Archive for Sara Hane Adventures

A Question of Regenerations

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2012 by urbannight

The Great Peter Cushing

My roommate and I ended up having a discussion on how many time the Doctor could regenerate, so I felt the need to do a little research.  I thought, that when I was young and watching it on PBS, one of the early doctors had said they could only regenerate 7 times.  For that to work, a normal, single body, life span would have to be much longer than a human’s.  This was a rather old episode and they were still filming new episodes of the old series back then.  It may have been one that was taped over and lost forever.

Somewhere, the old writers must have realized they could possibly run through 7 actors and extended the number 12.  That means with his first life, before his first generation, he would have a total of 13 bodies.  We are on 11.  So we can have 2 more faces.  Anything you can search out online indicates the 12 and/or 13 number.  If there are 13 regenerations, then there are 14 ‘lives’.  Perhaps the 7 number is one that my memory made up from a dream.

There have been hints that Time Lords could circumvent this limit by various means as the Master had done so.  On a couple of occasions, non-Time Lords have regenerated with less than idea results and through a variety of methods. 

During an episode of Sarah Jane Adventures, or maybe an interview regarding the show, the Doctor indicates that he can now regenerate 507 times, which may have been just a way to say that either do to the end of the rest of the race, or as a consequence of the Time Wars, he may now have an unlimited number of regenerations.

Now if you simply try to count faces, there are FAR more faces than current regenerations can account for.  Two separate actors have filled in for the first doctor. Once due to an injury and another time due to the fact that the first actor was already deceased and they needed someone to do the part.  But the intent in those cases was for the other actor to actually be the first doctor and not a different regeneration.

Other actors have performed the part on stage and the intent was for them to actually portray an existing regeneration.  So we can discount those as well.

Radio programs were sometime recorded with the correct actors and often with other voice actors playing the part of a known regeneration.

Other actors occasionally play a role where people are interacting with someone they think is a third-party but it turns out to have been the doctor. 

Then we get into the weird world of televised shows where people play ‘alternative’ doctors.  These do not show up in any of the series groupings and may have been stand alone series/shows.  American readers will recognize the names Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, and Joanna Lumley.  But this is actually a long list of people, 17 people total if you go by the Wikipedia article.

I am going to completely exclude people who were deluded and thought they were the doctor and con-artists pretending to be the Doctor.

This brings us to one VERY big name who remains unaccounted for.  Two films were done, cinema films, in 1965 and 1966.  The Doctor is not identified as being any particular regeneration.  Nor is this counted a his own regeneration, as the Eighth Doctor was in one televised movie in a failed attempt to reboot the series in 1996.  No.  This unaccounted for Doctor is played by none other than Peter Cushing, well-known for his many Hammer Films, often playing opposite Christopher Lee and Vincent Price.  He is also well-known for playing Sherlock Holmes and Star Wars fanatics will know him as Grand Moff Tarkin.  A fun, fan, factoid is that he was even considered for the part of Obi-Wan.

I have not seen those movies.  I think I would give my eye teeth in order to see them. 

And to think I looked up all this info because of a random comment by my roommate asking if the Doctor hadn’t already gone past his allotment of regeneration.

Sources are IMDB, many random articles and sites, and then a fairly huge set of charts on Wikipedia.