The 1976 story The Brain of Morbius, contains one of the most annoying Schrödinger's cat in Doctor Who - the Morbius Doctors, created as part of an evil plot to piss off continuity-obsessed fans and the actors' union at the same time. In a brain-to-brain contest with Morbius, eight different faces flash onscreen that appear to be previous incarnations of the Doctor that predate the William Hartnell Doctor.
Producer Philip Hinchcliffe addressed this: "We tried to get famous actors for the faces of the Doctor. But because no one would volunteer, we had to use backroom boys. And it is true to say that I attempted to imply that William Hartnell was not the first Doctor".
These eight faces shown belonged to: Edit
- CHRISTOPER BAKER - '70s production team member.
- ROBERT HOLMES - script editor who regularly wrote for the Troughton era onwards.
- GRAEME HARPER - the Assistant Floor Manager and later a director for the classic series and of a further ten adventures for new Who.
- DOUGLAS CAMFIELD - veteran Who director for adventures for Hartnell, Troughton, Pertwee and Tom Baker.
- PHILIP HINCHCLIFFE - Producer of Doctor Who for the first three Tom Baker seasons
- ROBERT BANKS STEWART - wrote Terror of the Zygons and The Seeds of Doom.
- GEORGE GALLACCIO - Production Unit Manager for several Pertwee and Baker stories.
- CHRISTOPHER BARRY - another long serving Who director.
Canonical Questions Edit
Whether or not these faces actually are previous faces of the Doctor or not is both canon and non-canon at the same time. Additionally, they are also was-then canon, is-not-now canon, still-maybe canon, could-be canon, should-be canon, would-be canon, alternate-timeline canon, retconned canon, simply-mistaken canon, wisely-ignored canon, anti-canon, and un-canon. Fans of the show can argue this canonical question from any angle and be both wrong and right at the same time, maybe right, maybe wrong, etc.
Unless you believe that those faces are Morbius and/or Paul McGann in rubber masks gone back in time to fuck shit up and get more screen time.
The Lost EpisodeEdit
Before the serial aired, the scene showing the Morbius Doctors was actually part of a full 25 minute episode. Small clips were filmed with each Doctor that were to be shown as flashbacks between each face's appearance. Sadly the episode was scrapped during the editing process to please Tom Baker, who was quoted as saying "He's too old! And that one, well he's too fat! If these faggots are past versions of me then I quit the show right fucking now."
Eight of the ten faces were kept in the episode as a compromise reached whilst Baker was fucking lit. Oddly enough one of the two Doctors that did not make it into the episode would go on to become the showruiner for the 5th series of NuWho.
It's interesting to note that if these eight faces are not some form of canon, then neither are the crew members (Christopher Baker, Robert Holmes et al.) nor all the combined stories they worked on over the years, including this very episode itself. This would erase the following stories from canon:
First Doctor (William Hartnell)
- Planet of Giants (1964)
- The Daleks (1964) - episodes 1,2,4 & 5
- The Crusade (1965)
- The Time Meddler (1965)
- The Rescue (1965)
- The Romans (1965)
- The Myth Makers (1965)
- The Daleks' Master Plan (1966)
- The Savages (1966)
Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)
- The Power of the Daleks (1966)
- The Krotons (1968)
- The Web of Fear (1968)
- The Invasion (1968)
- The Space Pirates (1969)
Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
- Spearhead From Space (1970)
- Inferno (1970)
- The Daemons (1971)
- Terror of the Autons (1971)
- The Mutants (1972)
- Carnival of Monsters (1973)
- The Time Warrior (1973)
Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
- Pyramids of Mars (1975)
- Terror of the Zygons (1975)
- The Brain of Morbius (1976) see?
- The Deadly Assassin (1976)
- The Seeds of Doom (1976)
- The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977)
- The Sun Makers (1977)
- The Ribos Operation (1978)
- The Power of Kroll (1978)
- The Creature from the Pit (1979)
- Warriors' Gate (1980)
Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)
- The Caves of Androzani (1984)
Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)
- The Two Doctors (1985)
- Revelation of the Daleks (1985)
- The Mysterious Planet (1986)
- The Ultimate Foe (1986) - first episode only
Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)
- Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel (2006)
- Army of Ghosts/Doomsday (2006)
- 42 (2007)
- Utopia (2007)
- Time Crash (2007)
- Planet of the Ood (2008)
- The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008)
- Turn Left (2008)
- The Stolen Earth/Journey's End (2008)
- The Next Doctor (2008)
- The Waters of Mars (2009)
Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)
- The Eleventh Hour (2010)
- The Lodger (2010)
- The Doctor's Wife (2011)
- A Good Man Goes to War (2011)
- The Wedding of River Song (2011)
- Nightmare in Silver (2013)
- The Name of the Doctor (2013)
- The Day of the Doctor (2013)
- The Time of the Doctor (2013)
Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi)
- Listen (2014)
- Kill the Moon (2014)
- Hell Bent (2015)
- The Husbands of River Song (2015)
- Twice Upon a Time (2017)
I guess the moral of the story then is canon.