PLAYED BY: Michael Jayston
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The Valeyard was a Time Lord-like individual, who, according to the Master, was an amalgamation of the Doctor’s darker sides from between his twelfth and final incarnations.
The Sixth Doctor found himself in an alternate version of London created by Ashley Chapel’s use of the Millennium Codex. He manifested magical powers suitable to the new, unstable universe’s laws of physics. Using these powers began to transform him into a variant of the Valeyard. The Doctor’s fears of becoming the Valeyard allowed his potential in the Doctor to combine with the Great Kingdom’s unique physical properties and the Doctor’s ability to regenerate. This temporarily made him the Valeyard. The Doctor’s true self was able to re-manifest with the aid of the TARDIS as he forced down the aspect of the Valeyard within himself, the Doctor acknowledging the Valeyard’s argument that the ruthless course of action was sometimes necessary but rejecting the idea that he had to enjoy such actions to do it. (Millennial Rites)
When the Seventh Doctor slept, he dreamed of his other selves in his mind, and heard the Valeyard threaten that “when the [Doctor’s] strength was at its lowest, he would reach out from the recesses of [the Doctor’s] subconscious and seize [his body].” (Head Games)
When the Eighth Doctor looked into a Tomorrow Window, he saw the Valeyard standing “alone on a sand dune, [his] hair in a ponytail, [and] cloak flapping in the wind. (The Tomorrow Windows)
The Valeyard was, according to the Master, an “amalgamation of the darker sides of [the Doctor’s] nature, [taken] somewhere between [his] twelfth and final incarnation”, (The Ultimate Foe) reportedly being brought into being by the High Council. (The Eight Doctors)
According to a tale told by the Valeyard himself, which the Sixth Doctor noted could have “a grain of truth [to] it”, the Valeyard was created as a Time Tot on a mud planet orbiting Etarho during a period when the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor was experimenting with ways to break the twelve-regeneration limit imposed on Time Lords by Rassilon. At the young age of twenty, the Valeyard was found wandering the mud swamps of the planet by a group of scavengers, who kindly gave him food to eat and, when they learned what race he belonged to, sent him to Gallifrey.
The Time Lords examined the Valeyard’s biodata and found that it was an exact match with the Doctor’s sample. Knowing that this meant that the Valeyard was a temporal anomaly, they sent him to a Shadow House. In the Shadow House, the Valeyard met a Time Lord who had been damaged due to temporal interventions by his future self and therefore had his regeneration permanently stuck in a paradox. The man told the Valeyard to study the science of regeneration, in order to gain revenge on the Time Lords for what they had done to every member of the Shadow House. (Trial of the Valeyard)
According to Genesta, the Valeyard was created by the Time Lords using black ops technology, possibly as a weapon. However, Genesta was seemingly replaced by the disguised Valeyard himself at some point, and he refused to reveal whether the claims were made by the real Genesta or him, or, indeed, Genesta had ever been more than a disguise. (The Brink of Death)
First meeting with the Doctor
On behalf of the corrupt High Council, seeking to cover up the Ravolox affair that the Sixth Doctor had accidentally uncovered, the Valeyard acted as the prosecutor in the Doctor’s trial in exchange for his seven remaining regenerations. ( The Ultimate Foe) Keeping his end of the bargain, the Valeyard presented extracts from the Matrix depicting recent events in the Doctor’s life as evidence of the Doctor violating the Time Lords’ non-interference policy. (The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp)
Unbeknownst to the Time Lord jury present at the trial, the Valeyard had tampered with the Matrix extracts to show the Doctor in the worst possible light and steer the trial to a guilty verdict. He created the impression of the Doctor abandoning his companion, Peri Brown, to save himself, (Mindwarp) and also added the charge of the genocide of the Vervoids, despite their artificial nature and the act being from the Doctor’s future. ( Terror of the Vervoids)
