The Time Lords
The Time Lords are an ancient extraterrestrial race and civilization of humanoids in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, of which the series' eponymous protagonist, the Doctor, is a member. Time Lords receive their name for their non-linear perception of time, which allows them to see everything that was, is, or could be at the same time, as shown in the 1996 movie Doctor Who. They developed a culture of custodianship and time-related technologies based on this perception which includes strictly-controlled time travel machines (known as "TARDISes") and monitoring devices to travel through time and to prevent time from being subverted or abused – although actual action was described as rare in practice due to their traditional policy of strict non-interference and neutrality. They can act to manipulate timelines of a wide range of events and individuals, so long as they do not cross back into their own timeline
Originally they were described as a powerful and wise race from the planet Gallifrey, from which the Doctor was a renegade; details beyond this were very limited for the first decade of the series. They later became integral to many episodes and stories as their role in the fictional universe developed. Over subsequent episodes their history, their development of time manipulation, and their internal politics were touched upon, with Time Lord society portrayed as a stagnated ceremony-bound oligarchy and their past having descended into myth and legend. The Doctor became at times an ally, being appointed their president during his fourth incarnation and assisting them on many occasions. After the series was resumed in 2005, the Time Lords were presented as having ceased to exist, having been destroyed by the Doctor at some intervening point during the Last Great Time War in which they became corrupted and willing to sacrifice the entirety of time and space to save themselves. The Time Lords made a subsequent appearance as a race in 2010 when they schemed to escape the resulting time lock and resume their plan, as well as in the appearance of individuals such as the Master, and at times, inadvertent human–time lord hybrids.
A female time lord may be described either as a Time Lord or Time Lady.
At the start of the series, the Doctor was identified only as an alien; his home planet and race were not identified. After six years, in The War Games, other aliens from his world appeared and were known as the Time Lords, and it was a further five years before the name of his home planet (Gallifrey) was revealed in The Time Warrior. The nature and history of the Time Lords were gradually revealed as the television series progressed.
The Time Lords are considered one of the oldest and most technologically powerful races in the Doctor Who universe. The small number of beings that are more powerful than the Time Lords include the (now extinct) Osirans and higher powers of the universe such as the Black and White Guardians, and possibly the Eternals. Additionally, The People from the spin-off novels (which are of uncertain canonicity) had a non-aggression treaty with the Time Lords. In the very distant past, the Time Lords fought a genocidal war against the Great Vampires, which led to such a catastrophic loss of life that the Time Lords renounced violence. However, at some point they also entered conflict with the Racnoss, ultimately driving the race to near-extinction save for the Racnoss' Empress and the inhabitants of one vessel hidden deep within what would become the planet Earth ("The Runaway Bride"). In some spinoff media, the Time Lords are also allied with less developed "Temporal Powers." The power of the Time Lords appears limited by their policy of non-interference with the universe and sometimes by intense internecine division. However, the view that they are self-appointed custodians of time developed in the spin-off media, but carried over into the television series; in The War Games the Time Lords return time-displaced humans abducted by the War Lord to their proper time zones on Earth.
In the 2005 television series, Gallifrey has been destroyed and the Time Lords are functionally extinct as a result of a mutually-destructive Time War with the Daleks, with only two Time Lords known to have survived: the Doctor and his nemesis, the Master. The Doctor's cloned "daughter" Jenny may also be considered to be a surviving Time Lord, though in "The Doctor's Daughter" the Doctor initially rejected the suggestion. The fate of a fourth member of the race, Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar (Romana), a former companion of the Doctor, is unknown, as when the character last appeared in the television series she was residing in a parallel dimension. Two other Time Lord-like beings appeared in the episode "Journey's End": Donna Noble, briefly empowered with the mind and knowledge of a Time Lord, and a half-human clone of the Doctor. Donna's memories related to the Doctor, as well as her Time Lord knowledge, were buried in order to save her life, while the clone is currently living out his existence in a parallel universe with Rose Tyler. There is also the question of whether the Doctor's grand-daughter, Susan, was by nature a true Time Lord. She went off to live with a human, David Campbell, in the 22nd century at the end of "The Dalek Invasion Of Earth." Whether she had survived the Time War or if she was not even a part of it is also unknown.
In "Father's Day" the Ninth Doctor remarks that prior to their destruction, the Time Lords would have prevented or repaired paradoxes such as that which attracted the Reapers to 1987 Earth. In "Rise of the Cybermen", the Tenth Doctor mentions that while the Time Lords were around, travel between alternative realities was easier, but with their demise, the paths between worlds were closed, and In "The Satan Pit", he states that his people "practically invented black holes. Well, in fact they did."
The End of Time saw the High Council of Time Lords led by a Time Lord President whom the Doctor named "Rassilon", attempting to escape the Time War by materialising Gallifrey in the place of Earth on Christmas 2009. However, the Doctor destroys the device which allows their passage into the present, sending them back into the events of the Time War.
At the end of "Day of the Moon", a mysterious young girl tells a homeless man that she is dying and then begins to regenerate. The identity of this girl is implied in the episode "A Good Man Goes to War", where it is revealed that the daughter of Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), Melody Pond, who later goes by her transliterated name "River Song", has been born with Time Lord-like genetic traits. An old acquaintance of the Doctor's, Vastra (Neve McIntosh) reminds the Doctor that the Time Lord race developed due to their billions of years' exposure to the time vortex. The Doctor then recalls that Rory and Amy had spent their wedding night in the TARDIS; therefore it is theorised that River's conception mirrored that of the Time Lords' genesis and therefore she herself developed Time Lord genetic characteristics.
