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The incarnation of the Gallifreyan played by Sir John Hurt has become known, out-of-universe, as "The War Doctor". However it's unlikely that he was actually called that in-universe. As he made it plain that he should not be called "The Doctor" in that incarnation ("Doctor no more!"), how did other people address him?

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    How was the War Doctor addressed? Very carefully. Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 15:49
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    Just because he says he's not The Doctor anymore doesn't mean other people stopped calling him that. The Daleks certainly didn't. Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 15:59
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    Who was addressed?
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 5:37
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    They called him all manner of names, all of which filled the weary and the wise with dread. They called him the Bringer of Chaos, the Destructor of Alazimath, the High Fracture. They called him, among other things... Bob.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 21:46
  • I have to say that the currently accepted answer is wrong. The War Doctor took up arms. We saw him put on a gun belt the moment he regenerated, and then later he was shooting a giant gun. He is the one incarnation of the Doctor that the quote about being "unarmed" cannot apply to. The title "Doctor of War" was spoken twice, to the Twelfth Doctor. It refers to the Doctor in general, not the War Doctor.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 21:34

4 Answers 4

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We never see the War Doctor addressed directly by his comrades... but Twelve overhears this bit from a soldier in Rassilon's entourage in Hell Bent.

First thing you notice about the Doctor of War is that he is unarmed. For many, it's also the last.

Since this is a Gallifrey that had survived the Time War and not done much else since, hiding away at the end of the universe, it seems pretty clear that the soldier is referring to the incarnation known during the war.

So the only in-universe title we get is the Doctor of War. Presumably since he had given up the name Doctor, he didn't like this appellation, but it seems fame (or infamy) didn't care. Whether anyone else (beyond this one overawed soldier) dared call him this name to his face is probably unknowable at this point.

The Daleks, and the Moment, continue to just call him The Doctor through the events of Day of the Doctor, but as enemies and a somewhat quirky godlike AI, it can be assumed they didn't care for his ideas of what he should be called either.

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  • Nice answer, but I'm not sure if you can say that Gallifrey has "not done much else since", especially in the Doctor area. Rassilion had direct contact with the 10th doctor (which was armed). And someone in Gallifrey granted 11th regeneration energy.
    – Edelk
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 10:22
  • And of course they set up the whole Trap Street / confession dial thing, which must have taken some doing.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 23:41
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    @Randal'Thor - " a Gallifrey that had survived the Time War and not done much else since"... unrelated? Every plot Gallifrey has been seen in has been dealing with the Time War, escaping the Time War (once failing, once succeeding), hiding from the leftovers of the Time War, ... and finally getting out only to... focus entirely on pissing off the dude who got them out (of the Time War). I didn't mean to imply that they sat in stasis, but I did mean to say they didn't do anything outside the scope of the question, I guess
    – Radhil
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:49
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This is a TIMELINE issue.

The Doctor of War uses the name of the Doctor for the majority of that regeneration.

The Doctor's later incarnations only stop calling him the Doctor at the very END of his life. For those of you saying the War Doctor didn't live long take a look at the reflection in the minisode when the War Doctor is "born." It's at about 6:36-6:39. He starts young.

It's only when he presses the button (or they think he's pressed the button--all those Doctors in one place makes the memory a bit fuzzy, he'd only remember when the latest incarnation experiences it) that the realization that he should not use the name of the Doctor sets in for him. He regenerates into what we call the 9th Doctor pretty much immediately after he "does" this.

Now, as far as Gallifrey is concerned, there's no reason not to call him the Doctor. The Doctor of War is simply a longer title--it's another name for him, that they might use no matter what his face is. It's pretty likely that there may be a number of legendary titles the Doctor is known under--and this is one. But for the most part, they call him Doctor.

As far as the population of Gallifrey is concerned HE WAS NEVER UNWORTHY OF THE NAME. They know he saved them, not that he destroyed them.

Now, as to the title Doctor No More, the first thing he says when he regenerates into the War Doctor--that can be read two different ways, actually--just like the painting "Gallifrey Falls/No More." "No More" is the Doctor's catchphrase in this incarnation. So it could be "I am the Doctor no more" or "Doctor No More," as in "I am the Doctor of No More. I am the Doctor of the line in the sand, the one who will stop it all." We know for sure that he stopped being considered the Doctor by himself once he pushed the button.

Prior to that--if he did ask that others not call him Doctor, we did not see it (except for the Moment!) But even if he did, even as the War Doctor, the soldier states that he did not often use weapons, which tracks more with previous incarnations. I would say there's a difference between his perception of things (namely himself) and how they really are. In the Demon's Run two-parter River calls him out on it. (Armies turn with a word from him). In the Stolen Earth/Journey's End it gets pointed out again by the progenitor of the Daleks. (He turns ordinary people into weapons). Clara's boyfriend calls him on it as well. (He's good at being a general.) He's always been able to turn anything into a weapon, always been good at leading people into battle. This incarnation is just a bit better at it--or at least, a bit more able to make the hard choices.

