In Rise of the Cybermen the TARDIS accidentally falls through the void and lands in a parallel universe. I've never been clear on what exactly it was that caused this to happen and, more importantly, why it would be unlikely to happen again. Given the finality of the Doctor and Rose's farewell, it is implied that it is impossible to ever return to that universe.

I have a few hypotheses: Perhaps it has something to do with the spacetime rift in Cardiff or possibly that it was due to the weakening of the walls between the universes caused by Torchwood's experiments.

Is this ever explained in the series?

2 Answers 2


It was never adequately explained within the context of the series. There's no real in-universe explanation.

It was mentioned that inter-universal travel was quite easy and somewhat popular when Gallifrey's Time Lords were in power to enable it. It's quite likely that the Doctor, being a creature of habit, would follow routes that he was familiar with, and ended up passing through a place in Space-Time where one of the entry/exit points previously was. If so, that point may have once again opened (perhaps the TARDIS had something from that universe on it, from a previous journey, or maybe the rift was simply lonely) and pulled in the TARDIS. Really, there's any of dozens explanations that could be created in-universe, but none of them are canon.

Out of universe, it was a way to separate the Doctor and Rose without killing off a popular character, a way to clear the series of several secondary characters tied to her, and still leave the possibility open for later cameos or guest spots.

  • 1
    In Later episodes in the series imply that the walls between universes had been thinning due to the Dalek's plan in "Doomsday", which the Cybermen are just taking advantage of. Once The Doctor stops them, those walls go back up in full. Something similar happens in "Stolen Earth", allowing Rose to cross dimensions again, until again The Doctor repairs things.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 12, 2013 at 16:46

There are three things that have to be taken into consideration here:

  1. It was actually The Doctor/Mickey's fault. The Doctor asked Mickey to hold a button to calibrate the TARDIS, which Mickey did. It was supposed to be held for a minute (or five, not sure now); but the Doctor and Rose started chatting away and telling stories, and it made him forget to tell Mickey that he could let go - he was holding it for a long time, around an hour. That, of course, would have completely plundered the TARDIS circuits, making it vulnerable and creating a whole in the fabric of the universe/making it bigger. So it fell - through time and space, as usual - and then the TARDIS died, except for one single cell. Naturally, it isn't something that one would be eager to try again, specially since the TARDIS can't live in the parallel universe.

  2. The Void Sphere, of course, had already plunged a few holes, including between those two particular universes. Torchwood experiments also made the hole bigger and yadda yadda, but the Doctor's actions in the end of Doomsday seal the ruptures, which makes it impossible for them to pass through again; unless there was another accident that broke the universes' walls, enabling it (as per in The Stolen Earth/Journey's End).

  3. If there are infinite parallel universes, the chances of reaching the same one multiple times are quite small, yes? The TARDIS hardly ever manages to go where she is asked in this universe, let alone find one specific universe in the midst of hundreds.


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.