Do You Want to Know the Name of the Doctor?

Do You Want to Know the Name of the Doctor? May 15, 2013

Do you want to know the Doctor's name?

I'm not asking whether you want to watch a leaked copy (more information here) of “The Name of the Doctor” early after downloading it, assuming you have found a torrent that doesn't lead to a fake copy.

I'm asking whether you actually want to know the Doctor's name.

While some fans have been adamantly answering in the negative, isn't 50 years long enough for a show to make its fans wait before revealing the name of the main character?

Mysteries make shows like Doctor Who enjoyable. But we have all seen TV shows where an attempt to keep spinning out the same mystery has led to the show becoming more cumbersome and convoluted.

So what do you think? Is it better to keep the same mystery going for another 50 years? Or is it better to have a big reveal which leads to a deeper mystery, and then keep that going for a while?


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  • WhovianPetra

    Assuming the big reveal actually leads to an interesting storyline I guess I don’t mind that much. It seems that they’re trying to squeeze too much into this episode though, with Clara’s storyline being revealed too. It had better be well written.

  • goodacre

    If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that we won’t find out the name of the doctor on Saturday.

    • The Doctor

      Steven Moffat assured that the name will be revealed on Saturday’s episode…

      • Yuppers

        No, what he assured us of, is that his biggest secret will be revealed. You assume, that it is his name. But, that is not his biggest secret. His biggest secret is much bigger than just his name

        • Lewis

          The episode is called ‘the name of the doctor’.

          • Straw Man

            I believe that’s what aficionados would call a “teaser.” Obviously the episode will be somehow ABOUT the name of the doctor, but it doesn’t tell us whether we’ll actually FIND OUT his name. I still bet we won’t. At the very least, I’m quite positive that his name is not “his biggest secret.” If he were, that would be kind of pathetic. “Oh, that’s your name?” “Yep.” “Well, that settles that, then. Um… shall we order Chinese, or something?”

          • Any chance you remember one called “Let’s Kill Hitler”? 🙂

          • Pseudonym

            Or “The Wedding of River Song”, for that matter. Many things happened in that episode, but what we assumed would happen did not, in fact, happen.

          • Stewart

            It ain’t gonna be revealed. It’s Dr Who. It’s been around for 50 years with this a secret. It would always be a let down for classic, long time fans of the show. Besides, it’s Moffat. He let’s us down almost every time.

  • Walker

    What I dislike is how the current crop of showrunners believe that the show belongs to them to do with what they like; while the show isn’t sacred (no show is, or could be), there are some things that have developed along its long run that make it what it is; the name is one of them, and breaking that “rule” doesn’t get us anything narratively-speaking, and only mucks things up for those who come after. Constraints inspire creativity; breaking them for the sake of breaking them isn’t worth it.

    • Straw Man

      Yep. If they reveal the name, I give it an 85% chance the series dies within a very few years. In fact if they reveal the name, I’ll give 50:50 odds that they’ve already decided to cancel it.

  • Straw Man

    I have no interest in learning his name, because it’s absolutely impossible for it not to be a complete anticlimax. His name can’t possibly be interesting–not even if it turns out to be “Yahweh,” and we find out that he’s the guy who led the Israelites out of Egypt, only to find the next generation committing genocide in his name (“I learned never to do that again. ‘Never start a religion,’ I’ve said to myself ever since. It’s a strict rule with me now…”). And since it’s not “Yahweh,” nor “Loki,” it’s a guaranteed yawner. It might as well be Herbie.

    In fact I hereby change my vote. I’m happy to learn his name, but only if they camp up the anticlimactic nature to the max. “Who the hell goes around saying, ‘Trust me, I’m Herbie’? What Dalek quails in fear because Herbie and his TARDIS have arrived? I ask you, seriously!”

    What’s interesting about his name is only THAT it’s a secret and WHY it’s a secret. Is he someone important? Or related to someone important? Is he renouncing a dark past along with his name? Does the mystery fuel his sense of grandiosity? Is it emblematic of a self-chosen crusade? (I’ve always assumed that last, by the way. He renounced the Time Lords’ self-appointed role as observers, and decided specifically to become a do-gooder. A doctor is both an expert and a consultant; enabling people to be healed, but unable to heal them without their cooperation. And thus the name. The Master quite obviously made a similar choice. It’s too obvious that that’s why “The Doctor.”)

    So nope, not interested. Guaranteed downer. There’s no danger of convolution here. “Who are you?” “I’m the doctor!” “Just ‘the doctor’?” “Yep, just ‘the doctor’!” “Fine. Be that way.”

    • Pseudonym

      Actually, you raise a very good point. The Doctor’s biggest secret could actually by why his name is a secret.

      You could reveal that in a crowning moment of awesome and it wouldn’t ruin the show.

      • Davros

        His ‘Biggest Secret’ is his forgotten regeneration, played by John Hurt.

  • Cousin Shuncucker

    We will not hear a sound that is the Doctor’s RealName(TM). We might see some circular Gallifreyan, but nothing comprehensible. I guarantee you.

  • William Bell

    I imagine he’ll whisper it to River Song.

