Steven Moffat Worked His 1995 Doctor Who Chatroom Fan Theory Into Show Canon


Steven Moffat posted a fan theory to a chatroom in the early days of the internet about Doctor Who and it’s been revealed the showrunner turned it into canon in the Season 6 episode “A Good Man Goes to War.”

The year? 1995.

The chatroom? rec.arts.drwho

Consider this: a Doctor Who fan theorizing the famous sci-fi character’s name was in fact the reason healers were called doctors at all. Then that same fan being put in charge of the show 15 years later and making his theory become reality.

That’s exactly what happened according to the Radio Times. They were able to dig up a google version of the USENET post in question thanks to reddit and revealed Moffat’s theory from 1995:

Steven Moffat (100043.121@CompuServe.COM) wrote:
Here’s a particularly stupid theory. If we take “The Doctor” to be the Doctor’s name – even if it is in the form of a title no doubt meaning something deep and Gallifreyan – perhaps our earthly use of the word “doctor” meaning healer or wise man is direct result of the Doctor’s multiple interventions in our history as a healer and wise man. In other words, we got it from him. This is a very silly idea and I’m consequently rather proud of it.

As much as I might disagree with creative choices Moffat has made in the past, I would never deny he’s a giant fan of Doctor Who just like the rest of us (it’s also amusing to see he’s always been overly proud of his ideas). I just wonder how difficult it was for him to wait to work it into the show.

Here’s dialogue from River Song in the Season 6, Episode 7 “A Good Man Goes to War.”

Doctor. The word for healer and wise man throughout the universe. We get that word from you, you know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean?

The story was certainly realized by fans much earlier as many visited the chatroom after the episode had aired to cheer the showrunner on. One wrote, “Hello from the future. Just watched the last episode of 6th season. So you did it, Mr. Moffat, you put this idea in the series. After 16 years from its creation. That’s freaking amazing.”

And in case you were wondering if this was just some hoax or urban legend, Moffat confirmed it was true to the Radio Times.

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2 Responses to “Steven Moffat Worked His 1995 Doctor Who Chatroom Fan Theory Into Show Canon”

  1. I really liked this line when it showed up. This was probably the last of his episodes I really, really enjoyed. The rest of the season kind of fell flat for me, and it hasn’t quite picked up since.

  2. I remember that scene and I remember loving it…that he had become the Oncoming Storm instead of the great healer because he had this emo period while he searched for Amy. Duuug it.