Amusing Doctor Who Misconceptions Discussed in the PodKast

Doctor Who: that one with the Daleks

Doctor Who misconceptions can be amusing; they can also be embarrassing. We’ve all had them, those moments where our internalised canon (also known as “headcanon”) betrays logic. But non-fans also have this, such as the notion that the Doctor is actually called “Dr Who”, or that the Daleks are in every single episode (which would be slightly dull, right?)

Backed up by a useful collection of Doctor Who misconceptions on Reddit, Christian Cawley, James McLean and Brian A. Terranova discuss these and other, similar, confused logic and understanding about Doctor Who over the years. And we’re looking forward to reading about yours, too!

Kasterborous PodKast Series 5 Episode 24 Shownotes

The rather wonderful podKast theme tune is by Russell Hugo.

21 thoughts on “Amusing Doctor Who Misconceptions Discussed in the PodKast

  1. I came across one unusual yet understandable misconception recently when I mentioned Doctor Who in passing to someone and they said they’re favourite was the 2nd Doctor. I said it was a shame so many of Patrick Troughton’s episodes were missing.
    Their response: “Who’s Patrick Troughton? Do you even watch Doctor Who?”
    Turned out they thought David Tennant was the 2nd Doctor!

  2. I think at some point I had similar thoughts as you did, Christian, about the previous incarnations still existing in some offshoot timelines of their own, still have adventures. I guess it was how I rationalized the actors looking older but still playing their Doctors.

    I remember another one I had concerning The Five Doctors. I don’t think we’d yet gotten past Davison’s first season over here, so all of a sudden you have Turlough and I had no idea who he was. I just thought he was some guy enjoying the day sketching the landscape and then getting swept up in the adventure with the Doctor and Tegan.

    I don’t remember of I was ever confused about regeneration. The first Doctor Who books I ever bought were novelizations of The War Machines and The Smugglers, and while “my” Doctor was Tom Baker, I don’t remember it feeling odd to me that he looked so different in those books. Perhaps my parents explained it to me at some point, I have no idea.

    1. Yes, I didn’t mention that aspect of it in the podKast, but it did explain how they could look older. Interesting!

    1. Well, that’s how I see Hurt, Tennant and Smith. Isn’t that what was established in Time of The Doctor? How has the show definitively said otherwise?

        1. Well, I see Hurt as a Doctor ( I don’t see why him not calling himself the Doctor during his life should affect the life count ), and with the two Tennant regenerations, that would make Smith 13 and Capaldi 14. If Smith wasn’t 13, why did the Timelords give him a new regeneration cycle?

          1. I refer you to the chart in my comment above.

            The BBC recognises Hurt as the War Doctor, Eccleston as the Ninth and so on; as such that’s the system I go by. Otherwise you have to clarify each time and frankly who has the time?

    2. Honestly, the addition of the War Doctor and the qualifying of 10’s metacritisis as a regeneration (which was ambiguous at its time) have caused more problems to continuity than any good they have had. John Hurt did a fine job, but did adding a whole new Doctor for the sake of one story help the series? No. Why not bring in Paul McGann, and have him in his later years act as the War Doctor did? After all, it’s not as if the War Doctor ever did anything unforgivable – he merely pushed the boundaries.

      RTD should have never allowed the self-regeneration and the resulting meta-crisis. And if Moffat was so insistent of creating an extra Doctor, then he missed a better route for a story. The potion consumed by the Eighth Doctor, manufactured by the Sisterhood of Karn, should have also created one extra regeneration. Being an extra count, from an unusal source, would have cemented the idea that that incarnation while technically the ninth life, was inherently different. It would be an extra life inserted into a the 13 lives, with a predetermined personality, and would be worth denoting as different.

      It’s sloppy writing, that resulted for a short-term gimmicky appeal, that hurts the show. It is ridiculous to explain to someone new to the series that a Time Lord has one original life, and 12 extra lives. But then, the Doctor had one life as a secret life with a different name, and then one guy became the same guy and used a regeneration anyway, and the Twelfth is the fourteenth on a new cycle. It’s nonsense.

      I have no problem with a new regeneration cycle. It would be needed to continue the show, but it was premature.

  3. My friends all complained that Capaldi was too old to be the Doctor. I pointed out the First Doctor but they wouldn’t here it (the classic show isn’t connected) so I pointed out the War Doctor but they wouldn’t here that either (he wasn’t the Doctor, seems like they missed the point there). Thankfully in ‘Deep Breath’ we have Clara go through exactly the same process and she managed to convince them to give him a chance. He finally won them over in (unbelievably) ‘In the Forest of the Night’ of all episodes! It was his interactions with the children that did it for them.

  4. Watching ‘Rose’ on DVD for the first time and fully expecting to hear Graham Norton. When I saw the TV broadcast I didn’t realise it was an error, instead I just thought it was the Autons partying but having to stop when Rose walked in!

  5. What you mention about the Doctor being a title passed down was what I thought hapenned. When I heard Eccleston was leaving I went into the final episode feeling smug because I thought I knew who he’d give the title to. My prediction was wrong but the character in question did get himself a spinoff!

  6. I often get confused between the actors “Tom” and “Colin” Baker, much to the hilarity of my friends.

    ‘Wasn’t Colin Baker great as Rasputin?’ they’ll say, mocking me, at which point I cut off their electricity and increase the rent.

  7. I am afraid that your misconception that referring to The Doctor as Doctor Who is in, itself, a misconception. Referring to the character exclusively as The Doctor is a Watsonian (in-universe) perspective. Doctor Who is perfectly valid from a Doylist perspective because of its use in scripts, credits, the creative team and actors, etc. You mentioned that the first 3 actors to play the character called him “Doctor Who” in interviews. In fact Tom Baker did and still does too. I have even heard McCoy use The Doctor and Doctor Who interchangeably. And Craig Ferguson notwithstanding, Peter Capaldi has not only called his character Doctor Who on a regular basis – he has also mentioned the reason why he does it, and that is because it has historic precedent. Because interviews are not conducted in-universe, referring to the character as Doctor Who, and the actor as being Doctor Who, is perfectly correct.

    1. I certainly prefer the term Doctor, but I’ve come to accept either is fine. This misconception is not going away; it’s actually quite sensible. Also, consider search engines and media headlines: they can’t just say Doctor. That means nothing to most people. My grandparents are oblivious to the fact that there is even a show called Doctor Who. If they saw a headline in the newspaper that “Peter Capaldi is the Doctor”, then they’d be perplexed. Say “Peter Capaldi is Doctor Who”, and they’d have an inkling that is some character or alias in something: a show, a movie, a video game. Try googling, “Who will be the next Doctor?” The results can be misleading.

      Doctor seems more casual, informal. Those intimate with knowledge of the Doctor would call him this: companions, foes like the Daleks, and such.

      But I imagine most of the temporary characters for serials would remember him as Doctor Who. Say some random UNIT soldier or some alien colonist is telling the story of this random time-traveling stranger to someone else: that listener (in-universe) would find the name ambigious, confusing, generic, etc. and that communities would tell of an enigmatic Doctor Who (or some variant).

      And this parallels real life. Those familiar with the show say Doctor. Those that aren’t say Doctor Who.

  8. I would like to see the Valeyard return, as this newly envisioned Valeyard as a alternate version of the Doctor with this agenda of fixing mistakes at the cost of breaking the laws of space and time; an antivillain – a villain that seems heroic, but is ultimately misguided.

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