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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing: the name of the Doctor?

By now you may have heard that the title of the final episode in the current series of Doctor Who is entitled “The Name of the Doctor.” As you might expect, there’s been much speculation about just what this means and just what will be revealed come May 18. You probably shouldn’t worry, because:
the name of the Doctor?

This appears to be is the work of Halorvic on tumblr.

How do you think Steven Moffat is going to get around giving an episode that title while also not naming the Doctor?

Via @DoctorLongscarf.

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)

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easter eggs
  • RogerBW

    After “The Doctor’s Wife” and “The Wedding of River Song” I’m sure there’ll be some glib explanation (probably combined with yet more deification). What concerns me rather more is the implication that the name by which a person has chosen to be known, by which he has exclusively been known for quite a few years, is in some sense not his “real” name.

  • Martin

    It’s either going to be why he became The Doctor or the meaning of his name will be revealed, just not what it is.

    Either his name is related to some kind of Gallifreyian royalty and he ran from the responsibility to be free or he’s named as some great destroyer and he ran from that (ironically, probably causing untold destruction anyway). Bonus points if he was named as the destroyer of the Time Lords.

    Honestly, his ‘real’ name doesn’t bother me. It could be Dave, Wowbagger or Theta Sigma for all I care, it doesn’t mean anything at all and only goes so far as to solidify parts of his past, crumbling away at a mystery nobody really needs an answer to.
    Moffat’s going to have to reveal something that doesn’t really change the character of the Doctor and yet still be big, shocking and unpredictable. I predict mass disappointment and fan rage.

  • Danielm80

    Well, River Song did have a wedding.

    I think his name will be 42.

  • Paul

    I would predict mass disappointment and fan rage no matter what was being promised for later this year. That’s just what fans do!

  • RogerBW

    Well, yes. The tide of “anything with Doctor Who on the label” seems to be turning, and Moffat is catching the brunt of it.
    I do think he could do better than yet more promises of yet more revelations and yet more higher stakes, but hey, considering how much of his recent work is prefigured in _The Curse of Fatal Death_ perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

  • Jurgan

    There are those who call me… Tim?

  • I saw this on another site sometime after the series 6 finale aired so I can’t take credit for anything save remembering it…anyway, when The Question i asked and none must fail to answer…nobody said The Doctor had to answer out loud so maybe he’ll whisper his name into River’s ear. That would explain why Ten looked so shocked when he found out River knew his name when he said the bit about “there’s only one time when I’d tell anyone my name…only one time I ever could.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Wait, weren’t we just recently discussing how the an episode titled “The Bells of St. John” featured bells and the name St John for about 5 seconds in the teaser? Shouldn’t that clue everyone in? Steven Moffat has been playing around with titles designed to fuel fan speculation, but which have little to do with the actual plot, for a while now. “The Pandorica Opens” but it’s empty. “The Impossible Astronaut” was more improbable than anything. “The Doctor’s Wife” wasn’t who we all thought it was, and wasn’t even a person, really. And “The Wedding of River Song” was just a ruse to prevent the accidental breakage of the universe by people trying to save the Doctor.

    TV is a medium where you can play with titles like that. I know most TV writers don’t do this. And some shows like Friends – where every episode title began “The One Where…” – hang a lampshade on it. But since the title doesn’t have to literally sell the story, there really are no rules.

    As for this episode, I think “The Name of the Doctor” will likely be the MacGuffin of the story. I don’t expect it to be revealed. He could have called the episode “The Doctor’s Name is Bob” and I still think the plot will likely be about people who want the Doctor’s name.

    Frankly, I don’t ever expect it to be revealed. I doubt Steven Moffat even knows. Hell, I doubt he even cares. Because the actual name, the actual sequence of sounds, doesn’t matter. What matters is that his name appears to have power, power even the Doctor himself is wary of.

    Here’s what I think is going on. At some point Russel Davies and Steven Moffat were discussing the show and realized that over nearly 50 years we’ve seen some Gallifreyans with names (Rasilon, Romana, Drax) while some have titles (The Doctor, The Master, The Valeyard, The Warchief), with no rhyme nor reason to the distinction. So they decided that hidden names must be meaningful. They created River Song to be not only a person from the Doctor’s future, but to be probably the one other person who knows his name. They attached special significance to that fact (“There’s only one person I’d tell that to. Only one time I could.”) And, it’s a prime motivator for the series.

    I know a lot of people are getting impatient, asking “Can’t we just find out what it is already? How long are they going to stretch this out?” But that’s a lot like asking “Can’t Richard Kimble just catch the one-armed man already? How long are they going to stretch this out?” And even if you don’t find that an apt comparison, realize that even if the Doctor’s name is revealed, the writers will just come up with some other motivator for the stories.

  • Paul

    I thiink Moffat is deliberately indulging in some fan-baiting, too. The pronunciation of “Metebelis 3” in the latest exercise, which exercised so many fans on the Internet, would hardly be something of which Moffat wasn’t aware. He’s winding up the sticklers, and pandering to those who remember such things as Tom Baker’s idiosyncratic pronunciation of Gallifrey.

  • RogerBW

    I think you may well be right, and I can’t honestly blame him.

  • Bob. His name is Bob. I won’t accept any other answer.

    Either that, or Hu. Then it’s like “Doctor Who?” “Doctor Hu!” “Hu’s on first?”

    In all seriousness, I’m predicting some kind of cop-out, like maybe he tells his name to somebody else but whispers it in their ear and then they react but we don’t hear it, or we hear some kind of nickname or something that is not his true name, or it’s something humans can’t understand or whatever.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Why is that a cop-out? Seriously, is there some reason why it’s important the audience know right now? Or even at all ever?

    “Cop-out” to me implies that there is some sort of obligation here that is being shirked or delayed for no reason. I can think of a number of good reasons never to reveal the name, if it even exists.

  • If you’re going to imply that you’re going to tell everyone the name, not doing so is a cop-out. The “obligation”, as it were, to reveal the name comes from the fact that they’re building up all these expectations. It could turn out that the episode has nothing to do with what we think it’s going to be in which case, shut my mouth, but I’m imagining that they’re going to pretend like they’re going to reveal the name but then dodge it at the last second.

    Sure there are good reasons not to reveal the name. There are good reasons for other cop-outs, too. Often (not always) when shocking events transpire on a TV show and then they turn out to all be a dream, it’s a cop-out ending. There’s usually a good reason for it to all be a dream (e.g. because a main character dies) but that doesn’t make it not a cop-out, you know?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Maybe you and I have different definitions for “cop-out”.

    DoctorDonna was a cop-out. (Well, maybe more of a deus ex machina.)

    Wiping Donna’s memory, then sending her a lottery ticket was a cop out.(Rus, either kill her or don’t. But don’t send her back to her shitty-ass life.)

    The Meta-crisis 10th Doctor was a cop out. (Rose may or may not have earned a happy ending, but she didn’t deserve that.)

    Wilf knocking while stuck in the box was a cop-out. (Cause, really?)

    Sending the Teselecta to Utah was a cop-out. (Steve, you had a much more convincing solution in the Flesh.)

  • Tonio Kruger

    1. He shall be Levon and he will be a good man. 2. His name will be Doctor Robert and you can call him day or night. 3. He will be the one they call Doctor Feelgood…

  • Paul

    You can, however, blame me for writing “exercise” when I meant to write “episode”!

  • Paul

    Convincing, but with all that episode time devoted to pointing out how morally problematic it would be… can you really blame him?

  • d mighty

    i agree with Lenina. It’s Dr. Bob or nothing!


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