Doctor Who: Do we really want to know the Doctor’s name?

The series 7 finale of Doctor Who is to be called “The Name Of The Doctor“. Steven Moffat is already hard at work teasing this episode, which will be the one which leads into the series’ 50th anniversary episode.

Obviously Doctor Who has been the question baked right into the show’s title since it began 50 years ago. The poster for the episode has a subtitle of “His secret revealed”, but this is a Moffat show and we’ve been thrown red herrings in the past. Will Moffat really remove a key piece of the mystery that surrounds The Doctor?

Interestingly enough, people on Twitter are massively up in arms. The overwhelming sentiment is no, we don’t want to know The Doctor’s name. Seriously. Because if we knew his name, all that mystique would be deflated overnight like a birthday balloon the morning after the party. Would people still call him “Doctor”? (Probably, since the Gallifreyan is impossible for most people to pronounce – allegedly).

Personally, I’m going to side with the crowd who think it’s a bad idea. I can’t imagine a scenario where the reveal of The Doctor’s name could be anything more than a disappointment. A name is a name. Unless the name has some power in the universe or sets The Doctor out from the rest of the Time Lords in some way. But even then, it would fly in the face of that whole grand arc that Steven Moffat set up where The Doctor regained his anonymity in the universe.

What’s your take – do you want to know his name?

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  1. Emperor Gregor

    Personally – and it’s just a guess – is that the name – the Who –  isn’t as important as the What. We may never actually hear his actual name.The Doctor’s wife wan’t his ‘wife’ after all.

    My guess is (as I’ve said in the past) that he’s 1000 years old as a Time Lord, but that as an entity he’s a lot older than that. If you have an eternal(ish?) that needs to disappear from sight, but is going to stick out like a sore thumb because it doesn’t die – where do you hide it, in plain sight?  In a race that doesn’t die, but regenerates. The Time Lords. 

    I think that’s the mystery of Clara – she doesn’t share a blood relationship with the Doctor, she shares a situation. And that’s why he’s fascinated by her – fascinated enough to pursue her to find a solution. She’s impossible. He’s the only one meant to be able to do that – die, get reborn complete with parents, I mean (his Time Lord mother).

    That’s why I’m following the stories with interest. I want to see if Moffat’s solution is better than this. Because if it is it has to be a cracker. If it isn’t … well, I’ve had fun speculating.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      I’ve given up speculating. I never had that much faith in Moffat as a writer to begin with, and I think that my cynicism is paying off nicely right now as I politely inform the blogosphere that I told them so.

      Still, I think what you’re suggesting is that The Doctor is not a Time Lord at all, he’s something else. I can’t get behind that one, because we know he and the Master grew up together, and TARDISes and Time Lords have a symbiotic link. Not to mention that The Doctor regenerates – a characteristic of the Time Lord race. 

      And from a story perspective, wouldn’t revealing The Doctor as an ‘eternal’ undo 50 years of backstory? I think that would be suicide for the franchise.

      What I’m hoping is that they flashback to when The Doctor left Gallifrey and perhaps try and recreate a few scenes from back then to show who his family were and what happened to them. After all, if he was travelling with a granddaughter, he must have had a wife. And a daughter. And perhaps other family members. I think there’s tremendous story potential to be mined there, especially if they can find an actor to play a Hartnell-esque Doctor.

      1. sgreco1970

        well, they did, finally, mention Susan in a recent episode. Maybe it was on purpose, as foreshadowing. maybe Clara is her daughter. How she is effecting time travel is beyond me but she could at least be regenerating.

  2. Emperor Gregor

    That’s what this whole arc has been about isn’t it. The Doctor used to be anonymous (and needed to be for whatever reason) – but got to big, too noisy. So he has to die. It was only when he realised it was his death, his silence, that was called for that he realised what he’d done (the bighead) and accepted he had to die at Lake Silencio (to be killed at a lake called Silence by the Silence). Then he pulled himself together and started to fight back.

    Part of him, I think, now isn’t afraid of dying. He’s almost immolated himself twice since then – at Akhaten and in Cold War. And Clara stopped him each time. In Cold War I’m not sure he realised it was her, either.

  3. jefft

    At last, in this series, I have a germ of an idea. Since its based on stuff from journey, I’ll pop it on that thread when it exists. but yes, Clara has been doing a lot of keeping the doctor safe recently..

  4. pirho

    So this is it? The is the big wrap up? What truly disappointing season this has been. SM should be removed from the show, he’s not even trying any more. Too busy with his other projects then he should turn the reins over to someone else.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      This has been on the horizon from the moment Moffat took over. Even the Pond era was a victory of style over substance. Moffat has completely lost the plot (pun intended) and has churned out a stream of forgettable, lamentable episodes that were completely lacking in any sort of interest at all. Even the Gaiman episode was a bit on the lame side.

  5. sgreco1970

    well, I think Moffat already has turned over the reins to someone else; I didnt even espy his name in the credits this week, 2 other producers were listed instead. Maybe that’s the problem. It also feels like the show has suffered a budget cut. Every episode feels like a bottle show. 

    As for the Doctor’s name. No, we should never know his name. Any name would be meaningless. Rexiflop? Albacore? Bob! Any name is pointless and simply makes him less of a mysterious figure. 

    At the same time, you cannot show a gun in act one and not fire it by act three. They’ve pulled the pin on this grenade and anything less than an explosion makes the story arc a dud. I said this when they first proffered this idea; they can never reveal his name but they must do something else it feels cheap and gimmicky. It would take a very sophisticated hand to pen that script -and Ive seen nothing all season that leads me to believe they have anyone on board who possesses such a hand. 

