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Howling:Howling archiveThe Howling archives → Is the Doctor half-human?
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Okay, so this is a dilemma that has been bugging the Doctor Who community for a long time, Is the Doctor Half-human?

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, it all started like this: in 1996, Doctor Who (1996) was released. Most fans of the show had mixed views on it, but one of the two controversial things it infamously did was make the Doctor half-human. Both the Doctor and the Master, at separate points of the film, discovered or announced that the Doctor was half-human. Apparently the idea goes back to the Seventh Doctor, when he was quoted as saying (in a deleted scene), "...I am much more than just another time Lord..." But the question is, is he?

Well, most would say no, because they consider his statement a throwaway line, similar to 11's infamous "507" statement. However, it can't be explained as simply as that that, because the Master also says it, and at a separate occasion with different reasoning. So, past the theory of a throwaway line, there are three other theories.

Theory one: The Doctor used the Chameleon Arch to trick the Master into thinking he was half human. This is probably the one i hear the most. This theory comes from The Forgotten, and is highly questionable, let me show why. Here is a quick timeline of the start of the TV movie:

  • The Doctor is in The TARDIS, and believes the Master to be dead. He relaxes and reads a book.
  • The Master escapes and takes control of the TARDIS. the Doctor cannot control the mechanisms and the TARDIS crash lands in San Francisco.
  • The Doctor steps out of the TARDIS, and is shot by gangsters.
  • The Doctor is away from the TARDIS for a long period of time, and regenerates during this.
  • The Master returns to the Tardis, and finds out the Doctor is half human.

Now, can someone explain when the Doctor could have had access to the chameleon arch? Throughout the first half of the film, he doesn't know the master is alive, and throughout the rest, he isn't in the TARDIS. So when did he have time to do this?

Second theory: The Doctor was not born, but loomed. Sigh. Okay, so I kinda dislike Lungbarrow, so I don't know it well, so if someone wants to chip in in this theory, be happy to. As a side note, we don't know who or what The Woman was, so that I don't think you can say that she was his "Gallifreyan mother..."

Third theory: The Doctor is half-human. This is probably, interestingly enough, the most referenced theory (in media). It is mentioned in Doctor Who (1996) (duh), The Infinity Doctors, The Gallifrey Chronicles (novel), and The Room With No Doors. According to the theory, the Doctor's father was a time lord named Ulysees Meregrass, and his mother was named Penelope Gate. It, of course, is also the most questionable theory. Like, in Journey's End, why would the Doctor need a 'bit of human' to be clever if he was half-human? (it could be argued that Donna meant a human mind, but still) And why is this not referenced in other places? If it's true, then is this why the Doctor left Gallifrey? Was it his half-human DNA that made him always so grouchy and frustrated? Well, I don't know.

So, let's discuss. Which theory do you think is true? Or do you have another? As you could probably guess, I'm all for the half-human theory, but what do you guys think? OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 21:27, January 13, 2012 (UTC)

ive never watched the movie or read lungbarrow so all the infomation i now about this i got from this wikia i prefer mainly becuase it was refernce quite well in remberance of the daleks that the doctor worked with omega and rassilon and was in the silver nemisis it is refernced that the doctor is from the dark ages of gallifrey. this means that insteda of him being half human he is more likely a ancient galifreyain who just lived a long time or was loriencarnated through the loom ( i dont really like the loom thoery though).--Kingalien 23:34, August 29, 2012 (UTC)

I've not seen the movie or read the books but I'm quite happy to agree that the Doctor is half-human. It would definitely explain his liking of the human race. to me 23:23, January 13, 2012 (UTC)

It would explain it but it would also undercut it. To many (not all) who have seen the TV movie, the "half-human" statements belong with the atrocious Dalek voices (that sound nothing like Daleks) and the Doctor's casual violation of the First Law of Time as examples of why the US media shouldn't have been allowed to get their inept paws on Doctor Who, in the first place. There's nothing in any other broadcast story to support the "half-human" idea and there's plenty that conflicts with it. Perhaps it would have been followed up, had the TV movie led to a series, but there wasn't a series and it's never been followed up on TV. The revived series hasn't openly contradicted it but hasn't supported it, either. The overwhelming impression, both in the "classic" series and in the revived series, is that the Doctor is fully alien. As the Atraxi said to him in The Eleventh Hour: "You are not of this world." -- to me 09:50, January 14, 2012 (UTC)

