In last Sunday’s episode of Doctor Who season 11, “The Tsuranga Conundrum,” the Thirteenth Doctor encountered a decorated soldier named General Cicero that she fangirls over for her incredible triumphs and for making it into something called The Book of Celebrants, which we can infer is some kind of record of the most revered heroes in the galaxy.
Upon learning she’s speaking to the Doctor, Cicero comments that the Time Lord has a whole chapter in the tome herself. The Doctor attempts to bash the compliment away, but can’t help pointing out: “I’d say it was more a volume than a chapter.”
This is a fun little moment in the episode, the sort of throwaway joke that reminds viewers of the Doctor’s long history of world-saving. However, for those who remember the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who well, it suggests that the Doctor’s reversed her feelings about having her name going on record since those days. Whereas the Eleventh Doctor wanted to keep himself a secret from the universe, Thirteen seems to delight in the attention.
You see, the Eleventh Doctor’s ever-growing fame got to him in the end and in the season 6 finale, “The Wedding of River Song,” he set about removing himself from every database in the universe. Soon, even his old enemies the Daleks had forgotten that he’d ever existed. For what led him to make this decision, he explained: “I got too big. Too noisy. Time to step back into the shadows.”
By Smith’s swansong in “The Time of the Doctor,” though, folks started remembering who the Doctor was again. Most notably, the Daleks. The plot point never really returned during the Twelfth Doctor’s era, but it could be inferred that he was still of this mindset, as Peter Capaldi’s incarnation didn’t get by on just his reputation like Smith had before him. By the time the character’s regenerated into Whittaker, however, it seems the Doctor has clearly decided to embrace her celebrity a little bit.