During the episode "The Doctor's Wife" it was revealed that several Time Lords and their TARDISes had been trapped and destroyed by an entity called House who lived in a separate bubble universe.
Time Lords look human (or, as the Eleventh Doctor tells Amy Pond in the The Beast Below, humans "look Time Lord", as Time Lords came first), but differ from them in many respects. Physiological differences from humans include two hearts which normally beat at 170 beats per minute, an internal body temperature of 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and a "respiratory bypass system" that allows them to survive strangulation. Time Lords can also survive full exposure to the vacuum of space with no ill effects, though when in a vacuum for an extended period a Time Lord must take a supply of air along, or suffocate. Time Lords also seem to have an increased resilience to higher frequencies of sound, as seen in "The Christmas Invasion" (although this may simply be the excess energy from his recent regeneration) and "Partners in Crime". If severely injured, Time Lords can go into a healing coma which lowers their body temperature to below freezing. In the serial Destiny of the Daleks, Romana was able to voluntarily stop both of her hearts beating, to fool the Daleks into believing that she was dead. The Doctor also shows a greater tolerance to cold compared to humans in Planet of the Ood and even Romana in The Ribos Operation, and in "42" the Doctor states he is able to survive at absolute zero for a short period of time. In "World War Three", the Doctor is able to shake off an electrocution attempt which is fatal to a number of humans, and appears unaffected by the energy whip wielded by the Sycorax in "The Christmas Invasion". In "Smith and Jones" the Tenth Doctor says that X-rays pose no real threat to Time Lords, and proceeds to absorb an amount that would be lethal to a human, which he subsequently expels through his foot. Time Lords, or at least the Doctor, can read extremely quickly. The End of Time shows the Doctor as being capable of surviving (for a short period) a massive burst of radiation that would have killed anything else instantly.
Time Lords are extremely long-lived, routinely counting their ages in terms of centuries; the Doctor claimed in The War Games that Time Lords could live "practically forever, barring accidents." The series has suggested that Time Lords have a different concept of aging than humans. In Pyramids of Mars, the Doctor considers an age of 750 years to be "middle-aged". In "The Stolen Earth", he refers to being a "kid" at 90 years old.
In The Daleks' Master Plan the First Doctor is able to resist the effects of the Time Destructor better than his companions, who are visibly aged by it; one of them, Sara Kingdom ages to dust before the Destructor device can be reversed. The Fourth Doctor is briefly aged 500 years in The Leisure Hive, leaving him an old man but still active. A similar situation occurred in "The Sound of Drums", where the Master uses specially made technology to age the Tenth Doctor by a century, leaving him in a frail and helpless state. A further application of this technology in the following episode, "Last of the Time Lords", suspends the Doctor's capacity to regenerate, showing the effects of 900 years of life without regeneration.
In The Two Doctors, the Doctor states that the "Rassilon Imprimatur" allows Time Lords to safely travel through time, becoming symbionts with their TARDISes, and that the reason other species are incapable of developing time travel are that they lack the imprimatur. However, he implies later that he was lying about at least some of this information to mislead the Sontarans. At the beginning of The Trial of a Time Lord, the Doctor suggests that a number of elder Time Lords were able to use their combined mental energy to summon his TARDIS against his will.
In The Unicorn and the Wasp, the Tenth Doctor is able to overcome the effects of cyanide by "stimulating the inhibited enzymes into reversal".
In the episode Cold Blood, the Eleventh Doctor experiences excruciating pain when the Silurian attempts to decontaminate him of surface bacteria. The Doctor states this would kill him, most likely due to the scanners being programmed to 'detox' humans and therefore being unaware of what elements the Doctor requires.
Time Lords can communicate by telepathy, and can link their minds to share information and enhance their powers. In Castrovalva, the Doctor activates the TARDIS' Zero Room mentally. Additionally, both the Doctor and the Master demonstrate significant hypnotic abilities which may be supplemented by their telepathic abilities.
These powers were elaborated upon from 2005. The Doctor is seen using this method to query a cat about the goings-on of the flat in "The Lodger". In "Closing Time" he is apparently able to even understand babies. In "The Girl in the Fireplace", the Tenth Doctor reads the mind of Madame de Pompadour--and in the process, to his surprise, she is able to read his mind as well. In The End of Time the Master uses the same technique, allowing the Doctor to hear the drumming sound the Master constantly hears. The Doctor later displays his telepathic communion powers in "Fear Her" and in "The Shakespeare Code", where by using his mind melding technique he is partially able to relieve a man of his mental illness as he traces back through his memories. In "Planet of the Ood", he seems able to temporarily confer some degree of telepathy on his companion Donna Noble, so that she can hear the telepathic song of the Ood. When she is unable to bear the song, the Doctor removes the ability.
In "The Lodger", The Doctor (pressed for time and needing to convey a great deal of information to someone) smashed his forehead into another person's forehead, causing a massive instantaneous transfer of information. He then commented that was just the general background, then repeats the action to transfer further information pertinent to the episode. This seemed to cause him and the person intense physical pain, although unclear as to whether due to the physical pain of impact or the information transfer itself.
The Doctor also contacts the Time Lords by going into a trance and creating an assembling box in The War Games. In The Two Doctors, the Doctor engages in astral projection, but warns that if he is disturbed while doing so, his mind could become severed from his body and he could die. In "Last of the Time Lords", the Doctor telepathically interfaces with a network tapped into the human population who collectively chant his name. The focus of psychic energy granted the Doctor the ability to de-age himself, float through the air, deflect shots from the Master's laser screwdriver, and telekinetically disarm the Master while surrounded in a powerful blue glow.