Well, he isn't, either way. He was still born on Gallifrey, even if he is half human, and thus not earth, thus is not "of this world." Just because the Doctor's mother was born on earth, does not mean the Doctor was. I also think the TV film is HIGHLY underrated, and that in some cases, people hate it just to hate it. I think that it's kind of wrong to look at "the US" as a hole, I mean, it's not like everyone is the same... Otherwise, good point. I would a free that the only on screen reference to him being half human occurs in Doctor Who (1996) and a deleted scene in Remembrance of the Daleks... OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 11:55, January 14, 2012 (UTC)
The deleted scene from Remembrance of the Daleks says nothing of the kind. In that scene (which is on the DVD), the Doctor tells Davros, "I am far more than just another Time Lord." In the context, it's implying that he was a contemporary of Rassilon and Omega -- there are other hints to that effect which were not deleted from the story. Far from indicating the possibility of human ancestry, it makes that notion ludicrous. You should watch the thing before opining about it. And you might also try reading what is written. I specifically said "the US media", not "the US" or "the Americans". The TV movie, over all, isn't dreadful; it's just not very good. It tried to do too many incompatible things and ended up failing at most of them. Those who made it thought the same and say so in the extras on the DVD. More recent joint efforts between the BBC and US TV (Torchwood: Miracle Day, for example) have been far, far better. Lessons, on both sides of the pond, have obviously been learned. -- to me 13:10, January 14, 2012 (UTC)

The TV Movie has been confirmed to be canon by footage of the Eighth Doctor in episodes like The Next Doctor, and the reference to him being half-human was more than just a throwaway line. It was something of a minor plot point in the episode. Apart from the chronological issues that OS25 pointed out, that show that the Doctor wouldn't have had a chance to use a chameleon arch to do that, there is also the issue that that isn't what chameleon arches do, and there wasn't any particular reason for the Doctor to fake it. Whether or not you like the TV Movie, the fact remains that the Doctor is half human.Icecreamdif talk to me 02:38, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

There is another possibility and thats that during the doctors regeneration in the morgue at the hospital that he managed to pick up biological information from the dead bodies around him thus making him appear half human. 10:00, April 2, 2010 (Aus EST)

Unless they decide to ignore that, like Looms. Boblipton talk to me 02:58, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

The looms are much easier to ignore though, because they aren't even from the actual show. The canonicity of everything except for the TV series is shaky at best, but as a televised episode, they really can't just ignore the tv movie. to me 03:08, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

Not satisfactorily, anyway. Looms can be ignored because, so far as the TV show is concerned, they've never been mentioned at all by anyone. The "half-human" statements, although unwelcome to many, were apparently serious and did occur in a production that has been accepted as part of the TV show's continuity. They could just be ignored but, as I said, that wouldn't be satisfactory. It would leave unresolved conflicts. There are, though, conflicts between the "half-human" statements and quite a lot that was implied in the 1963-89 run of the show, which is why they were unwelcome to many. The conflicts can't really be avoided just by accepting those statements, either. -- to me 04:12, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

i do believe the doctor is half human, but the reason he never mentions it (apart from the 1996 movie) is because he's ashamed of it, especially in his first incarnation before he starts liking humans which was why he was so grumpy. the reason it rarelly shows up in his anatomy? i believe it is because the timelord genes are dominant in most areas, like how the brown eyed gene is more dominant than the blue eyed one so when a person has both they have brown eyes. it would also explain why the the doctor loves earth so much if his mother comes from there. also, maybe that's why he could have the meta-crisis in journeys end, because he already had some human in him which attracted donna's human-ness. the reason (the doctor)donna says that her human-ness is what makes her more brilliant than the doctor alone? the doctor was brought up in timelord society even if biologically he is part human. this would mean his views and attitudes would be like a timelord instead of partly like a human, although the human-ness could explain his renegade atitudes.

and ps boblipton, i ignore the looms too as there are things in the main show that go against that idea and the broadcast episodes always take canon priority over spin-off-media. even the fact that susan looked like a teenager instead of an adult in the first ever episode of doctor who is proof enough for me that timelords arent loomed as fully grown adults adults but born as babies like humans. and there is the later things that go against the looming as an adult idea too, like the doctor's crib in AGMGTW. Imamadmad talk to me 05:12, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, not to mention the eight year old Master. The looms are obviously not canon in regards to the TV show, but that is another discussion entirely. Anyway, the Doctor being half-human does explain why he goes to Earth much more than any other planet, why he has more human companions than any other species, why he knows so much about human culture, why his granddaughter has a human name, and it could help to explain why he ran away from Gallifrey. It doesn't directly contradict anything else in the TV shows, so we should obviously accept it as canon.Icecreamdif talk to me 18:40, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

The TV movie is the only source for the "half-human" idea. Remembrance of the Daleks can't be cited in support because the scene in question was deleted, meaning it didn't happen, and doesn't say anything about him being half-human, anyway. The "half-human" statements in the TV movie certainly haven't successfully been explained away. As far as TV stories go, they've not even been mentioned since the TV movie, let alone explained away or contradicted. The real problem is not that they've been directly contradicted since but that they contradict so much that was established before. Nobody before the TV movie said the Doctor was pure Gallifreyan Time Lord, so there's no direct contradiction. However, nobody so much as hinted that he was or might be half-human, even when they could definitely be expected to do so. The Doctor has been on trial several times on Gallifrey. He's been accused of serious crimes, including the assassination of the President, at a time when humans were forbidden to go to Gallifrey. And nobody, not even his most bitter enemies, even hinted that he might be half-human. His bio-data has been examined. And nobody said anything about unusual ancestry. Nobody. Ever. That's the contradiction. That's the dog that didn't bark. -- to me 19:06, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

