At the end of the episode, The Name of the Doctor, Clara sees an unknown man, and mentions she has never seen him before.

The Doctor says he did something terrible, so cannot be called the Doctor. Who is he?

If I had to guess, he may be the version of the Doctor who time locked the Gallifreyans, but are there any hints from the previous episodes?

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    I'm thinking that's probably going to come into play in the 50th anniversary special
    – Monty129
    May 18, 2013 at 19:58
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    This is pure speculation, so not an answer, but there is a persistant rumor going around the 'Net that he's the 9th Doctor, and that Rose actually met the 10th and 11th ones, and Amy met the 12th, but because he did something so horrible (killed his own people) The Doctor has tried to erase his 9th incarnation from his own memory (backed up by things he says to Clara) but there is no evidence in any TV episode to back this up.
    – KutuluMike
    May 19, 2013 at 13:03
  • I'm not sure erase is the correct word, but if the John Hurt character did something so terrible as to not deserve the moniker "the Doctor", then the Doctor doesn't count him in the recollection of himself.
    – Jason
    May 21, 2013 at 14:44
  • possible duplicate of Is John Hurt actually going to be the next Doctor?
    – Force Flow
    Sep 10, 2013 at 20:30
  • More speculation... An incarnation of the Doctor that has been aborted/circumvented so that he now never happened. Yes, against the rules of time... But this was the Time War.. It would allow the Doctor to have done hideous things that needed done.. but end up not having done them. Just a WAG. :)
    – K-H-W
    Sep 11, 2013 at 3:18

8 Answers 8


The 50th Anniversary prequel webisode (The Night of the Doctor) shines some light on this. (Spoilers!)

We saw the Eighth Doctor at some point during the Time War, where Time Lords are hated by other races (for the actions that lead to The End of Time, where they attempted to destroy all creation for their own ends). He stumbles upon the Sisterhood of Karn, which first appeared in the classic episode The Brain of Morbius. This isn’t the first time the Eighth Doctor has encountered them – they also meet in two Big Finish stories, Sisters of the Flame and Vengeance of Morbius.

The Sisterhood have detailed knowledge of Time Lord science, and (as explained in the episode), the ability to determine what a Time Lord regenerates into – personality, appearance, physical traits, and so on. This has precedence in the series – in the classic series episode Destiny of the Daleks, Romana seems to have fine-grained control over the bodies she regenerates into.

So the Doctor is offered the chance to control his regeneration, and knows that he can’t help people any more – being a Time Lord affiliates him with the war, and people turn away from him. He decides to try to put an end to it, and become a “warrior”. Once he’s regenerated, we see the reflection of John Hurt in some polished metal, establishing that his character really is another incarnation of the Doctor, who presumably fought in the Time War.

Indeed, this is verified in the end credits (he’s called The War Doctor). However, this might be a bit of a misnomer: in an interview for the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, Steven Moffat said:

He’s very specific, the John Hurt Doctor, that he doesn’t take the name of the Doctor. He doesn’t call himself that. He’s the same Time Lord, the same being as the Doctors either side of him, but he’s the one who says, ‘I’m not the Doctor.’

Presumably this is the effect of the change from “Doctor” to “Warrior”.

Obviously when the 50th Anniversary episode airs, we’ll get more details as to who he is and what he does.


Simple answer is that we don't yet know. The series ended on a cliff-hanger. If that cliff-hanger is resolved, we may learn more.

One possibly reasonable speculation starts with noting that the doctor (we now learn) has had a sort of guardian angel throughout his eleven known existences in the form of Clara. Which may explain why he's survived so may scrapes and adventures. (He's also had a angelic nemesis that whole time too - in the form of the G. Intelligence, which may explain why he's gotten into so many scrapes).

But note that the Hurt doctor did not have Clara as a benevolent protector - or, at least, she has no memory of having been that to him.

So he was somewhere not accessible to her.

Perhaps his entire existence was timelocked. Which could make him the 8.5 doctor who fought in the Time War. (We never saw 8 turn into 9, so there is a gap for a doctor there). Your speculation makes sense. We'll perhaps know by the end of the year.

  • Very likely this and the reference to the Valeyard will both have some element of truth. An 8.5 Valeyard could be quite the 50th anniversary. May 19, 2013 at 0:40
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    The GI name-drops the Valeyard during his "the Doctor is really evil" speech, but I get the strong impression that the Hurt-Doctor happened before the Smith-Doctor somehow, while the Valeyard was supposed to happen during the 13th regeneration.
    – KutuluMike
    May 19, 2013 at 13:04
  • "We never saw 8 turn into 9" - yes, this gap is super-useful for all sorts of plotting.
    – AakashM
    May 24, 2013 at 14:19

Spoiler alert... In the old series, there was an "evil Doctor" (the Valeyard) that was an incarnation of the Doctor between the twelfth and final Doctors. I have only read it in the Wiki, so I can't say everything for sure, but John Hurt falls into the category of when that incarnation was supposed to happen. He is also in the 50th as the Doctor, which means by timeline standards, John Hurt is the evil Doctor that finds himself in the past and tries to steal his regenerations.

