The Doctor's Academy Speech
Emotional Attachment and the Alien Perspective
– the Preparation and the Speech
“He could never understand their policy of non-involvement, but
then the Doctor had what his old tutor at the Academy used to call ‘a
distressing tendency to become emotionally attached and to see things
from the alien perspective’. He had even, against his tutor’s
advice, delivered an extremely persuasive and passionate speech on the
subject for one of his final examinations, but although he achieved
top marks for manner and delivery of the speech, he nearly failed because
of the politically incorrect content. But even so, it never changed
his ideals or his opinions. As he grew older and travelled more widely,
the ‘distressing tendency’, instead of dissipating as his
family, friends and mentors had hoped, just became even stronger. As
a result, the Doctor always became involved, whether it was by design
or by accident, often landing himself in deep trouble, but always earning
the eternal gratitude of the particular aliens that he chose to assist
in the process.”
- A description of the Doctor’s
background from “A Change for the Better” Part 2 by Prue
Part 1 – “The Preparation”
This was the last major assessment item before his graduation
from the Academy. The students had all had it impressed upon them how
important this speech was to their final result. So much so that a student
could have performed extremely well for the rest of their degree, but
could still be failed if this speech was not good enough. Many good
students had, in fact, failed this final hurdle.
Each speech was to be a topic of the student’s
own choice and was expected to be something that reflected their learning
during their time at the Academy. This was as much an opportunity to
show their talents of persuasion and their grasp of overall politics
and ethics as a means to illustrate their character. It was quite a
momentous effort and with more than a passing resemblance to a major
rite of passage in the life of a young Time Lord. Not only was the assessment
incredibly important – content, manner and persuasion –
but it was so important that the students remained on campus until their
speech was finished. Additionally, the Academy directors insisted that
each student was to use a nom de plume when writing the speech and to
indicate their nom de plume solely to the adjudicator prior to commencement.
This way, no other student knew who the real author of a speech was
prior to its delivery.
Most students chose a more formal version of one of their
lesser-known birth names, but they always had the alternative of choosing
to stylise themselves under a title of some sort. For the bright, but
according to many, troublesome young Time Lord who was known by the
nickname of Theta Sigma, choosing a title as his nom de plume had almost
a ritual significance. It was entirely irresistible to his capricious
nature. He chose the obscure title of ‘the Doctor’ for his
speech and while writing it under that name, he felt strangely comfortable
with it as a persona and from then, until the delivery of the speech,
thought of himself as ‘the Doctor’. Indeed, it was to become
his definitive persona later in this incarnation and for the rest of
It was strange that in this particular graduating group
at the Academy, there had been three very bright, but troublesome, individuals.
Each was troublesome in a different way, with completely different personal
characters. One was ‘the Doctor’; one was a former close
friend and academic and personal rival of his who chose ‘the Master’
as his nom de plume for the speech; and the other was the only female
Time Lord to graduate in their year – a former girlfriend of Theta
Sigma’s who chose to stylise her speech under the name ‘the
Rani’. Like ‘the Doctor’, both ‘the Master’
and ‘the Rani’ chose to adopt these names as their later
personas. Yet, apart from this time at the Academy, there were no real
parallels in the three students’ lives…..
The students had seven days in which to determine their
topic, research it and then craft their speech. During this time, they
were required to reside in colleges on campus, without communication
with family or friends outside of their fellow students and tutors.
Part of this was for assessment validity; part was to ensure they were
not distracted and could reach inside themselves to produce a speech
which was unique and had the imprint of their personality upon its content.
It made the whole process a test of stamina and of character just to
last out this preparation period, let alone passing the assessment itself.
Frequently, students who were unable to cope with this preparation period
would have to repeat this process in another year or drop out completely.
This assessment was the main reason why many students chose a lesser
stream than this one which was designed for the academic elite.
There were many educators on Gallifrey, both at the Academy
and elsewhere, who thought that this assessment was subjecting the best
students to unnecessary mental stress or even cruelty so close to the
end of their training, but the Directors were adamant that this test
of character and strength was essential to equip them for their futures
as members of Gallifrey’s elite. It was to be one of the Academy’s
ironies that in the future, none of this trio of very bright students
who chose titular names was to be permanently part of that said elite…..
‘The Doctor’, unlike most of the students,
brought none of his study notes or textbooks with him to the college
where he was allocated to reside during this period. Although he had
access to the library, as all the students did, his tutors were particularly
concerned about his lack of study notes and offered him copies of lecture
notes to work from, if he needed them. They all thought he would have
nothing to refer back to as a basis for his speech. It was absolutely
unheard of for a student to attempt preparation and successful completion
of this most important of assessments without such a reference. Yet
‘the Doctor’ was adamant. He was determined to use his memory
for detail, but more than that, his feelings and emotions about the
topics he had studied and their relevance – past, present and
future – to Gallifrey and the Time Lords’ existence and
role in the universe.
His stubbornness and unpredictability were well-known
and many of his educators shook their heads whenever they thought about
him and his future. Still, it was expected by now that he would not
do things in the usual way, so no-one pressed him to accept notes he
clearly did not want. It was not permitted that tutors could ask students
what they were intending to speak on nor to provide direct advice or
review of the speech. Their role was to provide research and reference
advice and explanations of points in the topics studied for clarification
only. However, they were all consumed by curiosity – or as curious
as a Time Lord educator could be – to see what this unusual student
was going to present. None of them had any doubt that he would make
it through the preparation period and would present a speech and that
it would be unusual. But none of them were in any way prepared for how
unusual and controversial it was to be.
To ‘the Doctor’, there had never been any
doubt as to the topic of his speech. Yes, the speech was to be relative
to some point of his training; yes, the speech was to show a grasp of
politics and ethics; yes, the speech was to showcase his powers of persuasion;
and yes, the speech was to show character. But the topic was to be his
choice. He smiled to himself as he realised what he would use for his
topic. This was his opportunity to make a difference, he thought. Although
he was a bit dubious about his powers to persuade them to his point
of view, considering his topic was going to be unpalatable to many.
However, he was optimistic enough to believe that what he lacked in
persuasiveness, he more than compensated for in his passion and emotion
for his topic.
But some would say that he took emotion too far at times.
Unlike his fellow students, he preferred not to use a computerised means
of documenting his preparation and his speech. He far preferred the
more, as he described it, personal touch. This meant that when he settled
himself comfortably down on the bed to commence his writing, it was
with a notebook at the ready and a pen in hand…..
Part 2 – “The Speech”
Every speech presented by the students was unique, except
he found them all frustrating. Each and every one followed the correct
line – even ‘the Rani’ kept her strange ideas on other
life forms out of her speech. She was attractive in appearance, but
those bizarre ideas of hers so disgusted him that he terminated their
relationship before it ever became serious. He doubted that she had
ever truly forgiven him for that, but that was past history and best
forgotten. Now, he just awaited the call for his speech, the final one
to be delivered by a student for this year’s round of examinations.
The suspense was agonising.
As his nom de plume was called, he stood up, tall and
straight, took a deep breath, and walked calmly, but purposefully,
to the centre of the stage in the Academy Great Hall. At that moment
he felt as if he truly was ‘the Doctor’. He didn’t
know it, but the passionate speech he was about to deliver was to
be remembered as one of the most controversial speeches ever attempted
by a final year student at the Academy. As a result, the transcript
of the speech, as delivered, was chosen to be published, unedited
and unreviewed, in the Academy newspaper, despite its politically
incorrect content and the loss of the marvellous passion, inflection
and gestures of the speech’s delivery. Unfortunately, that is
always the problem when transcribing a breathtaking speech from the
heart into two-dimensional silent print form, but it was still worth
“Madam Director, Distinguished Guests,
Time Lords, Fellow Students,
We are taught about those things that make Gallifrey
great and those great responsibilities that are our inheritance
as Time Lords of Gallifrey. Gallifrey has such a fantastic history
– both in peace and in war. We learn about the deeds of Rassilon
and his great vision for us. He is quite rightly revered by us all.
We are taught about the magnificence of time travel and of the superb
feat of solar engineering and the personal sacrifice that Omega
made to harness the power for that magnificence and to enable Rassilon’s
vision to be realised. His efforts are honoured by all Time Lords.
We learn of the Time Lords’ great power
in the universe and of their watch and guardianship over other races,
always ensuring the Laws of Time are obeyed. But we must remain
emotionally detached while we carry out our duties and the alien
races that we claim guardianship over are not consulted to find
out whether they actually appreciate our methods of guardianship
But the emotional attachment that we are taught
to guard against is not only necessary, but essential in our role
as the guardians of the Laws of Time and together with the alien
perspective enables us to deal with those other races respectfully
and to understand them, the way they are, not the way we wish them
to be or expect them to be. This is the crux of my speech today.
Consider, if you will, the legends of the notorious
race of giant vampires that we all were brought up with as children;
the planets that they drained for their peoples’ lifeblood;
the civilisations that were destroyed in the battles that ensued
with them and how Rassilon caused the Time Lords to triumph over
them. Do you remember them as the creations of your nightmares?
Were you secretly fascinated by them? Did you play childhood games
pretending that different races and planets were destroyed by them?
But always the Time Lords of Gallifrey triumphed over them. We never
knew how, but just that we always won.
Even as children, we were not permitted to be
emotionally attached to the thoughts or feelings of other races.
All our emotional attachment was through our pride in Gallifrey
and its achievements. But how many of you know that the giant vampires
were not the creations of our nightmares – they did exist!
The wars with the giant vampires happened; many worlds and civilisations
were destroyed. The Time Lords suffered great casualties from the
bloody battles, but were unable to help most of the worlds that
were attacked. Eventually, Rassilon determined the only way to vanquish
these creatures, but not before the decimation of so many planets.
The Time Lords were never quite the same after that. But the effect
on Gallifrey was terrible.
Instead of recovering our emotional investment
in these people we had guardianship over and working in partnership
with the surviving races to rebuild the galaxies, the Time Lords
retreated and became even less emotionally attached to these people
than before. It was also decided from that time on that the perspectives
of other races that we came in contact with would not be considered.
The Time Lords always knew best and could never be wrong! How arrogant!
But we were not only wrong, we lost so much of the respect we had
earned. This lack of respect not only affected alien reaction to
the Time Lords, but affected how important other races saw the preservation
and maintenance of the Laws of Time. It could therefore be said
that the lack of emotional attachment and the alien perspective
had the potential to cause many of the Laws of Time to be breached.
How many of you have written long treatises on
the importance of the Time Lord rule of non-interference in the
development of other planets and their civilisations without knowing
why this rule became part of the code of conduct for all Time Lords?
I can see that many of you have been in that position. Consider
for a few moments, those planets – my fellow students will
all know their names very well – where the Time Lords visited
their arrogance and their ignorance on the developing civilisations
of these planets, changing the fundamental directions of those planets’
development by accident or by design. Some of those planets were
treated simply as playthings and the Time Lords were not only regarded
as gods, but actively encouraged the populations to worship and
treat them as if they were gods. This was against everything that
Time Lords stood for.
But some went even further and actively meddled
in the natural development of civilisations. This of course resulted
in the non-interference rule that we know from the code of conduct
today. But interference is not the same as emotional attachment.
Interference usually occurs completely coldly and unconcernedly,
in the best tradition of emotional detachment. If there had been
more emotional attachment to the rights and the alien perspective
of the people of these developing civilisations, Time Lord arrogance
would not have been visited on these people and the problems of
which we are all painfully aware that developed in these worlds
would never have occurred.
Finally, of course, there is the ultimate need
for emotional attachment and the alien perspective. You would all
have heard of the recent Rutan invasion of the Eastern sector of
the galaxy, of course? What you may not know is that the Time Lords
received warnings that this may take place, vague though they may
have been as to time and exact location. Yes, it is shocking, but
I assure you that the information is accurate. Fair enough, you
might say, without time and exact location it was impossible to
do anything concrete to prevent it. And in a way you would be right,
except that no-one made any effort to warn the sector of the galaxy
concerned that they may be subject to an invasion. If the Time Lords
had had any emotional attachment to those races in that sector that
they were guardians over, the warning would have been almost immediate.
Because they had no concept or understanding
of the alien perspective of those races, or indeed of the Rutan
invaders themselves, it never occurred to them to provide any general
warning to that region. Many of you look shocked. The worst shock
is still to come. To reach the Eastern sector, the main Rutan invasion
fleet had to pass within detectable range of Gallifrey space traffic
control. But still the Time Lords did nothing. To them it was a
fact of life that planetary systems became the victims of invasion.
Providing the Laws of Time were not infringed, there was no commitment
to the well-being of these planets. But I strongly believe that
if the Time Lords had valued emotional attachment and the alien
perspective enough to provide that warning, the billions of people
in that sector who were enslaved to enable the Rutans to manufacture
more armaments for their interminable war against the Sontarans
would have been able to mount a satisfactory defence against the
Rutan invasion fleet and would be free today.
Without emotional attachment we are as good as
empty shells. Where are the passion and the lifeblood of the Time
Lord civilisation then? Without the alien perspective how can we
even know when we are using our intelligence and powers wisely or
unwisely? Or how our efforts may affect others? We need the emotional
attachment and the alien perspective to carry out our role of guardians
of the Laws of Time, efficiently, effectively and with understanding.
Emotional attachment and the alien perspective
are not the interference of days gone past, but the appreciation
of the rights of all alien races to exist peaceably within the universe
according to the Laws of Time.”
- Final assessment for the Academy by ‘the Doctor’ reproduced
in the Academy newspaper by kind permission from the Director of the