Doctor Who is a terrible man

Now, as regular readers of this blog may be aware, I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan. Who wouldn’t be? Guy travels through time and space fighting monsters. What’s not to like?

But the other day, a disturbing thought occurred to me. Maybe the Doctor isn’t the heroic role model his fans like to think he is. In fact, maybe the Doctor is actually a terrible person. Consider the following.

1. Living situation

Where does the Doctor live? In the TARDIS, of course. It’s dimensionally transcendental (“bigger on the inside” to you non-geeks), telepathic, capable of travelling anywhere and any-when, and has everything you could possibly want for time-travelling shenanigans.

But consider the civilisation the Doctor comes from, the Time Lords. These are people who can feel probability, stop time, manipulate stars, destroy planets, control black holes, people who are telepathic and functionally immortal and, if the picture above is anything to go by, like standing on rocks and staring into the middle distance because they’re just that soulful. A TARDIS is nothing to them – it’s just how you get from A to B. You wouldn’t live in it, you’d live in a big domed city, or a mansion or something. What I’m saying is, in terms of his civilisation, the Doctor is the equivalent of a guy who lives in the back of his car.

2. Employment

What does the Doctor do for a living? Nothing. Exactly. Which brings us on to the subject of…

3. Theft

So if he doesn’t have a job, he must be pretty poor, right? I mean, you can hardly sign on if you’re just called “The Doctor,” can you? But no, far from it, the Doctor seems to have all the money he could possibly need. Where does he get it from?

Well, the episode ‘The Long Game’ answered that for us – he uses his sonic screwdriver in that story to electronically transfer money over to his companions. In other words, he nicks it. Or electronically “creates” money that didn’t exist. Come to think of it, given the number of his adventures that take place in the late 20th/early 21st century on Earth, it’s entirely possible that the Doctor is responsible for the credit crunch on his own.

This isn’t the only theft he’s responsible for, of course. He’s seen to swipe various items throughout the run of the series, including his current costume. Most notably, though, his TARDIS is actually stolen. He’s quite open about the fact. Almost as if he’s proud, actually.

4. Fraud

It’s a sad fact that in this world, we have to be security-conscious. I work in a hospital, for instance, and even though I’m well known about the place, I still have to have all sorts of clearance to go anywhere and to interact with children. Not the Doctor. Every time he needs to go somewhere he shouldn’t, he just uses his psychic paper – a device that appears to be able to supply all the clearance he needs for everything. That is to say, this unstable and irresponsible man is capable of all kinds of identity theft. In the episode ‘The Idiot’s Lantern,’ he even impersonates the King of Belgium. The man has no shame!

But come to think of it, this is a man who calls himself “the Doctor” – does he actually have a doctorate? Presumably, having attended a Time Lord Academy on Gallifrey, he has some sort of academic qualification. But that can’t be the source of the title, otherwise almost all the Time Lords we’ve seen in the series would be known as such. His unwillingness to let people know his real name means it’s impossible to check up on whether he actually has any right to the title, which is very convenient I must say.

Which brings us on to…

5. Paranoia

Why actually does the Doctor have a problem with anyone knowing his name? Why does the Ninth incarnation have every reference to himself removed from the Internet in the episode ‘Rose?’ It’s not like the Doctor is exactly discreet in any other respect – he’s generally extroverted, flamboyant, eccentric and, not to put too fine a point on it, fights aliens from a vanishing phone box. What’s he trying to hide? Either he’s paranoid or there’s some problem attached to his actual identity. Very suspect, I think you’ll agree.

6. Parental responsibility

The first of the Doctor’s companions ever seen in the series was his granddaughter, Susan, seen left. She accompanies the First Doctor until the end of ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth,’ when she and the Doctor part ways. The Doctor locks her out of the TARDIS, abandoning her on future Earth, claiming that he’s actually doing this because she’s now an adult and has to live her own life. Very tearful, very noble, very self-sacrificing.

