Thursday 20 August 2015

Regeneration Rundown - updated!

With the release of Big Finish's sixth Doctor boxset The Last Adventure, now would seem to be the time to update the list of regenerations, first and last lines.

This has been somewhat complicated of late, with the numbering of the most recent few Doctors being called into question. To begin with, it's easy: same number for the Doctor, life and incarnation. Now it's fiddlier, but hopefully this rundown makes it clear. The Doctors are numbered one to twelve, with the War Doctor, unnumbered, between the eighth and ninth. Incarnations refer to distinct faces, while lives refer to how many times the Doctor has regenerated. So, Peter Capaldi is the twelfth Doctor, but the thirteenth distinct incarnation. Smith to Capaldi was “regeneration number thirteen,” so he is on his fourteenth life. (I choose to use incarnation to refer to a form, not a lifespan; others disagree. It's really a matter of semantics, there's no right or wrong.)

The First Doctor (William Hartnell)

First life, no regenerations

First words onscreen: “What are you doing here?”
(An Unearthly Child)

Earliest known words: “Yes, what is it? What do you want?”
(The Name of the Doctor)

Last words: “Ah, yes. Thank you. It's good. Keep warm.”
(The Tenth Planet, episode four)

However, much better is this part, from just a few lines earlier:

“It's all over? That's what you said – but it isn't all over!”

Cause of regeneration:

Old age, combined with the energy-draining effects of the Cyber-planet, Mondas.

The previous life force drain by the Elders, and the rapid ageing effects of the Dalek Time-Destructor, may also have contributed to his regeneration.

The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

Second life, first regeneration

First words: “Slower, slower! Concentrate on one thing. One thing!”
(The Power of the Daleks, episode one)

Last words: “No, stop! You're making me giddy! No, you can't do this to me! No no no! No no no no no no no no no no...”
(The War Games, episode ten)

Cause of regeneration: Forcibly changed by the Time Lords, as part of his sentence of exile.

Later return appearances by the second Doctor have muddied the waters somewhat, and many fans ascribe to the theory of a series of adventures at the behest of the Time Lords, after his trial but before his regeneration. The novels of Terrence Dicks support this. There is no reason the final shot of The War Games can't still be his last moments, cut back to after his (mostly) unseen adventures. The fact that Patrick Troughton was much older in his reappearances than his 'final' scene isn't an issue, since we now know that Time Lords sometimes 'reset' to a younger, healthier form prior to fully regenerating, as in The Time of the Doctor. Indeed, these are both times where the Time Lords triggered the Doctor's regeneration.

In the TV Comic issues of the time, the Doctor was exiled to Earth in his second incarnation, and his transformation was triggered by Time Lord servants – killer scarecrows, no less – in the story 'The Night Walkers.' Going by this, the Doctor's final words may in fact be: “Fear no more, Hogan... After this dreadful night has passed, your scarecrows will not walk again!” (With thanks to Paul Castle for this!)

The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)

Third life, second regeneration

First words: “... shoes... must find my shoes!”
(Spearhead from Space, episode one)

Last words: “A tear, Sarah Jane? No, don't cry. While there's life, there's...”
(Planet of the Spiders, episode six)

Cause of regeneration: Lethal radiation exposure on the Planet of the Spiders, Metebelis 3.

The third Doctor may have been the first to actually die from his injuries. However, the Time Lord Kanpo insisted he was not dead, and gave “his cells a little push,” triggering his regeneration. This is actually the first time a change of Doctor was referred to as a regeneration, although the earlier changes have been retconned into being the same process.

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)

Fourth life, third regeneration

First words: (Mumbling) “Typical Sontaran attitude... Stop, Linx... Course of human history... I tell you Brigadier, there's nothing to worry about. The Brontosaurus is large and placid... and stupid!”
(Robot, part one)

Last words: “It's the end... but the moment has been prepared for...”
(Logopolis, part four)

Cause of regeneration: Fell from a great height battling the Master for the fate of the universe. This regeneration was unusual, in that it was prefigured by the appearance of the Watcher, a phantom version of the Doctor's future self who merged with the Doctor and triggered the regeneration.

The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)

Fifth life, fourth regeneration

First words: “I... oh. Ah. You've come to help me find the Zero Room. Welcome aboard. I'm the Doctor... or will be, if this regeneration works out.”
(Castrovalva, part one)

Last words: “I might regenerate. I don't know. Feels different this time... Adric?”
(The Caves of Androzani, part four)

Cause of regeneration: Spectrox Toxaemia, a fatal poisoning by an unrefined fungus. The Doctor gave the only dose of the antidote to his companion Peri.

The audio story Circular Time: Winter took the form of an extended fantasy sequence that took place during the final few seconds before the Doctor's regeneration. This also featured an appearance by the Watcher, but did not alter the Doctor's final word - “Adric?”.

The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)

Sixth life, fifth regeneration

First words: “You were expecting someone else?”
(The Caves of Androzani, part four)

Last words onscreen: “Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice!”
(The Trial of a Time Lord, part fourteen)

Cause of regeneration: Ah, now this is where things get complicated. At the beginning of Time and the Rani, the Doctor regenerates after an attack on his TARDIS by the Rani, apparently having been on his exercise bike before hand - a rush job done without Colin Baker's participation.

Some productions suggest that his death was due to nothing more than a severe bump on the head. On the other hand, the New Adventures hinted that the Doctor's next self triggered the regeneration in order to come into existence and become Time's Champion.

