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.