Two parts allow time lords to fly through time and space, in TARDII (?):

  1. When a Gallifreyan was granted the rank of Junior Time Lord in the Time Lord Academy, they received their symbiotic nuclei. (PROSE: Interference - Book One)
  2. The Sixth Doctor once claimed that TARDISes (or other time machines) had to be primed with a Rassilon Imprimatur to enabled them to travel safely in time.(TV: The Two Doctors)

~Rassilon Imprimatur

Now, no one is making more TARDISes, but we've seen a few new time-lords...in the loosest sense:

1. Donna-Doctor
2. The Doctors Clone/Daughter
3. River Song

Now, we haven't seen all of these fly the TARDIS, we've do it with the Doctor, but that's cheating.

Do these/would/should these have the same ability to fly the TARDIS? If not, what's the limitation on flying one without the symbiotic nuclei? Has anyone managed that?

  • Axis Axes, Tardis Tardes?
    – Nick
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 16:19
  • @Nick It's an acronym, so I was only playing when I said TARDII...
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 18:30
  • 3
    +1 for actually using the word TARDII.
    – Meg Coates
    Commented Oct 28, 2012 at 3:48
  • 4 - Ashildr aka "Me" flying a TARDIS, though not a timelord/gallifreyan
    – Anthony X
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 0:42

3 Answers 3


We have only actually seen one person fly a TARDIS, on their own, without The Doctor being involved, and that's River Song. (Donna flew it in conjunction with The Clone Doctor, I think.)

In general your intuition seems to be correct that we shouldn't be seeing anyone else new being able to pilot the TARDIS. Eleven seems stunned when River demonstrates an aptitude for piloting his TARDIS, and claims it ought to be impossible. In River's case, she explains in Let's Kill Hitler how she was able to do it - the TARDIS let her. When she pilots the TARDIS to where The Doctor is dying of poison, she explains to everyone that "she [the TARDIS] taught me how to fly her."

In general, in the post Time-War era, the individuality and personality of the TARDIS has been something brought much more to the forefront. Remember she is the last TARDIS as much as he is the last Doctor. It seems as if the "rules" surrounding TARDIS flight in the age of the Time Lords are only conventions or guidelines that everyone followed, and not anything that is inherent to the nature of a TARDIS.

So, in theory, a TARDIS could permit anyone they wanted to fly them, and teach them how, but so far, of all the people that have been in the TARDIS post-Time War, only one (a very unique one) has actually been able to do so.

  • So you might speculate that no one else could?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 12:52
  • 3
    @Pureferret more like, anyone else will have to follow River's path and have to be taught directly by the TARDIS.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 13:37
  • The Master was also able to pilot the Doctor's TARDIS in "Utopia": tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Utopia_(TV_story)
    – Force Flow
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 15:54
  • The Master is a true Time Lord; he would have the same capacity to pilot The Doctor's TARDIS as The Doctor himself (and has done so many times in the past). I assume if there are any other true Time Lords that managed to escape the time lock, they'd still be able to pilot a TARDIS as well.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 18:41
  • 1
    Since you wrote this, we've also seen Tasha Lem fly the TARDIS in The Time of the Doctor.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 21:30

In the earlier ones Season 19 for example, there is a companion "adric" who managed to fly the Tardis several times alone.

  • That's pre-Time War.
    – user1027
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 15:15
  • 1
    @Keen true, but there was nothing "special" about Adric that would allow him to pilot a TARDIS alone; if he and Nyssa could do it w/out a Time Lord assisting then in theory anyone should. I will note, however, that 1. The TARDIS became much easier to pilot during the course of 4 and 5's tenure, and 2. Adric only piloted the TARDIS a short distance and only through space, which may be easier.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 18:53

We have seen in much earlier series both the Master and Rani fly a TARDIS. I think Romana also bit in some episodes it became clear the Romana and Rani where the same woman. Also went to school with the Doctor. She also helped the Doctor on occasion instead of the Master.

  • This answer is a. It unclear in places and could do with you editing in some evidence for the points you make as well to back it up!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 22:46
  • 1
    Neither of these are post time war, are they?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 22:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.