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3. In the comic miniseries The Forgotten, the Doctor loses his memories of his prior incarnations and has to remember them through various items at a museum dedicated to his life (long story). For the Eighth Doctor, there’s a bit where he says something like, “You’d be surprised at what you can do with a half-broken Chameleon Arch and a woeful look.” I’m probably butchering the quote, but the conclusion is that the Doctor is not human in any part.

5. The Doctor mentally screwed with a mind-reading machine in “The Space Museum.” Why couldn’t he more or less make up incarnations in “The Brain of Morbius”?

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All inconsistancies and contradictions can be explained thusly: DUDE FUCKS WITH TIME FOR A LIVING- continuity is self-rewriting when you mess with The Big Clock that much.
As for the question of his sexuality- it’s not a question of whether he ever sleeps with his Companions; it’s just a question of which ones.
And cliched as it is, being “Half-human” would explain why he settled down on Earth with his granddaughter in the first place, wouldn’t it?
Seriously, all those “big questions” can be answered in simple ways that make sense- and since every fan has a “favourite” and “least favourite” Doctor, they’ll be personally picking and choosing what bits they care about anyway, so why worry? Let’s get back to hard-core nerd debates,like whether the occasional throwaway references to “Quatermass” should be regarded as evidence of a “shared Universe” between the two?

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About Galactica fans, are they really fans if they think the series was awful?

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doesn’t the Doctor in the new series imply that he had sex with the Virgin Queen?

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“About Galactica fans, are they really fans if they think the series was awful?”
You really don’t understand how fandom works, do you?

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It is my personal canon that the limits on Time Lord regeneration were much more legislative than biological. I mean, the Master keeps regenerating WELL past his fair share. I think regeneration was a finite resource, something that could theoretically get used up if an entire planet of Time Lords were doing it every time they didn’t like their nose.

Tied in to this theory is the fact that I don’t think the Ninth Doctor is the Ninth Doctor. Regardless of pre-Hartnell incarnations, which I do kinda believe in, I strongly suspect that the Doctor got killed multiple times in the Time War. There’s no record of these incarnations, of course, since they had an average lifespan like a WWI pilot and the entire Time War itself is sealed off from history. But yeah, the Doctor can cheerfully regenerate as many times as he wants, now, because there’s no other Time Lords doing it any more…

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It just so happens that this post comes as I’m going through watching all the Eddleston/Tennent/Smith series yet again. I consider the spinoff “Torchwood” an abomination, like, I imagine, most everyone in the world does. I only just the other day learned of the Sarah Jane spin-off – and damn it all – no-one has posted them on newsgroups. But I assume it is awful, and neither it, nor Torchwood, should be considered canon. The occasional crossover is nice, but I’m happier to acknowledge “Gwen” as a continuation from a previous episode than as a crossover from Torchwood.

The majority of people surely agree that Tom Baker is the best doctor – hell, even David Tennant thinks he is.

The latest 3 doctors are all good. And after first thinking they would suck, I have been awesomely pleased with all of them.

As for the Paul McGann movie with Eric Roberts as the Master – well, that’s like the Dead Sea Scrolls – it will never be part of the bible, it’s just another neat thing to know. It was a really good movie, as is everything Paul McGann has done, but that’s as far as it goes – it needs to be considered as something related, but not as canon.

And that’s my story

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Drmedula:

Apparently not… I figure I’m a fan of Battlestar Galactica because I enjoy watching it. I don’t think I’m a fan of, say, any of the CSIs because I think they’re trite, and generally awful.

Am I doin’ it right?

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Close, CB. what you have to do is find some sort of franchise you like one part of,obsessively collect it all, and then complain about the larger portion you hate.
Example: devoted Star Wars fans who haven’t actually liked anything since EMPIRE.

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Oh, well I hate the prequels. Does that count?

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YES! You now understand how fandom works.
It’s not actually something to be proud of.

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The first season of The Sarah Jane Adventures is actually pretty decent, and its tone hews much closer to Classic Who than does the new-run Who series itself. (I need to get hold of the second-season DVDs now….)

I discovered the original series during the era when American PBS affiliates were syndicating it, so I’ve seen most of the episodes from Pertwee’s run forward (plus a scant handful of Hartnell and Troughton serials). My favorite Doctors — I decline to assert “best” — are Davison and Tennant (I have yet to see Eleven). And I will add (this may be Classic Argument #6) that I like the Delgado and Ainley Masters much better than John Simm’s iteration (admittedly, that’s likely as much script issues as actor issues, though).

