So, the The Last Great Time War was introduced in the beginning of the 2005 series featuring the 9th Doctor. And The Last Time War was the event where all the other Time Lords disappeared, making The Doctor the last of his species.

So, was The Doctor just one of many Time Lords before the 2005 series, or was he even in those stories described as the last of the Time Lords (for some other reason)?

Further, if there indeed were other Time Lords alive and functional before the 2005 series, are there a lot of interaction between him and the other Time Lords, in the TV episodes before that time? And what was his relationship to them (considering he's apparently using a stolen Tardis and all)?

1 Answer 1


Time Lords were commonly encountered in Old Who, and the Doctor's relationship with them was usually antagonistic.

The earliest seasons of Doctor Who in the mid '60s weren't very clear on who or what the Doctor was, and we didn't meet anyone else who called himself a Time Lord (though we met folks "from the same place") until the end of the Second Doctor's era. By the Fourth Doctor's stories the Time Lords were firmly established. They appeared semi-regularly, and more than one older character was retroactively declared to have been associated with Gallifrey in some way.

The Doctor ran into the Time Lords a lot more than he'd have liked (his backstory is that he ran away because Time Lord law is non-interventionist and the Doctor wanted to explore the universe and help people). They often manipulated him into helping them against his will, and sometimes he had to help them against a common foe.

Time Lord society was more often painted as the villain than an ally, but it was complicated: the Doctor did have friends from the old days and one Time Lord was even a companion on his travels.

"The Last of the Time Lords" is an invention of New Who.

Until New Who in 2005, the Doctor was a renegade Time Lord, and there were hints in Seven's era that he might be unusual or special, but he wasn't ever called The Last of the Time Lords or anything close to that. He was unusual, perhaps unique, but not in that way.

The title "Last of the Time Lords," as well as the Last Great Time War itself, is a purely New Who idea. (The Eighth Doctor's adventures in novel and audio stories featured a Time War, but Russell T Davies has said it is not the Last Great Time War. Speculation remains that they are somehow identical or related, but this is --at the moment-- only speculation. At best, the most we can say for sure is that the Eighth Doctor's War probably inspired RTD to invent the LGTW.)

  • A very good and detailed answer, thanks! Nov 18, 2013 at 9:51
  • @IlariKajaste My pleasure! If you've got more specific discussion-type questions, feel free to ping me in chat.
    – BESW
    Nov 18, 2013 at 9:53
  • The Time War is not a New Who invention; it was created between the old and new series. Nov 18, 2013 at 11:11
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    @JackAidley The Eighth Doctor's audio adventures feature a Time War, but it's been explicitly said that it's not The Last Great Time War.
    – BESW
    Nov 18, 2013 at 11:12
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    @Jules Since "Time Lord" is not a race, and retroactive continuity in the show being what it is, I chose my words carefully to match what we see on the screen. Still, I'll make a small edit for completion's sake.
    – BESW
    Jun 3, 2016 at 9:09

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