Regenerations

thepaladin

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I haven't dropped in here before, I'm not a big TV person, but I do like Dr. Who. I ran across the "series" maybe 25 years ago on a PBS station. I won't go through the whole history as the Americans here probably went through the same sort of thing, finding the series, catching up on the past etc. While the UK folks many of you may have followed the Doctor either from the first or since you were old enough to.

If this is something that's already under discussion feel free to rediredt my thread but....

It was established "way back when" that the Doctor (IA Time Lords) can have 12 regenerations. That would make 13 in all counting the first Doctor. Since Tennant was the tehth Doctor we are now into number 11. That sorely limits change overs. So, aside from some slight of hand the would have 2 left.

Has that been changed in some way that I missed? As I remember one of the big "evils" the Master was guilty of was refusing to stop after his 12th regeneration. Have I missed something or is that still to be delt with....or ignored?
 

j d worthington

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My memory on some of this is hazy, but...

In "The Five Doctors", it was revealed that the Time Lords had a way of granting an entire new set of regenerations; this was part of their enticement to get the Master to aid in "rescuing" the Doctor.

The Master, of course, found his own way around things by using the power of the Keeper in "The Keeper of Traken", though I don't recall the precise explanations of how that continued to work once he was "executed" in the prologue of the film with Paul McGann....

There are other things, as I recall, which have occurred in the new Who which may be hints of how that limit may be set aside, but I expect there will be further explanation once it becomes necessary to continue. Perhaps, for example, his own cycle of regenerations was either renewed or extended when he was taking part in the Time War (before he decided to lock Gallifrey away in the Timelock); in which case, it may be perpetual, or there may still be a limit... or perhaps any previous arrangement extending it may have collapsed because of the Timelock.

In other words, there are a host of possibilities which have been hinted at or left open; but I'm not sure there has been anything definite stated on how it works since the advent of Eccleston, at any rate....
 

thepaladin

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Oh I didn't doubt the writers could do it. Like you, I can come up with a few ways. I just wondered if I'd missed something on it. I didn't pick back up watching until about half way through the Ekelston cycle. I keep wondering if they'll do anything with Romana. There were hints (not in the offical storyline) that she came back from Espace and for a while served on the council, possibly as the president. But she wasn't during the Time War. I always thought that she might be a way to have another surviving Time Lord. (of course there is the Doctor's daughter, whom he doesn't know survived). Anyway, just wondered if I'd missed anything on the regeneration thing.
 

j d worthington

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As I said, those are the only ones I know of which are mentioned "officially" -- that the Time Lords can bestow an entirely new set of regenerations, and the route The Master used by usurping the power of the Keeper...

I'm not sure I'd care to see Romana back, any more than I would Susan at this point. Nothing particularly against either, just that it would strike me as superfluous, unless handled very carefully. But it could be a way of introducing (or further explaining) some new kink in the regeneration question, I suppose.....
 

thepaladin

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I don't think Susan was ever actually said to be a Time Lord (I know she was the Doctor's granddaughter....but no one ever said). I never cared much Lalla Ward (though I know she was "close" to Tom Baker), but I liked Mary Tamm. I just wonder about it sometimes. Sort of a loose end as well as a lose end. The daughter is Jenny, she just sort of "flew off" into adventure.
 

j d worthington

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Yes, I recall Jenny... that might be an interesting track to follow at some point (depending on how well they do with it). Susan... well, there's been a lot of back-and-forth about that; given her dialogue in "An Unearthly Child" and elsewhere, I'd say it's pretty certain she is of the same race as the Doctor; but she did marry someone on Earth, so clearing up what all went on after that point would be a bit much, I think.

I've nothing against Lalla Ward, but yes, I preferred Mary Tamm in the role as well. I just have reservations about dragging in too many Time Lords (or Ladies), given the whole Time War/Time Lock thing. It quickly becomes the same sort of thing as the overreliance on the sonic screwdriver: a lazy writer's way around things rather than coming up with challenging ideas....
 

thepaladin

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Hahahahaha, I know, the whole sonic screwdriver thing can get a bit hilarious. I do miss the Jelly Babies though....
 

Interference

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Couple of passing thoughts: We'll soon have had 13 male doctors, maybe it's time for 13 female.

The eventuality of needing more than 13 actors playing the role can never have occurred to the BBC. Having a TV series run for long enough to need them all was, until then, unprecedented, particularly in view of the fact that even TV hadn't (till then) been around as long as the series has now. The nearest parallel (radio) had rarely needed to deal with the re-casting of a lead in such a long drama series, either, and certainly not in the SciFi idiom, and whenever the need did arise, it was tacitly agreed by all concerned (on either side of the transmitter) that the new actor would pretend to be the old actor for a while at least.

