With the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who looming next year, rumors are swirling that a multi-Doctor story may be in the works.  Though the Fourth through Tenth Doctors are still alive (albeit many years older, and in the case of Doctor Six, nearly unrecognizable as their younger selves) Chrisopher Eccleston has reportedly stated that he would not be interested in reprising his role.  Of course, none of the three previous TV multi-Doctor stories has made full use of all the surviving Docs (William Hartnell was ill during the filming of ‘The Three Doctors,’ while Tom Baker sat out ‘The Five Doctors’ and only Two and Six featured in ‘The Two Doctors’) but there is, at least, a precedent for recasting The Doctor.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) contemplates the Time-Lord Triumphant, asking: 
Should the BBC recast any missing Doctors for the 50th, or just make due with as many of the surviving actors as they can get?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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21 Comments

  1. August 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    I’d say “make due”. Each actor made The Doctor his own, and seeing someone else try to impersonate each man’s quirks would ultimately just make their loss more keenly felt.

  2. August 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm — Reply

    Honestly, there is probably enough footage available that the BBC could pull a Superman Returns and do digital versions of the missing doctors trapped in another dimension arguing with one another… it’s a cop out sure, but they did it before.

    • Georgedubya
      August 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm — Reply

      Similarly, they could pull a “This is actually happening at the same time as ‘The Three Doctors'” and use a couple shots from that to explain where Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee are. It would also be a way to introduce Omega to people who have only seen the new series.

  3. Frank
    August 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    I could see digitizing some of the early Doctor and several companions to get around colorization and poor film transfer quality. I would really enjoy seeing the Brigadier and Wilf talk, maybe Donna Noble and Amy Pond argue…
    Atlas, I don’t think BBC’s budget would big enough to digitize one, let alone multiple characters.

  4. August 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm — Reply

    I feel that to recast Eccleston would not be wise, but for Pertwee & Troughton it could be either archive, or cast their sons in the roles.

  5. Scott
    August 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm — Reply

    William Hartnell had passed away by the time The Five Doctors came around and they had a replacement, but I can’t see them doing that this time around.

    Just for the heck of it, they should do a multiple Master storyline. Delgado and Ainley have passed away but they could have Jacobi, Simm, and someone to play the Meatloaf Master circa The Deadly Assassin.

  6. The_Bear_Jew
    August 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm — Reply

    Make due.

  7. August 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    Make due. Recasting Hartnell didn’t work too well in The Five Doctors, so I doubt it would work well now. I’ve heard a totally unsubstantiated rumor that Tom Baker will be appearing in the next series as part of the 50th anniversary shenanigans.

  8. August 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    Use the living actors you can get, to recast more than one, which would need to be done seems like too much.

  9. August 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm — Reply

    I would prefer they simply use the surviving actors that are willing to participate. Get Tennant to pull double duty as both Tenth Doctor and Human Meta-Crisis Doctor to up the numbers and use a bit of creative editing of old footage for any unavailable Doctors. The storyline could always revolve around some situation where someone is trying to capture or destroy all incarnations of the Doctor, so it could easily explain why some aren’t around.

    • August 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm — Reply

      Oh! The one recasting I think I’d have no problem with is if they included The Valeyard.

      • Michael
        August 5, 2012 at 10:45 am — Reply

        Now why would they want to do that?

  10. August 3, 2012 at 3:22 pm — Reply

    I personally say just stick with the Doctors of NuWho. Let’s just get the 9th, 10th, and 11th together onscreen.

    While I would love to see some of the vets from the old series, I would just worry that age and other factors would bring down my enjoyment level of it.

  11. Rob
    August 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm — Reply

    One possiblity is using animation, prehapes as part of series of flash back scenes. It’s worked well to reconstruct missing second doctor adventures, it would allow the use of the origonal actors voices and it would be less jarring for modern audiances than editing in grainy black and white footage.

  12. Arbor Day
    August 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm — Reply

    If they can make a holographic Tupac, they can digitally replicate some of the old doctors. Use the living actors to do the voices, have Andy Serkis do the motion capturing, etc.

    Moreover I wonder how they’ll handle some of the companions. I can see recasting Romana, being a time lady and all, maybe an older Ace, and I’d like to see them explain Susan and reveal her being Jenny’s daughter. But also I wonder how they’re going to handle Elisabeth Sladen.

