In Day of The Doctor, why was the 11th Doctor flying the 10th's TARDIS? They get in 10's TARDIS, but 11 starts flying it.

  • 2
    Same software, different case.
    – tilley31
    Sep 29 '15 at 15:02

The 11th Doctor appeared to the 10th through a time fissure:

10th Doctor: Back, both of you, now! That's a time fissure. A tear in the fabric of reality. Anything could happen.

The 11th Doctor is the newest regeneration of the Doctor, and 10 believes that 11 should remember what's going on:

10th Doctor: Okay, you used to be me, you've done all this before. What happens next? 11th Doctor: I don't remember.
10th Doctor: How can you forget this?
11th Doctor: Hey, hang on. It's not my fault. You're obviously not paying enough attention.

When the 3 Doctors get to the Tardis it starts having problems:

10th Doctor: Ow! The desktop is glitching.
War Doctor: Three of us from different time zones. It's trying to compensate.
11th Doctor: Hey, look. The round things.
10th Doctor: I love the round things.
11th Doctor: What are the round things?
10th Doctor: No idea.
11th Doctor: Oh dear, the friction contrafibulator. Ha! There, stabilised. (The Tardis changes again.)
10th Doctor: Oh, you've redecorated. I don't like it.

11 stabilized the Tardis to his "desktop", 10 doesn't like it. It may be akin to going from one Linux distribution to another or from Windows 7 to Windows 10, everything is there but maybe not where you expect, so it made sense for 11 to pilot his "desktop".

In Summary:

  • Eleven instigated the adventure when he met Ten through the time fissure.
  • The fissure was happening to Eleven, not Ten who was a bystander .
  • Eleven was the furthest point in the Doctor's time line so he should have the best chance of remembering what is occurring .
  • The Tardis was set to Eleven's desktop.

Out of universe, Matt Smith was the incumbent Doctor, so he got to take the lead over David Tennant.

  • In-universe, wouldn't the time fissure be happening to the War Doctor?
    – user24601
    Sep 29 '15 at 14:47
  • 1
    @user24601 technically it happened to all of the Doctors, but from 10s perspective in Elizabethan England, 11 came through it. Sep 29 '15 at 14:50
  • That makes sense..thanks Sep 30 '15 at 3:36

Plus, it does always compensate to the LATEST Doctor's incarnation (conviniently fitting with the out-of-universe reality, where the latest doctor should take the lead...)

I do like how they did give Hurt the stellar. Sort of. He was in and out-universe main character after all. He was hurting, a terrible choice thrusted upon him. And the moment was just that. A moment to make the right choice; to get help, to think it through and solve it. Anyway, that last part was just poetic, not adding much to the answer :P.

  • 1
    Does this add anything to the existing answer? Your first paragraph is a point already made by NikolaiDante, and the second, while a nice bit of wordplay, doesn't answer the question.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 9 '15 at 0:37
  • Should I delete it?
    – Lenna
    Nov 10 '15 at 7:30

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