The real question for the how-many-regenerations buffs hasn’t been noted yet. It’s this: if you discard the 13-regeneration limitation (and I’ll grant that the series just about has to go there Real Soon Now), how do you explain the Valeyard in Trial of a Time Lord?

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@TheGoods

The Sarah Jane Adventures don’t suck. They’re very much aimed at a younger audience, and that combined with the fact that they only ever broadcast the first season in the US seem like likely culprits for why it’s not mentioned much. (Last I checked it was up to three seasons, with two more confirmed for production.) At the last big convention I was at a room full of geeks actually came to something of a consensus that it was a pretty good kids sci-fi show/gateway drug to draw in new audience for Dr Who in particular and Sci-Fi in general.

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has anyone seen the K9 series? it’s an Aussie/British co-production. seems pretty okay

Torchwood is fun. stupid, but fun

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Lister Sage said on September 20th, 2010 at 3:57 am

#2: What makes the “Are the novels/audios/comics canon” (yes, the comics published in Doctor Who Magazine featuring the Eighth Doctor were originally concidered the “true” canon) issue even harder, is that over the past few years they’ve been trying to reconcile the novels, audios and sometimes comics (depending on what is trying to reconcile them). Big Finish even went so far as to put one previously novel only companion, Fitz, and one DWM comic only companion, Izzy, into the Big Finish canon by having them be companions in the Eigthth Doctor audio story ‘The Company of Friends’. I’m not going to get into what my opinion is and why on the matter is as this post is long enough as it is.

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Master Mahan said on September 20th, 2010 at 5:37 am

Perhaps it’s because I’m an American who didn’t start watching until after eight Doctors had already come and gone, but it seems like continuity would be less of a problem with a series about time travel. A series about time travel where the rules are “whatever works best for this particular story.” If he can team up with William Shakespeare to fight alien witches without it having an effect on anything, then a future England that hasn’t converted to metric seems par for the course.

So yeah, my answers for 1, 2, and 3 are “Time travel”, “Canon is relative, just look at Star Trek and Star Wars”, and “The Doctor lies. A lot.”

4 is more interesting. Both sides have their points, but whether a fan thinks Doctor has sex or not says a lot more about the fan’s relationship to the series, and that’s perfectly valid. If one fan would rather notice the Doctor’s tendency to pick up pretty girls, and another would rather notice he never seems to touch those girls, who are we to say one of them is enjoying the show the wrong way?

Besides, we’ve seen Doctor Who with explicit sex. It’s called Torchwood, and it’s largely terrible.

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Master Mahan said on September 20th, 2010 at 5:46 am

With 5, you can see why the creators backed away from the idea: they didn’t want to establish prequel Doctors (they had enough trouble getting 4 of them together for a reunion show), and going into any details would make an already long and complex history that much more confusing. Declaring the Second Doctor was actually the Tenth Doctor would be a can of worms.

You can also see why the idea’s so appealing to fans. For one thing, it means he didn’t spend 800 years as Hartnell, then suddenly get death-prone.

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Obligatory mention of the “Season 6B” phenomenon: a fan-hypothesised and generally accepted season which never existed but logically must have happened (between the second and third doctors).

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Torchwood: Children of Earth was pretty darn great, I thought; I had written off Torchwood when I saw it, but thankfully my roommate hadn’t.

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But you forgot the most imporant question: is Story A called ‘100,000 BC’ or ‘An Unearthly Child’? Is it followed by ‘The Daleks’ or the Mutants’? Doctor Who fans can’t even agree on what the stories are named.

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Those having a problem with Torchwood: stick with it. The second half of season 2 is pretty good, and Children of Earth is the best damn thing RTD has ever written.

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On fandom, fans are fans of the imaginary perfect versions that only exist in their imaginations.

The actual BSG, Dr Who, or Washington Redskins are but shadows of the true ones that fans love. Thus we watch them but hate them at the same time for falling short of the perfection we imagine.

I love Star Wars, my favorite movie is the one my friends and I thought up in 3rd grade waiting for Jedi to come out. Let me tell you the final battle where the rebels and Jabba’s pirate fleet invade the Imperial Capital to free the army of Jedi who are frozen in carbonite is AWESOME.

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I’m a very casual Dr. Who fan (I grew up on the Tom Baker episodes when they were on PBS in the 80s), and I have a lot of affection for the character. I’m not going to make fun of anyone’s fandom (see my previous discussion of Star Wars), but I was under the impression that they had just scrapped the limited number of regenerations thing. How many times has the Master come back?

