Sonic Screwdriver

The Woman Who Fell To Earth

Facts

Name:

Sonic Screwdriver

Type:

Sonic device

Place of Origin:

Gallifrey
The TARDIS

Made By:

The Doctor
Romana
The TARDIS
Santa Claus

Used By:

The Doctor and some of their companions
Stoyn

First Seen In:

Fury from the Deep

Gallery

” alt = “Biography”>

The sonic screwdriver, also called a sonic probe or simply “the sonic”, was a highly versatile tool used by many people throughout the universe, the most prominent of them being The Doctor.

While almost always referred to as a sonic screwdriver, this device has on occasion been referred to as a sonic probe by people other than The Doctor, such as Dalek Sec (Doomsday) and a version of Amy Pond who had been stuck on Apalapucia for 36 years. (The Girl Who Waited) The Tenth (Doomsday) and Eleventh (The Girl Who Waited) Doctors openly disliked this and corrected those who did so. The Ninth (The Doctor Dances) and Twelfth Doctors (The Husbands of River Song) also defended when others claimed it was inferior to other sonic devices like a sonic blaster or sonic trowel.

TECHNOLOGY AND FUNCTIONS

The sonic screwdriver was considered to be very advanced Gallifreyan technology, (Heart of TARDIS) although somebody could make one by using resources found on Earth with help from Stenza technology. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)

The Doctor claimed to have either invented or designed the specific sonic screwdriver which they owned. In fact, the Seventh Doctor claimed to have filed a patent on the technology, (The Unknown) and to have copyright on the design. (The Quantum Possibility Engine)

When Kazran Sardick was confused as to what to do when it looked like Abigail Pettigrew was about to kiss him, the Eleventh Doctor told Kazran to trust him and kiss Abigail, as “it’s this, or go to your room and design a new kind of screwdriver. Don’t make my mistakes.” (A Christmas Carol) When Captain Jack Harkness asked the Ninth Doctor, “Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks ‘Ooh, this could be a little more sonic’?”, the Ninth Doctor defensively responded, “What? You never been bored? Never had a long night? Never had a lot of cabinets to put up?” (The Doctor Dances)

Other individuals had similar devices, such as the sonic pen (which appeared to serve a near-identical function) used by Miss Foster (Partners in Crime) and the sonic blaster used first by Captain Jack Harkness (The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances) and later River Song. (Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead) Sarah Jane Smith had her sonic lipstick, (Invasion of the Bane, ) and the Doctor himself once used a sonic cane. (Let’s Kill Hitler) Even Missy used a sonic umbrella. (World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls) River Song also had her own sonic screwdriver that the Twelfth Doctor gifted her. (Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, The Husbands of River Song)

From time to time, the sonic screwdriver needed to be recharged. (Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead, The Monsters Inside, Bizarre Zero) It was self-repairing and could send out a homing signal to any parts that had been separated. (A Christmas Carol)

Sonic screwdrivers and similar technology could not unlock a deadlock seal. (School Reunion, The Night of the Doctor) However, Miss Foster’s sonic pen could open the deadlock seals that it was programmed to within her own facility when The Doctor’s screwdriver could not. (Partners in Crime) It also couldn’t unlock the doors to the TARDIS if they had been manually locked at the console. (Utopia) Some or all versions were ineffective against wood. (Night Terrors, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, The Time of the Doctor, Empress of Mars) It didn’t work in the presence of some models of hairdryers, although the Tenth Doctor stated he was working on it. (Forest of the Dead, Catastrophea)

INDIVIDUAL SONIC SCREWDRIVERS

The Doctor, throughout many of their lives, possessed a sonic screwdriver. They originally used a basic model in their first (Venusian Lullaby) and second incarnations, (Fury from the Deep) before upgrading in their third. (The Sea Devils) However, according to one account, the First Doctor was unfamiliar with the sonic screwdriver when he met the Twelfth Doctor. (Twice Upon a Time) The Doctor continued to use the model introduced during his third incarnation until it was destroyed in their fifth by a Terileptil leader. (The Visitation) It wasn’t until they were in their seventh incarnation before they began to use a screwdriver again, taking on various different models throughout the years. (The TV Movie, Rose, The Eleventh Hour, Hell Bent, The Woman Who Fell to Earth)

Early versions of their sonic screwdriver were used mainly for the picking of locks and for projecting sound so as to, for example, detonate objects and fry circuitry. (The Sea Devils). By the time of the Ninth Doctor, the sonic was able to also be used as a sophisticated scanning device, with medical applications. (The Empty Child) Subsequent incarnations gave it even wider functionality, such as the ability to hack into computers, (Smith and Jones) provide geolocation (Evolution of the Daleks) and actively defend against some types of assault weapons by frying their internal mechanics and causing the weapons to burst into flames and spark from the inside. (Cold Blood) The tool could create powerful frequencies and signals, (Partners in Crime, Thin Ice) as well as use sound to carry out its functions, even to the point where three of its latest incarnations where able to create a sonic force blast powerful enough to repel and destroy a Dalek while working together, (The Day of the Doctor) as well as shoot green sonic energy waves to briefly incapacitate or stun a target. (The Doctor Falls)

All of these incarnations utilised the same core software, though they used different hardware. While it was different individual model, for all intents and purposes the War Doctor’s sonic was the same as the Eleventh Doctor’s some 400 years later. (The Day of the Doctor) However, the Thirteenth Doctor, having lost the Twelfth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, created her own version. As such, hers used unique software, and was made from components available from 21st century Earth, as well as part of a Recall Circuit from the Stenza Homeworld. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)

THE DOCTOR’S SCREWDRIVER

The Doctor, throughout many of their lives, possessed a sonic screwdriver. They ostensibly upgraded and improved each subsequent model, improving functionality and adding additional features while the design changed. Features included projecting sound waves to lock or unlock doors, frying circuitry, hacking, disabling, and activating technology. It could also be used as a scanning device, with medical applications.

Each model used the same software. Essentially, the sonic screwdriver in use by the War Doctor was the same as that in the Eleventh Doctor’s possession, some 400 years later. (The Day of the Doctor)

At least one version of the screwdriver used a crystal similar to the Metebelis crystal sought after by the Eight Legs of Metebelis III, (The Forgotten) while the Fifth Doctor attempted to collect a diothynine crystal from the planet Argentia where temporal zone met to focus sonic waveforms for a new sonic screwdriver. (Serpent in the Silver Mask) There were also electrical components. (The Halls of Sacrifice)

The screwdriver had a multitude of settings and different versions of settings. The Tenth Doctor told Rose to use “setting 15B” to triangulate the source of the ghosts (Army of Ghosts) and used 34-H to sink a ship. (Second Wave) It had a setting 85 that undid security codes to unlock doors. (The Lazarus Experiment) The Ninth Doctor told Rose to use setting 2428D to re-attach barbed wire. (The Doctor Dances) Sarah Jane used the Theta Omega setting to melt plastic vines. (The Android Invasion) The Twelfth Doctor told Clara to use setting 41 to send out random bursts of helicon energy to distract the Skovox Blitzer. (The Caretaker) The Twelfth Doctor himself used setting 61 to knock out a cybernetically augmented dinosaur with a “sonic brainstorm”. (Spirits of the Jungle) However, at least one version of the screwdriver was able to use thoughts as well as settings. (The Big Bang, Amy’s Choice, Let’s Kill Hitler, Death in Heaven) The same version could also be activated using The Doctor’s voice. (Deep Breath)

The different versions of the Doctor’s sonic screwdrivers exhibited different capabilities and uses, such as medical diagnostics (The Empty Child) and repair of organic parts; (The Vampires of Venice) cutting, but also re-attaching materials such as barbed wire; (The Doctor Dances) operating Earth machinery such as computers (School Reunion) and even cash machines (at regular and high eject speeds); (The Runaway Bride) creating a spark to light a candle (The Girl in the Fireplace) or Bunsen burner; (Evolution of the Daleks) opening and holding doors with acoustic locks; (The Rings of Akhaten) and, on the rare occasion, driving screws without touching them. (The War Games, The Ark in Space, The Doctor’s Wife)

River Song told the Fourth Doctor that, though his current screwdriver was mostly just a screwdriver, he would later “go a bit crazy with the optional upgrades”. (Someone I Once Knew)

