Doctor Who: Steven Moffat acknowledges a Doctor regeneration limit – could time be running out for the show?
With the recent casting of Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor Who, fans across the globe have been wondering just how many more actors we would see in the role.
Since the beginning of Doctor Who it was well documented that from the very first regeneration of actors into the role, there would only ever be 12 in total.
If writers are to stick by that then this means that Capaldi’s eventual successor may well be the very last Doctor Who ever, and Steven Moffat has acknowledged this fact.
As a Time Lord, the Doctor has the ability to regenerate his body when near death – this was introduced into the storyline as a way of continuing the series when the writers were faced with the departure of lead actor William Hartnell in 1966, and has continued to be a major element of the series, allowing for the recasting of the lead actor when the need arises.
The Doctor was given a limited number of regenerations, 12 to be precise, allowing for only 13 actors to ever play the iconic role, despite an episode of spin-off show, the Sarah Jane Diaries suggesting that in fact The Doctor could in fact regenerate 507 times, which was later laughed off by writer Russell T Davies!
So with that in mind one of the questions at the front of everyone’s mind at the recent Ad-Lib event at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was addressed by show host Frank Skinner, when he asked Steven Moffat directly:
“Do you acknowledge the convention that The Doctor can only regenerate 12 times?”
Moffat gave little away in response, answering only “yes!”
The show runner then went on to reveal that “the door is open” for a return of The Doctor’s daughter, Jenny, but that a return for Time Lady Romana was not likely, explaining:
“I have actually given no thought at all to Romana. The Time Lords are dead in my mind. They died.”
Doctor Who returns this November for the much-anticipated 50th anniversary special, then again on Christmas Day when we will see what will possibly be the Doctors penultimate regeneration from Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi!