The 11th doctor seems to address the idea of fixed points (creating them, changing them, etc) far more then previous Doctors. Is this a recent thing, or has fixed points always been a "thing" in Doctor Who?

The first time I can recall it ever being mentioned is the Fires of Pompeii. Which was not a Steven Moffat episode. So it was not invented by him.

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    Not sure, but I think 9 already tells Rose about time being a wibly-wobly (and some more) flux where only some points are fixed. Dec 6, 2012 at 14:00
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    I could be misremembering, but I think 'Wibly Wobly' first popped up in 'Blink'.
    – K-H-W
    Feb 7, 2013 at 21:49

3 Answers 3


I'll have to look and see if they called them Fixed Points, but we've seen them before, in the older episodes; I just don't know if they were explored as being such. There have always been things that the Doctor could change... and things he couldn't; most often, the later were ones that would interfere with his own personal timeline, and thus generate a powerful paradox. He was never very good about explaining WHY, tho.

Some examples that leap to mind include various character deaths (Adric, for example), the Great Fire of London (said to be going to happen regardless of their actions), and the destruction of Ockora in the Second Doctor's day.

That being said, I think one of the reasons they weren't referred to as such relates to the fact that the Time Lords had considerable ability to manipulate / control such things. With the Time Lords in existence, there were rules (The Laws of Time, specifically) about changing such things, but it was possible, with some unknown support from the Time Lords.. With them gone, it looks like the natural laws have a tighter hold.

In Father's Day, the Doctor mentions that the level of paradox Rose caused could have been dealt with when the Time Lords were still around ("There used to be laws preventing this sort of thing"), instead of the Reapers coming to sterilize things. It's also mentioned, during the Rose arcs, that the walls between alternate universes were more permeable, as well. This suggests that SOMETHING the Time Lords did, or some aspect of their existence had a fundamental effect on what otherwise would be natural laws.

So, I think Fixed Points existed.. But didn't used to be quite so powerfully locked down. The absence of the Time Lords has caused them to become the more significant things they are now.

This is all MHO, tho; I've yet to see anything clearly explaining it. YMMV.

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    All that being said... "Crossing into established events is strictly forbidden, except for cheap tricks" - The Doctor talking to Martha Jones; how this works, I can't explain.. except possible the Rule of Funny
    – K-H-W
    Oct 4, 2012 at 17:55

In the episode The Waters of Mars, the Doctor says that fixed points in time were challenged by the Time Lords. So one could assume that they were not truly fixed points in time until the Time Lords fell. When a paradox was created, the Time Lords would stop the results from being drastic. Now that the Time Lords have fallen, there are fixed and flux points in time.


There is something in the classic Doctor Who series about fixed points. It isn't called a fixed point but it's obvious from the context of the story. The episode Time Flight right after Earth shock when Adric dies has this conversation: Tegan: You could do more than grieve, you could go back! Doctor: And change your own history! Tegan: Yes. Doctor: Look there are some things even I can't do, not even with the TARDIS. Don't ever ask me to do something like that again. We must accept that Adric is dead.

Adric's death isn't described as being a fixed point but it looks to be like it is.

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    There is also something about variable points in time in the classic series as well. The episode Pyramids of Mars when the Doctor says he has to stop Sutekh or he'll destroy the world. Sarah Jane says he couldn't possibly do that because she's from 1980 and he didn't destroy the world. The Doctor then takes her to Earth in 1980 and it's dead world circling a dead sun. Jan 12, 2016 at 6:58

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