War Doctor

fictional character from Doctor Who

The War Doctor, portrayed by English actor John Hurt, is a designation of an incarnation of the Doctor, the protagonist of the BBC science fiction television programme Doctor Who. This incarnation does not use the name "The Doctor", as the Eighth Doctor, facing death, chose to regenerate as a "Warrior" to fight in the Time Wars. Although in the show's fictional chronology he precedes the Ninth Doctor (portrayed by Christopher Eccleston), his first onscreen appearance came eight years after Eccleston's; the War Doctor was retroactively created by showrunner Steven Moffat for productions celebrating the show's 50th anniversary in 2013.

Doctor Who — Incarnations of The Doctor : 1st - 2nd - 3rd - 4th - 5th - 6th - 7th - 8th - War - 9th - 10th - 11th - 12th - 13th - 14th - 15th

Following John Hurt's death in 2017, Jonathon Carley took over the role for Big Finish audio productions that the War Doctor appeared in.

Never give up. Never give in.

Quotes edit

  • There is a moment, after regeneration, when the guttering soul of the old man looks out through the eyes of the new. So it was the Doctor who looked into the mirror-- but it was me who looked back.
  • I’m sorry... I couldn’t save you. I tried! He tried. I couldn’t save him either. Did he really think he could stay apart from the War? Play the dashing romantic hero forever? How full of hope he was… How naïve. How foolish.
    • The Doctor, mourning Cass and chastising his previous incarnation in The War Doctor Begins -- Forged in Fire
  • The problem with helping my people... is that it often makes things far worse. I don't take orders. If I help, it's on my own terms.
  • It’s not about causes, Rejoice. I'm steeped in the blood of it all. It's my reason for being: to do the unthinkable, to bring this whole sorry chapter of cosmic history to an end, one way or another. In short... I'm a monster.
  • Time Lords of Gallifrey, Daleks of Skaro; I serve notice on you all. Too long I’ve stayed my hand. No more. Today, you leave me no choice. Today, this war will end. No more. No more.
  • If you have been inside my head, then you know what I've seen. The suffering. Every moment in time and space is burning. It must end. And I intend to end it the only way I can.
  • Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
    • When talking to The Moment, disputing his title as The Doctor in The Day of the Doctor (23 November 2013)
  • Go back. Go back to your lives. Go and be the Doctor that I could never be. Make it worthwhile...
  • I don't suppose we'll know if we actually succeeded. But at worst, we failed doing the right thing, as opposed to succeeding in doing the wrong.

Dialogue edit

The Name of the Doctor [7.14] edit

(18 May 2013)
The War Doctor: What I did, I did without choice…
The Eleventh Doctor: I know.
The War Doctor: …in the name of peace, and sanity.
The Eleventh Doctor: But not in the name of the Doctor!

The Day of the Doctor edit

(23 November 2013)
[The War Doctor deciding whether to destroy Gallifrey or not]
The War Doctor: I have no desire to survive this.
The Moment: Then that's your punishment. If you do this, if you kill them all, then that's the consequence. You... live. Gallifrey... you're going to burn it... and all those Daleks with it, but all those children too. How many children on Gallifrey right now?
The War Doctor: I don't know.
The Moment: One day, you will count them. One terrible night.

The War Doctor: Are you capable of speaking without flapping your hands about?
The Eleventh Doctor: [waves hands] Yes. No. [turns back to the guards] I demand to be incarcerated in the Tower immediately with my co-conspirators, Sandshoes and Grandad.
The War Doctor: Grandad?!
The Tenth Doctor: They're not sandshoes!
The War Doctor: Yes, they are!

The War Doctor: I don't know who you are, either of you. I haven't got the faintest idea!
The Moment: They're you. They're what you become if you destroy Gallifrey: the man who regrets... and the man who forgets.

The War Doctor: How many worlds has his regret saved, do you think? Look over there -- humans and Zygons, working together in peace. How did you know?
Clara: Your eyes. They're so much younger.
The War Doctor: ...then it's time I grew up.

