In the Doctor Who episode "The Time of the Doctor", the town of Christmas is attacked by a wooden Cyberman.

How did the Doctor defeat it?

We see the Doctor use his Sonic Screwdriver then inform the Cyberman that he'd reversed his flamethrower. He then challenges the attacker to confirm it as the truth field already ensures he's not lying.

The Cyberman is promptly defeated leaving the Doctor to comment: "It doesn't work on wood."

If the Screwdriver doesn't work on wood (as we've seen before) how did he defeat the Cyberman? If it does how did he lie about it?

  • He didn't lie, he did send a signal towards the cyberman saying 'reverse your flamethrower', which didn't actually do anything because the cyberman was made of wood; but the cyberman didn't know it didn't work so he reversed it thinking he was undoing the first reverse.
    – Pharap
    May 28, 2014 at 5:43

2 Answers 2


He set his Sonic Screwdriver to reverse the flamethrower. The Cyberman confirmed that the Sonic Screwdriver was indeed sending that signal. It is because it doesn't work on wood that the flamethrower was not actually reversed, the Cyberman just thought it was. The Cyberman did not know the Sonic Screwdriver doesn't work on wood.

Rule 1: The Doctor lies. Apparently, even when telling the truth.

  • I'm afraid I don't follow - it was reversed, it blew a hole straight through him!
    – Liath
    Jan 2, 2014 at 13:51
  • The Cyberman physically reversed his flamethrower after he thought its polarity was reversed. He reversed it thinking he would be firing forwards. Jan 2, 2014 at 14:03
  • 4
    Ok, so the Doctor truthfully sent a signal to reverse the flamethrower's direction. He then told the cyberman that that's what he'd done(but left out the fact it wouldn't work as he's made of wood), so the cyberman turned it around, however as it hadn't worked he shot himself...
    – Liath
    Jan 2, 2014 at 14:06
  • Yes. He truthfully sent the signal, he just didn't mention it didn't work. Jan 2, 2014 at 14:08
  • You should include your first comment in the answer, as is, the answer does not truely describe how the Cyberman was defeated.
    – Gnemlock
    Oct 5, 2017 at 2:24

The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver. He informs the Cyberman that he used the sonic screwdriver to make the flamethrower fire out of the back instead of the front, citing the truth field as evidence that he isn't lying.

The Cyberman, logically turns his flamethrower around, thinking that it will fire out the back, toward The Doctor. But, since the Sonic doesn't work on wood, The Doctor has fooled the Cyberman into reversing his weapon, and when the Cyberman fires he fires on himself.

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