Although it was primarily a tool, the sonic screwdriver could also be used as a defensive weapon, able to combine with other sonic devices to form a shield around a hostile target to either force them back (The Day of the Doctor) or slow their advance. (The Doctor Falls) The Tenth Doctor put it in a soundboard to destroy the Robot Santas by overloading their sensors. (The Runaway Bride) The Eleventh Doctor used it to bounce sound waves off a knife held by Melody Pond, knocking it out of her hand. (Let’s Kill Hitler) The sonic screwdriver was also capable of holding off sound waves from creatures who relied on sound in order to attack such as the Vigil. (The Rings of Akhaten)

The sonic screwdriver would, in rare occasions, be used as an offensive weapon, firing energy blasts. The Eleventh Doctor used it in this manner to help River Song defeat a group of Silents, defeating at least two of them. (Day of the Moon) The Twelfth Doctor used the same model of screwdriver to blast a Hyperion, buying himself and others time to escape from it. (The Hyperion Empire) It could also destroy ice creatures when it received the latest update. (The Snowmen)

The Tenth Doctor claimed that the device could not be used to wound, maim or kill living things. (Doomsday, The Doctor’s Daughter) Despite this, the Third Doctor used the device to incapacitate Space Greyhounds by disrupting their brain functions, (The Forgotten) the Eighth Doctor once claimed it could destroy a Dalek’s brain if held directly against the casing when activated, (War of the Daleks) and the Twelfth Doctor used setting 61 to knock out a cybernetically augmented dinosaur with a “sonic brainstorm”. (Spirits of the Jungle) It could destroy non-living objects or mechanisms or place living creatures in circumstances where they might die if the situation required. (The Christmas Invasion) The War Doctor claimed that it was a scientific instrument rather than a water pistol, (The Day of the Doctor) or indeed a magic wand. (The Day of the Doctor)

Particularly during the Time War (The Satanic Mill, The Thousand Worlds, The Heart of the Battle, A Thing of Guile) and in their thirteenth incarnation, (A New Beginning, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos) The Doctor was known on occasion to summon the TARDIS using their sonic screwdriver, though the Thirteenth Doctor noted that the TARDIS got “prickly” at being summoned too often, as she found it demeaning. (A New Beginning)

For a time, the Twelfth Doctor abandoned sonic screwdrivers in favour of wearable technology – namely, his sonic sunglasses. (The Witch’s Familiar, Under the Lake) However, after briefly returning to Gallifrey and having Clara Oswald dematerialise with them still inside her TARDIS, he resumed using screwdrivers, as his TARDIS fashioned a new one for him as a gift. Furthermore, after The Doctor had lost sight of who he was, Clara left him a reminder to “be a Doctor” after leaving his company. As part of his role of being a Doctor was to use a sonic screwdriver, The Doctor accepted the TARDIS’s gift (Hell Bent) though he would continue to occasionally use the sunglasses as well. (The Husbands of River Song)

THE FIRST AND SECOND DOCTOR’S SONIC SCREWDRIVER

A small, simple metal rod similar to a penlight, sonic screwdriver was used by the First Doctor. (Venusian Lullaby) It was also used by the Eighth Doctor after being destroyed “centuries ago”, with The Doctor claiming to his companion Sam Jones that this was possible because “It’s a Time Lord tool. Time doesn’t work the same way for Time Lord tools.” (Alien Bodies)

However, according to one account, the First Doctor did not possess a sonic screwdriver, leaving him confused and somewhat irritated when the Twelfth Doctor utilised a future model. (Twice Upon a Time) Indeed, an alternate Third Doctor did not recognise the device. (The Emporium At The End)

The Second Doctor used sonics of different design, including one like a life jacket safety whistle, (Fury from the Deep) or like a metal penlight (The War Games) which could get a trigger attachment. (The Dominators)

The Eighth Doctor carried a similar rod model near the end of his life: Cylindrical and silver, with a blue emitter diode tip, he used it in a surgical procedure to scan his patient and to seal incisions. This model could glow with an “almost white” light and emit great heat, be used to sharpen surgical instruments and be turned “on” and “off”. (Osskah)

A rod version of this screwdriver was kept in the Twelfth Doctor’s office at St Luke’s University. (The Pilot)

USES

The First and Second Doctors sonic screwdriver functioned as a conventional screwdriver, without physical contact with screws. (The War Games) It was also capable of cracking codes, (Venusian Lullaby) opening up hatches, panels, control panels, (Fury from the Deep, The War Games) and prison cell doors. (Fear of the Daleks) On occasion, The Doctor also used it to cut through a section of a wall (The Dominators) and to override a security lock. (Helicon Prime)

He also used it to destroy the Dalek crystal at the heart of a mind projector (Fear of the Daleks) and to dismantle a Hawker. (The Apocalypse Mirror)

THE THIRD, FOURTH, AND FIFTH DOCTOR’S SONIC SCREWDRIVER

The Third Doctor’s most-used model of the sonic screwdriver was much larger than the one his first and second incarnations used; its elaborately detailed silver collar featured black and yellow stripes and red trim, and could be pulled down to activate the screwdriver. It had a removable burgundy emitter head which The Doctor would change with others, each performing a different function. (The Sea Devils)

On one occasion he removed the head entirely and replaced it with a small, round mirror, which spun rapidly when he tapped its edge with his finger and hypnotized anyone who looked at it. Accompanied by a yellow light on the collar of his sonic screwdriver and the Doctor singing a Venusian lullaby, it hypnotized the aggressive Aggedor into calmness. (The Curse of Peladon)

The Third Doctor later fitted the head of his sonic screwdriver with a cylindrical black magnet which enabled it to open bolted doors, especially when its polarity was reversed. This refit left the metal mostly unpainted, with a dark red emitter ring. The head of this model could be extended. The sonic screwdriver was confiscated when The Doctor was sent to the Lunar Penal Colony, and he never recovered it. (Frontier in Space) However, The Doctor had a spare aboard the TARDIS, which he made use of in the Dalek base on Spiridon. (Planet of the Daleks)

Before this model met its demise, its head was repainted twice after the original coat wore off. (The Keeper of Traken, Castrovalva) It was ultimately destroyed when the Terileptil leader forced the Fifth Doctor to drop the screwdriver inside a holding cell, then incinerated it with a blast from a laser gun — causing The Doctor to remark “I feel as though you’ve just killed an old friend.” (The Visitation)

The Doctor went without a sonic screwdriver for some time after this model, with Nyssa lamenting his decision not to replace it. (Snakedance) The Tenth Doctor also lightly mocked his past incarnation for going “hands-free” following this incident when their TARDISes accidentally collided. (Time Crash)

This sonic operated at a frequency of 80 kilohertz. (Light Fantastic)

The Doctor, leaving UNIT, left behind a prototype. UNIT scientists then tried to use reverse-engineering to understand its workings; this went on into the 21st century. Despite them trying to keep it quiet from The Doctor, he was well aware of the project by his seventh incarnation. (Persuasion)

A version of this screwdriver was kept in the Twelfth Doctor’s office at St Luke’s University. His companion Nardole made use of it in a war zone where the Daleks and Movellans skirmished. (The Pilot)

USES

The sonic screwdriver was often used for opening objects such as doors, (The Sea Devils, The Mutants, The Green Death, etc.) safes (The Sun Makers) and display cases. (The Ribos Operation) According to the Third Doctor, it, for a time, only worked on electronic locks. (Carnival of Monsters) However, the Fourth Doctor later modified it to also work on physical ones as well. (The Ribos Operation, etc.)

