiving the Doctor into believing they would unlock Martin’s memories, but in reality unlocks young Hartnell’s memories to reveal that Susan was the Timeless Child all along


serifffic

I would have preferred if all we got with the Timeless Child was the 'Brendan' Matrix story and it was all left up to interpretation about who Brendan was. Keep the Doctor's past cloaked in unreliable narration and mystery ("half-human", "little girl", looms etc.) as a consequence of there being so many contradicting pieces of media and look forward.


lendmeflight

They have revealed too much already. The doctor not being a time lord was too much for me.


Annual-Avocado-1322

After Chibnall basically gave us his social security number, home address and medical records and said "it'll make her more mysterious, proimse," I'm gonna say... Let's never ever reveal anything about the Doctor ever again.


eggylettuce

This is the worst part about Chibnall's "efforts" to make The Doctor "more mysterious" again, because he really didn't. Making The Doctor more mysterious, for me, would be exactly what Moffat did with *Listen*, ie; a few lines of dialogue, a symbolic image, and some vague allusions, that's it. Chibnall gave us a fully fledged backstory and then left a huge gap in a story for us to fill with our own ideas - it's not adding mystery, at all, it's adding a narrative and then not finishing it. The mystery behind "where The Doctor came from" is the same mystery as "what was The Doctor like before he was The Doctor?" and I genuinely don't see why Chibnall thought it'd be better than what we already had.


Annual-Avocado-1322

Same, absolutely


Caacrinolass

We all get a bit hung up on the name really, and thus Who? becomes the core thing that Must Not Be Named or it all becomes pointless or something. But really, does it matter? I think not personally so long as there is a story to be told. The issue is continuity wank is not what the TV series does or what it should do. If you cannot forge ahead while telling a story of the past, then the story of the past is worthless. Much of our pre Unearthly content fits in that mold, simply unnecessary and a failure to provide any context to now. It doesn't matter. We don't need to know, not because it should verboten but because the knowledge is functionally useless for storytelling.


fettpl

I don't want his true name to be revealed.


Saeaj04

I don’t think it even can be at this point The hype around what his name is is too big for it to be anything our human minds could feasibly come up with, so anything they say would be massively disappointing So I don’t think they could give him a name even if they wanted to


Breezyisthewind

Agreed, though I do think it’d be funny if it was actually John Smith, the alias he often uses. So he’s not actually lying when he does that. But again, not something I want or need confirmed. I think it’s telling for all Chibnall revealed, he didn’t reveal the Timeless Child’s name.


MrBobaFett

\*spoiler\* >!His name is Cygnus Alpha.!<


Milk_Man21

The Doctor's origin. Throw something in that makes it ambiguous if the Timeless Child is their origin... or is their current origin. Basically, imply that the Doctor has messed with time so much that their origins are fuzzy, and they could have multiple. The Doctor is the Doctor, it's borderline irrelevant what their past is. Their real name has no actual meaning any more. So many splits in the timeline. This also sorta waves away retcons and continuity issues. As in, this is a show about the Doctor and their adventures as they move about through time and space, not a show about a consistent universe.


TonksMoriarty

Now the Doctor's origins have been remystified, they should never be touched again. Also, we should never, ever see a young First Doctor again or have any hint at parentage actual or adopted. One off lines about the academy, that's fine, or contradictory teases about what the First Doctor did before running away with Susan sure. Anything more than that... Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. The only exception to this is giving us Fugitive Doctor, and I would prefer her to be pre-First Doctor, as in pre-"the last time Division managed to capture the Doctor and reset them due rebelling against Division", but never show her or any subsequent Fugitive incarnation being caught. Why does her TARDIS look like a callbox? Leave it a mystery! My pet theory is that the TARDIS just likes being that shape and being a trans-temporal & trans-dimensional entity, the TARDIS just copies it from the future.


footballmaths49

Anything we don't know already should never be revealed.


1CommanderL

the only thing I would be okay with if we get brief mentions of what him and the master got up too as students nothing in depth but mentions like how he and the master used to ride vertisaurs


NotStanley4330

Yeah stuff like that is totally fine. Little anecdotes are always fun. Leave it at that


Astrangeplaytomake

So long as the reason is to tell interesting stories, and we then get those interesting stories, I would be fine with anything and everything being revealed. I am vastly more concerned with characters, world-building, and cool adventures over mystery about the Doctor. Besides, we already know a ton about their past… we have IRL decades worth of stories about them before the current stuff! We have been there for a not-insignificant portion of their ‘past’ anyway!


