Paradox machine

From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference

A paradox machine was a Gallifreyan device made from a TARDIS to allow time paradoxes, such as allowing the Toclafane to kill their ancestors without any temporal consequences.


Paradox machines were known to, and recognisable at a glance by both the Tenth Doctor and Time Agent Jack Harkness. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

After the Saxon Master had stolen the Doctor's TARDIS from the Tenth Doctor, (TV: Utopia) he cannibalised it and turned it into a paradox machine. Describing the result as "his masterpiece", he kept it on the Valiant, setting it to activate at 8:02am. As such, it allowed the Toclafane to invade Earth in the 2000s[nb 1] through a rift that was ripped in the sky above Earth. (TV: The Sound of Drums)

The paradox machine was destroyed by Captain Jack Harkness with an assault rifle. The machine's destruction reversed time to the moment it was activated, undoing everything that had occurred since then and returning the Doctor's TARDIS to normal. While those within close range of the machine on the Valiant remembered the timeline, for the rest of the universe it had never happened. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)

Sibling Same had visited the Year That Never Was stole a piece of the paradox machine so he and Different could build their paradox moon. When the Thirteenth Doctor stopped their plan, the stolen hardware vanished like the timeline that had birthed it. (PROSE: The Paradox Moon)

In 5246, on 7 October, paradox machines were banned under Galactic Federation law. (PROSE: Time Traveller's Diary)

Physical features[[edit]]

The interior of the paradox machine was lit by an ominous red glow. Whilst it was active, the Cloister Bell sounded continually and Martha Jones commented that the TARDIS sounded "like it was sick" when she first encountered the paradox machine. The belligerent destruction the Master had wreaked upon the TARDIS activated the bell, a ceaseless warning that the TARDIS, and perhaps the fabric of time itself, were threatened by the paradox machine as long as it remained operational.

The main console in particular had undergone many modifications by the Master: the console itself was enclosed inside a metal cage, with tubes and appendages attached to it. At its base was a pipe connecting to another area of the TARDIS, with a dial showing a readout of the pressure build-up inside. It shot out puffs of steam when it was activated.

The Doctor couldn't stop the paradox machine because if he did something wrong he would blow up the solar system. When the machine was activated, steam flooded the console room. (TV: The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords)

Other information[[edit]]

  • The Doctor claimed that he could have used the TARDIS to sustain a paradox of two different temporal versions of Amy Pond simultaneously aboard the TARDIS at once - he initially said it was possible if he disabled some of the TARDIS' peripheral functions and "jettisoned the karaoke bar". Because this turned out to be a lie, it's unknown precisely what potential for similar paradox prevention features the TARDIS has. (TV: The Girl Who Waited)


  1. According to the episode The Sound of Drums, Martha Jones' present day during series 3 of Doctor Who takes place over a six-day period, with the Saxon Master being elected three days after Smith and Jones, and the Toclafane invading Earth five days after Smith and Jones. However, sources differ on which dates these stories are set. According to PROSE: The Paradox Moon, the Toclafane invasion happens on 23 June 2007, placing the events of Smith and Jones on 18 June. According to AUDIO: Hysteria, Smith and Jones takes place in 2008, with a UNIT mission log in AUDIO: Recruits referring to the recovery of moon rocks from Royal Hope Hospital in March 2008. A newspaper clipping in PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters places Smith and Jones on a Sunday 4 June, thus placing the Toclafane invasion on Friday 9 June. In the real world, these dates do not fall on a Sunday and Friday in either 2007 or 2008.