A couple of quick DR. WHO questions from a novice

I’ve just started watching DR. WHO and I don’t want to research it too much on the Internet ast there are too many spoilers- so just a couple of quickies:
–When Dr. Who and his kind regenerate, do they have a choice as to their new body? Can they change gender/race/age/etc.?

–Regarding Dr. Who’s granddaughter- do they ever explain how they reproduce? Is his child/are his children ever introduced?


Every Doctor so far has been a white male. I’m not sure if Time Lords actually have any control over their regenerations.

This may be a geek test, but all I’m gonna say is: It’s not “Doctor Who” – “Who” isn’t his name. It’s “The Doctor.”

To answer the first question though, in the old version they did not have a choice. Indeed there’s been some mild antagonism towards past editions – Doc #6 was pretty snippy and arrogant when it came to his most recent predecessor right after he popped into being. Also, when they all get together (in “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors”), they don’t all get along very well. Two and Three had an amusing bit of rivalry, if I remember correctly!

  1. “His kind” are Timelords

  2. Yes, they can choose race/gender/etc and Romana tried on several different bodies (including an alien) until the Doctor approved of one of her regenerations. The Master also chose the sort of body he wanted.

  3. In the new series, the Doctor explicitly said he had a family. Apparently in book!canon the answer is “LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMS.” However, to my (admittedly limited knowledge) looms have never been mentioned on the show. In fact, there’s ahuge amount of drama over where the Doctor has a penis, whether he uses his penis, and if so, which sex he would prefer. Fandom is a scary place.

Ah – pepperlandgirl, I forgot about Romana’s ‘catalogue’ regeneration. That was an outlier, though; we’ve never seen the Doctor himself go through a virtual fitting room before regeneration. Indeed, unlike Romana, in the old version he always seemed pretty unprepared for the changeover … or at least, he may have inklings of impending doom (as in “Castrovalva” or “Caves of Adrozani” but he’s not been shown to be as in control of the process the way Romana was.

Maybe female Time Lords are more aware of their body changes. :wink:

Romana’s regeneration really pisses off the fans – it is the only instance where such you could “try on” different bodies (blame Douglas Adams, who wrote the scene).

In general, there is no rule about regeneration:

1 to 2 – didn’t see it, but it sounds like he just changed bodies and went about his business.
2 to 3 – Body changed and chosen by the Time Lords. The Doctor was given choices, but couldn’t make up his mind, so they chose for him. He clearly said “I have the right to decide what I look like.”
3 to 4 – Pretty routine. The Doctor was up and around in a few minutes.
4 to 5 – Difficulties. The Doctor had trouble coping and had to spend some time in the Zero Room before he was up and about.
5 to 6 – The Doctor just sat up and seemed fine.
6 to 7 – Not really shown. The seventh Doctor seemed disoriented, but was back in shape rapidly.
7 to 8 – The Doctor regenerated in a morgue and had a bit of trouble adjusting.
8 to 9 – not shown
9 to 10 – The most difficult one yet. Took quite some time before he was ready, and then only because he was accidentally given a little tea.

Romana 1 to Romana 2 – mentioned above.

The Master – no regeneration actually shown in the original series. He took over another person’s body when he ran out of regenerations.

The Master (new series) – no regeneration actually shown. He was just disguised as someone else.

Cardinal Borassa – never shown, but was referred to.

In no case has a Time Lord regenerated into a different sex. Not that it isn’t possible (it was hinted at when Tom Baker quit, but that was just a tease – the BBC wasn’t looking for a female actor), but it just hasn’t been done.

As far as the Doctor’s children (not including The Doctor’s Daughter), his granddaughter Susan was introduced in the very first episode. She referred to him as “grandfather,” but it’s quite possible it was just a term of endearment. No wife or child has ever been shown.

The regeneration was absolutely shown.

Derek Jacobi regenerated into John Simm after Jacobi was shot. The Master even explicitly said that if the Doctor could have a young body, than he could too.

