In Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, Clara learnt the Doctor's name from the Time War Book - but thanks to the time reset she forgot it.

Then along came The Name of the Doctor, in which Clara starts remembering those un-happened events, including the Doctor's amazement at her multiple incarnations. It is therefore likely she might also have remembered knowing his name - yet, when threatened by the Great Intelligence, it was River who said the Doctor's name - probably since Clara was busy being afraid of dying...

Nonetheless, at this point Clara definitely knew the Doctor's name (be it re-remembered or heard by River), and even though she was probably quite shaken up by traveling in his time stream, some of her conversations with Twelve (though I'm afraid I currently fail at finding one) suggest she still knows quite a lot of those re-remembered things. So, finally my question:

In The Time of the Doctor, why didn't Clara simply answer The Question instead of giving her rather lengthy (though noble) speech about the Doctor?

Was it to convince the Galifreyans to grant the Doctor more regenerations instead of returning from their pocket universe? Or did she truly not remember his name?

  • good question.. I need to re-watch the episodes...
    – Stark07
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 10:36
  • This also led me to another question... Does Clara remember the things she saw/heard whilst inside The Doctor's timestream??
    – Stark07
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 10:39
  • 1
    related: The answer to a very related question
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 11:34
  • All indication was that only 11 saw River on post death trenzalor, Noone else could see or hear her.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 11:36
  • 1
    @cde - No.. It was only Clara who could see her. The Doctor just revealed it later that he could too...
    – Stark07
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 11:38

3 Answers 3


Saying his name would indicate to the Gallifreyans that it was safe to enter regular time and space at that point... However, things weren't quite that simple:

  1. As The Doctor himself put it,

    DOCTOR: Hell. All hell, that's what happens if the Time Lords come back. There's half a universe up there already, waiting to open fire.

So basically, it wasn't a safe time or space, which saying The Doctor's name would've indicated.

  1. So considering this, Clara does want to ask for help, but at the same time indicate that it wasn't safe there at the moment. How to do that? Not saying the name! If it wasn't gonna be of any use, Why take his name in vain? (No offense. Entirely unintentional) That is why she went on with the speech. Also, she couldn't risk saying anything even close to The Doctor's name, as being a truth field, she would've said it out even without meaning to. Considering that Daleks were in the vicinity, she could've chosen not to say his real name.

So, in summation, she doesn't say his name straight away to ask for the Time-Lords' help, but still not give them the Go signal...

  • 1
    Good point. Though that makes me wonder whether there ever will be a safe time/place for them to return. Btw, is there a specific reason why the Dalek shouldn't know his real name, or is just for keeping the secret secret?
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 11:35
  • I have no concrete backing for this, but since The Doctor protects his name so so much, I believe he must be doing that for a reason. Also, there could be species like the Carionites? That was a huge risk, and Doctor was only saved because he had shielded his name. As for the safe place.. well, when DW writers decide it's time...
    – Stark07
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 11:37
  • @Zommuter Probably no good reason for the Daleks not to know, other than he doesn't tell anyone. It's not like the Daleks are going to do something to help the Time Lords return...
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 22:49

The whole point of the Doctor spending x hundred years on Trenzalore was that he didn't want the Time Lords to come back there and then. Or he'd have just said his own name himself... Clara knew that.


Shown in the episode in season 9. the sonic can erase memories if used for long enough. he probably just used it being like "oh, yeah mandatory brain scan" and poof all remnants of the name gone. Plus it's a pretty dumb concept for the doctor to keep a book out in the open with his greatest secret in it.

  • 2
    Is there any evidence of this?
    – Adamant
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:20

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