Everyone seems to have his or her own little idea of what canon is and fits and trims to suit taste. The Eighth Doctor is canon, novels are canon, but not this particular Eighth Doctor novel is non-canon and Looms don't count. I suggest that once you accept that a licensed work is rendered non-canonical by the indisputably canonical TV show, then you must assume that, logically, it's all up for grabs. When you have a writer recasting a comic strip for the tv show (The Lodger) then something is run amok.. The official BBC is that there is no canon and the BBC has shown that they will violate canon when they please, and that's canonical. Boblipton talk to me 19:18, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

Possibly true. What, though, is the relevance here? And why is "a writer recasting a comic strip for the tv show" amok? The "recasting" bit is pretty important. It's what writers do. They get ideas from all over the place and recast them into stories. They always have. Human Nature was recast, too. Why complain? -- to me 19:36, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

Unless we are to assume that the exact same thing happenned to the Doctor twice, I think we have to assume that the original versions of Human Nature and The Lodger are not canon. Anyway, let's not turn this into an argument as to what is canon. Going back to the issue of the Doctor's species, it may not be common knowledge, even on Gallifrey, that the Doctor is half human. Remember, even the Master was surprised to learn that the Doctor was half human in the movie. When one episode says that he is half human, and no other episode before or since says that he isn't, then the conclusion is pretty obvious.Icecreamdif talk to me 19:40, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

I shouldn't need to repeat this but you obviously missed it: His bio-data has been examined. And nobody said anything about unusual ancestry. Nobody. Ever. That's the contradiction. That's the dog that didn't bark. If it wasn't "common knowledge, even on Gallifrey, that the Doctor is half human", someone ought to have been surprised enough to mention that the bio-data of a Time Lord indicated non-Gallifreyan parentage. If it was known, it would have been mentioned before. If it wasn't known, it would have been mentioned then. The Doctor's bio-data were being used as part of an attack on Gallifrey (by Omega), so it's not as if there was no reason to mention its unusual characteristics, just the opposite. -- to me 19:54, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

You seem to be making the same type of argument that you have been telling Imamadmad is flawed in Howling:The Sonic Probe in The Girl Who Waited. It doesn't matter how likely it seems that somebody would have mentioned it in the past. The fact is it was never mentioned in the past, but we still have an episode that tells us that he was half human. Arguing that he is not half human is about as useless as arguing that Amy didn't build a sonic probe. Who knows why the Time Lords didn't figure it out from his bio-data. Maybe they would have to have been looking for evidence that he was half-human to find it, or maybe it's one of those things that you can only tell with an iris scan. The fact remains, however, that the metaphorical dog that you keep talking about did bark. It just took it until 1996 to do so.Icecreamdif talk to me 22:29, January 15, 2012 (UTC)

I'm not arguing that he isn't half human. I've already said that several times. What I'm saying is this: If you say he isn't half human, you're contradicting the TV movie. You need to explain why it said he was. If you say he is half human, you're contradicting the other stuff. What I'm saying is that, either way, there's something to explain. It isn't the same type of argument as Imamadmad has been using. If others who ought to have been able to build sonic probes had had access to the facilities Amy had and had failed to build one, there would be something strange about Amy's success. In the case of the Doctor's half-humanness or not, the dog didn't bark when it should have. In the case of Amy building her sonic probe, there wasn't a dog, in the first place. Lack of barking is unremarkable in the absence of a dog. The situation is quite different. -- to me 00:18, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

Take a simple chemistry experiment as an analogy: You have a sealed container of an unknown gaseous mixture. You extract a sample and shake it up in some lime water. The lime water remains clear. Conclusion? No carbon dioxide in the unknown mixture. You repeat the experiment a few times. The lime water remains clear each time. Conclusion? Still no carbon dioxide in the unknown mixture. You repeat the experiment once more. The lime water turns cloudy. Conclusion? There now is carbon dioxide in the unknown mixture. Further conclusion? Something has changed the unknown mixture -- or, possibly, the stuff you're using as lime water. You've something odd to explain. That's the situation with respect to the Doctor's half-humanness or not. In the case of Amy's sonic probe, it's as if you've only one small sample of an unknown gaseous mixture. You shake it up in some lime water and the lime water turns cloudy. Conclusion? That sample contained carbon dioxide. You can't go any further than that because you've been able to make only one test. It's not the presence of the carbon dioxide that's remarkable, in either case. The remarkable thing, in the first case only, is that it was tested for but not found several times -- then it was found. It's the prior negative tests that mean the positive test needs to be regarded as odd. -- to me 01:48, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

Or, we could think of it like this: if you did such an experiment, it would not be rational to throw out the last experiment because of it's differencing conclusion. And besides, that's not like at all what were discussing. This is like what were discussing:

When placing an unknown material into a glass of lemonade, nothing happens. The lemonaid does not change during the experiment, and after 10 repeting experiments, the same data is found. However, on the final test, the water turned misty, suggesting a presence of carbon dioxide.

