At the risk of sounding philosophical which came first the timelord or TARDIS? In the show it is stated that TARDISes grew, it was also stated that it takes thousands of years to grow. Is there canon evidence on which evolved first?

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    The Time Lords grew the TARDIS (in universe) over a millennia or so since Time Lord civilization is hundreds of thousands of years old. This can be attested to by watching not only the first DW ep, where The Doctor states that he comes from what we would call the 64th Century but also from the events in The Three Doctors where we meet Omega. That being said the concept of the TARDIS was developed for the show almost a decade before the Doctor's race was named and the idea of the Time Lords were developed. May 13, 2014 at 3:39
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    Fairly sure Time Lords would have evolved first, but I’m surprised to be unable to find any canon information on this.
    – alexwlchan
    May 13, 2014 at 6:38
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    @alexwlchan: Part of Cartmel's Masterplan had the original TARDIS being developed or "discovered" by Rassilon, Omega and "The Other" (thought to be a previous incarnation of the Doctor). Maybe that's what you're remembering. I can't remember the episode where this was "hinted at" but it was a Seventh Doctor story point that was picked up in some of the Eighth Doctor audio novels.
    – Selezen
    May 13, 2014 at 12:22
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    @22nd Century Fza -- I own it on DVD as well, pop it in and go to the episode selection menu and you'll see what I'm talking about--there are TWO versions of the original story where Ian and Barbara meet the Doctor on the DVD, one titled "Pilot Episode" and the other just episode "1". In the version titled "Pilot Episode" Susan does say "I was born in the 49th century", but this version was never aired and thus can't be considered canon, it was more like a draft version that was rescripted and reshot to make the episode 1 that did air, see tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_Pilot_Episode
    – Hypnosifl
    May 15, 2014 at 17:36
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    @Hypnosifl - Good looking' out, and there goes my dyslexia again. Anyway thanks for the sets I hadn't realized I must have watched the unaired one (for the dialogue there stood out for me). May 15, 2014 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


There is no canonical answer to the question. Frankly, the Doctor has given so many different answers for how his TARDIS came not only to exist but to be in his possession that nothing we have heard on screen can actually be accepted as gospel truth on the subject. The Doctor is an unreliable narrator!

To wit:

  • Susan (his granddaughter) claims to have invented the word TARDIS herself, but not only do other Time Lords use it routinely (once we start to see them), they even pun on it. The War Chief provided the War Lords' race with "SIDRATs" -- simple, remote-controlled TARDISes.
  • The Doctor claims on some occasions to have invented the TARDIS himself! (Tomb of the Cybermen).
  • The Doctor starts out hinting that he and Susan are exiles of some political bent who cannot go home. Later, he just says he stole the TARDIS because he was bored. Later, we learn the TARDIS stole him (but he was guided to her by Clara!).
  • Until the modern series, the TARDIS was clearly a technological, not a biological, contrivance, although it was glossed very early on to have a kind of intelligence, albeit one that found communication with mere people very difficult and wound up doing it indirectly. Only in the modern series is it suggested that TARDISes are grown, but the Doctor's is still generally seen as being repaired and tinkered with like a machine, and indeed, more recent sets have downplayed the organic-TARDIS idea.

Long story short, The Doctor lies; the writers' don't all agree with each other; and we really just don't have any clear idea where any of the Time Lords' technology came from. We know Omega had a hand in creating the initial power source (a supernova) and it's implied that Rassilon built on that research to capture the Eye of Harmony (the nucleus of a black hole) and really, that's about it.


Per my understanding Rassilon is the one who as invented most of the TARDIS technology. Omega is college has invented the power supply of the TARDIS

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