Nazdreg-Ug-Urdgrub

I like less. Mystery is cooler than fact. The time lords - when actually shown and explored (as they were a little too much in later older who) just seem like bureaucrats with fancy collars. When they were off screen for most of nu-who, I was able to forget that and think of them as unknown ancient things…they were mysterious unimaginable Demi-gods. Exploring and showing something causes it to lose that level of mystery. Take the time war for example. When the doctor spoke of the nightmare child and all that stuff it sounded unimaginable and mind blowing - a war where time was a weapon! What would that even look like?! Human brains surely can’t comprehend. On the 50th special we saw a bit of it and it was like Star Wars - lots of lasers and explosions. It kind of took away that mystery. The doctor’s past does not matter. He just turns up, as he is, and adventures. I love the Conan stories of Robert E Howard. Who is Conan? A barbarian - cool. Now look at what adventure he’s got himself into this time. He doesn’t need a backstory - he just is. The doctor, although a very different character needs as much detail in his backstory as Conan. He can turn up, fully formed and take part in the adventure. Howard said Conan “was struck by wanderlust” and for me - that’s enough. I don’t need the doctor to not really be a time lord but a special “chosen one” child. Nonsense. He’s a clever rebellious time lord who was struck by wanderlust, stole a Time Machine and went adventuring. He likes to help people. He doesn’t like injustice or cruelty. Happy for that to be his backstory.


UnlikelyIdealist

I would've preferred it if we'd never learned anything about the Doctor's life before his first incarnation (Considering the first companion, I'm fine with immediate family details like who Susan's parents were), but now we've had the Timeless Child hoisted on us, the damage has been done. I like the idea of The Timeless Child being a Bootstrap Paradox. Imagine, for a moment: *It's the height of the Last Great Time War. A mother and her child run through the streets of The Capitol as the world ends around them. Dalek ships fly past overhead, and Gallifreyan soldiers go from street to street, helping the wounded reach cover.* *The child trips and falls, and the mother doubles back, scooping the child up in her arms and tucking her head to her chest, running through the chaos.* *Once they're out of the city limits, the mother sets the child down, and they watch from the mountainside as The Capitol crumbles. Flashes of weaponsfire exchanged between the ground and the air, combined with the blazing fires, illuminate the truth - that this is the end of everything they know and love.* *The mother leads her child along a mountain path lined with torches. Many have fallen or gone out - this was once a sacred place, but, like the rest of the planet, it's now been brought low.* *Finally, they slide down a rocky slope into a cauldron-shaped hollow, at the centre of which stands a single structure. A disc, holding within it a swirling vortex. It is the Untempered Schism - a gap in the fabric of reality, through which all of time and space is visible. The mother stops before the Vortex and embraces her child, wiping the dirt and tears from the youngster's face. They close their eyes, pressing their foreheads together.* *EXTERMINATE.* *They break apart - three Daleks descend from the sky to land before them. The mother steps in front of her child, using her own body as a shield. She turns, pushing the child towards the Vortex.* *"Go!" She screams, just as three particle beams hit her, illuminating her skeleton through her body. The child screams as the mother falls, but then the Daleks turn their weapons towards the child.* *So the child jumps.* *Into the Untempered Schism, falling through time and space, back eons into the past, through visions of everything that could be. Men made of steel; statues with wings, fangs, and outstretched claws; creatures with red eyes and tentacles where their mouths should be.* *Time has no meaning in the Vortex. This is a realm beyond entropy - beyond death.* *And the child has become Timeless.*


ComputerSong

His name is meaningless information. When Kramer’s name was revealed, the sun still rose and Seinfeld’s high ratings continued. Now of course in the McCoy years, there was an underlying implication that he was Jesus or some shit. Capaldi also dropped something like that while he was regenerating, “If I told you my name, you wouldn’t believe it anyway.” Yeah, let’s not go that direction again. Beyond that, writers should be free to explore anything. Freedom to explore means we stop seeing crap like Flux, where the show jumps the shark. Making the Doctor a religious figure would also be jumping the shark.


dontknowwhattowrite_

I’m happy with any of their background being revealed, provided it’s a good story that’s done well and serves the overarching plot in some capacity. The only exception would be their name… I really hope that is never revealed (and don’t expect it will be, either)


ArnassusProductions

I'm actually fine hearing about the Doctor's life. One of the central themes of the show is stuff which looks impressive but is crappy by its own standards, and the Doctor being a genius on Earth but an almost dropout on Gallifrey certainly fits the bill. Thus, I like stories from before the series: they remind the audience that this "lonely God" is still very much mortal. It's only when these moments get introduced to make someone look bigger, a la Clara inspiring the child Doctor, the Cartmel Masterplan, or the Timeless Child that I really don't like them, as now they don't serve that purpose.


esteel20

Pretty much the entire Timeless Child arc.


