The Corsair

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You may be looking for the Corsair born on Cartago.

The Corsair was a Time Lord adventurer and an old friend of the Doctor, described by the Eleventh Doctor as "one of the good ones." The Corsair changed gender a few times throughout their many incarnations. The Doctor noted with fondness that when the Corsair was female, "she was a bad girl." (TV: The Doctor's Wife)

No matter which race or gender, the Corsair had "an amazing and trustworthy smile". They preferred to travel alone, in contrast to the Doctor's fondness for humanoid companions, but liked having a cat or a parrot on their TARDIS. (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair)

Biography[[edit]]

Biographical summary[[edit]]

Early life[[edit]]

Like all Time Lords, the Corsair was taken from their family at the age of eight, for the selection process in the Drylands. Staring into the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation rite, the Corsair reacted by running away from what they saw in the Schism. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)

Career as a Renegade[[edit]]

At some point in their lives, the Corsair left Gallifrey in their Type 60 TARDIS to travel the universe. They named the TARDIS Esperanza. (PROSE: One Virtue, and a Thousand Crimes) Each one of the Corsair's incarnations had the symbol of the Ouroboros tattooed somewhere on their body. It changed size each time with each different regeneration. Without it, they did not feel themselves. (TV: The Doctor's Wife)

The Corsair sometimes went on secret missions for the Time Lords. A male Corsair once stole the Callisto Pulse from the Callistan Kleptocracy. The Corsair denied stealing it and Time Lords denied asking him to steal it. The Corsair was formally censured by the Time Lords after they may have been linked to the theft of the Portrait of Rassilon. This was overturned by Lady President Flavia, "perhaps" due to the Corsair's smile. He was also once worshipped as a god by the Assyrians but left with the sacred temple cat after getting bored. (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair)

According to the Ninth Doctor, the Corsair kept a sub-dimensional void in a hatbox in 23rd century Swindon. (COMIC: Weapons of Past Destruction)

The Corsair often met up with the Doctor and got drunk with them. The Thirteenth Doctor recalled when she met the Sixth Corsair that the last time the two of them had a drink together, the Doctor woke up in the bank vault (COMIC: Old Friends) of the Bank of England. On two other occasions where they got drunk together, they woke up in jail. (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair)

Fate[[edit]]

Eventually, while taking part in the Time Lords' Fourth Universal Survey Expedition, the Ninth Corsair was lured by House (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair) into his bubble universe, where House consumed his TARDIS while the Corsair was killed by Auntie, Uncle and Nephew. His body was stripped for parts by the three "patchwork-people", with Auntie getting the Corsair's forearm. The Eleventh Doctor would later discover the Corsair's murder shortly before defeating House. (TV: The Doctor's Wife)

Incarnations of the Corsair[[edit]]

The Corsair's nine incarnations were variable in gender and in the placement of their Ouroboros tattoo. (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair, TV: The Doctor's Wife)

Unplaced Corsairs[[edit]]

Glimpses of multiple incarnations of the Corsair. (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair)

One account gave glimpses of multiple incarnations of the Corsair without explicitly identifying their number. (PROSE: Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair)

Legacy[[edit]]

In one account of events of the rediscovery of Shada, the Fourth Doctor mentioned the Corsair while he and Romana II mused over Time Lords who broke with traditional Gallifreyan inactivity, considering him "one of the good 'uns" and desiring to catch up with her. (PROSE: Shada)

During one adventure, while pushing a heavy crate, the Eleventh Doctor said that if he kept up this habit, he would develop big arms like the Corsair. (GAME: The Eternity Clock)

When the Eleventh Doctor creatively "edited" a book meant to act as a guide for would-be Time Lords, he covered up the page on the Corsair with an entry about himself, which included profiles on Jenny, River Song, the Meta-Crisis Doctor, and the DoctorDonna. (PROSE: How to be a Time Lord)

Behind the scenes[[edit]]

Development[[edit]]