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    Huh. Reminds me a wee bit of Amy’s Choice. May 18, 2013 at 21:34
  • The doctor doesn't reach his twelfth incarnation until Christmas, so unless Peter Capaldi is in the cast, it is highly unlikely that John Hurt is playing the Valeyard.
    – Pharap
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:30

Although I've been leaning towards the theory that John Hurt is an incarnation between the 8th and the 9th Doctor, being condemned for his part in the Time War and possible collateral damage, I've been looking at the possibility that he is instead the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor.


He claimed he had the same memories, thoughts and feelings of the original Doctor up to the point of his aborted regeneration, making them essentially the same man with physiological differences. However, the original Doctor was quick to point out that his new double was born in battle, full of blood, anger and revenge. This motivated him to commit genocide on the Daleks, an act the original Doctor condemned after the events of the Last Great Time War. This can be contrasted against the Fourth Doctor's decision that he doesn't have the right to commit genocide, that that would make him just as bad as the Daleks (TV: Genesis of the Daleks). The Tenth Doctor described his duplicate as representing the way he had been during his ninth incarnation before meeting Rose. (TV: Journey's End)

This might make sense, because the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor was essentially human and would age and die in his alternate universe.

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    Good idea. Of course, the "extra" doctor was locked in a parallel world, but the writers may find a way to bring him back. May 24, 2013 at 9:32
  • @ShantnuTiwari - if they can circumvent death, they can certainly work their way around a parallel universe. Additionally, in it's current status, John Hurt is just within the Doctor's time stream, which would make sense. It's only if they bring him out do they need to explain the parallel bit.
    – Jason
    May 24, 2013 at 17:18

My top theories are: 11th Doctor stated that the J. Hurt Doctor broke a promise and did not deserve the name the Doctor. J. Hurt stated 'I did what I did for the name of peace and sanity.' This could explain the events of the Last Time War timelock and Clara finding the Doctor's name in the Last Time War book. He was a short-lived Doctor. So he could easily have been an 8.5 Doctor.

With the 50th Anniversary episode featuring David Tennant and Billie Pipper, either 2 events could have taken place. The 11th Doctor is encountering his 10th regeneration and Rose during their travels. Or its Rose and the Meta Crisis Doctor.

Meta Crisis Doctor could have lost or killed Rose, and became very dark and bitter. Could explain his aged look.


I just saw "The Day of the Doctor", so I can answer my this question. Spoilers alert:

John Hurt, the man who appeared at the end of the show, was the actual ninth doctor (the title Christopher Eccleston took). But because of the war, he re-created his body into a warrior, and took the name of the War Doctor. He was the one who actually blew up Gallifrey and the universe. Because of their guilt, the later doctors suppressed their memories of him, and pretended he didn't exist.

Of course, double spoiler:

The doctors teamed up, and actually saved Gallifrey, but lost all memory of it, because of some hand waving about "time sync".


The theory that Hurt is right between 8 and 9 makes the most sense to me. However, one thing that seems to get me is the whole "Fall of the Eleventh" prophecy. If Matt Smith IS the eleventh doctor, what exactly would that make Hurt between Eccleston and number 8? We say 8.5, but how? There's a theory bouncing around that he was changed in some way shape or form for the Time War, which, in most people's opinions, was the stage that saw this incarnation perform such a horrific atrocity that every incarnation thereafter considered him unfit for the title of The Doctor.

So what I'm thinking is that it's been the work of the Doctor all along to hide this part of his long life, which is why the prophecy states "at the fall of the eleventh" because it is, as Smith says," his secret," that he had another incarnation that was responsible for the tragic end to the Time War, and I get the feeling that if the Doctor wanted to keep a secret, he could do so very well.

SO,.... If Smith IS the twelfth doctor then his next regeneration should indeed bring the Valeyard, an evil incarnation of the Doctor between his 12th and 13th incarnation, not to mention an absolutely magnificently delicious plot point.

  • Still, that leaves explaining 8's death, then Hurt's death and uggghhh....
    – Izzy
    Sep 9, 2013 at 19:13
  • Not really, since the War Doctor is his actual 9th incarnation, but Eccleston's known as the 9th, because he started calling himself the Doctor again. So Eccleston's 9th Doctor is really the 10th incarnation, Tennant is actually the 11th incarnation, then he had that regeneration in Stolen Earth (which would've been his 12th incarnation), and then that leaves the Matt Smith, who's called the 11th Doctor, but is the 13th incarnation. So from that, the 12th Doctor is the 14th incarnation, because of the new regeneration cycle.
    – L.J Rob
    Jan 5, 2015 at 19:57

He's the War Doctor, the Doctor's true 9th incarnation (when he fought in the Time War)

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