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Eighth Doctor
Also known as: Doctor John Bowman
John Smith
Dave Bowman
Race: Gallifreyan (Time Lord)
Home Planet: Gallifrey
Home Era: Rassilon Era
Appearances: Full List of Appearances
Actor: Paul McGann
"The world's about to end, and here I am, stuck in traffic."
The Doctor

The Eighth Doctor was the eighth known incarnation of the Doctor. Unlike many of his predecessors, particularly his First and Seventh, this Doctor expressed a more human and emotional side, with a love and respect for all life. He was later drawn into the Last Great Time War, which was later stated to be the cause of his Regeneration.



The newly regenerated Eighth Doctor

Birth Cry

This incarnation's life began when the Doctor regenerated for a seventh time after being caught in the crossfire of a shootout between rival Chinese-American youth gangs in 1999 San Francisco's Chinatown and dying on the operating table while being attended by Dr. Grace Holloway, who was unaware of, and thus unfamiliar with, the Doctor's alien physiology. Almost immediately, he was caught up in yet another battle with the Master, whose essence had survived his execution on Skaro and entered the body of a human ambulance driver named Bruce. Knowing this human body would not last, the Master plotted to use the Eye of Harmony to steal the Doctor's remaining lives.

The Doctor's defeat of the Master involved a temporal orbit, travelling back into his own timestream to undo events in which he had been involved. (DW: Doctor Who) This paradox was this Doctor's 'birth cry' (EDA: Unnatural History), heralding a life of considerable complexity. Those attempting to view this incarnation's time-stream would find it not a neat line (EDA: The Gallifrey Chronicles) but rather a chaos of paradoxes (EDA: Interference - Book One, Interference - Book Two, BFA: Storm Warning) and parallel timelines. (BFA: Zagreus, EDA: Time Zero)

Life, Death and Amnesia

Leaving San Francisco, the Doctor was attacked by the Master causing yet another case of amnesia. He found himself travelling to different past points in his own timeline, encountering his previous incarnations and one point securing the release of his old teacher Borusa from the Tomb of Rassilon. At the end of this journey, the Doctor regained his memories and acquired his newest companion, Sam Jones, a young woman from the same Shoreditch neighborhood where the Doctor stayed in I.M. Foreman's junkyard with his granddaughter Susan Foreman. (EDA: The Eight Doctors)

The Doctor left Sam Jones at a Greenpeace rally and went adventuring alone for three years. (EDA: Vampire Science) This extended side trip saw him reunite with Bernice Summerfield to save Britain from the Ice Warriors (NA: The Dying Days) and travel with Stacy Townsend and Ssard. (EDA: Placebo Effect)

Izzy and Destrii

On a trip to Stockbridge the Doctor encounters his old enemy the Celestial Toymaker, with the help of "comic geek" Izzy the Doctor manages to defeat him and decides to take Izzy with him on his travels.

More detail to be added here leading up to his reunion with Sam.

Travels with Sam and Fitz

Resuming his travels with Sam after picking her up at the Greenpeace rally, the Doctor came to encounter evidence of the Time Lords' future war with the nameless Enemy in the East Indies ReVit Zone late in the 21st century where an auction was taking place. (EDA: Alien Bodies)

At this auction he met several players who came to play roles both in the Doctor's own timeline and the War with the Enemy. They included: the Faction Paradox and the Celestis. This is one of the first (but not the last) paradoxical events in the Doctor's eighth incarnation, as he finds out about the war "too early" as Homunculette declared. The Doctor saw more than a glimpse of his own future with the focus of the auction being "The Relic", in reality the Doctor's own corpse. (EDA: Alien Bodies)

The Doctor's companion Sam Jones also experienced a revelation about herself (EDA: Alien Bodies) though these revelations had a far greater impact on him personally when he detected a dimensional scar in San Francisco 2002. Sam Jones fell into the scar and her history and personality changed, back to its original state, before her timeline had gotten altered. The Doctor placed his TARDIS in the dimensional scar to contain the energies and sought out this changed (or rather, restored) Sam Jones. (EDA: Unnatural History)

