Where did the Ruth-Doctor come from? Fugitive of the Judoon

; Date: Sat Feb 08 2020

Tags: Doctor Who »»»» Doctor Who Season 12

In Fugitive of the Judoon, we were treated to a previously unknown and nearly impossible incarnation of The Doctor. In the show they made it very clear that The Ruth-Doctor was The Doctor. But unlike every other multi-Doctor story, the two Doctor's did not recognize each other. It leaves us fans wondering what the ____ is going on. I found an interesting video on YouTube with a number of interesting theories, so here's what I think about those theories.

Source - BBC

The attached video has a good rundown of possible theories as to who The Ruth-Doctor is, and where she comes from.

Let's start with the obvious. In Fugitive of the Judoon, the show goes to great lengths to demonstrate that indeed The Ruth-Doctor is The Doctor. A DNA scan shows they're the same person. The Judoon's fugitive detector identified both as The Fugitive (hence The Doctor). The Ruth-Doctor has a TARDIS that's stuck in London Police Box form.

In the episode we met Ruth who seemed to be a normal everyday person, whose job was as a tour guide in downtown Gloucester. Then the Judoon showed up looking for a fugitive, and it sure looked like her husband Lee was the culprit. Except he wasn't - it was Ruth who was the fugitive. But of course Lee had to die anyway, as did Ruth's other paramour a guy at the coffee shop. Sheesh.

Ruth had been in hiding using a Chameleon Arch device. We've seen this used before, by The Doctor and by The Master. In each case they had a helper who watched over them, and reminded them to open their remembrance device when the time was necessary. Opening that device caused a return of the hidden memories, and caused the DNA to restore. Previously the remembrance device was a "fob watch" but in this case it was a light switch on the wall of the lighthouse where The Ruth-Doctor hid the TARDIS.

One difference between them is that to The Ruth-Doctor, the Time Lords still exist. She was simply on the run from them. However, to The Doctor the Time Lords and Gallifrey have been destroyed.


Maybe The Ruth-Doctor is Not The Doctor Maybe the Chameleon Arch was used the wrong way around, and that for some reason The Doctor used it on a regular human to force The Doctor's DNA onto that human.

That is - with the Chameleon Arch - a Time Lord uses it to convert their DNA to another species, and hide their memories. What if The Doctor (or someone) used it on a regular human, to insert The Doctor's memory and DNA onto that human....?

THis is so nonsensical that I have to dismiss it out of hand, but it is an ingenious idea.

Maybe this is a 'past' incarnation of The Doctor Given that The Ruth-Doctor did not know what a sonic screwdriver was, a lot of folks are thinking she must be from far in The Doctor's past. Recall that the sonic screwdriver was invented by The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), and therefore the First Doctor would not have known what it was.

However - this theory presupposes a big problem. Where would this Ruth-Doctor incarnation fit? We saw on television the regeneration from The First Doctor to The Second Doctor. Unless there were Doctor incarnations before the one we identify as THe First Doctor (William Hartnell's incarnation) there's no room for The Ruth-Doctor to precede The Troughton-Doctor.

If there were incarnations preceding The First Doctor, that overturns lots of Canon. It is established lore that Time Lords have 12 regenerations and that The Doctor had used his up by the time he became The Smith-Doctor.

But - we had The Capaldi-Doctor boasting about having had female incarnations, having lived as a vestal virgin, etc. Maybe he was just babbling and lying, or maybe there's something to that...?

But - I'm not willing to accept The Ruth-Doctor as a pre-1st Doctor incarnation. As Travis says in the video - How could The Ruth-Doctor be prior to The Jodi-Doctor, when she would have to be subsequent to The First Doctor, and it was The 2nd Doctor that invented The Sonic. There's no room to wedge an incarnation between the 1st and 2nd Doctor's.

Maybe the Ruth-Doctor predates The 1st Doctor I've already discussed this, and do not think this could be. Except we have The Master telling us that everything we were told about The Time Lords and Gallifrey was all a lie. So... maybe there's room within that lie for Doctor Incarnations that predate the 1st Doctor.

In the episode The Brain of Morbius, The Doctor lands on the planet Khan and had a tangling with The Sisterhood of Khan, as well as a renegade Time Lord named Morbius. The Sisterhood themselves are closely related to The Time Lords, FWIW. In any case, during the episode The Doctor and Morbius had a psychic mind battle during which images of a bunch of The Doctor's incarnations were shown. Those images included 8 faces that we have never seen as Doctor Incarnations.

