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 Who is The Doctor

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PostSubject: Who is The Doctor   Who is The Doctor EmptyWed Jun 05, 2013 2:30 am

Who is the Doctor?
The Doctor is a title character and the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science fiction series Doctor Who, and has also featured in two cinema feature films and one made-for-television movie, as well as a vast range of spin-off novels, audio dramas and comic strips connected to the series.

To date, eleven actors have played the role in the television series, with continuity being maintained by the ability of the character's species to regenerate. Several other actors have played the character on stage and film, in audio dramas, and in occasional special episodes of the series. The character's enduring popularity led the Daily Telegraph to dub him "Britain's favourite alien".

The Doctor, in his eleventh incarnation, is currently played by Matt Smith, who took on the role in January 2010 and became the first Doctor to be nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2011.


The Doctor is a Time Lord, an extraterrestrial from the planet Gallifrey, who travels through time and space in an internally vast time machine called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space) which appears relatively small when seen from the outside.
The Doctor explores the universe at random, using his extensive knowledge of science, technology and history to avert whatever crisis he encounters. The imprecise nature of his travels is initially attributed to the age and unreliability of the TARDIS's navigation system. However, the 1969 serial The War Games reveals that the Doctor actually stole the TARDIS, and subsequent stories such as "Planet of the Dead", "The Big Bang" and "The Doctor's Wife" have incorporated this.

Additionally, it has been mentioned that the TARDIS is meant to be piloted by six Timelords, rather than just one. He was presumably unfamiliar with its systems but was able to operate it correctly until his exile when the Time Lords wiped it from his memory. The Doctor initially had the manual for operating the TARDIS but destroyed it (by throwing it into a supernova) because he disagreed with it. After his trial and exile to twentieth century Earth, the Doctor still visits other planets on missions from the Time Lords who pilot the TARDIS to precise locations for him.

After his exile is lifted, the Doctor returns to his travels and demonstrates the ability to reach a destination of his own choosing more often than not. In the 2011 episode "The Doctor's Wife", the Doctor tells the TARDIS (whose matrix, or soul, was temporarily transferred to the character Idris) that she has never been very reliable in taking him where he wanted to go. The TARDIS explains that she always took the Doctor where he needed to be. In "Journey's End", the Doctor states that the reason for the previous bumpy navigation was that the TARDIS is meant to have six pilots, but in "The Time of Angels", River Song demonstrates superior piloting skills and says the Doctor pilots the TARDIS "with the brakes on" (hence the classic noise), though she could have been teasing him.

The Doctor generally travels with one or more companions. Most of these make a conscious decision to travel with him, but others, especially early in the series, are accidental passengers or kidnap victims.

The Doctor's childhood
The Doctor's childhood is described very little. The classic series often refers to his time at the academy and that he belongs to the Prydonian chapter of Time Lords, who are notoriously devious. His teachers included Borusa, who would eventually become President of the High Council, and other pupils included the Master and possibly the Rani. The Eighth Doctor, in the 1996 television movie, is the first to mention his parents or childhood before this, when he tells Grace Holloway that he remembers watching a meteorite shower from a grassy hill top in the company of his father.

During "The Girl in the Fireplace", Madame de Pompadour "saw" memories of his childhood during a telepathic exchange between the two and commented that it was "so lonely." When asked if he has a brother in "Smith and Jones", the Doctor simply replied "not anymore". In the same episode, he mentioned "playing with Röntgen blocks in the nursery." He was also once good friends with the Master.

In The Time Monster, the Doctor says he grew up in a house on the side of a mountain, and talks about a hermit who lived under a tree behind the house and inspired the Doctor when he was depressed. He is later reunited with this former mentor, now on earth posing as the abbot K’anpo Rinpoche, in "Planet of the Spiders".

