I was thinking about this today: can he do more than just what he says because in the episode Utopia he uses his sonic screwdriver on the TARDIS so it can only travel to two places (one being back to the year 100 trillion and the other being where they first left).

Since then, though, the 11th Doctor seems capable of doing a lot more than its predecessors.

What do you think?

  • It is basically a magic wand now.
    – tilley31
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


It seems that the sonic screwdriver has evolved over time with a slew of new functions. It only makes sense, because The Doctor probably tinkers with it constantly when he's bored.

The TARDIS wiki has the details:

The screwdriver had a multitude of settings and different versions of settings. The Tenth Doctor told Rose to use "setting 15B" to triangulate the source of the ghosts (TV: Army of Ghosts) and used 34-H to sink a ship (COMIC: Second Wave). It had a setting 85 that undid security codes to unlock doors. (TV: The Lazarus Experiment) The Ninth Doctor told Rose to use setting 2428D to re-attach barbed wire. (TV: The Doctor Dances) Sarah Jane used the Theta Omega setting to melt plastic vines. (TV: The Android Invasion)

The different versions of the Doctor's sonic screwdrivers exhibited different capabilities and uses, such as the interception of signals ranging from transmat beams to conscious thought; (TV: The End of the World) medical diagnostics and repair of organic parts; (TV: The Empty Child, The Vampires of Venice) cutting, but also re-attaching materials such as barbed wire; (TV: The Doctor Dances) operating Earth machinery such as computers and even cash machines (at regular and high eject speeds); (TV: School Reunion, The Runaway Bride) creating a spark to light a candle or Bunsen burner; (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace, Evolution of the Daleks) pushing/lifting heavy objects; (TV: The Rings of Akhaten) and, on the rare occasion, driving screws without touching them. (TV: The War Games, The Ark in Space, The Doctor's Wife)

Although it was primarily a tool, the sonic screwdriver could also be used as a defensive weapon. The Tenth Doctor put it in a sound board to destroy the Robot Santas by overloading their sensors. (TV: The Runaway Bride) The Eleventh Doctor used it to bounce sound waves off a knife held by Melody Pond, knocking it out of her hand. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler) The Sonic Screwdriver was also capable of holding off sound waves from creatures who relied on sound in order to attack such as the Vigil (TV: The Rings of Akhaten) The Doctor also used it to try and help River Song defeat a group of Silents although River teased him by saying it would be better if he used it to "build a cabinet". However the Doctor implied that although it couldn't actually hurt the Silent's it could weaken the power of their electricity, therefore allowing him to provide River with a certain degree of protection while she shot down their foes. (TV: Day of the Moon)

Although the Eighth Doctor once claimed the device could destroy a Dalek's brain if held directly against the casing when activated, (PROSE: War of the Daleks) according to the Tenth Doctor, the device could not be used to wound, maim or kill living things. (TV: Doomsday, The Doctor's Daughter) It could destroy non-living objects or mechanisms or place living creatures in circumstances where they might die, if the situation required. (TV: The End of the World, The Christmas Invasion)

  • 2
    I love him pointing the screw driver at the silents. But lets be honest, the sonic is nothing more than a get out of jail free card. Moffat: "o no I've gotten my self in a pickle with this plot line" insert sonic "glad that's fixed".
    – Vincent
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 14:12

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