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Doctor Who - How Old Is The Doctor?

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posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:02 PM
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Just exactly how old is that daft old man who stole a magic box? He seems to bounce numbers around very frequently when the subject of his age arises. He's traveled the Universe and seen sights beyond imagination and every once in a while he gives hints to his real age...


The Last Son Of Gallifrey





If we used all the other forms of media to discuss the Doctor's age, it can get confusing, to say the least. So just like the article I am basing this off, let's just use the television series for this. I myself really just follow the show and I would assume there are many like me out there as well.


So let's run down each Doctor and what ages he has given.



Some age references:


The First Doctor

Entered the Time Lord academy at the age of eight along with the Master, (The Sound of the Drums)
Visited the Medusa Cascade at the age of ninety, (The Stolen Earth)

The Second Doctor

Gave his age at about 450, (The Tomb of the Cybermen)

The Third Doctor

Claimed to have been a scientist for ‘several thousand years,’ (Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Mind of Evil)

The Fourth Doctor

Claimed to be 757, (The Brain of Morbius)
…But later gave his age as 749, (The Seeds of Doom)
Said he was 756 but Romana corrected him, stating that he was 759, (The Ribos Operation)
Turned 760, (The Power of Kroll)

The Sixth Doctor

Stated he was 900, (Revelation of the Daleks)
Later added that he was 900 ‘more or less,’ (The Mysterious Planet)

The Seventh Doctor

Was the same age as the Rani: 953, (Time and Rani)

The Ninth Doctor

Claimed to be 900, (Aliens of London, The Empty Child)

The Tenth Doctor

Was 903 during the Titanic incident, (The Voyage of the Damned)
…And 906 at the time of his death, (The End of Time)

The Eleventh Doctor

Had turned 907 by the time of the Crash of the Byzantium, (Flesh and Stone)
…Which he still was when he met the Dream Lord, (Amy’s Choice)
Was 909 when invited by his future self to America, who claimed to be 1103 (The Impossible Astronaut)
Appeared to be older than a thousand when he met George (Night Terrors)
Over 1200 (A Town Called Mercy)




According to the article, we can figure out his approximate age from info given out through the series. I'm terrible with math and have not seen the old shows nearly as much compared to the 9th Doctor to present. I'm really into this series and have probably watched every episode from the 9th on, somewhere around 5-7 times each, some episodes a few more. The latest season I have not seen but once or twice per episode so far. I admittedly need to watch more of the old ones( 8th backwards), I have seen a good number but not all, especially since many of the old episodes were lost to fire(the irony lol). Anyway lets get to this' author's formula.



In ‘The Pirate Planet’, Romana states that the Doctor has been travelling in the TARDIS for 523 years. The Doctor at the time of the Quest of Time is approximately 760. 760-523= 237. In the Doctor’s Wife, the TARDIS states that, they have been travelling for 700 years. If we presume the Doctor is still 909 then 909-700= 209. So presuming the TARDIS is rounding up, the Doctor was probably 237 when he stole her and she stole him.




Now, this is the author's interpretation and I am not nearly knowledgeable about the entire series to try to figure this out but I thought someone here at ATS might have thoughts on it.

The article also gives ideas as to why the Doctor seems to contradict himself about the whole thing. What I want to do is list the author's thoughts on the ideas and then post my thoughts under them.

1. The Doctor doesn’t know his age


I really dislike this option, after all the Doctor is a Time Lord. Surely he had some weird, Time Lord way of knowing how old he is. We know that he definitely knows his age in Time and Rani, but maybe the Time War has caused the Doctor to forget his age. Anyway I suppose this is an option especially as it’s the view that the Moff has on the question of the Doctor’s age.


I actually find this plausible. We have seen the Doctor use the Chameleon Arch and if the Time Lords have that kind of technology, why could they have not some other to wipe away certain parts, to create an illusion life in other words.


2. Time War!


The answer to all Doctor Who’s continuity problems. Time has been drastically rewritten by the war and so the Doctor has lost years from his past making him hundreds of years younger than he would be.


