Doctor Who showrunner reveals surprising regeneration fact

Leon Miller
The Thirteenth Doctor regenerates into the Fourteenth Doctor in Doctor Who.

Russell T Davies just suggested that regeneration is capable of even more dramatic transformations than Doctor Who has previously shown.

The regeneration concept was first added to Doctor Who lore in 1966 serial “The Tenth Planet.” It provides an in-universe mechanism to replace the show’s outgoing lead with their replacement, by having the Doctor undergo a complete physical transformation.

Doctor Who canon originally stated that the Doctor (like all Time Lords) could only regenerate 12 times in total. More recent storylines have called this into question, however, and it’s currently unclear how many regenerations the Doctor has left.

To date, the Doctor has fully regenerated on screen 14 times. The most recent of these regenerations was in 2022’s “The Power of the Doctor,” which saw Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor morph into David Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor.

Doctor Who showrunner reveals surprising regeneration fact

Like all the Doctor’s transformations, the Whittaker/Tennant switch-up captured fans’ imaginations. Yet showrunner Russell T Davies recently indicated that Doctor Who has barely scratched the surface of regeneration’s possibilities. In an interview with BBC Newsround, the Welsh scribe even left the door open for the Doctor to regenerate as twins.

“I’m gonna say yes!” Davies exclaimed when asked if such a regeneration was possible. “Yes, okay, you heard it here first. That would be a great thing to do.” That said, it’s entirely possible Davies was humoring his young interviewers (who were themselves twins), rather than revising official canon.

At the same time, expanding the Doctor Who mythos to incorporate multi-body regenerations certainly tracks with comments Davies made earlier in the BBC Newsround interview. “[T]he Doctor can change, and change into anyone,” he said. “We’ve seen men Doctors, we’ve seen women Doctors, we’re now about to see Ncuti Gatwa, who’s the world’s first black Doctor.”

“And that just means anything can happen,” Davies continued. “I think people love that. I think that’s what’s kept [Doctor Who] going.”

Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor Who arrival is imminent

As Davies alluded to in his remarks, Doctor Who’s next regeneration is on the near horizon. Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa is already locked in to take over from Tennant in late 2023, before headlining Doctor Who Series 14/Season 1 in 2024.

Davies has repeatedly framed Gatwa’s arrival as a “reset” for the franchise – right down to the baddies he’ll face. In November 2023, Davies confirmed that two of Doctor Who’s most iconic baddies, the Daleks and the Cybermen, won’t appear in Gatwa’s initial batch of episodes.

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About The Author

Leon is a freelance Movies and TV writer at Dexerto. His past writing credits include articles for Polygon, Popverse, The Escapist, Screen Rant, CBR, Cultured Vultures, PanelxPanel, Taste of Cinema, and more. Originally from Australia, Leon is currently based in the UK.