Steven Moffat Puts the Doctor Vs. Doctor Who Name Debate to Rest

It has vexed fans for years that some people call the main character of Doctor Who “Doctor Who” instead of just “The Doctor.” Well, departing showrunner Steven Moffat has some good news for the side which has insisted for years that either name is correct.

At the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel today, Moffat had this answer:

If you take continuity seriously and, be honest, you all do, there isn’t any doubt about this. I’m sorry. It was established in “The War Machines” that his name is Doctor Who.

He doesn’t often call himself Doctor Who because it’s a bloody stupid name, but he signs himself Doctor W. The third Doctor had a car with “WHO” on the license plate. He’s not a master of subtlety. No need to be mysterious, I’ll call myself Doctor Who.


That said, Moffat threw a bone to the people on the other side of the argument. “If you prefer to believe that he’s really calling himself ‘the Doctor’ and that’s just the name of the show, that’s equally true,” he said. “Because what would Doctor Who continuity be without a blatant and unresolvable contradiction?”

Katharine is the Associate Director of Policy and Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the former managing editor of io9. She writes about technology policy and pop culture.

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Some Doctors don’t really need a name: