High Council

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The High Council was the governing body of the Time Lords on Gallifrey, composed of the Lord President (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) and Cardinals elected from the ruling Houses. (TV: The Ultimate Foe [+]Loading...["The Ultimate Foe (TV story)"]) According to one account, the High Council, including the Lord President himself, comprised twenty-four members, "twenty-four of the most important and influential Time Lords". As a result, the High Councilmembers were sometimes known as the Twenty-Four. (PROSE: The Time Savers [+]Loading...["The Time Savers (short story)"])

Officially, without a President, the Council could ratify nothing, even if this occurred in exceptional cases such as the absence of the President-elect. (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) However, certain actions could only be undertaken by a President if they enjoyed a majority support among the Council. (TV: The End of Time [+]Loading...["The End of Time (TV story)"])

By some accounts, the Supreme Council was a separate major governing body on Gallifrey. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors [+]Loading...["The Infinity Doctors (novel)"], The Gallifrey Chronicles [+]Loading...["The Gallifrey Chronicles (novel)"], et al.)


Whilst most often known as the High Council, (TV: The Deadly Assassin [+]Loading...["The Deadly Assassin (TV story)"], etc.) the group was also known as the High Council of Time Lords, (TV: Arc of Infinity [+]Loading...["Arc of Infinity (TV story)"], Remembrance of the Daleks [+]Loading...["Remembrance of the Daleks (TV story)"]) the High Council of Gallifrey, (TV: The Time of the Doctor [+]Loading...["The Time of the Doctor (TV story)"]) the Time Lord Council, (TV: The Deadly Assassin [+]Loading...["The Deadly Assassin (TV story)"]) the Council of Time Lords, (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) the Council of Gallifrey (PROSE: The Twin Dilemma [+]Loading...["The Twin Dilemma (novelisation)"]) and the Gallifreyan High Council. (COMIC: Flashback [+]Loading...["Flashback (comic story)"])

By one account, in the absence of a President after the Fourth Doctor left Gallifrey, the Council renamed itself the Supreme Council (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords [+]Loading...["A Brief History of Time Lords (novel)"], TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) and then later had its original name restored by Borusa. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords [+]Loading...["A Brief History of Time Lords (novel)"]) Another account indicated that "Supreme Council of Time Lords" was an alternate title for the entity also known as the High Council. (AUDIO: Mindbomb [+]Loading...["Mindbomb (audio story)"]) Other sources indicate the Supreme and High Councils were separate entities. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors [+]Loading...["The Infinity Doctors (novel)"], Cold Fusion [+]Loading...["Cold Fusion (novel)"], et al.)

It could also be referred to as "the Council of Houses", emphasising its nature as a parliament of the representatives of the most influential Great Houses. (AUDIO: The Eleven Day Empire [+]Loading...["The Eleven Day Empire (audio story)"])


The President, High Chancellor (TV: The Deadly Assassin [+]Loading...["The Deadly Assassin (TV story)"]) and Castellan comprised the Inner Council. Under the Constitution, these three Time Lords were unanimous when in emergency session. (TV: The Five Doctors [+]Loading...["The Five Doctors (TV story)"])

Holders of senior positions including the Surgeon General (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) and the Inquisitor Prime sat on the High Council, (AUDIO: Lies [+]Loading...["Lies (audio story)"]) as did a number of, but not all, cardinals. (AUDIO: Spring [+]Loading...["Spring (audio story)"], Lies [+]Loading...["Lies (audio story)"]) Senators also sat on the Council. (AUDIO: Enemy Lines [+]Loading...["Enemy Lines (audio story)"])

Members of the High Council that did not hold other offices were known as High Councillors (TV: The Deadly Assassin [+]Loading...["The Deadly Assassin (TV story)"]) or simply Councillors. (TV: Arc of Infinity [+]Loading...["Arc of Infinity (TV story)"]) They were elected. (TV: The Ultimate Foe [+]Loading...["The Ultimate Foe (TV story)"])

An Independent was a member of the Council unaffiliated with the President. One such Independent was Engin, former Keeper of the Matrix. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors [+]Loading...["The Eight Doctors (novel)"])

When the High Council was disbanded for an imminent election for the post of Lord President, the candidates themselves formed the interim Council. (AUDIO: Mindbomb [+]Loading...["Mindbomb (audio story)"])

Members of the High Council had various assistants. It was very easy for those assistants to gain access to most, though not all, of the High Council's privileges. This included the master override for a Battle TARDIS's star chamber. (AUDIO: The Eye of Horus [+]Loading...["The Eye of Horus (audio story)"])