Because no other tests were conclusive but the last, it must contain carbon dioxide. In no other points in the show is the Doctor said not to be half-human thus he is half–human. OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 04:33, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

Yeah. There have never been any instances when it would really have been neccessary for the Doctor to admit to being half-human(although that does make it weird that he admitted it so freely in the movie, but he was still a bit crazy from his regeneration), and we don't really know enough about Time Lord biology to know what kind of medical tests would be necessary to prove it (except for an iris scan apparently), or which Time Lords would be likely to recognise the fact that he was half human. Since the Doctor and the Master have known eachother since they were children, it must have been pretty well covered up for the Master not to know.Icecreamdif talk to me 08:59, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

First, OS25 obviously has no idea what lime water is. It has nothing to do with lemonade or, indeed, with limes (the fruit). It's saturated calcium hydroxide solution. In chemistry, lime water can be used to detect the presence of carbon dioxide because lime water reacts with carbon dioxide to produce a precipitate of calcium carbonate (that's chalk to OS25). It's a standard, reliable test. It isn't rational to throw out any of the tests. Only an idiot would say, "Oh! The first three or four must have been wrong. I'll ignore them and go with the last." The rational thing to do is to start trying to find out why the result has suddenly changed.

Second, and more relevant to the TV movie, why was someone who can regenerate using an iris scan for ID? Regeneration changes the entire body -- "every cell". In SJA: The Death of the Doctor, there's a conversation between Clyde Langer and the Doctor about regeneration (same conversation as produced the "507 times" answer). Clyde specifically mentions that the Doctor's eyes have changed. The use of an iris scan makes no sense whatever in that situation. (In contrast, the "mental password" used in The Doctor's Wife does make sense.) That conversation between Clyde and the Doctor effectively knocks the iris scan on the head, although it's really only making explicit what's been implied by regeneration, all along. -- to me 09:31, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

Your completely 100% correct, I have no idea what "lime water" is. I also so not care. Because, I am on a Doctor Who discussion. Let me reframe, if the first 4 tests were not done, and then the final was, it would be okay to icnore the non-insistent first 4 tests. Because they never happend. You are arguing that the Doctor is not half human because the four tests never conducted do not say that he is. There is more evidence to suggest that he is half human, thus, he is half-human.

Just because he is a new regeneration does NOT mean he is a diffrent species or whatever. If he has new eyes, cool. They're still the same species eyes. I don't see how the conversation in the SJA epsidoe changes anything, I know it's trysting though! ("507") OS25 (talk to me, baby.) 09:53, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

"the four tests never conducted" The point is that they were conducted! There's a conflict (which needs explaining) because the Doctor's half-humanness ought to have been noticed earlier but (apparently) was not. And the point about the iris scan is that the iris will not match after regeneration. The Doctor would find himself locked out of his own controls, as a result. That ought to be rather obvious. Even to you. -- to me 10:17, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

the iris scan was not based on the iris pattern of an individual but rather that of a certain species. that's why both grace and the asian guy (who's name i have forgotten) could both open the eye but the master couldn't. supposedly the doctor set the controlls to open for a human iris scan not a time lords because his eyes had a human iris patters because he was half human. ps, did the doctor say that he was half human or part human? because if it was only part (eg if only his mother's mother was human or something) that might explain some of the non appearances of the human part. if it was stated to be half, ignore that bit. Imamadmad talk to me 12:30, January 16, 2012 (UTC)

He and the Master both said half. Anyway, 87, despite how you think iris scans work in the Whoniverse, the show has shown us that a retinal pattern can show whether or not a Time Lord is half-human. That is a fact from the show, so there is no use arguing with it. You might as well argue that a police box couldn't possibly be bigger on the inside. The fact remains that the Doctor told a random guy that he was "half human on [his] mother's side," and the Master conducted a scan that proved that the Doctor was half human. As Imamadmad said, the purpose of the iris scan wasn't just so that a single individual could open the eye, but so that an entire species could open it. The Doctor's species remains the same each time he regenerates, so his eyes would still have a half-Time Lord, half-human retinal pattern, even if it is a different one each time. There weren't any episodes in the classic series where it makes no sense at all for it to not be mentioned that he was half-human. Whether or not it was implied that he was full-Time Lord in the classic series, they never outright stated it, and the TV Movie outright stated that he is half human. Therefore, he is half human.Icecreamdif talk to me 15:23, January 17, 2012 (UTC) is quite right that either answer is contradicting something. Some of the novels directly confirm that he really is half-human, one of the comics directly says it was a fabrication to trick the Master. Anyone who says, 'It must be X because not X leads to a contradiction' is ignoring the fact that X leads to a contradiction too. There are really only two answers: First, you can just eject things from canon until all the contradictions go away. Second, you can accept the contradictions.

How? Look at the Doctor's discussion with Amy at 01:45 in Good Night.

