At the end of minisode 'The Night of the Doctor' you see The Eight doctor regenerate into the 'War Doctor', afterwards you see the reflection of John Hurt's War Doctor while he says "Doctor no more".

This reflection doesn't look like the War Doctor from "The Day of the Doctor" at all, but more like a younger version of him.

The Eighth Doctor splitscreen from NOTD and DOTD

Could it be that the 'War Doctor' was able to age during the Time War? I couldn't find any reference or explanation to this.

So basically, what happened to the War Doctor's appearance between 'Night of the Doctor' and 'Day of the Doctor'?

  • I think part of it is simply that great suffering and tragedy can make someone 'Old before their Time'; in his case, perhaps literally so. Strain and depression DO have physical effects.. taken to extreme and for who knows how long... He's meant to look careworn, hard-used and so forth.
    – K-H-W
    Jan 3, 2014 at 23:08

2 Answers 2


It looks like he aged, but we don't have any solid info about the intervening time.

First off, yes: the image in the mirror is a younger version of John Hurt, produced digitally from footage of the actor at a younger age.

We do know that Time Lords age, slowly but surely. The primary use of regenerations is to stave off the effects of aging; the Doctor's unusually exciting life means that he rarely gets the chance to grow old, but that's just one of the many ways he's an atypical Time Lord.

However, going by on-screen information (and anything which isn't broadcast on screen during a proper episode of Doctor Who is of questionable canonicity at best, and will likely be contradicted by "screen canon" later), we just don't know much about what happened to the War Doctor during the Last Great Time War. The Time War undoubtedly lasted for a very long time, in a wobbly kind of way, and he was probably there for most of it, but we don't have any specifics.

Alternately/additionally we could speculate that he got caught by some kind of "aging attack" at some point in the Time War (perhaps similar to the effect the Master used to turn Ten into the Dobby Doctor), but there's no concrete support for such an idea.


He got old because he spent hundreds upon hundreds of years fighting in the Time War, and when it was finally over, he regenerated possibly because of old age.

  • Yes, hence "wearing a bit thin". Oct 16, 2014 at 20:44
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit: Just like Hartnell.
    – L.J Rob
    Jan 8, 2015 at 21:14

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