Early history[[edit]]

According to the Scrolls of Gallifrey, the High Council was how Rassilon replaced the Gallifreyan Council, which had ruled the Gallifreyans until his coup, (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey [+]Loading...["The Legacy of Gallifrey (short story)"]) although Gallifrey as a whole was primarily the dominion of the Pythia. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet [+]Loading...["Christmas on a Rational Planet (novel)"]) It was originally composed of the Lord President, Chancellor, a Castellan, the Prydonian Cardinals, and four Councillors. (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey [+]Loading...["The Legacy of Gallifrey (short story)"])

According to other accounts, the High Council existed in a form similar to its modern one even before Rassilon took over in earnest, with Omega sitting on it as a member before his disappearance. (TV: The Three Doctors [+]Loading...["The Three Doctors (TV story)"]) Following Omega's disappearance, the Inner Council authorised the Committee of Three to look into the work of Rassilon, who was a Cardinal at the time, (AUDIO: Zagreus [+]Loading...["Zagreus (audio story)"]) and when the ambitious Time Lord eventually overthrew then-Lord President Pandak in a coup, Pandak and the rest of the High Council were imprisoned until Pandak agreed to resign from office. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon [+]Loading...["The Scrolls of Rassilon (short story)"])

The High Council disestablished the churches, monasteries and other religious orders on Gallifrey, abolishing the right of members of religious orders to observe High Council procedure. (PROSE: Interference)

After President Pandora declared herself Imperiatrix, her High Council convinced her bodyguard to betray her mistress in return for the Time Lords improving her people's livelihood. However, they took the bodyguard back to her planet where she was placed in an eternal 6.8 second time loop from which there was no escape. Meanwhile, Pandora was dispersed in such a thorough manner that she never existed in the first place. (AUDIO: Pandora [+]Loading...["Pandora (audio story)"])

The High Council foresaw a future where every planet in the universe was infected by God Seeds and decided to break their law of non-intervention to conduct a universe-wide purge. The purge was not completely successful as at least one God Seed survived. (AUDIO: Fiesta of the Damned [+]Loading...["Fiesta of the Damned (audio story)"])

Cardinal Magos was put on trial by the High Council after he carried out experiments resurrecting the dead as automatons. They sentenced him to banishment. (AUDIO: The Castle of Kurnos 5 [+]Loading...["The Castle of Kurnos 5 (audio story)"])

During the era of the Fugitive Doctor, a member of the High Council ordered the Division to commit genocide against several Time Lord colonies where the colonists' regeneration had caused them to absorb local biodata to better adapt to the planet. Though the Doctor managed to expose the plot and the councillor arrested, she was disgusted to find that the racism and stagnation he championed for were becoming more commonplace in Gallifrey's government, fleeing the planet out of disgust. (COMIC: Origins [+]Loading...["Origins (comic story)"])

Interactions with the First, Second and Third Doctors[[edit]]

According to one account, the First Doctor was being prepared for a seat on the High Council before he left Gallifrey. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Deadly Assassin [+]Loading...["Doctor Who and the Deadly Assassin (novelisation)"]) According to another, he actually had joined by the time of his departure. (PROSE: World Game [+]Loading...["World Game (novel)"])

Mortimus (later known as the Monk) became an agent provocateur for the High Council. After "some sort of controversy", the High Council betrayed Mortimus. (PROSE: No Future [+]Loading...["No Future (novel)"]) Fifty years after the First Doctor's departure, Mortimus left Gallifrey. (TV: The Time Meddler [+]Loading...["The Time Meddler (TV story)"])

To thwart the return of Omega, the High Council transgressed the Laws of Time and sent the second and third incarnations of the Doctor to the anti-matter universe. Whilst there, the Third Doctor asked Omega to undo the harm that he had done and resume his seat at the High Council, which he scorned. (TV: The Three Doctors [+]Loading...["The Three Doctors (TV story)"])

The High Council hid from Helios's attack on Gallifrey in a fallout shelter and traced the invaders back to Earth. They sent the Third Doctor on a mission into his future to murder Helios before he could attack Gallifrey. (PROSE: Prisoners of the Sun [+]Loading...["Prisoners of the Sun (short story)"])

Interactions with the Fourth Doctor[[edit]]