I find the sex thing remarkably creepy, though. Particularly with companions, since he’s a 900 year old alien with immense knowledge and power, and they’re usually 19 or 20 year old girls with a crush.

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You missed the Romana’s Regeneration Debate. Romana, for the uninitiated, was a female Time Lord (I’m sorry but the phrase “Time Lady” irks me somehow). When the actress playing her didn’t want to come back, they had her regenerate *at will,* shuffling through various appearances before deciding to look like a character that had already been on the show (in other words, they brought an actress back to play her).

Now, if you’re hung up on the 13 Regeneration Limit, this is a problem because even if you accept she *could* regen at will, why would she waste one (or several) like that? Because of that, some fans like to pretend it never happened.

Or, you can realize the limit on regenerations was only established to give The Master a cliche villain motive.

Or, you can realize that anything with this many writers pulling it this many directions is going to fracture in places, much like long-running comics.

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Kid Kyoto:

I would watch the SHIT out of that.

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Here’s a very recent debate that I’ve seen pop up as River Song began popping up again:

Is River actually a transgendered, future incarnation of Captain Jack Harkness?

Personally, I find it a little silly, but I swear I have read and personally witnessed arguments between Who fans revolving around this goofy notion.

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As a casual fan of the new show, my biggest problem has been their inability to nail down even the most basic rules for time travel. I don’t think this is obsessive of me–I mean, when your main character has a time machine, surely there’s an issue in terms of questions like “if he’s unhappy about character X dying, why doesn’t he just go back and change it?” and “when can the Doctor interfere and change history, and when can’t he?” There don’t seem to be any fixed rules about this stuff–the Doctor muttered something at one point about not being able to go back in someone’s personal timeline, but that’s been violated at least once (when they hit the big reset button–literally–at the end of season 3) I can just about buy that time in the Doctor Who universe is a big, wibbly-wobbly mess, and some things need to be fixed and others need to be preserved the way they are, and that the Doctor somehow “just knows” which is which. But given that it’s the fundamental bedrock of the show, you’d think they would have spent a little more time nailing down the details.

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Answer to Dr Who continuity questions: It’s a big timey-wimey ball.

Answer to Dr Who sexuality questions: He’s got big timey-wimey balls.

(sorry!)

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Chris Lowrance:

The general fan assumption on the Romana thing is she’s still “in flux” while trying out new bodies, but is not actually using up more than one regeneration.

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These are all great questions, but I don’t know a single Doctor Who fan that genuinely cares about a single one of them. Sometimes fun to argue them, but continuity is so loose that if you don’t like what’s in continuity now, just wait a couple of years and it will all be ignored or contradicted.

Doctor Who fans tend to be a pretty pragmatic lot, able to say “oh, that was just the movie”, “I’m pretty sure those little plastic dinosaurs moved” or “Colin Baker is best forgotten”.

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I do love that the head writers of Who hate the very idea of Canon:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whoniverse#Inclusion_and_continuity

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OK – so I stand corrected – after watching the Children of Earth episodes of Torchwood, I don’t hate it now.
Looks like I’ve got some tv watching to do now :)

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Mary Warner said on September 20th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I’m pretty sure the Doctor had sex with Romana, at least after she regenerated. The way I figure it, the Doctor gets just as horny as anybody else, but has no interest in most of the young ladies he knows because they’re yicky aliens. Duh.
Few of his lady friends would be likely to enjoy sex with him anyway, since his dick is forked like a opossum’s and Time Lords stay hard for days at a time. Time Lord sex is strictly for Time Lords, and/or the extremely kinky. I expect they’ll probably explain it all in detail on Torchwood someday.

But while we’re on the subject of his genitalia, has anyone ever seen the Doctor use the loo? Maybe his body is just extremely efficient at extracting energy from food and recycling waste products. This would explain why he doesn’t seem to eat or drink very much (aside from jelly babies).

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@Prankster: I actually like the way that the rules for time travel seem so complex and arbitrary; after all, if time travel was easy to understand, you wouldn’t have to be an alien from a super-advanced civilization, with 1100 years of practical experience on top of that, to understand it. (1100, not 900. The Doctor is so obviously lying about his age.)

There is a general rule, though, which is that you can’t interfere in your own personal timeline. (Directly or indirectly–so you can’t stop the Titanic sinking even though you weren’t there, because you know it happened and changing it would involve the paradox of you only knowing it needed to be saved because you heard about it sinking.)

