As the 50th anniversary approaches and two series into Steven Moffat’s brilliant arcs in command has all of us thinking about Series 7 and the 50th anniversary. I started thinking “timey wimey” and several ideas have popped into my head which I’ll be outlining in short blog posts as I flesh them out. They’ll be short, are 100% just my thoughts not spoilers or leaked info. A fan since 1984, have seen all of the existing classic series and all of the new series and love it all. As a writer, I love well-written fiction and Doctor Who has had that in spades over the decades. So from the viewpoint of a fan and writer, here is a small glimpse of the ideas I might come up with if ever I was so lucky to be able to have an episode of my favorite show flash my name as the story writer…
“The Doctor’s Granddaughter”
We “know” how Doctor Who began in November 1963. In the very first episode/story “An Unearthly Child” we meet Susan (the source of the episode’s title) who is an awkward, odd child and two teachers (Barbara and Ian) who are confused by her apparent masterful knowledge of many things, but ignorance of 20th century matters. Following her home, they see her disappear within a scrap yard and upon entering are confronted by a grumpy old man. Shortly thereafter they hear Susan call for her “grandfather” and rushing into what they presume to be a junked 1950s police public call box they find her.
Not just any old police box, this one is really the TARDIS. Angry at their discovery, the Doctor as we now hear him called locks them in and kidnaps them. Thus started 50 years of time travel. Along the way, this Doctor eventually leaves Susan behind to pursue love in the 22nd century after they’ve succeeded in saving Earth from the Daleks. She’s in love with one of the rebels and conflicted about what to do and he makes the choice for her. He states that he’ll be back.
In reality, he doesn’t see her again (20 years later in our terms) in the 20th anniversary special “The Five Doctors” where she is reunited with her grandfather and meets his future incarnations. She doesn’t seem overly curious about them (in particular the 5th Doctor). And at no point are we sure she’s really his granddaughter, if that was just a nickname, or if she’s actually a Time Lady (or just a young Gallifreyan).
When Russell T. Davies launched the new series began in 2005, we meet the 9th Doctor who’s apparently just regenerated (based on his looking in the mirror in episode one “Rose” and commenting on his looks). Over the course of Series 1 we learn that a great Time War has just ended between the Time Lords and the Daleks and the Doctor ended it in such a horrific way that everyone was destroyed and locked forever outside of time. He is now the last Time Lord. Fans of the classic series were left (even up to and including the 2-part 10th Doctor finale “The End of Time”) what happened to Susan, the Rani, the Valeyard, Romana, Leela, 2 versions of K-9 and others who were either on Gallifrey when last seen or should be out and about if still alive.
The Doctor frequently comments that he’s the last of the Time Lords, that he’d sense them if any were out there and seems genuinely to believe this (even though “Rule #1 is The Doctor lies.”). So as much as I’ve loved the new series questions like this linger with me. In particular Susan. Did all Time Lords and Ladies return to Gallifrey for the war? Did they perish or are they trapped in the time lock?
With regard to Susan, a “timey wimey” idea came to me as I rewatched certain episodes or just pondered the ebb/flow of the 9th-11th Doctor’s stories. In the 10th Doctor’s Series 4 episode “The Doctor’s Daughter,” he’s cloned as “Jenny” his daughter. At the end she recovers from being shot (with a regeneration glow at least healing if not regenerating as she remains the same body) and steals a ship
taking off (this all taking place some point in the future). We know that originally she was to die, but Steven Moffat suggested she revive at the end (presumably to leave a thread open for the future).
Here’s my fiction. Later it’s certainly feasible that Jenny would meet someone and have a relationship (if we wanted to be really timey wimey it would be Cpt. Jack while still a time cop but I digress) and has a daughter that she names Susan.
If there was some story involving her in jeopardy and the 11th Doctor saving them, he would realize that he is now holding his granddaughter Susan. I’m not putting together the story involving this just the outcome. Let’s say she’s young or injured and regenerates older. Still naive and in need of protection (and family/blood) who better than himself to protect her?
I believe it’s suggested that when me the Doctor and Susan they’ve been on Earth about 6 months. That’s a LONG time for someone like the Doctor who’s always on the run, can’t sit still and in that time period was supposedly on the run from his own people. So in the Spring 1963 I see the 11th Doctor bringing Susan her to her grandfather (1st Doctor). He’s told to give her some real-world Earth immersion so he has to stay for awhile in one place/time while she attends school.
This interference in his plans (running and dealing with the Hand of Omega as shown in the 7th Doctor story “Remembrance of the Daleks”) is why he’s grumpy to start when Barbara and Ian stumble upon them in “An Unearthly Child” and why he was happy/sad to leave her on Earth in 2165 AD after the “Dalek Invasion of Earth.” In one sense loving her but ready to let her go her own way (she IS his granddaughter, but one he hasn’t made yet).
It’s timey-wimey and makes more sense as I pondered the superb Neil Gaiman story “The Doctor’s Wife.” Idris talks about picking him and there’s no reference to Susan at all. It also explains his attitude-he had been stuck on Earth and forced into being a parent by a future version of himself.
It also would explain why the Doctor always vaguely alludes to a lost family and/or about having been married and having had kids, but we’ve never gotten anything concrete (River Song not withstanding).
Just my mind wandering the time stream – what do you think? Timey Wimey enough?