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Is the Doctor adopted? The Doctor Who Timeless Child arc explained-Asyia Iftikhar-Entertainment – Metro

The Timeless Child plays a huge role in the new season.

Is the Doctor adopted? The Doctor Who Timeless Child arc explained-Asyia Iftikhar-Entertainment – Metro

The Timeless Child is a defining feature for Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor
(Picture: BBC Studios/Bad Wolf/James Pardon)

Ncuti Gatwa’s identity as an adopted alien is a central theme of the upcoming season – but what does the Timeless Child mean?

The Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti) met foundling Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in the 2023 Christmas Special, The Church on Ruby Road. The two immediately bonded over their shared confusion about where they came from.

When Ruby revealed she was adopted by her mum Carla (Michelle Greenidge), the Doctor admitted he too was unsure of his true parentage, and homeland.

Many fans who are returning to the show after a few years may be confused. For several decades we knew the Doctor as a Time Lord from Gallifrey, the last of their kind after their species was lost in the Time War.

But in 2020, former showrunner Chris Chibnall introduced a major plot twist during Jodie Whittaker’s final episodes as the Thirteenth Doctor.

The Doctor was not originally from Gallifrey at all, but rather found and dubbed the Timeless Child.

The Doctor and Ruby Sunday bond over their shared adoption history this season (Picture: James Pardon/Bad Wolf/BBC Studios)

The decision sparked major fan outcry at the time, with hardcore fans wondering if returning showrunner Russell T Davies would address this new piece of lore in his upcoming season or let it peter away into insignificance.

As Ncuti kicks off his first season with Space Babies, one thing is for sure. The Timeless Child will be a central theme for the Fifteenth Doctor.

What is The Timeless Child?

After several episodes teasing a huge revelation, Chibnall’s plot came to a head in the season 12 finale, The Timeless Children.

During the episode the Thirteenth Doctor untapped a wealth of hidden memories that revealed to her she was the very first Time Lord.

In her earliest known form, a billion years ago, she was found abandoned under an interdimensional portal by an indigenous Gallifreyan (aka Shobogans) called Tecteun (Seylan Baxter).

The Timeless Child arc was introduced through Jodie Whittaker during the Chris Chibnall era (Picture: BBC Studios/Zoe McConnell)

Unsure where the child fell from, Tecteun observed them and realised they had the power of regeneration. They spliced the Timeless Child’s regenerative genes to create Time Lord DNA which was then used to create the race of Time Lords.

From then on the Timeless Child was sent on missions – once in the form of Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor – by a Black ops agency called the Division.

Whenever they would return from these morally grey missions – in which they meddled in the affairs of other planets – their memory would be wiped. This erasure continued up until their first memory as William Hartnell’s Doctor.

Eventually the Timeless Child grew up to be the Doctor and defected from the Division. This led to their adoptive parent, Tecteun, trying to destroy the universe to vanquish the Doctor.

The first iteration of Tecteun (Picture: BBC)

Although the Doctor managed to save the day, the one mystery they were never able to solve was their true origin. What was on the other side of the interdimensional portal from which they fell?

Adoption and unknown identity is a pivotal theme from the first episode, Space Babies, in which Ncuti’s Doctor regularly addresses the fact that they are adopted and shares a deep anguish over not knowing the truth.

What has Russell T Davies said about using the arc this season?

Despite fan outrage at the divisive plotline, Russell has confirmed the Timeless Child will play a big role in the new season.

In a new interview Russell confirmed the Timeless Child would be part of the Doctor’s story ‘hopefully for seasons to come’.

The 60-year-old writer and director continued: ‘It has put the Doctor in a very interesting position and what I love about this notion of him being a foundling, an orphan, is that it fits with the image of the Doctor anyways.

Russell T Davies wants The Timeless Child arc to live on for generations (Picture: WireImage)

He’s always been alone, travelled on his own, needs a companion, finds new ones to take with him, then it breaks his heart when they leave.’

Davies went onto remark that it works for him to ‘have been lost in the universe abandoned as a child’.

‘It’s one of those great bits of lore that actually resonates with what the character always was, I’m overjoyed with it,’ he concluded to GamesRadar.

Doctor Who premieres with double bill opener Space Babies and The Devil’s Chord at 6:20pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Saturday May 11.

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