But the key is that it’s not “can’t” in the sense of “it’s impossible”, like “you can’t travel faster than the speed of light”, but “can’t” in the sense of “it’s a really terrible idea and there are almost always catastrophic consequences”, like “you can’t drive the wrong way down a one-way street.” So the Master can cobble together a device that lets the last survivors of the human race travel back in time and wipe out their ancestors, but it’s an ugly paradox that’s easier to undo than to do.

In general, think of it this way: You can change history, but you can’t change things that have already happened in the Doctor Who universe. :)

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I never thought about the Doctor’s sexuality. He is an alien and most of his companions are human so why does he have to sexually attracted to them?

Now about the half-human bit for the 8th doctor. It’s been awhile since I saw the movie but was the reason he became half human was something odd happened during his regeneration? Which would mean that the other Doctors don’t have this issue (well maybe the ones after the 8th but that could have been fixed)

I also assumed the human on his mother side was a joke.

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Aha! Found the even-better article on Canon in Dr Who that I’d been looking for when I found the Paul Cornell one:
http://teatimebrutality.blogspot.com/2009/07/canon-and-sheep-shit-why-we-fight.html

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As several above note, there’s not much point arguing about canon with Dr. Who. This is *partly* because the series embraces time travel and alternate dimensions and different realities, but mostly because you can’t possibly keep canon straight over 47 years.

Considering how many continuity clashes you can develop in a series that lasts just a couple years, it’s obvious you’re going have to a thicket of contradictions over the ridiculously long life span of Who. Different production teams, different writers, script editors, etc. So you can either choose to accept that continuity is going to be loose at best or reject the show at all – that is, the price of enjoying the series is giving up a bit on the nerd concept of ‘canon’. This, in my view, is to be strongly encouraged.

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@Mary Warner: The subject of the Doctor’s willy has been addressed in this very short story, the opening line of which always makes me laugh.

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utter_scoundrel:

Which covers “How many did she use?” but not “Why would she waste one of 13?”

Maybe she had a brain aneurysm at that very moment and thought, hell, let’s make the most of this!

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Mister Alex said on September 21st, 2010 at 9:08 am

I personally hate the idea of the Doctor being anything but a full-fledged Time Lord. In the old days the official reason he hung out with humans so much was because humanity shared his curiosity, his endless thirst for adventure, which other Time Lords did not. I like that version and I’m sticking to it. :-)

It seems pretty clear that RTD was planning something involving the Doctor’s parents, and I suspect it might have involved that crazy pocketwatch device that can transform Time Lords into humans, if only temporarily.

Theory: The Doctor’s parents were both Time Lords. His mom is the Mysterious Woman in White, and his dad for some reason used the crazy pocketwatch to become human; and then, as a human, became Donna Noble’s dad. And this is why Donna Noble had the potential to become the superawesome DoctorDonna being, if only briefly.

So in this theory the Doctor never knew his dad, and at some point his mom mentioned “Your father’s human” because at that point, he was. And Paul McGann said “on my mother’s side” because that was actually the alternate-universe Doctor where the parents switched stories. Oh, and timey-wimey, etc., etc.

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The most clever, and simultaneously ridiculous, theory about Romana’s regeneration I ever heard was the one that explained it was simply time for her to do so, the same reason the Doctor regenerated for the first time: Gallifreyans grow their second heart during that first regeneration and it was just time to do so. One of the novels written by Daniel O’Mahony addresses this; set near the end of the First Doctor’s life, he knows that he’ll be dying soon because he can feel his second heart starting to grow.

(This very odd fan theory came about because Hartnell’s Doctor was x-rayed and examined onscreen several times and nobody exclaimed “He has two hearts!”… this has been a trope since Jon Pertwee’s first story. I guess Troughton’s Doctor was never checked out by incredulous medical staff onscreen.)

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The Master’s mutiple lives, however, that’s easy to explain.

Roger Delgado: Might have played the 13th and final life of the Master’s original set of regenerations.

Peter Pratt & Geoffrey Beevers: Played the failed 13th attempt at regenerating, leaving the Master skeletal and decrepit

Anthony Ainley: Played Tremas, a politician from the planet Traken. Body stolen by the Master.

Eric Roberts: Played an EMT in San Francisco. Body stolen by the Master. This body was disintegrated in the ’96 TV Movie.