In the BBC novel The Nightmare of Black Island the Doctor stated his favourite childhood story was Moxx In Socks. In "Mission to Magnus", the Doctor tells how at the Academy he was bullied by another Time Lord named Anzor. In "Master", the Doctor tells how he killed a bully who tormented him and the Master. It's possible this could be Anzor as well.
In "The Sound of Drums" (2007), the Doctor describes a Time Lord Academy initiation ceremony where, at the age of eight, Time Lord children are made to look into the Untempered Schism, a gap in space and time where they could view the time vortex. Some are inspired, some go mad (as he suggests happened to his nemesis, the Master), and some run away. When asked to which group he belonged, he replied, "Oh, the ones that ran away—-I never stopped!"

In The End of Time, the Master describes his and the Doctor's experiences together, saying, "I had estates. Do you remember my father's land back home? Pastures of red grass, stretching far across the slopes of Mount Perdition. We used to run across those fields all days, calling up at the sky."

The most complete glimpses into the Doctor's childhood occurs in the Virgin New Adventures novel Lungbarrow; however, as with all non-televised Doctor Who media, the canonicity of this story is unclear. Lungbarrow portrays the Doctor as being one of 45 cousins grown from the House genetic loom as an adult. (In New Adventures continuity, the Time Lords are not capable of sexual reproduction and survive through genetic looms producing a quota of cousins.) The Head of the Family Ordinal General Quences knew that the Doctor had a special destiny and built him a robot tutor called Badger and planned the Doctor's eventual rise to the post of President. His fellow cousins resented the Doctor's position and he spent most of his childhood being bullied by his cousin Glospin and was equally brutally treated by the Housekeeper Satthralope. Eventually he rebelled against Quences's grand plans and was exiled from the family, stealing a TARDIS and leaving Gallifrey. This depiction of events is seemingly contradicted by "The Sound of Drums", showing the Master as a child. The BBC Books novel The Infinity Doctors, for example, states that the Doctor was born from the loom, but it adds that he was also the son of a Gallifreyan explorer and a human mother.

The Doctor's family

References to the Doctor's family are rare in the series. During the first two seasons he travelled with his granddaughter, Susan Foreman, and as noted above he apparently once had a brother.
During his second incarnation when asked about his family, the Doctor says his memories of them are still alive when he wants them to be and otherwise they sleep in his mind (The Tomb of the Cybermen). In The Time Monster, the third Doctor states that as a little boy he lived in a house perched halfway up a mountain. In The Curse of Fenric, when asked if he has any family, the Seventh Doctor replies that he does not know, indirectly hinting that an unspecified fate may have befallen them.

In "Fear Her", the Tenth Doctor mentions to Rose that he "was a dad once", but then quickly changes the subject; he makes the same admission to Donna in "The Doctor's Daughter" when she assumes that he has "Dad-shock". He later clarifies in the same episode that he had been a father but that was lost to him during the Time War. In "The Empty Child", Dr. Constantine says to him, "Before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now I'm neither. But I'm still a doctor." The Doctor's reply is, "Yeah. I know the feeling." When asked by Amy Pond in "The Beast Below" if he is a parent, the Doctor simply changes the subject. When the Doctor gifts Amy and Rory's newborn daughter with an ancient bassinet in "A Good Man Goes to War", Amy again asks if he has children. The Doctor does not answer the question though he does tell Amy that the bassinet was his as a baby. In "Night Terrors", the Doctor attempts to help amuse a little boy by talking about fairy tales he used to enjoy and also uses his sonic screwdriver to make the boy's toys move. The Doctor mumbles that he is "a bit rusty at this."

He mentions his father in the 1996 Doctor Who telefilm, where he also indicates his mother was human.

In "The Doctor's Daughter", the Doctor had his genetic information stolen and used to create a female soldier and comes to refer to the result, a young woman eventually named Jenny (played by Georgia Moffett, real world daughter of Peter Davison and wife of David Tennant), as his daughter; she in turn knows him as her father. At the end of the episode, she is killed, but later regenerates and steals a rocket, intending to become an adventurer like her father. It is unknown if she will ever return.

