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Old May 27 2013, 05:04 PM   #183
Allyn Gibson
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Re: One particular SPOILER from The Name of the Doctor

Christopher wrote: View Post
^But if they're so insightful, why would they think that regeneration wasn't established as normal for Time Lords until "The Invasion of Time" when it was actually established four years earlier? Or was Allyn simply misremembering their essay?
Quotes. These come from the first edition of About Time 3. I don't think they made any changes for the second.

By the time the Third Doctor turns into the Fourth, the audience is used to the idea of a different actor taking over the Doctor's role... but still doesn't take it as read that the power to change is one of the Doctor's built-in abilities, and still requires the story to explain it. Even given that enough time has passed since "The War Games" for a new audience to come along, there's no assumption that parents will tell younger viewers 'oh, yes, this is what he does'.

In "Planet of the Spiders" it's stated for the very first time that a regeneration (a new word!) is what happens when a Time Lord's body gets worn out, and it sounds suspiciously like an attempt to justify the events of "The Tenth Doctor" and "The War Games" to viewers who are about to meet yet another version of the Doctor. In a word that's hitherto been more commonly used in a religious context, which is what K'Anpo seems to have been through in order to astrally-project to UNIT HQ. It's noticeable that even here, the Doctor can't regenerate without turning the whole process into a life-changing ritual, and he seems to need K'Anpo's hlp -- a 'push' -- to make the final change.

Regeneration isn't really taken for granted until "The Deadly Assassin" (14.3), and even here there were anomalies, as if Robert Holmes is being cagey about formalizing things. It's said that Time Lords can regenerate twelve times, the closest thing we've had to a "rule" so far, yet Runcible asks if the Doctor's had a 'face-lift' as if that's more likely than a full body change. (In retrospect we might assume that Runcible the Fatuous is just being casual about regeneration, but that doesn't seem to be the way the scene's written.)

For obvious reasons, "The Invasion of Time" (15.6) has to assume the existence of regeneration as a given in order for Boruse to return without actor Angus Mackay.
So I conflated what Miles and Wood said about "The Invasion of Time" with what they said about "The Deadly Assassin."


The fact remains that the only "normal" regeneration for the Doctor, the only one pitched as a routine rebirth-of-an-injured-body, is the last and least convincing of the entire BBC run; the moment at the start of "Time and the Rani" when the Sixth Doctor bangs his head on the TARDIS floor and becomes the Seventh, a metamorphosis so bland that it's accepted as a purely functional part of the programme. But it took twenty-three years to get that far.
"When David Marcus cited the great thinkers of history -- "Newton, Einstein, Surak" -- Newt Gingrich did not make his list." -- 24 January 2012
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