The sonic screwdriver could also be used to disable security devices, including a holographic energy barrier (The Visitation) and, once, a deflection barrier generator. (Pyramids of Mars) It could also scan for alarm systems, (Colony in Space) radiation (The Three Doctors) and electronic traps. (Death to the Daleks)

On occasion, The Doctor used it to either detect, disarm or detonate explosive weapons. (The Sea Devils, Cold Fusion, etc.) He often used it to interact with or disable various forms of circuitry and technology. (The Mutants, Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, etc.) The sonic screwdriver could also be used to repair devices (The Ark in Space, The Sontaran Stratagem, etc.) and perform maintenance on the TARDIS’s control console. (The Hand of Fear)

The sonic screwdriver also functioned as a conventional screwdriver (The Monster of Peladon, The Ark in Space) and could be magnetised to remove bolts. (Frontier in Space, The Android Invasion) With the screwdriver, The Doctor was also capable of creating sparks of flame, (Carnival of Monsters) cutting through objects, (Robot) melting artificial ivy (The Android Invasion) and creating loud noises. (Four to Doomsday)

The sonic screwdriver also affected alive beings: the Third Doctor used it to cure Henry VIII of his cataracts, (Hiccup in Time) distract giant maggots, (The Green Death) break a hypnotic trance (Death to the Daleks) and overload the brains of Space Greyhounds. (The Forgotten)

Using the appropriate sonic frequency, the Fourth Doctor used the sonic screwdriver to return himself, Ernestina Stott and later, his scarf, to normal size. (The Dead Shoes)

USED BY THE SIXTH DOCTOR

The Sixth Doctor once carried an unspecified replacement model for the sonic screwdriver, but had to leave it tied to the side of a video camera in a dungeon cell in order for it to keep the visual feed disabled. (The Nightmare Fair) He later carried another sonic model during his adventures with Crystal, Jason, and Zog. (The Ultimate Adventure)

USES

The Sixth Doctor’s screwdriver could be used to disable a video camera indefinitely, (The Nightmare Fair) close and seal Dalek doors, (The Ultimate Adventure) and repair the TARDIS control console. (The Ultimate Adventure) He once attempted to use it to free the American Envoy from the Dalek laser wall, but this failed. (The Ultimate Adventure)

THE SEVENTH AND EIGHTH DOCTOR’S SONIC SCREWDRIVER

As per Thread:133842, there is a sonic in The Doctor’s possession by the time of his travels with Benny in the NAs. Info needs to be added from these sources, as well as numerous Big Finish audio dramas.

The Seventh Doctor acquired a sonic screwdriver at an unspecified point of his life. Many contradictory accounts existed, including one which claimed he had acquired it at some point before meeting Bernice Summerfield, (Love and War) and another, which claimed he acquired it from himself on a parallel Earth where the species Homo Reptilicus had conquered the Earth and killed his third incarnation. (Blood Heat, First Frontier) The Doctor himself claimed that he had only recently built one shortly before re-encountering Mortimus, (No Future) and that he received it as compensation after suing the Terileptils for criminal damage. (GodEngine) The Eighth Doctor claimed that this screwdriver was a spare model that had “rolled under the TARDIS console and remained there” until the Seventh Doctor found it. (Frontier Worlds)

This model, identified as the “Mark 5” by the Eighth Doctor, (Alien Bodies) looked similar to the screwdriver used up until his fifth incarnation: it was silver with a brass trim ring in the lower grip and a handle that resembled that of the previous sonic screwdrivers’, now with a flat base. Its upper section was able to undergo telescopic collapse for ease of carrying, and, at its top, it held an emitter with a silver ring and a red bullet-shaped crystal at its centre. (The TV Movie) The Seventh Doctor claimed he patented the sonic screwdriver. (The Unknown) Once, while suffering from amnesia, the Eighth Doctor was able to operate this sonic screwdriver on instinct. (EarthWorld) This version remained in the Eighth Doctor’s use throughout his life, up until its destruction at the hands of a Cyber-Leader on Earth. (The Flood)

The Eighth Doctor had resumed using this model by the end of his life during the Last Great Time War. It was the second and final model The Doctor used thus far that bore an emitter-ring head. (The Night of the Doctor) The Eighth Doctor’s other choice of a diode-tipped model would become the standard for his later incarnations. (The Day of the Doctor, Rose, The Christmas Invasion, The Eleventh Hour, Deep Breath)

The Eighth Doctor once commented that he felt undressed without his sonic screwdriver. (The Sontaran Ordeal)

A version of this screwdriver was kept in the Twelfth Doctor’s office at St Luke’s University. (The Pilot)

USES

The sonic screwdriver could interact with a variety of locks, including those for caskets, (The TV Movie) doors, (The Night of the Doctor) security gates, (Nightshade) and bank vaults. (Trading Futures) It could also open service ducts (Excelis Decays) and create “doorways” in forcefields. (EarthWorld)

The sonic screwdriver had a number of scanning functions, being able to analyse energy forms (Nightshade) and bodies for life signs. (The Night of the Doctor) It could perform maintenance on the TARDIS console, (The TV Movie) hack into computers, (The Harvest) melt ice (The Magic Mousetrap) and briefly disable electron bombs. (The Tomorrow Windows) It could also disrupt control signals (To the Slaughter) and Dalek weapons. (Legacy of the Daleks)

The sonic screwdriver affected creatures in sometimes lethal ways, as it could destroy a Dalek’s brain when placed against the casing’s head (War of the Daleks) and was once used to decapitate the King of Beasts. (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street) It could also repel ghosts, (Vanderdeken’s Children) subdue hostile dogs, (The Deadstone Memorial) turn Cybermen against each other (The Flood) and hold back creatures infected by the Void. (The Lost Dimension)

REPLACEMENT ON HA’OLAM

During his imprisonment by INC on Ha’olam, the Eighth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver was confiscated. After his escape, he briefly used a replacement screwdriver resembling a slender metal rod with a crystal at its tip. (Seeing I)

USES

This screwdriver was used by The Doctor for making milkshakes and hacking into the Ubernet. (Seeing I)

THE EIGHTH DOCTOR’S SECOND SCREWDRIVER

Later in his eighth incarnation, The Doctor carried a sonic screwdriver with a wooden handle. It had a metallic tip with six prongs that nested a clear diode at the end, which glowed blue when activated. (The Great War) Its handle doubled as a torch. (Sword of Orion) The Doctor claimed that he made this version of the sonic screwdriver to do more than open doors and blow up land mines. (X and the Daleks) He later made further modifications to the screwdriver. (Beachhead)

It was referred to as a pennywhistle by numerous World War I medics. (The Great War) The Doctor had it in his possession as early on as his travels with Charley Pollard (The Light at the End) and replaced it after it burnt itself out whilst scanning a piece of the Doomsday Chronometer. (The Eighth Piece) He was still using it in the early part of the Last Great Time War. (Natural Regression) He had returned to using his original model by the end of his life. (The Night of the Doctor)

USES

To locate the TARDIS, but instead opening a Vess force field. (The Light at the End)
To hack into the reality orientation controls in a Vess weapons factory. (The Light at the End)
Breaking the security lockdown in a Vess facility with the help of the Fourth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. (The Light at the End)
Touching with the Fourth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver to release enough temporal energy to force the door to the TARDIS to open. (The Light at the End)
Disorienting a Rescue Operational Security Module. (Embrace the Darkness)
Raising the bulkheads between Romana II and the Matrix chamber. (Neverland)
Jamming motion-sensitive sensors long enough for The Doctor and his companions to get to safety. (Scaredy Cat)
Locking the TARDIS console room away from the rest of the ship until it could repair itself during a Hellion attack. (Absolution)
Tracking residual energy traces. (The Girl Who Never Was)
Reactivating a long-dormant telegraph machine. (The Girl Who Never Was)
Oscillating the atoms of wickerwork to weaken the structure. (Dead London)
Vibrating Molluscari from their shells by duplicating the precise frequency necessary. (Orbis)
Weakening a stone wall by weakening the molecular bonds between atoms. (The Book of Kells)
Fixing a train track. (The Great War)
To locate the TARDIS. (Fugitives)
Trying to shatter the walls of a prison. (Tangled Web)
Detecting a temporal intrusion. (X and the Daleks)
Being activated by Herbert Goring, allowing The Doctor to track the screwdriver with the TARDIS. (The White Room)
Breaking into the Ides Scientific Institute. (Eyes of the Master)
Unlocking a freezer door slowly from the inside. (Eyes of the Master)
Settings twelve and twenty could override security on a Ramossan spaceport. (The Reviled)
Cancelling an alarm. (Masterplan)
Tampering with a spaceship computer. (Masterplan)
Unlocking handcuffs. (The Monster of Montmartre)
Attempting to unscrew Gallifreyan bolts. (The Eleven)
Access information from a terminal. (The Satanic Mill)
Summoning the TARDIS to The Doctor’s location. (The Satanic Mill)
To detect energy emissions. (Beachhead)
To detect tremors caused by the Gift. (The Sonomancer)
To hack into a lock with three million possible combinations. (The Sonomancer)
To access a Gallifreyan computer. (The Crucible of Souls)
To open a door. (How to Make a Killing in Time Travel)
To scan for animae particles. (The Pictures of Josephine Day)
To use a satellite dish to communicate with the Spherions. (Music of the Spherions)
Opening the back door to a theatre in Edinburgh. (The Silvering)
Unlocking a cell door. (The Silvering)
Destroying the Silversmith’s mirrors. (The Silvering)
As a torch. (Briarwood)
To escape a cell on board a Bakri Resurrection Barge. (A Matter of Life and Death)
Scanning an Omsonii. (The Time Ball)
As a torch when The Doctor visited Rontan 9. (Natural Regression)
Fusing the lock of a metal door. (Natural Regression)