The Doctor acquired another companion; Fitz Kreiner (EDA: The Taint) and then with the departure of Sam Jones gained another companion: Compassion. (EDA: Interference - Book Two) Both Sam Jones and Fitz played pivotal roles in the Doctor's battles with various enemies, including the Faction Paradox, it was this such battle which would change both companions and the Doctor. The Doctor then travelled alone for a time. (EDA: Interference - Book Two)

Following this battle another important event changed the Doctor's view of Gallifrey and changed the lives of his companions in ways that would be felt for a long time. (EDA: The Shadows of Avalon)

Many of these changes and battles culminated in a destruction of Gallifrey and its system. (EDA: The Ancestor Cell) The shock and pain of launching this attack prompted his friend and companion Compassion to deliver him to Earth with his own TARDIS to recover for 100 years.

Eventually the Doctor learned that just prior to the destruction of Gallifrey, the sum total of the Matrix was placed within his mind, providing a means to rebuild Gallifrey and restore the Time Lords. The Doctor set out to do just this with the assistance of the Time Lord Marnal. (EDA: The Gallifrey Chronicles)

Presumably he succeeded and it was this new Gallifrey that was destroyed in the Last Great Time War. This being the case, any of his other documented adventures occured after this point.

Travels with Charley

The Doctor returned to Earth (at an indeterminate point in the future) and gained two companions brother and sister Gemma Griffin and Samson Griffin, they traveled with him for a time until they encountered a Nekkistani time vessel in the vortex. Whilst aboard, Gemma was captured by Davros and forced to do his bidding; aboard the TARDIS she (under Davros's instruction) altered the Doctor's memories and forced him to take Davros to Earth. (BFA: Terror Firma)

The Doctor was left within the vortex (without prior memory of those events with Samson and Gemma). He narrowly avoided contact with a Vortisaur and materialised his TARDIS within the ballast tanks of the R-101. On board the R-101, he met Charley Pollard. (BFA: Storm Warning)

Saving Charley had unforeseen consequences, and the Doctor and Charley were pursued by the Time Lords until being captured by the CIA. (BFA: Embrace the Darkness, The Time of the Daleks, Neverland)

It was revealed to the Doctor that Charley's surviving the destruction of the R-101 had caused a crack in the Web of Time, but that she is also (because of this) the portal into the world of Anti-Time. The Doctor, along with Lady President Romana traveled to a universe of anti-time. (BFA: Neverland)

More detail to be added

Travels with Lucie

Lucie Miller appeared in the TARDIS suddenly, much to the consternation of the Eighth Doctor. Immediately the Doctor tried to return her to her correct era but found he was unable to do so. He accidentally arrived in Red Rocket Rising and gradually earning Lucie's trust he eliminated two rival factions of Daleks. (BFA/BBCR: Blood of the Daleks) Over the course of his journeys the Doctor grew fond of Lucie and the two mellowed to a mildly antagonistic friendship. He learned she was mistakenly made part of a Time Lord witness protection scheme. (BFA/BBCR: Human Resources) The two continue to explore the universe together until the a dark secret the Doctor has been keeping forces them apart (BFA: Death in Blackpool).

The Last Great Time War

The Doctor decides to join the conflict between the Daleks and the Time Lords after he witnesses the death of a child at the hands of a Dalek. (ST: Museum Peace)

During the Last Great Time War the Doctor is held prisoner for over a month on an unknown planet, with the help of a Malmooth named Chantir he manages to overpower the guards and escapes. He manages to obtain the Key of Rassilon which he states to be the reason why he didn't attempt to escape earlier. The Doctor plans to use the key as a De-mat Gun that will lock the Medusa Cascade and bring an end to the war. (IDW: The Forgotten) This modified De-mat Gun was known to the Time Lords as The Moment and they were aware that it would destroy Gallifrey. (DW: The End of Time)


It is yet to be revealed what happened to this incarnation and the circumstances surrounding his regeneration. The Tenth Doctor implied the Last Great Time War had something to do with it.

