Friday, May 11, 2007


It takes me a couple of days to see the latest episode of 'Doctor Who' shown on the BBC, as I depend upon my friends Mark & Michael to... ahem! - secure a copy. But at least I'm still months ahead of muh fellow Americans in getting that opportunity!

So Wednesay night after we were all blown away by the latest installment of 'Lost', I saw "The Lazarus Experiment". What a great story! And Mark Gatiss added yet another fantastic villain to the Doctor's Rogues Gallery, in the grand tradition of the misguided scientists.

And yet, on the long subway ride home later, I realized that the story could have had an extra jolt if only the character of Richard Lazarus had been tweaked just a bit, to tie this story in with a previous 'Doctor Who' storyline for an earlier incarnation of the Doctor.

Professor Richard Lazarus was 76 years of age, meaning that he was born in 1931. (The story takes place in March of 2007, according to the timeline I've seen.) In 1940, when he was about nine years old, Lazarus survived the Blitz while hiding out in a cathedral.

But what if they had portrayed him as having been born in 1937, so that he was four years old in 1941? And what if his first name had not been Richard, but James?

As a four year old, his "Mummy" would take to calling him Jamie.....

Click here to see what might have been if Jamie of "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" and Richard were the same person.

Wouldn't it have been a great story if it turned out that 70 year old Professor Lazarus had in fact been "The Empty Child", whose life was saved by the previous incarnation of the Doctor?

If only his age had not been stated, we might have been able to fudge things a bit so that Jamie and Richard Lazarus were one and the same. We never learned the last name of Jamie nor of his mother, Nancy. (Perhaps her name was McGill, but she called herself Lil? Okay, maybe not.)

And it would not have mattered if it turned out that their surname was not Lazarus. In the chaos after the War as they rebuilt their lives, Nancy might have decided to give herself and her son a fresh start, a new beginning, by dropping ties to their old identities and marching into the future with the last name of Lazarus.

It would have been an appropriate name for them. After all, Jamie had come back from the dead once the nanogenes were able to sort out the true construct of human physiology.

And as for the difference in the first name, perhaps his full name was James Richard Lazarus. As a matter of fact, nothing prevents his name from being Richard James Lazarus, and it just so happened that his mother took to calling him by a pet name based on his middle name. But as he got older, Professor Lazarus would have cast aside the childish nickname to present himself more seriously with his proper name.

Having Professor Lazarus turn out to the young child saved by the Doctor back in 1941 would have added even more depth to the quandary faced by the Doctor when trying to find the means to defeat him. Here he had saved the world back in 1941 by saving this little boy's life, only to find himself having to save the world yet again by taking Lazarus' life now when he was an old man.

Click here to see both ends of that spectrum.

Ah well. Had it not been for the discrepancy in age (and Professor Lazarus was sharp enough to know how old he really was), I could have sold this theory. As it is, I'll have to file it away under "Wish-craft".....

Toby OB

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