In Heaven Sent the Doctor endures an almost unbearable torment (as suggested by his monologue) to keep the secret of the Hybrid secret, as it's "very very dangerous", and yet when he finally escapes the first thing he does is confess the secret:

You can probably still hear me... so just between ourselves... you've got the prophecy wrong. The Hybrid is not half Dalek. Nothing is half Dalek. The Daleks would never allow that. The Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins... is me.

Why does he do this? It seems to completely undermine the very thing that drove him to not give up and confess at the start.

  • 5
    Well, given that he just spent billions of years punching through superdiamond to get out, now that he is out, it doesn’t really matter whether they know or not — they’re going down, bro. Whereas if he confessed while still trapped in the confession disc, then they can make sure to keep him in there. Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 17:18
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    @Paul No. After the last confession, he was going to be freed. That was the whole point of the last room.
    – user931
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 17:37
  • 5
    Maybe, maybe not. The promise of freedom could have been deceptive or an outright lie. Given what he confessed, had he confessed it under (presumably) The Time Lords' control, it seems unlikely that they would have sent him on to Gallifrey.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 17:59
  • 3
    Did they show him the TARDIS? Or did he just assume that "Home" meant the TARDIS?
    – user56550
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 18:50
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    @MichaelRushton In your quote, does he really say me, or does he in fact say Me ??? ;)
    – BMWurm
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 14:54

4 Answers 4


Through most of the story, the Doctor assumes he's in a trap set by someone else, to whom he doesn't want to tell his deepest secrets.

Once he escapes, he realizes that he was inside his own Confession Dial the entire time. As long as he retains possession of the Confession Dial, his secrets are nominally safe, or so he believes.

In addition, the entire time the Doctor was hammering away at the wall of azbantium, he believed the TARDIS, and safety, lay on the other side, giving him a reason to resist--he believes he can escape the entire situation. Instead, he wound up on Gallifrey, which probably completely changes his internal calculus. If we assume that the Doctor is always trying to answer the question, "How am I going to win?", then the Doctor has clearly decided that embracing, rather than escaping, the Prophecy of the Hybrid is the way to win in the situation he finally found himself.

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    Wait a sec ... the dial was his?? Who put him in there then? Why?
    – JK.
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 23:03
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    @JK. Wasn't Missey very interested in his confession dial at the start of the season? It would be unlike Moffat to not tie these sort of events together. Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 23:44
  • watch the previous episode.
    – Derek
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 4:50
  • 1
    @JK the time lords put him in there, Ashilda made a deal with the time lords like she says "I made a deal to protect the street. they take you and the key so you cant be traced, I do as they tell me and the street is safe". The doctor then hands over the confession dial. The Teleport sends him inside the dial and ashilda hands over the dial to the time lords with him in it. as for why it will be made clear in the finale, bit of a cheat they had to send a message through the crack in the universe last time but now they are in constant contact with a human on earth how did that one happen?
    – daniel
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 20:32

Actually, he lied (now that's something new... but at that moment he probably decided to become the Hybrid, see below) as the transcript of "Hell Bent" shows (emphasis mine):


ASHILDR: Sometimes you do. It's always the way with things we'd rather forget. You remember now, though, don't you? Tell me, Doctor, who is the Hybrid? Who threatens all of Time and Space?
DOCTOR: Oh, but that's easy. That's very, very easy. The Hybrid is you.


ASHILDR [on scanner]: I'm human, with a little bit of Mire inside me. The Hybrid is supposed to be half Time Lord, half Dalek.
DOCTOR [on scanner]: No, it isn't.


DOCTOR: The actual prophecy specifies only two warrior races. The Daleks and the Time Lords have made assumptions, of course. And they would. Humans and the Mire, both warrior races. It fits perfectly.
ASHILDR: It's an interesting theory.
DOCTOR: Do you have a better one?
ASHILDR: By your own reasoning, why couldn't the Hybrid be half Time Lord, half human? Tell me, Doctor, I've always wondered. You're a Time Lord, you're a high-born Gallifreyan. Why is it you spend so much time on Earth? (Because in the Movie, the Master worked out that the Doctor's really half-human - on his mother's side.)
DOCTOR: That's your best theory? I'm the Hybrid? I ran away from Gallifrey because I was afraid of myself? That doesn't make any sense.
ASHILDR: It makes perfect sense, and you know it. Am I right? Is it true?
DOCTOR: Does it matter?
ASHILDR: No. Because I have a better theory.
DOCTOR: Really?
ASHILDR: What if the Hybrid wasn't one person, but two?
ASHILDR: A dangerous combination of a passionate and powerful Time Lord and a young woman so very similar to him.


