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Doctor Who: Which Doctors Need to Come Back (& Which Shouldn't)

We're in a transition period for Doctor Who. Jodie Whittaker has officially left the show, having regenerated into David Tennant, who's supposed also lead to the introduction of Ncuti Gatwa after him next year. That's fifteen canonical Doctors now, not including John Hurt as the War Doctor and Jo Martin as a "lost" incarnation of the Doctor in a hidden part of their history. The thing about Doctor Who and the actors who play them is they never really leave. There is always an option for them to come back. The question is, should they?

Doctor Who: Only Three Times The Doctor Met Another Doctor?
"Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time" image: BBC America

The Twelfth Doctor's Run on Doctor Who is Complete

Peter Capaldi was asked recently if he would like to come back for an occasional special story or team-up. He said no; he felt he'd done his time. Best not to repeat things that he'd already done on the show. And he was not a fan of team-up stories as that would just be a distraction from each Doctor. He has a point.

The TwelfthDoctor, in his three seasons under showrunner Steven Moffat, ran the full gamut of what a Doctor could go through. Each of his seasons was different. He was uncertain, unsocialized, and prickly in his first season. He was playing out a kind of midlife crisis in a co-dependent and increasingly dysfunctional and dangerous relationship with his companion. His third and final season saw him become a more "classic" Doctor facing the final battle of his life. Of the modern-era Doctors, the Twelfth had the most complete arc with a beginning, middle and end. If he came back for a side story, it would just feel redundant. Maybe Capaldi will agree to star in Big Finish audios in a few years, but it's currently not on the cards.

The Doctors Who Should Have More Stories in Doctor Who

David Tennant and Matt Smith have both said they'd like to return for special stories rather than whole seasons. Tennant, of course, is getting another chance with the three specials for the 60th Anniversary next year because he had unfinished business with his former companion Donna (Catherine Tate). Smith's Eleventh Doctor had a full run, but there's still a sense that there were more stories to tell during his time that we haven't seen. Christopher Eccleston had adventures before he met Rose (Billie Piper) in his first season, and those are being explored in Big Finish audio dramas. Tennant has also been happy to star in additional stories with companions Rose and Donna in new Big Finish stories set during their time on the show. Jo Martin deserves an entire season of stories because she is the least known of them all, and though she showed the full range of what she was capable of, the angriest, most ruthless of all the Doctors so far, we want to see what types of stories she was in. Jodie Whittaker definitely needs to have more stories where she's front and centre since Chris Chibnall constantly sidelined her on her own show to spend time with her companions and other Doctors. She was the most neglected and shortchanged. She never got her full run of stories that explored her character.

The Modern Era of Doctor Who is on HBO Max in the US for the time being. The next season will be on Disney+.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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