View Poll Results: Is the Doctor the biological Grandfather of Susan?

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  • Yes, the Doctor is Susan's real Grandfather

    12 92.31%
  • No, the title 'Grandfather' is an affectation

    1 7.69%
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  1. #1
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    Default A Grandfather Paradox?



    "It's impossible unless you use D and E!"
    "What do you need 'E' for?"

    GRANDFATHER!

    We have a character in The Doctor who has rarely shown interest in women, whether they're human or Time Lady. There's no hint that he has a biological reproductive system - He never had a child with Romana, for instance.

    So how come he has a Granddaughter for the first year (ish) of the show?

    There's no question of Susan having proper parents. Strangely, Ian and Barbara never ask about them, even though they have plenty of opportunities after they first take off in the TARDIS. As concerned school-teachers, they should have shown an interest in her parents and how she was coping without them. Or whether they were still alive, even.

    So Susan has only one relative that we know about, a doddering old man who later turns out to be a two-hearted Time Lord. I'm now trying to think if there was an occassion where Ian and Barbara might have found out whether or not Susan had two hearts - i.e., if she was a Time Lord herself.

    If she was a Time Lord, it seems unlikely that the Doctor would have dropped her off with David Campbell (for soup?) in the twenty-second century.

    Personally, I think the term Grandfather is an affectation and that somehow, Susan is a human who became convinced that the Doctor was her elderly relative. Perhaps he took her under his wing, or introduced himself as such.

    What do you think? Is the Doctor really her grandfather? Or is it a tissue of lies?
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  2. #2
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    I think the nub of this problem is that the Doctor is (a) really old, so possibly past the age at which he would have had children and (b) latterly in possession suddenly of a younger body, so this becomes possible again.

    Do the Doctors race get too old for kids, regenerate then start having new families all over the place? If you consider the need to raise a family as something which mentally you grow out of, then it makes more sense. The Doctor has always been old and has already raised a family when we meet him, this is why he never shows an interest in raising another/the opposite sex.

    Also, the Doctors pride in his great grandson Alex in "An Earthly Child" makes it clear that he is a relative, and it is not an affectation.

    Si.

  3. #3
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    Whilst it is odd that if Susan really is the Doctor's flesh and blood relation he never went back for her on TV (and only seven regenerations later on audio!) there's no reason not take his claim at face value.

    In the new series we've had the Doctor refer to having previously had children (as well as Doctor #10 saying as much outright to Rose, #9 was heard to remark in response to Dr Constantine's comment about being a grandfather before the war that he knew how that felt).

    As far as sexual organs go Donna certainly seemed to be quite embarassed when the duplicate of #10 appeared naked in front of her and Amy was certainly looking at something in The Eleventh Hour so much so that she tried to get #11 into bed a couple of episodes later!

  4. #4
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    There's not a single scarp if evidence on TV to suggest that Susan isn't his actual grandaughter. All the "she's just calling him that" stuff comes from JNT in the 80s not wanting anyone to think that the Doctor might have had sex. Ridiculous! This then got taken in as part of "The Cartmel Masterplan" with all the nonsense about looms and the Doctor being "The Other" reincarnated and all that...

    Why can't the Doctor have had a family? It's not beyond the bounds of possibility. I like the fact that we don't know everything about The Doctor, and that this, the oldest mystery of them all- when did he have his family, is still not answered.

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    There's no hint that he has a biological reproductive system - He never had a child with Romana, for instance.
    Equally there's no hint that he doesn't have such a system. There is also no hint in virtually any episode of the series ever that any of the characters have normal biological waste removal systems. Does that mean they don't go to the toilet, or just that it's not part of the story being told?

    There's no question of Susan having proper parents. Strangely, Ian and Barbara never ask about them, even though they have plenty of opportunities after they first take off in the TARDIS. As concerned school-teachers, they should have shown an interest in her parents and how she was coping without them. Or whether they were still alive, even.
    As she's been in the school for some time, this bit would have been dealt with when she first arrived. It's quite possible that the school was simply told that her parents died when she was very young and she has been raised by her grandfather. That's not exceptionally rare. The fact that neither one of them is surprised when Barbara says the reason she can't work at home with Susan is because her grandfather didn't like visitors suggests that they already know he is her guardian, and once they leave in the TARDIS the question of her parentage probably doesn't seem like a top prority when running from cavemen or Daleks or trying not to get their heads cut off in revolutionary France!

