Throughout the Doctor Who verse, one thing I have noticed is The Doctor using "Earth Time". When going through time, he will often say the year that the Earth is at, rather some sort of "Central Universe Time". Is there any explanation for this, or is it simply to make things easier for his assistants to understand?

2 Answers 2


As with all speech, I would assume that the Tardis' Translation Circuit maps the year the doctor says to something that we can understand. As the Doctor said it's -

... gift of the TARDIS, a telepathic field that gets inside your brain — translates.

The End of the World

It would make sense for it to translate it into a number or system that was understandable.

Tho in conversation with his assistant, it would make sense for The Doctor to keep things in "Earth Time" as I imagine having to answer the question "but what year is that really?" would be tedious.

  • It makes sense for him to use Earth years for companions and such, but what I'm really wanting to know is, for example, when on an alien planet and he travels forwards "10 years", is he referring to 10 Earth years, or 10 years of that planet? Also connected to this question is: is there an officially recognised timeline for the universe. As time is recognised as a dimension, is there a defined unit of measurement in the Who verse that is constant throughout the galaxies? Jul 20, 2015 at 10:12
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    I think the Translation Circuit is where it's at. It's amazing how the TARDIS can even get inside of our heads, eh? Jul 20, 2015 at 12:19
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    I think it's deliberately ambiguous so fans can convince themselves the timeline actually makes sense.
    – Huey
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:27
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    The only people who would set up and enforce an "official" timeline for the universe would be the Time Lords, who (along with the Matrix) are conveniently gone.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:45
  • I'm guessing this is one of those questions that hasn't had an official "explanation" yet, although I'm not convinced the Translation Circuit is a full answer.. Jul 20, 2015 at 12:50

The 3rd doctor was sentenced to spend time on Earth and had his TARDIS taken away (forcing him to use a transport called Betty).

So he spent fighting aliens on Earth until he got his Type-40 TARDIS. After all that he has studied Earth and learned many things, including to use Earth-time.

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