Thursday, 11 February 2016




The saga continues as we bridge the gap between the Age of Rassilon and the early days of the Doctor....


And so, Rassilon retreats to the Dark Tower in the Death Zone under mysterious circumstances. His Relics continue to be revered throughout the course of Time Lord history but their titles and meanings, oftentimes, become obscure and misunderstood. Still, he is respected as Gallifrey's Greatest Hero.

A great amount of time seems to pass between Rassilon's internment and the birth of the Doctor. Interestingly enough, we're not entirely sure how much. In The Three Doctors, our favorite Time Lord meets Omega for the first time. The Stellar Engineer speaks of the accident that banished him to the Black Hole and seems to be claiming that it only took place a few thousand years ago. But then we get that famous speech by the Sixth Doctor in Trial of a Time Lord: "Ten million years of absolute power, that's what it takes to be really corrupt!". Is this how long it's been since Rassilon set up Time Lord society and we now see the Doctor? It certainly seems to contradict Omega's claims in a pretty blatant way. But it gets even worse when Rassilon, himself, gets all grumpy in The End of Time - Part 2 and claims that the Time Lords have a "billion years of history riding on their backs".

Can we make any sense of this? Well, I've certainly tried. Omega has lost sense of time while trapped in the Black Hole (or, perhaps, time flows differently) so he thinks it's only been a few millenia since his accident. Rassilon is referring to the absolute earliest days of Gallifrey when his people first started messing around with the Untempered Schism. So our most accurate appraisal of how long the Time Lords have properly been around goes to 'Ole Sixie and his Trial of a Time Lord speech (it deserves to win - it's such a good monologue!).

Of course, if we want to get an accurate idea of how long it's been between the end of Rassilon and the beginning of the Doctor - we need to knock a few thousand years off from that number. Let's say Rassilon's Reign lasted a good 5 000 years or so (he seemed to have the ability to artificially extend his life that long). And the Doctor's been around for near a thousand years before he delivers the speech. So it's been about 9 995 000 years between the two great Time Lord Heroes. Give or take.


Before we actually get to the Time of the Doctor (see what I did there?!) we should probably talk about what may have happened before he arrived on the scene. The foundations Rassilon laid down all those many years ago appear to have stayed, more or less, the same since his departure. If anything changed, the Time Lords probably became even more bureaucratic as time passed.

Ten million years of being steeped in tradition is bound to have some consequences. Some segments of the population are going to get tired of things always being the same and are bound to rebel a bit. We know of, at least, two different movements that rose up against Time Lord society. Or, quite possibly, it's the same movement but one of the characters who discussed them was played by an actor with a very strong accent! Let's assume it's two different societies, though, and not an issue of pronunciation.

These two groups were Gallifreyans (some even appear to be actual Time Lords) that renounced the Principles of Rassilon and wanted to do things their way. The more passive of the two were the Shobogans. They simply left the Citadel and went out to live in the wasteland beyond. They brought no technology with them. They hunted and lived off the land. They even wore furs. It was a completely primitive existence. They usually lived in tribes although some led a hermit's existence.

The second group seemed a bit more violent. They were called the Sheboogans. They remained in the Citadel and committed acts of vandalism. We don't know much more about them. They may have still posed as healthy members of society and vandalized in secret. Or they may have found a place in the Panipticon to hide where the Chancellory Guard couldn't find them and enjoyed their lifestyle full-time.

Stealing a TARDIS and going out into the Universe does not seem to be something renegade Time Lords do until sometime after the Doctor is born. Before that, if you wanted to reject Time Lord society, you became either a Shobogan or a Sheboogan. One of those Shobogans, of course, would eke out an existence by himself and eventually became a mentor to the Doctor in his youth. Chances are he made that choice some time before the Doctor existed.


And so, nearly 10 million years after Rassilon leaves the Political Arena, a young Gallifreyan is born who will have as profound an impact on Time Lord Society as he did. Possibly more...

When, exactly, this Time Lord starts referring to himself as "the Doctor" - we can't say for sure. No doubt, it was fairly early on in his life. The Time Lords never seem to refer to him by any other name (there is a nickname - we'll get to that later).

Like all Gallifreyan youth, the Doctor is led to the Untempered Schism at the age of 8. It doesn't go well for him. He chooses to run away when he sees it. Perhaps there's an acceptable level of cowardice that a child can show at the ritual but he seems to have exceeded it. He still wishes to become a Time Lord but it doesn't seem likely he will be accepted into the Academy. It's suggested to him that he pursue a millitairy career, instead. It's at this point that the Doctor discovers a barn that is somewhere near the school he's studying at (it's just a normal school for Gallifreyan youth - not the Time Lord Academy)  that he likes to stay in at night. Apparently, he goes there to cry himself to sleep and not be heard by the other students in the dormitory he stays in. On one of the nights that he's sleeping there - Clara travels back in time to meet him and accidentally gives him a scare. Implanting in him the idea of "hiders" -  a creature he will try to actually prove the existence of many years later. She also offers him a bit of encouragement and warns him of a time in his future where he could, potentially, make the worst choice of his lives.

