At the start of season 6, we see the Eleventh Doctor being shot midway through his regeneration, in order to kill him.

However, we now know that this incarnation of the Doctor was the last Doctor of this cycle (the “thirteenth” regeneration), and he didn’t have a new set yet. So the Doctor couldn’t be regenerating; one shot would have killed him instantly, rather than causing him start to regenerating.

How can we reconcile these two events?

  • The Doctor never revealed to Amy and Rory that he went out of regenerations (and maybe Moffat hadn't decided on that back then either), so it makes sense for them to see the Doctor attempting to regenerate. The Astronaut may also not yet have known about the War Doctor (did they ever? Did the Silence?) and thus might have expected a regeneration as well, thus they considered this just another regeneration which they had to interrrupt
    – Zommuter
    Feb 26, 2016 at 15:41
  • I don't think this question is a duplicate despite the almost identical title: The other one asks about why (or rather how) the Teselecta imitated regeneration, while this one asks about why this happened despite this being the Doctor's last incarnation which should not allow for regeneration to start.
    – Zommuter
    Feb 29, 2016 at 11:39

4 Answers 4


It was never The Doctor being shot, it was always the Teselecta. Everyone (except the Doctor) would expect him to start regenerating after being shot, so the Teselecta started simulating that.

So there's no real breach of the rules of regeneration, since it wasn't really a regeneration, just a simulation of one.

  • 2
    I always thought that in Season 6 Episode 1 that it was the Doctor, but then because they "changed it" at the start of The Wedding of River Song, it was after that it became the Teselecta for the actual shooting.
    – bmgh1985
    Jan 3, 2014 at 15:25
  • But you see now that you were wrong, don't you. Unless you think they "changed" other things as well, such as the regeneration of Ten.
    – Mr Lister
    Jan 3, 2014 at 15:47
  • It was always the Teselecta, and there is a simple way to prove that - River Song, who has already experienced the events from the perspective of her spacesuited self. A River from after the events of "Flesh and Stone" in Series 5 (who would have already lived through Lake Silencio by that point, since she was in prison for the "murder" of the Doctor) appears to Amy at the end of "The Wedding of River Song" and tells her the truth about the Teselecta. This means that the Doctor in Series 5 met a River who helped him fake his death, meaning that his own future would involve a fake death.
    – Amy
    Jan 4, 2014 at 0:06

Echoing my answer here. it wasn't a real regeneration, merely a simulation. Therefore it has no impact on the Doctor's true regeneration count.

According to the official BBC's own 'Doctor Who' page, the Teselecta (AKA "Justice Department Vehicle Number 6018") is described as being able to "adapt itself to resemble anyone whose likeness it has scanned. But more than this, it can transform itself to take on the appearance and functionality of non-living matter, such as clothing or even a motorbike!"

The appearance of the Doctor's regeneration cycle particles, that presumably had been described to the operator of the holographic systems was a further example of this ability to represent non-living matter.

The Teselecta Simulates the Doctor's Regeneration Cycle


It was the tesselecta. The doctor obviously didn't want the rest of the universe to know that he'd used up all of his regenerations, so he made it look as if he'd been killed in the middle of a cycle that didn't exist.

The real question is how does he use regeneration energy to heal River Song in The Angels Take Manhattan if he doesn't have any left?


Most likely, since only the time lords knew about the War Doctor being "The Doctor" (he wasn't using the name since even he didn't count himself as "The Doctor"), and since almost no one knew about the "Meta-Crisis Doctor" that when they killed him, his enemies would expect a regeneration, so he had the Tesselecta produce the regeneration effect.

When it comes to him healing River in TATM, it's unlikely that time lords have EXACTLY enough regeneration energy for the 12 regenerations, and there is likely to be at least a little left over.

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