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Doctor Who Season 11 Seems To Be Subtly Retconning The Doctor’s History

Just after the premiere of the eleventh season of the Doctor Who revival, I posted a story wondering if the line "it's been a long time since I've bought women's clothing" might have had some hidden significance about unexplored corners of the Doctor's past, perhaps indicating that she might have already regenerated as a woman off-screen. Everyone proceeded to call me in an idiot in the comments section and, most hurtfully, implied that I was "not at all familiar with Doctor Who history." Dammit, all those years spent watching Tom Baker VHS tapes - wasted!

Just after the premiere of the eleventh season of the Doctor Who revival, I posted a story wondering if the line “it’s been a long time since I’ve bought women’s clothing” might have had some hidden significance about unexplored corners of the Doctor’s past, perhaps indicating that she might have already regenerated as a woman off-screen. Everyone proceeded to call me in an idiot in the comments section and, most hurtfully, implied that I was “not at all familiar with Doctor Who history.” Dammit, all those years spent watching Tom Baker VHS tapes – wasted!

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But it’s looking like I might have the last laugh now, as fans have been noticing curious lines peppered through the last few episodes that hint that the show might be doing a subtle reworking of the character’s history.

For example, she’s made another comment hinting at an unseen female regeneration, saying in “Arachnids in the UK” that she’d been “a sister in an aqua hospital.” Given that Who has shown a propensity for introducing unseen regenerations like John Hurt’s War Doctor, could we one day be heading back to the Doctor’s very early days in which she was once again female? Though sisters in that line refers to nurses, the Doctor also made a reference to a more familial sister in the same episode, when she offhandedly said: “I used to have sisters…”

Now, we know the Doctor had parents, children and grandchildren, but this is the first time that siblings have been mentioned. Perhaps key to that phrase is that she ‘used’ to have sisters, either implying that they’re now long-dead or perhaps that they themselves regenerated into men. This hint at an unseen past family of the Doctor might have also been slyly referenced in “The Woman Who Fell To Earth,” when the Doctor spoke about how her family “may be dead to the world, but they’re not dead to me.”

Showrunner Chris Chibnall has been pretty clear that they want to look forward not backwards when it comes to Doctor Who lore, so I doubt these little mentions will bear fruit this season. But there’s a decent chance he’s dropping these lines so he can choose to develop them later in his run. After all, we still need to find out who or what the Timeless Child is


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David James
London-based writer of anything and everything. Willing to crawl over rusty nails to write about 'Metal Gear Solid' or 'Resident Evil.'