  13. Michael
    August 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm — Reply

    Personally I’d like to see Doctors 4, 5, 7, 8, and the current ones all get together (No offense to Colin Baker but his Doctor was horrible, though you could toss in how none of his other selves can stomach him). As for what to do with 1 – 3 I don’t know. Keep them out of a brief mention in some way is an obvious choice. I thought Doctor #1’s recasting was fine for The Five Doctors, but I don’t know if you could find three replacements for 1 – 3 these days. I think it’d all depend on the story. Though I do think that instead of a long episode something like this would require multiple episodes, perhaps even a full season to accomplish.

  14. Oliver
    August 4, 2012 at 2:25 am — Reply

    I wouldn’t put Eccleston down for the count just yet. In an interview that was conducted following a recent production of “Antigone”, while he didn’t say anything about reprising his role as the Doctor, he did state multiple times that there was more for him to do with the character. I know he’s historically shunned his relation to Doctor Who, but this could be a sign that he’s turning around.

    In terms of actor replacement, of course not! Many of the characteristics, qualities, and idiosyncrasies of each Doctor comes from the actors themselves. To accurately portray one of the Doctors, the original actors is needed, not to mention it would be highly disrespectful to them, alive or dead.

    What I’d like to see from the 50th Anniversary: acknowledgement of the past. I know we get plenty of nods and references, but those are just bait to keep the super-fans ̶h̶a̶p̶p̶y̶ content. For me what’s worse than NewWho fans (or casual fans) reviling the classic series is them ignoring it, by ignorance or by choice. I see this all too often in my neck of the woods. Even Star Trek and Star Wars fans recognize all of their televised canon (Animated Series and Christmas Special respectively withstanding). If they accomplish nothing with the Anniversary, I hope they at least let the public know “Hey, this Who show, it’s accomplished a lot.” Whether it be through a multi-Doctor story, a docudrama, bringing back classic villains/monsters, or even some short, pudgy guy walking up to the Doctor saying, “Hey Doctor! Theta Sigma! It’s me! Drax! We went through the technical course together!”, People need to remember that this show is bigger than all of us, and when the time comes, I, along with what I hope will be many others, will be proud to be a fan of the longest running Sci-Fi franchise.

  15. August 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    I got three words for you…….”Trials and Tribble-ations.” If you remember, Star Trek DS9 took the Original Series episode of “Trouble with Tribbles” and added scenes as well as superimposed the DS9 crew over original scenes. They even had Kirk and Sisko interact in a scene. They could very well do that again with some of the original DW episodes.

    • August 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm — Reply

      I’ve always expected them to take that route at some point. And considering how far tech has advanced since that episode, they would have a little more elbow room to try a little more than just using an old episode footage. I wouldn’t expect a whole new story starring a deceased Doctor or anything, but with a little creativity they could give them at least a few fitting scenes.

  16. b003
    August 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm — Reply

    New actors and new legends. That guy that did Baron Munchausen would be good for the first doctor.

  17. Grotesk
    August 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm — Reply

    Recast appropriately and use a patented Good Excuse™ to explain differences, such as Timey-Wimeyness or only the minds of the previous Doctors were brought to the “present” and they’re inhabiting and only partially reshaping host bodies. Or, in the case of the First, they can have a younger actor play him and simply have it be him from when he was young. Using only the extant actors will leave out some very important characters and the point is to make a 50th Anniversary story which goes all the way back to the origin of the program.

    There are three good reasons why they shouldn’t “make due”:

    3. The “Trials And Tribble-ations”/”Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” approach: Tech has improved, but since the availability of outtakes and spare footage for early Doctors is virtually nil due to the destruction of tapes, it might be rather more difficult to get scenes which aren’t too well-known to be recognized and which fit the story without a shoehorn, lobotomy and lots of suspension of disbelief. It only worked in the DS9 episode because it was an intentional inclusion into an existing, well-loved story.

    2. Patrick Stewart should be made into the First Doctor, if only the once. Likewise, Sean Pertwee and Sadie Miller would be killer to see teamed up as their parents’ characters.

    1. (And perhaps most importantly) This

    P.S.: Jenny should NOT be Susan’s mother. Jenny and Susan should meet, however, as should Jenny and River. Also, if River and Jenny have an adventure, they should start by collecting Donna and fixing her memories somehow rather than how Ten just hung a Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob and ran off without paying for the room he wrecked.

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