By the end of the series "Journey's End" a half-human Doctor is created from his severed hand, when the Tenth Doctor transfers his regeneration energy into the hand to prevent a full regeneration of his own body. Both Doctors share the same memories up until that point but the half-human Doctor also has elements of Donna Noble's personality and her DNA as a result of her touching the hand, causing the mass regeneration to occur. The "Meta-Crisis" Doctor has only one heart and cannot regenerate.

In the episode "Blink", the Doctor states that he never was good at weddings, especially his own. According to both his greeting speech to Ood Sigma in The End of Time and his breakdown to Dorium Maldovar in "The Wedding of River Song", sometime between "The Waters of Mars" and the beginning of The End of Time, the Doctor also married the former "Good Queen Bess". During his speech he states "Her nickname is no longer . . . " before being interrupted, and notes on the experience "That was a mistake." The possibility exists that the Doctor could just be having a laugh here; however, the story persisted, as her distant successor Liz Ten ("The Beast Below") comments, "And so much for the Virgin Queen, you bad, bad boy!" In "A Christmas Carol", the Doctor finds himself engaged to Marilyn Monroe but later claims the wedding did not take place in a legitimate chapel. When River Song shows up in "Time of Angels", Amy asks both the Doctor and River if they are married to each other. The Doctor initially says yes but that is in his future but her past while River's answer seems affirmative but ambiguous. In "The Big Bang", the Doctor asks River Song if she is married; she asks if he's asking and the Doctor says he is. Her answer leaves the Doctor puzzled, wondering if she had thought that he had proposed and if she had just accepted. She replies with another enigmatic, "Yes."

In The End of Time, a mysterious individual, referred to only in the credits as "The Woman", appears unexpectedly to Wilfred Mott throughout both episodes. She is later revealed to be a dissident Time Lady, who opposed the Time Lord High Council's plan to escape the Time War. When she reveals her face to the Doctor, his reaction indicates that he recognises her. Julie Gardner, in the episode's commentary, states that while some have speculated that the Time Lady is the Doctor's mother, neither she nor Russell T. Davies are willing to comment on her identity. When later asked by Wilfred who she was, the Doctor evades answering the question, making their connection unclear. In Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale – The Final Chapter, Russell T Davies states that he created the character to be the Doctor's mother and this is what actress Claire Bloom was told when she was cast.

In "The Wedding of River Song" the Doctor marries River Song, making her his wife. This also makes Amy Pond and Rory Williams his in-laws as well as both the Ponds and Williams' families now being related to him.


Although Time Lords resemble humans, their physiology differs in some key respects. For example, like other members of his race, the Doctor has two hearts (binary vascular system), a "respiratory bypass system" that allows him to go without air, an internal body temperature of 15–16 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit) and he occasionally exhibits a super-human level of stamina, and the ability to absorb, withstand, and expel large amounts of certain types of radiation (the Tenth Doctor stated they used to play with Röntgen bricks in the nursery, after absorbing the radiation from an x-ray of significantly magnified power). This ability would seem to have limitations which have yet to be fully explained, as he is harmed by radiation in The Daleks, Planet of the Spiders, and The End of Time. Additionally, he has withstood exposure to electricity deadly enough to kill a human with minimal damage (Terror of the Zygons, Genesis of the Daleks, Aliens of London, The Christmas Invasion, Evolution of the Daleks, spin-off audio Spare Parts). Certain stories also imply that he is somewhat resistant to cold temperatures. To counter extreme trauma, such as exposure to the poisonous fungus in The Seeds of Death and after being shot in Spearhead from Space, he can go into a self-induced coma until he recovers.
Additionally, he has shown a resistance to temporal effects and has demonstrated some telepathic ability, both the ability to mentally connect to other incarnations of himself he encountered (The Five Doctors), and an ability to enter into the memories of other individuals, similar to the Vulcan mind meld portrayed in Star Trek ("The Girl in the Fireplace"). He can apparently reverse this process, sharing his memory with another, as seen most recently in The Big Bang. Some humans can also enter the Doctor's memories after he enters theirs, as demonstrated by Madame de Pompadour (much to the Doctor's surprise) in "The Girl in the Fireplace", when she explains, "A door, once opened, may be entered from either direction." In "The Fires of Pompeii" the Doctor reveals that he is able to perceive the fabric of time, discerning "fixed points" and "points in flux"- moments when history must remain as it was originally versus moments when he can change or influence the original course of events, as well as all past, present and possible future events. It is revealed in the episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp" that if he has the right vitamins and minerals in the right order he can stop himself dying from a dose of cyanide.