  • Amy: And I remember both lives in my head. Both of them, in my head, at the same time.
  • Doctor: And it's fine, isn't it?
  • Amy: Yeah, but it shouldn't be. Why is it fine?
  • Doctor: The thing is, Amy, everyone's memory is a mess. Life is a mess. Everyone's got memories of a holiday they couldn't have been on, or a party they never went to, or met someone for the first time and felt like they've known them all their lives. Time is being rewritten all around us, every day. People think their memories are bad, but their memories are fine. The past is really like that.
  • Amy: That's ridiculous.
  • Doctor: Yeah, now you're starting to get it.

Amy both had and didn't have parents. Rory was plastic for 2000 years, and he's always been human. The Doctor was loomed, and born to Ulysses and Penelope, and born on a 23rd century Earth colony, and 14 other conflicting histories. All 17 lives, in his head, at the same time. And it's fine. Fans think the Doctor's memories are bad, but his memories are fine. The past is really like that. That's ridiculous. And that's the answer.

It's not as if that's the only time the 11th Doctor has beaten us over the head with the fact that history can, and does, change. And it's not as if we haven't seen the Doctor's history changing—and not just in the EDAs and the Moffat era; see Turn Left for a blatant example. It happens. How is it possible for a show where that kind of thing happens to have a single consistent continuity? Who says it has to? Moffat explicitly says it's not possible, and that's part of what makes the show great.

So, is the Doctor really half-human? Yes. And no. (And sort of, according to Lungbarrow.) They're all true. That annoyed the hell out of Griffin, and the Council of Eight, but they're rigid zealot bad guys for the Doctor to defeat, not examples for fandom to follow. -- to me 07:15, March 1, 2012 (UTC)

The first series contradicted the movie. It was the second show, I think, when the Doctor took Rose to see the earth destroyed. Jabe, from the Forest of Cheem scans the Doctor and finds that he is a timelord. Not half, but fully timelord. I know some diehards will nitpick this to death, but the fact is, the very beginning of the revival made it clear that the Doctor was fully timelord. to me 14:05, March 5, 2012 (UTC)

i think the machine picks up the most dominant dna in whatever creature it scans. you have to remember, by that time there had been a lot of breeding between species. so the machine would have had to picked up whatever species' dna was most dominant in whatever it was scanning to avoid having to list 10+ different species for each individual. these are assumptions, but that's what i would do if i was engineering them. because, as we have seen before by the fact that most of the doctor's features appear to be timelord, the timelord dna would have to be more dominant than human dna, like the brown eyed gene is more dominant than the blue eyed gene, so the machine would have picked that up. also, we never heard/saw exactly what the machine displayed as its answer, so if it did display that the doctor was partially human jade could have just been ignoring the human part when talking to the doctor because other creatures being half human were so common that she wouldn't have thought twice about the human part of the doctor. Imamadmad talk to me 07:20, March 6, 2012 (UTC)

First off, you cannot decide canon based on assumptions. The show explicitly called him a Time Lord...and so did Jabe. Second, we did see the display in the show, and it also said Time Lord. to me 09:33, March 7, 2012 (UTC)

The audience never gets to see the actual results on Jabe's device. We just see Jabe looking at the device and saying "that's impossible," and then later she calls the Doctor a Time Lord. The device may very well have said Human-Gallifreyan hybrid, but part humans were all over the place (there were even two full humans on the station), but even half Time Lord's were the stuff of legend. She really had no reason to mention the Doctor's human ancestry. If we cannot decide canon based on assumptions, then there is really no way to dispute the Doctor's claims in the TV Movie, since the only way to dispute claims that come directly from the Doctor is to make assumptions. Icecreamdif talk to me 05:52, March 22, 2012 (UTC)

What said, +1,000 times. The Doctor is half-human, and completely Gallifreyan, and completely human (the Peter Cushing movies), and a crystalline entity from the end of time who absorbs part of his future incarnation's biodata. He's a slumming god, he's the Other, he had parents, he didn't have parents, he had a biological granddaughter, she was only adopted, he had two other grandchildren and he didn't, he had a brother and he didn't. All of these timelines are true. The Doctor remembers them all. We can't decide canon because only the BBC can do that - and they've declined to. There is no canon. The novels PROSE: Unnatural History and PROSE: Sometime Never go into more detail on this theory from an in-universe perspective. It's true, though, that from the perspective of Russell T Davies, the Doctor is definitely not half-human and he tried to contradict that whenever possible. His perspective is probably the right one from which to view the episodes produced during his tenure. -- Rowan Earthwood talk to me 20:01, March 26, 2012 (UTC)

That is obviously the correct answer from a real-world perspective, but in-universe he can't possibly be all of those. Alternate timelines and contradicting stories are not the same thing. If the Doctor had been loomed, he would have been a completely different person to the man he would have been if he was born to a human mother and a time lord father, or two two timelord parents. This isn't the same as when Amy's parents were erased, because Amy's birth doesn't seem to have been replaced with anything. If you ran a DNA test on Amy while her parents are erased, you would still find that she was born to two Human parents, you just wouldn't be able to figure out who her parents were. The Doctor can't genetically be a different person in two different timelines, because that would mean that he isn't the same person in the two timelines. You can accept every single Doctor Who story ever written as canon if you want, but the fact remains that not all of the spin-off stories take place in the same continuity as each other. RTD never really supported or contradicted the idea of the Doctor being half human. The closest he ever came was the whole metacrisis thing, and even that didn't really disprove the idea of the Doctor being half-human. According to the TV show's canon the Doctor is half-human, even if he is a full Gallifreyan in the continuity of some of the spinoffs, and a full human in the clearly non-canon Dalek movies.Icecreamdif talk to me 21:05, March 26, 2012 (UTC)

