The age of the Doctor is something we like to keep an eye on. Following a time-traveller, it can be a bit hard to keep track of how much time has passed over the adventures that we see, and one way to tell is by knowing the age of the Doctor. We have known the Doctor for 50 years now. A mere blink of an eye to a Time Lord and yet in these short 50 years we have seen the Doctor go through many regenerations and age greatly.
Knowing the age of the Doctor really helped in the story of River Song. Never meeting in the right order, it was highly important for River to know where she was in the Doctor's life in case of giving away spoilers. Noting the age of the Doctor became very useful, especially in the episode The Impossible Astronaut, where Amy, Rory and River meet the Doctor twice, at different ages. But how old is the Doctor really?
The truth is, it is a very much debatable matter. Throughout the Doctor's life, several ages have been tossed about in the air and it seems the Doctor doesn't really remember his exact age and often just takes a guess.
Let's take a look at what the Doctor says about his age throughout his lives and see if we can make sense of it all. (Please note that I am just going by the T.V. series and I am not going to include the likes of Books, Audio Books, Comics and so on, as I haven't looked into them and would prefer to keep things simple and what I know for sure!)
"I'm old enough to know that a longer life isn't always a better one. In the end you just get tired. Tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone that matters to you, tired of watching everything turn to dust. If you live long enough, lazarus, the only certainty left is that you'll end up alone." ~ The Doctor, The Lazarus Experiment.
The First Doctor, the one to start us all off, the man who appeared old and grumpy, was only in his early years of life despite having a granddaughter. From the episode The Sound of Drums, we know that The Doctor was entered into the Time Lord academy along with the master as very young children at the age of eight and later on in The Stolen Earth the Tenth Doctor saw himself as a young kid at the age of 90 when he visited the magnificent Medusa Cascade. Already we see that the Time Lords scale of life spans far greater than humans!
The Second Doctor very helpfully gave us his age in the Tomb of the Cybermen at about 450 and later in the Third Doctor's regeneration he stated the he has been a scientist for several thousand years. I think he was exaggerating a little here...
The Fourth Doctor was a fountain of knowledge when it came to aliens, but also with his age, well most of the time! As seen in the quote to your left, the Doctor states his age as seven hundred and fifty years old. That's a full 300 years older than his Second Face.
During The Ribos Operation the jelly baby-eating Doctor claims to be 756 years old, but fellow Time Lord, Romana, corrected him saying he was actually 759. (oops!) Further on in The Power of Kroll we discover that the Fourth Doctor is now 760 years old, and still really young for a Time Lord.
Sadly, our cricket-playing Fifth Doctor avoids mentioning his age at all in the T.V. series and so by the time we arrive at the Sixth regeneration we find out the Doctor has aged by 140 years since his long scarf wearing days and now sits at the age of nine hundred (Revelation of the Daleks). We also find out that the Doctor is the same age as Rani - an exiled Time Lord bent on gaining power and research - who during the Seventh regeneration was 953 years old.
But hang on a minute. 953 years old? Yes, this puzzled me also as we know by the time our Doctor is in his 9th regeneration he claimed to be 900 years old in the haunting episode of The Empty Child. And how can we forget the 10th Doctor's little speech in The Voyage of the Damned?
"I'm the Doctor. I'm a Time Lord. I'm from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. I'm nine hundred and three years old. And I'm the man that's going to save your lives and all six billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?"
So what is going on here? There are several theories out there to try and explain the Doctor's age and why he seems to always contradict himself in the classic series at least. I have picked a few that seem most likely to me and make most sense.
The first theory is to do with the Time War. After the Time War which was quite obviously devastating to the Doctor with all the guilt he held on his shoulders for doing what he felt was right, but cost him his own planet and people, (Or so he thinks, now since the 50th episode and The Time of The Doctor, It seems the Time Lords are still alive and kicking, just trapped in another universe! How exciting! *Side note* I cannot wait to have the Time Lords back, it will add a new dimension to the 'new' version of Doctor Who.) The Doctor may have wanted to start his travels in the TARDIS with a clean slate and so rounded his age down to a nice age of 900. A new chapter of his life had begun, can you really blame him for wanting to be younger? After all what is a few years difference to someone who is that old?
The second theory is one that I quite like. It appeals to the astronomer side of me, and in my mind at least it makes the most sense out of all of the theories. We all know that the Earth takes 365 days (and a bit) to complete our journey around the sun and that is what makes our year. However other planets take longer, such as Jupiter; it takes almost 12 Earth years to make it's way round the sun. So taking this into consideration it is only fair to say that Gallifrey's year may be a different length to ours? and so the Doctor would appear to be older due to this factor. We know that in the Classic Who, the Doctor is using Gallifreyan years when it comes to his age, as Gallifrey still exists, just take a look at Time and Rani. However after the Time War, Earth becomes the Doctor's new home, and so begins to use Earth Years to calculate his age. This could be used to explain why during the 9th and 10th regenerations we do not see a huge leap in his age.
The 11th Doctor definitely has the largest of leaps from when he first regenerated to when he died. Starting off at the age of 907, this was revealed when the Doctor and Amy were at the Byzantium in Flesh and Stone, this age is also echoed during Amy's Choice when meeting the dream enhancing menace, the Dream Lord. As mentioned before, in The Impossible Astronaut, we meet two versions of the Doctor. One is much older and is 1103, who invited all of his closest friends to Lake Silencio, Utah, for his death. This included his younger self, who was only 909 years of age.
Amy: "And since when do you drink wine?"
Doctor: "I'm eleven hundred and three. I must've drunk it sometime. Oh, why it's horrid. I thought it would taste more like the gums." ~ The Impossible Astronaut.
During Amy and Rory's short trips in the TARDIS, the Doctor states that he is now 1200 years old, when they visit A Town Called Mercy. By the time Clara is in the Doctor's life and Amy and Rory are sadly gone, The Doctor changes his age again to 1000 years old, as seen in the trailer for The Bells of Saint John (Click on the underline to see it again).
War Doctor: "How old are you now?"
Doctor (11): "Ah, I don't know. I lose track. Twelve hundred and something, I think, unless I'm lying. I can't remember if I'm lying about my age, that's how old I am." ~ The Day of The Doctor.
In the 50th Special, The Day of the Doctor, the quote above reveals that the Doctor thinks he is around 1200 years old. But here is the interesting point, he also talks about how he lies about his age... Does he constantly lie about his age? Or has he been doing it just as he is getting older to appear younger? Does he actually know his real age? Nonetheless, When it came to defending the planet of Trenzalore and the little town of Christmas the Doctor spent 900 years in total, making him 2100 years old. In total the 11th Doctor lived for 1193 years with that face!
Finally, with the latest trailer for the new series in August, the newest Doctor claims that he is in fact over 2000 years old. There you go, that brings us up to date! I hope I explained the Doctor's age and how we got to the figure we have today!
Please do leave a comment below!