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You may wish to consult Time (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

Time was a fundamental physical quality, measuring the duration of events and the intervals between them. It could be seen as part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events happened in sequence. Space-time vessels, such as TARDISes, could travel along this dimension in the same way that ordinary space vessels could travel along the other dimensions.

Having passed through the Time Vortex so often, the Doctor, and those who travelled with him, developed a "special relationship" with time, making them more sensitive to its nuances. (TV: City of Death)

Time was naturally chaotic and "wild"; the Time Lords forcibly held it in place on the planet Time inside the Temple of Atropos by creatures known as the Mouri. (TV: Once, Upon Time) There existed a sentient, cosmic embodiment of the force of Time, who had various avatars and with whom the Doctor had dealings across several incarnations, including as Time's Champion. (PROSE: Human Nature, Love and War; TV: The Vanquishers)

Structure of time[]

When Clara Oswald asked what time was made of, the Eleventh Doctor assured her that it wasn't of strawberries. (TV: The Rings of Akhaten)

Instead, at a lower level, time was quantized, like a force, which the Master (in the guise of "Professor Thascalos") described as made up of particles known as chronons. (TV: The Time Monster) Chronons, like other particles, could be detected and interacted with. (GAME: City of the Daleks)

While the Weeping Angels were able to feed on the potential energy gained by displacing people into the past, (TV: Blink) even they could not feed on raw time energy. Such energy, leaking out of cracks in the structure of the universe, absorbed an army of Angels at the crash of the Byzantium, completely removing them from history. (TV: Flesh and Stone) The Doctor suspected that the CyberKing walking over Victorian London and the Daleks invading Earth in Amy Pond's era had been similarly erased, (TV: Flesh and Stone) and later saw Rory Williams absorbed by time energy. (TV: Cold Blood) Artron energy was also in some way connected with time, in a manner that was possibly too complicated for Time Lords to fully explain to humans. (TV: Four to Doomsday, The Deadly Assassin)

The structure of time had to be balanced or ordered in some way, a purpose of the Web of Time. (TV: Attack of the Cybermen) Additionally, time had a holistic structure like a balloon. If a mishap in time travel punched a hole in that structure, the universe could die in a matter of centuries. (TV: The Two Doctors)

According to the Sixth Doctor, time was granular, like the grains of sand in an hourglass. (AUDIO: The Hourglass Killers)

Allegedly, time was naturally chaotic and unreliable. During the Dark Times, two creatures known as the Ravagers, Swarm and Azure, found pleasure in its chaotic nature. The only way to stabilise time was to assign creatures called Mouri. According to Swarm, it could be said that Time was at war with Space. (TV: Once, Upon Time)

Time travel[]

Main article: Time travel

New connections between different points in space-time could be created: for instance by time windows created by warp drives; (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace) time storms created by Fenric; (TV: Dragonfire, Silver Nemesis, The Curse of Fenric) or the cracks in the skin of the universe, which suddenly appeared at various times and places in the universe after a temporal explosion. (TV: Flesh and Stone, The Vampires of Venice)

Furthermore, travel from any point to another was possible by passing through the Time Vortex, by using a vehicle such as a TARDIS or Dalek time machine (TV: The Chase, et al.) or a device such as a vortex manipulator, (TV: Utopia, The Sound of Drums, TV: Everything Changes, et al.) by creating a wormhole such as a time corridor (TV: The Evil of the Daleks, etc.), or even through direct psychic teleportation. (TV: Planet of the Spiders)

Other races eventually learned to travel through time. These included the Daleks (TV: The Chase) and humans. (TV: Invasion of the Dinosaurs) In the 51st century, humans established the Time Agency. (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Empty Child)

The Time Lords, however, tried to keep strict controls on "unauthorised" use of time travel by other species. (TV: The Time Warrior, The Two Doctors)

Uncontrolled time was extremely difficult to navigate around, meaning a person could set a destination and end up in a completely different location. It was also very harmful to time travel devices such as TARDISes. (TV: The Halloween Apocalypse, War of the Sontarans, Once, Upon Time)

Changing history[]

The Tenth Doctor laboured in an effort to explain to humans how time was misunderstood and never strictly linear, that it was "a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff." (TV: Blink) Another time, he tried making it easier for his companion, Martha Jones, to understand by referencing Back to the Future to explain the mechanics of the "infinite temporal flux"; if the Carrionites succeeded in freeing the rest of their kind and taking over Earth, Martha would vanish as the future she came from would no longer exist. (TV: The Shakespeare Code)

Travelling into the past allowed changing the future. As the Eleventh Doctor put it, "Time can shift. Time can change. Time can be rewritten." (TV: Flesh and Stone)

