The Doctor's Acquaintances

The White Guardian
 Name: The White Guardian

 Format: Television show and Audio

 Time of Origin: Technically eternity; the White Guardian exists as a universal constant and the personification of order itself, capable of manifesting anywhere in time and space (Although he is forbidden to take direct action himself, and is apparently weaker in the future as entropy sets in and the Black Guardian grows stronger).

 Appearances: "The Ribos Operation",  sent a warning in "The Stones of Blood" without appearing directly, "Enlightenment", "The Destroyer of Delights" and "The Chaos Pool".

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor and Fifth Doctor

 Companions: K9, 1st Romana, 2nd Romana, Tegan Jovanka, Turlough and Amy

The Ribos Operation

The Ribos Operation

 History: As an individual, the White Guardian is easily one of the most powerful entities that The Doctor has ever encountered, serving as the personification of the fundamental forces of order and control throughout all of time and space, the counterpart to the Black Guardian of Chaos. As The Doctor developed a reputation as a champion for the forces of good and justice, it was almost inevitable that the White Guardian would speak to him one day, eventually selecting the Fourth Doctor to search for the six segments of the Key to Time ("The Ribos Operation"). An all-powerful object capable of granting the wielder complete control over all of time and space once all six segments were assembled, the Guardian wanted the Key to stabilise the universe, providing The Doctor with a Tracer to find the six segments and a new companion in the form of the Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar (Subsequently nicknamed 'Romana' by The Doctor).

Although the White Guardian warned The Doctor that the Black Guardian would be just as interested in the Key as he was, The Doctor generally avoided any direct confrontation with the Black Guardian's agents for the duration of his search for the Key; although he did speculate that some of his foes during this time, such as Hsien-Ko Chang ("The Shadow of Weng-Chiang") or Vivien Fey ("The Stones of Blood") might be connected to the Guardian, their powers were always revealed to have been acquired on their own merits without outside assistance. Despite the White Guardian's warnings - including a second warning about the Black Guardian when The Doctor and Romana were searching for the third segment ("The Stones of Blood") - the Black Guardian only became involved in the final stage of The Doctor's quest when he, Romana and K9 tracked the sixth segment of the Key to the planet Atrios, engaged in a cold war with the planet Zeos, manipulated by the Black Guardian's minion the Shadow ("The Armageddon Factor"). Although The Doctor and Romana were able to assemble the Key after identifying Princess Astra of Atrios as the sixth segment, when the Black Guardian attempted to acquire the Key by posing as his counterpart, The Doctor saw through the Guardian's disguise when he showed no concern for the fate of Astra; the White Guardian would have ordered the segments to disperse in order to return the sentient Astra to normal. Casually informing the Guardian that it would be a shame to doom the universe because he was colour-blind, The Doctor activated the TARDIS's defence systems and then broke the Tracer after setting the ship in motion, causing the six segments of the Key to disperse throughout time and space once again, restoring Astra to her old life while he, K9 and Romana went on the run using a Randomiser to prevent the Black Guardian from knowing where they were going.

Despite the Black Guardian's efforts to avenge himself on The Doctor through his agents, the White Guardian stayed away from their struggles for a time, the Black Guardian only acting directly against The Doctor during a confrontation in the far future when the forces of entropy meant that the White Guardian's powers were weakened ("The Well-Mannered War"). However, when the Black Guardian attempted to use the Fifth Doctor's new companion Turlough as an assassin to eliminate The Doctor ("Mawdryn Undead" and "Terminus"), the White Guardian eventually appeared to warn The Doctor of an approaching danger. After the White Guardian directed the TARDIS to a set of coordinates, The Doctor, Turlough and Tegan became involved in a race among the Eternals - nearly omnipotent beings from the higher dimensions, but lacking the imagination and creativity to use their powers to their fullest extent - the Eternals seeking to acquire 'Enlightenment' in the form of knowledge about the true nature of good and evil.



Fortunately, The Doctor was able to take control of a ship crewed by Eternals who had allied themselves with the Black Guardian, winning the race himself - much to the Black Guardian's displeasure, as he had been anticipating the chaos that the Eternals would cause with their new knowledge - rejecting the offer of Enlightenment on the grounds that nobody was ready for it. In a final meeting between the White and Black Guardians and the winners of the race, Turlough fully renounced his old deal with the Black Guardian when offered a choice between killing The Doctor or claiming an enormous diamond. Although Turlough's decision to reject the diamond in favour of The Doctor broke his contract with the Guardian, the White Guardian noted that his rival would seek The Doctor again in future, proclaiming that the two Guardians would remain until they were no longer needed.

