How Moffat’s 1995 Fan Theory Became Canon

Cast your mind back to the dark and distant year 2011 – where we reported the rumour that in 1995, fan turned show runner Steven Moffat, took to a Doctor Who forum to share his theory on the origin of the term ‘Doctor’.

Sound familiar? Well if you’ve seen A Good Man Goes to War, you’ve already heard it – and, after the Radio Times did a little digging, it turns out, it’s completely true. The magazine got in touch with Moffat and he confirmed, that yes, he turned his fan theory into canon 16 years after coming up with the idea.

Posting the idea to the chatroom rec.arts.drwho, Moffat suggested that the Doctor’s name may have actually been the inspiration throughout the universe for healers and wise men to call themselves doctors.

Here’s the post.

“Steven Moffat ([email protected]) wrote: Here’s a particularly stupid theory.  If we take “The Doctor” to be the Doctor’s name – even if it is in the form of a title no doubt meaning something deep and Gallifreyan – perhaps our earthly use of the word “doctor” meaning healer or wise man is direct result of the Doctor’s multiple interventions in our history as a healer and wise man.  In other words, we got it from him.  This is a very silly idea and I’m consequently rather proud of it.”

It’s interesting stuff – now here’s the words spoken by River during A Good Man Goes to War.

River: Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean? To the people of the Gamma Forests, the word Doctor means mighty warrior. How far you’ve come.”

It’s nothing if not a clarion call for all budding writers with fan theories to share. Keep up and one day you too could spend 20 years becoming a TV writer, get the top job writing Doctor Who and then convince everyone that your ideas are amazing and then turn them into canon.

It’s really that simple.


Andrew has left Kasterborous. Any article that appears on the site past February 2016 claiming to be written by Andrew Reynolds has been done so maliciously and without the authors consent. The author does not condone gambling in any form and would not seek to publicise the industry through a children's television show. If you like Doctor Who articles without a hefty dose of identity theft and gambling spam, why not check out

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