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In an alternate timeline, The Year That Never Was was a period lasting a year and a day in the 2000s[nb 1] which, due to the destruction of the paradox machine, never occurred for a majority of the population of Earth, but was remembered by a few people on the Valiant. During this time, the Saxon Master, with the assistance of the Toclafane, ruled over Earth. However, once the year was erased from history, everything was restored to how it was, the Master failing in his efforts.



During the Last Great Time War, the War Master chose to flee the conflict after his use of the Heavenly Paradigm caused the Dalek Emperor to seize the Cruciform. (AUDIO: The Heavenly Paradigm) Using a Chameleon Arch, he hid as a human in the far future near the end of the universe. The Master's human identity, Professor Yana, worked with a group of surviving humans on Malcassairo to build a rocket to reach "Utopia", a rumoured safe haven. The Tenth Doctor, Martha Jones and Jack Harkness arrived on Malcassairo and helped Yana launch the survivors in their rocket, however in the process Martha brought the Chameleon Arch to Yana's attention. Compelled by voices of his true self, Yana opened it and became the Master again. He made to steal the Doctor's TARDIS, however was shot by Yana's assistant Chantho and forced to regenerate. In his new incarnation the Saxon Master stole the TARDIS, abandoning the Doctor and his companions, (TV: Utopia) however the Doctor first fused the co-ordinates, rendering the TARDIS only capable of travel between the end of the universe and its previous destination on 2000s[nb 1] Earth.

TARDIS Paradox Machine

The Doctor's TARDIS converted into a paradox machine. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

Arriving on Earth about a year and a half before the TARDIS arrived on Earth, the Master established himself as British politician Harold Saxon, eventually becoming Minister of Defence. From that position he oversaw the establishment of the Archangel Network of satellites and the designing of UNIT's flying mobile base, the Valiant. (TV: The Sound of Drums) The Master met Lucy Saxon, who fell in love with him. He took her on a trip in the TARDIS to the end of the universe, finding Utopia. There he discovered the last of humanity had found no paradise, and had cannibalised themselves into the Toclafane to survive. The Master promised to help them make a new civilisation, by invading their ancestors trillions of years earlier. The Toclafane fondly called him their "Mister Master". The Master cannibalised the TARDIS into a paradox machine to enable the paradoxical invasion. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

As Harold Saxon, the Master used the hypnotic influence of the Archangel Network to campaign in the general election, receiving celebrity endorsements and being supported by politicians who abandoned their parties once they saw he was winning. During this time he sponsored Professor Lazarus' experiments in rejuvenation, (TV: The Sound of Drums) and had agents monitor Martha's family, claiming to them the Doctor was putting their daughter in danger. (TV: The Lazarus Experiment, 42) He also arranged for Jack's friends in Torchwood Three to be sent on a mission to the Himalayas. (TV: The Sound of Drums)


"Harold Saxon" in a broadcast following his election as British Prime Minister. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

The Master triumphed in the election and became Prime Minister of Great Britain. At this time the Doctor, Martha and Jack returned to Earth using Jack's vortex manipulator. The Master used his new power to have them branded public enemies and took Martha's family into custody, forcing the trio to go into hiding using perception filters fashioned from TARDIS keys. As Prime Minister, the Master announced first contact with an alien species, the Toclafane, to be broadcast live. The unilateral announcement met with fury from UNIT and US President Arthur Winters, so the Master allowed it to occur on the Valiant. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

Day Zero[]

Main article: Day Zero
Toclafane Assassinate Winters

The assassination of US President Arthur Winters. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

On the day of first contact with the Toclafane, the Doctor, Martha and Jack infiltrated the Valiant and discovered the paradox machine onboard, primed to activate during the first contact broadcast. The Toclafane arrived on schedule and killed President Winters on the Master's audience. The Doctor attempted to reach the Master in hopes of his perception filter breaking the Archangel Network's influence but was captured. Using Professor Lazarus' technology he'd incorporated into his laser screwdriver the Master aged the Doctor decades to weaken him and killed Jack, knowing the immortal would resurrect.