For a list of Eighth Doctor stories in the order in which he experienced them, see Eighth Doctor - Timeline.


The Doctor at the console

This Doctor was more romantic than his predecessors, and much more open in his admiration for humans. While earlier Doctors, especially the First and Seventh, would be visibly exasperated by human failings and quirks, this Doctor was more likely to be quietly amused. This may be due to his being half-human on his mother's side, a secret the previous Doctors never revealed(though this was later proclaimed false due to the Doctor using various items to disguise himself). There have been hints that Leela may be the Human ancestor. Some think that DW: Journey's End establishes that the Doctor is not half-human as Human/Time Lord metacrisis hybrids were incapable of regenerating and only have one heart. This is incorrect since a regeneration metacrisis is not the same thing a true hybrid, and since the Curse of Pythia was lifted for Leela's marriage's sake he may very well be half or part Human. Epochs of technology can easily solve any such difficulties.

Some theories have posited that while the "half human on [his] mother's side" remark was probably a joke, the Eighth Doctor (and only the Eighth Doctor) may well have had some human genetic material due to human blood transfusions and anaesthetic interfering with his regeneration. Alternatively, the Eighth Doctor states in IDW: The Forgotten that he fooled the Master into thinking he was half-human using a broken Chameleon Arch.

Psychological profile


The Doctor in his TARDIS.

The Eighth Doctor behaves in a more human manner than his predecessors, perhaps tying in to the revelation that he is half-human; this is most clearly seen in his willingness to entertain romantic notions with Grace Holloway, albeit in an innocent, almost childlike manner. DW: Journey's End suggests that the Doctor might not be half-human as Human/Time Lord hybrids are incapable of regenerating and only have one heart. However, it is not definite, as this may only be true for Human/TimeLord Metacrises. If it is true that he is not then it is unknown if his claim to be half-human was a result of his amnesia or just a part of an elaborate plot to fool the Master, or perhaps the Eighth Doctor is half-human. Like the Fifth Doctor, he exhibits an endearing vulnerability, but this is contrasted by a sense of urgency and decisiveness. He also demonstrates a flippant sense of humour reminiscent of, though not identical to, the Second and Fourth Doctors. The Eighth Doctor was largely an open pallet early in his life; however as he began to experience life and the universe for himself he soon matured into a fully developed individual.

The Doctor became a darker and angrier person with the loss of his TARDIS and home in the dimensional barrier between Earth and Avalon, and his then reliance on Compassion as a means of travel.

Following his exile on Earth and particularly the loss of his heart he became a much darker, though passionate person. (EDA: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, History 101) Though even the return of his second heart still left a changed Doctor. (EDA: Camera Obscura)

Habits and Quirks

The Doctor.

The Eighth Doctor had a penchant for late 19th century style clothing, beginning with a Wild West costume he stole from a hospital worker's locker shortly after his regeneration.

The Eighth Doctor exhibited a habit of giving people, even strangers, hints about their future while not expressing outright the nature of that future (with one exception).

The Eighth Doctor also had a tendency to repeat someone's name when he was trying to make a point (or when he got excited); "Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam...".