In addition, Time Lords may be clairvoyant, or have additional time-related senses. In The Time Monster and Invasion of the Dinosaurs the Third Doctor is able to resist fields of slow time, being able to move through them even though others are paralysed. In City of Death both the Fourth Doctor and Romana notice distortions and jumps in time that no one else does. In the 2010 episode "The Lodger", the Doctor is the only one to notice (and remain free of) the time loops caused by the activation of the Time Engine.
In the 2005 series, the Ninth Doctor claims that he can sense the movement of the Earth through space as well as being able to perceive the past and all possible futures. He is also able to concentrate and time his motions well enough to step safely through the blades of a rapidly spinning fan and later claims that if any Time Lords still existed, he would be able to sense them. As the Tenth Doctor he repeats this assertion, adding also that he is somehow innately able to sense which events in time are 'fixed' and which are in 'flux'. In the original series episode "Warrior's Gate", Romana is called a 'time-sensitive' by a marauding slaver and, though she seems to deny this, is able to interface with his spaceship in ways that only a 'time-sensitive' is supposed to be able to. In "Utopia" the Doctor states that he finds it difficult to look at Captain Jack Harkness because Jack's existence has become fixed in time and space. The Tenth Doctor also mentions to Donna Noble, in the episode "The Fires of Pompeii", that Time Lords can perceive the past, present, and all possible futures simultaneously, as the Ninth Doctor had earlier told Rose Tyler:
Infused with the power of the time vortex,
Rose Tyler: "I can see everything, all that is, all that was, all that ever could be."
The Doctor: "That's what I see, all the time. And doesn't it drive you mad?"
In the Series 4 episode "Journey's End", the Tenth Doctor was shown to use his telepathic abilities to wipe Donna Noble's mind of certain memories, specifically the memories of her travels in the TARDIS. The War Games showed that other Time Lords are also able to erase people's memories, as in that story, Jamie and Zoe's travels with the Doctor were erased from their memory, and the council of Time Lords also put a memory block on the Doctor so he could not pilot the TARDIS. In the Series 5 episode "The Big Bang" the Doctor telepathically left a message in Amy Pond's head before sealing her into the Pandorica so that she would know what was happening when she woke up.
Time Lords also have the ability to regenerate their bodies when their current body is mortally wounded. This process results in their body undergoing a transformation, gaining a new physical form.
Regenerations can be traumatic events. In Castrovalva, the Doctor requires the use of a Zero Room, a chamber shielded from the outside universe that provides an area of calm for him to recuperate. He comments that there is an excellent polygonal zero room beneath the junior senate block on Gallifrey. The Time Lord's personality also sometimes goes through a period of instability following a regeneration.
It was first stated in The Deadly Assassin that a Time Lord can regenerate twelve times before dying (thirteen incarnations in all). There were exceptions to this rule, however: when the Master reached the end of his regenerative cycle, he took possession of the body of another person to continue living. In "The Five Doctors", the Master was offered a new cycle of regenerations by the High Council to save the Doctor from the Death Zone, which may indicate that there are methods to circumvent the twelve regeneration limit. The Master says in "The Sound of Drums" that the Time Lords "resurrected" him to fight in the Time War, which appears to support this. It was revealed in "The Brain of Morbius" that the Time Lords also use the Elixir of Life in extreme cases, where regeneration is not possible. This may be the reason for additional regeneration cycles being granted.
Also in The Deadly Assassin, several Time Lords including the President are stated to have been "murdered" and are not stated to have regenerated. Although it is possible that all of the Time Lords killed were at the end of their regeneration cycles (somewhat more likely with a retiring President: potentially his reaching the end of his regeneration cycle was the very reason for his retirement), it is also possible that regeneration, regardless of how many regenerations the individual Time Lord has already undergone, is a conditional and non-inevitable phenomenon. This is stated in The End of Time when the Doctor explains to Wilfred Mott that a Time Lord can die before they have a chance to regenerate, in which case they die outright. In "The Deadly Assassin" at least one of the murders was carried out with a 'staser', possibly a weapon designed to both kill and prevent regeneration (stasers are also stated to have little effect on non-living tissue). Some victims, such as Runcible, were possibly "just Gallifreyans" and not Time Lords (see above), and so may not have had the ability to regenerate. In the season 4 episode "Turn Left", the Tenth Doctor's body is shown on a gurney following the parallel events of "The Runaway Bride". A UNIT officer states that the Doctor's death must have been too quick to allow for regeneration.
In "Destiny of the Daleks", Romana showed the ability to rapidly change form several times in a row during her first regeneration, and apparently had the ability to change into whatever appearance she desired. When the Doctor remarks upon her ability, she comments that he should have stayed in university. However, despite showing several appearances, Romana regenerated only once on that occasion.
In "Utopia", the Master, just before regeneration, claimed that he would become "young and strong", implying that he could choose the form of his new body. However regenerations generally result in younger physical forms so this may just be coincidence.
In "The Last of the Time Lords", when the Master is fatally wounded, he chooses not to regenerate, essentially committing suicide rather than regenerate and be kept prisoner by the Doctor forever. This again implies that regeneration is not inevitable and can indeed be refused. (However, given the later events of "The End of Time", it cannot be said with certainty that the Master actually refused regeneration, or if his "death" wasn't part of a larger scheme).