The Doctor also exhibits some weaknesses uncommon to humans. For example, according to The Mind of Evil (1971), a tablet of aspirin could kill him. In Cold Blood, a process meant to decontaminate him of bacteria from the surface of Earth causes him intense pain, and he says it could have killed him if allowed to proceed to completion. In the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Adventuress of Henrietta Street the Doctor lost some of his biological advantages over humans when his second heart was surgically removed when it appeared to be poisoning him, resulting in him losing the ability to metabolise drugs in his system and his respiratory bypass system, but these are restored to him when he begins to grow a new heart after his old one 'dies' (Camera Obscura). Events from the novels may or may not be canonical.

In his final serial, the Second Doctor states that Time Lords can live forever, "barring accidents." When "accidents" do occur, Time Lords can usually regenerate into a new body. However, it is stated in The Deadly Assassin that Time Lords can only regenerate a total of twelve times, giving a theoretical final total of thirteen incarnations. It may be possible to exceed this: in The Five Doctors the Time Lords offer the Master, who is inhabiting a Trakenite body, a regeneration cycle as reward for his help and cooperation, and at some point during the Time War they resurrected him, with his new body having at least one regeneration of its own. Regeneration is apparently optional, as in "Last of the Time Lords" the Master refuses to regenerate despite the Tenth Doctor's pleading. In addition, there are ways of killing a Time Lord that do not permit regeneration; for example, more than once it has been implied that stopping both the Doctor's hearts simultaneously would accomplish this. In the events of "The Impossible Astronaut", it appeared that shooting the Doctor during his regeneration into a Twelfth Doctor killed him permanently. However, "The Wedding of River Song" revealed that this was not actually the Doctor, but the Tesselecta robot pretending to be him, so the efficacy of a mid-regeneration killing has not been confirmed. The Chancellery Guard (Gallifrey's equivalent of a police force) are armed with stasers, weapons capable of suppressing regeneration.
In an October 2010 episode of the spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, when asked by Clyde how many times he can regenerate, the Doctor (Matt Smith) flippantly replies "507". Whether this is true or just a joke is unclear, but the writer of that episode, Russell T. Davies, said it was "...too good an opportunity to miss."

Other skills include his mental communication with other Time Lords, in some cases over a galaxy's distance. His skill with hypnosis is such that he requires only a second's glance into a subject's eyes to put him/her under his spell. The Doctor can read an entire book cover to cover in a second by thumb-flipping the pages before his eyes (City of Death, "Rose", "The Time of Angels"). Though any medical skills he shows early in the series are rudimentary, by Remembrance of the Daleks he can perform sophisticated medical diagnoses merely by touching someone's ear. He is an excellent cricket player (Black Orchid) and in "The Lodger" he proves to be a prodigiously talented footballer despite unfamiliarity with some of the game's basic rules. Though reluctant to engage in combat against living opponents, this is not for any lack of skill in doing so; the Doctor is conversant with both real and fictitious styles of unarmed combat (most obviously the "Venusian Aki-Do" practised by the Third Doctor), has won several swordfights against skilled opponents, and is able to make extremely difficult shots with firearms and, in one instance (in The Face of Evil), with a crossbow. Thanks to exposure to many of history's greatest experts, including those from the future, the Doctor is a talented boxer, musician, organist, scientist, singer (able to shatter windows with his voice), and has a PhD in cheesemaking (The God Complex).

