The Next ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special May Feature One Of The Oldest Doctors In The Show’s Long History

John Simm’s “The Master” and Michelle Gomez’s “Missy” aren’t the only Time Lords whose separate time streams will cross paths this year on Doctor Who. Or at least that’s according to an anonymous, unconfirmed source who spoke with The Mirror about the 2017 Christmas special, which will feature the end of Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor and the arrival of his yet-to-be-determined successor. While the long-running character’s previous transitions have always featured two separate versions for a fleeting moment, the new report suggests Capaldi’s outing will also include a previous incarnation.

In fact, it could be the oldest version of the Doctor, as The Mirror‘s source revealed the First Doctor will join Capaldi for his final adventure this Christmas. Yet William Hartnell, who originated the role (and the series) when it debuted in 1963, died in 1975 at the age of 67. So the 12th Doctor will instead gallivant around the galaxy with Harry Potter alum David Bradley, who played Hartnell in the 2013 television movie An Adventure in Space and Time. “David was convincing as Hartnell,” The Mirror‘s source claimed. “It’s exciting he’s back.”

What’s more, the unconfirmed report ties Hartnell’s casting to 2013’s “The Day of the Doctor” — the 50th anniversary special pairing then-current Doctor Matt Smith with his forerunner, David Tennant’s 10th Doctor, and the late John Hurt‘s so-called “War Doctor.” In their commemorative episode, the trio joined forces (albeit off-screen) with the previous nine Doctors — as well as Peter Capaldi’s then-newly announced character — to save their home planet of Gallifrey from destruction. “Four years ago it took all the previous Doctors to save Gallifrey,” the source teased, “so maybe some of the others will also pop up.”

Whether or not any of this is true remains to be seen, especially since Doctor Who speculation is largely fixated on who may be replacing Capaldi after the Christmas special. However, one of the more interesting bits divulged by the report indicates Capaldi’s brief closeup in “The Day of the Doctor” — a shot of his glaring eyes — was actually the beginning of his character’s regeneration. That’s quite interesting, as the 59-year-old actor recently revealed on The Graham Norton Show that he’d already filmed his “death,” even though production on the Christmas special hasn’t started yet.

As for the Bradley casting rumor, hiring another actor to play a previous Doctor wouldn’t be a first for Doctor Who. For the 1983 event episode “The Five Doctors,” Hartnell’s First Doctor was portrayed by Richard Hurndall, who assumed the role eight years after his predecessor’s death. Though Bradley’s position is unique, since he played both Hartnell and the First Doctor in An Adventure in Space and Time. His reported casting in the 2017 Christmas special, however, would lessen his work load as only the latter part would be required.

(Via The Mirror)