Sometimes they don’t have much choice. Doctor #3 actually had his regeneration to Doctor #4 jump-started by the Meddling Monk (a disguised Time Lord), I believe, because he’d waited too long to do it himself.

K’Anpo Rinpoche–a Time Lord, apparently retired, who the Doctor knew as a child–is shown projecting a future incarnation. The projection merged with K’Anpo when the time came.

It could be argued that there are hints of difficulties with the 3 to 4 regeneration. The Doctor was up very quickly, but not stable mentally for at least a little while; he acts quite manic for a bit before he finally settles down and seems to recognize anyone.

The mental instability at regeneration is seen in at least a few of the ones after that; this may be a common feature to many Time Lord regenerations since The Rani makes use of the unstable period just following the 6 to 7 to try and trick The Doctor - and this was something she’d planned.

Sampiro, there’s a TON of good wiki stuff out there for Doctor Who. The problem is, there’s so much history and continuity that it’s easy to get sucked in for twenty hours or so…

EDIT: ack, missed that you didn’t want to be spoiled. Sorry. Still, if you want background on the older episodes, some of which are just NOT available (no prints existing, among other issues) wiki is the way to go.

I’d have to watch again, but wasn’t that just the same thing that happened to the Doctor in Human Nature?

Also, the Master has regenerated after taking over a body, but it usually took place off stage. In the Paul McGann movie, he did regenerate and didn’t have any problems adjusting.

Up until the point where he regenerates into John Simm, yes.


The Master became a Time Lord again when he opened the fob watch (as John Smith because the Doctor again when he opened the fob watch). So for a few moments, Jacobi’s Master was a Time Lord, not a human. And then his assistant shot him and he ducked into the TARDIS and locked the door. Jacobi!Master than “died” and regenerated into John Simm.

Ok, also a new series noob. I’m utterly charmed by the show in its modern form (a pal gave me cds of the Eccleston year after it showed on CBC and I was hooked, and I’m going to have babies with David Tenant someday): should I give the old ones a shot or will I want to spoon my eyes out? Are the old seasons pretty watchable, with a suspension of disbelief/ acceptance of old school effects and writing and love of good camp?

In The Face Of Evil, it was revealed that the newly regenerated Fourth Doctor {sometime during the Robot storyline, apparently} had inadvertantly buggered up the supercomputer Xoanon by wandering in and downloading his personality into it while he was still erratic from his recent regeneration.

I believe it’s pretty much canon that the Doctor’s regenerations are often erratic due both to their usually traumatic causes and the Doctor’s incomplete Time Lord training: he absconded in a stolen Tardis to live out a peripatetic and often stressful life, whilst the remainder of the Time Lords live {lived} out sedate and pompous lives on Gallifrey. Thus while most Time Lords naturally regenerated in good time when they aged, the Doctor’s regenerations are usually premature and often the result of a violent “death”; hence their sometimes wobbly nature.

Douglas Adams having Romana “bodyshopping”, which infuriated fans but I guess has to be reluctantly accepted as canon, has been fanwanked away by claiming that as a fully trained Time Lady, Romana had more control over the regenerations process. In any case, such Time Lord bodyshopping has never been referred to before or since.

This thread has some excellent recommendations for the best of Old Skool Who, as well as some “must avoids”.

Also, the title of the show is never “Dr. Who.” It’s always “Doctor Who.”

True, my nine-year-old has told me off about using the contraction.

I’d have paid for her membership to a fanclub ages ago if it wasn’t for this kind of thing;

There’s a throwaway line in one episode where The Doctor says, “I had a son, once.”
How has that wee gem been accepted in fandom? (I’m too scared to look.)

“Asexualists” who argue that the Doctor never, ever has sex seem to be fading in strength, from what I can see. So people are more willing to accept that somehow he has procreated (with looms being the book!canon). Now most of the drama is centered around who he should be having sex with.

So, fandom hasn’t changed a bit then? Forget the canon bombshell of the spin-off potential laden ‘Doctor Jr’ and concentrate on the ‘putting it in and wiggling it about a bit’.

My kid’s *never *going to a convention.