Or is it? Consider the episode ‘The Doctor’s Daughter.’ In this story, the Tenth Doctor acquires a fully-grown genetically-engineered daughter named Jenny. Now, you’d think a guy who’s always moaning about how lonely he is and how he’s the last of his species would think it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened – but no. The Doctor spends the entire episode in denial, actually telling her that she is not his daughter. An absurd pretence – I can’t believe he’s even fooling himself.

At the end of the episode, she gets shot, and the Doctor zooms away in the TARDIS. This despite the fact that he knows she’s genetically grown from his DNA and is therefore a Time Lord and therefore can come back from the dead. In the light of this episode, the Doctor’s abandonment of his granddaughter and failure to stay in touch thereafter take on a more sinister significance – this is a man who will happily fight deadly foes, but can’t take the responsibilities of parenthood.

7. The safety of others

Amy Pond is a companion who has been endangered by the Doctor. That is the only reason I am posting this photo. Honestly.


It’s been pointed out in the series itself that the Doctor often puts his companions in danger, and he has claimed that he hates this fact – he resists having a companion for a while for this very reason. Well, that’s all well and good, but let’s consider the circumstances of the Tenth Doctor’s death and regeneration.
He gets fatally irradiated by one of the Master’s devices. This must be one hell of a lot of radiation, because it’s established in ‘Smith and Jones’ that he can shrug off a dose that can kill a human. So he must be very, very radioactive (or “hot,” as we in the trade say) indeed.
So what does he then do, as a highly radioactive, dying man? He visits all his old companions. All of them (except, presumably, his granddaughter who he secretly hates). He goes into crowded places – bars, shops, even a wedding. The man is basically a living Goiânia accident. God only knows how many people he killed in that one self-indulgent and unnecessary excursion. What a bastard.
8. The genocide thing
Yeah, he’s kinda been responsible for a lot of deaths, including the extinction of several species. Now, I know what you’re going to say – surely it was a case of them or us, that the species in question were deadly and murderous. Well, so are polar bears and tigers, from a certain perspective. So are humans, in fact. Ultimately, you can’t anthropomorphise non-human species. The Doctor, in other words, is a kind of transtemporal racist.
To sum up
So, this is the Doctor. A man who steals, kills, defrauds, irradiates and abandons people. A man who can’t take any kind of responsibility, yet causes chaos and destruction wherever he goes. A man incapable of holding down a job or a home. I look at the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Autons, and then I look at the Doctor and I think, “Who is the real monster here?” And then I say, “Well, it’s the Doctor, really, isn’t it? I wrote that blog entry about it just now.” I rest my case.
Next up: Captain Kirk – orgiast?


Filed under 20th Century, Crime, Current events, Film and TV, History, Literature, Only loosely about London

27 responses to “Doctor Who is a terrible man

  1. What a jerk. I’m not sending him a Christmas card this year.

  2. All fair enough, but to expand on point eight, he’s non-human too, so isn’t it your anthropomorphic analysis of the Doctor that’s at fault?

  3. I like the Doctor to be a bastard. That’s how he was portrayed in season 1.

    • MyGeekLife

      The Doctor may be a bastard, but he’s OUR bastard! I secretly love him more when he’s in the middle of doing terrible things I know he’ll regret later. And the reason he likes humans so much? Because we take his abuse and keep coming back for more.

  4. Richard Sammartino

    I seem to remember a scene between The Doctor and The Master where it was mentioned that they each chose their names. Even though The Doctor knows more about science and medicine than pretty much anyone, he isn’t an actual Doctor any more than The Master is actually a master.