However, erasing events from history did not always automatically change the future. Time travellers were able to remember the "original" timeline, (TV: Flesh and Stone, The Church on Ruby Road [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023 (BBC One and Disney+, 2023).) unless the erasure directly affected their life, (TV: Cold Blood) in which case they had to make an extraordinary effort to do so. Blocking chronons (e.g., with a TARDIS or a special-built device) could prevent objects from vanishing even though they no longer had a past. (GAME: City of the Daleks) In a similar way, a paradox machine could be built (e.g., from a cannibalised TARDIS) to allow time paradoxes to persist without effect. (TV: The Sound of Drums, Last of the Time Lords)

In a universe with time travel and a malleable space-time, there would be no fundamental stable meta-structure to history. However, the Time Lords imposed one, which they called the Web of Time, which connected the fragmentary nodes of history into a single whole. (AUDIO: Neverland) This Web required maintenance, as when the Sixth Doctor explained that the destruction of Earth in 1985 would disrupt the Web. (TV: Attack of the Cybermen)

Even in the post-Gallifrey universe, some events were fixed points which must happen. One example was the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius at Pompeii. (AUDIO: The Fires of Vulcan, TV: The Fires of Pompeii) Changing fixed point events required highly advanced technology, and doing so could cause major damage to the continuum. (GAME: City of the Daleks)

Other moments were in flux, allowing minor changes to history. Some events even allowed dramatic changes in history, especially after the demise of the Time Lords in the Last Great Time War. (TV: The Unquiet Dead) An example of this occurred in 2020, when a drilling operation in Cwmtaff altered the future of the Earth by bringing humanity into contact with the Silurians, which could have led to either a peaceful relationship or a devastating war. The Eleventh Doctor described these events as opportunities. (TV: Cold Blood)

Time storms could occur inside a person’s time stream if time was allowed to slip into its allegedly naturally chaotic state. If someone was to enter their own time streams during a time storm, bad things could happen to that person. (TV: Once, Upon Time)

Parallel universes and alternate timelines[]

At historical choice points, the timeline naturally diverged, creating two parallel universes. (TV: Inferno, etc.) These parallel universes could be reached through the Time Vortex before the Last Great Time War, but in the post-Gallifrey universe this became much more difficult, and dangerous to the structure of space-time. (TV: Rise of the Cybermen, Doomsday)

Changing history by time travel, in a way inconsistent with the meta-structure of space-time, would create an alternate timeline, which had a similar effect. Historically, the Time Lords would alter history to prevent these alterations from having ever happened, negating the alternate timeline in all but the memories of time travellers who participated in them. (TV: Day of the Daleks, PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus, TV: The Big Bang, HOMEVID: Good Night) However, some time travellers were left confused as to how they could accept multiple different realities in their heads. Even Time Lords such as the Doctor didn't know how to explain this properly. (TV: Space, HOMEVID: Bad Night/Good Night)

In the post-Gallifrey universe, the Doctor and others often acted on their own to do the same. (TV: Turn Left, Last of the Time Lords, The Mad Woman in the Attic, etc.)

The Fourteenth Doctor asked a human to examine two pictures of the Toymaker following a rupture in time that resulted in the creation of multiple versions of reality. (PROSE: Double Danger [+]Paul Lang, Doctor Who The Official Annual 2024 (Penguin Group, 2023).)


Like other cosmic principles, time was embodied by an Eternal, named Time, who chose the Seventh Doctor as her champion. (PROSE: Happy Endings) Because the force of time was "encaged" at the Temple of Atropos, in some sense this was also true of time's sentient avatar, who talked to the Ravagers and the Thirteenth Doctor there towards the end of the Flux crisis. (TV: The Vanquishers)

According to one account, there also an entity called the Father of Time. He personified Time even before the Time Lords' inception, but was also, somehow, a future incarnation of the Doctor. (COMIC: The Test of Time)


When Major Jenny Maguire asked if it would be to insert misinformation onto the UNIT website as opposed to changing the passwords following the discovery that Mickey Smith was using www.whoisdoctorwho.co.uk to release sensitive information in 2006, Sergeant A. Frederick told her, scoldingingly, that she "[didn't have] time to knock up a load of fake conspiracy theories and fudged reports about aliens". (PROSE: Rose Tyler [+]BBC webteam, U.N.I.T. (BBC, 2005).)

When the Fourteenth Doctor concluded telling the bedtime story The Way Back Home on Planet Bedtime Stories, he began to tell a story about "someone who went to space and started to help people", but cut himself off when he realised he didn't have enough time to tell it, but promised to save it for another bedtime story. (TV: Doctor Who: The Bedtime Story [+]Oliver Jeffers, CBeebies Bedtime Stories (CBeebies, 2023). Timestamp 00:04:08.)

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