"Doctor who?"
In the first episode, Barbara addresses the Doctor as "Doctor Foreman", as this is the surname the Doctor's granddaughter Susan goes by, and the junkyard in which they find him bears the sign "I.M. Foreman". When addressed by Ian with this name in the next episode, the Doctor responds, "Eh? Doctor who? What's he talking about?" Later, when he realises that "Foreman" is not the Doctor's name, Ian asks Barbara, "Who is he? Doctor who?" (In an ultimately unused idea from documents written at the series' inception, Barbara and Ian would have subsequently referred to the Doctor as "Doctor Who", given their not knowing his name.)

Similarly, in the 2005 series premiere "Rose", when asked his name, the Doctor replies, "Just 'The Doctor'." New companion Rose Tyler later finds a website devoted to the Doctor on the Internet, run by a conspiracy theorist who has been tracking the Ninth Doctor's appearances throughout history, carrying the title "Doctor Who?" (see Doctor Who tie-in websites). The BBC launched a "real" version of this website with the idea that it is run by Mickey Smith, Rose's boyfriend (who has taken over the site following the death of its originator). Also, in the 2011 episode The Impossible Astronaut, Matilda, a nobleman's daughter, paints a semi-nude portrait of the Doctor. When her father comes charging in demanding to see him, she replies simply: "Doctor who?"

Although listed in the on-screen credits for nearly twenty years as "Doctor Who" or "Dr Who", the Doctor is never really called by that name in the series, except in a tongue-in-cheek manner. For example, in The Gunfighters the Doctor assumes the name of Doctor Caligari and subsequently responds to the question "Doctor Who?" with "yes, quite right". Also, question marks adorning his costuming in the 1980s seem to imply the "Who" moniker. The only real exceptions are the computer WOTAN in the serial The War Machines, which commands that "Doctor Who is required" and, towards the end of the Second Doctor serial Fury from the Deep, the Doctor is addressed as "Doctor Who" by Mr Harris during the dinner party. The Third Doctor's car, dubbed "Bessie", carried the plate WHO 1, the only ongoing reference to the "Doctor Who" enigma in the original series. The Third Doctor also later drove an outlandish vehicle called the "Whomobile" in publicity materials, but it is never referred to as such in the series, being simply known as "the Doctor's car" or "my car", as the Doctor puts it. The name "Doctor Who" is also used in the title of the serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, but this was a captioning error rather than an in-story mention. The only other time this occurs is in the title of Episode 5 of The Chase: "The Death of Doctor Who".

In the Fourth Doctor serial "The Armageddon Factor", the Doctor runs into a former class mate of his named Drax. Drax calls the Doctor Theta Sigma or "Thete" for short, an alias which is clarified as the Doctor's nickname at the Prydon Academy on Gallifrey in The Happiness Patrol.

In "The Christmas Invasion", the newly regenerated Doctor stumbles out of the TARDIS in a confused state in front of Jackie Tyler and Mickey. When Rose emerges from the TARDIS, she tells them that he is the Doctor, to which a confused Jackie replies "What do you mean that's the Doctor? Doctor Who?". The joke is used twice in "The Impossible Astronaut" by Matilda and, later, Canton Delaware. A similar version of this in-joke is told in the serials The Curse of Peladon, The Five Doctors and the audio commentary for Revelation of the Daleks reveals that Colin Baker tried to slip it into that serial when the Daleks fail to recognise him. In "The Girl in the Fireplace" (2006), Madame de Pompadour reads the Doctor's mind and remarks about his name, "Doctor who? It's more than just a secret, isn't it?"

In Series 7, "Asylum of the Daleks" the Doctor acknowledges the moniker with delight, after an episode in which a prisoner on the Dalek Asylum Planet wipes all Daleks' hive memory banks of any record of the Doctor. On entering the Dalek parliament, when asked to identify himself he says, "it's me, the Doctor, you know me, the oncoming storm, the Predator". The assembly of Daleks' response is: "Doctor who?". The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, dancing and revelling in the name Doctor Who.

