I have been trying to find any canon-based answer to the question if and how regenerations could be stolen from a Timelord.

We know that the regular 12 CAN be added to because it happened to both The Master and The Doctor by now.
In "Let's kill Hitler" River proved that it is possible to choose to share regeneration energy. Some reading up on the old series gave me this:
Time Lords were also said to have "packets" of regeneration energy in their bodies, one for each life. These packets could be physically removed from a Time Lord's body, essentially robbing them of their regenerations.(TARDIS Data Core)
But is there any Canon-based information if Regenerations can be transferred from one Timelord to another which I missed? Can this transfer be forced?

Addendum: What is making me struggle to fully wrap my head around this: River clearly did not remove anything physically... but she healed, she didn't actually transfer the regeneration-ability. A Physical transfer of "packets" seems a logical possibility. A pure energy-transfer-addition seems possible (see Day of the Doctor). But could Timelord A force Timelord B to "transfer" regenerations purely energetically? ...I may be overthinking this...

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    You cite the Tardis wiki... It says that info is from Mawdryn Undead the third story of Doctor Who's twentieth season. How much more canon do you want?
    – user16696
    Jan 28, 2015 at 7:31
  • I HOPE I clarified the tiny bit that I am trying to figure out :). Gut-feeling says "It's doctor who, anything goes"... ^^.
    – Layna
    Jan 28, 2015 at 7:40
  • The closest thing would be the Master suspending 10's ability to regenerate in Last of the Time Lords.
    – user16696
    Jan 28, 2015 at 7:48
  • 4
    “I may be overthinking this” — that might as well be our motto on sci-fi.SE. Jan 28, 2015 at 8:31
  • 1
    @PaulD.Waite chuckles so true... ^^
    – Layna
    Jan 28, 2015 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


Yes, the regenerations can be stolen.

In fact, the Master tried it with the Doctor in the 1996 movie.

The Master dried his regeneration ability, so his plan is to take over the Doctors body with the power of the Eye of Harmony of the Doctor's TARDIS.

  • I watched that movie a few years ago... I has FULLY forgotten about it!!! I may need to rewatch ^^.
    – Layna
    Jan 28, 2015 at 13:05
  • I really enjoyed the movie, unless the detail of the Half Human Doctor...
    – Kmi
    Jan 28, 2015 at 13:13
  • @Kmi - If you like, you can just pretend that he was joking. I don't think he speaks baby either.
    – Valorum
    Jan 28, 2015 at 13:54
  • i think that would be the TARDIS Translation Matrix, but yeah... <deep breath> It's a joke. Of course it is... But... It just apeared in my mind, what if the Time Lords/Gallyfreyan people its just the evolution of the humans?
    – Kmi
    Jan 28, 2015 at 14:03
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    @Kmi In the End, Rule 1 applies: The Doctor Lies!! As for the evolution theory: well the Gallifreyans/Timelords are far older than humanity, which is why the Doctor tells humans sometimes they "look Timelord" whenever they tell him he "looks human".
    – BMWurm
    Jan 28, 2015 at 14:11

Given there is some dispute about precisely how canon the events of Doctor Who the Movie are, allow me to offer an alternative answer. In Season 23, "Trial of a Timelord", it is a key plot point that regenerations can be transferred from one time lord to another without the consent of the transferring timelord. If regenerations can be transferred without consent, it seems likely they can be stolen. We don't know the actual mechanism by which the transfer might take place, so the theft might not be terribly practical, but it certainly appears feasible.

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