The Doctor’s name was shown to us every week in the early years of the classic series. Is Oho any more strange that Borsua?
Who is the Doctor’s true name, one that people instinctively pick up on. Once it irritated him to hear it, now he savours it (as in ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ and ‘Bells of Saint John’).
Just as the Doctor’s actions defined what the word doctor meant to different culture so did his mysterious nature imbue the word ‘Who’ with enigma. He is the ultimate question.
Doctor John Smith
Where better to keep hide your name but in plain sight? In fact he used it so often that he is the reason that it is such a common name. Those who have reason to seek the Doctor’s name will dismiss this as just an alias.
Is John Smith just a contraction of a much longer Gallifreyan name or does it hint at an Earthly origin?
Doctor Anthony Brian Williams
As a young boy the Doctor was adopted by Amy and Rory Williams in 1946. Years later he would met his grandfather, a man younger than himself but who he’d heard all about. What other tales might his adopted parents have told him? Did they tell him of alien worlds and magical police boxes?
Anthony would later meet his adopted sister, River Song. She would do the impossible and carry him through the years to Gallifrey. Did she gift upon him the secret of becoming half Time Lord?
Whatever she did Anthony joined the academy. He abandoned his name, which made him stand out as an Earth Man, and took the title Doctor. Perhaps he was motivated by the half remembered childhood stories told to him by his parents.
With an affinity for Earth and its people, being one of them, the Doctor set out on his pre-destined journey. One day he would bring together his parents, which led to the birth of his sister and future wife.
By that time how much would the thousand year old Doctor Anthony Brian Williams remember? Would even he remember his name by then?
Still there is a mystery to be solved. Where did Anthony Brian Williams come from? Who was he before he was adopted?
Rassilon was a legend, a myth. So much so that people argued about whether he was a benevolent ruler or a tyrant. The truth was that Rassilon had never died, his tomb only held elaborate traps to prevent anyone from discovering the truth.
There are rumours that Rassilon’s regenerations were unlimited. He could spend centuries passing through Time Lord society without anyone realising he was the same man. To maintain the pretence he would re-enroll in the Academy, creating class mates who would later vouch for his new identity.
Maybe it was within his nature to provide leadership, to provide direction and solve problems. He brought Gallifrey out of the dark times but time and again he found those around him looking to him for help.
He knew if he stayed that he’d only end up being President again. He fled with Susan, leaving Gallifrey to look after itself. He wanted a quiet life but before long he was saving worlds, getting involved and fixing history.
There were those who glimpsed the truth. Omega had begun to suspect that the Doctor was the man who had trapped him in the anti-matter universe. Morbius has pushed past his supposed ‘1st incarnation’ to see his former faces. Did Borsua suspect when the Doctor so quickly guessed the true nature of the Sash and Key of Rassilon, a fact that had eluded former Presidents?
The 5th Doctor unwittingly revealed the truth to his companions, that it had all begun when he had run way from his role as President. In his 7th incarnation a slip of the tongue revealed his involvement in the creation of the Hand of Omega.
What of the Rassilon that was resurrected during the Time War? A time snatched previous incarnation (one of many), a genetic clone with imprinted memories of a man who had never existed or something stranger? This Rassilon was either an abomination or a terrible reminder to the Doctor of the man he used to be.
In the end the greatest figure in Gallifreyan history was also its last. The Doctor and Rassilon, one and the same.
Doctor Matt Smith
Doctor Who is a television show, you see. The Doctor is just a role that can be played by many people. He endures through the years, a piece of fiction that men can wear like a suit to interact with imagination.
Doctor Who might be a television show but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real, not to those within. Not to the audiences who are touched and affected by what they see. The Doctor is key to keeping that magic alive, to prevent the illusion from being revealed.
He shows those imaginary people that there are other channels. He can take them out of their soap opera lives and whisk them into an historical drama, a horror film or a science fiction series.
The Land of Fiction was the biggest clue to the truth. They recognised the Doctor for one of their own. The Matrix on Gallifrey made it even more apparent. It was only fitting that the future Doctor would end up its guardian.
Which is why the Doctor’s true name must never be revealed. If those within the Doctor Who universe knew that it was just a program then how would they function? How could they cope with the knowledge that they live and die for the entertainment for others?
The Doctor has a plan though. He is teaching them to define themselves by roles, to tell their stories. The Girl Who Waited and The Impossible Girl are just the start.