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In The End of Time, we see that The Doctor looks at one lady who was alongside Rassilon very peculiarly. Why? Who was she? What was her role? Did the Doctor know her? If yes, how?

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Her purpose in the story is to inform Wilf that if the Doctor wanted to prevent the oncoming re-emergence of the Time War, he would have to take up arms. Since she is one of the two Time Lords that are standing as "monuments to their shame," it can be deduced that she is a dissenter of Rassilon's final sanction and does not want the Time War to be unlocked.

As for who she is, her identity is never confirmed in the series. However, in Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter, Russell T. Davies confirmed that he initially intended for the character to be the Doctor's mother, but decided to leave the matter ambiguous and that ultimately, she is whoever the viewer wants her to be.

  • He said that just to put us off. The Doctor's mother never traveled with him. She's Rose. – Mr Lister May 22 '13 at 18:59
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    @MrLister Rose is human, the woman depicted in the show was a Time Lady, or at the very least Gallifreyan. – Monty129 May 23 '13 at 12:03
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    @Monty129: Maybe she's the Gallifreyan Clara. Wait a moment... Oh my god... :O – Voldemort May 25 '13 at 8:50
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    Could be. That'd certainly be an interesting retcon. :) – Amy May 25 '13 at 20:01
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As summarised on Wikipedia, with a quote from then-showrunner Russell T. Davies from The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter:

One of the two dissident Time Lords, described as "The Woman" in the credits, visits Wilfred on several occasions, appearing and disappearing in unexplained ways. When she lowers her arms to stare at the Tenth Doctor he appears to recognise her, but when later asked by Wilfred about her identity, the Doctor evades the question. British newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail identified the character as the Doctor's mother as early as April 2009. Russell T. Davies wrote in an email to the author of The Writers Tale, "I like leaving it open, because then you can imagine what you want. I think the fans will say it's Romana. Or even the Rani. Some might say that it's Susan's mother, I suppose. But of course it's meant to be the Doctor's mother."

  • Could be Susan herself! – Liath Jul 22 '14 at 9:25
  • It really wouldn't've killed you to copy the reference here. Anyway, it's 404d now. So (although probably true) this answer would be totally unverified! But hey, I've now provided an archive.org mirror of it. – underscore_d Sep 14 '15 at 18:10
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I honestly liked to believe it was somehow Donna, as she may have been able to unlock her Time Lord part for real and gone back in time. If it was, then that would explain a little bit

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    Maybe Donna is the Doctor's mother! – Joe L. Aug 20 '14 at 23:22
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Well, "The Woman" actually says that she was "lost long ago". Then, later on, Eleven refers to Susan as "lost", as well. Not to mention that her features are extremely similar, if you look closely. I really think she's Susan.

Bonus: did you know that Susan's real name, Arkytior, is the Gallifreyan word for rose? :D

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I also think she's the Doctor's mother. The way the Doctor looked at her, when he first saw her in The End of Time showed recognition. And also the fact that once she showed him with a look at the white point star what he had to do, he immediately trusted her. So at least she had to be someone the Doctor knew well enough to trust blindly. For me the key to this mystery is the "answer" the Doctor gave Wilf when he asked him, who the woman was. The Doctor first looks at Donna's mother and then proceeds to look at Donna herself, as if he wanted to say "The woman is to me what Donna's mother is to Donna: a mother."

  • As you can see from the top-rated answer, she was originally intended to be the Doctor's mother but they intentionally left it ambiguous. – Valorum Aug 20 '14 at 23:29
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I think she's Donna. When Wilf asks the Doctor, "Who was that woman?", the Doctor doesn't answer, but looks straight at Donna and nods in her direction. This explanation leaves a lot of holes, of course, but so do all the others.

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I believe it is Donna.

The timelords needed a connection to communicate with someone outside Gallifrey. In the case of the Master they used drum beat they implanted in him. So apparently the woman had some kind of connection Wilfred Mott and apparently to the Ood. It is unlikely that Wilfried Mott has met any more timelords. Also there is this nice asymmetric parallel between the forced sound of drums and the Ood who praise the "Doctor Donna" in songs.

And if you want to speculate: what if the official answer that is was his mother is also true? What if Donna is the doctors mother?

  • Remember that in the Doctor Who movie with the 8th doctor, it is stated that he is half human?
  • The doctor states in this episode that he would be proud if Wilfried would be his dad - but maybe he is his great grandfather?
  • One of the classics of timetravel is the Grandfather paradox - and here we might have a timetraveller who instead saves his great grandfather?

Of course that is no proof, but it is nice to contemplate.

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I do believe that she was the Doctor's mother, as that was the first thought that went through my mind.

The look they both gave each other when they saw each other, that just gave her identity away.

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