I’m not really a betting man, but I’ll bet five bucks that the Doctor’s real name will not, in fact, be revealed in The Name of the Doctor—at least not to us, the viewers. I think it’s a pretty safe bet. The Doctor has always been a mystery, even though we’ve learned more and more about him over the years through television stories, books, comics, audios, and other media. But the one thing we’ve never learned is his name, and to be honest, I don’t really want to know it.
But this isn’t the first time the question that’s been hidden in plain sight for the last fifty years has been seriously asked, and personally, I’m surprised that no one seems to remember the twenty-fifth anniversary story, Silver Nemesis, back in 1988. That story saw the Seventh Doctor and his streetwise companion Ace face-off against the Cybermen, Nazis of the Fourth Reich, and a time traveling aristocrat from the days of King Charles I named Lady Peinforte all of whom sought sought a piece of living Gallifreyan metal that they believed would give them ultimate power (yeah, Silver Nemesis was a total mess).
Lady Peinforte claimed that a statue made from the living metal, called validium, had revealed the Doctor’s secrets to her. “Doctor who?” she asks Ace. “Have you never wondered where he came from, who he is?” Silence will fall when the question is asked, they say, and fortunately the production team at the time were wise enough not to let any definitive answers slip, though the true nature of the Doctor was later explored in the truly amazing Virgin New Adventures that were published following the series’ cancelation in 1989. If anything, asking the question and dropping a few tantalizing hints only served to deepen the mystery of the Doctor, of his origins, and his future.
Doctor who? Silence will fall when the question is asked
I think something similar is going to happen on Saturday, namely that silence will fall when the question is asked, and we will ultimately be none the wiser about the Doctor’s true identity. Yes, we may learn (one of) the Doctor’s greatest secrets, and I would like the see Steven Moffat explore exactly what Lady Peinforte alluded to, but whatever is revealed in the finalé will no doubt give way to more questions than it answers, and will help take the Doctor into the next fifty years in ways that none of us are expecting.
What do you think will be revealed in The Name of the Doctor? How do you think it will impact the future of Doctor Who? Tell us in the comments.
Daniel is the owner and Managing Editor of Time and The – !. He's been a fan of Doctor Who since watching Tom Baker regenerate into Peter Davison on his local PBS station as a kid. He launched Time and The – ! in 2011 after having the bright (?) idea to watch every Doctor Who story from the beginning and blog about it. (Yeah, he's way behind.)