The Doctor (The Brain of Morbius)

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During the Fourth Doctor's mindbending duel with Morbius, eight consecutive faces were shown as bodies the Doctor inhabited before he was the First Doctor. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) Often with reference to this mindbending duel, other sources would concur that these were prior incarnations from the Doctor's early life, (TV: The Timeless Children; PROSE: Doctor Who and the Brain of Morbius, Cold Fusion; AUDIO: Cold Fusion) with some sources even suggesting they went by the title "the Doctor" (PROSE: Cold Fusion, The Infinity Doctors) or conflating them with the figure of "the Other". (AUDIO: Patience)


Either the Doctor or their father[[edit]]

During the mindbending battle, after Morbius said, "Back! Back to your beginning!" and the eight faces began to flash on the screen, (TV: The Brain of Morbius) the Fourth Doctor thought to himself, "You can't... not that far... I won't let you... Not even I." (PROSE: Cold Fusion) The mechanism broke down after the eighth face appeared. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) In the Fifth Doctor's mind, memories of this event were associated with the times when (PROSE: Cold Fusion) the Third Doctor claimed to have been a scientist for thousands of years (TV: The Mind of Evil) and the Fourth Doctor said that Time Lords lived for 90 lives and that he'd lived for 130. (TV: The Creature from the Pit)

The most straightforward explanation for these faces was that they were simply incarnations which the Doctor had lived before the incarnation commonly thought to be first. (PROSE: Cold Fusion, The Power of the Daleks, The Dying Days) Some elements of the Infinity Doctor's life pointed to him being a young First Doctor, existing at the relative border between these past Doctors and the Doctor's commonly known lifecycle. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) Shortly after regenerating from the First Doctor, the Second Doctor seemed perfectly aware that this was not his first renewal, (PROSE: The Power of the Daleks) and the Eighth Doctor casually thought back to his days travelling in the TARDIS as the tricorn-wearing Doctor. (PROSE: The Dying Days) Though the Fifth Doctor did not remember his lifetime as Patience's husband clearly, he found traces of memories within himself of being these Doctors. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)

Shortly after the Thirteenth Doctor discovered the truth of the Timeless Child, a secret which involved the Division having wiped the Doctor's memories of many of their early incarnations, the eight faces were among the memories she used to overload the Matrix, alongside her fourteen conventional faces but also the image of the Fugitive Doctor, (TV: The Timeless Children) one of the early faces she had been made to forget. (TV: Fugitive of the Judoon, Once, Upon Time)

However, simultaneous to his memories of being these Doctors, the Doctor also had memories of being loomed in the House of Lungbarrow. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) Glospin claimed that people could renew regenerative cycles by jumping looms and being reborn into new families. The Doctor impossibly (PROSE: Lungbarrow) remembered being a strung-out consciousness waiting to be born (PROSE: Cold Fusion, Lungbarrow) and immediately after being born he said, "Again." (PROSE: Human Nature) The Seventh Doctor would find that his hazy memories of a life before the First Doctor belonged to the Other, who was reborn as the Doctor after millions of years via looming. Evoking this past, the Doctor quoted Morbius by telling Lungbarrow to think "back to your beginning" to remember when it was made by the Other. (PROSE: Lungbarrow) The Fifth Doctor's encounter with Patience's husband also suggested the faces seen in the mind battle had some overlap or connection to the Other. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)

In explaining the past of history involving the faces, the other told the Fifth Doctor that, "Time is relative. History repeats itself, and repeats itself again. Father to son." (PROSE: Cold Fusion) The Doctor's life was part of an eternal return which repeated each generation in a patrilineal line of Doctors. Several details suggested that Patience's husband may have somehow been Ulysses. (PROSE: Cold Fusion, The Infinity Doctors, Unnatural History) This repetition continued, with one of the Eighth Doctor's possible futures glimpsed in the Tomorrow Window suggesting he would regenerate into a "series of men in pseudo-Edwardian clothes" and, in time, the First Doctor. (PROSE: The Tomorrow Windows)

Travels in the TARDIS[[edit]]

Despite many accounts showing the so-called "First Doctor" as the incarnation who'd first stolen the Doctor's definitive TARDIS from the workshops and run away from Gallifrey, (TV: The Name of the Doctor, PROSE: Birth of a Renegade, etc.) some accounts suggested that these incarnations of the Doctor had already used the same TARDIS as their successors. For example, the second incarnation seen in the mindbending duel's tricorn hat was found by the Eighth Doctor in the TARDIS's second control room, who pointed it out as evidence of how long it had been since he had regularly used that control room instead of the white one. (PROSE: The Dying Days) Indeed, the Fugitive Doctor made use of a police box-shaped TARDIS. (TV: Fugitive of the Judoon)


Early life[[edit]]