Attempting to secure a guilty verdict, the Valeyard was somehow able to force an alternate timeline where the Doctor would be judged guilty and arranged to oversee his execution, intending for this timeline to become real once the Doctor had been shot. However, the Doctor was saved from execution when his eighth incarnation arrived to save him, the temporal stasis created when two incarnations met allowing the Sixth Doctor to retreat into the Eighth’s TARDIS. Although the timeline that created him was erased after his departure, and the Sixth Doctor travelling with the Eighth vanished a short while later, he existed long enough to assist the Eighth Doctor in setting up an inquiry into the trial using their previous role as President. (The Eight Doctors)
Back on the station, the Master eventually stepped in after taking delight in seeing the Doctor’s plight, sending Sabalom Glitz and Melanie Bush to act as witnesses for the Doctor’s version of events, and revealed the Valeyard’s origin and motives. The Valeyard escaped into the Matrix via the Seventh Door, which he opened with a copy of the Key of Rassilon. He was pursued and finally defeated by the Sixth Doctor when he tried to use a particle disseminator to destroy the court at the Doctor’s trial. The Doctor programmed the disseminator to feed back into the Matrix and escaped before the resulting blast apparently destroyed the Valeyard. The Inquisitor dismissed the trial. However, as the Sixth Doctor and his companion Melanie Bush departed, the Valeyard was secretly still present – having somehow escaped under the guise of the Keeper of the Matrix. ( The Ultimate Foe) Back on Gallifrey, the Eighth Doctor’s Commission of Inquiry into his past self’s trial that resulted in the dismissal of the renegade High Council responsible, as well as the temporary restoration of Borusa to guide Gallifrey through the immediate turmoil caused by the exposure of their crimes. (The Eight Doctors)
The Valeyard was found by the Time Lords on the moon of Etarho and was captured and ordered to reveal the secret research into regeneration the thirteenth incarnation of the Doctor had allegedly performed there. The Valeyard refused, and as a result, he was placed on trial with a faked charge of having hacked into the Matrix. He asked for the Sixth Doctor to be his defence. The Valeyard told the Doctor and Inquisitor Darkel of his supposed origins, during which he voiced heresy against the limit Rassilon had imposed on regeneration, suggesting it was only a measure of control from Rassilon’s side and was possible to break. As a result, he was judged to immediate termination, but he managed to fake his execution by using a hidden Matrix door placed under the dock, and he escaped through it onto the surface of Etarho’s moon.
On the moon of Etarho, the Valeyard impersonated the Thirteenth Doctor and tricked the Doctor into taking a bomb from him. The Doctor discovered his ruse, and the Valeyard escaped again by entering another Matrix door. The Doctor assumed that the Valeyard would likely try again at some point to exact revenge on both himself and Darkel, and warned Darkel that it was very likely the Valeyard had received help from someone powerful on the Time Lord council, pointing out that it would have been very difficult for him to sneak a Matrix door into the courtroom all by himself. (Trial of the Valeyard)
The Valeyard subsequently devised the identity of a man called Zimmerman to send assassins after the Sixth Doctor and sell various Time Lord secrets. However, both plans failed when the Doctor’s investigation into the assassins’ activities revealed Zimmerman’s actions (Although not his identity) while his link to the Matrix would ensure that the Time Lords learned about them as well. The Doctor later managed to get the assassins off his trail by using a stolen temporal circuit to put himself in temporal stasis, frozen between heartbeats and thus legally dead, resulting in the assassins being forced to accept that they had technically killed him even if he was alive later. (Mission: Impractical)
After his last encounter with the Doctor, the Valeyard was left in a weakened state, not even able to maintain his normal appearance. He travelled to the Parallel Sect’s Dimensional Nexus to use its properties to restore himself. This plan was brought to a halt when the Master arrived, desiring to use the Nexus to be able to take over any dimension he wished. His interference accidentally began to cause different universes to intersect at the Nexus, which would eventually cause an infinite number of dimensions to appear there.
Fortunately for the Valeyard, the Sixth Doctor and Constance Clarke arrived. Masquerading as a man named Tim Hope, the Valeyard waited until the Doctor figured out what the Master was up to, and planted the item that the Doctor needed to fix things on Constance. After that, he confronted the Master and threatened him, forcing him to leave and never return, and to also leave the Doctor alone, as the Valeyard had a plan to deal with him. With the Dimensional Nexus restored to normal, the Valeyard was mostly restored, having retaken his normal appearance. (The End of the Line)
For the next step, the Valeyard journeyed to the moon of Plestinious, having learned of the existence of a native species called the Nathemus, a cluster of intelligent microscopic creatures with strong psychic abilities that fed on thoughts. Knowing that the Nathemus’s native habitat would be destroyed by the authorities of Plestinious, as they carried out plans to convert the moon to a power plant, the Valeyard saved them from their fate by extracting them into a container filled with volcanic gas from Plestinious, the only environment they could survive in. Thankful for being saved from extinction, the Nathemus pledged their loyalty to the Valeyard. He then revealed his plans to them; he would use their psychic abilities to take control of the Matrix, allowing himself to overwrite every Time Lord whoever had existed and retroactively replace them with copies of himself, to a point where he would eventually be able to replace even Rassilon, and thereby have free reign to shape Time Lord society in any way he pleased. In exchange for the Nathemus’ help, he would give them a unique and colourful mind to feed on: that of the Sixth Doctor. (The Brink of Death)
The Valeyard then travelled to a planet in the 31st Century. There, he set himself up as a porter, assisting Dr Paignton as she used her Psychic Extractor to remove the feral urges of the werewolves of said planet. Once the Sixth Doctor and Charlotte Pollard arrived and interfered, the Valeyard was able to steal the Extractor, using his knowledge of Charley’s past with the Eighth Doctor to trick her into helping him distract the Doctor. He then went to the Doctor’s TARDIS and implanted the Nathemus into the symbiotic nuclei of the TARDIS, where they will stay and feed on the Sixth Doctor’s mind until they are able to access the Matrix. (The Red House) In the process of doing so, the Valeyard was confronted by a future Sixth Doctor, who demanded to know what he was trying to accomplish. The Valeyard believed that the Doctor’s visit was a sign that his plan would succeed in the future, and pleased by this, he allowed the Doctor to have an audience with the Nathemus to have them explain the plan to him. The Doctor was horrified by what the Nathemus told him but was powerless to stop the Valeyard as he was back dragged into the Matrix which he had previously escaped from. (The Brink of Death)
The Valeyard travelled to Victorian London and posed as a man named Timothy Yardvale, convincing Henry Gordon Jago to rent him the New Regency Theatre, by claiming he wanted to stage a play. He then lured actors to the theatre and had them help him act out the regenerations of the first five Doctors, with him playing the role of the past Doctors. He would then use the Psychic Extractor on the actors, absorbing their negative emotions and killing them. He would then place the bodies in easy-to-find locations as a message to the Sixth Doctor, who eventually arrived with Flip Jackson. Having abducted Flip to act as Zoe Heriot in a twisted version of the Second Doctor‘s regeneration ( The War Games), he used the Extractor on the Doctor, goading him into feeling more negative emotions, which continued the Valeyard’s restoration. Flip managed to distract the Doctor, bringing an end to the Valeyard’s plan. But what he managed to get from the actors and the Doctor was enough to complete his restoration. All he had to do was wait for the Nathemus to complete their work. (Stage Fright)
Once the Nathemus finally got access, the Valeyard was able to take over the Sixth Doctor’s life. In this position, he made arrangements for having the Nathemus continue to influence the Matrix and managed to replace at least two other Time Lords with himself. However, an echo of the Doctor remained in the Matrix and managed to foil the Valeyard’s plan by telling his past self through the telepathic circuits to fly into beams of radiation from Lakertya, thus forcing him to regenerate into the Seventh Doctor, and killing the Nathemus before they could completely link with him. This left the Valeyard trapped in the Matrix with the echo of the Doctor. The Valeyard angrily protested that the Doctor had killed them both and robbed himself of a future, but the echo of the Sixth Doctor declared he would rather die than have a future as the Valeyard and added he would do so happily, knowing the last words the Valeyard would ever hear would be his. With his regeneration into the Seventh Doctor, however, the timelines shifted, leading the echo of the Sixth Doctor to quietly fade away as he was from a timeline that now no longer existed. The Valeyard, meanwhile, remained stuck in the Matrix, having once again been reduced to a weakened form. (The Brink of Death)
The Valeyard later tangled with the Doctor in his seventh incarnation, revealing his mastery of the Dark Matrix, a counterpart of the original. He assumed the identity of Jack the Ripper and used the Ripper murders to ‘feed’ the Matrix. He tried to use its power to give himself a true body, unconcerned with the dangers his actions posed to history. While he committed the Ripper murders, he used the Dark Matrix to reach into his past to corrupt the Doctor’s other selves to do his work, such as driving the Doctor to destroy other Time Lords as he left Gallifrey in his first incarnation, his fourth incarnation into destroying the Daleks at their beginning, and his fifth incarnation into drinking the bat’s milk himself while Peri died in his place. These corrupted incarnations became wraiths in the Valeyard’s TARDIS, resembling cloaked, twisted versions of themselves, which he could subsequently use to animate golems to act as his agents.
