The Blogtor Who readership have been voting and we now have our list of the best Doctor Who regenerations ever! Here’s how the action played out in Round Four
In the days since The Power of the Doctor, and Jodie Whittaker stepping out of the TARDIS and passed her role as the Doctor over to the next in line, Blogtor Who has been running a Twitter poll to find your favourite Doctor Who regeneration story. You cast hundreds of votes were and now Blogtor can being to reveal the results!
Round four brings us right up to date as we look at the regeneration stories for the Time Lord’s Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth incarnations. It was one of the more dramatic rounds too. An early lead for Twice Upon a Time was wiped out by fans of The Power of the Doctor. Within a couple of hours the Thirteenth Doctor’s finale had built up a solid advantage, and finished on 49.1% of the vote. Twice Upon a Time wound up in second place, on 29.1%. That left The Time of the Doctor last, with 23.6%
The Time of the Doctor weaves together four years of storylines to provide a fitting, and heart-wrenching, finale
The Time of the Doctor formed part of 2013’s epic celebrations, following on from the immensely popular fiftieth anniversary special. Matt Smith himself has said the episode could have been better, saying “Was it the best episode it could be? I dunno, maybe, maybe not.” Steven Moffat had certainly set himself a huge challenge with this final episode. It sought provide a fitting and emotional end to Smith’s time on the show, wrap up the “silence will fall” arc, fulfil the details of the riddle prophecy around the Doctor’s death, and figure out a way to give Doctor a whole new regeneration cycle. It’s just so packed with stuff. Clara is even tricked home before finding her way back to her friend anyway not once, but twice. This dense plotting might account for both Smith’s ambivalence and its relatively low polling here.
The result is actually a pretty good mix of incident and emotion. The plot around a town called Christmas, and the Doctor’s dilemma of not being able to either leave or summon the Time Lords without reigniting the Time War holds together nicely. Meanwhile, it gives the Eleventh Doctor one of the finest ever exit speeches. His meditation on regeneration as a metaphor for the need to keep on changing, right through your life is deeply touching. And who could keep a dry eye as he drops his bow tie to the ground. “I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”
Twice Upon a Time is unique in dispensing with the question of how our hero is mortally wounded, and focusing entirely on regeneration’s emotional toll
The Twelfth Doctor’s regeneration was handled like none before it. The show had already so come a long way from the days of the regeneration being tacked on to the end of an otherwise ordinary story. But even so, Twice Upon a Time makes the Tenth Doctor’s farewell tour in The End of Time seem brisk. We flash forward to the regeneration at the start of the previous story, two episodes earlier in World Enough and Time. The Doctor actually receives the mortal wound from a Cybermen in the first scene of next episode, The Doctor Falls. He spends the whole of that episode weakening, fighting off the impending regeneration until he can complete this crucial task of protecting a small human community from ever more advanced Cybermen.
But it’s all in service of allowing Twice Upon a Time itself to focus entirely on the regeneration. And with Peter Capaldi one of most technically accomplished actors to steer the TARDIS, there’s no better opportunity for such introspection. The First Doctor appears in the form of David Bradley, on the cusp of his own regeneration. It provides a touchstone for the long journey the Time Lord had taken to that point.
“Run hard, laugh hard, be kind”
Arguably there’s at least one too many jokes about the changing times since 1963, but it provides a thoughtful narrative about how the Doctor went from a curious explorer to a crusading hero and, now, a tired man wanting to lay his burden down. It asks why does our hero keep travelling, keeps helping, keeps taking a stand. Its simple answer is because it’s the right thing to do, it’s kind, and it’s decent. And maybe that’s all the answer we need.
The Twelfth Doctor’s final words are a manifesto for who the Doctor is, who they always are, whatever face they wear “Run fast, laugh hard, be kind.” But also, in what’s becoming a regeneration tradition, a clear farewell from the actor who played them. “Doctor I let you go…” says the universally loved Peter Capaldi.
Next up: It’s the final battle! Which regeneration story from across all fifty-nine years of Doctor Who will come out on top?
Come back soon for the grand final of our regeneration celebration of The Power of the Doctor. Can new entry The Power of the Doctor stand up against long time favourites The War Games, The Caves of Androzani, and The Parting of the Ways?