  6. #6
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    There's also the matter of the Doctor being of one species, and almost all of the other characters we might think he might have been likely to show any 'sexual' interest in, being of another. The new series fudges this issue, but up until Romana there is never the opportunity for the Doctor to get jiggy with another of his own kind, so it isn't even an issue until then.

    By the time of Romana, of course, the series is so set in its ways that there's little likelihood of a sexual relationship materialising on screen; it just isn't that kind of a series (but if you want to look for it, there's more than a hint in the chemistry and performances of Tom and Lalla - for obvious reasons).

    It's one of those things: because of the nature of the kind of show Doctor Who is, people tend to make assumptions about a fictional narrative which of course, is set by boundaries relating to its production rather than any ongoing continuity choices.

    That Susan is the Doctor's granddaughter is beyond doubt; there's no reason for us not to think that this old man might not have had a biological family until several years later, when a new production regime instigates changes (or developments) to the continuity that then throw a new light onto what was said before. The same thing happened with the whole 'two hearts' business; the fact that this has now become an established part of the series' lore does not override the fact that when the show was created, it absolutely was not the case. Lungbarrow does not overrule An Unearthly Child; it is an alternative.

    You can't - as much as some writers might have tried - square the circles in Doctor Who's ongoing continuity. Which might possibly mean, of course, that while once upon a time, Susan was the Doctor's granddaughter, nowadays she is not ...

    Even if that is the case, of course, the fact remains that during 1963 and 1964, Susan was the Doctor's granddaughter. And now she isn't... That's one to get scratching your heads over...

    For a more prosaic reason for continuity errors, there's always the Literary Agent Hypothesis (Google it).

  7. #7
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    Equally there's no hint that he doesn't have such a system.
    I'm implying that he doesn't have an interest in women, rather than he doesn't have a penis.

    Also, he almost certainly excretes waste somehow, because we see him eating.

    and once they leave in the TARDIS the question of her parentage probably doesn't seem like a top prority when running from cavemen or Daleks or trying not to get their heads cut off in revolutionary France!
    Yes, but there are moments, such as in The Aztecs, where it may have been relevant to ask Susan what had happened to her parents. Especially after they discover that she wasn't from 20th Century Earth (apparently). Even in The Reign of Terror, she and Susan spent a long time locked in a cell together. That's the kind of situation where you might ask someone about their lives, about whether there's anyone they love left behind or why you're traveling around time and space with your Grandfather.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  8. #8
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    Has it EVER been suggested on screen that Susan wasn't the Doctor's biological Granddaughter?

    It's only with the New Adventures and their invention of Gallifrey's Looms and other such nonsense that brought along the suggestion that she might not have been the Doctor's granddaughter, but the granddaughter of The Other, or some nonsense like that.

    Taking a strict tv-only approach to canon, then there's no evidence to suggest that Susan was anything but the Doctor's actual, biological granddaughter.

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  9. #9
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    That's what I said

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    I'm implying that he doesn't have an interest in women, rather than he doesn't have a penis.
    Other than Romana he's not spent much time with women of his own species. He's clearly quite enchanted by Cameca early on though.

    Also, he almost certainly excretes waste somehow, because we see him eating.
    Ah, but maybe Time Lords have super-efficient digestive systems that don't produce waste from ingested food....

    Yes, but there are moments, such as in The Aztecs, where it may have been relevant to ask Susan what had happened to her parents.
    While that is true, this is an example of what Mr Southall was describing above: while that may be a thing we'd ask when we actually spend all that time alone in a cell, what difference did it make to the story? We don't need to know Susan's family history. All we need to know is that she's the Doctor's granddaughter.