After the Seventh Doctor was attacked by one of the Valeyard’s golems, he attempted to leave Ace with the First Doctor for safety, only to arrive in the alternate 1963 that would result from the Valeyard’s presence in London. He learned the full details of the new timeline from that world’s versions of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. He travelled back to 1888 to investigate the Ripper murders after identifying them as the divergent point with Barbara’s help but nearly fell under the Valeyard’s influence before he sealed his conscious mind in the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits. After wandering London as an amnesic cardsharp by the name ‘Johnny’, the Doctor was reunited with the circuits in time to save Ace from being the Ripper’s sixth victim.
Tracking the Valeyard to the church where he had established his base, the Doctor confronted his enemy- who stated that he now called himself ‘the Ripper’ as he found the name more evocative- while the Ripper summoned the wraiths of the other twelve Doctors to confront the Seventh. Fleeing deeper into the tomb that was the Valeyard’s TARDIS, the Doctor provoked the Matrix into rebellion against the Valeyard’s control, informing it that it was still as trapped now as it had been on Gallifrey, resulting in it lashing out from its prison in the Valeyard’s TARDIS. He fought the Ripper on the top the church, but the destruction of the Valeyard’s TARDIS and the subsequent release of energy caused by the ‘rebellion’ of the Dark Matrix seemingly killed the Valeyard and restored history to normal. (Matrix)
The Carrionites knew Valeyard as a name for the Doctor and used it to taunt the Sixth Doctor. Reverend Douglas Bell would advise the Doctor to take heed of their prediction that hatred would consume him, though the Doctor insisted that it was still only a possibility and not set in stone. (The Carrionite Curse)
For a time, it was believed that the corrupted memory of the Sixth Doctor would be used as the template for the Valeyard’s final manifestation as the Seventh Doctor began to associate him with the Valeyard, prompting the memories of the other five Doctors to seal him away in their mind. (The Room With No Doors) The Seventh Doctor would often have nightmares about the Valeyard and would avoid regeneration when he could, lest a regeneration crisis serve to free the Valeyard from his mind. (Head Games) However, when the Seventh Doctor nearly died and woke up in his own grave, he accepted that he was the Doctor in all his bodies and nobody deserved to be locked away forever, allowing him to forgive his past self and remove the guilt that would have led to the Sixth Doctor’s memory becoming the Valeyard. (The Room With No Doors
The Tenth Doctor still considered the Valeyard to be one of his future incarnations and wondered if the Twelfth Doctor was secretly him upon meeting him as he had scanned the Eleventh Doctor and confirmed him as his final incarnation. The Twelfth Doctor rebuked by asking if he “looked like he was out of panto”. (Four Doctors)
On Trenzalore, the Great Intelligence claimed that the Valeyard would be one of the future aliases of the Doctor “before the end.” ( The Name of the Doctor)
As recorded by the Testimony, the “Shadow of the Valeyard” was a name for the Doctor. ( Twice Upon a Time)
Years later, Es’Cartrss of the Tactire assumed the form of the meta-crisis Doctor to steal the Tenth Doctor’s memories from within the TARDIS matrix. Unlike the real meta-crisis Doctor, this illusionary form had a malevolent appearance, sporting a beard and primarily black outfit that mirrored the Doctor’s clothes. Before revealing his true identity, Es’Cartrss suggested to the Doctor that he was, in fact, the Valeyard. The Doctor dismissed this suggestion, leading to the revelation of Es’Cartrss’s identity. In the form of the Valeyard, Es’Cartrss also wielded the Master’s tissue compression eliminator, which the Tenth Doctor chided him for doing since the Master had moved on to using a laser screwdriver. The Tenth Doctor eventually used Es’Cartrss’s decision to impersonate the Valeyard against him. Es’Cartrss had assumed a Time Lord body, which no longer existed beyond the Doctor himself. The Doctor reminded the Matrix of this knowledge and purged the system of the erroneous data creating an additional Time Lord, which was Es’Cartrss itself. This nearly killed the parasite and allowed the Doctor to reclaim his mind, who then booted the incapacitated creature out of his TARDIS. (The Forgotten)
The Tenth Doctor briefly considered the possibility that the Twelfth Doctor was the Valeyard. (Four Doctors)
The Valeyard was similar to several of the Doctor’s incarnations, cunning and verbal, with a knack for manipulation. He had a bit of a temper, and was prone to outbursts, but generally calm and collected, also traits of several incarnations of the Doctor. However, his actions were constantly defined by his egotism. The Valeyard would risk or sacrifice anything to ensure his own existence, even break the Laws of Time and kill his own past self and try to control the Dark Matrix despite the dangers its presence would pose to established history. (The Mysterious Planet, The Ultimate Foe, Matrix)
The Valeyard seemed to possess memories of the incarnations of the Doctor that fell before him. He predicted to the Sixth Doctor that he had “no idea” what was approaching in his life. He offered to tell him of his next incarnation, whom he claimed was filled with “plots and schemes,” all to “win a game that was never his to win.” He described the Doctor’s eighth incarnation as one that “won’t ever be able to shake the shadow of death,” and predicts that “there will be deaths” in the Doctor’s future. ( Trial of the Valeyard) He also expressed knowledge of the futures of the Doctor’s companions Flip Jackson and Charley Pollard (Stage Fright, The Red House), although in Charley’s case it is unclear if he now remembered the full truth about her travels with the Sixth and Eighth Doctors or just made a deduction based on her presence.
The Valeyard appeared as a middle-aged man, with light grey eyes and short black hair. In full courtly dress, the Valeyard wore long black robes with a stiff black collar edged in white and a black skullcap. After the trial of the Doctor, the Valeyard at least temporarily became the Keeper of the Matrix; this time he wore an orange version of his previous outfit with a stiff collar. ( Mindwarp, The Ultimate Foe)
Inside the Matrix, he disguised himself as Mr Popplewick, a slightly overweight man with curly blond hair. In this capacity, he wore human clothes typical of the 19th / early 20th century that included a white shirt and a vest under a large blue jacket. He also wore a bow tie and a pair of glasses. ( The Ultimate Foe)
While in London in 1888, he was typically shown wearing a long dark robe that concealed most of his features. (Matrix)
Behind the scenes
- Some of the background for the Valeyard was lost due to creative differences between John Nathan-Turner, Doctor Who‘s producer, and script editor Eric Saward. An earlier draft of The Ultimate Foe made it clear that the Doctor would definitely, at some stage, turn into the Valeyard, desperate to extend his life after his remaining regenerations had run out — a situation not dissimilar to the one earlier faced by the Master. Nathan-Turner did not favour the dark nature of these and other developments in the script and felt this plot point would allow cancellation of the series for bookending the Doctor’s future destiny. This fear was justified by the then-recent hiatus placed on the show by BBC controller Michael Grade. Pip and Jane Baker ended up patching up the continuity — without reference to the scripts, for legal reasons.
- In the novelisation of The Ultimate Foe, the Master states, “The Valeyard, Doctor, is your penultimate reincarnation… Somewhere between your twelfth and thirteenth regeneration.”
- The Time Traveller’s Companion, a supplement for the Doctor Who – Adventures in Time and Space: The Roleplaying Game, implies that the Valeyard is a rogue Watcher, similar to the one produced in Logopolis, generated during the regeneration of the twelfth into the thirteenth incarnation. This Watcher, presumed to possess all the most negative traits of the Doctor’s darker nature, refused to rejoin with the Time Lord and escaped into the wider universe to eventually put the Doctor on trial.
- The Sixth Doctor suggested this theory during the Valeyard’s trial but was answered that the Valeyard did not look like a Watcher, though the theory was not confirmed nor definitely denied. (Trial of the Valeyard)
- The reference book The Doctor: His Lives and Times implies that the High Council of Time Lords “plucked” the Valeyard from within the Doctor’s time stream.
- The Valeyard was dubbed in German by voice actor Fred Maire.
- Contrary to the in-universe definition, “Valeyard” is not a genuine legal title meaning “learned court prosecutor.” The word was entirely made-up by writer Robert Holmes. The title does bear some similarity to the French word “vieillard”, meaning “old man”.
- Writer’s guidelines for the Virgin New Adventures specifically asked writers not to discuss the continuity issues created by the Valeyard or the Doctor’s trial in The Trial of a Time Lord, branding the Valeyard “a continuity nightmare, and a rather dull villain”, and took the official line that those events had taken place in the Doctor’s personal future.
- The Valeyard appeared in the unauthorised fan novel charity publication Time’s Champion begun by Craig Hinton and completed by Chris McKeon.
- The Doctor Who Unbound audio story He Jests at Scars… portrayed a version of the Valeyard from an alternate timeline in which he succeeded in killing the Doctor in the Matrix and pursued his schemes to alter history to his own designs, ultimately damaging the timeline beyond repair.
- The character of the Dream Lord shared aspects of the Valeyard, as he also was created from the dark side of the Doctor, in a dream induced by psychic pollen. (Amy’s Choice)