David Tennant’s Doctor Who Anniversary specials will address the Timeless Child retcon. With the 60th Anniversary celebrations ongoing, David Tennant and Catherine Tate are returning to the franchise with showrunner Russell T Davies back to helm the series. After the Chris Chibnall era left the entire history of the Doctor forever changed, Davies’ handling of the retcon has been an ongoing question.
In an interview published in Doctor Who Magazine (via RadioTimes.com), Davies explained that the Timeless Child will be “slightly” addressed by the 60th Anniversary specials. To tie into Chibnall’s work, Davies included the acknowledgment in the second of the three specials. Check out his quote below:
“The history of the Flux and the Timeless Child is dealt with very slightly in this episode to acknowledge the brilliant work Chris did and to say that’s absolutely part of our history as well.”
Why The Timeless Child Retcon Is Controversial
There have been questions about whether the Timeless Child retcon would be canonized by Davies’ returning era. The retcon establishes that the Doctor existed before the Time Lords. The beings who would become the Time Lords discovered the power of regeneration from the Doctor. After uncovering the secrets, they eventually wiped the hero’s memory, and Doctor Who history continued as expected.
The first hints at the possibility that the Doctor could be the Timeless Child came long before Davies revived the show in 2005. The Sylvester McCoy era hinted at a darker and more consequential history, which is why Chibnall followed through with the storyline. Unfortunately, the execution of such a development has been controversial. The change made the Doctor into more than just a good-hearted Time Lord. Instead, it turned the character into a god-like figure who can never be at risk.
Davies’ handling of the retcon will likely determine just how long the retcon will be acknowledged. If the story is a mild reference, the Timeless Child could easily slip into the deepest recesses of lore. If the idea is thoroughly acknowledged in Doctor Who season 14, it will likely be remembered forever as a lasting element. Davies may be addressing the Timeless Child in the Doctor Who Anniversary specials, but the future will see how thoroughly the retcon remains in the lore.