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Blinovitch Limitation Effect Four Doctors

The Limitation Effect shocks the Tenth and Twelfth Doctors' hands. (COMIC: Four Doctors)

The Blinovitch Limitation Effect, also known as the Convocation Corollary for Intersecting Time Fields Under Vortex Space, (AUDIO: The Galois Group) was a natural function of the universe that described the effects of approaching and/or making physical or causal contact with a future or past version of yourself, an action that was also referenced as "crossing your own timeline." Several other concepts, such as temporal paradoxes, were related to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, and it was sometimes unclear which specific observed reactions were due to this effect.

The effect was named after Aaron Blinovitch who, in 1928, formulated the Blinovitch theory in the reading room of the British Museum. (PROSE: The Ghosts of N-Space)

The Ninth Doctor said that prior to the time-locked destruction of the Time Lords in the Last Great Time War, his people could have prevented or mitigated the effects of a paradox. (TV: Father's Day) The Blinovitch Limitation Effect was modified by the Time Lords and their temporal technology on Gallifrey, although crossing one's own time stream required enormous amounts of energy and broke the First Law of Time, which was forbidden under conventional circumstances. (TV: The Three Doctors)

The Doctor mentioned the effect when explaining why he or another cannot simply go back in time to take another try when a plan fails. (TV: Day of the Daleks) The Time Lords and other time-aware and time-active groups could, with technological assistance, suppress the effect. For example, The Time Lords once expended energy to suppress these effects, (TV: The Three Doctors) the Eleventh Doctor once used the sonic screwdriver to do so, (PROSE: Touched by an Angel) and the Doctor's TARDIS did so herself when reconfigured into a multi-dimensional city. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) Vortex manipulators used by Time Agents were capable of cancelling the effect. (AUDIO: Month 25)

When a person used time travel to attempt to change their own existing timeline, the deviation could create a time loop, which was a type of paradox. (TV: Day of the Daleks)

Through the projections of the Matrix, the Time War-era Time Lords saw that the Twelfth Doctor, whilst attempting to demonstrate mercy to a young Davros, had shown some way of circumnavigating the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, allowing him to return to an exact space-time event multiple times and influencing the outcome of that event. Investigations were undertaken as to how the Doctor was able to achieve this, and discussions took place at High Council level to determine whether they constituted a breach of the First Law of Time. (PROSE: Dalek Combat Training Manual)

Blinovitch limitation field[]

The Brigadiers touch

The Brigadiers from 1977 and 1983 touch. (TV: Mawdryn Undead)

If an item or person crossed their own timeline and the past and future versions came near each other or physically touched each other, energy would be released. The Fifth Doctor called this "shorting out the time differential." In some cases, this energy caused memories to be transferred from the future to the past person, who then suffered amnesia until the person had experienced the event from both perspectives. (TV: Mawdryn Undead) The energy released from contact between two versions of a person was usually enough to overload any surrounding technology. Just by being in the same room, the two versions created a Blinovitch Limitation field, a crackling blue energy resembling lightning. (PROSE: Touched by an Angel) The Doctor has been able to purposefully dampen the effect through the use of a sonic screwdriver. (PROSE: Touched by an Angel)

SonicScrewdriverDischarge BigBang

Discharge of temporal energy when versions of the sonic screwdriver touch. (TV: The Big Bang)

During the total event collapse created by the explosion of the TARDIS, the Eleventh Doctor's sonic screwdriver sparked when touched to a later version of itself. The Doctor took this discharge of temporal energy as a confirmation that it was the same screwdriver, although he didn't name the effect. (TV: The Big Bang) A similar discharge was discussed by earlier incarnations of the Doctor who met. (AUDIO: The Light at the End)

The Eighth Doctor was electrocuted by the energy discharge produced by the collision of the two versions of a Blitzen fish haunting his TARDIS. He had hoped that the present and future versions of the fish would cancel each other out due to the Blinovitch effect. (AUDIO: Relative Dimensions)

Romana II was particularly concerned about the potential effects of physically touching another incarnation of herself, and as such declined her future self's, Trey, requests for a hug when the two first met on Gallifrey, and later she refused to allow Trey to help her seal off the Eye of Harmony for similar reasons. (AUDIO: Renaissance)

Four Doctors Issue 2 Blimouch Limitation Effect reconects outside of TARDIS to the inside

The three Doctors use the effect to reconnect the interior and exterior of the TARDIS. (COMIC: Four Doctors)

During a meeting of the Tenth and Twelfth Doctors, the two activated the effect as they argued, crossing fingers and creating a current of energy. This event also brought forth Reapers. The three Doctors raced back to the TARDIS, where they discovered that the Reapers had already disconnected the interior from the exterior of the ship. They were able to activate the effect again; the shock of the effect reconnecting the TARDIS to some part of its interior. (COMIC: Four Doctors)

After becoming trapped on the Tick-Tock World, Susan Foreman made physical contact with a future version of herself, catapulting her back in time and instructing the First Doctor on how to avert the crash that had stranded her. (AUDIO: Tick-Tock World)

In the events leading up to and during the Defence of Gallifrey, the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Doctors went out of their way to avoid touching one another out of fear of the effect. (PROSE: All Flesh is Grass)


In a majority of occasions when two individuals were in close proximity or touching, there was no energy discharge or energy field. In some cases, Time Lord or other temporal technology was available to dampen the effect, but even so previous incarnations were shown to have temporarily aged as a result of the time differential.

