I was looking at the Time Lord Wiki which told me some helpful information but it didn't really say what your average Time Lord or Time Lady actually does. We mainly get the perspective of the most renegade Time Lord ever the Doctor but he doesn't act like the others. This is a large race of people and one of the oldest. So what does a Time Lord do?

Side note: The TARDIS that the Doctor drives is said in one episode that it actually requires 6 Time Lords to operate it correctly. This doesn't mean that every TARDIS requires this and it also doesn't mean that it's true due to rule #1 but it does suggest that Time Lords are meant to travel together. Which means that they have a society where they do or once did travel through time and space together so they don't just sit on Galifrey twiddling their thumbs until the Doctor or Master stir things up.

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    Stand around, look impressively into the Time Stream, avoid hostile aliens with a taste for Timelord and backstab each other for dominance and control of Gallifrey. Sounds like they keep busy... Feb 15, 2013 at 2:20
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    I'm not confident that this is enough to make this an answer, but in Father's Day, the Doctor says to Rose (About the paradox she put them in and the bird creatures), "... There used to be laws stopping this kind of thing from happening. My people would have stopped this. But they're all gone. And now I'm going the same way." So I assume that they enforce the laws of time.
    – Sheph
    Feb 15, 2013 at 3:54
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    I thought it was meant to be driven by six people. Hence the hexagonal shape of the console.
    – Mr Lister
    Feb 15, 2013 at 7:27
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    Whatever he wants? Feb 15, 2013 at 15:48
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    "That's just what they're called. It doesn't mean he actually knows what he's doing." -- Amy Pond, "The Doctor's Wife" Feb 18, 2013 at 20:53

5 Answers 5


The Time Lords are a race, or at least, a distinct Gallifreyan sub-species. An analogue of this question would be, "What do humans do?". That said, the wiki does state:

Time Lords receive their name for their non-linear perception of time, which allows them to see everything that was, is, or could be at the same time, as shown in the 1996 movie Doctor Who. They developed a culture of custodianship and time-related technologies based on this perception which includes strictly controlled time travel machines (known as "TARDISes") and monitoring devices to travel through time and to prevent time from being subverted or abused – although actual action was described as rare in practice due to their traditional policy of strict non-interference and neutrality. They can act to manipulate timelines of a wide range of events and individuals, so long as they do not cross back into their own timeline.

So, they like to maintain the sanctity of time presumably from meddling by other Time Lords as well as Daleks.

(N.B. I've only read a couple of the books. I'm yet to watch the TV series.)

  • Yes I read the wiki on it I specifically said that and linked to it just so that I wouldn't get answer that copied and pasted the text of wiki. They travel through time and space that is apparent but they have a non-interference policy so what do they do? They were probably the only ones going through space and time to start with so who or what were they stopping from subverting or abusing time. Could you please link to something other than the wiki link that I already said that I read to explain what they actually did. Feb 15, 2013 at 15:36
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    @KevinHowell Yes, I saw that you've linked to the wiki in your question. However, you don't seem to have mentioned the fact that the first couple of paragraphs provide a (as above-excerpted) gist of what they "do" which, IMO, provides an answer to your question. I don't know why they started policing timelines; perhaps this started once some of their own started abusing their privileges. Their non-interference policy is not completely strict and is restricted only to the integrity of the timeline. They can happily interfere with others who are interfering. I will look for alternative links Feb 15, 2013 at 17:49
  • No is doesn't explain what they do. It describes their ability to see time 4th dimensionally and it describes a part of their culture (over seeing time) but it doesn't describe what they do. For example I live the the USA the culture is to support and uphold freedom but that does not describe what anyone does. Feb 15, 2013 at 19:12
  • @KevinHowell That's precisely what the first line in my answer states. Feb 15, 2013 at 19:23
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    So if Time Lords are a sub-species of Gallifreyans, and all Time Lords look into the Time Vortex, and this causes them to, in the Doctor's words, "Be inspired, run away, or go mad", one can presume that there may have been quite a few renegades like the Doctor. The Doctor once said he's half human on his mother's side which could explain his reasoning for visiting earth that other Time Lords would not have. But the ones who are inspired might do great things, and the ones who go mad might cause the problems that need to be dealt with. I don't think we can say for sure.
    – Sheph
    Feb 15, 2013 at 20:34

This answer gives a good description of "what" Time Lords are.

Their daily activities are a simple reflection of that description.

They actually feature fairly rarely in the TV show and are portrayed performing the typical range of activities of (often corrupt) ruling elites in times of conflict or crisis.

They are rarely (if ever?) portrayed as caring about the welfare of other civilizations. They do care if any of them invent or use technology that could interfere with the stability of the "space time" structure of the universe (aka "time vortex"), which they consider themselves the sole builders and masters of.

When it comes to time travel technology, it only matters if you're first if you make sure no-one else goes further back in time and becomes 'first' themselves. This is the crux of their war with the Daleks.

The few references the Doctor makes to "his people" fixing "problems with time" are ambiguous about their motives.

To the highest ranking Time Lords, Tardis's are no more than battleships to be staffed with lower-ranking (expendable), trained Time Lords and used as required.


Time Lords, with their popular law of non-interference, simply observe at most times and they generally take a long time when coming to a decision if they make one at all.

Their daily tasks include debating and rigorous teaching at the Time Lord Academy.

As a society though, they would probably be centered around their nonlinear perception of time and of recording as well as researching on their defences, following their last fight against the Daleks.

The (Eleventh) Doctor states his opinon in Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS that Time Lords have dreadful hats, but are very intelligent. Although this is of course a tongue in cheek moment, it does reflect upon them.


The Time Lords created and attempted to monopolise time travel technology. They are frequently shown in early classic serials monitoring time from a place known as 'Time Control'. In serials such as The Three Doctors it is depicted rather like a human air-traffic control room. Several serials (such as the Seventh Doctor serial Attack of the Cybermen) refer to "the laws of time" which the Time Lords (and The Doctor) care about while other time-travellers evidently do not.

The answer to your question then is that Time Lords monitor and enforce the laws of time and time-travel.

The Doctor has stated that he and The Master both attended the 'Time Lord Academy', evidently a form of education that qualifies them to carry out such responsibilities. However, serials such as Hell Bent have shown many inhabitants of Gallifrey living quite ordinary, pastoral lives.


Policing the timeline basicly correcting temporal abnormalities the doctor is allowed to do this up until a certain extent. Normally the Doctor isnt allowed to tamper with fixed moments in history. You could say part time cop/janitor

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    Welcome to SFFSE! Do you have any evidence to support your answer? Aug 16, 2015 at 6:46

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