Doctor Who Series 10 Finale: 7 Big Questions We're Asking After 'The Doctor Falls'

5. What Triggered The Doctor's Regeneration?

Doctor Who The Doctor Falls

The decisive blast from the Cyberman’s helmet as the Doctor made his last stand may have added another nail in the coffin, perhaps even the final one, but exactly how the Twelfth Doctor dies remains to be seen. What we do know from earlier one in the two-part finale is that Doctor was already slowly dying.

In a deliberate contrast to the Tenth Doctor who didn’t want to go because he thought he had so much more to give, the Twelfth Doctor’s is resisting regeneration because he doesn’t feel he deserves it. But exactly how long has he been delaying the inevitable?

Remember back in episode 8 when the Doctor claimed to have faked the beginning of a regeneration in order to test whether or not Bill was under the influence of the monks? At the time it felt unnecessarily cruel, especially with the Doctor laughing about his clever ruse afterwards. Significantly Nardole wasn’t in on that part of the plan.

Could it be that the regeneration in The Lie of the Land was genuine after all? The Doctor’s otherwise inexcusable behaviour afterwards could instead be a deliberately over the top attempt to cover up the truth. So did the process start on Earth? The bullet that Bill fired was a blank so in order to have such a dramatic effect the Doctor must have already been dying even back then.

Extremis, the only mid-series episode exclusively written by Moffat might hold the answers - specifically the flashbacks to the Doctor saving Missy from being executed. It would be fitting if the Doctor has been terminally injured after intervening on Missy’s behalf. Perhaps he’s been holding back his regeneration ever since, originally in the hope that he would be the one to see his old friend rehabilitated. With that plan in tatters, has he now decided to fight against his regeneration indefinately?


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.