Now of course, since we are talking about Time Lords, this obviously is an extremely high possibility. Since the war altered time, this seems the most plausible to me.

Here's a bit of info on the Time War:

In the Doctor Who continuity, the war occurs between the events of the 1996 film and the 2005 revived series. It is not directly depicted on-screen but has been frequently mentioned and alluded to since the show's return. The war's events and progression have never been fully explained. Short comments in various episodes act as hints, but the war was not thoroughly talked about until the 2007 series finale. The two-part special The End of Time (2009) provided further information.
source *more in-depth information on the Time War: tardis.wikia.com...


3. The Doctor restarted counting after the Time War


After the major trauma of the Time War, the Doctor may have decided to start his travels afresh. The TARDIS respects his feelings and also restarts her count but still with the 200 year gap. So where was the Ninth for the first 900 years of his life? If we accept this theory to be true, then I guess that he spent those 900 years on Titan IV pondering his actions, just like his younger self decided to do after his violent rage in the Twin Dilemma, but this time in mourning.


This could be explained with another chameleon arch type device that is specifically designed to allow the doctor to Still be a Time Lord but erase all memories from a certain point backwards. This one is very plausible to me as well.

4. Earth Years and Gallifreyan Years


My favourite option and, as far as I can see, it fits with the Time War and everything. Different planets have different length years. I’m no expert, but it’s something to do with the time that the planet takes to orbit it’s sun (or suns in, Gallifrey’s case.) So a year on Earth may be shorter or longer than a year on Gallifrey. In ‘Time and Rani’, the Doctor is definitely using Gallifreyan Years. Reason? He is using his age which is the same as the Rani’s to open a door in the Rani’s lab. It’s incredibly unlikely that the Rani would use her age in Earth Years to lock the door so presumably it is Gallifreyan. If we presume the Sixth Doctor is also giving his age in Gallifreyan Years then our problem suddenly vanishes.




posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:02 PM
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Continued.


Look at it like is: prior to the Time War, the Doctor gave his age in his home planet’s years which aren’t the same as our years. After the life changing Time War, he adopts Earth as his new home planet (hence his enhanced fondness of it in the Modern Series) and also starts to calculate his age in Earth Years.

So what is an Earth Year to a Gallifreyan Year? If we take the TARDIS’ word that the ’909 year old’ Doctor has literally been travelling with her for 700 Earth Years then he stole her at the age of 209. According to Romana, the Doctor stole the TARDIS at the age of 237. So 237 Gallifreyan Years is equal to 209 Earth Years. This means one Earth Year is 1.133971291866 Gallifreyan Years. So when the Ninth Doctor claims to be 900, he is actually 900*1.133971291866= 1020 Gallifreyan Years. 1020 fits in perfectly with the Doctor’s age in the classic series! Hooray! Problem solved! Eureka!

So one final problem: how old is the 1200 Earth year old Doctor in Gallifreyan years? Using our newly found Earth Years to Gallifreyan Years calculator, the answer is 1360, more or less.
Full Article

This one is very intriguing and I have no clue if this math works, or what lol. But if it is correct that is a very cool way to dissect this enigma. I think it is possible the Doctor was stating his age in Earth years, seeing his fondness to humans.

The article covers four possibilities but I would like to add a 5th possibility of my own idea.

5. Doctor's Secret

Perhaps the Doctor throws out random ages at times to keep people off the trail of actually how old he is. He may just never want to reveal this secret and keep it with him, as a personal secret. For the rest of the last Time Lord's existence.



I find these ideas extremely cool and they help to spark more imagination for me about this series. Thank you for reading and I look forward to any and all questions and comments.


Allons-y!!








p.s. Here is a brilliant short video showing all the Doctor's regenerations from 1963 to 2010.









edit on 8/3/2013 by mcx1942 because: exterminate!



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:09 PM
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Great post my friend!

One of the better Whovian thread's I've read anywhere. And just in time for Sunday's announcement.

I happen to think that the show is less of a show about a time traveling madman with a box and more of the story of his companions. That is why we see it as linear time that moves along with them, especilly with the reboot.