THE WAR DOCTOR’S SONIC SCREWDRIVER

During his battles in the Last Great Time War, (The Clockwise War) the War Doctor used a sonic screwdriver with a simple metallic handle and a red-light-emitting diode at the end. It appeared to be a further upgraded version of the Eighth Doctor’s first sonic screwdriver, which he kept strapped in a bandoleer on his chest. It shared the same casing type as the screwdriver used by the Fourth Doctor, but had an extending diode head instead of an emitter head, and an additional piece added to the end of the handle that looked like a small red cap. (The Day of the Doctor)

After regenerating at the end of the Last Great Time War, The Doctor kept this model with him during the early adventures of his ninth incarnation. This version was destroyed when The Doctor rigged it to explode in order to seal a rift in interstitial space. (The Bleeding Heart)

USES

The War Doctor often used his sonic screwdriver to summon the TARDIS to materialise, either around him, (The Thousand Worlds) or nearby. (The Heart of the Battle, A Thing of Guile)

With it, The Doctor could dismantle an Interstitial’s possibility engine by removing its bolts, receive homing signals from the TARDIS in the TARDIS Undercroft below the Citadel (Engines of War) and activate the memory-erasing device in the Black Archive. (The Day of the Doctor)

The War Doctor, along with his eleventh and tenth incarnations, used his sonic screwdriver to create a sonic force field to blast back and destroy an attacking Dalek in the Time War. He also implanted a permanent subroutine within the architecture of the sonic screwdriver’s software that would begin the centuries-long calculation to disintegrate a door, as well as continuing a calculation to move Gallifrey into a pocket universe. (The Day of the Doctor)

His screwdriver was also capable of scanning a corpse and wiping security footage. (The Bleeding Heart)

THE NINTH AND TENTH DOCTOR’S SONIC SCREWDRIVER

After the destruction of his last model, the Ninth Doctor built himself a new sonic screwdriver. This one had a creamy light grey handle with a “cracked-porcelain” texture matching elements on his TARDIS console and rings around the roundels on the control room walls, silver metal at both the bottom of the handle and the top, and was capped off with a black pommel. Its emitter was blue and sat atop a silver metal section attached to a transparent tube containing black and red wires twisted around each other in the centre that was hidden inside the handle until extended by the slider on the side. The Doctor used this model far more frequently than his previous incarnations had done before. (Rose) The Tenth Doctor also used this model, as he liked tinkering with technology to make devices he needed.

This version was burnt out by accident after the Tenth Doctor used it to modify an X-ray output to over 5000%, however, and he replaced it with a similar one with a flatter slider, two yellow wires in the tube instead of the black and red ones, and a greyer handle, (Smith and Jones) though it reverted to its cream handle during his time with Queen Elizabeth (The Day of the Doctor) and appeared to have a blue handle following his regeneration. (The Eleventh Hour) The model underwent several changes in colouration, some inadvertent. (Laundro-Room of Doom) This version of the sonic screwdriver was also the first to be shown to have a direct connection to The Doctor’s TARDIS (Aliens of London) and could be used to override its functions. (Utopia)

The screwdriver was damaged during the Battle of Mordeela, forcing The Doctor to use strips from his Time Lord collar to repair it, which he acknowledged was something of a “botched job”. (All Flesh is Grass) He continued to use this variant of the screwdriver whilst in the Dark Times. (The Minds of Magnox)

The Tenth Doctor had this screwdriver on his person during his regeneration, but it was damaged repeatedly afterwards, leading to many malfunctions. Despite the damage, the Eleventh Doctor used it to overload technology in an attempt to alert the Atraxi to Prisoner Zero’s location. This fried it into useless, charred metal, much to his growing annoyance and anger. (The Eleventh Hour) It was later recovered by Charlie Sato, and taken to the Vault. (The Turn of the Screw)

Multiple versions of these screwdrivers were kept in the Twelfth Doctor’s office at St Luke’s University. (The Pilot)

USES
SECURITY

The sonic screwdriver was capable of opening a variety of locks, including those for doors, (Aliens of London, etc.) hatches, (The Age of Steel) handcuffs, (The Doctor Dances, etc.) and vehicles. (The Runaway Bride, Planet of the Dead) It could also lock doors (The Age of Steel, The Eleventh Hour) or fuse them shut. (Planet of the Ood) The sonic screwdriver could also remove robot casings (Carnage Zoo) and create “sonic cages”. (Partners in Crime)

The sonic screwdriver was capable of bypassing security measures, such as key locks (The Runaway Bride) and air-tight seals. (Gridlock) It could also interact with electronic locks and override security systems. (The End of the World, The Lazarus Experiment, etc.) However, the sonic screwdriver could not bypass deadlock seals (Bad Wolf, etc.) or work on wooden doors. (Silence in the Library)

The sonic screwdriver could hack computer systems, including websites, (The Runaway Bride) communication networks (Gridlock) and record systems. (The Waters of Mars) It could disable security devices, such as cameras, (Bad Wolf, The Sound of Drums) security orbs, (Wrath of the Warrior) laser grids (The Doctor’s Daughter) and alarms. (Partners in Crime) The sonic screwdriver also was capable disabling power for an entire spaceship. (The End of Time)

MEDICAL

The sonic screwdriver could be used as a medical scanner, diagnosing physical injuries. (The Empty Child) It could also dislodge and reinsert teeth, (The Lodger) partially reverse the Abzorbaloff’s absorption process (Love & Monsters) and confuse the antibodies of a living planet. (Lonely Planet) Along with 1930 technology, the Tenth Doctor once used it as a component of a DNA scanning device. (Daleks in Manhattan)

DIAGNOSTIC

The sonic screwdriver had multiple diagnostic settings. It could be used to detect lifeforms, (Silence in the Library) collect information about them (The Runaway Bride) and check for alien influence. (Return of the Klytode) It could even be used to confirm the identity of other incarnations of the Doctor. (Four Doctors)

The sonic screwdriver could also detect, triangulate and deactivate signals. (Rose, Army of Ghosts, etc.) It could scan pieces of technology to discover their properties and faults. (Midnight, The Next Doctor) It could also analyse objects (The Eleventh Hour, Doomsilk) or detect certain materials in the area. (The Halls of Sacrifice) These included time traces (The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith) and forms of energy. (Mortal Beloved)

The sonic screwdriver could also detect arriving spaceships (The Pictures of Emptiness) and reveal ultraviolet characters. (The Game of Death) It could also detect the progress of the War Doctor’s calculation. (The Day of the Doctor)

TECHNOLOGOY

The sonic screwdriver could interact with multiple forms of technology and control them. (Rose, ) It was able to activate, disable or destroy electronic devices, including lifts, (Rose, World War Three) computers, (The End of the World, etc.) cameras, (Bad Wolf, The Sound of Drums) cash machines, (The Long Game, The Runaway Bride) mobile phones (The Runaway Bride, etc.) and holograms. (Forest of the Dead) It could also perform these functions on multiple devices within a local area at once. (The Eleventh Hour)

The sonic screwdriver could repair devices, (Gridlock, etc.) as well as modify them. (The Screaming Prison) This included increasing a spacesuit’s mesh density (Forest of the Dead) and rewiring a digital painting to show a spaceship’s systems. (Voyage of the Damned) It was also used to construct devices, even used as a component when necessary. (Daleks in Manhattan, The Poison Sky)

The sonic screwdriver could transmit signals, (Evolution of the Daleks) tune into, create and control broadcast channels, (The Poison Sky, The Eleventh Hour) and re-establish connections, even over different time-frames. (The Girl in the Fireplace) It could also grant mobile phones the ability to call across time and space. (The End of the World, 42, etc.)