Fans have ever since pondered whether those faces were from a regeneration cycle which predated The 1st Doctor.

If The Doctor had a whole regeneration cycle before - it would preserve the Canon of 12 regenerations, and The Smith-Doctor being the last regeneration of that cycle. However in no other time in televised Doctor Who has there been a mention of a previous regeneration cycle.

The TARDIS as Police Box issue These theories that The Ruth-Doctor predates The First Doctor has a major hole. Namely, in the episode The TARDIS shows up as a police box. In the show, The TARDIS became a police box when The First Doctor landed in London in 1963, and it stuck with that shape. We even had The Doctor during the first season wondering why it was still a police box. Eventually in the show we learned the Chameleon Circuit was broken, and The Doctor never got around to fixing it.

If The Ruth-Doctor predated The First Doctor, then why did her TARDIS have the police box shape?

Maybe one does predate the other, but forgot Travis doesn't go into this, so this is my theory. As we witnessed with The War Doctor, The Doctor may have had an incarnation that s/he chose to forget.

What if The Ruth-Doctor is from The Doctor's future? This is a variant of the previous theory, that what if The Ruth-Doctor is from so far in The Doctor's future that she has forgotten earlier incarnations, forgot about the Sonic Screwdriver, etc.

But in the show they went to great lengths to have The Ruth-Doctor say she remembered all her past incarnations.

Another issue with this is the destruction of Gallifrey. It would presuppose that Gallifrey has been rebuilt, and the future Time Lords have no memory of a previous destruction.

Why oh why didn't The Jodi-Doctor ask The Ruth-Doctor which was her immediately previous incarnation?

In any case, this seems too far fetched to believe.

Maybe she's The Doctor from an alternate reality This is close to my own theory. In Skyfall there was the presentation of multiple Earth's. Then in Orphan 55, The Doctor again talked about multiple Earth's not all of which are destroyed so bad to be an orphan planet.

This could explain a lot of what's going on such as The Master and his destruction of Gallifrey, and why isn't The Master really Missy. Maybe somehow they're on another timeline with a different Master and different Gallifrey, and there's another timeline in which The Doctor kicked Rassilon off of Gallifrey and all is fine.

Maybe she's Jenny, The Doctor's Doctor This person, Jenny, comes from a 10th Doctor episode where The Doctor and Donna land on a newly settled planet being terraformed. They've wandered into a strange war that also involves a machine that can produce instant clones of people. The machine produced a clone of The Doctor, a perky young woman. (Who in real life was the daughter of The Fifth Doctor, and who ended up marrying David Tennant)

The problem with this is - yes, the DNA would match - but, how would Jenny get ahold of The TARDIS, and how would Jenny get to know The Doctor's timeline? How would Jenny get involved with The Time Lords to the extent that The Ruth-Doctor has?

This theory just doesn't make sense.

Maybe The Ruth-Doctor is the Lone Cyberman that Jack warned us about This warning came in Fugitive of the Judoon, when Jack tried to time scoop The Doctor to deliver a warning, and instead time scoop'd the companions. Jack warned about The Last Cyberman, and don't give that Cyberman what it wants.

This is extremely unlikely. How could a lone cyberman appear with the same DNA as The Doctor, with a TARDIS, etc?

Maybe The Ruth-Doctor is The Timeless Child Knowledge of that figure comes from Skyfall, when The Master told us the lie of the Time Lord Race comes from The Lie of the Timeless Child. Of course we the viewer haven't a clue what that means.

The Jodi-Doctor was shown an image of a child with dark skin outside of what looked like Gallifrey. But what that means is not explained.

Travis is suggesting that maybe The Doctor was that Timeless Child? In any case as he says we do know that The Time Lords of Old had some strange and powerful weapons, and had little compunction with messing about with reality in a big way.

But that would imply The Doctor was a result of Time Lord manipulation of something?

We were told about The Timeless Child by the ribbon creatures in The Ghost Monument episode from last season. This person we were told The Timeless Child was The Outcast, The Abandoned, The Unknown.

I'm uncertain about this - seems far fetched. For instance, how do we end up with The Ruth-Doctor having The Doctor's DNA if The Ruth-Doctor is also The Timeless Child? Travis suggests that maybe The Timeless Child has the potential to become any Time Lord. But if so, then why was The Judoon armed with a detector that matched The Doctor?

There's too many confusions for this theory to work.

Where Did This New Doctor Come From? - Doctor Who: 'Fugitive of the Judoon'

About the Author(s)

(davidherron.com) David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.