The Guardians returned to The Doctor's life once again when The Doctor was recruited by the Grace - higher-dimensional beings that apparently existed beyond even the authority of the Guardians - to find the Key to Time once again, the segments having begun to decay and damage the fabric of reality after The Doctor's use of a makeshift sixth segment disrupted the balance between them. After The Doctor and his new companion Amy - a sentient Tracer sent to help him in his quest - had acquired the first four segments, The Doctor and Amy were forced to work with the Black Guardian to find the fifth segment of the Key; the powers of the Black and White Guardians weakening due to the damage that the decaying segments were causing to the universe around them, and the sixth segment was a living entity whose removal would cause a potentially devastating temporal quake that could only be mitigated by the complete Key, which made finding the fifth segment the priority.

Arriving in ninth-century Arabia during their search, the Black Guardian assumed a new identity of Lord Cassim of the city of Dunqulah while the White Guardian was the Legate of the Caliph - the most powerful symbol of Law on Earth at this time - both sides having determined that this was the most likely location of the segment. Attempting to leave Earth, the weakened Black Guardian was forced to work with a treasure-seeking Djinn to repair its damaged spacecraft by providing it with gold that it could fuse together to create a shard of heavy gold, only for The Doctor and Amy to realise that the resulting 'heavy gold' was the fifth segment, paradoxically created as the Guardians searched for it. Claiming the segment, The Doctor and Amy departed in the TARDIS, leaving the now-powerless Guardians to their own devices ("The Destroyer of Delights").

However, the two Guardians were able to escape their 'prison' thanks to the actions of Zara, another sentient tracer who rescued the White Guardian to help her find the last segment, and Romana, who discovered the TARDIS after it was ejected from a spaceship and tracked back through its recent destinations to try and find The Doctor, only to be captured by the Black Guardian when her presence restored enough of his abilities due to Romana herself now being the sixth segment of the Key. Although the White Guardian had lost most of his memory due to his long time on Earth without his powers, now going by the name of Professor Lydell and hampered by a distinctive limp, he was put to work by Zara to help the people of Atrios- led by the now-immortal Astra, who was unwittingly draining the lives of her people as her body sought to sustain itself without the Key essence- find the legendary Chaos Pool, the location where the Key to Time had been forged and could also be destroyed. When The Doctor and Amy traced the sixth segment to the Astrian spaceship where Lydell was now working, he was able to regain a degree of his old strength through proximity to the segments that The Doctor had already collected, just as the Black Guardian was restored by Romana. Eventually, the two Guardians confronted The Doctor once more at the Chaos Pool, but The Doctor refused to hand the Key over to either of them, concluding that the White Guardian's fixation on obeying the letter of the law would make him just as dangerous as the Black Guardian, the Key giving the White Guardian the power to eliminate freedom just as it would give the Black Guardian the power to destroy order. As The Doctor completed the Key - the essence of the sixth segment being drawn out of Romana and returned to Astra, who willingly sacrificed herself to save her old friend - the Grace manifested from within the Key itself, banishing the two Guardians back to the howling Void so that they could continue their struggle, neither one able to claim the Key themselves as their powers were too evenly matched and Zara and Amy both refused to help either. With The Doctor now holding the Key, he leapt into the Chaos Pool, destroying the Key and dispersing the Grace throughout eternity ("The Chaos Pool"). Given the Black Guardian's more reasonable, compromising personality in these appearances, combined with the White Guardian's disregard for the rights of sentient beings with his plans to use the Key to impose complete order on the universe where The Doctor once believed resolutely that he would never do such a thing, it would appear that the entropy damage being caused to the universe had the side-effect of causing the two Guardians to 'blur' in personality, each of them demonstrating slight aspects of the other's attitude rather than the previously-portrayed division of the Black Guardian as an enemy and the White as an ally.

While echoes of the Black Guardian have appeared in the modern series in the form of such threats as the Trickster, the personification of the Pantheon of Dischord and an adversary to The Doctor's former companion Sarah Jane Smith, no such references have been made to the White Guardian, suggesting that the Guardians remain lost outside time.

Video - The Ribos Operation
The Ribos Operation
(VHS Video)
Video - The Key to Time Ltd Edition Box Set
The Key to Time
Ltd Edition
DVD Box Set
Video - The Stones of Blood
The Stones of Blood

Video - Enlightenment
Audio - The Destroyer of Delights
The Destroyer of Delights
(Jonathan Clements)
Audio - The Chaos Pool
The Chaos Pool
(Peter Anghelides)
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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