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The Second Doctor owned a recorder that he enjoyed playing, mostly as a source of self-amusement, but also to help him think. While his future incarnations would often relied on a sonic screwdriver as their favourite tool, the Second Doctor preferred the recorder as an all-purpose utensil.



The recorder doubles as a spyglass. (TV: The Wheel in Space)

The Doctor often added modifications to his recorder, allowing him to put it to unusual tasks. The Doctor used his recorder as a blowpipe in Atlantis, expelling powder into Zaroff's face. (TV: The Underwater Menace) He also used his recorder as a spyglass on the Silver Carrier, (TV: The Wheel in Space) and in Tobias Vaughn's base. (TV: The Invasion)


The Second Doctor played his recorder several times while on Vulcan, (TV: The Power of the Daleks) in a marketplace on the Panjistri homeworld to amuse Lilith, (PROSE: Timewyrm: Apocalypse) in the Grange, (PROSE: Invasion of the Cat-People) in London in 1948, (AUDIO: Lost and Found) while in a Scottish prison cell, (TV: The Highlanders) while visiting Atlantis, (TV: The Underwater Menace) while visiting an Earth colony, (TV: The Macra Terror) while imprisoned by the Daleks, (TV: The Evil of the Daleks) while imprisoned in Tibet, (TV: The Abominable Snowmen) and while under Robot Yeti guard in the London Underground. (TV: The Web of Fear)

The recorder was useful for more than just music. On an Earth-like planet, the Doctor used his recorder to lure a robot to the TARDIS. (PROSE: The Sour Note) On Harmony, he used it to escape from his captors by playing it discordantly, having seen earlier that it caused them pain. (PROSE: Planet of Bones) In Prague, the Doctor combined his recorder with his sonic screwdriver to communicate with a Doredsor, enabling him to translate colour to binary to Solresol to musical notation and back again. (PROSE: The Time Eater) On Trodos, the Doctor used his recorder on a Dalek's hearing system, sending it out of control. (COMIC: The Trodos Ambush) On a swamp planet, he used it to stop giant spiders from attacking him and his companions. (COMIC: Master of Spiders) On prehistoric Earth, he used it to befriend a herd of mammoths and get them to destroy the Trods' power supply. (COMIC: Pursued by the Trods)


History with the Second Doctor[]

Jamie once chopped up the recorder, but it didn't prevent the Doctor from producing a new one from somewhere. (PROSE: Twin Piques) When he gave his recorder to Flora Millrace, the Doctor claimed to have extras. (PROSE: The Avant Guardian) The Tenth Doctor would later recall that Jamie often took to hiding the recorder, while also noting that Ben Jackson hated it before he recalled an adventure where his second incarnation had used the recorder to defeat an Alvarian space wyrm by playing a tune that had lulled it to sleep. (COMIC: The Forgotten)

When the Doctor's TARDIS landed in Australia, Jamie made the Doctor leave his recorder in the ship before they went out, and the Doctor would later retell Jamie of this to prove he was not Ramón Salamander. (TV: The Enemy of the World)

After escaping from the Land of Fiction, the Doctor realised he had left his recorder there, and sent himself back in to retrieve it. While there, he encountered Goth, who asked him to help the Time Lords, and thus sent him to meet his third incarnation. (PROSE: Future Imperfect) When they were transported to Omega's anti-matter universe, the recorder fell into the TARDIS' force field generator, and was therefore not converted into anti-matter during the trip. When the Doctors discovered this, they offered it to Omega, and the resulting annihilation seemingly destroyed the renegade Time Lord and his world. In exchange for his sacrifice of the instrument, the Third Doctor promised his earlier self that he would buy him a "thousand" more. (TV: The Three Doctors)

Although his memories of meeting his future self quickly faded, the Doctor did remember that he had lost his recorder, and went to a music shop on Amber Station to get a new one. (PROSE: Briefly Noted)

The Doctor used his recorder to measure the size of a room on the World using the echoes it created. (AUDIO: The Wreck of the World)

After the Second Doctor[]

The Fifth Doctor finds that the recorder isn't suited to him. (TV: Castrovalva)

Sarah Jane Smith discovered the Doctor's recorder in the TARDIS' secondary control room while traveling with the Fourth Doctor. (TV: The Masque of Mandragora)

The newly regenerated Fifth Doctor tried playing the recorder, but realised that it was not for him. (TV: Castrovalva)

The Eleventh Doctor left a recorder in his TARDIS drawing room. (GAME: TARDIS)

After being lured into the Celestial Toyroom, the Twelfth Doctor summoned his recorder to tame the snakes of Snakes and ladders. The fact that he was able to summon it alerted the Doctor that something was amiss with the Toyroom. (COMIC: Relative Dimensions)

Shortly before being sent back to his own time after an encounter with his five next incarnations, the First Doctor caught a glimpse of the Father of Time's attire beneath his robes, which included a scarf and a recorder — leading the Doctor to wonder just who the Father really was. (COMIC: The Test of Time)


The Sixth Doctor, confused by a time-slip with the affected Second Doctor, tried to remember a musical instrument important to him. He mentioned a clarinet and a flute, before recalling it was a recorder. (TV: The Two Doctors)

Behind the scenes[]

  • In The Masque of Mandragora, the recorder seems to be slightly, but only slightly, different from its original appearance, while it appears to be a completely different prop in Castrovalva.