The Toclafane invasion begins. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

The Master announced the end of the world to the viewing public as the paradox machine activated, allowing billions of Toclafane to travel to Earth. The Master ordered them to remove one tenth of the Earth's population. (TV: The Sound of Drums) As Earth fell, the aged Doctor discreetly whispered a plan into Martha's ear, (TV: Last of the Time Lords) and she used Jack's vortex manipulator to teleport away from the Valiant. (TV: The Sound of Drums) The beginning of the invasion was later known as Day Zero. (PROSE: The Story of Martha)

Occupation of Earth[]

Ruling from the Valiant, the Master enslaved the human race with the intention of using them to build weapons in preparation for war against the rest of the universe. The Master wished to turn Earth into New Gallifrey and create a new empire stretching across the universe, lasting "one hundred trillion years". He imposed a dictatorial and despotic regime upon the Earth with himself at the head of it whilst the Toclafane enforced his rule. (TV: Last of the Time Lords) A select number of humans were chosen to serve as his agents, working to hunt down any resistance. These included Mr Strand and Miss Beecham. The agents were kept in competition with each other to earn the Master's favour. (AUDIO: Deceived) The Master kept the Doctor, Jack and Martha's family as prisoners aboard the Valiant.

The Archangel Network kept most of the human population docile, though resistance did persist. Any military action however caused the Toclafane to descend. The enslaved people suffered severe over-crowding, often with many families crammed into a single house, and economic and technological regression occurred massively in the neglected urban centres, with London becoming full of wild dogs. Television and any notable technology was shut down. The effects on Earth were so great that the planet was declared closed to the wider universe, and the planet was designated to be unsafe to approach. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

During the Master's time he was known to have frozen the River Nile, poisoned the Caspian Sea, (PROSE: The Story of Martha) built fusion mills in China, created radiation pits in Europe, (TV: Last of the Time Lords) and ruined New York City. (PROSE: The Story of Martha) The Master also carved his face into Mount Rushmore, and ordered statues of himself to be built across the world to enforce his regime. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

Martha's travels[]

Martha became renowned among the human race for travelling across the world and evading capture by the Master. (TV: Last of the Time Lords) Martha travelled around London and started to tell people of the Tenth Doctor as part of his master plan. She rescued a little girl known as Aleesha and then travelled to Europe and met a man known as Mathieu Vivier. Martha also met a man in Turkey known as Brigadier Erik Calvin. (PROSE: The Story of Martha) Many legends developed around Martha Jones and the purpose for her travelling the world. The most common belief held by people was that she travelled across the world in search of a weapon. Another belief held by the people was that Martha Jones was the only one who could kill the Master. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

Eventually Martha went to spread the message to Japan but the Toclafane burned the islands to the ground after the Master learnt of the Drast meddling there, killing everyone there. Only Martha escaped the country. (PROSE: The Story of Martha)

The Master's agents sought to capture Martha. Miss Beecham used cloning technology leftover from UNIT and Torchwood to make hundreds of clones of Martha's mother, Francine Jones, which she sent to reported sightings of Martha. The clones were unaware they were fakes and had false memories of escaping the Valiant. Beecham also became aware of a lightning strike in South Africa that had brought down a Toclafane, using that knowledge to devise a way to torture Toclafane. She used this to force an army of Toclafane to serve her, ultimately hoping to usurp the Master. (AUDIO: Deceived)

Martha travelled to the United States of America. Reaching a diner, reputed to be the last diner, she told stories to the slaves who gathered there in secret at night. There she was reunited with an old friend, Holly, (AUDIO: The Last Diner) and one of Beecham's clones of her mother. (AUDIO: Deceived) Her presence attracted a lot of slaves to the diner, resulting in tragedy when the Toclafane bombed it, leaving Holly the only survivor. Martha continued her travels with her mother and Holly, (AUDIO: The Last Diner) reaching the Hope, the largest resistance group in America, in Nevada. The group believed they were in contact with aliens seeking to help their cause, (AUDIO: Silver Medal) but this was actually a trick used by Miss Beecham to lure rebel groups. (AUDIO: Deceived) Martha was uncomfortable with the competition system the Hope operated under and told a story about visiting a mine in the area a century ago to make a point. When their camouflage was exposed the Hope chose to abandon a planned assault on a Toclafane base, to their leader Jessie's disappointment, and fled to the mine Martha had told them about. Beecham subsequently cornered Jessie and revealed the planned attack had been a lure, having Toclafane kill Jessie. (AUDIO: Silver Medal)

Unaware Holly had been secretly replaced by the Master's agent Mr Strand, wearing a hologram disguise, whilst in Nevada, Martha travelled on to Las Vegas, taking sometime to relax in an abandoned hotel. She was located by Beecham who sent in Toclafane to hunt her down, telling them to attack her rival Strand as well. Beecham found Martha herself, bypassing her perception filter with her certainty she was there, and revealed the true identity of the clone, who she killed. Beecham subsequently interrogated Martha whilst she was chained to a roof, wanting to know if rumours about her being able to kill the Master were true. Holly, who had been held at Beecham's facility, escaped and contacted the Hope to come to Martha's aid. They found Strand and let him make a call as he was dying, which he used to inform the Master of Beecham's treachery. Martha managed to hide by dangling over the side of the roof as the Master's forces arrived to destroy Beecham's Toclafane, teleporting Beecham herself aboard the Valiant where she was executed. Holly rescued Martha from the roof and together they resolved to continue her travels, having found Beecham's data on the lightning strike. (AUDIO: Deceived)