In "Turn Left", the Tenth Doctor is killed "too quickly for him to regenerate" in an alternate history where he is killed in his own rampage against the Racnoss without Donna to stop him and ultimately save his life. This death was presumably caused by flooding of the building, which the Doctor was aware of, and would not have happened any more suddenly than the Sixth Doctor's apparent death by trauma in "Time and the Rani" (although spin-off media have suggested that the assault on the TARDIS was not the sole reason for the Doctor's death). In "The Impossible Astronaut" a future version of the Eleventh Doctor is shot, causing him to begin his regeneration cycle. He is shot again before the regeneration completes, causing him to die instantly.
In cases of non-fatal injury, Time Lords who have recently regenerated can use left over cellular energy to heal and even regrow severed limbs, as seen in "The Christmas Invasion" where the Tenth Doctor regrows a hand. Also seen in "Journey's End", is the apparent ability to siphon off regeneration energy in order to cancel the effect of changing appearance; which requires them to have a "bio-matching receptacle" (in this case the Doctor's severed hand), which is usually impractical. It remains to be seen whether this technique counts as regenerating fully, and thus losing one of the Time Lord's inherent twelve regeneration allotment.
In "End of Time", the Tenth Doctor was able to postpone his regeneration long enough so that he could travel in time and space to see his past companions for one last time before he regenerated. However, this could have been because the radiation was slowly killing him – as is how radiation poisoning typically occurs in the real world – giving him enough time to say his goodbyes, or maybe Time Lords can temporarily stop their inevitable regeneration.
The Fifth Doctor also showed a similar ability in his final televised story "The Caves Of Androzani". Toward the end of episode 3 he is seen, apparently, fighting off the effects of an impending regeneration so he can return to Androzani Minor to save his companion Peri.
It is also worth noting that Time Lords appear to have the ability to stay conscious for moments after events that would outright kill other lifeforms instantly, giving them the opportunity to regenerate. In "Logopolis", the Fourth Doctor falls hundreds of feet to the ground, yet is still conscious and able to talk to his companions when they find him minutes later before he regenerates. In "The Caves of Androzani", the Fifth Doctor remains conscious throughout the entire course of his (eventually fatal) spectrox toxaemia, while his human companion Peri loses consciousness as the disease worsens. In "The Stolen Earth" the Tenth Doctor is shot by a Dalek's energy weapon, which has always been shown to instantly kill any other lifeform, yet is still conscious and able to return, with the aid of Rose, Donna and Jack, to the TARDIS in order to regenerate. Of course he was skimmed by the energy shot, while all others were shot in the middle of the back or in the chest, closer to vital organs. The Eleventh Doctor is also shot squarely by a weakened Dalek in "The Big Bang" and severely injured, but he manages to execute his plan to restart the universe nonetheless.
In "Death of the Doctor" (a 2010 The Sarah Jane Adventures serial), the Eleventh Doctor responds to a question from Clyde Langer by saying he can regenerate "507" times. Early news reports, before the episode was broadcast, suggested he would say there is no limit to the number of regenerations. Writer Russell T Davies explained in an interview with SFX that the line was not intended to be taken seriously and is instead a commentary. He insisted that the "thirteen lives" rule was too deeply entrenched in the viewer consciousness for his throwaway line to affect it.
Culture and society
The Time Lord homeworld, Gallifrey, is an Earth-like planet in the fictional constellation of Kasterborous. Its capital city is referred to as the Citadel, and contains the Capitol, the seat of Time Lord government. At the centre of the Capitol is the Panopticon, beneath which is the Eye of Harmony. Outside the Capitol lie wastelands where the "Outsiders", Time Lords who have dropped out of Time Lord society, live in less technologically advanced communities, shunning life in the cities. The Outsiders have often been equated with the "Shobogans", a group mentioned briefly in The Deadly Assassin as being responsible for acts of vandalism around the Panopticon, but there is actually nothing on screen that explicitly connects the two.
It is implied (in The Invasion of Time and The Deadly Assassin) that the terms "Gallifreyan" and "Time Lord" may not be synonymous, and that Time Lords are simply that subset of Gallifreyans who have achieved the status of Time Lord via achievement in the Gallifreyan collegiate system; in the episode "The Sound of Drums" The Doctor talks of 'children of Gallifrey' which implies that children are Gallifreyan before they are Time Lords. Although this is still unclear as in "Journey's End" the Daleks call the Doctor "the last child of Gallifrey" and in The "End of Time" a Time Lord on the high council states that a prophecy referring to the Doctor and the Master "speaks of two children of Gallifrey". Romana and the Doctor have also referred to "Time Tots", or infant Time Lords, and (in "Smith and Jones") the Doctor refers his compatriots and he playing "with Röntgen bricks in the nursery". In "The Sound of Drums", the Master is seen as a child, apparently at the age of 8.
In general, the Time Lords are an aloof people, with a society full of pomp and ceremony. The Doctor has observed that his people "enjoy making speeches" and have an "infinite capacity for pretension". The Time Lord penchant for ceremony extends to their technology, with various artefacts given weighty names like the Hand of Omega, the Eye of Harmony or the Key of Rassilon.