Time Lords[]

The Doctor physically interacted with different incarnations of himself or with another version of the same incarnation (such as shaking hands) without the proximity or interaction triggering a Limitation Field or energy discharge. (TV: The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, The Two Doctors, Time Crash, The Day of the Doctor, and COMIC: The Collector) At one time, the Eleventh Doctor was in the universe when it was suffering total event collapse as a consequence of the explosion of the TARDIS. He touched and was touched by a future version of himself. (TV: The Big Bang)

Turlough once speculated that the Fifth Doctor was unaffected by the Limitation Effect when he met his previous incarnations in the Tower of Rassilon on Gallifrey due to them having different bodies. (TV: The Five Doctors; PROSE: Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma) After the Game of Rassilon concluded, the Doctor noted that the interaction of his past selves would mean that Gallifrey's resources would be put to work to repair the damage caused, giving him time to get away from his 'new' post as President. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors)

When Rassilon subconsciously directed the Eighth Doctor to visit his seven predecessors to cure his current amnesia, whenever the Eighth Doctor first met his past selves, it triggered a moment of temporal stasis, freezing everything but the two Doctors so that they could talk and take action without anyone else being aware of it. As a result, the First and Second Doctors were able to talk with the Eighth Doctor without anyone else knowing that the future Doctor was present, and the Eighth was able to rescue the Sixth from the Valeyard's attempt to force the creation of a new timeline where the Doctor was sentenced to execution. On a lesser scale, the temporal stasis effect gave the Eighth Doctor a few moments to talk with his third, fourth, fifth and seventh selves in relative privacy just after meeting them, allowing the two Doctors to assess the situation and plan their next move before time started again. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors)

However, when the Tenth Doctor and Twelfth Doctor accidentally touched hands during an encounter in Paris in 1923, both received a painful shock from what the nearby Eleventh Doctor identified as the Blinovitch Limitation Effect. This incident confirmed to the other two Doctors that the Twelfth Doctor was one of them. (COMIC: Four Doctors)

A Time Lord device called the Blinovitch Limitation Effect limiter existed. It limited the effects of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, allowing one to safely interact with one's past selves. The third incarnation of the renegade Time Lord Drax teamed up with his ten future incarnations and conned the Fourth Doctor into stealing the limiter, which was what allowed them to cooperate on this scheme in the first place. (AUDIO: The Trouble with Drax)

The Saxon Master and his female counterpart, Missy, were able to come into contact with one another without triggering the Limitation Effect. (TV: The Doctor Falls)

When the First Doctor met the Twelfth Doctor in the South Pole in 1986 as both incarnations were resisting the need to regenerate, it caused time to freeze around them, but this temporal paradox was escalated by the Testimony Foundation attempting to return the displaced Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart to the moment of his death in 1914. Later on, the two Doctors shook hands as they parted company, and while neither received a painful burst of electricity, regeneration energy glowed intensely from their hands. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)


RoseHoldsBabyRose FathersDay

Rose holding baby Rose. (TV: Father's Day)

Even some humans did not trigger the effect. Rose Tyler created a temporal paradox by saving her father, Pete Tyler, from death. The Ninth Doctor had allowed Rose to make a second attempt to comfort her father while he died, and they hid from their earlier selves. Rose rushed out passing within several feet of herself from an earlier time, and their earlier selves disappeared. Later, when Rose was standing near herself as a baby, and later still, when Pete thrust Rose, the baby (well bundled), to adult Rose, to hold, this did not produce an energy discharge, but produced enough of a temporal paradox to allow a reaper to enter the church in which they were sheltering. (TV: Father's Day)

Two versions of Kazran Sardick touched each other without triggering the effect. (TV: A Christmas Carol)

Similarly, different versions of Amy Pond touched on at several occasions. Older Amy put her hand on the head of younger Amy near the Pandorica, during total event collapse, although in this case Amy was interacting with an alternate version of herself rather than her actual past self. (TV: The Big Bang) Amy also remembered an older version of herself replacing an ice cream cone she had dropped. She did not mention any unusual effects. (TV: Good Night) Two incarnations of adult Amy (or possibly her identical Ganger), approximately one minute apart from the other, touched each other flirtatiously, within/outside the TARDIS (as the two concepts were the same at the moment), with no discharge. (TV: Time) While she was trapped in a facility where time was compressed by great temporal engines, an older version of Amy interacted with, but did not physically touch, a younger version of herself. (TV: The Girl Who Waited)

During a confrontation with the Weeping Angels in 2003, Rory Williams was sent back to 2001, where he was able to make contact with the Doctor, Amy and his own past self. The Doctor was then able to use the sonic screwdriver to somehow make the two Rorys able to make contact with each other, in a manner that he said the Rorys would be unable to understand, but advised them not to touch anyway just because it would make things complicated. (PROSE: Touched by an Angel)

During an anomaly intentionally created by the Doctor's TARDIS to annoy Clara Oswald, two versions of a time-looped Clara stated they were forced to share a bed together. Again, no negative effects were indicated. During the same incident, two versions of Clara brushed past each other. (HOMEVID: Clara and the TARDIS)

The First Doctor took a later version of a young boy called Robert back in time, after Robert had spent several years trapped in a damaged time machine, to replace Robert's terminally ill twin brother Christopher. The two versions of Robert presumably spent a number of years together without triggering either the Blinovitch Effect or generating a stronger temporal paradox; this is most likely due to future Robert's exposure to the Taranium core that reverted him back to his childhood self. (PROSE: The Little Drummer Boy)

In the 1890s, two versions of Henry Gordon Jago- one of them from several hours in the future, originating from a timeline that would later be erased- briefly struggled without triggering the effect. (AUDIO: Chronoclasm)

In 1948, Polly Wright did not trigger the Blinovitch Limitation Effect when holding hands with her younger self because she was wearing gloves. (AUDIO: Lost and Found)