Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

The War Doctor

I'm guessing that John Hurt's War Doctor was inserted into the timeline because of Christopher Eccleston's refusal to show up for the Anniversary. If Eccleston had been available it seems likely we would have seen him regenerating from Paul McGann, fighting in the Time War and then emerging as the damaged character we encountered in the first season of the revived show. That, anyway, would have been the shortest route from A to B.  If such was the original plan then what we have with the War Doctor is an inspired bodge- a repair to the fabric of the story necessitated by events beyond the show runner's control. Making a creative virtue out of necessity has been an especial glory of Dr Who. You lose the services of William Hartnell so you give the Doctor the power to regenerate- and so create a narrative that need never end and which receives a refreshing infusion of the new and unexpected every two or three years.

It would have been nice to see Eccleston again, but one can't regret the invention of the War Doctor or the casting and performance of John Hurt. They have enriched the mythos. Sometimes- and especially with a show like Dr Who that has a history- even an ethic- of improvisation- accidents turn out to be really lucky. 
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