Why was the TARDIS heavily damaged when the Tenth Doctor regenerated, but when the Ninth Doctor regenerated, there was no visible effect?

Is it a writing error, or just done for plot-based reasons?

  • 3
    everything is done for plot-based reasons.
    – KutuluMike
    Oct 20, 2013 at 15:20

4 Answers 4


The Tenth Doctor's regeneration was an unusually violent one.

It's established that Time Lords have some control over their regenerations. For example, in the classic episode Destiny of the Daleks, Romana (a Time Lady and the Doctor’s companions) regenerated about half a dozen times until she found an appearance that she liked.

In this instance, the Tenth Doctor was reluctant to regenerate. When describing regeneration, he said:

Even if I change, it feels like dying. Everything I am dies. Some new man goes sauntering away… and I'm dead.

He spent a long time putting it off, both before and after his lethal dose of radiation. Once he gets the dose, he makes a final trip to visit many of his companions, trying to keep regeneration at bay.

All that time, regeneration energy is building up. When he finally concedes, it bursts out of him in a particularly explosive way. Normally the Doctor regenerates shortly after his “death”, so there's less of a buildup.

  • 4
    Yes. Also, I can't help but notice that his regenerations have become more and more, say, energetic over the centuries. The first few were fairly quiet and matter-of-factly, but they became progressively more difficult and violent.
    – Mr Lister
    Oct 23, 2013 at 18:39
  • 2
    One might conclude, @MrLister, that it's because special effects have gotten better over the centuries. :)
    – FreeMan
    Aug 4, 2021 at 12:35

The reason is Tenth doctor "didn't want to go". Due to him forcibly regenerating to save his life, the impact of the regeneration caused mass destruction, flames and violence. Normal, happy regenerations such as the Eleventh Doctor to the Twelfth Doctor (in which he bursts into flames and turns into the twelfth Doctor as quick as a flash) did not cause any trouble for the TARDIS because the Doctor did want to regenerate. As we know, the TARDIS Matrix feels affection for the Doctor before he even knows about her so surely him being so sad and angry would have damaged the Tardis anyway.

  • 1
    This is a good answer! Any chance you could provide some quotes to show how the 10th doctor "didn't want to go"? Or a video clip
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 7, 2017 at 16:10

I believe the reason why his regeneration was so explosive was because of what the others had said above. He had been holding off the regenerative process for some time while giving his goodbyes to his companions as well as the extensive damage he had taken over the time he was the Doctor, so maybe these factors may have contributed to the explosive and violent regeneration he underwent. It could also be because the writers wanted it that way and there's no way to scientifically explain it...

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Please don't post an answer just to agree with the other answers; you should have something new to add, and you should have evidence to back it up. When you earn a bit of reputation you'll be able to vote up answers you agree with and leave comments on other posts. In the meantime you should take the tour.
    – DavidW
    May 18, 2022 at 20:50

It's because of the serious amount of damage his body took probably (he fell through the skylight from hundreds and hundreds of feet, and got cut up pretty badly. And then there's the whole absorbing thousands of radiation energy into himself). Thanks to all the damage, his body needed to heal a hell of a lot of it, and he was dying. I think maybe why the regenerative energy was so explosive, was because all the punishment he took was having a massive strain on his body, slowly killing him while his regeneration built up for hours on end. When he finally regenerated, the energy was so intense, because he needed to heal the immense trauma and poison his body took, and he nearly risked dying, because he held off the regeneration for far too long.

  • 1
    What is this answer adding that the current accepted (year old) answer does not have? Currently, it is just repeating the same information...
    – Tim
    Jan 8, 2015 at 21:00
  • 1
    Hey hey, I'm not happy with being spoken to like that. Adding an answer that adds no information is not helpful. I'm flagging this post and the comment. I'm not sure what I did to get that reaction but there you go... Would you enlighten me? The reason I commented was because this post was flagged by a bot in the low quality posts chat room, so I decided to check it out. This is not a forum, and we don't like duplicate answers, they simply appear to other users as rep farming.
    – Tim
    Jan 9, 2015 at 21:53
  • I reacted like that because the answer was FULL of information. Besides, I couldn't make something up, cause you would've called me out on that too
    – L.J Rob
    Jan 10, 2015 at 15:02
  • Okay, fair enough. It has info, but all the info was the same as what was said in the other answer - if that wasn't there, then this is a good answer...
    – Tim
    Jan 10, 2015 at 15:03
  • Ok, cool. But really I was just giving my theory on why his regeneration was so powerful
    – L.J Rob
    Jan 13, 2015 at 10:37

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