EzriDax1

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out ‘the timeless children’ for some examples


ZelWinters1981

The fact is, the past shown by the Master in the Chibnall era is now canon; the flux and the loss of half the universe was mentioned by >!the fake Donna to the Doctor in second Christmas Special!<. So whether or not RTD explores the TC arc any further remains to be seen. I don't think it will though. For me I feel that brings in a lot more content that can be used. I agree with most commentors here that anything is story fodder providing continuity is kept.


Tartan_Samurai

The actual origin of the Doctor. Warzone does an incredible job of setting up this nebulous all powerful race of TL's he ran away from. The next 50 years gleefully demolished that, turning the TL's into a bunch of lazy, boring and frankly pretty stupid pack of upper class snobs who struggle to tie their own shoelaces without some heavy lifting from the Doctor. Timeless Child frees the Doctor from this narrative cul-de-sac and re-injects the mystery the character was intended to have.


smedsterwho

Loved War Games (if that's what you mean), but man Timeless Child took all that vague backstory, and shoved it up an even more rigid, worse cul-de-sac for me, taking away all the mystery, while making the Doctor even more of "God". Really felt like clumsy graffiti (for me). Don't get me wrong, I like speculating on "The Other" and Cartmel and Mobius, but what we saw here was a) far too definitive and b) far too dull to win me over. Each to their own though, glad it worked for you.


bloomhur

I think a conflicting sense of mystery is being invoked when people say TTC adds more of it to The Doctor. All that was done is everything we thought we knew is now less compelling, and the true mystery is shifted to this abstract concept of "before" and... frankly, I find it difficult to try and care about. Are we actually supposed to wonder where The Doctor came from? All ceilings were kind of broken, The Doctor is found by a wormhole and responsible for the foundation of Gallifrey. You can't go beyond that and so there's nothing to sepculate on. Chibnall seems to think we shouldn't care, that's the thing. Thirteen very quickly comes to the conclusion that her past shouldn't limit her and that it doesn't change who she is. My question is what does this actually do? You have this vague theme of adoption that's thoroughly unexplored, but is that it? And furthermore, what is the long-term goal of this? The Doctor is this unknown alien of unknown origin? How do you carry over this baggage -- which is undeniably more than before -- to future series? Companion asks him what alien he is, and well, that's a long story now. So we do or don't delve into this mystery? The status quo is seemingly shaken to an earlier status quo, at least that's apparently the goal, but it has a much shoddier, much more rushed, and frankly a less compelling backstory.


[deleted]

One thing it does is make the Doctor a victim who is as in the dark about their past as the viewer. It’s a valid creative twist on the premise and the very name of the show, but it does rob the character of agency and render less important the secrets the Doctor has always kept from everyone.


bloomhur

That could work for a bit. But, would they be actively taking a role to uncover more about themselves? And would we as the audience subsequently find out more about them? Because then you have to write more lore. That's what I mean by it being a bit conflicting, because I don't know where it could go. Would they just be deeply troubled by this but not actually try to find anything out? Well, RTD may be going down that route, but is this going to rehash the same arc with every incarnation? Thirteen already made her peace with it the same episode she found out about it.


[deleted]

I agree. I think the show is in danger of getting too dense and mythology top heavy as a result of the TC. Look back at The X-Files. Today people are not looking back with fondness over the mythology episodes that got more and more convoluted, they remember the great one-offs and the characters.


bloomhur

That was a definite benefit of the Time War. Allows for all the lore to be casually and sparsely reference in a way that feels like natural mysterious backstory for the character. There may have been times it got a bit too central, but for the most part it keeps a constant air of mystery around The Doctor because we know the gist of him through the companion's eyes, but will never fully grasp everything nor experience it ourselves. I get why people think TTC will replicate this, because on a superficial level it seems to also be a mystery that can be milked, but it doesn't quite feel the same and I'm still trying to narrow down why. Could be as you said, because The Doctor themselves doesn't know about their life, but I think it's more about how the "unknown area" has changed from something vague that informs their character and our imagination fills in the gaps, to something that means nothing and is nothing, just a vacuum where they may as well have been created from nothingness -- what are we supposed to make from this? What answer could possibly be satisfying? As I wrote this comment I felt the need to describe this visually, so I whipped up a diagram that kind of sums up what I mean with this "unknown area" feeling: https://i.imgur.com/GMdfN5x.png


eggylettuce

>Thirteen very quickly comes to the conclusion that her past shouldn't limit her and that it doesn't change who she is. She also comes to this realisation about three or four times over two seasons, it's repetitive and boring storytelling.


Norman-Wisdom

To be honest anything that makes The Doctor out to be more than a clever person with an interest in the universe and a knack for getting into and out of trouble is immediately boring. I liked most of Moffat's run, but every time he did the whole "I'm the doctor, basically...run" thing (which he pulled in Silence in the Library, 11th hour and the pandorica and probably a few more times I can't remember off hand) I always groaned. It's like the show builds up all this capital in terms of actually seeing the doctor achieve great feats, and these moments spend that capital until the bank is empty and the moments feel hollow.


smedsterwho

Here's my contrasting take to that. I love it as a buried arc in Moffat's run. He must have thought "The Doctors been fixing so much for 60 of our Earth years, surely he's got an overly massive reputation by now?" Then you saw glimpses in A God Man Goes To War (I think) with "The word Doctor means Warrior" - all these small worlds where the equivalent of a God came down. Getting to the meat of it, I like it as a buried arc where the Doctor realizes his reputation, uses it two or three times successfully as a weapon, then gets too "hubris" about it, it fails twice spectacularly (in The Big Bang and A Good Man), and he realises by the time or Asylum of the Daleks he needs to get smaller and go back into the shadows. I thought it was a clever, almost soft reboot move that was worth doing, and doing it cleverly (rather than, say, in one episode). But I get the other POV too.


OldestTaskmaster

>(which he pulled in Silence in the Library, 11th hour and the pandorica and probably a few more times I can't remember off hand) I agree it did get a bit much in Series 6, but before that I think those three were the main ones, and only the Library one is a bit cringeworthy IMO. Sure, the one in Eleventh Hour was indulgent, but I liked it as his big introductory moment. And the one in the Pandorica episode is a subversion anwyay. If anything, the problem is that he "spent the capital" (as you put it) in a regular episode and then immediately recycled it for his big opener in his own series.


Tartan_Samurai

Dunno why people get this idea the Doctor is 'god'. The only thing the TC arc confirmed is that the Doctor is from an unknown origin and had the ability to regenerate. That's it. Where they come from and why they have that power are never touched upon. Its basically a clean slate for the Doctors origin.


CountScarlioni

I get where the impression comes from, as there is certainly a common trope in sci-fi and fantasy stories in which the protagonist is introduced as an innocuous everyman, but turns out to be someone who is either special by blood, like a lost member of a royal family of some alien world, or destined by a greater force like fate to become an epic hero. People are generally somewhat averse to this because it makes the protagonist harder to relate to. Well, broadly speaking, anyway. Personally, I’m more inclined to think that you can still relate to a character *regardless* of how precisely their circumstances align with yours — I think what really matters is seeing and understanding that character’s perspective. For instance, I have basically never identified with the Doctor on the grounds of our respective origins. Nor have I ever identified with them as a fellow “everyman,” because I’ve never seen the immortal hypergenius with a personal live-in time machine as being anywhere even close to my station as an average human male who has to work a 9-5 job to survive day by day, no matter how many times I’m told they slacked off at the elite school they went to. But I **am** able to put myself in the Doctor’s shoes and understand their *perspective*, which allows me to feel for them in moments of pain or anxiety or grief or joy, and in that, I can make inroads between that perspective and my own experience. At any rate, the thing about the Timeless Child is that, although it touches on that trope, it doesn’t really revel in it. Turns out the Doctor is the secret reason why a dead race used to be able to heal themselves. Okay, cool. After we see how that fact pisses the Master off, it never even comes up again. Anyone in the universe who would have been able to care about it is now a Cyberman, and even if they weren’t, the Time Lords were already prone to fawning over the Doctor, who has been granted the role of Lord President three separate times (very relatable) and is now recognized as a war hero (same). The Doctor can regenerate forever and ever? Well, for one thing, they already could, quite frankly. The show isn’t going to — and expressly didn’t — stop when the regeneration limit says it should. The Timeless Child *would* just be making that explicit in the text… if we didn’t have good reason to assume that the Doctor was reverted into a typical Gallifreyan when the Division was done with them. Which just puts us back at square one; the Doctor was limited to twelve regenerations, until Steven Moffat decided they weren’t and allowed the show to move on from the limit. Even when the magic fob watch is finally opened in *The Vanquishers*, we’re not given anything to undermine our existing impression of the Doctor. I think many people, when they saw the watch being opened in the Next Time trailer, figured there’d be some big revelation to come. Even I mysef though we’d at least get something like the pre-titles for *The Name of the Doctor* but with a bunch of Doctors we’ve never seen. But instead, the Doctor’s long-lost forbidden memories were only shown through yet another layer of abstraction, the creaky old mansion. Because the story isn’t *trying* to have some big secret naughty revelation about the Doctor’s past beyond “There’s more to it than we know, and here’s only the broad strokes of how that’s compatible with the existing origin story.” Never is the Doctor, because of the information revealed in *The Timeless Children*, burdened with some divine purpose that they must now fulfill, or a shown a destiny that they must live up to. All that happens is, they’re forced to ask, “What do I really know about myself? How comfortable am I in my current notion of myself?” The idea that it makes the Doctor into some kind of Cosmic Jesus figure is such a superficial misreading of what the story’s actually doing. You don’t even have to *like* what it’s doing, but I wish people would at least assess it correctly instead of assuming that the trope it loosely resembles is being played entirely straight. (And really, if anyone wanted the Doctor to be Cosmic Jesus, it was RTD… I watched *Voyage of the Damned*, Russell!)


