'Doctor Who' Showrunner Discusses the Origins of John Hurt's Doctor


Day of the Doctor

The ending of 'Doctor Who's' seventh season finale, "The Name of the Doctor," featured the show's biggest plot twist ever. Upon entering his own timeline, the Doctor (Matt Smith) was forced to confront one of his previous incarnations -- this one previously unseen by audiences. This Doctor, played by John Hurt, is described as someone who committed great atrocities and someone who greatly damaged the name of the Doctor. 

John Hurt's Doctor -- suspected by many fans to fit into the Doctor's timeline between the Eighth (Paul McGann) and Ninth (Christopher Eccleston) Doctors, will be the focus of the 50th anniversary special, "Day of the Doctor."

Showrunner Steven Moffat, who created the character, spoke to SFX about his inspiration for creating this mystery incarnation of one of television's most iconic characters. “Why not a mayfly Doctor, who exists for one show only? I’d often thought about that. Would it be weird in the run of the series to have the 45th Doctor turn up and be played by Johnny Depp or someone? Would that be a cool thing to do?"

Of course, Moffat go the idea for this new character by looking to the show's past. “There was also the idea that if you could bring one classic Doctor back, you’d actually, impossibly, want it to be William Hartnell. You wouldn’t want any of the others. You’d want him to come and say ‘What in the name of God have I turned into?’ That’s the confrontation that you most want to see, to celebrate 50 years.

“Going round and round in circles on it I just thought ‘What about a Doctor that he never talks about?’ And what if it is a Doctor who’s done something terrible, who’s much deadlier and more serious, who represents that thing that is the undertow in both David [Tennant] and Matt [Smith]. You know there’s a terrible old man inside them. Well, here he is, facing the children he becomes, as it were.”

That sounds, for want of a better word, awesome. It appears we'll be mining depths of the Doctor's psyche we haven't explored yet. I can't wait. 

"Day of the Doctor" airs Nov. 23 worldwide. 

- John Hurt
- Doctor Who
- BBC one

Written by: mcpherson
Oct 14th, 2013, 12:21 pm

Images courtesy of BBC One

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