According to one account, the Doctor was raised on Gallifrey from a family of explorers, his father being part of the Supreme Council. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) In an alternate universe, after Patience was widowed by Omega, she became the Doctor's tutor, just as she had been his grandfather's tutor and his father's tutor. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) He and Patience ultimately fell in love. (PROSE: Cold Fusion, The Infinity Doctors)


The screen of the mindbending device counted down from the Fourth Doctor to the First Doctor before showing the Morbius faces in reverse chronological order. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) When the Thirteenth Doctor blasted the Matrix with her memories of the mindbending contest, she remembered the faces in a different order. (TV: The Timeless Children)

  • The eighth displayed face was fair-skinned and had a short dark full beard which went lighter at his temples. In the screen of the mindbending device, he wore a dark narrow brimmed hat with a dark feather. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
  • The seventh face was fair-skinned and beardless but had lengthy dark straight hair. In the mindbending screen, he wore a dark wide-brimmed hat. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
  • The sixth face was fair-skinned, had a goatee and moustache and straight dark lengthy hair. In the mindbending screen, he wore a dark wide-brimmed hat and a top with light coloured collar. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) He embarked on an Odyssey through the Time Vortex, being one of the first to explore it, with the Machine, a prototype timeship. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)
  • The incarnation that married Patience (PROSE: Cold Fusion) was fair-skinned and beardless but had long curly dark hair. In the mindbending screen, he wore a dark cavalier hat with a light-coloured feather. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) According to one telling, "the Stranger" who first had a child with Patience was a Time Lord who sat by Mount Perdition, outside the Capitol, trying to turn Time's tributary into a stream. He knew of Lady Patience and her wish to bear a child, in spite of Pythia's Curse, which enforced sterility. Lady Patience sought the help of many experts across the Capitol, but none were able to help her. Only the Stranger had the answer. When she visited, he offered her an empty sack, instructing her to fill it with water from the Sea of Life. Lady Patience emptied all the Sea of Life in her attempt, though the sack bore a hole. When all of time had soaked up on the shore, she found a child there. (AUDIO: Patience) On the day of the Doctor's comeback from the Odyssey, returning with "charts and trophies from every corner of the universe" and bringing back with him "travellers' tales of monsters and lost civilizations", he married Patience. They lived at Patience's ancestral home, the House of Blyledge, and had thirteen children. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)
  • The incarnation that sat on the Supreme Council (PROSE: Cold Fusion) was fair-skinned with blond curly hair and a dark full beard. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) Shortly after he regenerated, Patience thought he was much taller and hairier than his previous, beardless body, and his beard was much coarser. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) In the mindbending screen, he wore a light coloured necktie with a top with dark high collar. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) Early in this incarnation's life, his firstborn son was a Cardinal and a Time Lord of the first rank, whose wife was expecting to give birth to his and Patience's first grandchild. The Loom-born revolt occurred on the day of her birth, with the Watch culling the Doctor's thirteen children and charging him with consorting with aliens. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) By one account, the Doctor remained on the Supreme Council afterwards, mourning his lost wife and dead children for a considerable length of time. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors) He continued to wear his wedding ring. (PROSE: Cold Fusion, The Infinity Doctors) A photograph of this Doctor was, by one account, in Clive Finch's possession. (PROSE: Rose [+]Loading...{"ed":"2023 Illustrated Edition","1":"Rose (novelisation)"})
  • The third face was fair-skinned with light coloured curly hair and a full beard. In the mindbending screen, he wore a dark top with no collar at the front but a very high stand behind the head. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) This face and outfit were identical to those of Martin Jurgens, an Adjudicator who was working for the Earth Empire circa 2472. (TV: Colony in Space)
  • The second face was fair-skinned with no facial hair but curly light-colored hair of mid length. In the mind-bending screen, his hair was held at the back with a bow tie, and he wore a tricorn hat and a light-colored necktie over his a dark collar. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) This Doctor travelled in the same TARDIS which later Doctors would use, piloting using the second control room. (PROSE: The Dying Days)
  • The incarnation which immediately preceded the First Doctor was fair-skinned with a dark moustache and dark straight hair of mid length. In the mindbending screen, he wore a black top hat. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) A photograph of this Doctor was, by one account, in Clive Finch's possession. In said photograph he carried a cane. (PROSE: Rose [+]Loading...{"ed":"2023 Illustrated Edition","1":"Rose (novelisation)"})


Connected to these incarnations, the Fifth Doctor had a memory of his past self as an old man standing alone on a mountain, whom he identified as "the other". The Doctor did not know when this happened, but the other said, "It is both [how it will begin and how it will end]. Time is relative. History repeats itself, and repeats itself again. Father to son." (PROSE: Cold Fusion)

Ultimately, the Doctor, now in a body with long white hair, rescued Patience and her granddaughter from the purge, placing Patience in the Machine for safety and assuring her that her granddaughter would be taken away from Gallifrey. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)