The Doctor has also characterised the Time Lords as a stagnant and corrupt society, a state caused by ten million years of absolute power. Sutekh the Osiran decries them as "ever a perfidious species," while Brother Lassar, in the episode "School Reunion", describes the Time Lords as "a pompous race" of "ancient, dusty senators... frightened of change and chaos" and "peaceful to the point of indolence". Their portrayal in the series is reminiscent of academics living in ivory towers, unconcerned with external affairs. The Doctor states that the Time Lords were sworn never to interfere, only to watch ("The Sound of Drums"). It has been suggested that, since perfecting the science of time travel, they have withdrawn, bound by the moral complexity of interfering in the natural flow of history (compare with the Prime Directive from Star Trek); in "Earthshock", the Cyberleader, when notified of the arrival of a TARDIS, is surprised at the presence of a Time Lord, stating "they are forbidden to interfere". In "The Two Doctors", it is suggested that Time Lords are responsible for maintaining a general balance of power between the races of the Universe.
While interference is apparently against Time Lord policy, there are occasions when they do intervene, albeit indirectly through their CIA or Celestial Intervention Agency. The CIA has occasionally sent the Doctor on missions that required plausible deniability, as in "The Two Doctors", and sometimes against his will, Colony in Space and The Monster of Peladon. He is also sent on a mission in "The Mutants" which was intended to help preserve the existence of a unique race, which was being destroyed by the excesses of the Earth empire. The Doctor's mission in "Genesis of the Daleks" even involves changing history to avert the creation of the Daleks, or at least temper their aggressiveness.
Children of Gallifrey are taken from their families at the age of 8 and admitted into the Academy. Novices are then taken to an initiation ceremony before the Untempered Schism, a gap in the fabric of reality that looks into the time vortex. Of those that stare into it, some are inspired, some run away and others go mad. The Doctor suggests that the Master went mad, while admitting that he ran away.
Each Time Lord belongs to one of a number of various colleges or chapters, such as the Patrexes, Arcalian, and the Prydonian chapters, which have ceremonial and possibly political significance. In "The Deadly Assassin", it is explained that each chapter has its own colours; the Prydonians wear scarlet and orange, the Arcalians wear green, and the Patrexeans wear heliotrope. However, in that same serial, Cardinal Borusa, described as "the leader of the Prydonian chapter", wears heliotrope. Other Prydonians wear orange headdresses with orange-brown (not scarlet) robes. Other chapters mentioned in spin-off novels include the Dromeian and Cerulean chapters. The Prydonian chapter has a reputation for being devious, and tends to produce renegades; the Doctor, the Master and the Rani are all Prydonians. The colleges of the Academy are led by the Cardinals. Ushers, who provide security and assistance at official Time Lord functions, may belong to any chapter, and wear all-gold uniforms. Also mentioned in the Deadly Assassin are 'plebeian classes'.
The executive political leadership is split between the Lord President, who keeps the ceremonial relics of the Time Lords, and the Chancellor, who appears to be the administrative leader of the Cardinals and who acts as a check on the power of the Lord President. The President is an elected position; on Presidential Resignation Day, the outgoing President usually names his successor, who is then usually confirmed in a non-contested "election", but it is still constitutionally possible for another candidate to put themselves forward for the post, as the Doctor did in "The Deadly Assassin". In that story, the Presidency was described as a largely ceremonial role, but in "The Invasion of Time" the orders of the office were to be obeyed without question. In the event the current Lord President is unable to name a successor, the council can appoint a President to take his place. In "The Five Doctors", the council appoints the Doctor as president after Borusa is imprisoned by Rassilon, and later deposed him after he neglected his duties.
The President and Chancellor also sit on the Time Lord High Council, akin to a legislative body, composed variously of Councillors and more senior Cardinals. Also on the High Council is the Castellan of the Chancellory Guard, in charge of the security of the Citadel, who the Doctor has referred to as the leader of a trumped-up palace guard. According to the constitution, if while in emergency session the other members of the High Council are in unanimous agreement, even the President's orders can be overruled.
The greatest example of Time Lord technology is the Eye of Harmony, a repurposed black hole singularity contained within the instrumentality below the Panopticon. Created by the founders of Time Lord society in the distant past, this is the source of their power and the anchor of the Web of Time itself.
Paradoxically, although the Time Lords are a scientifically and technologically advanced race, the civilisation is so old that key pieces of their technology have become shrouded in legend and myth. In the spin-off fiction, an edict and general aversion against exploring Gallifrey's past also contributes to this. Accordingly, until the Master rediscovers it, the Time Lords forgot that the location of the Eye of Harmony is beneath their capital. They also treated such ceremonial symbols as the Key and Sash of Rassilon as mere historical curiosities, being unaware of their true function.
TARDISes are characterised not just by their ability to travel in time, but also their dimensionally transcendent nature. A TARDIS's interior spaces exist in a different dimension from its exterior, allowing it to appear to be bigger on the inside. The Doctor states that transdimensional engineering was a key Time Lord discovery in "The Robots of Death". In the revived series, the TARDIS has an organic look, and the Doctor states in "The Impossible Planet" that TARDISes are grown, not made.
Fitting their generally defensive nature, Time Lord weapons technology is rarely seen, other than the staser hand weapons used by the Guard within the Capitol. Stasers (possibly a portmanteau of stunner and laser, as they are used to stun targets) can be lethal energy weapons, specifically designed to prevent the unwanted regeneration of rogue Time Lords; staser beams also shatter the crystalline structure of non-organic targets.
Standard TARDISes do not generally seem to use any on-board weaponry, although War or Battle TARDISes (armed with "time torpedoes" that freeze their target in time) have appeared in the spin-off media. In the novels, the Eighth Doctor's companion Compassion, a living TARDIS, has enough firepower to annihilate other TARDISes. In the serial "Castrovalva" the Master's TARDIS is equipped with an energy field that he uses to temporarily disable or stun several human security guards outside the vessel, although it is unclear whether this is an original feature of the craft or a custom feature fitted by the renegade Time Lord.
