• Pony Spotlight #4 - Dr. Hooves (with Peter New Interview!)

    Howdy, folks! TheSlorg here once again with another Pony Spotlight, highlighting the in-show personalities of your favorite ponies, and facts you may not have known about them.

    This week's pony might take a bit of time to explain. Or perhaps it's: this week's pony might explain a bit of time? Enough punny business. It's time to Spotlight Dr. Hooves!

    Furthermore, the main voice actor behind the Doctor has been kind enough to spare a bit of his time for a short interview as well. Head on down below the break to learn more about the Doc, including info from Mr. Peter New himself!

    Name: Dr. Hooves
    Aliases: Doc, Doctor, Dr. Whooves, Time Turner
    Cutie Mark: Hourglass
    Appearances: 51 episodes
    Speaking Roles: 2 (plus one song)
    Random Fact: The Doctor is confirmed to be centuries old, making him one of the oldest ponies besides the princesses.


    Like many of the show's background ponies, the Doctor was originally just an unnamed background filler meant to look good. He gradually evolved over time to become the pony we know and love today, and has taken on many names over the years.

    The Doctor also contrasts with Octavia in an interesting way. Many were surprised to see in Octavia's Spotlight that she had only appeared in the show eight times, considering her popularity. The Doctor is quite popular too, but one might think that he hasn't appeared all that often. The truth is, he has appeared in nearly half of the episodes, and was present much earlier than you might imagine.

    His first appearance was actually standing directly behind Lyra and Sweetie Drops during the Summer Sun Celebration in Friendship is Magic part 1. That's right, he's been in the show since the very beginning. What is interesting about this appearance is the look on his face when Nightmare Moon appears. Compared to all the other ponies in this scene, the good Doctor seems to be rather unfazed by her sudden arrival. An interesting coincidence, considering that this pony wouldn't be known in-show as the Doctor until 99 episodes later.

    Sonic Screwdrivers confirmed to allow one to walk on clouds.


    There has been a decent amount of growth for Dr. Hooves within the show itself, but there has also been significant changes going on behind the scenes, least of all being his name.

    The first name given to him was Doctor Whooves, and while it is nearly impossible to narrow down exactly who first coined the name, it is accepted that this name was given by fans of the show. This was, however, a bit of a problem back then, given the legal implications behind officially using such a name. So much so that official merchandise began using the name Time Turner in 2012. However, somewhere along the line a compromise must have been made, as official merchandise started giving him the name Dr. Hooves in 2013, and continues to do so to this day.

    Within the show, while he is seen many times within the background of early episodes, the Doctor was first given a bit of personality in Call of the Cutie, which saw him receive his first (uncredited) speaking role. In the scene, Apple Bloom, determined to sell some apples, harasses the Doctor until he reluctantly buys one just to get her to leave him alone. Interesting again is the fact that it is very easy to imagine the Doctor from Doctor Who in this very situation, paying off someone just to leave him alone so he can get back to business.

    The Doctor appears in the crowd during The Mysterious Mare Do Well after Rainbow Dash saves a foal from having its carriage roll off a cliff. He once again seems entirely nonchalant despite the cheering ponies around him. He appears again in Hearth's Warming Eve, acting on-stage as a destitute earth pony dressed in rags. In The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000, he is the official timekeeper for the cider making competition. In It's About Time, the Doctor actually laughs at Twilight Sparkle's insistence that she was visited by her future self. He is also present for nearly every major event in Equestria, from Cadance and Shining Armor's wedding, to Princess Twilight's coronation.

    All of these appearances could be argued to support the fandom's theory that this pony could actually be the Doctor, but it wouldn't be until later that we got the biggest hints yet.

    "Excuse me, but you're kind of... choking me!"

    Current Status

    It was season four that started often showing the Doctor next to the pony Rose, a  sly wink to those in the know. He even sports 3D glasses in It Ain't Easy Being Breezies. He was also a judge at the swim meet in Leap of Faith, though his scores were far kinder than Lyra's. There are plenty more little appearances here and there, but there was one appearance to rule them all.

