During the First Doctor's era, the Doctor's granddaughter Susan was left on 22nd Century Earth. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that the Time War affected Earth; as the Gelth said, the War was "invisible to more primitive species". So why did the Doctor appear to forget about her when he described himself as the last of the Time Lords? If she really was his granddaughter, then she would have been at least partly Gallifreyan; and given the physical damage Donna Noble experienced when she became the Doctor-Donna, it's possible that an only-part-Gallifreyan might not have been able to survive, implying she was fully Gallifreyan.

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    Gallifreyan != Time Lord. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 9:00
  • I'm not sure what OP's point is. We met lots of other Gallifreyans throughout the original series, both Time Lords (and Ladies) and not, but the Time War wiped them all out; presumably including Susan. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 9:08
  • @DanielRoseman I think OP is saying that it appears the Time War mostly affected Time Lords/species that weren't on Earth, and last we knew of Susan she was on Earth, so she might not have been involved in it.
    – Kitkat
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 13:31
  • tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Susan_Foreman#Fate
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 16:27

4 Answers 4


According to extended canon (in particular, the Big Finish audio drama All Hands on Deck), Susan was recruited into the Time War by the Time Lords despite the Doctor's best efforts to keep her away from it - so when "New Who" came about (i.e. the 9th Doctor onwards), she was as lost as the rest of her race, making the Doctor's claim of being last of the Time Lords still true. Her current whereabouts are unknown, but she may have returned along with Gallifrey in more recent seasons.

Carole Ann Ford appeared as Susan in the 20th and 30th anniversary specials "The Five Doctors" and "Dimensions in Time" (the former being canon but the latter much less so), and she was involved in some of the 50th anniversary pieces such as having a bit part in the docu-drama "An Adventure in Time and Space", so it's not impossible for her to return in the role, but whether it happens will be up to her and the new show-runners.

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    I personally hold with the idea that if an event hasn't happened on screen, its place in continuity is questionable or in flux. The TV show can tell a tale that directly contradicts with a book or audio play, and the show absolutely takes precedence. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 15:10
  • Which is a fair point to take, especially in a series that's already so wibbly-wobbly with its continuity. Pre-Disney, there were about 4 different levels of Star Wars canon ranging from "Only stuff from the movies" all the way down to "Holiday Special and/or popular fan theories".
    – ConMan
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 23:12
  • @VBartilucci Big Finish at least I see as far more acceptable to take as "canon" than any other external materials, given that some events of it have at least been referenced in-show (such as in the 50th anniversary) which gives it a lot of credence/would appear to be an attempt to canonise.
    – anon
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 12:57

The Doctor claims he is the last of the Time Lords because he thinks he killed them all when he destroyed Gallifrey, however it has been shown at various times this is not the case. The Master/Missy is the most obvious proof of this.

I also don't know if it has ever been truly established that Susan was the Dr's genetic granddaughter.

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    The Doctor has also been known to say "I used to a father, and a grandfather"... So I'm pretty sure he does include Susan in his concept of Time Lords he killed. At least he's pretty sure Susan is dead as well.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 14:15
  • Or if Susan isnt genetically his daughter, then she is human and has probably died of old age. But the fact is he didnt destroy gallifrey, he only thinks he did, until he finds it.
    – Richard C
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 15:34
  • @Richard: In the short story "Birth of a Renegade" (published in the Doctor Who twentieth anniversary special magazine), Susan was from Gallifrey but not the Doctor's actual granddaughter.
    – Buzz
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 16:19
  • "...truly established that Susan was the Dr's genetic granddaughter." cf Lungbarrow [1] (at least, the first edition), where the Doctor is possibly a re-loomed clone of somebody famous. [1] tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Lungbarrow_(novel) Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 7:49
  • In An Unearthly Child The Doctor says "We are not of this race. We are not of this earth". It is implied that she and the Doctor are the same race. At the very least it is established Susan is not a human.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 10:00

Your question of what happened to Susan has been well answered by @Conman according to extended canon.

At this time only the extended canon of Big Finish productions have made any reference to Susan after The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Susan's appearance in The Five Doctors is of course not meant to be after The Doctor left her behind on Earth, but rather during her time travelling with him. Like all instances of The Doctor's timelines crossing, these are anomalies which, although real, cease to be part of all but the current Doctor's established timeline. This is established in The Day of The Doctor when Ten leaves Eleven behind and it is said that Ten will not remember it. Also, the canonical short Time Crash attempted to explain away the aged appearances of previous Doctors (obviously due to the actors having aged) whenever their paths cross by saying that being in same place "shorts out the time differential". We can only speculate how this could affect companions traveling with them.

