I recently saw a mix up of all of the Doctors regeneration scenes.

When the second Doctor changes to the third (from Patrick Troughton to Jon Pertwee in "The War Games, Part Ten" (1969)), it is forced on him as punishment before being exiled to earth. The Doctor was not critically injured or dying. The transformation was the Time Lords doing.

Does this really count as one of the 12 regenerations?

  • 4
    The "The doctor can only regenerate 12 times" thing has been retconned. See this
    – Kalissar
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 13:37
  • I know, I thought about adding that to the question but didn't want to get too wordy.
    – Keo
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:46
  • @Kalissar no it hasn't...
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 10:59

3 Answers 3


Yes, that was regeneration.

There is no indication in Old Who or the New Series that regeneration is exclusively limited to being uncontrollably triggered by fatal events.

Although regeneration is usually seen in the show as an "emergency fail-safe" feature, we're also shown very explicitly that most Time Lords choose to regenerate for reasons other than imminent death. Romana is the most prominent example, although Borusa also comes to mind (the man seems to have gone through bodies like some people go through ties).

The Doctor just leads such a hard life that his regenerations come more violently than most Time Lords'.

The fact that it was forced on him by the Time Lords doesn't change anything either; the High Council has repeatedly been shown to have control over the regeneration technology (for example, offering the Master a new set of regenerations if he helped them in The Five Doctors). There's no reason to assume that the process they used to change the Second Doctor into the Third was not regeneration; in fact, their dialogue in that scene makes it clear that the process is identical to that which turned the First into the Second (though "regeneration" wasn't yet really a term being used by the show).

  • I talk a bit more about the nature of regeneration through the show's history in this post.
    – BESW
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:32
  • They probably just used an invisible death ray. It would make sense. (Haven't seen the scene)
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:47
  • It's also worth noting the Doctor's line in the episode "Nightmare In Silver": "I could regenerate right now. A big blast of regeneration energy, burn out any little Cyberwidgets in my brain, along with everything you're connected to. Don't want to. You diss me up, who knows what we'll get next? But I can." Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 1:35

Yes, it was a regeneration. However, the way Romana casually "tries out" different appearances suggests that the emergency regeneration that happens when a time lord "dies" is a completely different kind of thing than the one forced on the Doctor. Unless Romana actually intended to shorten her life span to about half, that is.


Yep, it was his first regeneration

  • 2
    From the second Doctor to the Third Doctor? Surely 'second regeneration'? Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 11:18
  • @David Thomas: Oh right. In that case, it did count as a regeneration, as he actually regenerated (stream of energy and all) in the Doctor Who comic, Night Walkers, where machines created by the Time Lords, disguised as Scarecrows, actually finished the judgement, by somehow forcing the Doctor to regenerate. This'll obviously lead to when we first see the newly born 3rd Doctor stumble out of the TARDIS, and collapse on the floor.
    – L.J Rob
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 20:07

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