    Episode 100, Slice of Life, was a huge episode for many background ponies, but it was the episode for Dr. Hooves. First, we received confirmation that the Doctor and Muffins/Derpy were friends—something the fandom had wanted to see for years. Then, he spoke. Then he was directly referred to as 'Doc.' Then he showed Muffins his laboratory. British accent? Doctor? Science!? TIME TRAVEL!!??

    Yes, here it was. This was about as close to confirming everyone's theories that the show could get without hiring David Tennant and actually showing the TARDIS. We have actual in-show confirmation that Dr. Hooves is centuries old, as he explains to Muffins that he has been working on his time theories for "decades—centuries, really."

    In this episode we learn that the Doctor suffered some kind of traumatic experience as a foal which led him to use science to try and make sense of the world, which is actually pretty deep if you think about it. Centuries later, he discovers there is a magic spell for time travel and most of his work has been for naught (though it doesn't explain how he has lived for so long). This episode also confirms he is at least acquainted with Rarity, as he calls for her by name. By the end of the episode he is, once again, next to Rose, shouting to her about how his flame-less fireworks need love to ignite.

    He appears several more times after this episode, but the most significant is the end of the season finale, The Cutie Re-Mark part 2, again standing next to Rose in the final shot.

    Dr. Hooves! A pony with a tragic backstory who has lived for centuries trying to make sense of the world around him. There's no question that Slice of Life was big for him. Be sure to check below, where we have a little insight into the character from the man who provided his voice for the episode: Mr Peter New.

    What are your favorite Dr. Hooves moments? Which pony would you like to see highlighted next? Let me know in the comments below!

    The hero of legend.

    Mini-Interview with Peter New

    Peter New, the voice behind the Doctor's big episode 100 appearance, was kind enough to spare some time for a short interview for this week's Spotlight. It has been edited slightly from its original form for readability.

    TheSlorg: Episode 100 confirmed personality traits for the Doc that many in the fandom had guessed at for years. How did you go about preparing for the role? Were you already familiar with Doctor Who, or did you need to do some homework first?
    Peter New: I'm a huge Who fan—and old enough to have watched much of the original—so when they asked me to voice him I was thrilled. There's a story here I don't have the character count to get into, but because of it I felt compelled to mimic (David) Tennant as best I could. I re-watched a few of his episodes to try and focus on some vocal rhythms and tics. I was quite pleased, really, with the result despite it not sounding much like him in the end.
    TS: How much of your performance was 'by the script,' and how much was your own doing?
    PN: The script read more as Doc Brown (from Back to the Future), but after speaking with Jim Miller on the direction, we decided to lean on British and the Whovian canon for inspiration. I focused mostly on Tennant, and personally added the Allons-y and a couple of other unwritten, Tennant-esque vocal flairs. But moments from (Matt) Smith and (Christopher) Eccleston were used for inspiration as well. The "they need love to ignite!" beat was inspired directly from Eccleston's "Everybody lives!" moment at the end of The Doctor Dances.
    TS: Were there any challenges that came with playing what was essentially a parody version of such a beloved and well-known character?
    PN: Well I don't really think of it as parody, ultimately. I take the view that I am playing the character for real, that I must align the character with his truth, and the truth of his world. Even if it were true parody or satire, my job would be to render the character with tenderness, honesty, and love. Otherwise, he becomes one-dimensional: a joke of himself with no resonance. My hope is that he plays as real as the real deal, just as a pony version of him. That's what I was trying for, anyhow.
    TS: Plug time! Do you have anything going on at the moment that you'd like fans to know about?
    PN: Gosh! I'm very excited about a new show I'm on, but I can't say anything more about it right now. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the Electra Woman and Dyna Girl web series I shot last year. It should be hitting your computers screens some time this Spring, I think!
    TS: Nice! Thank you very much for your time.

    5 Notable Dr. Hooves Fanfics

    Bonus Videos!