In "The Snowmen", set in 1892, Clara chases after the Doctor (who's in a cab) and when she gets to him, she says "Doctor? Doctor who?".

In the podcast commentary on the BBC website, writer Steven Moffat suggests that, as the Doctor does not tell even his closest companions his name, there must be a "dreadful secret" about it. Within the same commentary, Moffat and actor Noel Clarke jokingly suggest his name to be "Curtis". Ironically, according to the in-vision commentary on the DVD release, David Tennant had to inform actress Sophia Myles (who played Madame de Pompadour) that she was not, in fact, revealing the Doctor's surname as she believed was the intent of the dialogue. In the 1996 telemovie, the recently regenerated and amnesiatic Eighth Doctor repeatedly screams to his reflection "Who am I?!" In "The Shakespeare Code", the Carrionite Lilith, unable to discover his true name, remarks, "Why would a man hide his title in such despair?" A psychically inspired human in "The Fires of Pompeii" remarks that his name "Doctor" is false and that his true name is in fact hidden. In Moffat's "Forest of the Dead", the character River Song reveals she knows the Doctor in his future, and it is implied that they shared a very intimate relationship. To gain his trust, she whispers something—inaudible to the audience—into his ear, which he later reveals was his real name. The Doctor states that there is "only one reason" he would reveal his name and that there is "only one time [he] could".

The dialogue joke was also used in 1981's unsuccessful pilot for K-9 and Company, wherein the Fourth Doctor's robotic dog, K-9, is discovered by his former companion, Sarah Jane Smith, and describes itself as being a gift to her from "The Doctor". Supporting character Brendan Richards asks, "Who's the doctor?" to which K-9 replies with its catch-phrase, "Affirmative." The show's events were subsequently referred to in The Five Doctors and the 2006 Doctor Who episode, "School Reunion".
Doctor Who spin-off media, which are of uncertain canonicity, have suggested that the character uses the name "the Doctor" because his actual name is impossible for humans to pronounce.[8] For instance in the novel Vanderdeken's Children, it's told that the Doctor already told Sam his real name which is entirely alien and virtually unpronounceable. This is also repeated by companion Peri Brown in the radio serial Slipback. The Faction Paradox encyclopaedia The Book of the War states that all renegades from the Homeworld/Gallifrey abandon their names to symbolise how they leave their culture. Similarly, the novel Lungbarrow reveals that the Doctor's name has been struck from the records of his family and therefore cannot be spoken.

The character played by Peter Cushing in the films Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. referred to himself as "Dr. Who". However, these films are not considered part of the same narrative continuity as the television series, as they were based upon two television serials featuring William Hartnell and made considerable alterations to the characters of the Doctor and his companions.

At the end of "Journey's End", Davros states "Never forget, Doctor, you did this. I name you forever, you are 'The Destroyer of Worlds".

"The Wedding of River Song" reveals that the Silence have been seeking to prevent the oldest question from being answered. The question is known as "The first question, the question that must never be answered, hidden in plain sight, the question that [The Doctor has] been running from all [his] life. Doctor who?"

