Doctor Who‘s outgoing lead writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, has been discussing the difference between the First and Twelfth Doctors in this year’s Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time.
This year’s festive special will see the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) come face-to-face with the Time Lord’s very first incarnation, with David Bradley stepping in to the role originated by the late William Hartnell.
Describing the two Doctors as ‘quite different’ from each other, Moffat hints how the two will react to each other once they meet:
“Well the Doctor never gets on with himself. Arguably he doesn’t get on with himself when it’s just him alone – we had the whole plot of Heaven Sent (in series nine) about that – so he doesn’t get on with himself even when it’s just him.”
Delving deeper into how the First Doctor in particular views his future incarnation, Moffat reveals:
“Ultimately he’s the same person – he has the same set of impulses and ideals – but he hasn’t yet become at home with what he’s becoming.
“If you look at the original William Hartnell series, the Doctor’s starting to fight the good fight, but he’ll arrive in a spot of trouble and generally speaking he’ll only help others out because he needs to get back to the TARDIS. So often there’d be a plot contrivance to stop William Hartnell’s Doctor getting back to his TARDIS and flying out of danger.
“Slowly that started changing as the Doctor developed as a character. He’d start saying “No I can’t leave yet – not because I can’t get to the TARDIS, but because these people are still in trouble and this evil is still in control. I have to help these people.”
“Without noticing it, or it ever being his plan or his intent, he’s starting to engage with the universe and he’d be horrified to think that he’s starting to become its protector.
“Now, at the end of that lifetime when the First Doctor is facing his end, he doesn’t yet realise that’s what he already is. He’s already the man who rides to the rescue, the saviour of the oppressed, but he doesn’t own up to that.
“Now he meets the Twelfth doctor, and the Twelfth doctor has been doing this for so long. He’s used to the idea that he’s already Earth’s protector – an idea that completely bewilders his younger – except kind of older self.
“The thing to focus on this time, alongside the flourishes that distinguish the two doctors – it that they are at very different moments in their lives. The First Doctor is not quite yet the hero we are used to.”