ASHILDR [on scanner]: Companions who are willing to push each other to extremes.
DOCTOR [on scanner]: She's my friend. She's just my friend.
ASHILDR [on scanner]: How did you meet her?
CLARA: Missy!


DOCTOR: Missy.
ASHILDR: Missy. The Master. The lover of chaos, who wants you to love it, too. She's quite the matchmaker.
DOCTOR: Clara's my friend.
ASHILDR: I know. And you're willing to risk all of Time and Space because you miss her. One wonders what the pair of you will get up to next.
DOCTOR: Nothing. Nothing at all. I know I went too far. I get it. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing.
ASHILDR: And what would that be?
DOCTOR: I'm taking her back to Earth. Somewhere safe, somewhere out of the way. I'm going to wipe her memory of every last detail of me.

So the gist of it is, the Doctor didn't actually know until Ashildr rubbed his nose in the answer. And the Hybrid is not him

alone, but him and Clara together.

His claim to be the Hybrid is rather based on the prophecy he quotes,

The Hybrid destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins...

Well, after what the Timelords did to him what they "just"1 did he basically lets them (or at least the confession dial) know that now he has decided to become the Hybrid and tear Gallifrey down. Obviously, after having had some time to think about it, he didn't but rather set in motion the events of "Hell Bent" which in turn did

threaten all of time and space because the Doctor wanted to save Clara and thus almost fulfilling the prophecy.

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    ¹) "just" doesn't seem to do justice to those billions of years...
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 7:06

He was speaking metaphorically.

The Hybrid was said to be a being that would wreak havoc on Gallifrey.

By saying he was the Hybrid, he didn't actually mean he was the Hybrid that everyone was talking about, but that he was going to wreak havoc on Gallifrey. It was a statement of anger: he was coming to get them.

Like if I get really pissed off at you and I say, "y'know what? I'm the big bad wolf. You'd better watch your back" it's not an admission that I'm literally a wolf.

  • This is plain simple wrong. It was never a plan of The Doctor to wreak havoc on Gallifrey. He just wanted to kick the President out of Planet.
    – user931
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 0:10
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    @SS-3.1415926535897932384626433: Considering his plan was to save Clara and thereby "fracture time itself", thus ruining Gallifrey as well as pretty much everything else, you may want to reconsider your certainty. Indeed, the realisation that this was a really stupid plan that went way too far was the whole point of the last quarter of the episode. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 0:56
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    ss-3 i would dis agree planning a military coup on a planets president and high council then leaving the planet to fend for itself could e deemed havoc i agree when he said he was the hybrid it was for the audience to sit and think at the credits " OMG he is gonna tear s**t up!"
    – daniel
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 20:41
  • Sorry for overlooking your answer before I posted mine, I totally agree with you since that's what the following episode suggest. Except I don't think at this point he had any plan except for tearing down Gallifreay. +1 anyways
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 19:02

The Doctor was lying.

"Nothing is half Dalek. The Daleks would never allow that."

Hardy har har.

Daleks in Manhattan. 'Nuff said.

  • Well that was the Cult of Skaro: “They are described as an elite organisation created by the Emperor of the Daleks to think as their enemies think and find new ways of surviving”. And as the Wikipedia article mentions, at the time of Daleks in Manhattan, they believe themselves to be the last of their race, so they’re kind of desperate. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 13:50
  • There's also the Witch's Familiar when Davros uses the Doctor's regeneration energy to renew the Daleks, with Davros explicitly bringing up the half Dalek, half Time Lord prophesy as he does so.
    – user56550
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 14:43
  • The Ninth Doctor faced a whole army of half-human Daleks created by the Emperor, but the Doctor can be forgiven if he forgot events that, for him, occurred over a millennium ago. That's why he keeps diaries. Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 11:31
  • @JohnSensebe Those weren't half human Daleks, they were real Daleks, just made with human cells for the base material. Like Davros did later with his own cells in Journey's End. The Dalek/Human hybrid in Daleks in Manhattan was something else entirely.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 15:59
  • @MrLister - Rose explicitly calls them "half human" in "The Parting of the Ways". Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 18:30

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