  5. Jimbo

    1. Has the doctor ever denied being someone living out of his car? If anything he advertises it. Is that a negative thing when his “all powerful” race goes against what he believes and he wishes to part with them and their corrupt self righteous society?
    2. What does one’s employment have to do with his character?
    3. He is definitely a thief.
    4.He does impersonate people, but plenty of “Heroes” do. As for his title, it is said in series 3 that he picked his title just as the master picked his, thus making his name some sort of Gallifreyan title picking rite, that certain time lords go through. Perhaps this title giving process is limited to renegades. Some of the other renegade time lords shown in doctor who are War Chief, The Monk, and the Master, All title’s not names. It is also stated in the Baker Era that the Doctor went by, Theta Sigma, or “Thete” in University.
    5. The Doctor doesn’t want people knowing his name simply because he doesn’t want to bring too much attention to himself word wide. When interacting with a small group he tends to be flamboyant, but he doesn’t want the whole world to know about him which could change history in a way he doesn’t want it to. There is also some power behind his name that is a mystery, and may be negative.
    6. I can’t really argue about Susan. Jenny is basically a clone of the doctor, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for him to feel any parental feelings for her. She is a grown woman. Plus he thought she was dead and incapable to regenerate. He was sad when she died, and left her because he thought she couldn’t come back. Her regeneration is an anomaly anyway because she didn’t change form and she was already dead before she regenerated. On the other hand The Doctor does tend to run from personal problems and may have known she would still be alive, but didn’t want to deal with it. He is rather fond of running, but does this make him a bad bloke, not really, pretty much just makes him normal.
    7.and 8. This list was made pretty much ignoring the older regenerations with just a small mention of the first doctor the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th were completely ignored. The answer to this problem is the Doctor has a different personality based on the current regeneration he is on. He feels differently about different things at different times in his life, but this is biological not something he can control. The one pattern you can see that remains constant throughout all of his regenerations is that he is good, and tries his best( sometimes failing, sometimes being selfish and afraid) to do what is right for the universe. He is doing the job that the whole Gallifryan race is supposed to be doing but they ignored. He is doing that job by himself. He is a lonely angel, and the on coming storm. Yes, he is Guilty of Genocide, he admits that he destroyed his own people because they became more evil than even the Daleks. He is a man with so much power and so much responsibility and he is not perfect. He comes from a race full of greed and the lust for power and gives it up to live out of his “car”. He does his best with what he has, and tries to do the right thing for humanity and the rest of good in the universe.

  6. The doctor is a renegade, a hero and a rogue. His saving grace is that he loves the human race and will protect it even with his own life. Remember, it was said that The Master orchestrated a revolt on Gallifrey that killed most of the Doctor’s family. Much like Gilgamesh, he is cursed to live forever, and does he not return full circle from the far future as the Valeyard to put himself on trial for crimes of genocide. Will the Doctor ultimately try to destroy himself as being evil or will it play out differently? What will happen to the Doctor nearing his last incarnation is anybody’s guess.

  7. bmh

    The fact that he’s such a bastard makes him that much sexier 😀

  8. Stephen

    Wow, are some people actually taking this seriously? Brilliant article, by the way.

  9. Anna

    Here’s the thing – all of those things are mostly true. But he wouldn’t The Doctor without faults. In fact – he’d be a flat, stupid character if he didn’t have faults. And the show would have died a long time ago.

  10. Rogues are heroes too! Just look at Robin Hood! (Yes, he stole, but he gave it to those who needed it, namely his sexy lady companions or whoever else was pulled along for the ride). He’s the sugar daddy we all wish we had.

    All his companions are adrenaline-junkies anyway. The whole reason they climb into his big blue box is that they’re dissatisfied with a normal, daily life. (The exception being Rose, who chose the man who loved her and would start a life with her instead of staying the Doctor’s companion, after she’d had her share of adventure, of course.) I often wonder if she’s happy or if she misses all the danger. Or maybe she just prefers the life of a London Call Girl.

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  12. who knows

    Well , as far as I know the Doctor is allowed to tell his real name just one person. And he did,though he cant remember that he did.It reminds me on a thing that the Celts believed long time ago. If you know someones real name you have power on him.So maybe thats the reason why he doesnt wish to know everyone:)

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  14. dev

    in a later episode, i heard him say something about the time lords names’ being powerful enough to burn up stars and do a whole bunch of magic stuff, so that’s why he can’t say his real name. none of the time lords can.

  15. I’ve only just discovered your brilliant article. LOVED it. Highly enjoyable take on the flipside of the Doctor mythos. Thank you!!!! and HA!

  16. I’ll never watch the show again. never.

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  18. bll

    who ever wrote this is a complete ass

  19. Max

    -_-” they mentioned that the word doctor used with all the races CAME from HIS name…. He doesn’t have a name besides Doctor

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