BEWARE! There be SPOILERS below!
I've almost 100% convinced myself that John Hurt is Doctor 8 1/2. There are a couple of reasons for this. First is the costume he's wearing, velvet clothes and a leather jacket, second is the specific mention of Valeyard in The Name of the Doctor, third is the fact he can ONLY be from the Time War, and fourth is the fact that you can't just disown your past and not have it count. Plus if he were the 12th Doctor, 11 wouldn't have known what he had done or the circumstances.
Starting with the first one, the costume. No 2 Doctors have ever had remotely similar outfits. Except this one. For some reason he has the velvet clothes that the 8th Doctor was known for, and the leather jacket that the 9th wore. Having a similar outfit to a Doctor would be one thing, but a mix between two consecutive? He's probably an amalgamation.
Now the Valeyard. For those of you who don't know, the Valeyard was a villain from the classic series of Doctor Who. He was a projected evil version of the Doctor between the Doctor's 12th and 13th selves, and was made real by the Matrix, the Time Lords repository of all knowledge. This seems like a minor point, but it's fairly big considering the huge disconnect of the old and new series of Doctor Who, especially when it comes to Time Lords. So why bring it up at all? To set precedent. If they make the Valeyard canon in the new series then the concept of a "Halfway Point" between two incarnations of one Time Lord becomes valid and no one can really say "Oh, you pulled that one out of nowhere."
Now for the Time War. We know all of the Doctors regenerations from the old series. In The Five Doctors Peter Davison confirms he is the 5th Doctor... maybe even the 5th "him" I can't remember it's been too long. We also see every regeneration up to McGann. So he's not from before the Time War. And much easier is the New series, we see Eccleston turn into Tennant and Tennant into Smith. Not a whole lot of wiggle room there. The Only Grey area is between 8 and 9. Why do I think this helps my theory of Doctor 8.5? Because the Time Lords were the only ones who could pull this off, they were desperate enough in the Time War to try anything (And I imagine the Doctor was the only effective enemy of the Daleks) and during the Time War was the only time the Doctor would have been at hand.
And now for the disowning. I don't like it. Lots of reasons, but here's just a few. Matt Smith said when he chose the name Doctor it was because he wanted to help people, yet the 1st Doctor constantly had to be forced into helping, sometimes actively fighting against it. You also have tons of 3rd party material confirming 9, 10 and 11 as 9, 10, and 11. Not to mention that whole "Fall of 11" thing. Remember that? Moffett's entire run of the show revolved around the "silence will fall" deal? It didn't say 11th Doctor, it said 11th. And since when does the Doctor disown himself? EVERY time he mentions the Time War he owns up to whatever it was he did, good or bad. He never even said he was a "Different man then", at least not to my memory.
So there you are, plenty of reasons why John Hurt should be 8.5, and the only for 9 it is "It might be cool, but major plot holes."
UKSteve wrote:... to change now would seem like an unnecessary nod to feminism. (I may need to hide behind the sofa for saying that though...)
Are you implying that feminists are terrifying monsters? :^P