It is a truth (not) universally acknowledged that Tom Baker was the best incarnation of Doctor Who. Certainly even his beginnings were not altogether favorably received.One viewer said, “General opinion was that the new Doctor Who is a loony …”
- In Who’s fictional universe much has altered over time. Often, changes are occasioned by the writers’ rush not to let facts get in the way of a good story but sometimes necessity is mother to their reinvention.
In 1966 when William Hartnell (Who.1) was increasingly ill the decision to replace him was taken. After his three years in the role this presented a problem. Script editor Gerry Davis pointed out that as the Doctor was an alien his death and reappearance in a new form should not be too much for fans to accept and producer Innes Lloyd realised the great advantage this delivered for future recasting(s).
So, the process called ‘regeneration’ (first at Tom Baker’s emergence in ‘Planet of the Spiders’ in 1974) is basically a biological process that occurs whenever a Time Lord’s body is dying, often accompanied by behavioral as well as physical changes.
- In all of mankind’s relationship with Jesus (LORD in Eternity, not just in time) there is no aspect of his nature revealed in scripture that still has power to shock me more than this; ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14).
Regeneration (not re-incarnation) is at the heart of our experience of Christ; ‘You must be born again,’ Jesus said, and Paul declared, ‘…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable,’
- No wonder our emotional and intellectual investment in the mystical has proved so difficult to kill or that it is even reflected in so mundane a thing as a television serial. Truth calls to us from the strangest places preparing our hearts and minds for the Word of God to find his place.
“I the LORD do not change,” he says (Malachi 3:6). His nature, including his power and his promises, is constant through time and eternity but still, in Christ, he chose to reveal something of the transformation that awaits us whom he has called to himself by grace, through faith.
- In Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:2), ‘There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light,’ in his resurrection appearances in a ‘different’ body, ‘Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself’ (Luke 24:39) and in his ultimate ‘glorification’ at the Father’s side, he has shown us that what we ache for is more than a possibility; it is our sure and certain hope evident, at first, even in this life.
‘Listen, I tell you a mystery:’ Paul wrote, ‘We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye…..” (1 Corinthians 15:51) but we do have hope for this life too and that includes the hope for genuine change, for transformation.
Not least the notion that the same word describing Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew is used by Paul when he encourages us, ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’