On his blog, The Doctor's Wife scriptwriter Neil Gaiman stated that before he began writing the first draft, he wanted to make sure the idea of the Corsair was okay with series show runner Steven Moffat before he became fixed in the story, so he sent him an email with a piece of dialogue between the Doctor and Amy Pond in which the Doctor discussed the Corsair. In this draft, the Doctor explained that the Corsair "did not have a name" and "used to travel, exploring the limits of time and space". The Doctor said that when he was twelve he had asked the Corsair if he could travel with him and act as his "assistant", but the Corsair had just laughed. Moffat replied that he wanted the Corsair to be less like the Doctor, and not an explicit role model for the Doctor because the Doctor "does what he does for reasons too vast and terrible to relate". [1] In the final draft, the Corsair is not explicitly presented as older than the Doctor, although nothing contradicts the notion either.

The Corsair was not the first Time Lord to be depicted with a snake tattoo on their arm: the Third Doctor had a tattoo of a snake in the shape of a question mark on his right arm, as seen in Spearhead from Space. Lawrence Miles suggested in Christmas on a Rational Planet and The Book of the War that this was a Shada convict tattoo with which the Time Lords branded their criminals to be able to track them. This fact was also referenced in independent spin-off novella Wringing Off and in the Missy Chronicles short story Lords and Masters. Despite the Corsair's nature as a Gallifreyan criminal who sometimes went on covert missions for the Time Lords, their tattoo was never formally linked to this point of lore.

Ryan Fogarty's Corsair[[edit]]

The Bloodletters was a 2020 novella by Ryan Fogarty. It functioned as a Doctor Who spin-off, featuring licensed DWU elements from numerous sources, including the very Brilliant Book 2011 where Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair was released. However, although it starred a renegade Archon of Time going by "the Corsair", this character was not legally the same as Gaiman's Corsair. Instead, Fogarty's depiction was a "sci-fied up" fusion of two human public domain characters, Jon Gallant alias "the Corsair" (created in A1 Comics #3 in 1946 by Chas M. Quinlan) and Lila Evans alias "the Corsair Queen" (created by Buccanneers Comics #25 in 1951 by Joe Millard). The character was depicted as native to a colony of the Homeworld called Cartago, having flunked out of the Academy early and instead gone back to Cartago to learn "fencing, sailing and gunnery" from a personal mentor. They travelled aboard a timeship called the Silver Spray, and, instead of flying through the Time Vortex like the Doctor and other Time Lords, sailed the Spray on "the temporal shoals", which connected to specific points in space-time via the time tides.

Despite the legal distinction, Fogarty's novella does imply his Corsair and Gaiman's Corsair may have been one and the same. In an allusion to the early drafts of The Doctor's Wife cited above, the Corsair recalls a boy who "tugged at his sleeve" begging him for adventure, who later became the President Kodachrome (implied to be the Sixth Doctor). Furthermore, "the Corsair Queen" and the Gallant "Corsair" resemble two of the unidentified incarnations illustrated in Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair, namely the dark-haired woman in red robes and the tricorn-wearing man; and in addition, Fogarty's Corsair recalls recently regenerating from a more muscular, bearded incarnation, potentially the top-hat-wearer of Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Corsair. The story's main Corsair, regenerated from the bearded man, was a younger male incarnation with brown skin. He was mentioned to have a tattoo on his inner thigh, implicitly (though not definitively) the Ouroboros tattoo.

Fogarty's Corsair's earliest incarnation was a boy, implicitly followed by the young, female "Corsair Queen" of Millard's comics. Also lying in the bearded and dark-skinned Corsairs' past are another female incarnation previously unknown to the Monk (and who thus cannot be Millard's "Corsair Queen"/the Second Corsair), and the tricorn-wearing "John Gallant" incarnation. This sequence is impossible by the up-to-date list of the Gaiman Corsair's incarnations. However, The Bloodletters was released several months before One Virtue, and a Thousand Crimes established the Seventh Corsair as a dark-skinned woman. Striking her from the record, it becomes apparent that Fogarty intended for the bearded Corsair to be the Seventh Corsair, and for the dark-skinned young man to be the Eighth Corsair.

Other matters[[edit]]

Footnotes[[edit]]