According to the BBC novel Spiral Scratch by Gary Russell, the sixth Doctor, along with many of his alternative selves from other realities, sacrificed himself to destroy the Lamprey, a voracious being that threatened the entire Multiverse. The Doctor allowed it to drain him of his temporal energy and glut itself. Thus, the Doctor was already dying when the Rani attacked. On the other hand, the unofficial novel Time's Champion by Craig Hinton and Chris McKeon suggests that the sixth Doctor in fact sacrificed himself to avoid becoming the champion of the Eternal of Death, becoming that of the Eternal of Time instead, with the events of Spiral Scratch and Time and the Rani essentially working as a sort of cover story, written over the original timeline.

Big Finish have no released their own regeneration story, The Last Adventure: The Brink of Death, which, as a performed script with Colin Baker's involvement, trumps the prose adventures. However, with the time-altering and interdimensional adventures involved in all three regeneration stories, it's possible to accept that they all happened, somehow, somewhere, in the multiverse. In BF's story, the Doctor deliberately steers his TARDIS into the path of the Lakertyan radiation - deadly to Time Lords, safer for humans - in order to kill himself, rewriting the timeline and preventing the Valeyard from taking him over.

Actual last words: Spiral Scratch: “Yes, yes it is (fair). Local... tractor beam...”
Time's Champion: “You want me to become a god?”
The Last Adventure: "Who said that? Who is that? Who's there? Change... I feel it. Yes, I will regenerate. Our future is in safe hands."

The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

Seventh life, sixth regeneration

First words: “Oh no, Mel!”
(Time and the Rani, part one)

According to The Last Adventure, the seventh Doctor's burgeoning consciousness makes its presence known during the regeneration, with the line, "It's far from being all over..."

Last words: “Timing malfunction! The Master, he's out there! He's out there... I know... I've got to stop him...” (He ends with a scream.)
(Doctor Who: The TV Movie)

Cause of regeneration: Shot when caught in a gangland crossfire, the Doctor died on the operating table due to complications that arose when the surgeons attempted to investigate his unusual heartbeat. Regeneration did not set in immediately due to the high levels of anaesthetic, but there was enough cellular activity to trigger regeneration in the morgue, returning him to life.

The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)

Eighth life, seventh regeneration

First words: “WHO? AM? I?”
(Doctor Who: The TV Movie)

His first words on screen were the opening narration: “It was on the planet Skaro that my old enemy the Master was finally put on trial.”

Last words: “Physician, heal thyself.”
(The Night of the Doctor)

Cause of regeneration: Killed in a starship crash on the planet Karn, on the fringes of the Time War. The Sisterhood of Karn revived him for a period of four minutes, long enough for the Doctor to choose to become a warrior for the Time Lords. Regeneration was triggered, and controlled, by an elixir concocted by the Sisterhood.

The War Doctor/The Warrior (John Hurt)

Ninth life, eighth regeneration

First words: “Doctor no more.”
(The Night of the Doctor)

Last words: “Oh yes, I suppose it makes sense. Wearing a bit thin. I hope the ears are a bit less conspicuous next time.”
(The Day of the Doctor)

Cause of regeneration: Unclear. It's implied that it's due to old age, but it could also be cumulative damage from the Time War. Alternatively, it's possible that in the original timeline, the Warrior's regeneration was triggered by the effects of the Moment, and that the Warrior's new regeneration – possibly triggered by the TARDIS – occurred to maintain the Doctor's timeline.

The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

Tenth life, tenth incarnation, ninth regeneration

First words: Unknown.

First words onscreen: “Run!”

Last words: "Rose, before I go... I just wanna tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I!”
(The Parting of the Ways)

Cause of regeneration: Absorbed the energy of the Time Vortex from Rose, before channelling it back into the Vortex. The temporal energy caused terminal cellular damage.

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)

Eleventh life, eleventh incarnation, tenth regeneration

First words: “Hello! Ooh.. new teeth. That's weird. So, where was I? Oh, that's right. Barcelona!”
(The Parting of the Ways)

Last words: “It's too late. I'm regenerating!”
(The Stolen Earth)

Cause of regeneration: A glancing shot from a Dalek death ray.

It's now clear that this counts as one of the Doctor's twelve allotted regenerations, although it was not fully completed. The Doctor regenerated enough to heal himself, channelling the excess regenerative energy into his spare hand. This also led to the creation of a duplicate 'Meta-Doctor,' whose first words were “Oooh, yes!”

Twelfth life, eleventh incarnation, eleventh regeneration

First words: “Now then – where were we?”
(Journey's End)

Last words: “I don't want to go.”
(The End of Time, part two)

Cause of regeneration: Lethal radiation poisoning, taken in place of Wilfred Mott.

The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)

Thirteenth life, twelfth incarnation, twelfth regeneration

First words: “Legs! I've still got legs! Good, arms, hands, ooh, fingers, lots of fingers. Ears, yes, eyes, two, nose... I've had worse. Chin... blimey!”
(The End of Time, part two)

Last words: “We all change. When you think about it, we're all different people, all through our lives. And that's OK, that's good, you gotta keep moving. So long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.” His final line is a quietly uttered "Hey."
(The Time of the Doctor)

Cause of regeneration: Advanced old age. The Doctor had reached the end of his regenerative cycle and was dying. The Time Lords granted him a second regenerative cycle, triggering a thirteenth regeneration.

The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

Fourteenth life, thirteenth incarnation, thirteenth regeneration

First words: “Kidneys! I've got new kidneys! I don't like the colour.”
(The Time of the Doctor)

This was the first regeneration of the Doctor's second cycle (well, it's not really a cycle, he doesn't end up back where he started, but that's the term that is commonly used).

However, for those who count the faces in The Brain of Morbius as real faces of the Doctor (or whatever he called himself back then), this might actually be the Doctor's third cycle of regenerations, the first having constituted eight distinct incarnations. This would make the first Doctor the ninth incarnation, and the twelfth Doctor would, in fact, be his twenty-first incarnation and his twenty-second life. If they count...

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