The High Council witnessed the assassination of the 406th President at his Presidential Resignation Day, having been led by Chancellor Goth to the ceremony. Investigation into the assassination determined that the killer was on the High Council, with Goth's guilt eventually being uncovered thanks to the Fourth Doctor. (TV: The Deadly Assassin [+]Loading...["The Deadly Assassin (TV story)"])

In the absence of a President and with the Doctor - the President-elect - absent, the High Council was unable to ratify anything. (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) Realising that they did not have supreme power, the Council renamed itself the Supreme Council of Time Lords (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords [+]Loading...["A Brief History of Time Lords (novel)"]) and appointed Cardinal Borusa as High Chancellor, something that the Doctor believed was done illegally. The Council attended the Doctor's investiture. (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"])

After Borusa became President, the Supreme Council's original name was restored. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords [+]Loading...["A Brief History of Time Lords (novel)"])

Interactions with the Fifth Doctor[[edit]]

Councillor Hedin manipulated the High Council during his attempts to free Omega. Due to the Fifth Doctor's biodata having been used, they ordered his termination, from which he was saved. Hedin was found to be the guilty party. (TV: Arc of Infinity [+]Loading...["Arc of Infinity (TV story)"])

Some time later, Cardinal Hemal discreetly called the Doctor back to Gallifrey to investigate the mysterious murder of a Time Lord who had been found, drained of blood, hanging from one of the gantries above the Panopticon. (COMIC: Blood Invocation [+]Loading...["Blood Invocation (comic story)"])

After an emergency was called following the disappearance of Chancellor Thalia and Cardinal Zorac (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords [+]Loading...["A Brief History of Time Lords (novel)"]) in the Death Zone, the Inner Council - President Borusa, Chancellor Flavia and Castellan Jerricho - met and sent the Tremas Master there. The High Council used its emergency powers to make the Fifth Doctor President following Borusa's incapacitation, but he fled. (TV: The Five Doctors [+]Loading...["The Five Doctors (TV story)"])

The High Council found that they had been manipulated by Borusa so that none of them had the strength of will to do anything with the position of President. As a result, they recalled the Fifth Doctor to Gallifrey to take up the role. To save Tegan Jovanka from a mind-wipe, Castellan Lowri made her Earth Ambassador to Gallifrey, putting her on the Council. (AUDIO: Time in Office [+]Loading...["Time in Office (audio story)"])

As revenge for the Time Lords' plot to destroy them, the Daleks attempted to create a duplicate of the Fifth Doctor to send to Gallifrey to assassinate the High Council. However, the Doctor thwarted their plans. (TV: Resurrection of the Daleks [+]Loading...["Resurrection of the Daleks (TV story)"], AUDIO: The Dalek Conquests [+]Loading...["The Dalek Conquests (audio story)"])

Interactions with the Sixth Doctor[[edit]]

The High Council detected violent temporal disturbances on Marinus caused by a worldshaper and sent a Time Lord to investigate. He was attacked by a Voord but his distress call summoned the Sixth Doctor, Peri Brown and Frobisher. With Jamie McCrimmon, who sacrificed himself, they stopped the Cybermen, after which the Time Lords cleaned up the worldshaper technology. (COMIC: The World Shapers)

Following the theft of Gallifreyan secrets from the Matrix, the High Council ordered the use of the Magnetron to draw the Earth and its entire constellation billions of miles across space, causing a fireball that almost wiped out the planet.

Seeking to cover up the conspiracy, the High Council appointed an independent judicial inquiry in the hope of scapegoating the Sixth Doctor, promising the Valeyard, whom they had brought into being, (PROSE: The Eight Doctors) the Doctor's remaining regenerations should he succeed in prosecuting him. (TV: The Ultimate Foe) Half of the High Council sat in on the inquiry as jurors.

The Sixth and Eighth Doctors began a Presidential Inquiry into the matter. Borusa was released from his punishment by Rassilon per the Eighth Doctor's request so that he might lead a Council of Administration. Flavia noted that most of the High Council from this time would be put on trial themselves to determine who were genuinely guilty and who were merely fools. Due to the Tremas Master transmitting extracts of the trial on Public Access Television, there was insurrection in the Capitol, fuelled by the CIA.