  • randomguy

    Why is this even a question? Of course we don’t want to know his name. The mystery of it is part of the show. THUS, THE NAME OF THE SHOW.

  • Patterson

    Doctor Who is a show that’s all about change – pushing the limits of what is possible. As far as I’m concerned, the Doctor’s Name is something that could come out if the team does something creative. Just because I can’t think of an exciting enough name doesn’t mean that they can’t. Also, the bit about the show ‘not belonging’ to the current writers is invalid – it’s a television show and a changing, growing story. If you’re scared that a ‘game changer’ will ruin the show, remember that Doctor Who began as a show to teach young children about science and history. Think positively and keep an open mind.

  • Russ

    I hope his name is Hugh.

  • Who traditions.

    Sorry i’m not an American, not everything i need an answer for, i just want a good science fiction script. These dramatic stuff with truth is bothering me with the style of tradition ‘Who’.

    • way to be a stereotyping douche i’m american and i don’t always need an answer like i don’t need to know what was the suitcase in pulp fiction

  • XxTheDoctor14xX

    People say,when they, if they reveal his name it would be made up, we’ll they can’t his name has already been revealed in the classic version it was just to difficult to pay any flipin bloody attention. A time lord that went to the academy with the doctor at gallifrey met with the doctor after about 300 or 400 years I don’t know, anyway that time lord announced the doctor by his real name, ***** ***** then the doctor demanded to his old colleague that, he would be not called ***** ***** and to now call him the doctor, because that is his title that he chose for life. And NOW SOME DOCTOR WHO WORKER GUY, WHATEVER HE IS WILL MAKE UP A NEW NAME, BECAUSE THEY DON’T REMEBER HIS REAL NAME AND OR FORGOT THAT HE HAD ALREADY REVEALED HIS REAL NAME. So now you see, we’ll done, I am frustrated. The end I’m done I’m pissed.

    • I think you are thinking of Theta Sigma, which was said to be his nickname. And so the only place we have had an actual name revealled is in the novel Lungbarrow, but it isn’t clear that that has the status of canon.

  • Johnny

    I would be amused if it turned out to be Angus MacGyver!

  • goodacre

    It’s actually “John Smith” after all. Hidden in plain sight.

  • Stuart McNeal

    honest here – massive fan cried the day it came back in 2005 and have not missed one since. Born 1980 have watched since then in the UK and tbh i really hope the name is something as easy as Doctor Who – will it spoil it for me if his REAL name is out – Yes and no – YES because thats part of the fun and i dont like the sound of dick who or whatever – NO – if it leaves it be after this. I really hope the bbc have a plan to keep this short but sweet because i will not be happy if this ends it once and for all and i will swich off like a lot of people are saying. So its a massive risk for the bbc as Doctor Who is one of there biggest money makers – we are all going to be shocked i hope and someone says his name is John Smith and its left as that. But i,ll wait till saturday night before i make another comment 🙂

  • Michael Allen

    Fans of Doctor Who have been speculating the mystery of the Doctor’s real name for probably as long as the show has existed. And when people are left to their own imaginations, one thing is guaranteed: No matter what it is, no matter how cool it is, no matter how hard they try or what they do, the reveal will ALWAYS b anticlimactic. It isn’t possible for it not to be anticlimactic, especially with a name. There’s just no way to make a name more interesting than that, even if it is the Doctor’s. They wouldn’t dare throw away 50 years on something like that. “What is your name?” *Big pause, dramatic look, fans draw breath* “My name is rexaderfilopkinoticus andromingoskitus the 27th” ……….. “Okay… cool, thanks. Now I know. It was awkward calling you Doctor all the time.” Nope. Not remotely interesting. I bet anything that the TRUE secret is the story behind WHY his name is a secret, and why it must never be revealed. Is it a word of power like the Shakespeare episode witches talked about? If it is spoken will it cause some kind of force to be released? Will it rip a hole in the fabric of existence? Was it him that sealed away his own name, or was his name stolen from him? That will be far more interesting. That will make the series deeper and open up new stories and ideas, whereas the name itself will just be anticlimax.

  • Tom

    Hi James,

    My name is Tom and I am an administrator and editor at The Gallifrey Times website. Thanks for linking to one of our articles but to us it seems we’ve been linked in the wrong context. At first I thought the link was actually a leaked copy, when actually the article you linked was warning people about spoilers for the episode and where not to go looking for it.

    I would appreciate if you could amend your article to say that our article was warning people about spoilers and not actually a ‘leaked copy’.

    With regards,

    Editor & Founder Of The Gallifrey Times

    • Sorry if I gave anyone the wrong impression – I linked from those words because I thought that some people reading my post might not have heard about the supposedly leaked copy, and your post had more information about it. But if you think it is confusing, I will reword it. Patheos is doing site maintenance at the moment, so it will have to wait until later this evening.

      Apologies for any inconvenience I may have caused you!

      • Tom

        Thank you for amending the article. It is much appreciated.


        • My pleasure! Thanks for writing your piece about the topic, and for letting me know you weren’t happy with how I linked to it!