May 17, 2013
Throughout his many adventures, the Doctor has assumed (or been given) many names. In anticipation of season finale The Name of the Doctor, and the launch of Who-ology: The Official Doctor Who Miscellany, we chose some of our favourite names of the Doctor:
Right from the series' first episode, the Doctor's name was a mystery. After stumbling into the TARDIS in the scrapyard of I.M. Foreman, a doubtful Ian Chesterton desperately tries to disprove the Doctor’s assertion that his “ship” has transported them from 1963 to a pre-historic time, by insisting that "Doctor Foreman" opens the doors. Absentmindedly, the Doctor replies, "Eh? Doctor who?". This unscripted contribution from actor William Hartnell began a running joke throughout the series' history of characters asking the same question.
Ian later confides in Barbara that he’s certain Foreman isn’t the Doctor’s name. “Perhaps if we knew his name” he says, “We might have a clue to all this”.
Ever mysterious, the Seventh Doctor was referred to throughout the 1989 adventure Battlefield as Merlin, by a race of Arthurian knights from a parallel dimension. Fighting another set of knights, lead by Arthur's enemy Morgaine, the Doctor (or is that Merlin?) had to prevent Earth being destroyed in the crossfire. When Ace asked the Doctor directly if he was Merlin, he replied that he wasn't. But also that he could be in his future...
The Destroyer of Worlds
The Daleks have given the Doctor many names over the years – The Oncoming Storm, The Predator, The Great Exterminator - but it wasn't until the Doctor prevented Davros from detonating the Reality Bomb, that he gained arguably his best. As the Dalek Crucible burned around him, Davros shunned the Doctor's attempts to save him, instead raging "Never forget, Doctor! You did this. I name you. Forever. You are the Destroyer of the Worlds!"
(Dr) John Smith is one of the Doctor’s longest running pseudonyms. In The Vampires of Venice we saw ‘Dr J. Smith’ on the First Doctor’s Shoreditch Library card, the Third Doctor used the name throughout his exile on Earth, and the Eleventh Doctor’s Ganger contemptuously contemplated using the title.
The Doctor must have always looked like a John Smith too, because Jamie McCrimmon ascribed him the name to the Second Doctor, and much later, Chang Lee gave it to the unconscious Seventh.
Whether scorched into the homebox of a Galaxy class Starliner, or graffitied onto the oldest cliff-face in the universe, the phrase "Hello Sweetie" has come to symbolise the extraordinary, timey-wimey relationship between the Doctor and River Song. In River's backwards timeline, it was first uttered at the moment when Melody Pond sacrificed her regenerative powers to save the Doctor with a kiss - and became the woman we know as River Song. Our favourite though is still the final time she says it - storming onto our screens and into the Library. She grins at the Doctor, and demurs "Hello Sweetie". He snaps back: "Get out".
Those are just some of our favourite names the Doctor has been given, and taken on over his long travels in the TARDIS. Make sure you watch The Name of the Doctor, because the Doctor has a secret he will take to his grave. And it is discovered...