Steven Moffat on whether the lady in the barn is the Doctor’s mother on Doctor Who

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May 26, 2016, 8:12 PM EDT (Updated)

Ever since her appearance in the Doctor Who Season 9 finale, “Hell Bent,” fans have been speculating about the identity of the mysterious lady in the barn.

As some of you will recall, the scene took place on the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey and featured an old lady who warned Peter Capaldi’s Doctor the Time Lords would kill him now that he has returned.

As for that barn, it was first seen in “The Day of the Doctor,” and again in “Listen,” where it was implyed this was where the Doctor slept (the barn is located in the drylands of Gallifrey, near the Capitol). So, that of course led many a Doctor Who fan to wonder if that barn lady was actually the Doctor’s mother. Well, showrunner Steven Moffat has the answer.


Responding to a fan question in issue 496 of Doctor Who Magazine as to whether the old barn lady was the Doctor’s mother, Moffat answered:

“We’ve no idea who she is, nor should we. But a quick glance at the evidence, would remind you that the Doctor is a ‘high born Gallifreyan’ so that would seem unlikely. So what was he doing in that barn, and who were those people? The Doctor won’t tell me. It’s almost like that nameless wanderer in time and space likes a bit of mystery…”

The showrunner added:

“Oh, it’s funny, writing stuff about the Doctor’s past. You always have to leave options – you can’t be definitive. Or at least that’s how I feel about it. I like the audience to have a choice. If, in 'Listen,' you’re happy that the little boy in the bed is the Doctor, then great. But if you’re not, that’s fine too. I keep saying, Head Canon is important, because that’s where the show really happens: in the hearts and minds of all the people watching.”

In the finale, the barn lady (played by Linda Broughton) was only credited as The Woman, which was the same name given to Claire Bloom’s Time Lady in the David Tennant Doctor Who two-parter special, “The End of Time” -- a character whose identity former showrunner Russell T. Davies left up in the time vortex on the show but confirmed as being the Doctor’s mother in his book The Writers Tale: 

"I like leaving it open, because then you can imagine what you want. I think the fans will say it's Romana. Or even the Rani. Some might say that it's Susan's mother, I suppose. But of course it's meant to be the Doctor's mother."  

Still, it wasn't made official on the show so... everything's up in the air. But the Time Lady was a high born Gallifreyan while the lady in the barn wasn't. 

What do you think of Steven Moffat’s comments on the identity (or lack thereof) of The Woman in “Hell Bent”? Do you agree with him it’s better to leave options open to let the audience decide their own Head Canon?

(via Cult Box)