Mysteries and discrepancies

  • The Doctor said that he is half-human on his mother's side. (DW: Doctor Who) A possibly apocryphal account suggests this was a ruse the Doctor prepared to use against the Master, a ruse that involved the use of a Chameleon Arch(This is most Likely refering to a different story as the doctor would have had to use the Chameleon Arch pre regeneration. which would have then be cured when he regenerated. (IDW: The Forgotten)
  • We do not know the circumstances of this incarnation's regeneration. This may or may not have had to do with the Last Great Time War. Given his next incarnation's remarks while staring at himself in the mirror, his regeneration seems to have happened not very long before he met Rose Tyler, though this remains ambiguous; it may be due to the lack time to acclimatise during the war. He needed to travel a bit before to justify the photos of him in Rose, so his appearance may just be an ongoing niggling annoyance. (DW: Rose)
  • The Tenth Doctor states that the Last Great Time War was the cause of this incarnations regeneration. (IDW: The Forgotten)

Behind the Scenes


Although the Eighth Doctor appeared on television only once, if one factors in original novels, audio dramas and radio plays, he is the most prolific of all the Doctors to date, even surpassing the Fourth Doctor with his seven-year tenure on television, and the Seventh Doctor who was featured in his own extensive series of novels (Virgin New Adventures) and audio dramas. Like all non-televised spin-off productions, however, the canonicity of all but the 1996 telefilm (and subsequent on-screen references in 2007 and 2008) are open for debate. In 2008, the Eighth Doctor made another cameo in "The Next Doctor", in a sequence of clips, counting up the ten Doctors to date.

Continuity contradictions

The Eighth Doctor's adventures after the TV movie have taken place in three mediums; the Big Finish audioplays, the Doctor Who Magazine and Radio Times comic strips, and the BBC novels. The continuity between these three separate ranges is contradictory.

Big Finish began by associating themselves with the books, for example referencing Sam Jones (BFA: Minuet in Hell), but eventually decided to divorce themselves, even retroactively inserting a new companion called Samson to whom the 'Sam' reference might refer (BFA: Terror Firma). A short story collection depicted Sam being edited out of history (ST: Repercussions...). At one point, the Doctor was able to look into parallel universes, seeing glimpses which reflected the events of the DWM and EDA adventures. (BFA: Zagreus)

Despite this, it is possible for all three to fit into the same continuity. The novel, Vampire Science, establishes that the Doctor left his companion, Sam Jones, at one point. While only a few hours passed for Sam, the Doctor apparently traveled for three years without her.

Within this gap, one could fit The Dying Days, the Eighth Doctor Big Finish Audio Dramas and the Eighth Doctor comic strip stories. After this, Vampire Science and the rest of the Eighth Doctor Novels occur.

Alternatively, the audio dramas make take place after the final Eighth Doctor novel. The Gallifrey Chronicles ends with the Doctor intending to find some way to restore the destroyed planet Gallifrey. His success may have somehow rolled back the timeline, allowing for the audio adventures to take place.

While no explanation has ever been provided, the audio drama, The Company of Friends, features appearances from comic book and novel companions, and a much older Eighth Doctor who refers to all the companions he has had in this lifetime. These companions are Destrii (from the comics), Compassion and Trix (from the books) and Lucie (from the audios), which contradicts suggestions that the different ranges are set in alternate universes. Also, in the Eighth Doctor audio drama, The Zygon Who Fell to Earth, the Doctor refers to a previous run-in with Zygons in the 19th century. This took place in the BBC novel, The Bodysnatchers.

A popular rumour during the wait for the 2009 specials to air held that Paul McGann would return as the Eighth Doctor, supposedly in a story which would reveal more about the Last Great Time War. However, on September 12, the BBC quashed the story of the McGann casting. A spokeswoman was quoted as saying: "There is no truth to the story at all." [Story]

Key Life Events

External link

The incarnations of the Doctor
Companions of the Eighth Doctor
Grace Holloway
Other media
Bernice Summerfield  • Stacy Townsend  • Ssard  • Samantha Jones  • Fitz Kreiner  • Compassion  • Anji Kapoor  • Trix MacMillan  • Izzy Sinclair  • Fey Truscott-Sade  • Kroton  • Destrii  • Gemma and Samson Griffin  • Charley Pollard  • C'rizz  • Lucie Miller

This article uses material from the "Eighth Doctor" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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