How Many Lives Does The Doctor Have?

Doctor Who Regeneration Tenth Doctor

As we head into the next season and end of Matt Smith’s tenure, the question about number of regenerations keeps coming up. How may lives does The Doctor really have? It’s a great question… too bad there isn’t a clear answer. First, a bit of history – it was pretty obvious after the transition from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton that regeneration was going to be part of the show, but it wasn’t until much later during the Peter Davison episode “Mawdryn Undead” that we find out about the 12 regeneration limit for Time Lords. A video clip would be really handy right now… (UPDATE: SEE BELOW!)

So I guess the answer is 13. A Time Lord has 13 lives (12 regenerations = 13 lives).

But wait, maybe not. I guess there’s no point in keeping you in further suspense, so here’s what you’ve been waiting for: It seems that The Doctor is special in that the 12 regeneration rule doesn’t apply. This fact was revealed several years ago not in Doctor Who, but rather in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures. Cue the next video…

So there’s your answer. 507 regenerations. Maybe.

BONUS: All The Doctor’s regenerations from 1963 to the last regeneration in 2010

UPDATE: Many thanks go out to Jim R. for pointing out that it was in fact "The Deadly Assassin" where we first learn about the 12 regeneration limit.

Don’t Miss A Thing

Subscribe to our free newsletter just for fans.
We'll update you once or twice a week. Thanks.


  1. well he has only regenerated 11 times because the first doctor never regenerated into the first doctor he just was the first doctor. so we still have one more after peter Capaldi. but in a Sarah Jane Smith Adventures clyde asks the doctor in season 4 how many times he could regenerate and the doctor replied “507” so hey could still be 496 regerations left

    • Ok so the peter capaldi doctor is technically the 14th he is the 12th doctor but the 14th regeneration. the war doctor is still a regen and 10 renerated twice. Peter capaldi isn’t supposed to happen but if you watched the 50th aniversery the time lords gave the doctor another set of 12 renens so after capaldi there are 12 more doctors (unless they do the whole new cycle again)

  2. When River gave up her remaining 11 regeneration in Let’s Kill Hitler my guess is the Doctor got them.


  1. linked website

    How Many Lives Does The Doctor Have? – Doctor Who .com



Read previous post:
Doctor Who Series 7 DVD
Doctor Who Complete Season 7 DVD Available For Pre-Order

Yay! It's the moment we've all been waiting for (or at least one of them... new Doctor announcement, ahem). The...