The sonic screwdriver was also connected to The Doctor’s TARDIS, allowing him to activate the controls from the outside. (The Parting of the Ways, etc.) This included sending it to a predetermined point in space-time, (The Parting of the Ways) fusing the navigational coordinates, (The Sound of Drums) and changing course mid-flight. (The Eleventh Hour)

The sonic screwdriver could detonate explosives, (Doomsday) charge batteries, (Father’s Day) reverse teleportation devices, (Boom Town) and let phones call others without their number. (The Runaway Bride) It could scan computer systems for information (Smith and Jones, etc.) and download entire journals. (The Colour of Darkness)

The sonic screwdriver could also dismantle firearms, (Peacemaker) shatter robot assassins, (A Suitable Showdown) loop temporal energy into additional device, (Blooms of Doom!) cancel out phonic blasts, (We Will Rock You) and open a “crack in space-time”. (The Eleventh Hour)

AMPLIFICATION

The sonic screwdriver could amplify soundwaves to become hypersonic from various audio devices, including radios, speakers and, once, a pipe organ. (The Runaway Bride, Evolution of the Daleks, The Lazarus Experiment) In conjunction with Miss Foster’s sonic pen, it created an ultra-high sonic frequency. (Partners in Crime) The sonic screwdriver could also calculate resonation patterns for materials like concrete, (The Doctor Dances) and increase the radiation output of an x-ray scanner, though the latter burned out the device. (Smith and Jones)

UTILITY

The sonic screwdriver could create sparks or flames to light candles (The Girl in the Fireplace) or ignite flammable gasses. (Evolution of the Daleks, The Hunt of Doom) It could also cut through rope, (The Age of Steel, The Runaway Bride, The Fires of Pompeii) corrode and reconnect thin metal objects, such as barbed wire, (The Doctor Dances) and shatter glass and ice. (Army of Ghosts, Arctic Eclipse) It could also be used as a conventional screwdriver without touching screws. (The Doctor’s Daughter, Dreamland)

The sonic screwdriver was capable of sending out resonance frequencies to corrode or destroy objects. (The Doctor Dances, Operation Lock-up) It could increase the power of devices, such as torches. (Crimes and Punishment) It could also uncork bottles, (Voyage of the Damned) melt and solidify tarmac, (The Last Dodo) attach horseshoes onto horses, (Death and the Queen) knock over objects (The Fires of Pompeii) and explode fire hydrants. (Creature Feature)

The Tenth Doctor used the sonic screwdriver to strip off pieces of Dalekanium from the Empire State Building, (Evolution of the Daleks) tint his glasses to turn them into sunglasses, (Planet of the Dead) and once used it as a soldering iron for perception filters. (The Sound of Drums) It could also be used to fix hairstyles in place, (Rose and the Snow Window) prevent Mirrorlings from emerging (Mirror Image) and illuminate people. (Warfreekz!)

The sonic screwdriver could also create force fields made out of soundwaves, capable of deflecting bullets and sonic cannon blasts, (Peacemaker, Agent Provocateur) and stasis beams. (School of the Dead) Combined with multiple others, it could create a beam powerful enough to push back and destroy Daleks. (The Day of the Doctor)

The sonic screwdriver was also capable of tickling lions, (The Slitheen Excursion) overloading Cybermen, (The Power of the Cybermen) repel birds (The Skies of New Earth) and incapacitating a Gizou. (Fugitive) It could also teleport both the user and others to destinations. (Music of the Spheres, The Day the Earth Was Sold,The King of Earth)

The sonic screwdriver could crash aircars (Time of the Cybermen) and sink ships. (Second Wave) It could also create toast and butter, (Dead Air) cause atmospheric excitation to create rain, (Mudshock) and act as a sonic toothbrush. (The Continuity Cap)

THE ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH DOCTOR’S SONI SCREWDRIVER

After the loss of the previous sonic screwdriver, the TARDIS gifted The Doctor with a new model. Differing radically from the last, with its extendible “claws” and green crystalline emitter resembling the inner structure of the TARDIS’s new time rotor, it also had copper plating similar to the new control room. (The Eleventh Hour) A psychic interface allowed its user to point it at a target and think of the function they wanted. (Let’s Kill Hitler, Death in Heaven) Having been mentioned to be more than sonic, (Night Terrors) this screwdriver also shot beams of green energy in the shape of sonic waves. (Day of the Moon, Closing Time, The Time of the Doctor) By at least the time of the Doctor’s thirteenth regeneration, it had a voice-activation feature, which The Doctor forgot about when he needed it. (Deep Breath) It had a charge that could last centuries; it once lasted 300 years before The Doctor could charge it in the TARDIS. (The Time of the Doctor)

Retaining ineffectiveness against wood, it also didn’t work against Peg Dolls (Night Terrors) or the Wooden King and Queen. (The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe) The Doctor considered it embarrassing and said that “I need to invent a setting for wood.” (Night Terrors) In similar situations, he yelled at it in panic; “Aliens made of wood, you know this was always going to happen!”, “Yes, I know it’s wood. Get over it!” (The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe) Though aware of this flaw, he was still able to successfully bluff a Wooden Cyberman into destroying itself. (The Time of the Doctor) He also once defended this weakness, saying “Oi! Don’t diss the sonic!” (The Hungry Earth) At some point it had an anti-freeze setting. (The Snowmen) This screwdriver was also shown to have a “red setting”, (Cold War) similar to River’s sonic screwdriver.

This model was lost and replaced by The Doctor repeatedly, having been bitten in half by a sky shark and left behind, (A Christmas Carol) left with the Ganger Doctor, (The Rebel Flesh) destroyed by Danny Fisher (The Blood of Azrael) and, in one instance, simply burnt out due to overuse. In the latter instance, a replacement was given to him by Santa Claus. (Silent Knight) One of the Twelfth Doctor’s sonic screwdrivers was incinerated by the Governor when he was admitted into the Prison. Clara Oswald attempted to give him a new one disguised as a large candle in a birthday cake, but the Governor refused to give the cake to The Doctor. To circumvent this, The Doctor created a sonic spoon in the interim for the time being. (The Blood Cell) The Doctor had given Clara one of his screwdrivers when they faced the Fractures but had forgotten to reclaim it, leading his companion to keep it for herself. (Clara Oswald and the School of Death) Ultimately, he left one of his screwdrivers with Davros after abandoning him as a child. Davros had it in his possession for many years after, until Colony Sarff returned it to The Doctor. By this point, it was no longer of any real use to him, as it had become heavily damaged and inoperable, visibly weather-beaten from exposure to war and conflict, and with one of the clawed prongs broken off. (The Magician’s Apprentice, The Witch’s Familiar)

The Doctor eventually declared that he was “over” sonic screwdrivers, saying that they “spoil the line of your jacket”. He replaced the screwdriver with a pair of sonic sunglasses. (The Witch’s Familiar)

However, he did not keep this promise, as he used this sonic screwdriver several times afterwards. (Clara Oswald and the School of Death, The Fourth Wall)

When the Eleventh Doctor met the Tenth Doctor in England, 1562, upon the latter realising that the former was a future incarnation of himself, they both got out their sonic screwdrivers. The Eleventh Doctor immediately showed off how much bigger his was, to which the Tenth Doctor claimed that his future incarnation was compensating, remarking that “regeneration, it’s a lottery.” (The Day of the Doctor)

A version of this screwdriver was kept in the Twelfth Doctor’s office at St Luke’s University. (The Pilot)

At one point during his travels with Bill Potts, the Twelfth Doctor had a version of this sonic design in the colour scheme of his second sonic screwdriver. (Tulpa)

USES
SECURITY

The sonic screwdriver could bypass locks for a variety of objects, including doors (Flesh and Stone, etc.), padlocks, (The Hungry Earth) vent gratings, (The Almost People, Time Heist), airlocks (Spirits of the Jungle) and restraints. (Day of the Moon, Deep Breath) These functions also included electronic locks and security systems. (Flesh and Stone, etc.) It could also close or fuse objects shut. (The Almost People, A Good Man Goes to War, etc.)

The sonic screwdriver could also disable disguising devices, such as voice modulators (The Snowmen) and cloaking devices. (The Time of the Doctor) It could also unlock control panels, (City of the Daleks) disable defence systems, (A Town Called Mercy) reveal secret passageways (The God Complex, The Name of the Doctor) and open machine components. (Victory of the Daleks, Into the Dalek, etc.)