With that being said, his age doesnt really mater, to the exact number, because he can come and visit his companion at the time, spend three to four weeks on an adventure, drop them off, show up the next day in their timeline, but in his timeline weeks, months or years could have elapsed.



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:19 PM
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Rule #1: The Doctor lies

I love trying to track down info like this, but i personally think his age is completely unknown. How could he even track his age? He is constantly traveling time, so its not like there is a calendar or a normal day/night cycle he can go by. Though i suppose as a Time Lord, he would have to have a really accurate internal clock. Honestly i think his age is kept vague intentionally to prevent the show writing its self in to a corner.

That said, i believe he is much older than the standard answer of around 900-1200 years old, much much older.

DC



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:26 PM
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Also we must not forget Rule #1




The Doctor Lies


Originally posted by xDeadcowx
Rule #1: The Doctor lies

DC


Sorry xDeadcowx, you beat me to it, had to give you credit though!
edit on 3-8-2013 by youdidntseeme because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:30 PM
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Well i would say he is nearly old as the universe, as he can visit virtually any point in time.



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by youdidntseeme

I happen to think that the show is less of a show about a time traveling madman with a box and more of the story of his companions.


Indeed, his companions are fantastic and I have loved how unique they all have been within the reboot.


Originally posted by xDeadcowx

Honestly i think his age is kept vague intentionally to prevent the show writing its self in to a corner.


Ha!


I as well, it is a great way to keep it completely open ended.

Rule number 1 is another great way for unlimited routes to take in the series too.

I love DW! I'm looking forward to watching the story unfold, hopefully for many years to come.



edit on 8/3/2013 by mcx1942 because: typo



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 02:36 PM
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reply to post by youdidntseeme
 


No worries! Its an important thing to remember and bears repeating. Thanks for the credit though


DC



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 03:26 PM
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I believe that a Timelords age is in constant flux. Because they are beings whose entire philosophy involves movement through time, interaction with improbable quantum effects, some of them part of thier actual biological make up, it could be that The Doctor's age is not unknown to him as much as it is unknowable.

You have to also remember that in his most recent regeneration, he entered his own time stream, while on the Tomb World of Trenzalor, inside his own future tomb.The sheer number of time/space cross connections that must have caused is staggering, which is why the manouvre was so damned risky. Also despite his humanoid appearance, The Doctor is as much a being of energy as he is of matter, and although it could be argued that we could all claim as much, there have been moments in his lives where the veil of flesh has been lifted for long enough for us to witness and know a measure of his "otherness".

Another thing to bear in mind, is that although all the Timelords were capable of doing what The Doctor has done in his lifetimes, many of them, before thier world died a couple of times, were selfish, used thier power in petty ways, were careful, and paranoid about certain risks to thier culture, to thier lives. The Doctor however, has lived his lifetimes by the seat of his pants, barely a gnats fart away from total oblivion, regenerative capabilities or not. This means that of all the Timelords, he has probably been exposed to more time dillution, stasis feilds, chronoviruses, and a massive plethora of other exotic and rare forms of temporal energy than any other, even more than the Master in all likelihood.

For this reason I find it entirely probable that his age changes up and down in the time it takes a highly active pulsar to spin once.



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 04:23 PM
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Last I heard .... 'over 1200' ... but the doctor lies. He could be 10,000 or he could be a hundred.
Since the doctor lies .. I don't think we'll ever know.
UNLESS someone takes his baby cradle that we saw on 'Demons Run' and tests it.
Then we might know.


Side note ... we find out who the next doctor is on Sunday ...



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 06:19 PM
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I suggest that the Doctor does not lie, but forgets.
It's rational that he should have a mental mechanism that keeps a lot of memories out of his conscious mind, because all the memories of such a long life would overwhelm his mind if they were kept conscious.
"Forgetfulness" becomes more plausible because of another anomaly; in the occasional episode when two or more Doctors from different eras are brought together, the later Doctor is not expecting it. Yet he ought to have a memory of the event from his earlier life.
The best explanation, it seems to me, is that the regeneration process obliterates or at least submerges most of the memories from previous incarnations.