    If it comes down the the balance of what is presented on screen, there is evidence that she is his grandadughter and no evidence that she isn't. It was the intention of the production team at the time so I see no reason to go through mental hoops trying to find ways in which she isn't his grandaughter.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Southall View Post
    The same thing happened with the whole 'two hearts' business; the fact that this has now become an established part of the series' lore does not override the fact that when the show was created, it absolutely was not the case.
    While it certainly wasn't part of the lore up until the x-ray in Spearhead From Space, there's actually not a lot of on-screen evidence that the Doctor didn't have two hearts all along. Ian checks his heartbeat in The Edge of Destruction, and the Doctor says he was hit 'under the heart' in The Sensorites, but that's about it as far as I recall. Neither of those is terribly conclusive. In The Edge of Destruction the Doctor is unconscious and Ian is groggy (and doesn't make the most in-depth examination) so it is quite possible that either only one heart was going at the time, or else Ian simply didn't register anything beyond some form of heartbeat. As for the 'under the heart' business so often held up as clinching proof he only had one, how often do we say things like 'hit in the leg'...?

  12. #12
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    Taking a strict tv-only approach to canon, then there's no evidence to suggest that Susan was anything but the Doctor's actual, biological granddaughter.
    So where is Susan's father? Why has the Doctor never, ever been seen to worry about this? He must have had children and he seems a caring sort, yet he's never mentioned them to any of his companions. He's even visited Gallifrey and not asked 'What happened to my kids?' Surely that's a bit remiss of him?

    Then again, the Gallifreyans don't seem that hot on the concept of 'families', at least from what we've seen.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  13. #13
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    Maybe he's an absent Father and the Doctor got a maintenance cheque through the vortex every two weeks.

    Si.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McCow View Post
    So where is Susan's father? Why has the Doctor never, ever been seen to worry about this?
    Why would he? Just because we're never told what happened doesn't mean he doesn't already know that they're dead or exiled or otherwise turned their backs on him (which is why he is left as Susan's guardian) and come to terms with it and got on with his life. Same reason Ian and Barbara don't ask: they already know the parents are dead or otherwise not part of the Doctor and Susan's life.

  15. #15
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    so I see no reason to go through mental hoops trying to find ways in which she isn't his grandaughter.
    I'm sorry Jason - are you implying here that I should delete this thread, to save everyone from going through these 'mental hoops'?

    Sorry, but I do find the tone of your arguments rather agressive sometimes.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  16. #16
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    No, not at all. I'm saying that for me, I don't see anything to suggest she isn't as stated on screen. Sorry if you read that with an aggressive tone, but it certainly wasn't intended.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    That's what I said
    Well, I felt it needed re-iterating. Clearly.

    Nothing to do with me not having read the replies before me. Oh no. Honest.


    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

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    I've always assumed that at least one of Susan's parents must be dead. There's a question mark in my mind as to whether Susan could be half human.
    Also we don't know how long the Doctor and Susan have been on the run for (or indeed exactly how old either of them are!). Am I right that Susan never mentions her parents in conversation (It's been a while since I watched season one) as I wonder if she ever knew them?

  19. #19
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    Arguably if the Doctor is a time traveller, it doesn't matter if they are dead or not? They will always be dead. Or alive. I know that flies against the whole "Time Lords always meet each other in order" stuff, but that's never actually stated in the series is it? We just assume it.

    Si.

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    I always liked to think that Susan's parents stayed on Gallifrey, and didn't approve of the Doctor and Susan running away. While Susan wanted adventure, her parents were establishment figures.

    Or something like that. But that's all pure speculation

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

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    I think they should be brought into the TV Series pronto, played by Martin Clunes and Anneka Rice.

    Si.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Si Hunt View Post
    I think they should be brought into the TV Series pronto, played by Martin Clunes and Anneka Rice.

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

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    The Doctor's Son! It'd just be fan baiting, though wouldn't it?

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    The Doctor's Son! It'd just be fan baiting, though wouldn't it?


    Quiet you!

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  25. #25
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    As I see it Susan said the Doctor is her grandfather & nothing on screen disproves that so it is canon & correct IMO.

    Why no mention of Susan's parents? Well in Unearthly Child it is 1963, the WWII is only about 18 years past & much of Britain is still in a mess. It wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination for an un-exploded bomb to have killed her "earthly" parents when unearthed in a family garden, a story I wouldn't have thought that would get much probing from the school authorities.
    And as Gallifrey is now firmly in a mess with the Time War then her actual parents are either dead from those events or still on Gallifrey which is lost from this universe.

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