Due to its link with the TARDIS, the sonic screwdriver could lock its doors, even from great distances. (Cold Blood, The Doctor’s Wife) It could also bypass the security measures on the Pandorica. (The Big Bang) However, sonic screwdriver could not unlock deadlock seals, (The Time of Angels) primitive locks (The Day of the Doctor) or wooden doors. (The Hungry Earth)

MEDICAL

The sonic screwdriver could perform medical scans on lifeforms to determine various purposes, such as whether they were alive or injured, (Closing Time, The Bells of Saint John) severity of injuries (Cold Blood, etc.) and how long dying individuals had left. (The Doctor’s Wife) It could also investigate for outside influences and determine how integrated parasites were in the host’s body. (Amy’s Choice) The sonic screwdriver could also heal injuries (The Vampires of Venice) and scan bodies to determine the cause of death. (The God Complex)

The sonic screwdriver could also stun various lifeforms, (Day of the Moon, The Gunpowder Plot) please a Krafayis, (Vincent and the Doctor) and overload a star whale’s haemo-receptors, causing it to regurgitate. (The Beast Below) It could also remove dream crabs from victims by electrifying its nerve centres. (Last Christmas) After analysing the Flesh, the sonic screwdriver was able to determine the difference between humans and gangers and dissolve the latter. (TV The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People) Using a recently added anti-freeze setting, the Eleventh Doctor was able to melt the Ice Governess, though this did not work later when she reformed. (The Snowmen)

DIAGNOSTIC

Scanning Starship UK’s engine room to determine that there was no actual engine powering the spaceship. (The Beast Below)
Scanning voting booth for memory erasing function. (The Beast Below)
Scanning Father Octavian’s computer. (The Time of Angels)
Determining the nature of the cracks throughout time and space, which was “extremely very not good.” (Flesh and Stone)
Scanning for heat signatures. (Cold Blood)
Scanning Stonehenge. (The Pandorica Opens)
Helping trace who received the Pandorica’s summons. (The Pandorica Opens)
Scanning the Pandorica. (The Pandorica Opens)
Scanning with a parabolic satellite dish for an exploding TARDIS. (The Big Bang)
Scanning River Song’s vortex manipulator to see if it was wired into something. (The Big Bang)
Confirming the isomorphic nature of a control panel. (A Christmas Carol)
Scanning boxes of stolen NASA equipment to confirm that they are just what they look like. (The Impossible Astronaut)
Scanning a spacesuit. (Day of the Moon)
Confirming if a nano-recorder was on telepathic transmission or a replay. (Day of the Moon)
Confirming the nature of an alien life-support system. (The Curse of the Black Spot)
Scanning for Hypercube transmissions to locate their source. (The Doctor’s Wife)
Scanning for monsters and how powerful they were. (Night Terrors)
Scanning dimensional lesions. (The Gunpowder Plot)
Detecting electrical interference. (Closing Time)
Confirming increased sulphur emissions. (Closing Time)
Scanning a Dalek’s database for information, specifically anything that his oldest enemies knew about the Silence. (The Wedding of River Song)
Scanning a Headless Monk head box to confirm its contents. (The Wedding of River Song)
Scanning Albert Einstein’s liquid to determine if it was the ingredient he thought he needed to make a time machine. (Death Is the Only Answer)
Scanning the life-force transference crown. (The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe)
Detecting a magnetic field. (The Dalek Project)
Scanning a load of rocks and wood, determining that they were just that. (A Town Called Mercy)
Scanning the electric lights in Mercy to determine how far advanced the technology was. (A Town Called Mercy)
Scanning a Weeping Angel. (The Angels Take Manhattan)
Scanning a frozen pond. (The Snowmen)
Scanning the melted Ice Governess to make sure she was gone and draining through the carpet. (The Snowmen)
Scanning a Cybermite. (Nightmare in Silver)
Scanning The Doctor’s time stream. (The Name of the Doctor)
Detecting the progress of the War Doctor’s calculation in his iteration of the sonic screwdriver. (The Day of the Doctor)
A heat sensor to discover the hiding place of the Mara. (The Dreaming)
Scanning Dalek memory technology. (Into the Dalek)
Scanning a lock of hair. (Robot of Sherwood)
Scanning an apple. (Robot of Sherwood)
Scanning Bank of Karabraxos technology. (Time Heist)
Tracing the Skovox Blitzer. (The Caretaker)
Calculating how long before the Skovox Blitzer would return. (The Caretaker)
Scanning a cocoon. (Kill the Moon)
Scanning a spider germ. (Kill the Moon)
Scanning the Excelsior Life Extender. (Mummy on the Orient Express)
Scanning for traces of the Boneless. (Flatline)
Scanning trees. (In the Forest of the Night)
Scanning Clara Oswald. (Dark Water)

TECHNOLOGY

Isolating the lighting so that the Weeping Angels could not drain the power. (Flesh and Stone)
Redirecting all the power to the doors in order to open them. (Flesh and Stone)
Uploading proximity-alerting software to Amy’s communicator. (Flesh and Stone)
Detecting the location of lights. (Amy’s Choice)
Exploding lightbulbs. (Amy’s Choice)
Hacking into computer records. (The Hungry Earth)
Activating bio-programmed soil. (The Hungry Earth)
Disabling Silurian weapons. (Cold Blood)
Accessing the Visualiser eye and repowering it. (City of the Daleks)
Tampering with the Dalek Emperor’s casing. (City of the Daleks)
Activating a Dalek console trap. (City of the Daleks)
Constructing a Dalek Vision Disruptor. (City of the Daleks)
Fixing platform lift control panels. (Blood of the Cybermen)
Disassembling a Chronon Blocker. (TARDIS)
Activating emergency light switches. (Shadows of the Vashta Nerada)
Turning on the lights inside a generator. (Shadows of the Vashta Nerada)
Setting the TARDIS on its “adventure setting”. (Good as Gold)
Unsuccessfully attempting to free Sophie’s hand from the time ship console. (The Lodger)
Changing a hologram between its different forms. (The Lodger)
To send a signal through to Amy’s communicator to help guide her through a forest. (Flesh and Stone)
Scrambling a Cyberarm’s circuits. (The Pandorica Opens)
Giving orders to androids. (The War of Art)
To reconfigure the binaries in the TARDIS. (Evacuation Earth)
Disabling a force field. (A Good Man Goes to War)
Hailing the Eleventh Doctor’s sonic cane. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Disabling privileges from the Teselecta’s crew. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Activating George’s toys. (Night Terrors)
Detaching the view glass from the visitation facility. (The Girl Who Waited)
Augmenting the view glass to work disconnected. (The Girl Who Waited)
Locking on to Amy’s timestream. (The Girl Who Waited)
Switching off CCTV monitors. (The God Complex)
Repairing and activating a lift. (Closing Time)
Fusing the controls of a Cyberman teleporter. (Closing Time)
Overloading/imploding a Cybermat; unfortunately wiping its memory in the process. (Closing Time)
Repairing the controls of a Cyberman teleporter and using it. (Closing Time)
Taking apart a Supreme Dalek. (The Wedding of River Song)
Freezing the Teselecta in place; this caused sparks to fly inside of it. (The Wedding of River Song)
Reprogramming Proto-Daleks to recognise Daleks as enemies. (The Dalek Project)
Used to help with rewiring the TARDIS; he told Lilly it was because the light in his “wardrobe” wasn’t working, claiming it was the reason he dressed as he did. (The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe)
Deleting an answering machine message from the phone the message was made from. (WC: Pond Life)
Activating the reverse in a badly damaged, insane Dalek’s casing to send it into other insane Daleks (as it was going to self-destruct). (Asylum of the Daleks)
Taking apart the device emitting the Silurian Ark’s signal, and activating it upon placing it in Solomon’s ship. (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship)
Disabling the android the Shakri put on Earth to control the Shakri cubes. (The Power of Three)
Reversing the Shakri’s programming of the cubes to jump-start the hearts of the humans they previously stopped. (The Power of Three)
Reversing a friction amper. (The Cornucopia Caper)
Overloading a light bulb, creating a blinding light, to act as a distraction to escape the Angels. (The Angels Take Manhattan)
Getting rid of the shield that was blocking the Ice Governess and putting a new one behind The Doctor and Clara (The Snowmen)
Seemingly adding an extra layer of super-dense water vapour to keep the Ice Governess “trapped for the moment” (The Snowmen)
Shattering a glass window (The Bells of Saint John, Flatline)
Turning off the TARDIS anti-grav. (The Name of the Doctor)
Activating the memory-erasing device in the Black Archive. (The Day of the Doctor)
Ringing the bell in Christmas’ Clock Tower. (The Time of the Doctor)
Bluffing a wooden Cyberman into thinking that he sent a signal to its flamethrower so it would reverse its direction as soon as it tried to fire. Though a Truth Field was active, the Cyberman was not told the screwdriver couldn’t affect wood. It pointed its weapon backwards, thinking it would reset, and killed itself by accident. (The Time of the Doctor)
Sealing a damage crack within a Dalek. (Into the Dalek)
Activating a holographic scanner. (The Caretaker)
Leading the Skovox Blitzer to Coal Hill School. (The Caretaker)
Attracting the attention of the Skovox Blitzer with pulses of helicon energy. (The Caretaker)
Transferring a video phone message to a screen monitor. (Kill the Moon)
Activating and altering a 3D projection. (Kill the Moon)
Altering a phone so it would work wireless. (Mummy on the Orient Express)
Changing a train signal from green to red. (Flatline)
Detecting the location of a mobile phone. (In the Forest of the Night)
Activating an emotional inhibitor. (Death in Heaven)
Using energy waves from android weapons to recharge a teleport bracelet. (The Witch’s Familiar)

