The Radio Times had a curious article this morning. As we know, Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who at Christmas, to be replaced by Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It). It turns out that Smith had a plan to continue with the series, and it turns out Steven Moffat said no.
Matt Smith had worked out a series that starred him and David Tennant.
Said Moffat: “Matt told me that he’d worked out this plan that they’d both continue in Doctor Who: do five individual episodes each and three together — would that be ok? It was a nice plan. I think if I’d said yes they’d have gone for it.”
Two Doctors, in a single series! My god, this could have been brilliant!
When “The Name of the Doctor” aired this summer, the BBC released a video of Matt Smith and David Tennant together on the set of the anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” and the two actors had such chemistry and rapport that I immediately wanted an entire series with the two Doctors teaming up.
Obviously, that mad dream of mine wasn’t what Matt Smith had in mind.
His structure for the season makes a lot of sense, though — five solo episodes for each Doctor, plus three team-up episodes, especially from a production standpoint. A plan like this would have limited the filming so each could have pursued other projects; we’re talking five filming blocks each for Tennant and Smith instead of the usual seven. It would basically be taking the “Doctor-lite” concept (where an episode is shot at the same time as another that doesn’t need the main cast) to an extreme.
In terms of narrative, I’d imagine a team-up episode would kick off the season, perhaps introducing a “Key to Time”-like threat that the eleventh Doctor knows he can’t handle on his own, so he calls in his tenth incarnation and they split up, each doing what they can. Throughout the season there could have been cameos (filmed in later filming blocks) as the Doctors check in on each other (because the audience would want to see the two Doctors together as much as and as often as possible). Finally, there would the two-part season finale where the two Doctors have to work together directly to deal with the threat. This could also be very timey-wimey, as the eleventh Doctor would remember the tenth Doctor’s adventures in this larger adventure, unless the eleventh Doctor doesn’t and that becomes a plot point.
This would have been a very new concept for Doctor Who, though one of Johnny Byrne’s Doctor Who film scripts from the 1980s had two Doctors, with the younger and more inexperienced Doctor acting, for all intents and purposes, as the older Doctor’s companion. It would have been a very unique concept, the kind of thing that only Doctor Who could do.
And it would have been fun.
Oh, Moffat, how could you say no? How could you be an implaccable enemy of fun? I know I’ll love Peter Capaldi, but I will now, forever, wonder what “the two Doctors” season would have been like and how much fun it would have been.