Alias "the Doctor"
Quite apart from his name, why the Doctor uses the title of "The Doctor" has never been fully explained on screen. The Doctor, at first, said that he was not a physician, often referring to himself as a scientist or an engineer. However he does occasionally show medical knowledge and has stated on separate occasions that he studied under Joseph Lister and Joseph Bell. In The Moonbase, the Second Doctor mentions that he studied for a medical degree in Glasgow during the 19th Century. The Fourth Doctor was awarded an honorary degree from St. Cedd's College, Cambridge in 1960. He has also been mocked by his fellow Time Lords for adhering to such a "lowly" title as "Doctor", although in The Armageddon Factor he tells Drax that he achieved his doctorate, indicating it was at least a somewhat respectable title. In "The Girl in the Fireplace", he draws an analogy between the title and Madame de Pompadour's. In "The Sound of Drums", The Doctor remarks to the Master that they both chose their names and The Master, in response, remarks that it was sanctimonious of the Doctor to identify himself as "the man who makes people better;" one of the Master's assistants calls him a "doctor of everything". In The Mutants an official asks the Third Doctor if he is, in fact, a doctor, to which the Doctor replies "I am, yes"; when asked what he is qualified in, the Doctor replies, "Practically everything." The Fourth Doctor states that his companion, Harry Sullivan, is a Doctor of medicine, while he is "a doctor of many things" (Revenge of the Cybermen). The Fifth Doctor claims to be a doctor "of everything" in Four to Doomsday, and a message is related from the Tenth Doctor in "Utopia" that he claims to be a doctor "of everything". In talking with Harry in Robot, the Doctor states "You may be a doctor, but I'm the Doctor. The definite article, you might say." In The Ark in Space The Fourth Doctor states that his doctorate is only honorary; the Tenth Doctor, however, considers the name to be his legitimate academic rank in "The Waters of Mars": in response to an order to give his name, rank and the nature of his business on the planet, he responds, "The Doctor; doctor; fun."

In an interview with The Age in 2003, Tom Baker mentioned that the Doctor is called so because he is "a doctor of time and relative dimension in space". Apart from being called a doctor of the TARDIS, the Doctor has also been referred to as just a "doctor of time travel."

The Telos novella Frayed by Tara Samms (which takes place prior to "An Unearthly Child") has the First Doctor being given that title by the staff of a besieged human medical facility on the planet Iwa, suggesting at the end that the Doctor liked the official title so much that he adopted it. However, this does not quite explain why the Time Lords use the same title in addressing him. The same story also has Jill, a young girl living in the facility, naming the Doctor's granddaughter "Susan" after Jill's mother. The canonicity of all non-television sources is uncertain.
In "A Good Man Goes to War", Dr River Song explains that, as the Doctor has travelled throughout space and time, cultures have adopted his name as a word for "healer and wise man". (Episode writer Moffat publicly suggested this as a fan in 1995, nine years before he began writing for the show.[13]) In some worlds, however, "Doctor" has an entirely different definition. To the people of the Gamma Forests, his name came to mean "mighty warrior". Also in "A Good Man Goes to War", it is implied that River knows the baby cot was the Doctor's because she can read Gallifreyan and thus, read his actual name.
To make up for his lack of a practical name, the Doctor often relies upon convenient pseudonyms. In The Gunfighters, the First Doctor uses the alias Dr. Caligari. In The Highlanders, the Second Doctor assumes the name of "Doctor von Wer" (a German approximation of "Doctor Who"), and signs himself as "Dr. W" in The Underwater Menace. He similarly poses as "the Great Wizard Quiquaequod" in The Dæmons; 'Qui', 'quae', and 'quod' being, respectively, the masculine, feminine and neuter Latin translation of 'who' -- the Master was utilising Latin translation in the same serial, posing as "Mr Magister". The Eighth Doctor's companion Grace briefly refers to him by the alias "Dr. Bowman" in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie.

In The Wheel in Space, his companion Jamie McCrimmon, reading the name off of some medical equipment, tells the crew of the Wheel that the Doctor's name is "John Smith." The Doctor subsequently adopts this alias several times over the course of the series, often prefixing the title "Doctor" to it. This name is particularly prominent during his third incarnation when, as scientific advisor to UNIT, he gives it to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart to be put on his official credentials; the Seventh Doctor briefly used these old Dr John Smith credentials in Battlefield. In the 1996 telemovie, Chang Lee (who had only met the semi-conscious Seventh Doctor minutes earlier and did not know his identity) gives him the name John Smith on the emergency medical treatment form; the Tenth Doctor is admitted to hospital under that name again when he meets Martha Jones in "Smith and Jones". The Tenth Doctor is also using the name when he unsuspectingly meets Sarah Jane Smith whom he had not seen for several incarnations. Suspicious but in public, Sarah Jane mentions that she used to know a man who sometimes used that name. He explains, "It's a very common name." In response, she remarks, "He's a very un-common man." When posing as his own 'Living Flesh' doppelgänger in "The Rebel Flesh", the Eleventh Doctor suggests the others call him John Smith for convenience. Nevertheless, in "Closing Time", he takes the job as a sales clerk and wears a store name badge reading "The Doctor" rather than "John Smith" or a similar alias.