Eve of war[]

A year into the occupation of Earth, the Master was preparing for Launch Day to begin his conquest of the universe. At this time Martha returned to Britain where she met resistance contact Tom Milligan. He helped her reach Professor Alison Docherty, who had the resources to read the data on the South Africa lightning strike. The Master made a global broadcast as a warning to Martha, using his laser screwdriver to age the Doctor's body to his actual age of 900 years.

Bexley's got rough

The Saxon Master hunts down Martha Jones. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

Armed with the lighting strike knowledge, Martha and Tom brought down a Toclafane enabling Docherty to open it and discover their true nature. Horrified at the scale of the paradox, Martha travelled with Tom to slave houses in London to continue her storytelling. Docherty however betrayed them to the Master, wanting information on whether her son was still alive. The Master personally came to London to capture her, forcing her out by threatening to have his guards to fire on the houses at random. Tom attempted to shoot him however the Master killed him and then taunted Martha of planet Earth's imminent march to war. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)


Toclafane over Earth

The Toclafane in position to begin their conquest of the universe. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

On Launch Day, the Master had Martha brought before him aboard the Valiant, planning to execute her as the countdown to launch ticked down, with the Toclafane in position over Earth and the rockets primed. Martha's sniggering as he prepared to kill her caused him to stop and she finally explained the purpose of her wandering. In addition to telling everyone she met about the Doctor she gave them an instruction, to think of him at the end of the grand countdown that the Doctor had always known the Master couldn't resist. With the Doctor having had a year to integrate himself into the Archangel Network, the moment the entire human race thought of him restored him to health and broke the Master's control.


Restored, the Doctor confronts the Master. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

Now at liberty, Jack Harkness took the Master's human guards to destroy the paradox machine, however the Master contacted the Toclafane and then fled via Martha's confiscated vortex manipulator, with the Doctor seizing hold of him to following him. The Master threatened to use the black hole converters in each rocket to destroy Earth, which the Doctor recognised as a hollow threat. He teleported them back onboard just as Jack reached the TARDIS and destroyed the paradox machine, breaking the paradox moments before the Toclafane reached the Valiant. Time was thrown into reverse, reverting back to moments after President Winters was killed before the invasion, and the Toclafane were sent back to the future. Everyone on the Valiant retained their memories of the year owing to being at the eye of the storm, while the rest of the human race had no knowledge of the events under the Master's reign which had now never happened. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)


In the immediate aftermath of the negation, the survivors on the Valiant confronted the Saxon Master, with the Tenth Doctor talking down Francine Jones from shooting him, hoping to take the Master into his custody. Lucy Saxon however discreetly picked up a gun and shot the Master, after a year of abuse at his hands. To spite the Doctor, the Master refused to regenerate and died in his arms, leaving the Doctor once again the last of the Time Lords.

His experiences over the erased year inspired Jack Harkness to return to Torchwood Three, (TV: Last of the Time Lords) resuming his leadership of the team. (TV: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang)

Martha sought out Tom Milligan, who was alive in the restored timeline, (TV: Last of the Time Lords) and became engaged to him. (TV: The Sontaran Stratagem) However they ultimately broke up. (AUDIO: Dissected)

Anke Von Grisel collected artefacts from erased timelines for her Verbier Museum of the Impossible, among them being a metal sphere labelled "Toclafane". (PROSE: Canaries)


  1. 1.0 1.1 According to the episode The Sound of Drums, Martha Jones' present day during series 3 of Doctor Who takes place over a six-day period, with the Saxon Master being elected three days after Smith and Jones, and the Toclafane invading Earth five days after Smith and Jones. However, sources differ on which dates these stories are set. According to PROSE: The Paradox Moon, the Toclafane invasion happens on 23 June 2007, placing the events of Smith and Jones on 18 June. According to AUDIO: Hysteria, Smith and Jones takes place in 2008, with a UNIT mission log in AUDIO: Recruits referring to the recovery of moon rocks from Royal Hope Hospital in March 2008. A newspaper clipping in PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters places Smith and Jones on a Sunday 4 June, thus placing the Toclafane invasion on Friday 9 June. In the real world, these dates do not fall on a Sunday and Friday in either 2007 or 2008.