Doctor Who RPG: The Alternate Regeneration Campaign

(Including a compendium of people who've played the Doctor non-canonically.)

I GOT IT! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Alright, alright, I actually received my copy of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG this Monday, but I'm still tingly.

Now, I've already decided my group would create a new Time Lord who survived the Time War, but upon seeing Tennant end his reign as Doc10, I got another idea for a possible starter campaign. In this, the tenth Doctor doesn't regenerate into Matt Smith, but into the actor/persona of your choice. Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - as many licensed games do - often assumes that you're playing the Doctor and known companions. In my experience, it's rare that gamers want to play pre-fab characters in lieu of their own creations. Veering the Doctor into a new direction (parallel to Moffat's) is one way to have Cubicle 7's cake and eat yours too. It's not like your "original" Time Lord was REALLY going to be anything but Doctorish, right? ;-) AND it allows you to keep the Time War storyline intact. You're STILL the last of the Time Lords.

An inspiration for how to cast your new 11th Doctor, let's look at actors who HAVE played the Doctor in non-canonical stories. Maybe it's as simple as calling one up and offering him (or her!) the job. Here then are some of the people who've done so...

Unbound audios: Big Finish had a nice little series going where the cast a different actor as the Doctor, though usually tweaking the genre of Doctor Who as well. These "What If?"s couldn't be used as is, but at least have some experience playing the Big D.

Geoffrey Bayldon (Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels)
One of the original choices for the Doctor, losing out to Hartnell, Bayldon would have proved a catastrophic regeneration into old age, but presents a strong grandfatherly presence for any companion.

David Warner (Sympathy for the Devil and Masters of War)
Warner has the rich voice and presence of the Doctor, using it with the terse impatience of a Time Lord that has not been mellowed by exile on Earth during the 70s.

David Collings (Full Fathom Five)
The Doctor that believes the ends justify the means. He's terrifyingly pragmatic and would probably be too much for television audiences. But what about an arc of your role-playing season?

Sir Derek Jacobi (Deadline)
His Unbound Doctor is the writer of a failed Doctor Who series hallucinating scenes where he is the Doctor. A brilliant audio that we can deduce his kind-hearted if sad Doctor from. It's Jacobi. You can't go wrong, can you? It might just be weird for the Doctor to take a form the Master previously did.

Arabella Weir (Exile)
What if the Doctor was a woman? Well, I'm all for it, personally, and Weir gave him-now-her a great sassy personality. Shame about the alcohol intolerance and vomiting though. Tennant connection: He's the godfather of one of her children (and both worked on Exile). Could have put in a word!

The Curse of Fatal Death: Written by Moffat himself, this Comic Relief parody had the Doctor played by Rowan Atkinson and later regenerating multiple times as he was killed over and over again as a gag. Apparently, each of them were at one point rumored to have been considered for the role. Some good Doctors in there, not least of which...

Rowan Atkinson
I was surprised at how well he carried it off. Sure, his seriousness is close to camp (this IS a comedy), but he's got the right confidence and easy wit to carry it off. How would he have been in dramatic scenes though?

Richard E. Grant (Part the First)
Richard Grant in the flesh is an arrogant Doctor that believes he's the best thing to happen to the universe. For all we know, he may be right.

Jim Broadbent
His scaredy-cat Doctor is rather insane, but tone him done and his childlike demeanor could win your heart. And we know Broadbent has the chops.

Hugh Grant
The studmuffin Doctor isn't far off from the characterization we've had in recent years, and a Doctor with girls on his mind could be a fun thing to attempt in an RPG, where tv writers would fear to tread. Make him a bit more like in Four Weddings and a Funeral and you've got a more sexless, but no less charming Doctor.

Joanna Lumley
And if the "alternate" 11th Doctor is a good place to experiment, then a woman he can be. Maybe not have him-now-her make inappropriate comments about his-now-her boobage though. Still, she carries it off thanks to her special Sapphire & Steel training.

Other sources: There are other non-canonical Doctors here and there. I won't mention the Doctors from the stage plays because I know next to nothing about them (Trevor Martin, David Banks and Nick Scovell all played him in one play or another). I'm also not going to mention actors who played the Doctor (or versions of the Doctor) on the show itself - no Valeyard, no Watcher, no stunt men, and no Richard Hurndall.

Peter Cushing (Dalek movies)
The human "Doctor Who" played by Cushing doesn't owe very much to Hartnell - a kinder, gentler, absent-minded professor you could easily see take companions under his old-fashioned wing. What a great homage to the actor to cast him as the "new" Doctor.

Richard E. Grant (Part the Second; from Scream of the Shalka)
A very different look, but the characterization of this Doctor by new series writer Paul Cornell is close to that of Curse of Fatal Death. Same arrogance, but also a strangely anachronistic way with hip language.

Mark Gatiss (The Web of Caves spoof)
He's the "ginger" Doctor RTD keeps going on about, AND a new series writer to boot. His Doctor doesn't want to save the world and is quite bored with the show's clich├ęs. Consequently, you better make an appointment. Tone that down, and you have a Doctor with a very dry sense of humor. So off-putting it just might work.

Though a short story here and there or a regeneration at the end of an Unbound audio might have given us more, these are the main ones. Anything strike your fancy?


Tyler said…
One of Lawrence "Mad" Miles' madder ideas was a series of novels following on from Interference following an entire string of alternate Doctors due to the Third Doctor's paradoxical regeneration. He even had the alternate Doctors cast. Regrettably, I can't remember any of them or find his telling of the tale.
chiasaur11 said…
Interesting concept for character creation. Of course, that still leaves the old "I want to be the Doctor" to a greater degree than ever, but I'm sure a mature(ish) group could deal with it.

And, because I'm curious, what kinda Doctor would you roll up for ten, Siskoid?
chiasaur11 said…
ELEVEN, I mean. Eleven.

My kingdom for an edit button.
Siskoid said…
Having been handed the character sheet by Tennant, given those last words, I would have to save a self-loathing one.

Or at least self-deprecating. Yeah definitely. I'd play that kind of Doctor.
Ventolin said…
I love Dr Who, this TV series is one of my favorites, principally by its originality. Also it's educative and so entertained at the same time.