Will We See The First Doctor Regenerate in The Christmas Special?

The vacuum created by the long gap between the end of Series 10 and the Christmas special is being filled, as is the way of things with Doctor Who, with detailed analysis of the trailer and a hungry search for any kind of clue as to what’s coming, mixed with a fairly big dollop of speculation.

The latest bit of said conjecture arises from that snippet in the trailer for Twice Upon A Time of the First Doctor’s hand glowing as a concerned Polly (played by Lily Travers) looks on. If we’re to take it that we’ll see the Doctor regenerate into his second incarnation, does this mean that a new actor will be cast in Patrick Troughton’s place? And if so, who could it be?

David Bradley is certainly giving nothing away.

“As far as I know, you don’t see anything like that,” he said at the recent London Film & Comic Con when asked if a recreation of Troughton’s first moments in the TARDIS was on the cards. He then followed up with “I mean, I don’t know what’s a spoiler. Even if I knew I couldn’t really say. But I never saw Reece [Shearsmith].”

Which leaves just about enough wriggle room for the hypothesis that some kind of appearance Second Doctor could possibly be on the cards. Radio Times, always good value these days for a substantial bit of guesswork when it comes to forthcoming Doctor Who episodes, goes into the possibilities in some depth. Is Reece Shearsmith about to follow in Bradley’s footsteps once again after his (very brief, in his case) appearance in An Adventure in Space and Time? RT discounts this on the not unreasonable grounds that Shearsmith didn’t feel quite right playing Patrick Troughton in the recreation of Doctor Who’s origins.

After contemplating a guest spot for David Troughton stepping into his Dad’s shoes (something he has form with in the 2011 BBC Audiobooks series Serpent Crest), Radio Times writer Paul Jones concludes that, if indeed we are to see the series’ first changeover recreated, the most likely option is “we’ll glimpse the real Troughton’s face surrounded by regeneration energy as Bradley changes – much as we did when John Hurt’s War Doctor became Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth.”

We shall all find out at Christmas – only four and a bit months to go! What do you think? Do you like the sound of a double regeneration in Capaldi’s finale? Or would that detract from the Twelfth Doctor’s demise? Let us know!

  • bar none but PC

    We’ve already seen the first Doctor’s regeneration into Pat T; original and never bettered. So even if they’re going to make S6b with a whole new cast, I don’t see the point. A brief glimpse of the original one maybe, but I wasn’t comfortable with Shearsmith’s version either.

    • Peter Rabytt

      I think Shearsmith’s version was terrible in an otherwise excellent programme.

      • DonnaM

        Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one!

        On this occasion I hope Moffat has the good sense to leave well alone. We already know what happened when the first Doctor regenerated. Start the process as per the trailer by all means, but there’s no need to go over old ground beyond that.

        • daft

          I’d imagine they’ll do a short snippet with a colourized Troughton face, whatever they do they’d be aware of the potential to take away from Capaldi’s Doctor’s ahem ‘journey’.

      • bar none but PC

        I loved the programme, especially the cameos for people like Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, and Aneke Wills. But as well as the Sheersmith mismatch, my inner nerd grumbles at the scene in which the Doctor ‘Billy Fluffs’ the brilliant soliloquy which William Hartnell actually got absolutely perfect, first time.

        • FrancoPabloDiablo

          Don’t forget Jean Marsh’s cameo beside Wills.

          • bar none but PC

            Indeed – Who royalty almost literally: Princess Joanna, Queen Morgaine, and Sara (meaning princess) Kingdom. Not to mention being married to Jon Pertwee at one time. Half the fun of that docudrama was spotting old faces.

  • FrancoPabloDiablo

    I’m not looking forward to either regeneration in this year’s special. I’ll leave it there! 🙂

    • What can you mean, Franco?!?!?!

      • FrancoPabloDiablo

        I think it is safer to be ambiguous rather than openly invite the hate and bile! 🙂

  • Ranger

    Yes, good as he is in other, original, parts, Reece was not a good match for Patrick Troughton, not like David Bradley is for Bill Hartnell. Personally, I hope they just go with a brief, colourised shot of Troughton.

    I get the feeling that the story-line might be something along the lines of both Doctors coming to terms with having to regenerate (and therefore helping each other), one with the trauma of doing it for the first time and the other with the trauma of having to do it so many times.

  • Ah yes but excuse me yes please. Ahem. It is ret-conning to think of the Hartnell to Troughton change as a regeneration. Troughton’s Doctor is meant to be a younger version of Hartnell. It was a rejuvenation. It is essential to be correct on this point. Thus the whole concept of regeneration is mistaken in this discussion.
    (Crawls back into piles of newspaper and retches.)

    • FrancoPabloDiablo

      Maybe Moff is planning to retcon the whole thing so that Hartnell regenerates (or rejuvenates) into Patricia Troughton instead of Patrick! (any room in that pile of newspapers for me)? 🙂

    • The Lazy Womble

      Throws out Mr Moff’s numbering of the Doctors too. Matt Smith wouldn’t be the 13th Doctor if Troughton and Hartnell were counted as one Doctor.

    • bar none but PC

      Me and hubby were watching a documentary the other day about gene editing and other ways to live forever. They showed a clip of the Doctor regenerating – and chose the second-least well-done one, Jon into Tom. Only Sylv’s appearence in a curly wig is a worse example. I said they should have used the original and best, as rejuvenation was closer to what they were talking about than total re-writing of genes like the later regenerations. But the general public recognise Tom, so I let them off.
      besides, the Brig’s ‘here we go again’ is always enjoyable.