Doctor Who Rumor About John Hurt’s Role In 50th Anniversary Special Is A Doozy

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With all the sound and fury about which former Doctors are or are not returning for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, we’ve heard surprisingly little speculation about what the story might be for that landmark episode. We know David Tennant and Billie Piper are back as the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, respectively. Presumably the story will be suitably epic, and hopefully pay homage to the show’s long history, and the many people who have made it a beloved genre classic. But what will actually be going on? We haven’t got a clue. But if this rumor proves to be true, showrunner Steven Moffat has something major up his sleeve.



We know that British actor John Hurt is appearing in the 50th anniversary special, but so far we haven’t learned who or what he will be playing. Perhaps some nefarious villain? Perhaps a new ally of the Doctor? According to a source at SpoilerTV.com, his role is much bigger than that.

He’s the real Ninth Doctor.

“Say whaaaaaaaaa?” You read that right. The rumor is that Hurt is the real Ninth Doctor, which means each of the Doctors seen in Doctor Who’s modern incarnation, beginning with Christopher Eccleston and then continuing on to David Tennant and Matt Smith, have actually been the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors, respectively.

How the hell does that work? The anonymous tipster says that it will be revealed that the past three regenerations of the Doctor have either forgotten, repressed, or been forced to forget their real Ninth self. The big questions, then, are how and why? Does it involve some terrible secret from the Time War, or something even more unexpected than that?

The tipster also suggests that this revelation may be actually revealed in the impending season finale, entitled “The Name of the Doctor.” That’s a title that suggests major revelations are in store. Some have speculated that the show might live up to its title and finally reveal the time lord’s real name, something we haven’t learned in five decades of the show’s run. I think that’s very unlikely, and would be a mistake, but something like revealing a previously unknown incarnation of the Doctor would make the title a nice bit of misdirection, and would definitely pack a wallop that would keep Whovians talking until the anniversary special rolls around.

There are only two episodes of Doctor Who left this season, and this week’s Neil Gaiman installment will likely be a mostly self-contained story, so if the Ninth Doctor revelation is true and is going to be revealed before the special, it’s next week or nothing. Do you think the rumor is genuine? If so, will it have anything to do with Clara? She’s been the big mystery of the second half of the season, so it would make sense for her to play into this twist somehow, assuming it’s more than just hot air.

Either way, I’m even more intrigued than before to see the finale on May 18th.


  1. I’ve seen this rumour, and have also heard that the rumour was announced false, but, that could only be more misdirection.

  2. Matrixlord212 says:

    He is acting like the Doctor but is really Omega. At least that is what I heard.

  3. Nathanielessex says:

    It would be annoying because it would make it confusing to refer to tennant as 10 and matt smith as 11 if the numbers changed. other than that it would be an interesting twist.

    • Fangirl says:

      Christopher Eccleston would be 10, David Tennent would be 11 and Matt Smith would be 12

  4. Jon Davis says:

    For all we know, he’s really the Master, and the Master is really him and the Time War caused a big switch. So…while this would be uber-cool, it still remains a rumor.

  5. or its the valyard some how

  6. Watch Clara have been the REAL 9th’s companion, and him have planted her throughout history as part of a master plan!

  7. Jeff Brewer says:

    This sounds too good to be true, especially given Moffat’s lacklustre skills as a showrunner. If it is true, then this is a master stroke (no pun intended). Oh, and why do people keep forgetting that, according to the current known run of incarnations, DT played both the 11th and 12th Doctors, with MS being number 13 (DT shot by a Dalek running towards Rose, and regenerating, but siphoning off most of the energy into his handy hand, resulting in the human/TIME Lord Hybrid DT, as well…).

    BTW, I think DT will be playing the half-human Doctor in the anniversary special, given Moffat’s “look forward, not back attitude”.

    • NoNonsense says:

      I thought the same about DT playing the half-human Doctor; until I saw that DT has his tardis in the anniversary special; ruling out the half-human DT.

  8. Joyboy79 says:

    I think it would be pretty cool to have a new doctor in the mix and add a twist to the show and the history of doctor who. John Hurt’s an incredible actor and would make a credible doctor. Roll on the big five-oh.

    • Pup McKeenan says:

      There are pics of John Hurt dressed in Paul McGann’s Doctor outfit. but in this picture he looks more like the retired Brigadier. I suspect it is the Black Guardian as/or the Valliard.

  9. I can see him as a TimeLord, sure, but the “real” Ninth Doctor? They’d lose an incarnation, have to totally rewrite the books and be smack up against the 13 regenerations problem this year when MS is rumoured to be leaving. A twist is one thing, causing that many problems for one episode (even the 50th anniversary) doesn’t seem worth it.

