In the Doctor Who episode The Time of the Doctor, Clara has her ankle grabbed by a Weeping Angel covered in snow. She is not displaced in time as is the usual result. She gets free of the Angel, no harm done.

Quentin Tarantino

How is this possible? It usually takes one brief touch for the Angel's power to cause you to disappear. The episodes Blink and The Angels Take Manhattan being two prime examples. In the latter, Amy was gone in an instant (I only highlight/mention this example, because like Clara, Amy was also a companion).

Keep in mind: The Angel under the snow only moved when not being observed (even though its face and eyes were covered up). And there are other angels who appear on the scene, so there is no issue with normal Quantum Locking rules. Another thing to consider is her clothes are holographic in this scene (for the Church of the Papal Mainframe), so the Angel would actually be touching her skin. Just to shut down those possible non-explanations.

  • Okay sooo... for starters. 1. The Weeping Angel was probably Weak at that time due to it being covered up by the snow. 2. It actually never touched Clara's actual skin. Ill be updating soon XD
    – user56941
    Dec 8, 2015 at 22:41
  • @DoctorWhoFanOlicity From above: "Another thing to consider is her clothes are holographic in this scene (for the Church of the Papal Mainframe), so the Angel would actually be touching her skin. Just to shut down those possible non-explanations." Also, powerful quantum-locked beings made of stone that can travel through, say, a television screen ("that which holds the image of an angel becomes itself an angel") and feed off radiation (S05E05 "Flesh and Stone") are weakened by some snow? Dec 9, 2015 at 0:34
  • River Song was grabbed by an angel too, in "The Angels Take Manhattan" and was not displaced, but had to break her own wrist to break free, which the Doctor healed with regeneration energy.
    – tilley31
    Oct 17, 2022 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


The time displacement effect of a Weeping Angel is not automatic. It's, for lack of a better word, a "feeding mechanism" they use. As Ten explains in "Blink", the angel sends you back in time, then somehow feeds off the potential future you might have had that you no longer will.

However, they don't automatically do that to you when you make contact with them. In "The Time of Angels", Eleven explains that the Angels on board the Byzantium were well-fed, and so had no need or desire to send people back in time. They were trying to kill the invaders outright. Similarly, in "Angels Take Manhattan", River gets trapped in the grip of an Angel, but wasn't sent back in time, merely held there until she escaped.

It's unlikely that the Angel that grabbed Clara was interested in eating; it was there to fight a war against The Doctor. Sending his companion back in time to feed off her time energy wouldn't really have achieved much, but trapping his companion (if they could have kept hold of her) would give them leverage against him.

  • 1
    Good answer although in the instance with River, The Doctor explicitly states that the angel that grabbed river was too weak to send her back as it was injured.
    – GamerGypps
    Aug 30, 2018 at 12:31

The Weeping Angel never touched Clara. Clara was wearing Holographic Shoes. Weeping Angel got hold upto the Holographic Shoe dimensions before getting seen. From The Time of The Doctor transcript:

DOCTOR: Clara, step away from it!
(The hand grabs her ankle.)
DOCTOR: Clara, keep looking at it. Don't look away. Don't even blink!
CLARA: What is it?
DOCTOR: There is a Weeping Angel under the snow. It looks like a statue, isn't a statue. Can you get your foot out?
CLARA: Only if I get it out of my shoe.
DOCTOR: You're not wearing a shoe.
CLARA: Good point.

As holograms aren't physical objects (it is projected to the visual cortex of the viewer), touching it didn't work (I don't think Weeping Angels could even see it). Touching works when skin or wearable solid objects are in direct contact.

The Weeping Angel touched the space/air around Clara's leg, which doesn't work for them.

I just watched that scene (1:45) again and this is the correct answer. Doctor was just trying to look at the hand saying Clara to step away from it and then Clara turned around. So, before Angel could touch Clara's skin (she was naked), either The Doctor or Clara saw it.

Update 2:
Let's say, the Angel really touched Clara's ankle (and, Clara didn't get time-warped due to whatever reason), Clara could have never been able to free her leg without breaking it. But, we saw later that Clara never had trouble with her leg which turns the hypothesis wrong. Proof by Contradiction: The Weeping Angel never touched Clara's skin.

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    ”Clara could have never been able to free her leg without breaking it” — really? In the screen shot in the question, it looks like the grip is open enough for Clara to squeeze her leg out. Dec 6, 2015 at 1:09
  • @Paul Did you even read the answer?
    – user931
    Dec 6, 2015 at 8:40
  • 1
    Yup, I sure did. Dec 6, 2015 at 10:52
  • 2
    I love the insistence that this is the correct answer. Mar 31, 2016 at 13:58
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    If the shoe is a hologram (I agree it ought to be), then the angel would be grabbing Clara's foot, a hologram is just an image, it doesn't stop physical objects. If the shoe is real, it can't protect Clara from the angel; Amy and Rory were both sent back in time when an anger touched their clothing.
    – Blackwood
    Jun 22, 2016 at 2:28

Clara Oswald cannot be affected by time based quantum locked beings. She dies before she could become entagled with her own timeline (See The Rings of Ahkaten) thus giving her an infinity of unfulfilled lifetimes. A Weeping Angel would not be able to feed off of her time energy because there were an infinite number of timelines that she belonged to/were entangled with (see The Name of the Doctor). This displacement effectively displaces her from all time lines in a manner similar to River Song. Without being anchored to a single timeline the displacement of the person attacked by the Angels cannot release the energy that a quantum locked being would need to use. Effectively making Clara a true NULL whereby her signed value is at once all values and no value. In such a state the Angel's attack can have no effect on their target.

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This seems like a complicated explanation compared to the above (that the Angel wasn't trying to feed, that it was too weak to do so, that it wasn't actually touching Clara...) and as such it likely needs some additional evidence to support it. Even if Clara has many potential lifetimes (as, in the multiworlds model, we all do) any given incarnation still has a future that could be stolen. Can you point to any evidence for this concept of a null?
    – DavidW
    Oct 16, 2022 at 14:36

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