Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Jane Blythe

Book - Borrowed Time
Borrowed Time
(Paul Finch)
 Name: Jane Blythe; aspects of her were known as Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop.

 Format: Book

 Time of Origin: Exact species and time of origin is unknown given her contacts in the Time Market, but she appeared on Earth in 2007.

 Appearances: "Borrowed Time"

 Doctors: Eleventh Doctor

 Companions: Amy Pond and Rory Williams

 History: As an individual, Jane was a very intriguing opponent for The Doctor, due to her command of time allowing her to develop devices that allowed people to relive the same moment in time without ever interacting with their past or future selves by accident. At the same time, her knowledge of legal contracts allowing her to trick people into signing contracts that could allow them to ‘borrow’ time that would inevitably force humans into a position where they had to pay back more time than they could ever possess.

 Arriving on Earth in 2007, she found work at Lexington International Bank, posing as the personal assistant of bank manager Vanessa Laing-Randall while using a glass sculpture in the middle of the bank - intended to represent the bank’s commitment to bring all strands of a customer’s life together - to store the time she would gather. She recruited customers with the ‘aid’ of two men who introduced themselves to clients as Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop, humanoids who could manifest a shark-like appearance, although The Doctor realised that these men were actually other manifestations of Jane herself rather than independent entities. Not only could Symington and Blenkinsop make the necessary deals to gain time while she remained secure in her position as assistant, but their ability to travel freely back in time themselves allowed them to create miniature armies by repeatedly going back in time to help their past selves while the watches negated the usual side-effects of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (As explosively demonstrated by The Doctor’s old friend The Brigadier when his 1977 self met his 1983 self ("Mawdryn Undead")).

 However, Jane’s plans came to The Doctor’s attention when the Eleventh Doctor visited the bank with Rory and Amy to give them a quick ‘lesson’ on their own financial system, a few days before Lexington Bank would collapse. Having learned about the temporal ‘loan’ system from Sameera, one of the mid-level analysts at the bank, after she accidentally triggered the watch to send them both back in time fifteen minutes, shortly before she received calls from both The Doctor and Rory, Amy was convinced by Sameera to sign a contract for a watch so that she could attend to both problems at once, visiting Rory and then taking advantage of the opportunity to spend the weekend at her parents and getting a makeover before getting back to The Doctor. However, The Doctor’s analysis of Amy’s contract - his time senses allowing him to quickly realise what she had done despite the effort she went to in order to look like she’d just left - revealed that she had actually misinterpreted the fine print of the deal; rather than the five minutes per hour of interest that she had been expecting to pay, the interest rate was actually five minutes per hour per hour, causing her to pay increasingly more interest as time went on, to the point that she now owed ten years of ‘interest’ after borrowing only four days worth of time.

Unable to remove the watch without causing Amy to age to death, The Doctor was forced to distract Symington and Blenkinsop by programming her watch to slightly malfunction, leaving a fragment of her time in the Bank so that the two men would think that Amy was still there, cutting them off from the TARDIS in the bank vault while leaving them free to determine how to solve the problem. In order to get an inside man inside the bank, they contacted Andrew Brown, an analyst at the bank who Rory had witnessed in at least three locations simultaneously earlier, learning that he had started to use so much time that there were now multiple versions of him working on various odd jobs around his house. Revealing the amount of time that Andrew now owed as a result of his contract - reaching up to around 55,000 years -, The Doctor was able to ‘erase’ the future versions of Andrew present as the earliest Andrew resolved not to use any more time to avoid creating any more interest. While talking with Andrew, The Doctor and Amy noted that something else was going on beyond the temporal manipulation, as it was completely impractical to set up this kind of contract when it would be impossible for the humans to repay Symington and Blenkinsop’s ‘backers’ with the time they had borrowed.

 With Andrew working with them while Nadia - a bank employee with a damaged watch that caused her to randomly age back and forth - kept an eye on the TARDIS, they discovered an alien storage facility at the Millennium Dome where the ‘accounts’ of peoples’ borrowed time were kept in glass-like boxes, the boxes listing Laing-Randall as the person they should be returned to if lost. Returning to the bank, The Doctor was able to configure Nadia’s broken watch to ‘cloak’ him and his companions as well - Symington and Blenkinsop ignoring ‘Nadia’ as they knew her watch was broken, as well as the damage rendering her partly invisible to them -, The Doctor’s analysis of future newspaper articles revealing that the events in the present were already changing future history so that, for example, the invention of a battery that used cosmic background radiation to never run down had now been invented by a different person and suffered the occasional sudden power depletion.

Having revealed what was happening to Sameera, Andrew attempted to confront Vanessa about what was happening, running into Jane during a confrontation with Symington and Blenkinsop, Jane feigning ignorance of what was happening so that they would take her to The Doctor after realising that they were on to her. Using a visit the Chancellor of the Exchequer was making to the Bank, Amy, Nadia and Sameera attempted to reveal the truth over the live broadcast - Sameera paying back the time she owed live on camera so that she aged thirty-five years in a matter of seconds -, only for them all to be cornered by the Symingtons and Blenkinsops. Realising that Jane was the person responsible, The Doctor was able to draw Jane’s attention to him after she had killed Vanessa - concluding that her ‘boss’ had outlived her usefulness - by revealing his knowledge of the Time Market before agreeing to take on Amy’s debt, now worth over twenty-five years, and paying it back without any noticeable effect on his physical age.

Now aware of his true identity as a Time Lord - and having averted the broadcast by travelling back in time to stop it after realising what they were trying to do -, Jane decided to take The Doctor to the time auction to sell him to other representatives of the Market, The Doctor agreeing to allow himself to be ‘captured’ in exchange for Jane negating the debt owed by the human race. While Jane took The Doctor to the auction, Amy, Rory, Andrew and Sameera decided to track down the location where Jane had stored her already-repaid time in the hopes that disrupting it would affect her current ability to manipulate time. While the auction escalated to the point where people were willing to bid five inhabited galaxies for The Doctor, one of the Old Members of the market - old enough to remember the days when the Time Market had sold regenerations and dirty time to renegade Time Lords - suggested that The Doctor be allowed to speak.

Although Jane naturally ‘edited’ The Doctor’s answers to the questions she allowed him to answer, he was able to avoid saying anything that would definitively establish himself as a Time Lord until his friends managed to break the sculpture containing the stored time, simultaneously tricking Jane into revealing that she had actually borrowed heavily from the Market to carry out her scheme in the first place, with promises of repaying them with the time from the contracts. With Jane lacking the temporal resources to stop him saying anything she didn’t want him saying, The Doctor revealed her deception to the Market; the bidders apparently believed that 100,000 years was less than a tenth of the average human life span, and therefore Jane would never be able to repay the debts she had incurred. With the truth revealed, every member of the Market agreed to sell the human contracts to The Doctor so that he could cancel them all, the loss of the temporal energy she’d used in the first place apparently negating Jane’s existence before the Market itself collapsed due to the loss of faith in the system (Particularly since The Doctor was able to keep his identity as a Time Lord a secret). Having returned to the present via the slow path - the auction having taken place only a few years in the past, although it was broadcast further into the past as well -, The Doctor was able to deal with Nadia and Sameera’s temporal problems by giving their boxes to the other, resulting in the now ten-year-old Nadia ‘losing’ ten years of her life while Sameera received the thirty years she was owed, restoring Sameera to her proper age while leaving the originally forty-year-old Nadia in her twenties, the rest of the contracts having been cancelled before anyone could repay them.
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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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