In the Doctor Who episode "Heaven Sent," the Doctor makes the creature stop by telling it truths that he hasn't told anyone. But we're led to believe that every other reincarnation of the Doctor in the episode does the same in order to buy time and get the creature off his back.

So why does the creature accept the same confessions over and over from the Doctor?
Didn't the Time Lords set the confession dial to extract information from the Doctor? Why didn't they set the creature to only accept new confessions?

  • 2
    The episode with the creature is actually Heaven Sent. The creature also has a name: Veil.
    – Tim
    Feb 6, 2018 at 22:23
  • sorry i always get them mixed up, fixed it
    – Virgilius
    Feb 7, 2018 at 21:52
  • Just speculating--could it be because it's a different doctor each time? Because of his shenanigans with the teleporter, that incarnation has never told anyone anything at all.
    – CHEESE
    Feb 8, 2018 at 2:15

3 Answers 3


It's possibly related to the same mechanic that allows the monster to know if he's telling the truth. As long as the Doctor believes it's an unrevealed confession, the monster is appeased. I'm assuming that the Time Lords hadn't anticipated that the loop could be created and instead expected the Doctor to confess all.

  • 1
    That makes sense, but how did they know the doctor would even find out he's supposed to make confessions? he found it out by accident, if they wanted information and weren't able to see any loops coming, it's a terrible way to extract information to not tell the guy he's being interrogated and then kill him when he doesn't tell you anything.
    – Virgilius
    Feb 7, 2018 at 21:54
  • 2
    Time Lords have occasionally been known not to think things through. Look at how many times Rassilon has been outwitted by The Doctor and yet is always surprised when it happens again. Feb 8, 2018 at 6:01

As a preface, let's note that a LOT is left to the interpretation in this episode.

For example : We are not told how the loop started (here is the correspponding question). The exact powers of the creature remain unknown as well (as we see that it can be underground, but this power is used only once to access an otherwise inaccessible room).

All this is to say that we do not have a definitive answer on this, but several theories can answer your question.

Here are the two that I find the most interesting.

1. It works as long as the Doctor believes it is a confession, Pretty much the same as Patrick Mackey's answer.

2. The loop is part of the hell. As the hell is custom-made for the Doctor (the creature came from his nightmare, there is a painting of Clara on the wall etc ...), we can expect a certain degree of intelligence in the crafting of this hell. If the loop was taken into account, the idea would be that the Doctor, just before being "killed" remembers all of his previous incarnations, and would finally break. In this case, the truth part of the game is just a way to point him to the right room and for him to learn the rules of this sick game.


As one comment mentions above, every time the Doctor confesses, it is in fact the first time that version of the Doctor has made that confession. The Veil and the confession dial as a whole are also probably automated rather than directly monitored, especially since when the Doctor emerges from the dial he is out in the wilds of Gallifrey, so to speak, rather than within the citadel.

  • Is there any evidence to support the notion that the Veil and the confession dial were automated, or is that just speculation? Aug 22, 2021 at 16:17
  • 1
    The entire setup would suggest that, since the four billion years would appear to only pass for the Doctor within the dial and not for the Time Lords outside. But yeah, it is basically speculation because there isn't any "hard" evidence. Aug 22, 2021 at 16:38

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