With The Timeless Children like it or not Doctor Who entered a new phase. In the 1980s / 90s we had aspects of the Cartmel Masterplan, then RTD reset the show to bring it back. Steven Moffat undid some of that, weaved his own ideas and now Chris Chibnall has really stirred things up. There’s no glossing over this – many aspects of the show are different. They may be fatal to some fans, and I will cover that elsewhere. For now, just what do we know?
The Cartmel Masterplan
Let’s pop back to the1980s and the Seventh Doctor and the emergence of the Cartmel Masterplan. I quote from the TARDIS wiki:
The “masterplan” was an attempt to restore some of the mystery of the Doctor and the Time Lords after years of overexposure and overfamiliarity
It did this be re-engineering aspects of the shows history (most if not all of which was post hoc deduced at that time).
The mechanism involved looking at the invention of time travel and formation of Time Lord society, adding a character named The Other to Rassilon and Omega (who was added in The Three Doctors) and having him be an outsider, a mentor perhaps. The Other then went on to be reborn (somehow) as the Doctor many, many centuries later. Some of this is covered in Lungbarrow.
Early Days of the Chibnall Masterplan
We don’t know what Chris Chibnall calls his big vision for the show (and a shame we didn’t get any in series 11), so for now the Chibnall Masterplan is as good as anything.
His intent seems to be to also strip away some (most!) of the established mythos and move the Doctor back to step to be The Timeless Child. At a very high level Tecteun and the Timeless Child are The Other except regeneration has replaced time travel. We assume the sequences we’ve seen imply Omega and Rassilon even if not named.
So far so good (or not dependent on your point of view).
We know the following:
- The Doctor is actually not a Time Lord but a super-regenerative from another dimension of reality (hunted / escaped disaster / runaway… we just don’t know)
- The Doctor had (many?) earlier regenerations before Hartnell, all forgotten
- One was Jo Martin’s Doctor. She worked for the Division, was close to (loved) a fellow agent and was hunted by Gat. She crossed over with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor – the first (?) in the shows 56+ year history
- There were some cases where the Time Lords needed to intervene. We can assume this doesn’t include the usual enemies as none of them knew of the Doctor. If these Division Era Doctor’s did, for example, go to Telos or Skaro, the locals didn’t know
- She was called The Doctor by the time of Jo Martin. The name may have emerged (I have an idea)
- The Timeless Child line of Doctors was mind-wiped and reset to childhood. There he studied with the Master, Rani and others back in previously established mythology
- The true nature of the Doctor was known to very few if any
- Tecteun vanished at some point
- In the present Gallifrey is now a waste, the Matrix may survive, it may be blocked to organic life
- All the Time Lords are dead (if you believe that)
- We need a new numbering scheme for Doctors!
I look forward to reviewing this on the way to and during series 13! Do share your thoughts in the comments.