Doctor Who Theory Reveals The Tragic Real Reason Behind Thirteen’s «Fam»

By Daniel Bibby Published 2 minutes ago

Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor had more companions than usual, but there may be an upsetting in-universe explanation behind her decision.

Doctor Who Theory Reveals The Tragic Real Reason Behind Thirteen's "Fam"


  • Whittaker's Doctor Who companions served as a coping mechanism for grief over previous losses, setting a new dynamic for the character.
  • Thirteen's emotional honesty with her "fam" contrasts the previous closed-off nature of previous Doctors, showing character evolution.
  • Capaldi's Doctor Who era influenced Whittaker's Doctor's actions, showcasing how past losses shaped her approach to companionship.


Jodie Whittaker's iteration of the famous Time Lord in Doctor Who had more simultaneous companions than is typical of the character, but there may be an explanation behind her attitude toward the company she keeps on her travels. The theory doesn't just address Thirteen's demeanor, but also delves into the Doctor's previous regenerations and how they may have influenced her stint as the show's titular hero. Like every actor to play the Doctor, Whittaker had her own way of portraying the character, but the Doctor Who writers also shoulder some of the responsibility regarding how her Doctor acted and thought.

Whittaker's Doctor Who introduced a lot of new aspects during Chris Chibnall's time as showrunner. Many of Chibnall's stories raised eyebrows and proved more than a little divisive among fans. However, Timeless Child twist aside, Whittaker's era did introduce some compelling elements to the show too. As well as being the franchise's first female Doctor, Whittaker's version of the character traveled with a cohort of companions that she affectionately labeled her "fam." The Doctor's found family was a new dynamic for Doctor Who, and one that could have melancholic origins.

Twelve's Doctor Who Companion Deaths Explain Thirteen's "Fam"

Team TARDIS could have been a coping mechanism for Jodie Whittaker's Doctor

Doctor Who Theory Reveals The Tragic Real Reason Behind Thirteen's "Fam"

Thirteen's unique approach to traveling in the TARDIS can be explained by looking at her recent history as Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor. The Doctor is, unfortunately, no stranger to losing companions, although it's not always on a permanent basis. However, Twelve was in the devastating position of losing two companions in relatively quick succession. Capaldi's Doctor didn't just lose Clara Oswald, but also Bill Potts. Therefore, the Thirteenth Doctor may have felt the need to surround herself with companions and weave her way into a form of family structure to help her grieve her recent losses as Twelve.

The Doctor's relationship with his companions changes with each regeneration and the introduction of new cast members. However, one of the more traditional approaches has been to pair a male Doctor with a female companion. While this combination isn't always romantic, there have been obvious exceptions — for instance, the Doctor and Rose Tyler's relationship. Jodie Whittaker's casting as a female version of the Doctor immediately bucked this trend, and her (mostly) Platonic relationship with her "fam" reinforced the change in direction. Regardless, Thirteen's new mindset may have been installed by Chibnall, but it arguably began in her previous regeneration.

Thirteen's Entire Persona Was A Response To The Twelfth Doctor's Losses

The Doctor became much more open following their spell as the Twelve


The desire of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor to be part of a larger family unit wasn't the only trait that was brought about by the loss of Clara and Bill. Previous Doctors have been frustratingly closed off when they've been processing trauma, even to their companions. While Thirteen may not have been an open book, she was much more emotionally available with Team TARDIS. This new facet of the Doctor's personality may very well have been a response to their previous two companions meeting their end while in Twelve's care.

For all the Thirteenth Doctor's newfound emotional honesty, she still threw up barriers for herself when it came to certain relationship dynamics with members of her family-esque unit. For instance, John Bishop's Dan Lewis confronts Thirteen in "Eve of the Daleks" about pretending not to be aware of Yaz's romantic attachment to her. When he does this, it's not an accusation the Doctor outwardly denies. So, underneath it all, the Doctor does still have psychological obstacles they need to overcome due to losing two companions so close to one another.

Capaldi's Era Also Set Up David Tennant's Doctor Who Ending

The Fourteenth Doctor's decisions were still influenced by the death of his former companions


The emotional turmoil experienced by Peter Capaldi's Doctor didn't end with Thirteen. In fact, Twelve's experiences also explain why David Tennant's Fourteenth Doctor reclaimed his old face and sought out Donna Noble for support. The Doctor had been suffering and saving the day for thousands of years by the time Peter Capaldi stepped into the TARDIS as the Doctor. Therefore, it would make sense that losing Bill and Clara would be close to the final straw for what the Time Lord was able to tolerate.

As such, the Fourteenth Doctor's status as a resident of the Noble household could be seen as another attempt to be part of a family, but this time on a more permanent basis. So, although it may seem that the end of Peter Capaldi's time as the Doctor came to a definite end point, his following two regenerations continued to suffer the consequences of his grief in the Doctor Who stories that were still to come after his departure from the show.

The 2005 revival era of Doctor Who is on Max, but all episodes from 2023 onward are on Disney+. The show's classic era can be streamed on Tubi.

Cast Jenna Coleman , Jodie Whittaker , Alex Kingston , David Tennant , Matt Smith , Peter Capaldi Release Date November 23, 1963 Seasons 26

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