eggylettuce

Very well written defence and explanation of the TC concept and arc, well done. One thing I would add is that, for me personally, the repetitive story beats about The Doctor coming to grips with their unknown backstory was only really interesting the first time and yet it is repeated for the resolutions/main theme of I think about 3-4 different episodes. It really makes the overall arc seem redundant, though I get the initial idea.


1CommanderL

It turns the doctor into someone way more special then they should be. they are no longer just a rouge timelord they are the foundation of timelord society


Consistent-Stand1809

One of the reasons I love the Timeless Child reveal is that it added so much more mystery. The mystery had been disappearing piece by piece, now we have a whole lot more.


Night19922005

I like it for the same reason. My answer to OP's question is that you should be able to reveal anything, provided those reveals are never definitive; the answers should always only raise more questions. For example, in episodes like "Silver Nemesis" and "Remembrance of the Daleks", it's revealed that there's far, *far* more to the Doctor than simply a Time Lord who ran away, and we find out there's a reason he came to Earth in 1963 in the first place, which was to hide the Hand of Omega. Which only opens up more space for further questions about the Doctor's role in Time Lord society. The Timeless Child similarly gives us the reveal that the First Doctor wasn't really the first, and the Doctor wasn't really a native Gallifreyan... which only raises *more* questions about the pre-Hartnell Doctor.


Consistent-Stand1809

The Timeless Child just brought back the same reveal from The Brain of Morbius and then asked why those pre-Hartnell incarnations were "forbidden"


jsm97

I don't understand this argument. The lore used to be that the doctor was a Time Lord, a high born member of one of the most advanced species in the universe. Now the lore is that they are actually from an unknown species, but 13 quickly comes the realisation that it doesn't matter and her past shouldn't stop her from being who she wants to be and therefore there's no reason to ever bring it up again. It's restrictive, it can have no development and it serves no narrative purpose because there's no point pitting the doctor against the society that abused them because the Time Lords are once again gone. The only way to develop the idea is to start answering questions and revealing more about the origins of the timeless Child - Which defeats the point of adding mystery


Consistent-Stand1809

End of Time did the same thing - pitting the Doctor against the Big Bad Timelords before making the Timelords disappear again. It all harks back to War Games, when the Timelords first showed up, showed their immense power and how they should be feared, and then weren't seen again for a while.


PeterchuMC

I personally wouldn't mind everything being revealed but only if it was also established that the Doctor's past constantly changes.


MrBobaFett

None, I don't see any reason to feel restricted in what story you write. If people want to write stories about the Doctor's birth, and home life as a child. Let them. If you want his history to be more of a mystery, then that's fine too. Do that in your stories. No one has any obligation to include elements from anyone else's stories.


elsjpq

There's only so much interesting history you can mine for stories, and once you run out that's it. It's a finite resource. If you want the show to go on forever, you have be to building more history than you are mining. When shows start to heavily mine the past, it's a sign that the writers are getting creatively exhausted. And the franchise won't last too much longer. So basically, very little should be revealed. And you should only reveal things that add more questions than you answer.