One exception to the Time Lords' defensive weaponry is the de-mat gun (or dematerialisation gun). The de-mat gun is a weapon of mass destruction that removes its target from space-time altogether, as seen in "The Invasion of Time". The de-mat gun was created in Rassilon's time and is a closely guarded secret; the knowledge to create one is kept in the Matrix and is available only to the President. To make sure this knowledge is not abused, the only way to arm a de-mat gun is by means of the Great Key of Rassilon, whose location is only known to the Chancellor. As a means of extreme sanction, the Time Lords have also been known to place whole planets into time-loops, isolating them from the universe in one repeating moment of time as well as hurling planets from one galaxy to another using a weapon referred only as a magnetron in the episodes "Trial of a Time Lord" and "Journey's End".
In "The End of Time", the Lord President is shown wearing a gauntlet with several powers, primarily the ability to disintegrate a target and the ability to reverse/revert changes made to the human race by the Master. Physically this resembles the Resurrection Gauntlet from Torchwood and Davros' gauntlet from the Series 4 finale, but this may be coincidental.
Details of the Time Lords' history within the show are sketchy and are, as is usual for Doctor Who continuity, fraught with supposition and contradiction. The Time Lords became the masters of time travel when one of their number, the scientist Omega created an energy source to power their experiments in time. To this end, Omega used a stellar manipulation device, the Hand of Omega, to rework a nearby star into a new form to serve that source. Unfortunately, the star flared, first into a supernova, and then collapsed into a black hole. Omega was thought killed in that explosion but unknown to everyone, had somehow survived in an anti-matter universe beyond the black hole's singularity. Rassilon, the ultimate founder of Time Lord society, then took a singularity (assumed by fans and the spin-off media to be the same one as Omega's) and placed it beneath the Time Lords' citadel on Gallifrey. This perfectly balanced Eye of Harmony then served as the power source for their civilisation as well as their time machines. In "The Satan Pit", the Doctor states that his race "practically invented black holes. In fact, we did", presumably a reference to the singularity created by Omega.
At some point in their history the Time Lords interacted with the civilisation of the planet Minyos, giving them advanced technology (including the ability to "regenerate" to a limited degree, by rejuvenating their bodies when they grow too old). This met with disastrous results, (which is said by some to be the reason the Time Lords adopted a philosophy of "non-interference"). The Minyans destroyed themselves in a series of nuclear wars ("Underworld").
As of the current series, the Time Lords have, according to the Doctor, all perished at the conclusion of a Time War with the Daleks, leaving the Doctor the sole survivor and the last of his race. It was also revealed by the Beast that the Doctor was responsible for the extinction of both races.
However, there may have been survivors other than the Doctor. The fate of Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar (Romana) – a one-time companion of the Doctor – is unknown, as in her last appearance in the television series ("Warriors' Gate") she was in the parallel dimension of E-Space. In the episode "Gridlock", the Face of Boe told the Doctor with his dying breath that "you are not alone". In the episode "Utopia" the Doctor learns that the Master survived. The Doctor had failed to sense him because he had used a chameleon arch to turn himself into a human (as the Doctor did in "Human Nature"), while hiding at the end of the Universe. While the Master is commonly presumed to have been the one to whom the Face of Boe referred (the Master's pseudonym was an acronym of the Face of Boe's final message), this also opens a possible plot hook for the similar survival of other Time Lords throughout time and space. The Master is supposed to have died during the events of "Last of the Time Lords"; shortly after having his plans of universal conquest foiled by the Doctor and his companion Martha Jones, the Master was shot by his human wife Lucy Saxon. He chose to repress his ability to regenerate and subsequently died, leaving the Doctor to mourn him and to burn his body on a pyre. However, a short scene at the end of the episode shows a female hand picking the Master's signet ring out of the ashes, while the Master's voice can be heard laughing in the background. The Master returns and plays a significant role in "The End of Time".
In the episode "The Doctor's Daughter", after landing on planet Messaline the Doctor was forced to place his hand inside a progenation machine, which used his DNA to create a new soldier, to fight in the war taking place. The new female soldier – his daughter, Jenny, possesses the DNA of a Time Lord. While the Doctor argues that a Time Lord is more than simply genetics, he is impressed by the superhuman abilities she displays, and intelligence on par with his own. By the end of the episode he becomes more willing to accept her as his daughter and a Time Lord. Donna Noble also gains the mind of a Time Lord or at least part of the Doctor's. After being trapped on the TARDIS as it is about to be destroyed, she is drawn towards the Doctor's hand, which was severed in the 2005 Christmas special and loaded with unused energy from a partial regeneration (see "Journey's End", 2008). Touching the hand triggers the remaining regeneration process, and causes a second Doctor to be created, one who is part human, borrowing traits from Donna just as she absorbs part of his mind.