The last big choice the War Doctor makes is the one he's been dreading making--the one that he knows will erase him as worthy of the Doctor's name for certain.

I don't know if the War Doctor stopped Gallifreyans from using his name, at least in front of him, but right up until that last choice he makes, it's still, to quote the Moment "the name in his head." It's fairly likely, that people were still calling him the Doctor because he was worthy still of the name, even if he was fighting in the war.

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I'm pretty sure he only interacted with other Gallifreyans (and then only rarely) and his previous incarnations. Most of the Gallifreyan high command didn't need to address him (or if they did, they did it offscreen) and would likely have called him by his 'real' name. His previous incarnations recognized him as a version of themselves, and didn't really address each other.

The War Doctor was not likely a long-lived incarnation - he chose the form of a warrior, did something terrible (which caused his next few incarnations to run, count, and forget), and then likely triggered his next regeneration.

As such, the majority of his 'life' is most likely seen on-screen, and he is essentially not called anything except, "You!"

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    He lived long enough to become visibly old; it took the 11th Doctor 900 years to reach a similar aged appearance. Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 14:52
  • @DanielRoseman Not exactly. The 12th Doctor is old as well
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 15:09
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    Yes but the 12th Doctor started old. We see the regeneration process from 8 into the War Doctor, in the short The Night of the Doctor, and although we only see a blurry reflection of the WD it is clear he looked young to start with. Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 15:12
  • @DanielRoseman Fighting in the Time War could've prematurely aged anyone.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 9:18
  • @Daniel Roseman personally the way I reconcile the ages in the classic show and new is that the war doctor reset his age to zero when 8 died. Thus 9 saying he was 900 was in fact the age of the war doctor only. Commented Jul 11, 2021 at 19:17
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In-universe, this incarnation of the Doctor is only ever directly referred to as 'The Doctor'. The only unique name ever given to him (out of universe) is 'The War Doctor'. The name/title 'The Doctor of War' is never said in direct reference to this incarnation of the Doctor and cannot apply to him.


John Hurt's first appearance is in 'The Name of The Doctor', where the on-screen title introduces him as 'The Doctor'. However, when the Eighth Doctor regenerates into the War Doctor in 'Night of The Doctor', the on-screen title introduces John Hurt as 'The War Doctor', but this title is never actually spoken in the show. Most fans do refer to this incarnation as 'The War Doctor', based solely on that title credit.

This incarnation never calls himself, or gets called by anyone else, either 'The War Doctor' or 'The Doctor of War'. When he was forcibly regenerated into a 'warrior' he declared "Doctor no more", meaning that he would not be known as 'Doctor' because he was going to take a different path, as a warrior. However, it shouldn't be surprising that he was still known by others as 'The Doctor' - the Time Lords and his enemies had been calling him by his chosen name for centuries.

The Twelfth Doctor (4 regenerations on from the War Doctor) is twice called 'The Doctor of War'. First, in 'Hell Bent', but that refers to The Doctor in general, not any one incarnation. Notice the context:

"The first thing you will notice about the Doctor of War is he's unarmed. For many, it's also the last."

Notice that it says "he's unarmed" The one incarnation that is not true of is The War Doctor. As soon as he regenerated, we saw that he took up arms. Then, in 'The Day of The Doctor' we saw him fighting with weapons.

The second time this name is given to The Twelfth Doctor is in 'Twice Upon A Time', when a montage of all the Doctor's lives, battling with his enemies, is shown to the First Doctor. 'The Doctor of War' is just one of many names that he is called, along with "The Beast of Trenzalore" (a title that could only apply to the Eleventh Doctor after he fought on Trenzalore). The purpose of all these names is not to refer back to his time fighting in the Time War, but to suggest that he has become synonymous with war and desctruction throughout all his incarnations.

Note that, in The Day of The Doctor, when the War Doctor is fighting the Daleks, they call him 'The Doctor'.

DALEK: Alert! Alert! The Doctor is detected.
DALEKS: The Doctor is surrounded!
DALEK: Inform High Command we have the Doctor. Seek, locate, destroy. DALEKS: Seek, locate, destroy. Seek.
DALEK: The Doctor is escaping. What are these words? Explain. Explain.

The Time Lords in this episode don't refer to him by anything but "the old fool", although they do acknowledge that he and his other incarnations are all the same person by saying "three of them" and then later "all twelve/thirteen".

It would seem then that, the Doctor's enemies and allies all continued to refer to him throughout his time as who we call The War Doctor simply as 'The Doctor'. It was only he himself that did not want to be called that because he had gone against his oath. Out of universe though, 'The War Doctor' is the only unique name/title officially bestowed upon him by the credit in 'Night of the Doctor'. 'Doctor of War' is a name that some apparently came to call all his incarnations, but is not a title he chose.

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