In the audio adventure, The Sirens of Time, when the Fifth Doctor is asked his name, this conversation ensues:
"I'm the Doctor."
"Doctor? That's a profession, not a name."
"It's all I have."

In "New Earth", it is implied that the Doctor is part of the prophecy of the Face of Boe and is referred to as "The Lonely God." In "Tooth and Claw", having landed in Scotland, the Tenth Doctor introduces himself as "Dr. James McCrimmon", from the township of Balamory, in reference to the Second Doctor's companion Jamie McCrimmon who had first given him the John Smith alias. Later in that episode, the Doctor is knighted by Queen Victoria as "Sir Doctor of TARDIS"; she then declared him an enemy of the crown and banished him for all time, with Torchwood in part created to enforce this exile.

To his greatest enemies, the Daleks, the Doctor is known as the Ka Faraq Gatri, the "Bringer of Darkness", or "Destroyer of Worlds". This is first mentioned in the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronovitch and subsequently taken up in the spin-off media, particularly the Virgin New Adventures books and the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip. Davros uses the title "Destroyer of Worlds" to describe the Doctor in "Journey's End." In the Virgin New Adventures novel Love and War, the Doctor is referred to as "The Oncoming Storm" by the Draconians (whose word for it is "Karshtakavaar"); according to the episode "The Parting of the Ways", the same title is used by the Daleks. The Doctor refers to himself as "The Oncoming Storm" in "The Lodger." In "Asylum of the Daleks", it is stated that Daleks refer to the Doctor as "The Predator". The Virgin New Adventure Zamper establishes that the Chelonians refer to him as "Interfering Idiot".

In The End of Time, it is mentioned that after he smote a demon in the 13th century, the residents of a convent called the Doctor the "sainted physician."

The series has also occasionally toyed with the Doctor's identity (or lack thereof). In the first part of The Mysterious Planet, the Doctor suggests writing a thesis on "Ancient Life on Ravolox, by Doctor...", but is interrupted by Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown. In The Armageddon Factor, the Time Lord Drax addresses the Fourth Doctor as "Thete", short for "Theta Sigma". Later, in The Happiness Patrol, this was clarified as a nickname from the Doctor's University days; he is called by this name again in the Paul Cornell novel Goth Opera. In Remembrance of the Daleks, the Seventh Doctor produces a calling card with a series of pseudo-Greek letters inscribed on it (as well as a stylised question mark). This may be a reference to Terrance Dicks's and Malcolm Hulke's book The Making of Doctor Who (1972), which claims that the Doctor's true name is a string of Greek letters and mathematical symbols.

The question mark motif was common throughout the eighties, in part as a branding attempt. Beginning with season eighteen, the Fourth through Seventh Doctors all sported costumes with a red question mark motif (usually on the shirt collars, except for the Seventh Doctor—it appeared on his pullover and in the shape of his umbrella handle). In the 1978 serial The Invasion of Time, the Fourth Doctor is asked to sign a document; although the signature itself is not directly seen on screen, his hand movements clearly indicate that he signs it with a question mark. A similar scene occurs with the Seventh Doctor in Remembrance of the Daleks.

In "The Lodger", the Eleventh Doctor states, "I'm the Doctor. Well, they call me 'the Doctor', I don't know why; I call me 'the Doctor' too, still don't know why."

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