Doctor Who Doubles Down On The Controversial Timeless Child Retcon Ahead Of Season 14


  • The Doctor Who anniversary special “Wild Blue Yonder” reinforces the controversial Timeless Child retcon, despite divided opinions among fans.
  • “Wild Blue Yonder” highlights the Doctor’s ongoing struggle and haunting uncertainty about their true origins as the Timeless Child.
  • The villains in “Wild Blue Yonder” serve as a metaphor for the Doctor’s constant curiosity and desire for answers, paralleling their decision to hide the fob watch containing their memories.



This article contains spoilers for the Doctor Who anniversary special, “Wild Blue Yonder”The Doctor Who anniversary special “Wild Blue Yonder” has doubled down on the controversial Timeless Child retcon. The last few years have been controversial among the Doctor Who fandom. Former showrunner Chris Chibnall rewrote the franchise’s 60-year-old history, revealing the Doctor is not a Time Lord at all; rather, they are the Timeless Child, a being from another universe found by a Gallifreyan explorer a billion years ago. The Timeless Child – the first to possess the power of regeneration – became the base genetic code for the entire Time Lord race.

The Timeless Child retcon divided the fandom. Although returning showrunner Russell T. Davies expressed his support for the idea – and his admiration for his good friend Chibnall – there was intense speculation Doctor Who would move on from so controversial a story. The Doctor Who anniversary special “Wild Blue Yonder” reveals that isn’t going to happen, though; rather than abandon it, the episode doubles down on the Timeless Child.


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“Wild Blue Yonder” Reveals The Doctor Is Still Haunted By The Timeless Child

In “Wild Blue Yonder,” the Doctor and Donna are confronted by mysterious creatures from beyond the boundaries of the universe – entities that are hungry for the world of matter, and long to consume it. These creatures take on their own forms, and gradually synchronize with their minds, drawing on their memories. At one point, attempting to get under the Doctor’s skin, the creature that looks like Donna talks to him about the Timeless Child. She forces the Doctor to admit he has no idea where he comes from, and he’s visibly shaken by the admission.

The Timeless Child retcon introduced massive questions about the Doctor’s identity, questions that were far from resolved by the end of Doctor Who: Flux – the six-episode season that saw the Doctor meet their adoptive mother at last. The Doctor took possession of a fob watch containing a billion years’ worth of memories that had been taken by the Time Lords, but chose not to open the watch and learn the truth. Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor told the TARDIS to bury it deep within the systems, where she could never find it again, unless she should ask for it. Many viewers were frustrated at this lack of resolution, and clearly it haunts the Doctor as well.


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There’s a sense in which the villains of “Wild Blue Yonder” serve as a metaphor for the Doctor’s own experience. In this episode, the Doctor must try to stop himself thinking – working out a solution to an exploding spaceship – because doing so would allow his enemies to figure it out too. Needless to say, it doesn’t work out; the Doctor has never been able to resist trying to solve a problem. This parallels the Thirteenth Doctor’s decision to set aside the fob watch, because their future selves would never be able to live with so many unanswered questions. Knowledge and deduction are simply too enticing to resist.

Will Doctor Who Season 14 Explore The Timeless Child?

Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson Doctor Who

The Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials have doubled down on the Timeless Child retcon, and that naturally means it’s possible Doctor Who season 14 will do the same. It’s interesting to note there are clear parallels between the Doctor and the next companion, Millie Gibson’s Ruby Sunday. Davies recently confirmed Ruby Sunday’s backstory in the Christmas special, “The Church on Ruby Road”:

“It’s unashamedly the story of Ruby, it’s called ‘The Church On Ruby Road’ because that’s where the church is where Ruby was left as a baby in 2004. So, she’s named after that church. She’s a foundling, so no one knows who her mother or father is. She was named after the church on Ruby Road.”

Like the Doctor, Ruby Sunday has no idea who she really is. She is a foundling who was discovered when she was a baby, and her name is not necessarily the one her parents gave her. The parallels strongly suggest Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor will be profoundly shaped by the Timeless Child, going through the same kind of character journey as his companion in Doctor Who season 14.

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    Doctor Who

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    Jenna Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Kingston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi

    Adventure, Mystery, Sci-Fi


    Season List:
    Doctor Who – Season 1, Doctor Who – Season 2, Doctor Who – Season 3, Doctor Who – Season 4, Doctor Who – Season 5, Doctor Who – Season 6, Doctor Who – Season 7, Doctor Who – Season 8, Doctor Who – Season 9, Doctor Who – Season 10, Doctor Who – Season 11, Doctor Who – Season 12, Doctor Who – Season 13, Doctor Who – Season 14, Doctor Who – Season 15, Doctor Who – Season 16, Doctor Who – Season 17, Doctor Who – Season 18, Doctor Who – Season 19, Doctor Who – Season 20, Doctor Who – Season 21, Doctor Who – Season 22, Doctor Who – Season 23, Doctor Who – Season 24, Doctor Who – Season 25, Doctor Who – Season 26

    As the last of the alien species known as the Time Lords, the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a time machine thats bigger on the inside than the outside, seeking out adventures in the ancient past and unimagined future while also serving as the protector of Earth and mankind. With a human companion by his side, the Doctor meets extraordinary – and sometimes deadly – characters and creatures from across the universe.

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    Sydney Newman C. E. Webber Donald Wilson

    Mark Gatiss, Toby Whithouse, Neil Cross, Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall



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