In the 50th anniversary episode when the 10th Doctor saw a time rip, a person came out of it then this conversation happens:

ELIZABETH: Who is this man?

DOCTOR 10: That's just what I was wondering.

DOCTOR: Oh, that is skinny. That is proper skinny. I've never seen it from the outside. It's like a special effect. Oi!

DOCTOR: Ha! Matchstick man.

Then the 10th suddenly looks at him like he recognizes him, then they say this:

DOCTOR 10: You're not. (They both get out their sonic screwdrivers. 11's is bigger and better.)

DOCTOR 10: Compensating.

DOCTOR: For what?

DOCTOR 10: Regeneration. It's a lottery.

DOCTOR: Oh, he's cool. Isn't he cool? I'm the Doctor and I'm all cool. Oops, I'm wearing sandshoes.

Which made me think: how did the 10th Doctor recognize the 11th as his future self? He didn’t regenerate into him yet, so how did he know he is his future self?

  • "I've never seen it from the outside." That and the screwdrivers are your answer.
    – Theyna
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 3:01
  • 5
    Since you've started to accept answers for a couple of your questions, maybe you'd like to go through all your old questions and accept answers on the ones that have been solved to your satisfaction? It's a nice way to thank people who've helped you by solving your problems.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 11:20
  • The doctor isn't human, and his relationship to physical shape is different from ours. I would assume that he also has other means by which he judges who is who. Heh heh.
    – Misha R
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


How he talks

The Eleventh Doctor says "I've never seen it from the outside." This should serve as a pretty strong indication that he has indeed seen it from the inside, i.e. that he is the Doctor.

How he looks

He's a thin man with a ridiculously eccentric style of dress, appearing unawares in a time in which his style is very much out of place.

Compare, for example, the 10th Doctor's outfit:

enter image description here

And the 11th:

enter image description here

Formal dress in odd colors? Check. Too-long jacket? Check. Bizarre blazer? Check.

You don't need to be a genius alien to figure it out, and the Doctor is.

  • how does "I've never seen it from the outside." should serve as a pretty strong indication that he has indeed seen it from the inside, i.e. that he is the Doctor. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 3:42
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    @AndrewCasali Because that's how words (are supposed to) work. You only specify you've not seen something from a specific perspective (e.g. from the outside) if you've also seen it from another perspective (e.g. from the inside). If you've never seen it at all it would be very, very strange to say "I've never seen it from the outside." Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 13:23
  • You overlooked the fact that the Doctor is very clever and ,while they are different I'm many respects, some of there mannerisms are the same such as where they keep there sonic screwdrivers and how they retrieve them and put them away. Namely by tossing them in the air letting them flip once catching them and putting them in there inside Jacket pocket. Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:34

Doctor 10 mentions in "The Sound of Drums" that Time lords just know who they are by sight.

Coupled with the first episode of "The End of Time" where the Doctor wanders around trying to sniff out the Master, it shows that the Time Lords can recognize each other by sight and smell alone.

This method may have been used by the 10th Doctor, but took a while due to the strange person falling in on him and Queen Elizabeth.

  • I think this is the case. There is also an example of it in The Two Doctors from the classic series. The 2nd Doctor and the 6th Doctor recognized each other on sight.
    – BillionSix
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 6:56

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