- Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies confirms that the controversial “Timeless Children” story reveal will remain canon, showing respect for his colleague Chris Chibnall’s work.
- The Doctor’s origins have always been a contentious topic, and any answer will likely fail to satisfy all viewers, with some appreciating the added depth while others fear it may rob the character of mystery.
- Under Davies’ guidance, future Doctor Who stories may have a more cohesive and consistent canon, potentially addressing the “Timeless Child” plot point in Doctor Who season 14 and beyond.
Following the episode’s divisive response, Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies addresses whether the controversial “Timeless Children” story reveal will remain canon. Revealed across Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the Thirteenth Doctor, the “Timeless Child” twist established that the Doctor was a being from another universe capable of infinite regenerations that early Time Lords experimented on to establish their own abilities. The decision under prior showrunner Chris Chibnall was met with a mixed reaction, with some appreciating the new layer of mystery to the Doctor’s life, while others were less keen on the wider implications on the character and overall execution in the show.
With audiences about to get their first glimpse at Davies’ new era with Doctor Who‘s 60th-anniversary specials, the showrunner was asked by SFX Magazine whether his new era will tackle Chibnall’s controversial “Timeless Child” reveal. While Davies admitted that in the past he and other writers in the show had overlooked previous reveals, he emphasized that he had no intention of retconning what his former colleague established, firmly stating at the very least that the story will remain canon. Check out Davies’ full explanation below:
Oh quite beholden, actually. I am very well-behaved in that sense… I feel completely free to make up my own stuff. But I think it’s very interesting that the only piece of Doctor Who lore that’s never been held aloft and run with is Paul McGann having a human mother.
None of us can deal with that. None of us cope with it, and it’s never been mentioned since. I find that really fascinating. That’s not a hint that I’m going to engage with it at all. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Everything else gets kind of absorbed.
Let’s stare that question right in the eye. I’m not going to unwrite my good friend Chris Chibnall’s work on ‘The Timeless Children’. I’m not going to deny what he wrote. I’m going with it. It’s absolutely fine. It’s canon, it happened. It was transmitted. You cannot unwrite things, that would be absolutely rude to a great colleague and a lovely friend.
Why Is The Doctor’s Origins A Controversial Doctor Who Plot Point?
Defining a true origin for the Doctor has often been a difficult subject for Doctor Who, as although Time Lord society has been gradually expanded on, it wasn’t until Chibnall’s era that such an extensive focus on the Doctor’s childhood was brought to screen. Under script editor Andrew Cartmel’s “Master Plan” for ultimately scrapped storylines once the show was canceled, there was an effort to reveal a greater secret past of the Doctor’s that was ultimately realized in spin-off novels including Lungbarrow. However, the development of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie and a potential US-produced reboot would have seen not only the Doctor be established as half-human, but audition tapes with Paul McGann have revealed the Master was his brother.
With each potential origin for the Doctor bringing its own controversies among the fandom, it is clear that any answer will fail to satisfy the entirety of the audience. While some may be able to find a deeper meaning within the decision that adds a new layer to the Doctor’s character, others fear that it would be detrimental to the character, either robbing them of mystery or over-complicating things in prophecies and mishandled executions. As such, Doctor Who may never be able to offer a single answer that satisfies all.
Doctor Who‘s current canon can be complicated, with various origins, alternate incarnations, and retellings of similar stories amongst various forms of media. However, under Davies’ guidance, future Whoniverse stories could have a more cohesive, consistent canon. While the Timeless Children may have been controversial, it is clear that Davies has no intention to rewrite Chibnall’s contribution, and many may wonder if the showrunner will ever take the opportunity to tackle the plot point himself in Doctor Who season 14 and beyond.
Doctor Who seasons 1-13 are currently available on Max, while the upcoming 60th anniversary episodes and season 14 will release on Disney+ internationally. Past seasons and the upcoming episodes will be available on BBC One and BBC IPlayer in the UK.
Source: SFX Magazine
- Release Date:
- Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi
- Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi
- As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – characters and creatures from across the universe.
- Doctor Who
- Story By:
- Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson
- Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall