4

The oldest question in the universe has been transmitting through all of time and space.

It certainly was transmitted through all of space - after all, everybody came to see.

But the part that bothers me is time. From what I gather, the message should have been transmitted in the past, present and future.

Technically, this means that the message must have been transmitting during all the other Doctor Who episodes - not just The time of the Doctor. Since it is the "oldest question in the universe" then clearly it must have been transmitting since way before this episode.

I suppose that the message itself is the "beep" we hear in The time of the Doctor, so my question is: is this beep ever played in any prior Doctor Who episode? If not, is there a canon explanation for its absence?

Figures that such an "overwhelming" transmission through all of time and space would have made at least a few apparitions in previous episodes...

  • 2
    The message itself is 'Doctor Who?', which appears in the very first episode of the show, broadcast in 1963 :P – evilsoup Feb 6 '14 at 18:19
  • 6
    note that several things in the new Who era happened "through all of space and time" for exactly one episode. – KutuluMike Feb 23 '14 at 22:20
  • @MichaelEdenfield: This is my biggest annoyance with this show :( – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 8 '15 at 1:48
19
+100

You're assuming that just because it is now transmitting through all time, it always has been transmitting through all time. That doesn't necessarily follow in Doctor Who's conception of time: for example, Gallifrey has been locked out of time completely, and yet the Doctor came from there and went back several times in the original series.

  • 2
    I wholly agree with this. In the Doctor Who canon, something that happens now can affect something in the far future or past without causing a paradox – Valorum Feb 6 '14 at 14:20
  • 2
    In fact, the very idea of "canon" in Dr. Who is pretty non-canonical. Canon didn't really exist at all for the first few decades, and it wasn't until the fourth doctor that you saw something like canon accreting - but even then, it was more or less optional. Bear in mind that Douglas Adams was writing and then script editing for the show in that time - and Adams was not someone who'd let petty niggling over trivial details get in the way of a good story. – Jon Kiparsky Feb 6 '14 at 17:03
  • 8
    I think there's a line in Pratchett that sums it up nicely, something about a thing "always having been there", at which point another character says "yes but was it always there, yesterday?" – Valorum Feb 6 '14 at 20:10
  • But if Dorium had knowledge of the message prior to the episode, doesn't that mean that the message was already being transmitted? – Voldemort Feb 7 '14 at 0:30
0

The shows name is a clear indicator that the question has always existed. Though that was not the intention of the original serial; the whoniverse is "a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey whimey stuff" so no the question hasnt been asked before because Galifrey hasnt always been trapped. From a persective of many theoretical physicists and other (non who) scifi entertainment when one time travels they create an alternate time line, so the message has always existed at the point the universe that entails Galifrey as trapped came into existance. So in short yes it always existed in the universe it has alway existed in, but no in just about every other universe.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.