At the beginning of Season 6, Amy, Rory, and River receive invitations to meet the doctor by a lake, where the Doctor tells them he is 1108 years old, 200 years older than the last time he had seen Amy and Rory.

Then at the end of Season 6, we see the doctor send the invitations. We don't see 200 years of the Doctor's life occur during Season 6.

Was he really 200 years older (did he spend 199 years zipping about telling everyone he knew "goodbye" in the final episode?) Or did he invoke Rule #1 when telling Amy and Rory he was 1108 years old? If so, why?

  • 11
    Rule Number One: The Doctor Lies.
    – Jeff
    Jun 28, 2013 at 12:42
  • 1
    @Jeff: "... If so, why?"
    – Flimzy
    Jun 28, 2013 at 20:19
  • 1
    @Jeff Correction: Steven Moffat lies.
    – Mr Lister
    Jun 29, 2013 at 13:51
  • @Flimzy Also, the Sixth Doctor was known to have said he was 900 years old. More or less.
    – Mr Lister
    Jun 29, 2013 at 13:55
  • 1
    It's time travel condensed into a 1 hour show - They make reference to these tricky bits of the doctor's age, to make you remember that although it felt like a day to you, the doctor has been traveling about.
    – Jason
    Jun 30, 2013 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


The Doctor’s reported age is very inconsistent, something which is well documented elsewhere on this site:

I won’t bother to recap everything those answers cover, but various answers proposed include:

  • The Doctor just doesn’t know or remember
  • The Doctor is lying
  • He de-ages or the age of a Timelord doesn’t work like that of a human (timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly)

To address the specific question of Season 6, I think it’s plausible that two centuries have actually passed between The Impossible Astronaut and The Wedding of River Song. What we see on screen isn’t the entirety of the Doctor’s adventures, with or without companions.

References are often made to escapades they’ve had which occur off-screen, and a particularly pointed one occurs in The Impossible Astronaut, when River and the Doctor compare diaries:

River: Alright, then. Where are we? Have we done Easter Island?
The Doctor: Um… yes! I’ve got Easter Island.
River: They worshipped you there. Have you seen the statues?
The Doctor: Jim the Fish.
River: Oh! Jim the Fish! How is he?
The Doctor: Still building his dam.

I think we’re meant to believe that 200 years have occurred off screen, and that we only get the edited highlights, so to speak. (As another example of the Doctor travelling for a long time, off screen, without a companion, witness the Tenth Doctor going off for a year when he’s summoned by the Ood.)

It’s unclear as to whether it’s exactly 200 years, or whether that’s an exaggeration to make a point, or an approximation, but I do think the Doctor has spent a good chunk of time travelling between the two episodes.

  • Do we have reason to believe that Easter Island, et al, occurred off-screen during season 6, and not at a later time (in the Doctor's time stream)?
    – Flimzy
    Jun 28, 2013 at 20:19
  • 2
    Yes, as River and the 1103-year-old Doctor are familiar with the events when they talk in the diner. When River, Amy, and Rory return to the diner after seeing the future Doctor get shot, they see another Doctor who says that he's 909. River asks him about Jim the Fish and he doesn't recognize the name, meaning that the Jim the Fish and Easter Island adventures have to happen after "The Impossible Astronaut" but before the Doctor is shot as Lake Silencio.
    – Amy
    Jun 30, 2013 at 16:08

In this particular case, it was established that Series 6 covered 200 years of The Doctor's life. Most of it was, of course, off-screen. At the end of The God Complex, The Doctor drops off Rory and Amy. He gives them a car and a house and says farewell. At the start of the next episode, Closing Time, he'd been on 200 years of adventures alone. As part of a 'farewell tour', he visits Craig, Sophie, and Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. The Doctor knows that the next day (of his personal timeline), he'll end up at Lake Silencio, where he'll die, so he's saying goodbye to his friends.


Another thing that one should consider when it comes to the Doctor's age (or any other species not from Earth) is the fact that different planets have a different total amount of "hours" in their "day", and a total amount of "days" in their "year."

Depending on many different factors, for example, such as how close a planet is to its sun, they could have a shorter or longer amount of hours in a day, and a shorter or longer year. And because of that, I would bet on it that they would have a totally different system of telling time, from how long a minute or an hour is to them, to how long or short a year is.

Now, that being said, I have always wondered every time the Doctor tells his age, whether he is stating it in Earth years, Gallifrean years, or some other planet's concept of years. I've always wanted one of his companions to ask him, "Is that in Earth years, or Gallifrean years?" when he tells someone his age.

  • Most likely the TARDIS makes a numerical conversion if necessary as part of the translation, assuming that the Doctor doesn't do it himself.
    – DougM
    Feb 4, 2014 at 17:28

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