The Doctor with his companion (Callum Jones)

Dr. Who S1 Promo Callum and Doctor

The Doctor with his companion in his latest adventures

The Doctor is a Time Lord, an extraterrestrial from the planet Gallifrey, who travels time and space in an internally vast time machine called the TARDIS. The Doctor explores the universe at random, using his extensive knowledge of science, technology and history (from his perspective) to avert whatever crises he encounters. The imprecise nature of his travels is initially attributed to the age and unreliability of the TARDIS's navigation system. The serial The War Games however, reveals that the Doctor actualy stole the TARDIS. He was presumably unfamiliar with its systems and therefore was unable to operate it correctly. After his trial and exile to late twentieth century Earth, the Doctor still visits other planets on missions from the Time Lords who pilot the TARDIS to precise location for him. After his exile is lifted the Doctor returns to his travels and demonstrates the ability to reach a destination of his own choosing more often than not. In "Journey's End", the Doctor states that the reason for the previous bumpy navigation was that the TARDIS is meant to have six pilots. The Doctor generally travels with one or more companions. Most of these make a conscious decision to travel with him, but others, especially early in the series, are accidental passengers.

The Doctor's childhood

Little is known about the Doctor's childhood. The classic series often references his time at the academy and that he belongs to the Prydonian chapter of Time Lords, who are notoriously devious. His teachers included Borusa who would eventually become President of the High Council and other pupils included The Master and possibly the Rani. The Eighth Doctor is the first to mention his parents or childhood before this, when he tells Grace Holloway that he remembers watching a meteorite shower from a grassy hill top in the company of his father.

During "The Girl in the Fireplace", Madame de Pompadour "saw" memories of his childhood during a telepathic session between the two and commented that it was "so lonely". However, when asked if he has a brother in "Smith and Jones", the Doctor simply replied "not anymore." In the same episode, he mentioned "playing with Röntgen blocks in the nursery." He was also once good friends with the Master.

In "The Time Monster", the Doctor says he grew up in a house on the side of a mountain, and talks about a hermit who lived under a tree behind the house and inspired the Doctor when he was depressed. In the BBC novel The Nightmare of Black Island the Doctor stated his favourite childhood story was Moxx In Socks. The Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee (Planet of the Spiders) met up with one of his teachers who was possibly the hermit mentioned. In the 1996 television movie, he says he remembers watching a meteor shower with his father.

In "The Sound of Drums" (2007), the Doctor describes a Time Lord Academy initiation ceremony where, at the age of eight, Time Lord children are made to look into the Untempered Schism, a gap in space and time where they could view the time vortex. Some are inspired, some go mad (as he suggests happened to his nemesis, the Master), and some run away. When asked which he was, he replies, "Oh, the ones that ran away – I never stopped!"

The most complete glimpes into the Doctor's childhood occurs in the Virgin New Adventures novel Lungbarrow, which portrays the Doctor as being one of 45 cousins grown from the House genetic loom as an adult (in New Adventures continuity the Time Lords are not capable of sexual reproduction and survive through genetic looms producing a quota of cousins). The Head of the Family Ordinal General Quinces knew that the Doctor had a special destiny and built him a robot tutor called Badger and planned the Doctor's eventual rise to the post of President. His fellow cousins resented the Doctor's position and he spent most of his childhood being bullied by his cousin Glospin and was equally brutally treated by the Housekeeper Satthralope. Eventually he rebelled against Quinces' grand plans and was exiled from the family, eventually stealing a TARDIS and leaving Gallifrey. This is seemingly contradicted by The Sound of Drums, showing the Master as a child, but it is possible that the Doctor was simplifying things and Lungbarrow delibately leaves room for different intereptations of the Doctor's origins as do latter books. The BBC books novel The Infinity Doctors, for example states that the Doctor was born from the loom but was also the son of a Gallifreyian explore and a human mother. Perhaps the best explanation for the contradictory tales of the Doctor's origins is given in the

novel Unnatural history, which implies that all versions of the Doctor's origins are somehow true.


References to the Doctor's family are rare in the series. During the first two seasons he travelled with his granddaughter, Susan Foreman, and as noted above he apparently once had a brother. Although fans have raised the possiblity that Susan may not be the Doctor's granddaughter, it is never hinted in the stories she features (or was it ever the intentions of the production team) that this is the case.

During his second incarnation when asked about his family, the Doctor says his memories of them are still alive when he wants them to be and otherwise they sleep in his mind (The Tomb of the Cybermen). In The Time Monster, the third Doctor states that as a little boy he lived in a house perched halfway up a mountain. In The Curse of Fenric, when asked if he has any family, the Seventh Doctor replies that he doesn't know, indirectly hinting that an unspecified fate may have befallen them.

In "Fear Her" the Tenth Doctor mentions to Rose that he "was a dad once", but then quickly changes the subject; he makes the same admission to Donna in "The Doctor's Daughter" when she inaccurately assumes that he has "Dad-shock". He later clarifies in the same episode that he had been a father, but that that was lost to him during the Time War. In "The Empty Child", when Dr. Constantine says to him "before this war began, I was a father and a grandfather. Now I'm neither. But I'm still a doctor," he simply replies, "Yeah. I know the feeling."

He mentions his father in the 1996 Doctor Who telefilm, where he also indicates his mother was human (see "Continuity curiosities" below). In "The Doctor's Daughter", the Doctor had his genetic information stolen and used to create a female soldier and comes to refer to the result, a young woman named Jenny (played by Georgia Moffett, real world daughter of Peter Davison), as his daughter (she in turn knows him as her father). In the episode "Blink", the Doctor claims that he never was good at weddings, especially his own. By the end of the episode "Journey's End" a half-human Doctor is created from his severed hand, when the Tenth Doctor transfers his regeneration energy into the hand to prevent a full regeneration of his own body. Both Doctors share the same memories up until that point but the half-human Doctor also has elements of Donna Noble's personality and her DNA as a result of her touching the hand, causing the mass regeneration to occur.