After Borusa was restored by Rassilon, he proposed that a Council of Administration be placed in charge of Gallifrey until a proper election for a new High Council could be held. In addition to Borusa, Flavia was a leading member. This period was known as the Borusa Interregnum. (PROSE: The Eight Doctors)

The Valeyard's escape from his execution through a Matrix door was, the Sixth Doctor believed, assisted by a High Councillor, pointing out that it would have been nearly impossible for him to sneak a Matrix door into the court on his own. His belief was that the Valeyard had promised said Councillor immortality. (AUDIO: Trial of the Valeyard)

Interactions with the Eighth Doctor[[edit]]

The High Council sent Straxus to the Eighth Doctor to tell him to save Lucie Miller from Lonsis. (AUDIO: Human Resources)

After President Padrac told the High Council of his plans to destroy all of the universe bar Gallifrey, some members, including Cardinal Ollistra, fled to 20th century New York. (AUDIO: The Side of the Angels)

Romana's presidency[[edit]]

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Romana II received a position on the High Council (PROSE: Goth Opera) and was later asked to be President following the coup that overthrew President Flavia. (AUDIO: Lies) She enacted sweeping reforms but there were dissenters in the Council, mainly from the Arcalian and Dromeian Chapters. (PROSE: Lungbarrow)

In obtaining evidence for a judicial inquiry into Romana's actions on Gryben, K9 Mark II accidentally set off a data bomb in the Matrix. It was extrapolated that Cardinal Braxiatel had set it there after the outcome of Project Alpha to expose the High Council's actions in the destruction of Minyos. (AUDIO: The Inquiry)

President Romana spent months of bills and readings to get the High Council to change Gallifrey's ancient scriptures. Finally, the High Council agreed to lower the transduction barriers per her suggestion that they allow members of the other Temporal Powers to study at the Time Lord Academy.

By the time that the Academy was opened to outsiders, the High Council was, according to Cardinal Braxiatel, made up of three cardinals (including Cardinal Leabind), none of whom were sympathetic to Romana. She pointed out that her ally, Wynter, the Arcalians' Chapter Castellan, was also on the Council. (AUDIO: Lies)

A full High Council session was called following a bombing at the Time Lord Academy and a second that targeted those fleeing. At the meeting, Antimon revealed that he was part of the Free Time movement and attempted to kill all those present. However, he was killed by Leela and the High Council saved.

The High Council was dissolved after Romana declared herself Imperiatrix in response to Darkel's challenge for the presidency. (AUDIO: Imperiatrix) Following Pandora's death and a return to normalcy, Romana, Darkel and Matthias, as candidates for the presidency, were effectively the High Council until a new one could be appointed. (AUDIO: Mindbomb)

Two members of the High Council were arrested as Adherents of Ohm, along with forty-eight other Time Lords. (AUDIO: Enemy Lines)

The War in Heaven[[edit]]

392 years before the War in Heaven, (PROSE: The Book of the War) Cardinal Thorac attempted to establish a power-base on Dronid to overthrow the High Council. The Council responded with an attack of ignorance and Thorac was dragged back to Gallifrey, leaving behind Time Lord technology on Dronid. (PROSE: Alien Bodies, The Book of the War, Shada)

The Matrix predicted that the enemy destined to destroy Gallifrey would be unknown until Last Contact. The President and members of the High Council knew this prophecy, but they kept it hidden, fearing that Gallifrey would fall into chaos if it was widely known. (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles) The Council was split on whether to tell the Matrix to look for threats matching the description since such action might inevitably lead to contact and conflict with the enemy. Deliberation on the topic took several millennia. (PROSE: The Infinity Doctors [+]Loading...["The Infinity Doctors (novel)"]) At date index 309456/4756.7RE/1213GRT/100447TL, the Matrix projected that the Vore were a potential candidate for Last Contact, so the Council mandated that no Time Lord was to engage the Vore or come within one parsec or one century of any of their moons. (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles)

The Book of the War speculated that increasing paranoia on the Homeworld may have itself caused the War, saying the idea "makes a certain sense, given the nature of the enemy." (PROSE: The Book of the War) The enemy was also believed to be a conceptual infection of imagination created from races destroyed in the anchoring of the thread. (PROSE: Subjective Interlock)

At some point prior to the Armistice, the Lady Cortalian of House Lineacrux served as a High Councillor. However, she was later kicked off the planet in disgrace, only being allowed to keep her timeship; she later purposefully caused trouble for the "stuffy old bookkeepers" who had exiled her, by organising the First Auction in Heaven. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice)

The High Council remained in power during the War, authorising genetic experiments to create lesser species with Time Lord abilities, such as Ogron Lords. (PROSE: Interference - Book One, Interference - Book Two) Homunculette was sent by the High Council to obtain the Relic. (PROSE: Alien Bodies) However, other sources indicate the Time Lords were led by the War Council. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5, AUDIO: Body Politic)

The Time War[[edit]]