AMPLIFICATION

Amplifying an electrical beam. (The Beast Below)
To increase a signal’s strength. (The Time of Angels)
Making the voice of a star whale audible to the human ear. (The Beast Below)
Displaying energy barricades which are usually invisible to the naked eye. (The Hungry Earth)
Transmitting Abigail’s singing from one broken segment to the other to open the cloud belt. (A Christmas Carol)
Amplifying Amy’s sonic probe. (The Girl Who Waited)
Creating a high pitched noise to get attention. (The God Complex)
As a microphone. (The God Complex)
Creating a sound loud enough to distract Kahler-Tek to allow The Doctor’s escape. (A Town Called Mercy)
Amplifying the sound of the Time Lords calling out “Doctor who?” to the Daleks to remind them how easy it would be to answer their call and the difficulty it would take to kill him if he could live for ages. Also bouncing sonic waves of the bell in the clock tower on Trenzalore to mark the coming of war. (The Time of the Doctor)
Amplifying the sound wave produced by an Ice Warrior made sonic cannon. (Let it Snow)
Creating localised gravity to hold the entities which surrounded Maebh Arden. (In the Forest of the Night)
Creating an acoustic corridor to allow communication from 50 feet away. (The Magician’s Apprentice)

OTHER

As a torch with blue light. (The Beast Below, Closing Time, The Angels Take Manhattan)
It was voice activated, coded to the Eleventh Doctor’s voice. (Deep Breath)
Blocking out the effects of perception filters. (The Vampires of Venice)
Giving a Cybermat a “Cyber-Migraine”. (Blood of the Cybermen)
Distracting Cybermats. (Blood of the Cybermen)
Heating water and ice. (Blood of the Cybermen)
Destroying a Weeping Angel. (Good as Gold)
Lighting flaming torches. (The Pandorica Opens)
Heating up a teapot. (Snowfall)
As a lure to attract a sky fish. (A Christmas Carol)
Attempting self-reconstruction via signalling its other half; it failed at this and was left behind by The Doctor to be replaced by a similar sonic screwdriver. (A Christmas Carol)
Protecting two versions of Rory Williams from falling victim to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (Touched by an Angel)
Damaging a Cyber-ship. (A Good Man Goes to War)
Disarming Melody Pond. (Let’s Kill Hitler)
Igniting a cannon. (The Gunpowder Plot)
Destroying the Star of Solitude. (The Cornucopia Caper)
Opens and closing Dalek Transmat portals. (The Dalek Project)
Holding a heavy door with an acoustic lock open in the pyramid of the rings of Akhaten. (The Rings of Akhaten)
Deflecting sound-based attacks utilised by the Vigil. (The Rings of Akhaten)
Tracking the location of Grand Marshall Skaldak as he sneaked around out of his armour. (Cold War)
Receiving a signal from the TARDIS indicating that it had returned and indicating its location. (Cold War)
Enhancing the power of an arsenal of bombs. (Cold War)
Relaxing the grip from someone’s hand. (Shroud of Sorrow)
Combining power with the Tenth and War Doctor’s sonic screwdrivers to create a sonic force field to blast back and destroy an attacking Dalek in the Time War. (The Day of the Doctor)
Used for centuries as a weapon against his greatest enemies during the Siege of Trenzalore. (The Time of the Doctor)
Disconnecting a horse’s reins. (Deep Breath)
Tracking a radiation signal. (Into the Dalek)
Blowing up an archery target. (Robot of Sherwood)
Driving off “skunkeys” which were attacking Clara. (Terrorformer)
Sending the Boneless back to their dimension. (Flatline)
Granting a football referee’s glasses the ability to watch every football game in the galaxy. (Bow-ties for Goal Posts)
Connecting to The Doctor’s Bookface account and projecting its posts. (Timeliney Wimey)
Creating a noise deafening to Sea Devils. (Clara Oswald and the School of Death)

THE TWELFTH DOCTOR’S SECOND SONIC SREWDRIVER

After spending a period of time using a combination of sonic sunglasses and his green-emitter sonic screwdriver, (Clara Oswald and the School of Death) the Twelfth Doctor was gifted a new model by the TARDIS.

While one account showed him gaining it after he had found Gallifrey at the end of the universe, (Hell Bent) another account depicted him using it whilst travelling with Clara Oswald. (The Day at The Doctors)

This new model had a very mechanical and complicated-looking, TARDIS blue, metal handle with multiple emitters, once again resembling the inner structure of the time rotor itself. The emitter was once again blue in colour, and the ring of emitters could all light up in a circling motion when activated. (Hell Bent) He continued to use his sonic sunglasses as well, thus giving him two choices of sonic instruments. (The Husbands of River Song, Extremis)

This screwdriver could glow blue (Hell Bent), red (Robo Rampage), or green. (Gallery, For Tonight We Might Die) It was still ineffectual against wood. (Empress of Mars)

The Doctor sometimes attached this screwdriver to his guitar so that he could use both at the same time. (The Pestilent Heart)

When The Doctor was stuck in 1972, the screwdriver “ran out of juice” and the Doctor was unable to charge it because he was without his TARDIS. (Moving In)

After regenerating into the Thirteenth Doctor, the TARDIS console room exploded due to the damage it took from the intensity of the regeneration energy. The Doctor was thrown out of the TARDIS from the explosion, causing her to free fall to the Earth’s surface. (Twice Upon a Time) As she fell, she lost this sonic screwdriver along with everything else in her pockets. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)

USES
SECURITY

The sonic screwdriver was capable of opening and closing a variety of locks, including those for doors, (The Return of Doctor Mysterio, The Twist) windows (The Return of Doctor Mysterio) and secret passageways. (The Twist) It was also used to update the security features on Missy’s prison vault. (The Pilot)

MEDICAL

The sonic screwdriver could diagnose diseases (The Pestilent Heart) and scan lifeforms for outside influences. (For Tonight We Might Die, The Return of Doctor Mysterio)

DIAGNOSTIC

The sonic screwdriver could scan various forms of technology to learn of their functions. (Smile) It could also scan doors for security features and opening combinations. (Oxygen, The Pyramid at the End of the World, World Enough and Time) The sonic screwdriver could detect temporal distortions (The Stockbridge Showdown) and trace transmission signals. (The Pestilent Heart) It could also be used to detect life readings within an area (Gallery) and determine the authenticity of a person by checking their memories. (Twice Upon a Time)

