Doctor Who Series 10: 7 Big Questions We're Asking After 'World Enough And Time'

7. Why Is The Doctor Regenerating In The Pre-credits Sequence?

BBC

Filmed only two weeks prior to transmission, the pre-credits sequence was arguably the biggest shock of the episode and the least important. Bill’s ‘death’ had been heavily signposted even from the series’ first trailer, and the Master and the Mondasian Cybermen had been officially confirmed by the BBC. The fact that the Twelfth Doctor’s regeneration had no obvious bearing on the episode whatsoever, coupled with the snowy setting, suggests it could be a flash-forward to the Christmas special.

It’s tempting to suggest that it was thrown in at the last minute to add intrigue to an overly spoiled episode. Certainly it would have made more sense to have Missy’s “I’m Doctor Who” leading into the opening sting, even if it would have been similar to Clara’s bluff in Death in Heaven.

Perhaps this is being too harsh, after all in the preview clip for The Doctor Falls a hand is seen with the tell-tale signs of an impending regeneration. The grassy background might indicate this is another character – one of the two Masters, but the Doctor appears to be holding back his regeneration in the pre-credits sequence. It’s feasible that at Christmas the Doctor could be succumbing to a regeneration that has already begun.

We should also allow for the tantalising possibility that the scene might bookend the finale (a framing device similar to the young Davros in The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar). The spoiler-filled finale would be completely forgiven if when the final credits roll next week, we’ve been introduced to the next Doctor. It is certainly unusual for such a late reveal of the identity of the next Doctor and the information is clearly being held back for a reason. What a wonderful surprise if the BBC could pull it off.

Contributor
Contributor

Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.