"The End of Time" saw their first appearance in character since the series returned. The Time Lords portrayed were the high council of Gallifrey led by a resurrected Rassilon in the final days of the Time War. After hearing a prophecy from the Time Lady 'the Visionary' that the final day of the Time War would see the end of the Time Lord race barring two survivors, the Doctor and the Master, Rassilon devised a method to escape the Time Lock and materialise Gallifrey outside the Time War. He had the drum beat in the Master's head implanted in the past as part of a link between the Time Lords and Earth, and sent a White Point Star, a flawless uncut diamond found only on Gallifrey, to Earth in 2010 to be retrieved by the Master, and used in a machine to open a pathway for the Time Lords and Gallifrey to materialise. Rassilon states his intention is to bring about the end of time so the Time Lords can transcend to a noncoporeal state. As Gallifrey approaches Earth, the Doctor destroys the device, sending Gallifrey and the Time Lords back into the events of the Time War. However, as revealed The Day of the Doctor, Gallifrey was never destroyed at all, as the Moment and Clara Oswald managed to gather all thirteen incarnations of the Doctor together to place the planet in a sort of hidden stasis, out of sync with the rest of the universe, to make it appear as though the Time Lords perished along with the Daleks. The Time Lords later tried to return through a crack in time in "The Time of the Doctor," but while this ultimately failed, they intervened to change the Doctor's future by granting him a new regeneration cycle before closing the crack.
Citadel, Panopticon, Academy, Death Zone, Eye of Harmony, Continent of Wild Endeavour, Mountains of Solace and Solitude, Mount Perdition
Gallifrey is a fictional planet in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who and is the homeworld of the Doctor and the Time Lords. It is located in the constellation of Kasterborous (Pyramids of Mars, Attack of the Cybermen and Voyage of the Damned), at "galactic coordinates ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two from galactic zero centre" (Pyramids of Mars (1975), Full Circle (1980) and partially in "The Family of Blood" (2007)), which is some 250 million light years away from Earth (as stated in the 1996 Doctor Who television movie). This would put it far outside our Milky Way galaxy, which is about a hundred thousand light years in diameter, and indeed outside the Local Group and even the Virgo Supercluster; however, at this distance it would still be within the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex.
During the first decade of the television series, the name of the Doctor's home planet was not revealed, although it was actually shown for the first time in The War Games (1969) during the Doctor's trial. It was finally identified by name for the first time in The Time Warrior (1973). It is never definitively stated when the appearances of Gallifrey in the television series take place. As the planet is often reached by means of time travel, its relative present could conceivably exist anywhere in the Earth's past or future before the year 100 trillion, which the Time Lords never reached.
Gallifrey's position in the revived series (2005 onwards) was filled in slowly over the first three years of the series' run. In Series 1, it had been implied that it was destroyed along with the Dalek Empire, by the Doctor during the Time War. The planet was not referred to by name until the 2006 Christmas Special, was depicted in a flashback in "The Sound of Drums", and played an important role in the plot of "The End of Time".
The planet is protected from physical attack by the impenetrable barrier called the quantum force field, named presumably after the Eye of Harmony, and from teleportation incursions by the transduction barrier - which can be reinforced to repel most levels of this type of technological attack. This prevents all outsiders (with hostile intent, or otherwise) from approaching the planet and allows the Time Lords to maintain their status of absolute neutrality. It also lets them observe the actions of the rest of the Universe without actually taking part in its affairs. These security barriers were breached on occasion by the Sontarans, by manipulating the more technological Vardans, who suborned the Doctor into sabotaging both of these from within (The Invasion of Time, 1978).
The Doctor's granddaughter Susan described her home world (not named as "Gallifrey" at the time) as having bright, silver-leafed trees and a burnt orange sky at night (The Sensorites, 1964), features that the Tenth Doctor reiterates in the episode "Gridlock" (2007). This casts an amber tint on anything outside the city, as seen in The Invasion of Time. Gallifrey's sky appeared blue and Earth-like in The Five Doctors (1983) within the isolated Death Zone, but this is likely a production oversight, or could be explained away as the effect of the containment forcefield that enclosed the Zone - refracting the visible light spectrum to shift to blue. This is cogent given what is stated in "The War Games" as the Second Doctor explains that the Time Lords can control their own environment, so the blue sky of the death zone could be on account of that.
In "Gridlock", the Doctor also mentions vast mountain ranges situated on Gallifrey, "with fields of deep red grass, capped with snow". In "The Time Monster" he reveals that "When I was a little boy, we used to live in a house that was perched halfway up the top of a mountain", explaining, "I ran down that mountain and I found that the rocks weren't grey at all - but they were red, brown and purple and gold. And those pathetic little patches of sludgy snow were shining white. Shining white in the sunlight". In "Gridlock" he further elaborates how Gallifrey's second sun would "rise in the south and the mountains would shine", with the silver-leafed trees looking like "a forest on fire" in the mornings. In "The Sound of Drums", the Doctor says that Gallifrey was called the Shining World of the Seventh System.
The Citadel of the Time Lords stands on the Continent of Wild Endeavour, in the Mountains of Solace and Solitude ("The Sound of Drums"), where the capital is also located. Within the capital is the Panopticon, under which is located the Eye of Harmony, the nucleus of a black hole that is their power source. The Eye provides the power required for time travel (The Three Doctors, 1973; The Deadly Assassin, 1976), and all Time Lord TARDIS time machines draw their power from it (the 1996 television movie). Also situated in the capital is the Matrix, the vast extradimensional computer network which acts as the repository of all Time Lord knowledge as well as containing the memories of dead Time Lords (The Deadly Assassin).
The Deadly Assassin mentions the existence of a section of the Citadel's population called the Shoobugans and dialogue mentions Plebeian class. This implies that not all people native to Gallifrey are Time Lords. Among Gallifrey's wildlife are birds called Flutterwings and The Mark of the Rani implies that a species similar to cats also exists. Spin-off fiction has also mentioned creatures called Tafelshrews.