The Fifth Doctor only had hazy memories of his life from before what he remembered to be his second regeneration; further back, great chunks were missing. (PROSE: Cold Fusion) The Sixth Doctor also mentioned that his memory was vague prior to his regeneration into the Third Doctor. (COMIC: The World Shapers) Some sources indicate that some of the Doctor's early memories were actively erased (PROSE: Birth of a Renegade, TV: The Timeless Children)


The Fifth Doctor recognised the name of Patience's husband as a pioneer amongst his people - which he noted "was odd, because his people [had] forgotten the name". (PROSE: Cold Fusion) The First Doctor had previously stated that he "had been a pioneer among [his] people" to the Thals of Skaro. (TV: The Daleks)

The First Doctor's signet ring belonged to Patience's husband. (PROSE: Cold Fusion)

When describing his "renewal" process to Ben and Polly, the newly-regenerated Second Doctor implied that he had previously renewed himself in the past, and he opened a trunk that contained relics from his previous incarnations: Saladin's ornamental dagger; a large earring he used to wear; a thick gold bracelet with odd pictures; and Cameca's jade brooch. (PROSE: The Power of the Daleks)

When Polly, Ben, and Jamie found a shaving mirror on the control console of the second control room in the Doctor's TARDIS, Polly and Ben speculated that the room may have been used by a bearded incarnation of the Doctor from a time before either of the Doctors they were familiar with. (PROSE: Something at the Door) Indeed, the Eighth Doctor recalled having used the second control room as his primary control room "ages ago", when he worn a tricorn. (PROSE: The Dying Days)

After being trapped in the Matrix by the Spy Master, the Thirteenth Doctor escaped by overloading the system with memories of her past incarnations and of all she had seen; some of these eight faces from her distant past, as they had once appeared to the Fourth Doctor during the mindbending contest, were among them. (TV: The Timeless Children)

Photographs of two of these Doctors were taken prior to 5 March 2005; by that date, they were owned by conspiracy theorist Clive Finch. (PROSE: Rose [+]Loading...{"ed":"2023 Illustrated Edition","1":"Rose (novelisation)"})

Behind the scenes[[edit]]

Information from invalid sources[[edit]]

For his introduction to the rewatch of The Day of the Doctor, Strax stated that it featured all the Doctors "except for most of them". This statement was accompanied by a collective image of all of these individuals. (WC: Strax Saves the Day [+]Loading...["Strax Saves the Day (webcast)"])


Photographer Bob Komar took colour close-up photos of the "actors" that were used in episode. Two black-and-white mid-shot photos were also taken. None of these photos were retained by the BBC Photo Library but copies were given to the participants and most have been recovered. (DWM 564)

Actor Colour Mid-shot 1 Mid-shot 2 Info
Christopher Barry Christopher Barry 1 DWM 541.jpg Christopher Barry 2 DWM 541.jpg Christopher Barry 3.jpg Photos from DWM 541
Robert Banks Stewart SecondDoctorMorbius-0.JPG Robert Banks Stewart 2.jpg
Christopher Baker ThirdDoctorMorbius-0.JPG Status TBC Status TBC Restored photos from DWM 564
Philip Hinchcliffe Philip Hinchcliffe 1.jpg Philip Hinchcliffe 2.jpg Colour photo from Classic Who: The Hinchcliffe Years
Douglas Camfield FifthDoctorMorbius.JPG Douglas Camfield 2.jpg Douglas Camfield 3 DMW 553.jpg Restored photo from DWM 553
Graeme Harper SixthDoctorMorbius.jpg Martin Jurgens credentials.jpg The photograph of Graeme Harper as Martin Jurgens from Colony in Space was reused for The Brain of Morbius.
Robert Holmes Robert Holmes 1.jpg Robert Holmes 2.jpg Restored photo by Stuart Humphryes
George Gallaccio EighthDoctorMorbius.jpg George Gallaccio 2.jpg
Behind the scenes images of the "Morbius Doctors", save Graeme Harper. (In-Vision #12)
The photograph of Graeme Harper used to represent Martin Jurgens in Colony in Space, later repurposed to represent a Doctor in The Brain of Morbius.
Warp Hustler Forgotten Lives.jpg
  • In promotion for his series Warp Hustler, Paul Hanley released an image featuring his Philip Hinchcliffe design which was endorsed by Obverse Books.

External links[[edit]]


  1. BBC's article on The Brain of Morbius
  2. Paul Hanley on Patreon: Forgotten Lives Pt 4…
  3. Issue 12 of In-Vision also included seven photographs of the "Young Doctors", excluding Graeme Harper.
  4. AHistory; see also Lance Parkin on Twitter: I've written some Doctor Who fiction!
  5. 5.0 5.1 Time, Unincorporated: Volume One