    The BBC ought to find a real wunderkind of a writer/producer and hand the show over to them for a revamp.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      The possible get-out for this story arc is for them to pass the name off as utterly unpronouncable Gallifreyan – sort of in the same way that River Song’s name was written on the crib in the TARDIS. So technically, we know. And the web would light up with fan art around that set of glyphs that is his ‘name’. 

      I also get the impression there’s going to be a little ‘bait and switch’ – they’re promising the Doctor’s name, but we’ll get something equally earth-shattering to make us forget the original premise. Which, if I’m right, will lead directly into the 50th anniversary episode.

      1. sgreco1970

        definitely possible.

        Also, dont give up all hope. God knows Id rather eat glass and stick pins in my eyes than watch Pertwee’s episodes -but the doctor who followed made up for everything. The tennant years were so wonderful, and much of smith has been good. So, yeah, it sucks for now -but it wont forever. Id just like to see it improve before smith leaves so his legacy isnt tainted.

  6. pirho

    The way the season has been going it will be a disappointment with finding out anything about Clara. Things that will happen based upon the crappy writing so far:

    1. We will not find out who Clara is

    2. If we do, it will be something so ridiculous that they will weave this elaborate story behind it to make it so.

    3. We will not find out the name of the Doctor, if we do it will be the fall of the 11th, we always assumed that meant his fall, but it will wind up being something totally stupid

    1. pirho

      Ok so John Hurt was the Doctor in a past incarnation, probably something to do with the time war. I think he is a brilliant actor, and should make a fine addition to those who bore the title of Doctor Who. But is he the 9th? If so Does that make Smith the12th? And if so, what happened to the fall of the 11th?

      1. sgreco1970

        I believe he is the first. Pre-hartnel. And he will be amazing. I can only expect that the scripts will have to be absolutely top notch for him to do this. And he may only be in 1 episode. We have no idea if he’s getting a season (doubtful) or if he is in the anniversary special or what.


        Either way, this was actually a good episode (finally) and I liked the backstory behind Clara. And I now cannot wait until a new episode.

  7. pirho

    – “Clara is summoned to an impossible conference call, alerting her that the deadly Whisper Men are closing in on Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Someone is kidnapping the Doctor’s friends, leading him toward the one place in all of time and space that he should never go. It’s a deadly trap that threatens to unravel his past, present and future…”

  8. pirho

    We understand that a small number of US fans have received in error their DVD edition of Series 7 Part 2 early. We respectfully ask those fans not to divulge information or post content publicly so that fellow fans who have yet to see the episodes do not have their viewing pleasure ruined. 

    If everyone keeps the secrets safe until next Saturday we will release a special new clip featuring material of the Tenth AND Eleventh Doctor!

  9. pirho

    Lead writer Steven Moffat stated that he wanted to have a new monster in the finale after the series had seen the reappearance of old monsters the Ice Warriors and the Cybermen. The idea of the Whisper Men came from “the thought of stylish whispering almost faceless creatures” which seemed frightening and appropriate for “an episode that looks forward and back”.

  10. pirho


    We’ve known since the end of March that John Hurt is to star in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special but its not been clear until now just how significant his role is – that of the Doctor himself.

    The veteran actor says he will play “part of the Doctor” in a “kind of trinity” which includes the Time Lord’s tenth incarnation David Tennant and current Doctor Matt Smith.

    There’s been speculation that the special episode celebrating the Time Lord’s half-centenary could be set against the backdrop of the Time War, and that the alternate realities that might generate could mean new versions of certain incarnations of the Doctor, so it’s possible that might be the explanation for Hurt’s role.

    1. sgreco1970

      ah well I didnt know, as I have skillfully avoided all spoilerific information, even official information, until tonight.

      However, I think given the exchange between 11 and Hurt, that its pretty clear he is the pre-doctor; the man who takes the name for the first time. I think this puts him pre-Hartnel.

  11. pirho

    I love how the TARDIS was so big, and the line before we saw it, about the importance of the person being linked to the size of the headstone, and there you see the giant TARDIS.  She looked so beautiful, and standing there in her majesty.

  12. pirho

    My take on this, and bear with me because this is going to get confusing.

    Since The Fields of Trenzalore, is the final resting place of The Doctor, and his “tears” are his entire life span, both future, past and present. And because he stepped into it, he would now know his own future, in fact I think he knew it before otherwise how would the TARDIS know that they were crossing his own time line?

    John Hurt is the Valeyard, and the Valeyard is The Doctor. Since it has already been established that the Valeyard is the evil amalgamation in The Doctor, it makes sense that it is him. The Great Intelligence said he [The Doctor] will have other names before the end. The Storm. The Beast. The Valeyard. So it would fit that this is correct. Only the Valeyard would be the evil, in him. The reason The Doctor was referring to him in the past tense was because for him it was the past, since his future is now his present, and the minute the present is over it becomes the past.

    Also if you look carefully, you will notice that when Vastra, and Trax look up after arriving on The Fields of Trenzalore, you see the reverse image of the words Police Box, which either is a big boo boo, on the production,, or they were looking at the sign from inside the TARDIS. And if the later, how did they get in it? Who opened the doors to let them in? And if they were inside already when The Great Intelligence arrived, wasn’t he also inside?

    And did you notice the crack on the TARDIS door’s window? The same crack that is shown on the future TARDIS’ window (the one that is his tomb). Keep and eye on the TARDIS from now on, notice is the crack will go away or not.

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