To expand on what Rowan has said, in the classic show, the script editor was the guy in charge of continuity and thus canon. Terance Dicks said of his term that canon was what he remembered. And after he was gone, it was what the new guy remembered. Boblipton talk to me 21:47, March 26, 2012 (UTC)

Well, obviously any TV show that's been running for as long as Doctor Who is going to have inconsistincies. Even if you only consider the show to be canon and ignore the spinoffs, I doubt that there has been any writer or script editor who remembers every detail of every episode. However, in those cases, it is usually just a small inconsistency, and we have to ignore the Doctor saying that he is thousands of years old or that his species can live forever. I don't follow the spinoffs so forgive me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound like this is the case with them. When you have one story that says that details how the Doctor is half human, another that says that he faked being half human, another that says that all Time Lords are loomed anyway, and another that shows the Master as a small child, this isn't the authors forgetting minor details from older stories. They are deciding which stories to accept as canon and which not to. The TV show is usually consistent in considering all past episodes of the TV show to be canon, although it is clear that it is willing to ignore the spinoffs. It has also been made pretty clear that the new series does consider the TV movie to be canon (otherwise Matt Smith would be referred to as the Tenth Doctor), and the Doctor's half humanness was a pretty important plot point of the movie. Granted, they may just treat that specific plot point the same way they treat conflicting views of the Doctor's age, or conflicting dates for the UNIT stories, but unless an episode of the TV show directly conflicts the idea that the Doctor is half human, then we should assume that the Doctor is half human in the TV show's continuity. It's unlikely that it really matters anyway, since the Doctor's parents are both dead, so we will probably never get a story dealing with it one way or the other.Icecreamdif talk to me 01:02, March 28, 2012 (UTC)

well, if you believe the half human theory, then the doctor's mother isn't trapped in the timelock, as she is neither timelord nor dalek, so we could always have a story where the doctor accidentally bumps into his mother during an adventure on earth! also, although there have been some inconsistencies with the doctor's age (three implying he was thousands of years old while future doctor claiming only hundreds), that can be put down to either a)the doctor forgetting his age because he's so old or b) the doctor not knowing what his age is because it's hard to keep track of ones personal time in a time machine, especially one which visits many planets with different spans of years and days etc. and also, in theory, the timelords could live forever if they are never wounded severely enough to have to regenerate, kind of like the immortal jellyfish, so if you look at that statement from that angle, it doesn't contradict anything. and back on topic, i believe anything stated on tv is worth 100000000000000 times more than anything written in a novel or comic book or in an audio etc. when it comes to what is considered canon, and since the tv movie was shown on tv (hence tv movie) the half humanness in my opinion is canonical.

Yeah, I just used the examples of his age and immortality because those are the only inconsistencies within the show that I can think of off the top of my head. Still, a Timelord probably can die of old age, but it would take a really long time. Anyway, I agree with you that when the TV show and the spinoff conflict, the TV shows should always be considered correct.Icecreamdif talk to me 20:03, March 28, 2012 (UTC)
"if you believe the half human theory, then the doctor's mother isn't trapped in the timelock, as she is neither timelord nor dalek": That doesn't necessarily follow. Even if she's human (and history hasn't changed to make that different), if she was on Gallifrey at the end of the Time War, she'd still be inside the time lock. Nothing has said it's only Daleks and Time Lords who're trapped in the time lock and quite a lot indicates otherwise -- the entire war is time locked, not just selected bits of it. If she's human and wasn't on Gallifrey (or anywhere else within the Time War), of course, she might not be trapped in the time lock. -- to me 21:52, March 28, 2012 (UTC)

She probably didn't live on Gallifrey though. Remember how big a deal it was when Leela visited the planet in The Invasion of Time? It doesn't seem likely that any non-Gallifreyan had lived on Gallifrey before Leela. Still, assuming that the Doctor didn't meet his mother in a weird non-linear way like with River Song, she was probably long dead by the time the series started anyway. Keep in mind, the Doctor is 900 years old now, and was around 400 or so when the series started. The average human doesn't live nearly that long. Of course, it could all work out if the Doctor never knew his mother. It's possible that the Doctor's dad was visiting Earth, impregnated a Human woman, travelled forward nine months, and took the child straight to Gallifrey after he was born, at which point the Doctor never saw his mother again. That doesn't seem too unlikely considering the Time Lord's isolationist policy, and it could shed some light as to the Doctor's reasons for running away. That would also mean that the Doctor could still just take his TARDIS to the day after he was taken away from his mother. Still, there are obviously many other possible scenarios as to how his childhood would have gone with a human mother, and plenty of the other scenarios would make it impossible for the Doctor to meet his mother again.Icecreamdif talk to me 05:35, March 29, 2012 (UTC)

