The BBC has officially confirmed that the Doctor Who Christmas Special, in which the Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith will regenerate into Peter Capaldi, will be titled The Time of the Doctor. The title suggests that the special is part of a trilogy – the Season 7 finale, The Name of the Doctor, the 50th Anniversary Special The Day of the Doctor, and the Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor. The Name, Day and Time of the Doctor – it all appears preordained! Whether Peter Capaldi is to be titled the Twelfth Doctor, or even the Fourteenth Doctor, remains to be seen.
In an article in the UK’s Mirror newspaper, Steven Moffat is said to have confirmed that Smith is the 14th incarnation. The additional two Doctors are John Hurt’s War Doctor, which The Night of the Doctor confirmed is between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors, and an extra regeneration of the Tenth Doctor. In The Journey’s End David Tennant’s Doctor used up a further regeneration to save himself. Doctor Who mythology has long held that the Doctor can only regenerate 12 times. On this perplexing problem the Mirror has quoted a show source as saying:
The riddle of the regeneration problem, something fans have talked about for decades, will be faced head on at Christmas. There is going to be another huge cliffhanger and somehow Peter Capaldi has to join and the series has to continue.
The show’s big fans, known as Whovians, won’t believe their eyes at Christmas.
A screen cap from Peter Capaldi’s brief cameo appearance in The Day of the Doctor
Steven Moffat is quoted as saying:
The 12 regenerations limit is a central part of Doctor Who mythology – science fiction is all about rules, you can’t just casually break them.
So if the Doctor can never change again, what’s Peter Capaldi doing in the Christmas special?
The Synopsis for the Time of the Doctor is as follows:
Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them – the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.