With news from Twice upon a Time happening on a regular basis, I’m slowly getting excited about the Christmas special. Because I miss my Doctor Who fix? No. Because it’s Peter Capaldi’s last episode? No. It’s because a bridge is about to be built between two eras.
In a previous article, I mentioned the frontier between Classic and New Who, and this frontier has consequences. There are still some Whovians out there who haven’t a clue what “Classic Who” is. Doctor Who is the 2005 series for them and they are pretty happy about it. Other Whovians will dive into Classic Who and get the full experience of the show. And let’s not forget the lucky ones who actually watched Doctor Who from the very beginning, who grew up with the show and were lucky to watch the missing episodes when they were originally aired.
The typology of the Whovian varies, based on his/her appreciation of the show. Take me for instance. I discovered Doctor Who with the Ninth Doctor in 2005, then dived into Classic Who only to realise that I love Classic Who best. One of the main issues with having a time gap such as the one we got between 1995 and 2005 is that it allowed for a distinction between old and new to grow so strong that it became an identity matter. It’s a little like two small towns merging into a bigger own. Inhabitants will still tell you that they are from small town A or small town B and not from big town C. We are attached to our origins, we believe that it’s part of who we are and it’s not different with Doctor Who.
In an ideal world, Whovians would be one big family, whether they like New Who or Classic Who best. In the real world, fights between Classic and New Who lovers are not a legend and have a tendency to spread just like fire. And it turns out that Steven Moffat seems to have embraced a career in the firefighters. In Twice upon a Time, he brings the First and the Twelth Doctor together and that’s one very interesting idea, as it will bring Classic Who and New Who fans together in one episode starring two Doctors from two different eras.
But he didn’t stop there. He seems to have placed the Twelfth Doctor in one of the First Doctor’s episodes and suddenly I feel like calling him a genius (on the one condition that the episode is brilliant and not a total disaster that is)!
For those of you who haven’t watched The Tenth Planet yet, this is the last serial featuring the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell. The actor’s health had declined to the point where he had to give up on Doctor Who. In fact, the worn out Doctor from The Tenth Planet might very well be Hartnell himself. The Doctor quite a bit of time off screen – and when he’s on screen he doesn’t do very much – which is worth mentioning because one can wonder what the Doctor is doing while his companions try to save the day (and Earth). Sure thing he is unwell and he is seen resting on a bed at one point, but did he really spend all that off screen time resting?
What if he met another worn out Doctor and they decide to fight Cybermen together? What if both Time Lords experienced their regeneration at the very same time? Or, here’s a scary thought… what if the Twelfth Doctor rewrote the end of The Tenth Planet?
I suddenly picture the Star Trek reboot and I wonder if they would dare (“they” being the BBC and Chris Chibnall). Would they dare rebooting Classic Who entirely? I don’t know for you, but the thought is rather overwhelming. With such a deep and rich universe, how could they possibly manage it? Part of me is already imagining them filming those stories again, changing a tiny bit here and there, but keeping the plot intact to save a sense of cohesion. But what about the Doctor? Now that the First Doctor has met his last incarnation, will he simply forget what happened? Will he regenerate into a rebooted Second Doctor who would have the First Doctor knowledge of Twelve? I can feel a headache coming! And what about Thirteen? Where does she fit in? Oh, don’t worry, I do have a theory. What if Classic Who was rebooted but New Who would still go on, thus allowing us to get two Doctor Who series instead of one? I’d rather get that than another Class like spin off.
Don’t get your hopes too high, I was merely fantasising out loud. While I would love the idea of a proper reboot, to get a chance to see all the missing episodes, I strangely doubt this dream will ever come true. And would I really be comfortable watching a reboot? I still remember my “Unheimlichkeit” to quote Freud when I watched Star Trek reboot. My heart was fighting the notion of reboot because I was fiercely attached to the original version, while my mind praised that reboot for being an innovative concept. I can already picture myself being torn between Classic Who and Rebooted Classic Who, while a new fire erupts between Whovians depending on whether they like Classic Who, Rebooted Classic Who or New Who (or is it Classic Who, New Who and Rebooted Classic Who? Things are already getting confusing and it was only a fantasy!
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether you call it Classic Who or New Who or just Doctor Who? It’s all the same story, with that mad man in a box travelling through time and space. So this Christmas, let’s all of us Whovians be one big loving family and watch Twice upon a Time together!