In Rose, the Doctor seems to see himself for the first time (he comments on his ears not being bad) but later there are photos of pre-Rose adventures.

So how soon after regenerating does Rose take place?

  • 8
    Standard Disclaimer applies I think. Since Doctor Who is timey-wimey wibbley-wobbley it is possible that those pre-Rose pictures are actually during the time that the 9th Doctor is with Rose, but she is just somewhere else (visiting her mom, using the bathroom etc).
    – Xantec
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:15
  • 6
    As we see in "Night and the Doctor", the Doctor has plenty of adventures on his own right under the noses of his companions.
    – Valorum
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:46
  • He's a time traveler. Those photos weren't necessarily before he first met Rose, from his point of view.
    – J Doe
    Apr 20, 2017 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


No information has been given on the show about when he had the adventures that Clive shows Rose the pictures of in "Rose" (meeting with a family who were about to take a trip on the Titanic and convincing them not to, standing in the crowds when Kennedy was assassinated, and being at Krakatoa around the time of the volcanic eruption in 1883). Given that he's a time traveler, many fans have speculated that he might have popped off and had these solo adventures while traveling with Rose, and another popular theory is that he might have had those adventures between the moment near the end of the episode when Rose declined his invitation to travel with him and the TARDIS dematerialized, and the moment it rematerialized and he said "By the way, did I mention it also travels in time?", which convinced Rose to change her mind and join him. I think the popularity of these fan theories probably owes mainly to the brief scene in "Rose" where the Doctor looks into a mirror and says "Ah, could've been worse. Look at the ears!", reminiscent of other post-regeneration episodes where the Doctor has looked in a mirror and assessed his new face for the first time.

However, according to Russell T. Davies, who was the showrunner at the time and who also wrote "Rose", his intent was that the Doctor was not newly regenerated at the time he met Rose. Davies was interviewed in the May 2015 issue of Doctor Who Magazine (Issue 485), and p. 42 quotes him saying:

The Doctor saying "Look at the ears" as he looks in the mirror was added in the second draft, and could be taken to imply he has only recently regenerated. DWM asked Russell if this was meant to be the case. "Well, I hate being prescriptive here, cos sometimes, when I give an opinion on a scene, because I'm the writer and producer, it can become a fact. When I much prefer it if you make your own mind up. But enough time has passed now so, for the record... No, I do not think he'd just regenerated. If you have certain physical features like big ears, or buck teeth, you look at them and sigh at them every time you look in the mirror. And I think, if you'd had eight different faces, even if you'd been in this current form for a hundred years, you'd still mutter at them. So it was meant as a nod to the fact that he'd once had other faces. But I wrote the Titanic stuff and Krakatoa assuming that the Ninth Doctor had been around for a while. He doesn't act very post-regeneration, does he? He appears in command, waving a bomb. This is a man who knows himself, and has known himself for a while."

If you want to incorporate prose and audios into your personal canon (note that Doctor Who has no official canon, so it's up to you), the TARDIS wiki entry for "Ninth Doctor" says in the "Early Days" section that the book The Eyeless indicated he'd traveled on his own a while before meeting Rose. There's also a note saying that info from the audio The Oncoming Storm needs to be added to this section, but I don't know what it says specifically.

The relevant page of The Eyeless can be viewed on google books here, it features the Tenth Doctor recalling times he'd traveled alone in his past:

The Doctor had travelled alone before, often for decades at a time. After the Time War, when he'd lost everything but his TARDIS, he had decided he didn't need companions or friends. Then he met Rose, who had been both those things and so much more.

And there's a summary of The Oncoming Storm here, it seems to feature a companion-less Ninth Doctor working with Winston Churchill, I don't know if it's made explicit that this adventure predates his meeting with Rose but the following part of the summary at least strongly suggests it:

Toward the end of the story, the Ninth Doctor is very much in his element, a mix of the fury of a Time Lord who’s run away from the Time War, and a compassion that he seems to be rediscovering for the first time, as he both scolds and saves a certain character (I won’t tell you who for fear of spoiling the episode).

  • 4
    My personal fanon is that he went on a kind of "death tour" after the Time War, visiting famous disasters and assassinations and the like. It was actually saving the family who were booked on the Titanic that reminded him that he could still help people, and ultimately led to him fighting the Nestene in 2005 London. Mar 24, 2016 at 20:45
  • 1
    That kind of thing is called dark tourism @JohnSensebe. Dom Joly wrote a great book of the same name all about his own adventures (minus the time travel element) as a dark tourist :-) Mar 26, 2016 at 16:09

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