The High Council was responsible for the resurrection of the Master. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Time War [+]Loading...["Doctor Who and the Time War (short story)"])

The Joint Council included members of the High Council, the War Council and the Celestial Intervention Agency. (AUDIO: Celestial Intervention)

Two months into the Time War, President Livia's resignation triggered High Council elections. (AUDIO: Desperate Measures)

In the early stages of the war, as nothing the Time Lords did appeared to halt the Daleks, some on the High Council still believed just one more show of Time Lord superiority in a battle would send the enemy fleeing. (PROSE: The Third Wise Man)

Through the projections of the Matrix, the Time Lords saw that the Twelfth Doctor, whilst attempting to demonstrate mercy to a young Davros, had shown some way of circumnavigating the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, allowing him to return to an exact space-time event multiple times and influencing the outcome of that event. Investigations were undertaken as to how the Doctor was able to achieve this, and discussions took place at High Council level to determine whether they constituted a breach of the First Law of Time. (PROSE: Dalek Combat Training Manual)

Late in the war, an emergency session of the High Council was arranged when the War Doctor and his companion Cinder landed on Gallifrey bringing news about the Temporal Cannon of the Daleks. It was the first time a human had been allowed to attend such a meeting. (PROSE: Engines of War)

By the last day of the war, the High Council met in a darkened chamber in the ruined Citadel. They met there on the last day of the war to discuss Rassilon's Final Sanction. (TV: The End of Time [+]Loading...["The End of Time (TV story)"])

While this was happening, the War Council threw away the High Council's plans and made some of their own. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)

Post-Time War[[edit]]

After the Twelfth Doctor returned to Gallifrey, by this point hidden at the end of the universe, Rassilon sent them out to meet the Doctor who merely walked back inside the barn he had slept in as a child. Rassilon was ultimately forced to come greet the Doctor himself. After overthrowing Rassilon, the Doctor banished him and the High Council from Gallifrey for their roles in both his imprisonment and their crimes in the Time War. (TV: Hell Bent [+]Loading...["Hell Bent (TV story)"])

Known members of the High Council[[edit]]

Members of the High Council included Councillor Hedin; (TV: Arc of Infinity [+]Loading...["Arc of Infinity (TV story)"]) Councillors Rath, Elar and Morin; (PROSE: Blood Harvest) Councillor Delox; (AUDIO: Appropriation) Councillor Ryoth, a member of the Arcalian Chapter and a member of the Celestial Intervention Agency; (PROSE: The Eight Doctors) Surgeon General Lord Gomer; (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) the Gold Usher; (TV: The Invasion of Time [+]Loading...["The Invasion of Time (TV story)"]) Inquisitor Prime Darkel; (AUDIO: Weapon of Choice, Mindbomb) Councillors Flavia, Engin and Ortan; (PROSE: The Eight Doctors) Councillor Ragnar, a member of the Prydonian Chapter; Councillor Milvo, a member of the Arcalian Chapter; Councillor Sardon, a member of the CIA; (PROSE: World Game) Councillor Ratisbon a member of the CIA; (PROSE: Warmonger) Coordinator Narvin, head of the CIA; (AUDIO: Gallifrey (audio series)) Councillor Romana II; (PROSE: Blood Harvest, Human Nature) Councillor Wblk; (PROSE: Heart of TARDIS) Councillor Verne; (PROSE: The Twin Dilemma) Cardinal Matthias; (AUDIO: Mindbomb)

During the Last Great Time War, Grayvas (PROSE: Engines of War) and the War Ollistra were Cardinals. (AUDIO: The Innocent) Lord President Rassilon headed the High Council, with the Chancellor; the Visionary and the Partisan also on the Council. (TV: The End of Time [+]Loading...["The End of Time (TV story)"])

Following the end of the Time War, there were shown to be only a few councillors, meeting with Rassilon about the Doctor's return and attempting, unsuccessfully, to speak to the Doctor himself. After the Doctor overthrew Rassilon, he banished him and the High Council from Gallifrey. (TV: Hell Bent [+]Loading...["Hell Bent (TV story)"])

Alternative timelines[[edit]]

On a Gallifrey where Rassilon never completed the Eye of Harmony, the Supreme Leader and President was the head of the Inner Council of Regenerators. (AUDIO: Forever [+]Loading...["Forever (audio story)"], Emancipation [+]Loading...["Emancipation (Gallifrey audio story)"])

Behind the scenes[[edit]]

According to DWM 100, the full High Council was a large body, similar to a Parliament.