Saturday, November 2, 2013

Legacy Character Study: The 7th Doctor

History shows us that shaking things up with the 6th Doctor didn't exactly go as planned.

Let's see what we got when the BBC called a do-over.
Character Conception 
Remember I said last time that all the issues with the 6th Doctor's run got it canceled? Well, a condition of its renewal was the firing of Colin Baker. To date, he is still the only actor to officially play the Doctor who didn't leave of his own free will. 

Sylvester McCoy, actually Percy James Patrick Kent-Smith, was chosen over a number of actors (including Rowan Atkinson) when he aced his audition, where he acted opposite Janet Fielding (Tegan). Sylvester McCoy had virtually no name recognition compared to some of those he auditioned beside, which means he certainly had the acting chops for the role.

Secret Origin 
The Rani, a renegade Time Lady who dabbled in astonishing feats of MAD SCIENCE, forced the Doctor's TARDIS to crash, which caused significant head trauma, causing a regeneration. 

The 7th Doctor demonstrated the ability to "persuade" people to do his bidding by looking into their eyes. This may seem random, but it's an ability that the Master demonstrated several times previously. It's entirely possible that this is a natural Time Lord ability which is only used by renegade Time Lords. 

This Doctor could play the spoons quite well, too. Sylveste McCoy [sic] was McCoy's vaudeville persona, where he demonstrated many skills, spoon-play among them. McCoy laughed when they said he should play the spoons as the Doctor. Then he realized they weren't kidding. 

Melanie Bush 
Mel would be integral to helping the Doctor normalize after his regeneration. The two would part amicably, with Melanie going off on her own travels with Sabalom Glitz, a dashing rogue. 

Dorothy "Ace" McShane 
Say hello to the Doctor's ace-in-the-hole. Pun intended.
It is unknown how or why Ace and the Doctor went their separate ways, due to the show's cancellation. That is, unless you take a look at the expanded universe.

But Ace, a troubled teenager with a penchant for making her special homemade explosives, met up with the Doctor the same time that Mel left.

With her catchphrase of "Ace!", she and the Doctor had a very father/daughter-esque relationship. The Doctor really seemed to care about Ace, and Ace seemed to genuinely care about the Doctor. Even so, she liked to get on his nerves by calling him "Professor."

Ace wore a fez once. Fezzes are cool.
Notable Enemies 
The Rani
The Rani, in her final appearance, forced a regeneration on the Doctor, then took advantage of the resulting amnesia to experiment with "strange matter." 

The Daleks continued their civil war against their creator, Davros. 

Davros continued his civil war with the rest of the Daleks. 

Notable Traits 
6 was somewhat of an angry man who got his hands dirty, so 7 was a chessmaster, manipulating the situation from behind the scenes, though he outwardly seemed like a buffoon. He would often mix his metaphors and use slapstick "clumsiness" to maneuver himself into positions.

Though he would get angry, he never lost his cool. No matter how bad of a position he was in, he was always really five steps ahead of the villain. It would eventually reach the point where he began using his skills in... Less than noble ways. 

10th Doctor: "...and I got worse; I got clever. Manipulated people into taking their own [lives]."

He also tr-r-r-r-rilled his r's, which made him stand out from his Received Pronunciation predecessors.

Notable Character History 
6 was flying around time and space when the Rani penned fire on his TARDIS. 6 hit his head on the console, and the Rani took advantage of his amnesia to masquerade as Melanie and convince him to finish her dangerous experiments with "strange matter," which would give her dominion over space and time. 

After reuniting with the real Mel and defeating the Rani, the two had a couple more adventures, until Mel left to travel with a galactic conman. 

Ace took her place and went with the Doctor to fight the Daleks during their civil war, taking place on Earth. Davros escaped, and announced his intention to take the fight to the Time Lords. According to Russell T. Davies, this was the beginning of the Last Great Time War. 

In the past, the Doctor prevented the Cybermen from gaining access to Validium, a powerful living metal from Gallifrey. In the present (well, the 80's), the Doctor opposed the gods of Ragnarok, powerful beings that made lesser beings fight for their own amusement. He and Ace also went up against Morgaine, an evil witch from an alternate dimension of magic. She attempted to gain the scabbard of King Arthur, and kept referring to the Doctor as "Merlin." 

After fighting the Master in Ace's hometown, the Doctor's greatest enemy returned: cancellation. 

Alternate Versions 

Yes. Merlin. It's unclear (to say the least), but a Doctor is Merlin.

The 7th Doctor? A future Doctor? An alternate reality Doctor? 

Unless this plot thread is ever picked up again, we'll never know. 

Odd, isn't it? This semi-reveal? Well that's because this detail was originally part of a bigger plan. A Masterplan. The Cartmel Masterplan. 

The Cartmel Masterplan was the first time that the writers would attempt to answer the question "Doctor who?" Named after the producer, Andrew Cartmel, the idea was simple. 

The Doctor started out as a mystery. We never even saw the other Time Lords until his 2nd incarnation. By the time we got to the 6th Doctor, the Time Lords had lost their ineffable mystique. The idea was to add a bit more mystery by suggesting that maybe the Doctor wasn't just any Time Lord.
It had been established that Rassilon and Omega teamed up to create a black hole called the Eye of Harmony, which would power all Time Lord time travel. Omega was lost inside the black hole, Rassilon ruled Time Lord society. But maybe... there was The Other.

A mysterious third figure, who exiled the evil Omega and fled Rassilon's influence. Who escaped by "hiding" inside the genetic looms that Gallifreyans use to procreate and emerging eons later inside a new body... according to the books, at least. The Revived Series has since implied that Time Lords make babies naturally.

Sadly, the Cartmel Masterplan is nothing more than what could have been. The show was canceled before the plan could go into full effect. All we get are hints and throwaway lines, like when the Doctor accidentally said "we" when referring to the founders of Time Lord society. 

Next time, the show comes back from cancellation for the TV movie made in partnership with Fox! And we know how much Fox likes sci-fi! Like Futurama... which was canceled. Or Firefly! Which was canceled. Or The Sarah Connor Chronicles? Which was...


  1. RRRRRRAGNARRRRRROK! I never get tired of that.

  2. Ace kicks ass, she took a Dalek out with a Baseball Bat.

    1. I really wish they had continued the implications of 7 training her to be a Time Lady into the present series. Maybe bring her back for a cameo?