There is a related question; how many Doctors have there been?
The orthodox answer is 11, starting with William Hartnell.
Yet in the Brain of Morbius, we can see the mind of Morbius forcing the Doctor's mind back into previous incarnations, as far back as William Hartnell, and then apparently to many other versions before William Hartnell.
Then Morbius very pertinently asks "How long have you lived, Doctor?"



posted on Aug, 3 2013 @ 09:35 PM
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Great responses gang! Some great food for thought!




Originally posted by DISRAELI

I suggest that the Doctor does not lie, but forgets.
It's rational that he should have a mental mechanism that keeps a lot of memories out of his conscious mind, because all the memories of such a long life would overwhelm his mind if they were kept conscious.


I do really like this possibility, it feels like it would fit into the DW universe nicely. We know Time Lords can suffer from what we call insanity, so to help combat the knowledge of possibly 100's of incarnations being overwhelming on the mind, perhaps they would want to limit the number of memories the Time Lords can recollect.



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 02:15 AM
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reply to post by TrueBrit
 


Originally posted by TrueBrit

I believe that a Timelords age is in constant flux. Because they are beings whose entire philosophy involves movement through time, interaction with improbable quantum effects, some of them part of thier actual biological make up, it could be that The Doctor's age is not unknown to him as much as it is unknowable.


I agree, when it comes down to it, Time Lords are so advanced past Humans that years may actually not even matter at all, since they have mastered time itself, who needs to count? Thank you for your great post.


reply to post by FlyersFan
 


Originally posted by FlyersFan

UNLESS someone takes his baby cradle that we saw on 'Demons Run' and tests it.
Then we might know.


This could work, heheh I wonder if modern tests today could try to analyze the cradle, carbon date it or the likes lol. .Going to be crazy to get a new Doctor! It's always slightly awkward at first then I get used to them. Since the popularity of DW is increasing these days, I am very curious to see how ye ole interweb responds to the new Doctor.





edit on 8/4/2013 by mcx1942 because: typo...



posted on Feb, 2 2015 @ 09:38 PM
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And this wonderfully well-put together OP and thread hasn't been bumped in a Who's age? Well done, sir, and I will delve into it further. More importantly to some, how old is Clara Oswald (in Who years)? As old as he is, in some form or fashion, been there the whole time she has.



posted on Feb, 3 2015 @ 06:31 AM
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Am I mistaken or didn't Doc say he had 2,000 years of memories when he was sharing his memories with the massive memory-gobbling thing in the episode where the little girl sings and the monks try to keep some other thing asleep?



posted on Feb, 3 2015 @ 06:49 AM
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Excellent thread bump!!


1st rule - The Doctor Lies.

We don't know how old he is.

And we can't go by what he says.



posted on Feb, 3 2015 @ 06:57 AM
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a reply to: Aleister

Nope, you're remembering right.

The 12th Doctor said he was over 2,000 years old at the end of his first episode in this current season.



posted on Feb, 3 2015 @ 11:17 AM
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Also we have the War Doctor to somehow fit into this crazy equation.

LOL thanks show writers!

Ok so by adding the War Doc, the current Doctor is now number 13 but it just feels weird referring to him as the 13th. I think that's why they will probably just refer to the War Doc by name. All incarnations after WD have obviously been ashamed and regretful, so perhaps he does not count his murderous version as one of himself. Geeze this is going to get even more complicated as the show goes on. Merchandise refers the Capaldi as the 12th too I guess.

So for now, to me:

Matt Smith=11th

Peter Capaldi=12th

War Doctor = I want to see more of this story!!



posted on Feb, 3 2015 @ 11:19 AM
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originally posted by: mcx1942
Ok so by adding the War Doc, the current Doctor is now number 13


Naaah .... the current doctor is still 12.

The war doctor .. I call him 8 1/2




posted on Feb, 3 2015 @ 11:29 AM
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a reply to: FlyersFan

Indeed.

I do really hope they might have in the works a short War Doctor arc. I think that has the possibility of creating some amazing stories. Especially to be able to see more of the Time War! I have my fingers and sonic screwdrivers crossed for this!



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