At the end of Series 7,

When Clara jumps into the Doctor's timeline, the Doctor follows her to pull her out. While there, they witness "The Doctor who broke the promise", the promise being the name Doctor.

Who is this Doctor, The Doctor who broke the promise?

Is it one of the actors from the 60's series?
The Doctor who fought in the time war?
Someone else?

  • 3
    It was the war doctor, yes.
    – user34899
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 1:23
  • Keep watching... Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 12:30
  • 1
    @Lightness Races in Orbit, I just noticed something and didn't really want to Google it because I was afraid of spoilers
    – Travis
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 12:31
  • Yes that's correct, lol
    – Sentinel
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


It was the War Doctor.

Also known as the Eight-and-a-Halfth Doctor, or the Doctor who wasn't really the Doctor, or the Warrior. Played by John Hurt:


He broke the promise that made him the Doctor, by taking part in the Time War.

In the online minisode Night of the Doctor, when the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) regenerates into this new body, he leaves behind the name of Doctor and becomes instead a Warrior, in order to play his part in the Time War he's been avoiding for so long:

OHILA: Then she was wiser than you. She understood there was no escaping the Time War. You are a part of this, Doctor, whether you like it or not.
DOCTOR: Warrior.
OHILA: Warrior?
DOCTOR: I don't suppose there's a need for a doctor any more. Make me a warrior now.
(The Doctor drinks the elixir and staggers, dropping the chalice. Regeneration energy starts to surge through his body. He doubles over. White out.)
OHILA: Is it done?
(A figure takes Cass's baldric and puts it on.)
WARRIOR: Doctor no more.
(We are shown the reflection of a young John Hurt.)

-- The Night of the Doctor (2013) (emphasis mine)

And in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor, the promise is discussed explicitly:

CLARA: We've got enough warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero.
DOCTOR: Then what do I do?
CLARA: What you've always done. Be a doctor. You told me the name you chose was a promise. What was the promise?
(The fighting seems to have stopped on Gallifrey.)
DOCTOR 10: Never cruel or cowardly.
WARRIOR: Never give up, never give in.

-- The Day of the Doctor (2013) (emphasis mine)

  • 4
    Never surrender!
    – cde
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 4:24

The Doctor referred to was the War Doctor (the 9th regeneration, played by John Hurt)

The promise referred to was the "Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up, never give in."

SFF question regarding the promise specifically.

  • 2
    9th? I prefer "eight-and-a-halfth-or-something". Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 1:32
  • 1
    @randal'thor eh, the regeneration was number 9.
    – user34899
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 1:44
  • 1
    @cde Blame Eccleston and Moffat/BBC for failing to reach an agreement. :(
    – Oskuro
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 9:05
  • 1
    The incarnation was number 9, following the eighth regeneration! (Doctor/incarnation #1 had no prior regenerations.) Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 12:32
  • 1
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit, but the first doctor of the 2005 series is usually reffered to as the 9th doctor.
    – Travis
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 14:10

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