In the first episode with Martha Jones (S3:E1), in the first few scenes of the show, he takes off his tie and drops it, completely unknowing of his future to return and retrieve it.

Later, to show Martha he can travel in time, he goes back and picks the tie of the floor. Unless we're just having to accept that tie stayed completely dry all day and in that position, we can assume that The Doctor basically did something he was against -- visit his own timeline -- seconds within the drop, to pick it up and return. This is also risking being seen, and Time Lord would recognise the Tardis sounding.

Regardless of the state of that tie (holding the suspension of disbelief), that was an incredibly risky move. While it holds up to the feel of Tennant's magical, quick, exciting Doctor, it's not very Doctor-like.

Why would a time-lord, who consistently travels around time constantly writing parts in his image (or stopping others from ruining that image), go back on his own time-line, just to return and show Martha? It seems like insanity.

  • 10
    He says it himself: "Crossing into established events is strictly forbidden. Except for cheap tricks"
    – BMWurm
    Aug 12, 2018 at 20:45
  • @BMWurm My point was that it isn't a cheap trick.
    – Joshua
    Aug 12, 2018 at 20:53
  • 6
    True, it's the Doctor trolling Martha... but it might actually be more the writer trolling the viewers. You are right, it's risky and irresponsible, but it probably gets a laugh out of at least part of the audience and makes it a memorable scene. I haven't seen it in close to a decade and still remembered the quote.
    – BMWurm
    Aug 12, 2018 at 20:57
  • 2
    Are you sure he drops the tie? As in on the floor? I always thought he only takes it off in front of her ....
    – BMWurm
    Aug 12, 2018 at 21:03
  • @BMWurm - He puts it in his pocket
    – Valorum
    Aug 12, 2018 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


The entire point of the scene is that the Doctor traveled backwards in time, created a memorable event and then immediately left.

The Doctor you see accosting Martha at the start of the show isn't a Doctor from a different timeline, he's the same Doctor you see at the end of the episode, just moving backwards along Martha's timeline.

enter image description here

Now, obviously there's a slight risk that he'll bump into himself (and cause a rupture in space and time, destroying the universe), but I'm guessing when you spend as much time in 20th/21st Century London as the Doctor does, he's gotten used to just pretending that he doesn't see himself.

As to the tie, you can see him pocket it as he walks away.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Cracking diagram +1 for the hand-drawn elements
    – Longshanks
    Aug 13, 2018 at 20:04
  • 4
    @Longshanks - I did think twice before posting the diagrams. I've realised that often people can become jealous of my talent.
    – Valorum
    Aug 13, 2018 at 20:09
  • Also, he himself in the past was already a patient in the hospital and usually travels to a specific moment in time once, so the risk of he meeting himself was pretty low.
    – doomista
    Sep 25, 2018 at 9:30

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