A man with one name
The time for change in the facade of the world’s most famous time traveling alien is drawing closely near. The clock will soon strike twelve, and the reign of the Twelfth Doctor will come to an end while another’s time in the Doctor’s TARDIS will begin. We will be asked to accept and adapt to an unfamiliar face as a familiar character. Each time the titular Doctor goes through this process of regeneration, we are asked to remember one simple thing.
Different face, same man.
Back in the nineteen-sixties when Doctor Who began, no one knew if the idea that swapping out your leading actor for another while declaring that it was the same character would actually work. Still, when health and other complications forced the First Doctor to step down, the producers were left with trying this new idea or ending the show all together. So, they took a chance and introduced the world to the Second Doctor and the idea of the regeneration. This goofy looking bow tied man was far different than his predecessor, but he was somehow still the same man. This trend would continue during the rest of the show’s run.
Over fifty years later with new episodes still coming onto our television screens, I think that they made the right decision.
I discovered Doctor Who at really dark time in my life. Wanting to shut the world out, I turned off all of my electronics and randomly clicked on the show as it popped up on Netflix. During the first series, I didn’t bother looking up anything about the show and wanted to learn by experiencing it first hand. I hadn’t realized the show’s long history and the regeneration thing. To me, this show was about a time traveling alien who wore a leather jacket and spoke with a northern English accent and travelled everywhere in time and space with his young blond female companion. This was what I thought the show was about…until the Doctor died.
Suddenly, everything I knew seemed wrong.
When it was time for him to dye, he stretched his arms out and basically exploded. Next thing I knew, there was this skinny younger guy standing in the clothes of the man I thought I knew. He looked over at his companion who was looking as bewildered as I felt as if she was supposed to know exactly who he was. To her, there was no way this completely different man was the same man we knew.
As for me, I wasn’t just confused; I was angry. I didn’t want to believe he was the same man who meant so much to me.
My Doctor, the leather clad northerner known as the Ninth Doctor with the big ears, was like me. He was a broken man who wanted keep trying to save the world but didn’t know if he could ever find any hope left in him to fight. I was in the same spot. As he moved through his darkness, I was able to heal too. He helped me get better.
I didn’t want to let go of his hand because he was so much like me that it would be like I was being forced to let go of all of the progress I have made healing.
Eventually, my hand let the Ninth Doctor’s hand go, while still holding onto my heart, and I laced my fingers with the man in a pin striped suit with great hair, then one with a passion for bow ties, and now an older Scotsman.
The time has come to let go of an old friend’s hand and place it with the familiar stranger.
Goodbye, Doctor. Hello, Doctor.