Who is John Hurt? Review of Doctor Who The Name of The Doctor

In this cracking season finale we don’t actually learn The Doctor’s name but we do discover a secret he’s been hiding. And we finally understand the mystery behind Clara, the impossible girl.

As a result of the BBC splitting this season into two halves, it seems like ages since Clara’s mystery began back in September 2012 in the opener “Asylum of the Daleks”. She died saving the Doctor in that story. We met her again at Christmas in “The Snowmen” and again she died saving the Timelord’s life. How could the same girl exist in different time periods?

We found out in Stephen Moffat’s excellent “The Name of the Doctor”.

Review of Doctor Who The Name of The Doctor
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The action takes place on Trenzalore, the location of the Doctor’s grave from the future. The moment when the Doctor discovers this is his destination is very emotional and Matt Smith portrays his dismay with genuine tears. This is amazing acting.

Aided by his friends from Victorian England, Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax and his “wife” River Song, the Doctor and Clara face The Great Intelligence on Trenzalore. The only way to save the Doctor is for Clara to jump into the time vortex thus splitting herself into a million versions of herself. And each one goes back to some point in the Doctor’s past lives to save him over and over.

This scenario allowed for a clever series of flash backs involving all 11 of the actors who have played the Doctor in the last 50 years. It was a fan’s dream come true but might have been a little confusing for those less up to speed with Who lore.

I presume this now means that Clara can continue as a regular companion. I hope so because Jenna-Louise Coleman has really livened up this series with her fresh performance.

And having caught a glimpse of all eleven Doctors, in the closing minutes of the show, we see a twelfth. And just to underline what is going on a caption comes up on the screen, “Introducing John Hurt as The Doctor.”

This is the stunning reveal, the cliffhanger that leads us into the 50th anniversary show to be broadcast in November. Is John Hurt playing a future version of the Doctor or a past, so far unheard of, incarnation? If it is the latter then that means Matt Smith is really the twelfth Doctor, not the eleventh, and that truly is the game changer Stephen Moffat promised us.

The Name of The Doctor was an excellent season finale. Well acted with great visuals and that homage to the series’s fifty year heritage was lovely. It’s going to be a very long wait until November.

Your Turn: Do you agree with my review of Doctor Who The Name of the Doctor? What are your theories about John Hurt’s Doctor? Please leave a comment or share a link to your own review.

 

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