As to your supplemental question of why the Doctor appeared to forget about her when he described himself as "the last of the Time Lords", I have two possible lines of reasoning:

1. Susan is a Gallifreyan, but not a "Time Lord"
Some argue there is a difference, and that Time Lords are just Gallifreyans in possession of a TARDIS. As Susan was left behind on Earth to live as a human and start a life with David, The Doctor may not have considered her to be a Timelord, regardless of whether she is a full Gallifreyan or not.

2. She really isn't fully Gallifreyan
You suggested that a "part-Gallifreyan might not have been able to survive", citing the example of Donna. However Donna was physically fully human having been born so. Her human brain was not capable of holding The Doctor's mind. On the other hand, The Doctor himself is supposedly half-human. This idea established in the Eighth Doctor's only TV appearance was not popular and has sometimes been dismissed; yet that pilot has been embraced as canonical by subsequent series, and Moffat toyed with the concept during the story arc involving Ashildr. A prophecy of a "hybrid" left some believing it could refer to The Doctor as a half-human-half-Gallifreyan, and when The Doctor confirmed it was "me" it was deliberately ambiguous as to whether or not he meant himself or Ashildr who was now known by the name "Me".

Here's some supposition on the possibility of why Susan could never be a Timelord. The 5th Doctor story The Two Doctors suggested that the secret of Time Travel in a TARDIS was connected to Timelord physiology contained in their eye. The Sontarans were unable to get their version of a TARDIS to work without The Doctor's eye. The idea that the eye of harmony on the 8th Doctor's TARDIS was symbiotically connected to The Doctor's own eye, as well as the idea that trainee Timelords had to stare into the vortex may have been attempts to build on that idea. It was when The Master saw The Doctor's eye that he realised he was half-human.

If TARDIS travel through time is only possible due to a symbiotic connection to Gallifreyan physiology then maybe hybrids like The Doctor, as well as any future children and grandchildren, may only be True Timelords if they inherit the correct genes from their Gallifreyan heritage. We do not know who Susan's mother or grandmother were - they may have been human too, further diluting Susan's Gallifreyan heritage.

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    Just wondering - how do we know that Susan's appearance in "The Five Doctors" was during her time travelling with the First Doctor and not after she was left on Earth?
    – Wallnut
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 10:49
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    @Wallnut Okay, I can't be dogmatic about it, but the first Doctor regenerated without Susan, ending his timeline. In The Five Doctors each of his incarnations were "scooped" from their timelines. So for her appearance in The Five Doctors alone with The Doctor to be after her departure from the original series we would have to assume the first Doctor returned to her at some point before his regeneration and that this was never documented in the series. As the first Doctor was never seen traveling alone it would be unlikely this could have happened and other companions not scooped up too.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 10:54
  • I wonder how the "Doctor's eye" hypothesis holds up against River Song? Born of two humans (so, seemingly, no Gallifreyan genes) and had only a single heart, but able to regenerate (because she was conceived in the TARDIS), and able to fly the TARDIS "better" than the Doctor.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 11:19
  • @ZeissIkon Admittedly that is a spanner in the works. On most occasions we saw River fly the TARDIS The Doctor was also present, so that explains that. But on those occasions we didn't see her fly it (she revealed in The Wives of River Song that she borrows it without him knowing) can we say that she definitely used it to travel in time, and not just through space?
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 12:23
  • River Song gets around well enough without the Doctor (even to the point of using a vortex manipulator for time travel) that there's no sensible reason she'd need to "borrow" the TARDIS unless she needs to travel in time. Also, it shouldn't matter -- the TARDIS normally "dematerializes" even when it's just going, say, from Mars to London (as in "The Waters of Mars").
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 12:36

We don't know where Susan is but I believe she is still alive somewhere in the universe, maybe she lives on a farm now with a big barn full of time lord technology, or possibly in a cave somewhere, or out at sea?, we don't know but Susan Is definitely not dead.

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    Hi there. Is this only a guess or could you edit evidence in?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 11:31

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