Doctor Who has the perfect formula to go on till the end of time. Whenever the actor playing The Doctor gets tired, or old, or just wants to stop running from rubber monsters, they simply “regenerate” him into a new version and throw a new actor into the show. The only thing stopping it is the fact that they’ve established that Time Lords (including The Doctor) only get twelve regenerations and after that they turn a burned-out husk (like The Doctor’s arch-nemesis The Master) and die. At least until now.
It looks like the BBC has decided to do away with that limit on regenerations (which we kind of all figured they’d do), but not by doing a story line about it or using it as a plot point. Instead, it’ll be mentioned as a throw-away line when The Doctor guests stars on the kid’s show The Sarah Jane Adventures. As the Guardian reported:
Matt Smith, who plays the current Doctor Who, guest stars in a two-part episode called The Death of the Doctor, to be screened on October 25 and 26. While the Doctor and Clyde Langer, played by Daniel Anthony, are in the process of outwitting spooky vulture undertakers the Shansheeth, Clyde asks how many times he can regenerate. The Doctor indicates that there is no limit. The action continues.
Now, there’s been a lot of flak about how this contradicts continuity because the Fourth Doctor’s run established the 12 regenerations rule in the redundantly named story The Deadly Assassin. But then, the Second Doctor also said that “My people can live forever, barring accidents.” So, it’s not completely out of continuity. (Although, it seems like they’re wasting a chance for a good cliffhanger out of it.)
Trailer for the new season of The Sarah Jane Adventures (with The Doctor) after the jump!