The Moment: You've seen the men you will become.
The War Doctor: Those men? Extraordinary.
The Moment: They were you.
The War Doctor: No. They are the Doctor.
The Moment: You're the Doctor, too.
The War Doctor: No. Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame. Whatever the cost.

The Moment: You know the sound the TARDIS makes? That wheezing, groaning. That sound brings hope wherever it goes.
The War Doctor: Yes... yes, I like to think it does.
The Moment: To anyone who hears it, Doctor. Anyone. However lost. [The TARDIS sound begins.] Even you.

The War Doctor: Well, gentlemen, it has been a honour and a privilege.
The Tenth Doctor: Likewise.
The Eleventh Doctor: [pointedly] Doctor.
The War Doctor: And if I grow to be half the man that you are, [turns to Clara] Clara Oswald, I shall be happy indeed.
Clara: That's right. Aim high.
The War Doctor: I won't remember this, will I?
The Eleventh Doctor: The time streams are out of sync. You can't retain it, no.
The War Doctor: So I won't remember that I tried to save Gallifrey, rather than burn it. And I have to live with that. [His mood brightens slightly.] But for now, for this moment...I am the Doctor again. Thank you.

Big Finish audio plays edit

The Innocent edit

(14 December 2015)
Rejoice: You shouldn't blame yourself. If your people sent you on a mission--
The Doctor: You mean, "I was only obeying orders!"
Rejoice: Well... yes!
The Doctor: There's a planet I'm rather fond of -- it's called Earth. Many terrible things have happened there, and "I was only obeying orders" has become an infamous phrase there; bit of a poor excuse for bad things happening.

The Doctor: You don't know me.
Rejoice: I... think I do!
The Doctor: Then you're fooling yourself.
Rejoice: Just because you have to fight doesn't mean you have to fight doesn't mean you're a monster, it's not that simple!
The Doctor: Oh, yes it is. Throughout the milennia on countless worlds, people have bleated that war is complicated -- unfathomable -- as if it was some mystery disease without a cure, but it isn't true. War is very simple, and all you have to do to wage it is become a monster. And that’s what I am. And… I'm sick of it.

The War Doctor Begins — Forged in Fire edit

Ohila: Doctor, you’re scaring the Acolytes.
The Doctor: I told that girl and now I’m telling you — The Doctor is gone.
Ohila: We are burying your acquaintance. Would you like to attend the ceremony?
The Doctor: No. It’s cold enough in here.

Quotes about The War Doctor edit

[As the Doctor hugs Clara, he notices a man in the distance, his back turned to the pair of them. The Doctor's expression turns to one of horror. Clara turns around to see the man.]
Clara: Who's that?
The Doctor: Never mind. Let's go back.
Clara: But who is he?
The Doctor: He's me. There's only me here. That's the point. Now let's get back.
Clara: But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. Eleven faces, all of them you! You're the eleventh Doctor!
The Doctor: I said he was me. I never said he was the Doctor.
Clara: I don't understand.
The Doctor: My name, my real name - that is not the point. The name I chose is the Doctor. The name you choose, is like... it's like a promise you make. He's the one who broke the promise.
[Clara collapses from exhaustion]
The Doctor: Clara? Clara! Clara!
[The Doctor catches her and picks her up]
The Doctor: He is my secret.

The initial appearance and description of the War Doctor in The Name of the Doctor.

The Tenth Doctor: All those years, burying you in my memory.
The Eleventh Doctor: Pretending you didn't exist. Keeping you a secret, even from myself.
The Tenth Doctor: Pretending you weren't the Doctor, when you were the Doctor more than anybody else.
The Eleventh Doctor: You were the Doctor on the day it wasn't possible to get it right.

Doctors Ten and Eleven, confronting the War Doctor just before he plans to destroy the Daleks and Gallifrey in The Day of the Doctor.

The Eleventh Doctor: Are we forgetting Captain Grumpy? I didn't call myself the Doctor during the Time War, but it was still a regeneration.

The Eleventh Doctor, reviewing his regeneration history with Clara in The Time of the Doctor.

External links edit

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