Doctor Who and the Secret of Novice Hame hints at a furry Doctor Who?
To help distract quarantined Doctor Who fans, there are Doctor Who: Lockdown! simulcast watch-alongs of popular episodes of the "New" series of the show, featuring creatives behind the scenes Tweeting along, as well as short videos to go along with the watch-along.
With the May 30 watch-a-long of the loose "trilogy" of episodes "The End of the World", "New Earth" and "Gridlock" a sort of illustrated audio ""The Secret of Novice Hame", written by Russell T. Davies, was attached. The titular character and narrator of the story is Novice Hame (played by Anna Hope), who appeared in the "New Earth" and "Gridlock" episodes and is an anthropomorphic cat. She tells the story of her life among the various anthropomorphic animals of the far future planet of New Earth, and is visited by David Tennant's "Tenth" incarnation of the Doctor.
An interesting implication of the short piece is that it opens up the possibility that the Doctor themself might someday become an anthropomorphic animal; Novice Hame notes that there are stories of the Doctor in various forms, including animals.
See Also: Flayrah's 2006 coverage of the the episode "New Earth"
One of the reasons the show has lasted as long as it has is that the main character, the Doctor, is an alien with the ability to "regenerate" into a new body when mortally wounded, effectively allowing the show's lead to be recast every couple of years. Jodie Whittaker is the current lead of the show, playing the "Thirteenth" incarnation. During the original run of the show from 1963 to 1989, the role was played by seven actors. A failed 1990s revival that only produced one canonical TV movie introduced an eighth incarnation. The 2005 new series has seen five numbered incarnations, as well as two "hidden" incarnations (the "War" and "Fugitive" Doctors). The last season of the show also implied there are possibly hundreds of incarnations of the Doctor that pre-date the "First" incarnation on the show, played by William Hartnell.
The writer of "The Secret of Novice Hame", Russell T. Davies, was the original show-runner and head writer of the "New Who" series; though there are obviously no current plans to replace Whittaker with, say, a cocker spaniel, the fact that a writer of this importance to the show has set up this possibility (even if it is an almost throwaway line in a bonus video) makes it more likely to be taken as "canon". We may never see a Doctor (or even another Time Lord, the Doctor's alien species) that doesn't look human in the actual show, but this does open the possibility of "canon" spin-off materials featuring a furry Doctor, with the Doctor featuring in a number of novels, audio play and comic book lines.
Obviously, this means Doctor Who and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic share continuity. And finally, here is some behind-the-scenes footage of the kittens appearing in the "Gridlock" episode. You're welcome.
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a red fox
New teeth. That's weird.
This reminds me, the most furry episode from the classic Doctor Who era (1963-1989) was "Survival" - and it was also the very last. It's got cheetah people and, well, (cough) it's not all that good. The series wouldn't come back with new television episodes for regular airplay until 16 years later, in 2005.
My main memory from that adventure was rolling my eyes at the re-appearance of the Doctor's nemesis, the Master, whom I'd gotten quite sick of. And then laughing my ass off because of some dialog. Ace, the Doctor's current companion - who was refreshingly snarky to him - had never met the Master before, resulting in this conversation:
ACE: Master? Who's he?
DOCTOR: An evil genius. One of my oldest and deadliest of enemies.
ACE: Do you know any nice people? You know, ordinary people. Not power-crazed nutters trying to take over the galaxy.
The brutally honest answer in many cases being "yes, and they died so that I might live on for all eternity".
Okay, so, you see my icon.
How was I not going to write this story?
Also, even if we don't get a furry Doctor, is it too much to ask for an alien companion*? Since the reboot, we've had Nardole and maybe Strax and Madame Vastra** if you count the Paternoster Gang as companions. I mean, one of the longest running companions in the Classic Series was a robot dog, and there were long stretches where there wasn't a single present-day human companion (even if all the alien companions were human looking).
*For those who don't speak the lingo, "companion", when referring to Doctor Who, means "co-star who isn't the Doctor".
**Because I am a giant nerd, I feel compelled to point out that since Vastra is a Silurian, and the Silurians are native to Earth, she technically isn't an alien, either. However, she is a big green lizard woman, so she's a lot more alien-looking than most of the actual aliens.
Doesn't really count much without visuals, but the Big Finish audio plays did have a reptilian humanoid companion called C'rizz. The audio plays in general are a mixed bunch. Two nice things about them though, they give the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann) a chance to shine instead of the terrible TV movie; and the 6th Doctor (Colin Baker) also gets better writers, so his character is much more relatable! Part of it comes from a good companion pairing (Dr. Evelyn Smythe). For the episodes that feature Peri though, she's still as annoying as ever.
In the TV show itself, no. In audio which could be considered canon:
Technically, the Master was some sort of snake for a while in the TV movie. But that wasn't technically a regeneration. Also, it was the TV movie.
Thus violating one of the Rules for Evil Overlords: "I will not turn into a snake. It never helps." :D
You know, the thing is, it actually did help the Master.
It kept him alive long enough to steal the body of Julia Roberts' brother, anyway.
The TV movie still counts and actually I believe it does count cause they do count the "Bruce" master a a regeneration.
I just want to preface this by saying dorking out about Doctor Who is fun, so let's not take each other correcting each other personally.
That said, *pushes up glasses and sniffs aggressively* I know the TV movie counts (I called it "canon" in the article), but it's also notorious for introducing things that subsequent iterations of the show more or less ignore completely (mainly the "half-human" thing, though also the whole Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS thing). My "also, the TV movie" comment was joking about that.
I mean, Americans wrote it!
But, the "Bruce" Master is not a Time Lord regeneration; the Master had used up his last regeneration as established way back in the 70s serial "The Deadly Assassin". The reason why he's called the "Bruce" Master is because Bruce was an entirely different character who's body the Master stole. In fact, the previous version of the Master, the one that was (probably) executed at the beginning of the TV movie (and is the one dronon was complaining annoyed him in "Survival" earlier), was not technically a regeneration either. It was also a case of the Master hijacking another person's body to stay alive; in this case, Tremas, the Keeper of Traken way back in the serial, uh, "The Keeper of Traken".
When they brought back the Master in the new series, they established that the Time Lords had granted him a new set of regenerations in return for helping them fight the Time War (which he then proceeded to bail on them). So, the four versions of the Master introduced in the new series ("Yana", "Saxon", "Missy" and "O") are regenerations, as is the original Master from the 70s. Bruce, Tremas and the skeletal Master are official versions of the Master, however, and I think that's what you really mean.
Bit nitpicky, but that's the point.
Considering the rate at which the ratings have fallen off a cliff since Whittaker took over, she might not be replaced by anyone if this next season doesn't turn things around. (Leaving aside the issue of whether or not making the Doctor a woman was a good idea or not, the last couple of seasons have just had a lot of slipshod writing, with scripts that don't make any sense written by people who obviously don't "get" the show or sci-fi in general, and three companions are at least one too many for them all to have anything meaningful to do in an episode.)
The idea of the Doctor regenerating into a non-human(ish) species or appearance has been floated before; it's one of those perennial "let's get the fans all spun up" rumors that pops up whenever there's talk of the current actor leaving the role and a new actor coming in. Realistically, it's not going to happen, certainly not in the current environment -- Chibnall can't even handle the logistics of producing a mere ten episodes a year on a consistent schedule as it is; does anyone seriously think he could manage a production where his lead actor (or actress) has to spend four hours a day, every day, in the makeup chair putting on extensive prosthetics, assuming the BBC would even spring for the increased production costs?
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