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No, Steven Moffat isn't saying The Doctor is Human

Fans are purportedly outraged by comments made in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine by current showrunner Steven Moffat, for seemingly implying that The Doctor could be a Human, rather than an alien being. Except he doesn't, so stop freaking out - what he's actually getting at is quite interesting.

The comments come from the monthly Q and A column Moffat writes for Doctor Who Magazine, Production Notes:

Here's a question I tried on some Doctor Who fans recently, and we were all a bit startled by the answer, when it finally emerged – if we got it right. Okay; keeping in mind that everything you know for sure is probably wrong, answer me this: in which story is it confirmed, definitively, that the Doctor is not human?

Now before you jump up and yell An Unearthly Child – sorry, but wrong. He makes it clear he's not from this time, and seems to indicate that he was born on another world, but he never says he's an alien. He could, just as easily, be a human being from the far future, born on some colonised world. Indeed, most of his conversation in the early days would seem to confirm that he thinks of himself as human, and he even explicitly states that he is, at least once.

So come on then. To your DVD collection. In what story do the wise men and women of the BBC stop fudging the issue, and make our hero Not One Of Us. I'm not talking about him having remarkable abilities or attributes – we've always known he's not ordinary, that s fair enough. Spider-Man's not ordinary, but he s not an alien. And I'm not talking about series bibles, or internal memos or retconned continuity – when did the Doctor Who production team stop hedging their bets and make him alien?


Nowhere does Moffat actually say that The Doctor could still be, or could perhaps be turned into, a human, but he raises an interesting point: It actually took a while for The Doctor to explicitly be confirmed as an alien - 6 years into the show's run, even.

Since then, it's been made obvious multiple times - The Third Doctor's binary vascular system and non-human blood in Spearhead from Space, The Fourth's declaration to Sarah Jane of 'I'm not a human being; I walk in eternity' in Pyramids of Mars, The Eighth Doctor's controversial remark that he's half human on his mother's side in the TV Movie, The Ninth Doctor's simple 'Yes. Is that alright?' in answer to Rose's question about his origins in Rose, it goes on! - but it wasn't until Episode Eight of The War Games in 1969 and the first mention of The Doctor's race as the Time Lords that the show explicitly stated that The Doctor was an alien.


In An Unearthly Child, which is when most people would think we find out that The Doctor is an alien, The Doctor and Susan only confirm that they're from another planet and another time, with no mention of their race - they could just as easily be, as Moffat suggests, human colonists from the far future. Even when we first meet another person from The Doctor's unnamed homeworld, The Meddling Monk, it's not mentioned that either he or The Doctor are aliens (even in The Monk's second appearance in The Dalek's Master Plan, The Daleks refer to both The Monk and The Doctor as humans!) - and even when The Doctor regenerates, his Second incarnation merely comments on the 'renewal' as if it were a technological rejuvenation of his body, rather than an alien, biological process, saying that 'without the TARDIS, I wouldn't have survived'.

So there you have it. Steven Moffat isn't going to turn The Twelfth Doctor into a human any time soon - he's just pointing out that it took the show a surprising length of time to actually confirm that our hero was an alien. Take a deep breath, and relax...

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