Er, yeah, no, sorry. It is the correct answer from the in-universe perspective that he has multiple, contradictory backgrounds in which he is both half-human and not half-human, since one of the books (Unnatural History) said so explicitly. And he's the same guy, despite having a half-human past and a completely-human past and a completely-Gallifreyan past. And it isn't necessarily the correct answer at all, because there's no fixed canon. So you can interpret things however you want.
Stop trying to bring logic into DOCTOR WHO of all things. As the Second Doctor said in The Wheel in Space, "Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority."
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whoniverse#Inclusion_and_continuity

-- Rowan Earthwood talk to me 16:16, March 29, 2012 (UTC)

The alternate timelines idea might work for stories like Curse of Fatal Death, where the change is later in the Doctor's life, but an alternate timeline can't explain the Doctor being an entirely different species. That would be the same as if a comic decided to feature Jamie McCrimmon as a Sontaran. We couldn't possibly assume that in some alternate timeline, Jamie was born in a Sontaran clone batch, and in another timeline he was born in Scotland. We would have to assume that the two stories take place in different continuities. Similarly, we can't assume that the Doctor was born to a human mother in one timeline, born to a Time Lady mother in another timeline, and loomed in another. The Doctor is a different species in at least two of those scenarios. If he was born to different parents, then he wouldn't look or act the same. The different accounts take place in different continuities, not different timelines.Icecreamdif talk to me 01:40, March 31, 2012 (UTC)

Again, you're assuming the Whoniverse works logically. I don't think it does, so your well-reasoned argument doesn't necessarily apply. On the other hand, since there's no fixed canon on the matter you're free to interpret things however you wish. --Rowan Earthwood talk to me 23:44, April 1, 2012 (UTC)

Like everything else, the Whoniverse does have a certain logic to it, even if that logic is convoluted at times. The Whoniverse does have rules that it usually follows, and those rules wouldn't allow for the Doctor to be three different species. Besides, if any of the Doctor's human companions are smarter than he is, it's Zoe.Icecreamdif talk to me 00:44, April 2, 2012 (UTC)

Hmmm, good point about Leela's remaining on Gallifrey being such a big deal. From this inference, if the Doctor's mother was human, it does make it unlikely that she ever lived on Gallifrey - unless the family of the Doctor's father somehow managed to keep his mother's true origin secret, but that doesn't seem very likely to me. Then there's the issue with the iris scanner in the TV Movie; if the Doctor's eyes change every time he regenerates, this scanner would be useless. Unless the Doctor always retains a human retinal pattern, even though the colour of his eyes changes. to me 12:58, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

His retinal pattern would probably change every time he regenerates, but still remain half human-half Time Lord. Just like a normal Time Lord's retinal patterns would probably always remain Time Lord every time he regenerates.Icecreamdif talk to me 16:50, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

Okay, so what about the Doctor's mother? Did she live on Gallifrey, or what? Because The Invasion of Time strongly implies that non-Gallifreyans had never been allowed to remain there before then. to me 21:58, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

And personally, I discount the idea in Unnatural History that the Doctor can be both fully Time Lord and half-human in the same universe. As another poster said, it would be like showing Jamie to have started off as a Sontaran, when he could never have been anything other than a Scotsman from Earth. to me 22:07, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

Assuming that the Doctor's mother is half human, then we can only speculate as to how that works if aliens aren't allowed on Gallifrey. If you look further up, I speculated that the Doctor's father took the Doctor away from his mother and back to Gallifrey at birth, and he never really knew his mother, but that is definetly not the only possibility. Maybe the Doctor spent the earliest years of his life on Earth(which seems unlikely), or maybe the Doctor's father was somehow able to convince the other Time Lord's that the Doctor's mother was a human. Actually, without having Invasion of Time in front of me, were aliens not allowed on Gallifrey, or were they just not allowed in the citadel. If they just weren't allowed in the citadel, then the Doctor could have just grown up outside of the citadel. It would also explain how he was always able to get out to visit that old hermit.Icecreamdif talk to me 00:00, April 17, 2012 (UTC)

You're thinking too linearly. Time in Doctor Who isn't linear; it's more (as the Tenth Doctor said) like a ball of timey-wimey stuff. The Doctor may have been born clearly one thing or the other, but events later in his life changed his past in multiple, mutually incompatible ways. Just as we can easily imagine that he might start out as a Time Lord and evolve into something else (as he briefly did in The Two Doctors), this could happen in his past as well as his future. Causality doesn't only go in one direction. And of course the Whoniverse does not have any consistent logic to it of any kind. You're free to pretend it does, but it really doesn't. -- Rowan Earthwood talk to me 17:06, April 24, 2012 (UTC)!