During the Time War: the Master’s essence was retrieved from the Doctor’s TARDIS and given a new Gallifreyan body and set of 12 regenerations. At least one of these fought the Daleks. At some point, he travelled trillions of years into the future, used the pocketwatch to wipe his memory and turn his biology human. That’s the Master played by…

Derek Jacobi: Thought he was a human scientist, got his memory restored, remembered he was the Master, got shot and regenerated into…

John Simm: The wacky one.

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Delgado may have played multiple incarnations…one gets the impression that most timelords have a lot more control over their appearances when regenerating, and the Master may have decided that he likes that face plan enough to use it multiple times, stopping using it only when he’s trying to hide and/or partially amnesiac.

Oh, and….Looms.

And the Third Gallifreyan Founder.

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I think there’s a go-to answer to any question about a point of fact in Doctor Who fiction:

“Is the Doctor human or half-human?” Sometimes.

“Is the Doctor a virgin?” Sometimes.

“Does the Doctor have a granddaughter?” Sometimes.

“Should we bicker about Doctor Who trivia?” Sometimes.

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On Romana “wasting” a regeneration, did she really?

I didn’t see the final episodes of the First Doctor, but I recall reading somewhere that he delayed the time of regeneration too long and needed the help of the TARDIS with the regen. If that was true, then it strongly implies that most Time Lords regenerated willingly before that point was reached.

Most Time Lords also presumably lived much more peaceful lives than the Doctor. Their incarnations wouldn’t face the shortened life expectancy that the adventuring Doctor encountered. Maybe they’d have an accident or two, but most of their incarnations would presumably run their healthy limits. (If unspent “life” could be carried into your next incarnations, then you wouldn’t even necessarily be losing anything from an early regeneration.)

A third option is that Romana did just waste it. She was young. Kids don’t see the worth of life the same way that adults do, and young adults don’t see it the same way that older adults do.

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Mister Alex: That theory makes no sense. The Woman in White is CLEARLY Susan, ripped out of her cushy post-apocalypse Earth life by force by the Time Lords and forced into service in the Time War.

Baines: Or, maybe other Time Lords just regenerate a lot. Borusa burned through 4 regenerations within the span of two of the Doctor’s… while occupying a series of high government offices in the relatively staid, orderly society of Gallifrey.

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HipsterDad: That’s a decent explanation for the primary Master regenerations, but it leaps awfully lightly over the troubles Ainley’s Master had holding onto that body (for example, in The Caves of Androzani, wherein he falls into a Fiery Pit Of Ultimate Doom® in the climax).

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@TheGoods: If you liked Children of Earth, don’t under any circumstances watch the first two series of Torchwood, because it’s pretty much entirely different in tone and quality.

And if anyone watched any of the first two series of Torchwood and hated it, try Children of Earth. It’s pretty much entirely different in tone and quality, and has Peter Capaldi in it.

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Regarding the argument about whether or not an alien would be attracted to a human:

Time Lord males look exactly like Human males and Time Lord females look exactly like Human females. If Time Lords have sexual urges remotely like Humans, it’s entirely possible that The Doctor would be attracted to a few of his companions… male or female.

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I am pretty positive that David Tenant’s Doctor made an off handed comment about being part human for a while, as if it had been a temporary condition.

The Master talks about his childhood in the last Tenant story arc, so they can be children.

I don’t know if the Doctor and Romana had sex, but Tom Baker was married to Lalla Ward, so they may as well have. Speaking of Romana, if you don’t count the books and radio dramas as part of continuity, Romana should still be alive in E-Space and not trapped in the Time War.

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@HipsterDad: I remember seeing a Troughton episode where the Doctor and Jamie were captured by, I think, aliens invading the alien planet the Tardis had landed on. The invaders picked up the Doctor and Jamie; the Doctor quickly assumed the persona of a not-very-bright “native alien” and implied he and Jamie were a separate “native alien” species than the locals. The invaders body-scanned Jamie, determined, Hmmm, yeah, he’s not the same species as the other locals and his brain is primitive, and didn’t bother scanning the Doctor, apparently assuming that they would get the same result.

Not an on-screen medical checkup – in fact, just the opposite, as it neatly avoided the Doctor getting “discovered”.

I wish I could remember what episode that was, but it’s probably been twenty years or more since I saw it. I don’t even remember what the other companion’s name was, though I’m sure there was another one besides Jamie.

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@Laridian

Sounds like The Dominators. The other companion for that story was Zoe.

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@utter_scoundrel: Thanks!

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