click on images to enlarge
The Meta-Crisis Doctor was a Time Lord/human hybrid and a human incarnation of the Doctor, who possessed one heart, aged as humans did and had no regenerative ability to avoid death. He was created by an instantaneous biological meta crisis and was the final result of the Tenth Doctor’s aborted regeneration.
However, this Doctor was born in a separate body than the Tenth Doctor existing as a separate person with DNA sampled from Donna Noble. These genetic alterations caused him to develop a unique, less merciful personality that deviated from the moral code that his counterpart followed. The new Doctor needed someone to look after him and quell the fire in his veins, and shared the same romantic feelings toward his companion Rose Tyler that the original Doctor could not accept as a slow-aging Time Lord. Thus, the Tenth Doctor made sure this version of himself would enjoy his life with Rose Tyler in Pete’s World, fulfilling the need to make him a better person, and so his duplicate could give Rose the romantic life that she desired in his stead.
THE DOCTOR’S HAND
On Christmas 2006, the newly-regenerated Tenth Doctor lost his hand in a sword fight against the Sycorax leader. (The Christmas Invasion) Jack Harkness later retrieved the hand and returned it to The Doctor in a jar in the year 100 trillion. (Utopia) The Doctor’s hand remained in the TARDIS until The Doctor was grazed by the blast from a Dalek gunstick, triggering the Time Lord’s regeneration. After healing the damage to his body with the regeneration energy, he channelled the excess energy into his hand, a bio-matching receptacle, allowing him to heal but not change his appearance and personality. (Journey’s End) Even though the regeneration was aborted before it could be completed, the fact that The Doctor siphoned off the energy that would’ve changed his appearance after healing his injuries, he used up the same amount of regenerative energy as a full regeneration. This, as the Eleventh Doctor later told Clara Oswald, meant that his used up two regenerations due to “vanity issues.” (The Time of the Doctor)
Shortly after this aborted regeneration, the Daleks attempted to destroy The Doctor’s TARDIS. Still inside the TARDIS during this apparent destruction, Donna Noble touched the energised hand’s container. The regenerative energies present within the hand combined with Donna’s human DNA, causing an instantaneous biological Meta Crisis. The force of the reaction shattered the container, allowing the energy to regenerate the entire missing body of the Doctor. In this process, the “Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor” was created. He immediately dematerialised the TARDIS, saving it and Donna. (Journey’s End)
GENOCIDE AND EXILE IN PETE’S WORLD
After putting on a blue suit, The Doctor and Donna left the TARDIS and tried to attack Davros and the Daleks with his new weapon. Both were electrocuted by Davros. After the now-part-Time Lord Donna defeated the Daleks, she, the Meta-Crisis Doctor and the teamed up to return all but one of the planets to their rightful places. The Meta-Crisis Doctor was then prompted by Dalek Caan to fulfil a prophecy by destroying the Daleks. He chose to do so and ignored pleas from both Davros and Donna. He proceeded to overload the Dalekanium power feeds, causing virtually the entire New Dalek Empire to explode, from individual Daleks to the Crucible itself.
Feeling his new, part-human counterpart was too dangerous to be left to his own devices, The Doctor entrusted him to Rose Tyler, taking the two of them back to Bad Wolf Bay in Pete’s World. Tenth Doctor told Rose that his part-human self needed her, that he was angry and vengeful as he himself had been when he first met Rose. He told her she had made him better, and now she had to do the same for his other, part-human self. Rose objected to this at first, insisting that the new Doctor was not really him, despite The Doctor’s assurance that they were the same man and the part-human Doctor offering to spend the rest of his life with her. Rose asked both Doctors what the last thing they had said to her was when they were originally standing on Bad Wolf Bay. The Doctor was unable to give her a direct answer: “Does it need saying?” She posed the same question to the part-human Doctor, who whispered it in her ear.
