From episode 239 "The Name of the Doctor"

Inside The Doctor's grave, we are shown a beam of light which is said to be "the scar tissue" of his journey through time. The Doctor describes the light as both his past and his future.

"My own personal time tunnel. All the days, even the ones that I, uh, even the ones that I haven't lived yet." - The Doctor

But after Clara travels down the time tunnel, and sees the forgotten incarnation, she says:

"But I never saw that one. I saw all of you. Eleven faces, all of them you! You're the eleventh Doctor!"

Why was she unable to see the Peter Capaldi doctor or any other Doctor that followed?

The best answer I was able to come up with, is that when you enter the light you have to start at the beginning of The Doctor's life, and re-appear linearly through his time line. This would explain why the Gallifreyan version of Clara knew his name and what he was doing, but also why the versions of Clara who met the Matt Smith Doctor didn't know who he was. She was slowly forgetting with each new copy.

Another possible theory is that she didn't need to look any further than the point she was at when she jumped into the light. She may have been able to save The Doctor by defeating the Great Intelligence at an earlier time and re-writing events in such a way that there would be no need for her to travel into his future.

Does anyone have any other theories or evidence as to why this is? I was also concerned about the interior of the dead TARDIS being the same as the current interior, but I suppose that may be a question for another thread. Yes, I'm aware of budgets and not being able to predict what will happen later in the series, but I'd hate to see this as a plot hole later down the line. Convince me that it's not!

  • 4
    Clara is human, and is subject to linear time. At the point when she enters the time tunnel, there have only been 11 incarnations of the doctor - the 12th incarnation happens after, at least from Clara's point of view. She obviously can't see something that hasn't happened yet from her point of view.
    – Martha
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 1:42
  • 4
    If you've got an answer to your question, why not submit it was an answer instead of rolling it into the question? There's nothing wrong with answering your own question--it's encouraged, as the point of the site is to have good answers.
    – BESW
    Commented Aug 16, 2013 at 6:34
  • 2
    I got the impression that the one she never saw was The War Doctor - since the 11th Doctor is not the eleventh face...
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 3:49
  • Because Capaldi (and now Whittaker) hadn't been cast yet.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 13:52

6 Answers 6


Because the average Time Lord has only thirteen versions of themselves, and since the 11th Doctor is actually the 13th, it means his timeline stops at Trenzalore: his death. That's why Clara never saw the 12th Doctor, because is he is slightly derived from the Doctor's apparent "fate".

The Time Lords saved the Doctor by giving him a second regeneration cycle, making it so the Fall of the Eleventh never happened and never will. Capaldi is called the 12th Doctor, but is really the 14th, or if you wanna be really technical, the first incarnation of the new set.


At that point in both the Doctor and Clara's personal history, not only did 12 not exist but he never would, because the Doctor was fated to die permanently in Christmas, on Trenzalore. It was only a later timeline change that introduced 12 and onwards to the Universe.

Unfortunately, the cameo appearance of Capaldi in The Day of the Doctor totally ruins that but there we go; blame dramatic licence for that one, I guess.

  • 5
    timey-wimey curvy-wurvy explanation - the events of The Day of the Doctor are what sets up the ability for the Doctor to avoid dying on Trenzalore (then again, it also sets up why he would go to Trenzalore - damned timey-wimey is giving me a headache).
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 3:55

We don't know yet, but Clara didn't go inside the Doctor's time tunnel to protect him from any danger, but only from the Great Intelligence. And the main goal for the enemy is to attain victory in their previous encounter (related in "The Snowmen"). The Great Intelligence don't have to go further.

If Clara only went when and where the Great Intelligence is, she couldn't see all future incarnations of the Doctor. She would only have to go into Doctor's past, not into his future.

We will probably have the answer during the next anniversary special.


We remember Clara falling, correct? This suggests that when she enters the Doctor's "body", she starts at the top and falls down. Maybe for her, the "top" is 11. She starts with saving 11 in the Snowmen, then in Asylum of the Daleks, then progressively further onwards (or downwards, falling) until she gets the first Doctor to steal the TARDIS. Then she lands because there isnn' anywhere else to fall.


The simplest answer would be that the Doctor's "death" is something that happens to the Eleventh Doctor. It would therefore follow that Capaldi's incarnation is after the Doctor's "death" at Trenzalore. How this could be the case remains to be seen...

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    Good guess, now that The Time of the Doctor showed the Doctor getting a fresh set of regenerations, you could flesh out this answer with the newly-revealed details.
    – user1027
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 19:00

This is my expansion of the claim that the timescar is 11's death.

There are two versions of Trenzalore. The version where the Doctor died and the version where he didn't. Likewise there is a version of Gallifrey that fell and a version that didn't. These two things complement each other and both are required for the other to exist. This is Schrodinger's cat on a massive scale.

I proposed at the time that there was quantum tunneling between closed timelike curves to account for this. This has no official value - the writers don't think about these sort of things that hard - but I hope the reader finds it useful.

A signal from Gallifrey that survives the timewar is sending the "Doctor Who?" signal into the universe from the void. In a quantum physics sense - let's consider this Gallifrey an ultra low probability event. The signal has tunneled into timelines where it fell - namely the timeline we learn about from the 9th doctor - Gallifrey is gone. Let's consider Gallifrey gone the high probability event.

As Gallifrey is gone there is nothing to give 11 more regeneration cycles so he dies on Trenzalore. Note he was on Trenzalore because he was lured there by the signal. I'm proposing the signal is from the timeline the viewer got to experience - not the implied one.

So 11 dies and a timescar opens up. The benefit of this is that this is a cheap way to timetravel and Clara uses it - to create a paradox where Clara causes the Doctor to find her. She presumably was not there the first time on Trenzalore. Or the Master in the low probability Gallifrey picks her - it's not important.

The chain of events proceeds to where "Day of the Doctor" happens. Clara makes a case to save Gallifrey while the appearance of Gallifrey falling is preserved to avoid paradoxes. Gallifrey surviving has tunneled now into the High probability event and the destruction is the low probability event.

Gallifrey now existing is sending the signal trying to get back into the universe and decides to create the Capaldi Doctor and alters the future as explicitly described by 11 and Clara as a change. Thus the timescar no longer exists for the tv audience and Capaldi's Doctor does. In another paradox the Capaldi doctor is required to save Gallifrey - but that's ok because in his personal history Gallifrey never fell - 9, 10 and 11 however can't make that claim.

So ultimately the answer for why Clara didn't see anything after 11 in the timescar was because there was nothing after 11 in the timescar universe. If there was he wouldn't have died for the scar to be there.

Unfortunately there's some bootstrapping paradoxes mostly centered on Clara. But those were intentional by Moffat. I think the above is at least consistent with the screen facts and off screen events.

Note the doctor Who timeline is very complicated - I'm also convinced the Doctor Originally died at Utah and the timeline eventually worked itself out to the point where he survived - so the Silence were no doubt going nuts from all of the alternate futures. A complete description of Doctor Who would need to go over the origins of the cracked vs the fixed universe because this also contributed to the timescar - but it is outside of the scope of this post.

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