Posted by: victanguera | October 18, 2011

What’s In a Word.

I recently became addicted to Doctor Who. Living under a rock as I do, it’s only recently that I even heard about the show. After watching all the new episodes (Christopher Eccleston and on), I started watching classic Who so I could understand the history of the Doctor. One thing that I’ve read is that as Matt Smith is the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, the possibility exists that there will be only one more incarnation after his. Several older episodes seem to support the idea that Time Lords are only allowed twelve regenerations.

Except for one. In The Trial of a Time Lord: The Ultimate Foe, the sixth doctor (Colin Baker), is tried for interfering in events. As the story continues, the Master reveals that the Valeyard is a distillation of everything evil in the Doctor. The Valeyard wants the Doctor to die so he can take all the Doctor’s future regenerations. The Master also reveals that he met the Valeyard (then known as the Doctor) between his 12th and final regeneration. Not during, but between.

As writers, we all know the importance of words. The choice of the word between completely changes the possibilities for how many regenerations the Doctor has. If the Master had said he met the Doctor during his twelfth and final regeneration, we would know that the Doctor after Matt Smith would be the last one. But he’s not.

OMG, does everyone see what Steven Moffat did there? He’s given Eleven all of River’s regenerations, so he is no longer limited to twelve regenerations. And the Master met the Doctor after that twelfth regeneration. And then messed with his life prior to that. Ooh, all timey-wimey. I have a sneaky little suspicion that we might see the Master return. And a Master like Robert Delgado.*

And yes, I’m basing all of that on one little word.

*Note, I’ve not gotten any further than the first two episodes with Seven, so don’t know if things have changed so the Master would no longer meet the Doctor, so please NO SPOILERS. That’s the kind of thing I want to find out for myself.



  1. …oh no… you’re becoming as picky as I am when it comes to words…

    • Although it might not always show in my writing, I am fairly picky when it comes to words. Some of my favourite words are the ones with slippery (or double) meanings. Then you can mess with someone’s head because of word choice.

      • I agree with you. Double entendre is always something that has been used in movies, why can’t we use it in books and use them well?

      • Yes, exactly. That kind of interplay between characters gives a story depth. Do they mean the entendre? Is it unintentional? I also love a book where an author has skillfully (and intentionally) misused words. P.G. Wodehouse comes to mind with his Jeeves stories. Bertie often misuses words, but the character believes everything he says is spot on correct. It makes him seem like even more of a dolt. And he’s always so determined to come up with a solution without Jeeves’ help. You just know comic antics with ensue.

  2. via word of god (davies), 507 times 🙂

    • Ahhh, I haven’t even finished Classic Who and now I’ve got to watch the Sarah Jane Adventures. I take it this means you are back from Italy.

  3. Just got back Thursday morning (thanks to canadian customs being right arses Wed. night). Have spent the past 2 days dealing with being wide away at 3 am and hoping my body adjusts itself back to regular time before work tomorrow 🙂

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