Seemingly overcome with the revelation of his answer, Rose grabbed the lapels of the part-human Doctor and pulled him into a kiss, which he reciprocated. The Doctor looked on sadly yet stoically for a moment before returning with Donna to the TARDIS and leaving the parallel world. As the doors of the TARDIS slammed shut, Rose and the part-human Doctor broke from their kiss. The part-human Doctor took Rose’s hand and watched the TARDIS dematerialise. (Journey’s End)
As a result of growing partially from Donna’s DNA, the new Doctor inherited some of Donna’s mannerisms. He claimed he had the same memories, thoughts and feelings of the original Doctor up to the point of his aborted regeneration, making them essentially the same man with physiological differences. However, the original Doctor was quick to point out that his new double was “born in battle, full of blood, anger and revenge”. In this way, the Tenth Doctor described his duplicate as representing the way he had been during his formerincarnation before meeting Rose. This motivated him to commit attempted genocide against the Daleks, an act the original Doctor condemned after the events of the Last Great Time War. (Journey’s End) This could be contrasted against the Fourth Doctor’s decision that he didn’t have the right to commit genocide, that doing so would make him just as bad as the Daleks. (Genesis of the Daleks)
BEHIND THE SCENES
Although he had the same appearance, memories, and basic personality of the Tenth Doctor, the new Doctor also exhibited several personality changes, in particular based upon Donna Noble.
In End of an Era, executive producer Julie Gardner confirmed that the intention was that the new Doctor did indeed say”I love you” when he whispered in Rose’s ear.
On screen, this character was only ever referred to as The Doctor. To avoid confusion, fans took to referring to him by names such as the New Doctor, Meta-Crisis Doctor, Ten II, the human Doctor, Doctor 10.5, Tenth Doctor Duplicate, Doctor/Donna, John Noble and Handy. None of these names are considered official, particularly references to him as the Eleventh Doctor, though David Tennant in Doctor Who Confidential acknowledged that this was expected to be a topic of much debate as time went on.
The Doctor occasionally wore his blue suit even after the Meta-Crisis Doctor left the TARDIS with it, indicating that The Doctor either replaced it or owned more than one. (Music of the Spheres, Dreamland, The Waters of Mars)
The clothes that the new Doctor chose reflected the proposed outfit Tennant was to wear in the series 3 opener, Smith and Jones, with The Doctor wearing a red t-shirt under his blue suit as opposed to the light blue shirt/tie combo that was eventually used. (Smith and Jones)
A number of fans have speculated whether this Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor would eventually become the Valeyard. However, among other things, dialogue in The Name of the Doctor stated “Valeyard” as a future name for The Doctor that was yet to come.
There was much fan speculation as to whether or not The Doctor had used up one of his regenerations when he channelled the excess regeneration energy into his hand. In the 2013 Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor, Eleventh Doctor reflected on his regeneration cycle and confirmed that these actions did indeed use up a regeneration. He dismissed the Tenth Doctor’s reluctance to change his face as “vanity issues”.
A “PETE’S WORLD” TARDIS
In the original script, The Doctor was meant to give TARDIS coral to the part-human Doctor on the assumption that a whole new TARDIS could be grown from it, but it was cut as stated earlier.
Nevertheless, the idea has popped up in several places:
“The Doctor’s Data” section of a Doctor Who Adventures magazine
The Fact File for the episode on the official website, which stated that it was in the original script but later removed.
Inside the magazine, there is an excerpt of script with a statement that this part of the scene made it all the way to the last cut, but the producers decided that it just complicated the scene too much. However, the scene was filmed and it was included in the series 4 DVD boxset. The magazine quoted Russell T Davies’ opinion that the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler have a piece of TARDIS coral, which they can use to grow their own TARDIS.
In Russell T Davies’ book The Writer’s Tale, the full original draft of the Bad Wolf Bay script has The Doctor stating that it takes “thousands of years” to grow a TARDIS.
However, Donna uses her newfound Time Lord knowledge enhanced by human intuition to overcome this problem by suggesting:”…if you shatterfry the plasmic shell and modify the dimensional stabiliser to a foldback harmonic of 36.3, you accelerate growth by the power of 59!” Which would presumably enable a TARDIS to grow within a human lifetime.