Somehow, the Doctor does still make it into the Academy. His studies as a Time Lord begin. He quickly gets a nickname: "Theta Sigma" - or "Thete", for short. He befriends two other students who will come back to haunt him in his future as a renegade. These two Time Lords will come to be known as the Master and the Rani. He will also study with Drax for a bit. Drax will also go renegade but won't prove to be as malevolent. It's unclear, however, if Drax passed his final exams and became a Time Lord or is just a very technically-proficient Gallifreyan who is able to steer a TARDIS.

Azmael, one of the Doctor's teachers at the Academy, will also leave Gallifrey and become the benevolent ruler of a planet named Jocunda. The Doctor also studies under Borussa for a bit. Someone else who will play a significant role in his future.

Sometime during his studies at the Academy, the Doctor wanders into the Matrix Cloisters and is nearly lost forever. Fortunately, the Cloister Wraiths choose to help him out. As they do, they teach him the secret concerning the Prophecy of the Hybrid.

It's probably around this time that the Doctor also starts visiting a lone Shobogan who lives on a hill near the Academy. The hermit becomes a mentor to him and offers him some of the most significant advice at a crucial point in his life. On his first attempt to pass his final exams, the Doctor fails. Viciously upset, he leaves the Academy and goes to his mentor to cry out his sorrows to him. Without answering, the old hermit simply points to a nearby flower. The Doctor is touched by its simple beauty and comes to some sort of understanding about the nature of the Universe. He is at peace.

Shortly after that, the Mentor chooses to leave Gallifrey. His work is done - he will meet the Doctor, again, at another crucial point.


Emboldened by his encounter with his mentor, the Doctor returns to the Academy and is granted a second attempt at the final exam. He manages to scrape by and is granted the power and prestige of a Time Lord.

It is probably sometime around this point that the Corruption of Morbius occurs.  The Doctor claims in Brain of Morbius that he had a brief a moment of telepathic communion with the evil Time Lord and recognized his brain pattern. So the event probably takes place after he becomes a Time Lord. The ability of a psychic recognition of that nature is probably only bestowed on Time Lords so that they can recognize each other in different incarnations. But, given how active the Doctor becomes after being granted his title, Morbius' uprising has to happen fairly early on. Any later in the Doctor's career, and he might have been more involved in taking Morbius down. Which we don't get the impression happened. The Doctor probably never meets Morbius directly but saw him several times on Public Register. Which enables him to recognize him telepathically all those years later.

Morbius, of course, was a member of the High Council who turned into a megalomaniac and attempted to dominate the Universe. He left Gallifrey and formed a huge intergalactic cult that followed him until the Time Lords intervened and brought him to justice. He was executed on the planet Karn.

It's possible that Morbius' excursions into the Great Beyond became a source of inspiration for the many renegade Time Lords we start seeing in the next little while. Time Lords were known to rebel but they still remained on Gallifrey. But after Morbius, others would start abandoning their homeworld in search of adventures in time and space. This would be the Doctor's fate, eventually. But not before he makes a bit of a name for himself.

A strange cosmic phenomenon known as the Medussa's Cascade starts affecting the Nature of Time. When he was still just a young lad of 90, the Doctor seals if off before it can do much damage. He is revered for it but the fame causes him to be more and more reckless. We learn that he accidentally loses Gallifrey's moon for a bit in some other wild misadventure. Apparently, he also steals away the Lord President's daughter.

It's more than likely that he does mellow for a bit when he finally meets the Love of his Life (perhaps the President's daughter?). Impulsively, the two marry quite young (by Time Lord standards) and have a child shortly, thereafter. For the next century or so, the Doctor does attempt to live a more sedate life. For the sake of his family. His child grows up, also marries young and has a child, too. The Doctor and his grand-daughter become very close very quickly.

His relationship with his wife, however, disintegrates and the two of them separate. Shortly thereafter, he starts becoming restless again. He tries to stir things up politically. Attempting to get the Time Lords to become more involved with the rest of the Universe. His campaigns fail, however. Gallifrey is too set in its ways.

But the Doctor notices that some Time Lords are starting to go AWOL. They're not just leaving the Panipticon to live out in the Wasteland, they're leaving Gallifrey, itself. Azmael, a teacher he greatly respected back at the Academy, is one of them.  He decides to employ a similar tactic.

Deciding no one will miss a TARDIS that's been recalled, he steals away with his grand-daughter and they venture out into the Universe. It is at this moment that he meets one of Clara's "splinters" for the first time. The encounter is so brief and so long ago that when he does meet her again in his Eleventh Incarnation (which is really his Thirteenth) he doesn't recognize her. But it is this Clara Splinter that advises him to take the Type-40 TARDIS that will eventually become frozen in the form of a police box as it visits 1960s Earth.

We know the rest from here....

There you go, a full account of the things that could've happened on Gallifrey before the Doctor's life actually starts being televised. You're welcome Brian Stewart! And now, the Big Question: Would you like a Part Four that chronicles all the affairs of Gallifrey during the TV series? It all seems pretty straighforward from this point, onwards. But if you'd like to see it documented, anyway, I can do it. Let me know in the comments...

Missed the other installments of History of Gallifrey? Here they are: 

Part 1:

Part 2:

1 comment:

  1. You bring up some interesting points here. I would also suggest that you take a look at the second series of New Adventure books. The last one deals with the time just before Rassilon takes power and the stagnation of the population.


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