Outside the city lie wastelands where "Outsiders", Gallifreyans who have dropped out of Time Lord society, live in less technological tribal communities. The wastes of Gallifrey include the Death Zone, an area that was used as a gladiatorial arena by the first Time Lords, pitting various species kidnapped from their respective time zones against each other (although Daleks and Cybermen were considered too dangerous to use). Inside the Death Zone stands the Tomb of Rassilon, the founder of Time Lord society (The Five Doctors). Somewhere on Gallifrey there is also an institute called the Academy, which the Doctor and various other Time Lords have attended. It is not clear whether this building is in the capital or outside it and equally it is unclear whether it is a single building or different for each group of Time Lords (Borusa refers to Prydon Academy in The Deadly Assassin, but the Doctor in The Time Monster and The Sound of Drums refers to it as a single Academy). Somewhere on Gallifrey is a portal known as the Untempered Schism, a gap in the fabric of reality. Eight-year-old Gallifreyans are brought before the Schism and made to look into the Time Vortex as part of an initiation ceremony into the Time Lord Academy. According to the Doctor, some are inspired, some run away, and some are driven mad. ("The Sound of Drums"). In "The End of Time, Part One", the Master refers to his father's land on Gallifrey which had red grass and stretched across the slopes of Mount Perdition.
Few details on the history of the planet itself emerge from the original series run from 1963–1989. In "The End of the World" (2005), the Ninth Doctor states that his home planet has been destroyed in a war and that he is the last of the Time Lords. The episode also indicates that the Time Lords are remembered in the far future. Subsequently, in "Dalek" (2005), it is revealed that the last great Time War was fought between the Time Lords and the Daleks, ending in the obliteration of both sides and with only two apparent survivors; the Doctor and a lone Dalek that had somehow fallen through time and crashed on Earth. At the conclusion of that episode, that surviving Dalek self-destructs, leaving the Doctor believing that he was the sole survivor of the Time War. However, the Daleks return in "Bad Wolf"/"The Parting of the Ways" (2005), and subsequently in "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday" (2006), "Daleks in Manhattan"/"Evolution of the Daleks" (2007), "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" (2008) and "Victory of the Daleks" (2010), the penultimate of these being the series 4 finale where Davros also returns, and the final of these being the first time the Eleventh Doctor meets the Daleks. During that episode, a new race of Daleks is created.
It is suggested that other Time Lords might have survived the war when the Face of Boe utters its final words to the Doctor: "Know this, Time Lord: you are not alone". These suspicions are later borne out when the Tenth Doctor discovers that the renegade Time Lord the Master has survived the Time War and has been living in human form in the year 100 trillion, at the end of the material universe, a point so far forward in time that no Time Lord has ever travelled there.
The planet makes its first appearance in the revived series in "The Sound of Drums", where the Citadel, enclosed in a glass dome, is seen in flashback as the Doctor describes it. Also seen is a ceremony initiating 8-year-old Gallifreyans — in particular the Master — into the Time Lord Academy.
The 2009 story The End of Time once again featured Gallifrey, which the Master releases from the Time Lock the Doctor had created to contain the war. However, Gallifrey's reemergence is eventually stopped and reversed after it was made clear that the release of Gallifrey would lead to the Time Lords destroying time - in effect destroying the universe - in order to defeat the Daleks. Resurrected Lord President Rassilon also believed that this action would elevate them to a higher form of existence, becoming "pure consciousness." Upon realizing this, the Doctor and the Master worked together to send the Time Lords and Gallifrey back into the Time Lock, at the expense of the Master's disappearance.
By the end of the war, Gallifrey was in ruins. The dome of the main city, the Time Lord capital, the Capitol, was shattered and dozens of Dalek saucers were crashed on the plains below. When Gallifrey appears over Earth, it appears as a huge orange sphere with lakes of lava.
It was stated by the 10th doctor in The End of Time that Gallifrey was not how he and The Master knew it in their youth. Implying that the Time Lords had resorted to desperate and deplorable measures to fight the Daleks, the Doctor was willing to break his code of non-violence to stop the return of the Time Lords.
In the 50th anniversary special of the Television Series, The Day of the Doctor,
scenes are shown during the fall of Arcadia, Gallifrey's second city.
Subsequently it is shown that Gallifrey wasn't actually destroyed. The final
scenes depicted three of the Doctor's incarnations - the Tenth Doctor (David
Tennant), the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and the War Doctor (John Hurt), the
interface of the weapon,The Moment, that was supposed to destroy the planet
(depicted as derived from Rose Tyler or in her form, Bad Wolf as seen in the
season one finale) and the Eleventh Doctor's companion Clara Oswald decide
against destroying it. Instead, they freeze the planet in time within a
secondary/pocket universe. This occurs with the help of the other Doctors,
including the Twelfth Doctor, whose eyes alone are seen at this point. Instead
of destroying Gallifrey, the Dalek fleet echelons open fire on and destroy each
other. Although a secondary universe is mentioned, the exact location of the
planet (both in time and space) is as yet unknown.
In The Time of the Doctor the Time Lords try to enter the Universe through a
crack in the Universe on the planet Trenzalore. They broadcast a message through
space-time, "Doctor Who?", when the Doctor answers they will know to leave.
However this message causes various races to lay siege to Trenzalore, the Doctor
remaining to protect the inhabitants, but not wanting to release the Time Lords
as this would mean the destruction of Trenzalore. Hundreds of years later, Clara
convinces the Time Lords to close the crack.