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While the Doctor travels, he always refers to the current year as it is measured on Earth.

But we measure time starting from the birth of Christ, who was born on Earth (thus, I suppose, not "universally" known). Also, a year is always different, according to which planet you are considering (for planets that are far away from their stars, a year lasts more).

So, how can you universally define which is the year you travel in when choosing the time with the TARDIS?

  • Plenty of people who aren't Christian celebrate Christmas. – Izkata Sep 21 '14 at 18:13
  • There are two different non-related questions here. Please, detach... Ask one more question. – Avenge The Fallen Sep 21 '14 at 18:21
  • Sure, I will :) – Eleanore Sep 21 '14 at 18:33
  • possible duplicate of How old is the Doctor at the end of The Time of The Doctor? – calccrypto Sep 21 '14 at 22:51
  • I would say that this is not a duplicate question, but rather a question which can be answered by part of the answer you refer :) – Eleanore Sep 22 '14 at 12:34
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The Doctor rarely travels alone, and since he does not, he shares the temporal reference with his Companion based on Earth time. It is a reference point he uses to tell time for them and to help them understand their relationship to time. I doubt the year on Gallifrey and the solar year on Earth were the same.

  • It helps him give perspective to his Companion; it acts as a reference point for which the Companion can make requests to travel in time to different temporal periods and locations. It is a convenient reference but I suspect time and space are more fluid to him.

  • Since all time travel is space travel, we are forced to consider that the TARDIS can use different reference points or perhaps uses a more general reference point such as the rotation of the Galaxy which takes 225 million Earth years and is something every species could use since that rotation would be constant.

  • This ability to focus on a single planet's temporal stream means the TARDIS must have some sort of omni-universal temporal clock independent of any particular solar system. This is probably some aspect of the Temporal Vortex and its existence outside of normal space-time.

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    Actually the doctor often travels alone. While we only see him with a companion, there are often time gaps of many many years between companion visits. – NoNameNeeded432 Sep 22 '14 at 7:09
  • Did the old Doctor Who not feature non-Earthling companions? I wonder, did he refer to their planet's years in those cases? – Mac Cooper Sep 22 '14 at 7:46

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