Doctor Who has changed a lot over the past fifty years, and so has its main character. Back when the sci-fi institution began in 1963, the Doctor was an elderly, irascible fella. Though intelligent and moralled, he left the heroics to his younger companions. Nowadays, though, the Time Lord is a veritable superhero who saves the world largely single-handedly on a weekly basis and can send alien armies packing with a mention of his name.
This clash of two very different versions of the same character will be at the heart of the upcoming Christmas special, titled “Twice Upon a Time.” In his final adventure, Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor will encounter his first incarnation (played by Harry Potter‘s David Bradley).
While discussing the episode in a special featurette on the season 10 DVD release, writer Steven Moffat praised Bradley’s interpretation of the part originally played by William Hartnell from 1963-66. He also revealed that Doctor Numero Uno will react with “great horror” upon meeting his future self.
“David Bradley is such a good swap for William Hartnell. He looks so like him, and can so capture that part. We could actually have, in effect, William Hartnell returning to Doctor Who – and witness to his great horror what he has become.”
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Bradley himself went on to gush about the “brilliant story” that will unfold in the special, saying:
“The First Doctor meeting the current Doctor – it’s just so way out there! And I’m glad Steven Moffat thought of it, and wrote such a brilliant story. But it’s something I would never have imagined.”
Finally, outgoing Doctor Peter Capaldi summed up his bittersweet feelings about bowing out of the show after three seasons in charge of the TARDIS. It’s sad, of course, but he reminds us that this isn’t the end of the Doctor’s journey.
“It’s nice to have conclusions. I think it’s nice for stories to end. But Doctor Who never ends.”
He’s got that right. If the First Doctor is shocked to meet his twelfth self, then what would he make of his thirteenth – Jodie Whittaker’s first female regeneration? Maybe that’s a story we’ll get to see at some point in the future…
Doctor Who returns on December 25th.