In The Day of the Doctor, Gallifrey is shifted into a pocket universe to escape the Time War:

WARRIOR: Gallifrey would be gone, the Daleks would be destroyed, and it would look to the rest of the universe as if they'd annihilated each other.

CLARA: But where would Gallifrey be?

DOCTOR 10: Frozen. Frozen in an instant of time, safe and hidden away.

The idea that the entire planet is frozen in a sort of time lock is clearly demonstrated again:

GENERAL: We'd be lost in another universe, frozen in a single moment. We'd have nothing.

And again:

WARRIOR [on monitor]: [...] a single moment in time, held in a parallel pocket universe.

So, Gallifrey and the Time Lords are frozen in the pocket universe.

But then, in The Time of the Doctor, we learn that Gallifrey is communicating with the universe via the cracks in the universe:

TASHA: They blew up your time capsule, created the very cracks in the universe through which the Time Lords are now calling.

And then, in Hell Bent, we learn that the Time Lords have actually returned to the universe, albeit stealthily to avoid all-out war:

GENERAL: Gallifrey is currently positioned at the extreme end of the time continuum, for its own protection. We're at the end of the universe, give or take a star system.*

Have I missed something? I thought Gallifrey was "frozen in an instant of time", but this doesn't seem to be the case. My question is: how could the Time Lords return to/communicate with the universe by their own means if they were frozen in their pocket universe?

One could argue that "frozen" isn't to be taken literally, but the War Doctor clearly states that they are using stasis cube technology to freeze the planet, and, as seen in the "Gallifrey Falls No More" painting, time—as well as everything else—is very literally frozen where stasis cubes are involved.

  • As we saw in Doomsday, once something's in another universe it's lost forever (for the most part). The same is true for something time-locked by The Moment. That the Doctor didn't realise that it was inaccessible due to being in another universe, as opposed to being inaccessible due to being time-locked isn't all that surprising.
    – Valorum
    Oct 15, 2016 at 12:57
  • @Valorum I'm not sure I understand. The planet wasn't time-locked by the Moment—the Moment was never used at all and AFAIK hasn't been shown to have time-locking capabilities; only destructive ones. Either way, Gallifrey certainly wasn't lost forever as it soon came back. The Doctor may not have been aware as to the real reason Gallifrey was inaccessible but that doesn't relate to how Gallifrey was able to bypass its pocket stasis to return to the universe anyway.
    – hamish1467
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:18
  • And while true, the Doctor was convinced that he'd used the Moment. Arguably, the fact that he didn't is evidence of a fixed time loop since his memory was incorrect for a reason.
    – Valorum
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:22
  • @Valorum I don't see how the Doctor's incorrect recollection of the event due to his un-synced timeline has anything to do with the incontrovertible facts that Gallifrey was indeed frozen with stasis tech; it was shifted to a pocket universe; and it did eventually return in Hell Bent. My question is how did it achieve this?
    – hamish1467
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:28
  • @hamish1467 - if the Moment was only destructive, it wouldn't have been as chatty, wouldn't have arranged matters to prevent its own use, and wouldn't have been able to open the time portals that allowed the plot to begin with. It's possible, just not confirmed, that it's responsible for the time lock, especially since anyone being able to see what really happened would undo all it's hard work.
    – Radhil
    Oct 15, 2016 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Frozen in time with this particular trick doesn't seem to mean complete stasis.

In the same epidsode, earlier in The Day of the Doctor, Ten, Eleven, and the War Doctor used the same trick to seal themselves into the Gallifrey Falls painting. They spent a few centuries inside and appeared to just start moving when it was needful or intended. They didn't age, they didn't stand around playing cards or wasting time, but they weren't locked into place.

Presumably, the Time Lords were able to do the same thing, and start moving once the potential for release was there. Although not shown, they also have a bunch of Time Lord toys on Gallifrey, and there's every possibility they were using one or more to give themselves more freedom inside.

  • By "potential for release" do you mean the cracks opening in the universe? Or something else? Looks like I need to re-watch tDotD in any case.
    – hamish1467
    Oct 15, 2016 at 23:57
  • @hamish1467 Either the cracks, or just a general weakening of the pocket, or the freeze ran out of the energy it had... timey-wimey technobabbly nonsense rules once you get too specific. I don't know exactly what, I just know from the paintings example that it can be undone from the inside. Other than the Doctor not knowing where to find either the planet or the pocket once the deed was done, there's no reason to assume the Time Lords were completely helpless, just mostly so.
    – Radhil
    Oct 16, 2016 at 0:17

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