Which leads to the second main thought: Re-casting leads isn't unheard of, one need only count the number of Bonds there have been. Since DW needn't even necessarily be considered a sequential telling of the tale, maybe filling in the gaps would be an interesting line to take - either re-hiring McGann or Eckleston for the Time Wars saga or by re-castng actors to play that era's doctor. And if this is a runner, then perhaps even Tennant can be brought back for a couple more specials to fill us in on what happened in the months between last year's specials.

Or even feature films?

But if none of this is satisfactory, then let's consider my (for now) final point: The series is called Doctor Who. Might not the current doctor use up all his regenerations and be replaced by a completely new timelord, with a whole 13 lives of his/her own? Might not even Susan - or Dr Donna?? - be the new focus of our attention for the next 30 years? It isn't as if they would be required to carry forward any well-beloved personality traits - that hasn't been a requirement since Hartnell became Troughton :)

These options are all plausibly within the reasoning of the marketing mind of a series producer. Even so, I imagine the writing team (when the time comes) will arrive at an eminently suitable solution to ensure the continuation of what is becoming one of the Beeb's more significant franchises.

And that even goes for the eventuality that the series ends again - only to be revived ten years later.
 

Pyan

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Matt Smith is only 28 - now, if he's a success, and likes the part, and decides to keep playing it for the rest of his life (like, basically, the Star Trek cast), the Beeb won't need another actor for the next 50 years - by which time I, for one, won't be bothered about them playing about with the canon...:p
 

thepaladin

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We talked about some of that. The writers canalways "explain" why something happens. I suppose that later an actor who has played the Doctor could come back and they could explain that it wasn't a "regeneration" but some kind of "return" due to an Incomplete regeheration, or that the given Doctor realy hadn't completely passed or whatever. The writers can always come up with something.
 

Interference

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I'd also love to see them working Peter Cushing's two DW movies into the canon. I'm sure its possible with some alternate universe jiggery-pokery :D
 

Vladd67

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It's simple the 12 regenerations limit is old Who so it will just be ignored by the new writers.
 

daveac

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Well the Timelords gave The Master a complete new set (or at least promised him a complete new set) during the Time War - so it seems to be an 'imposed' limit not a natural one.

With the Timelords - for all practical purposes - being out of existence then I would think the limit doesn't apply at the moment.

Cheers, daveac
 

j d worthington

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It's simple the 12 regenerations limit is old Who so it will just be ignored by the new writers.

Well the Timelords gave The Master a complete new set (or at least promised him a complete new set) during the Time War - so it seems to be an 'imposed' limit not a natural one.

With the Timelords - for all practical purposes - being out of existence then I would think the limit doesn't apply at the moment.

Cheers, daveac

The program was seldom terribly pedantic about such things, really. They frequently altered things or went completely against things said or established before, from the Hartnell years on.

I mentioned above that the Time Lords had offered an entirely new set of regenerations to the Master in "The Five Doctors". Now, that was quite a long while ago; yet even then (as Dicks noted) when it cropped up, the fans were outraged, as it went against established Who lore; this was the first hint they could even do such a thing. With that sort of thing cropping up throughout the history of the program, I must admit I'm not particularly perturbed, as long as they do a decent job of bringing in why there is an exception, or making it a reasonably plausible alteration....
 

Dave

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It was established "way back when" that the Doctor (IA Time Lords) can have 12 regenerations. That would make 13 in all counting the first Doctor. Since Tennant was the tenth Doctor we are now into number 11. That sorely limits change overs. So, aside from some slight of hand the would have 2 left.
I already asked these questions here before:
http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/27736-regenerations-questions.html

While I agree that the writers can easily find some way to get around the limit of 12/13; that is after all the nature of science fiction, it seems that the writers have forgotten altogether about his episode with Morbius. I'm still convinced that Hartnell was not numero uno, and why should he have been?
 

Ursa major

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An article in the Grauniad (Doctor Who's acid test | Nicholas Lezard | Comment is free | The Guardian), mentions a BBC internal memorandum (BBC - Archive - THE CHANGING FACE OF DOCTOR WHO - 'The New Doctor Who'.) about the "New Doctor" and what the BBC was looking for. (Note that the memo is from May 1966 and the new Doctor is Patrick Troughton).

Regarding the regeneration, it says:
The metaphysical change which takes place over 500 or so years is a horrifying experience - an experience in which he re-lives some of the most unendurable moments of his long life, including the galactic war. It is as if he has had the L.S.D. drug and instead of experiencing the kicks, he has the hell and dank horror which can be its effect.
 

j d worthington

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Now, that is very interesting... and certainly it matches up with the bizarre sorts of things going on with the regeneration into Troughton's Doctor....
 
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