    • Ran El says:

      They fixed that problem when River gave the Doctor her remaining regenerations. He has about 9 more left now.

      • Nichtus says:

        Incorrect; When River used her remaining regenerations, all she did was bring him back to life.

  10. anonymous says:

    He’s the Doctors dad…Guh…can people not get anything straight. Clara is also the Doctors mother…

    • Welldone says:

      The Doctor’s mother has already been shown, and is currently locked away in the Time War. And there is not even a hint to that, let alone proof.

  11. Jake Ham says:

    I really hope this isn’t true

  12. Geo says:

    Nope. The theory is wrong. He is a parallel universe Doctor. The clues are all there. Also, the descriptions of the finale involve multiverse and alternate universes.

    • Quartificus says:

      LOL, where did you hear that? I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you’re proved wrong.

      • Geo says:

        I’m not wrong. The alternate realities are converging is a description by critics who have seen the episode. Trenzelore is a place in the middle of the paths that are like railroad tracks of alternate universes and the Doctor’s personal timeline resides along it. It’s pretty logical to conclude that Hurt is an alternate universe Doctor, as the finale leads straight into the 50th special.

      • Geo says:

        They also describe the alternate universes and the pathways in basic descriptions posted online about the finale.

  13. Gerald Ploy says:

    This is just fanwank nonsense from Gallifrey Base dressed up as an actual spoiler… nobody in the general viewing audience gives a shit about Doctor numbering and it would be utterly ridiculous to go in that direction. Moffat would sooner write an episode with the Doctor going back in time to stop Jimmy Savile.

    • NoNonsense says:

      The rumor is somewhat based on truth, at least. Hurt confirmed that he plays a “part of the Doctor” “in a trinity.” It was in the news today.

  14. We’re not all “Whovians” you know – some of us are “fans”.

  15. Pup McKeenan says:

    He looks like the retired Brigadier there. But have seen a picture of him in Doctor #8’s clothing, Paul McGann’s Doctor.

  16. Jon Davis says:

    Well, it would explain the one phrase…”At the fall of the eleventh”

    • Jasony says:

      You know the first doctor was married because he had a granddaughter. So clara could be the first wife and who is to say that the eigth didnt regenerate until he got much older?

      • That would make their kisses incestuous! YUCK! They better not be genetically related at all! And if she is Roses and Meta-Crisis Daughter then they ARE genetically related.

        Let’s hope she’s just some random new character. That would be the most intelligent route.

  17. That is THE DUMBEST STORYLINE IDEA EVER! Just when one thinks Moffat couldn’t sink any further down into the gutter, he surprises us all.

    OH well, I’m not watching! So even if this extremely stupid idea is true, I, thankfully, won’t be tortured by it all. Instead I can just read about the idiocy the next day and laugh at all the simpletons who lap this crap up!

  18. Cliff Hesby says:

    OK, my girlfriend let out an anguished howl that yesterday’s Doctor Who
    ended on a cliffhanger, but it was also the first episode in a long
    while that really GRABBED either of us. No spoilers, I will just say
    they avoided pitfalls I was terrified of, were respectful but not
    slavish toward the Doctor’s long history, set up the huge finale of the
    50th anniversary special nicely and frankly, pulled the whole season out
    off a hole it seemed to be digging itself into.

    It was scary, brilliant, epic and far more satisfying than I had feared it would be.

    Now we just wait SEVEN FREAKING MONTHS for the conclusion.

  19. share this amazing star paul brandt hes coming for a great concert to your city spread the word support JUST AS I IM tour to HAITI

  20. no ! spoilers ! says:

    its rather sureal ,john hurt is the real doctor ,””the doctor (who)”” in his many guieses isn’t ,he’s the doctors son ,trying to make up for the crimes of the father by trying to save the universe (and mostly humans rewriting history,with “the doctor” not the ultimate genicidal villain but saviour) ,his father created by genetically altering species over time to create a new race …….the humans who he wanted too use as his army to take over the universe with .all made in his image! .

  21. LianeWayfarer says:

    In the 20th anniversary special THE FIVE DOCTORS, the Time Lords summon the Master and promise him amnesty and a new twelve life regeneration cycle if he performs a service for them. Unless they were lying they have the means to give restart new regenerations. Also, remember in the original series the Doctor was 750 years old, now he’s over 900 so there may have been a Doctor between McGann and Eccleston. So if John Hurt is the 9th Doctor, MS really the 12th, the Valyard 12.5, and the 13th yet to come, there may very well be another 12 on the horizon.

  22. matt says:

    I like the idea that john hurt is the doctor before he became the doctor. That he did something so bad he changed his name to The doctor and stole a tardis and ta da