Rowan, you can't just say that the show doesn't make any sense to explain away anything that's confusing. Time in Doctor Who isn't linear, and it is very complicated and convoluted, but it doesn't get to the point where the Doctor can be two species at once. The Doctor's being half human can't have been some kind of transformation like the Doctor becoming an Androgum. The Doctor says that he is half human on his mother's side, which means that he was born half human. He simply would not be the same person in two different timelines if his parents weren't the same people. Half his DNA comes from his mother, and if his father impregnated another woman in a different timeline, there child would not be the same person. The Doctor is either Time Lord or half Human half Time Lord, but he can't be both.Icecreamdif talk to me 19:36, April 24, 2012 (UTC)

The problem with that reasoning is that it assumes the moment when the Doctor was born (or Loomed) was his origin. But if time isn't linear, that doesn't necessarily follow. His origin could be any point on his timeline, branching out from that point into both the past and future. If his future timeline can include him being a different species, then so can his past because time isn't linear and causality doesn't strictly run in one direction.
Best practice would dictate not saying "Doctor Who is too logical for that" without citing the source that leads you to believe it's too logical for that. Was there any TV story, webcast, audio play, novel or short story that stated someone's racial origin couldn't change retroactively, from the moment of birth, due to an event that occurred later in their timeline? Because we've cited a source that stated it could. The Doctor himself, as far back as his second incarnation, said his universe wasn't logical. He might well have been born half human, but subsequent events have added additional streams of biodata to include a past, just as valid from his perspective, in which he was never half human. Or he might have been born an ordinary Time Lord, or an ordinary human for that matter, with subsequent events creating biodata streams that include him being half-human. All we really know is that the Russell Davies era implied, as strongly as it could without confusing new viewers, that he was only ever a pureblood Gallifreyan with no human DNA (or else there would've been no reason for DoctorDonna's human DNA to make her more naturally brilliant than him). We also know that there were a couple of lines in the TV Movie that imply his mother was human. Finally, we know there was a novel which tried to reconcile these two views with gobbledegook about biodata. You're free to ignore the novels, of course, or anything else, and decide that explanation doesn't satisfy you personally as a reader, but as it's part of the Whoniverse, at least the "expanded media" version, then clearly the Whoniverse does indeed get to the point where that is possible. -- Rowan Earthwood talk to me 23:14, April 24, 2012 (UTC)

Time may be a great big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, but individual lives still exist in a linear fashion. Take River Song for example. From the perspective of the Doctor, and more importantly the audience, her life is a complete non-linear jumble. First she died, then she went to the Byzantium with the Doctor then she dealt with the Pandorica and the universe ending, then she was a little girl in a space suit while she was also an adult, then she was a baby, etc. From River's perspective, however, her life is entirely linear. First she was born on Demon's Run, then the Silence brought her to Florida and put her in the space suit, then she escaped and regenerated into Mels, then she regenerated into Alex Kingston, killed the Doctor, went on a bunch of adventures with him, and died in the library. Saying that the Doctor is both half human and fully Time Lord would make as much sense as saying that Melody is both the Time Lord/Human daughter of Amy and Rory, and also the Rani who was loomed on Gallifrey. RTD's episodes never really implied one way or the other as to the Doctor's species. The closest they came was the Doctor-Donna in Journey's End, and the metacrisis is so different from being born that you can hardly compare the two. After all, River is part human and part Time Lord (or something), but she doesn't seem any more intelligent that the average Time Lord, and she has all the Time Lord powers like regeneration. Icecreamdif talk to me 00:14, April 25, 2012 (UTC)

Icecreamdif, if you want an in-universe examination of how the Doctor's origins can be self-contradictory, you just need to read Unnatural History. It explicitly deals with the question of how the Doctor can sometimes be half-human and sometimes not, sometimes Loomed and sometimes born to Ulysses and Penelope Gate, sometimes here and sometimes there. The fact that this doesn't make linear sense is a plot point in the novel. As Walt Whitman said:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
If anyone can be said to "contain multitudes", it's the Doctor. —Josiah Rowe talk to me 03:28, April 25, 2012 (UTC)
Of course we could all remember that this is just a TV show and that the writers are not perfect and make up a lot of the history as they go.

but we're fans, and this is what we do. even tough the writers aren't perfect, we as fans will fill in the gaps for them so it does work. Imamadmad 04:17, August 31, 2012 (UTC)

Well there is always some benifit to being a fan , but again dont try to logically work out the Who Universe, I have just finished watching the first 20 odd years of the show (except the missing episodes of course) and realised how completely uncontinuous a lot of it was. Only minor things occasionally but with so many different writers and script editors over the years it was always going to go off in its own directions occasionally. I think the new series is doing well since its writers and editors had so little to do with the original. Rasputin Oz
Well, things like future Earth history, and the history of the Daleks and Cybermen change too much to really follow any kind of logical continuity, but most of the stuff about the Doctor and the Time Lords works out fine if you're just following the TV shows. I have started to listen to some of the audio plays, and read some of the comics, and some of them are good, but the Whoniverse is much easier to keep track of if you just follow the TV shows.Icecreamdif 14:58, August 31, 2012 (UTC)