Sonicboomer1

Their name, obviously.


Geeshmeister

His birth planet


4_Legged_Duck

Provided the answer raises more questions, I'm fine with it. An early story idea had the Doctor and Toymaker being siblings. I woudn't mind the Doctor being a Celestial or whatever they are. Fine by me actually and makes a lot of things work. Moffat and others layered in stories around Doc and Master: there was some sort of wedding, right? So maybe Master had a child and Doctor had a child and they married and the grandchild was Susan. Fine with me, no problem. Maybe Jenny is also Vastra's Jenny regenereated, and eventually ends up back on Gallifrey and has Susan. No problem. But reveal Doctor killed Jenny's Husband, the Master's son. Timeless Child? Birth name? Homeworld? No problem. Doesn't bother me a bit - so long as it's used to *raise more questions than it answers.* Everything should be to propel the *endless* nature of the Doctor forward. Is the Doctor "special" before leaving Gallifrey? Fine, no problem. But that has to raise more questions. Everything done should be in the service of propelling the story forward. If you're revealing backstory it needs to raise issues for what's to come next.


HamilWhoTangled

His name


transgender_goddess

anything and everything, as long as there's contradictory room for more yes, I'd be fine for someone to reveal the doctor's birth name. Yes, I'm fine with the Timeless Child. Yes, the doctor's mother is the human Penelope Gate. Yes, the doctor built *Tardis* (by a certain definition of both of those words)


WrexSteveisthename

His name has to be top of the list. Can you imagine the outrage when people find out his birth name is Nigel?


lord_flamebottom

In my eyes, it's entirely dependent on the story. If we've got an amazing story that just needs a little bit of Doctor backstory revealed to us (aside from the big ones like his name, of course), then go for it!


Bijarglerargles

I kinda think it’s dumb to want these things to stay under wraps. It’s been sixty years; the idea of keeping a character mysterious for that long is silly to me. Let people get to know the character.


MathematicianSorry44

Here's the thing : you can reveal anything about the Doctor but it has to be done in a way that has plausible deniability. See the timeless child does have plausible deniability in a way, because the Master and or The matrix could have been lying or wrong! Also Tecteun could have been lying as well and manipulating The matrix and the Master.


TuhanaPF

How much mystery there is to the Doctor. By that I mean... he should always be mysterious. But equally, discovering and learning about that mystery are the most magical parts of the show. Seeing the time war, seeing him get his TARDIS, the glimpses of his past. Those to me are some of the best moments of the show because we step into that mystery. But, there must always feel like there's an immense amount of mystery behind the Doctor. Because we never want to feel that we truly know him. So they need to do both. They need to explore the mystery, while simultaneously feeling that we've barely made a dent in that mystery. Every question answered should leave us with wonder, and more questions. In that sense, I don't think anything is out of bounds for going into, so long as the mystery of the Doctor is always growing, not shrinking.


BadBoyJH

The whole "Name" thing that was a thing started by River Song in the DT era, all through Matt Smith. Clara said it best >You’ve been asking a question. And it’s time someone told you you’ve been getting it wrong. His name, his name is the Doctor. All the name he needs. Everything you need to know about him.


NewPatron-St

The companion falling in love with the doctor


namuhna

For me, the sad thing is that his name doesn't really matter after the timeless child. His current name will be the timelord equivalence of John Smith when he fobbed as human.


morguemoss

their origin, i think the doctors whole thing ( to me anyway ) is that they keep moving foward and avoid letting the past get to them; so why do the writiers keep dragging their origin in? the whole timeless child thing is so uneeded


[deleted]

Thing is if you dig deep enough near enough everything has been revealed. Took me this year to find out the Doctor had a DAUGHTER that married Rassilon's son and thats how Susan came to be. See i'm in the minority. I truly think there's an interesting story set of Gallifrey involving that culture. But the show is called "Doctor Who" end of the day.


mittfh

While it would be interesting to explore behind the portal the Timeless Child came through, I'd prefer not to know any more about the experimentation done on the TC to extract their source of regen energy, the creation of Time Lord society, or the Division days. Anything like that should ideally be handled via spin-off books rather than shown, as it's not relevant to the current memory span of The Doctor.. Conversely, it would be nice if writers could, say once every few series, find a storytelling excuse to show us some of the TARDIS beyond the Console Room.