TECHNOLOGY

Using the power cell of the Harmony and Redemption to push its thrusters. (The Husbands of River Song)
Repairing a damaged time ship. (Ghosts of the Seas)
Disassembling K2. (Robo Rampage)
Activating Charles Abbott’s Incredulitas 4 pen to teleport him into the writer’s block. (Shock Horror)
Scanning the control panels of a spaceship. (The Return of Doctor Mysterio)
Activating lights projectors. (Oxygen, World Enough and Time) Likewise, it could also turn them off. (Extremis)
Reversing and erasing the command programmes of the Vardy microbots, causing them to forget their original directives. (Smile)
Transmitting a signal to redirect the detonator for explosives. (Thin Ice)
Frying the circuits of a smartsuit, albeit being broken itself in the process. (Oxygen)

UTILITY

Removing a paint can’s lid. (Gallery)
Closing a tear in space-time. (For Tonight We Might Die)
Combine with Missy’s sonic umbrella to successfully create a force field strong enough to delay a fully evolved Cybermen long enough for Bill’s cybernetic energy blast and the Master’s Laser screwdriver to disable it. (The Doctor Falls)

OTHER

Blowing up a school. (Haunted)
Temporarily stunning an alien. (Gallery)
Defending himself against Yeti. (The Day at The Doctors)
Increasing the voltage of the lights at Coal Hill Academy to break the solid form of Corakinus and the Shadow Kin (For Tonight We Might Die)
Zapping a gun out of Brock’s hand. (The Return of Doctor Mysterio)
Dissipating the Smoke’s particles. (Ghost Stories)
It can create a buzzing sound to attract attention and act as a torch, (Knock Knock) even under water. (Thin Ice)
The head can be removed to reveal a red highlighter pen which The Doctor can use to write with. (World Enough and Time)
Could act as a communicator with Nardole and download the software from Nardole’s computer, enabling it to incinerate and blast numerous types of Cybermen and ignite the entirety of Floor 0507. (The Doctor Falls)

THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR’S SONIC SCREWDRIVER

Due to losing everything in her pockets following her regeneration and fall, the Thirteenth Doctor lost her previous incarnation’s sonic screwdriver (and sonic sunglasses). As a result, The Doctor chose to build one of her own in a workshop in Sheffield. This one was far simpler in appearance than the last screwdriver with a simple steel body, and a crystal on the tip that glowed amber while in use, taken from a Stenza transport chamber. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)

It was unique from previous sonic screwdrivers in the fact that design-wise the handle was now the unique part of the sonic[statement unclear], as opposed to the emitter, (The Woman who Fell to Earth) which had previously either had interchangeable heads, (The Sea Devils – The Visitation) an extendable emitter, (Smith and Jones – The Eleventh Hour) “claws” deployed when the sonic was activated, (The Eleventh Hour – Last Christmas) or a large emitter glowing in a rotating fashion. (Hell Bent – Twice Upon a Time) It was also the first of the Doctor’s sonic devices to have a curved handle, allowing for a more natural grip.

Comparing it to a Swiss Army knife, but without the knife, The Doctor explained that it functioned not only as a screwdriver, but as a scanner and a tin opener, and it could be used for diagnostics. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)

It had a self-rebooting feature, allowing it to restore power if drained. (The Tsuranga Conundrum) It could not work on machinery if the power cells were fluctuating. (Kerblam!)

When a Thijarian remnant sample overloaded the sonic, for having too many inputs, The Doctor noted that this had never happened before. This was because of the immeasurably high density of this substance, containing the remains of Thijar and all their ancestors. (Demons of the Punjab) On another occasion, the sonic could calculate such an impossible density, but that “density [blew its] mind”. (The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos)

To The Doctor’s extreme surprise, her sonic could be rendered inoperative by recon scout Daleks. (Resolution)

If its way is cleared, The Doctor can summon the sonic screwdriver to her hand. (Can You Hear Me?)

USES
DIAGNOSTIC

Scanning technology, like the Stenza transport pod. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)
Scanning for artron energy. (Rosa, Demons of the Punjab)
Determining the current location as Northern Punjab. (Demons of the Punjab)
Scanning reanimated corpses to find out what is animating them. (The Witchfinders)
Scanning objects to understand their components and properties. (Kerblam!, The Witchfinders, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos)
Identifying both Ruth and Lee as human. (Fugitive of the Judoon)
Identifying The Doctor’s DNA in two separate incarnations. (Fugitive of the Judoon)
Identifying the bio-organic code of Zellin via his detached fingers. (Can You Hear Me?)
Identifying the age and species of a human skeletal hand. (The Haunting of Villa Diodati)

SECURITY

Reactivating the Morax prison lock. (The Witchfinders)

TECHNOLOGY

Removing DNA bombs from Graham, Grace, Ryan and Yaz’s collarbones and installing them into a Stenza gathering coil. (The Woman Who Fell to Earth)
Signalling and summoning the TARDIS. (The Ghost Monument, A New Beginning, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos)
Accessing spacecraft databases. (The Tsuranga Conundrum, Demons of the Punjab)
Reprogramming a robot. (A New Beginning)
Operating a transmat or teleport. (Demons of the Punjab, Kerblam!)
Creating false data on a computer. (Kerblam!)
Blocking a Dalek’s connection to its gunstick while not fully synchronised. (Resolution)

UTILITY

Opening a hatch. (The Ghost Monument)
Unlocking a padlocked door. (Rosa)
Unlocking an apartment door. (Arachnids in the UK)
Untying a knot in a rope. (Demons of the Punjab)
Lighting a candle. (Dr. Thirteenth)
Opening the door of a train (Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror)
Unlocking holding cells used by Zellin and Rakaya (Can You Hear Me?)

OTHER

Erasing and restoring marker writing. (Rosa)
Creating and playing audio recordings. (Spyfall)

BEHIND THE SCENES
SONIC SCREWDRIVER PROP

In Victor Pemberton’s script for Fury from the Deep, it was simply described as The Doctor’s “own version of a screwdriver”. When seeing a normal screwdriver in rehearsals, production assistant Michael Briant suggested using another prop and the device having sonic waves, so Patrick Troughton took a penlight from the visual effects department. (DWM 277) However, during location filming, Troughton accidentally lost the original prop and it had to be replaced at the last minute by Peter Day[1] with the safety whistle[2] of Deborah Watling’s life jacket outfit.[3]
In episode six of Fury from the Deep, the Second Doctor uses one of his devices together with some amplifiers to produce a “sonic laser soundwave” but it is unknown if this is the sonic screwdriver, and if so whether it was the retrieved original prop or not. The combined props are seen in a surviving alternate take of the climax battle of the episode, in which a sort of medical hammer appears to be lodged in the amplifier and manipulated by Troughton.
The Second Doctor’s slim penlight prop from The War Games has been identified as a EverReady model no. 1980 (1968-70 version).[2]
The Third Doctor’s sonic screwdriver is a modified prop from the Gerry Anderson film Thunderbirds Are Go, where it appeared as a screwdriver of the non-sonic variety. When Century 21 Productions was closed, the prop, among others, was sold off to the BBC.[4]
The sonic screwdriver was retired during the Fifth Doctor serial The Visitation, as it was felt that it had not only been overused but also writers relied on it instead of their own inventiveness to get The Doctor out of tricky situations. It was absent for the Sixth and Seventh Doctor’s eras, except in the TV Movie, where the Seventh Doctor used it to lock the Master’s remains away. The Eighth Doctor recovered it at the end of the film. After appearing in many Seventh and Eighth Doctor audio adventures from Big Finish Productions, the tool was reintroduced with the Ninth Doctor and has become the show’s most frequently used gadget besides the TARDIS itself.
The screwdriver was given a rest once more in series 9, only appearing in The Magician’s Apprentice, and a new version was introduced in the last episode Hell Bent. It was replaced by sonic sunglasses for that entire season.
For unexplained reasons, the Tenth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver had a green casing in The Infinite Quest.
There are two main versions of the Tenth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver — one which has a slide feature with button, and one which does not slide and has a fixed button. The two prop types varied each episode.
The War Doctor’s sonic screwdriver prop was created by modifying a Fourth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver replica toy.
When The Doctor handles the screwdriver, the clinking noises produced (when he throws and catches it) are created by repeating the motions with a corkscrew, the handles of which bump against the casing to produce the required noise. These noises are dubbed over the footage in post-production.

CONCEPT ART

Early conceptual art of the first modern era sonic screwdriver features a different “tube” section. Notes refer to “glowing organic circuitry” and a movable ball-joint on the emitter to allow use around corners and in tight spaces. Instead of the “glowing circuitry,” the actual prop and toy reproductions featured a black “swivel” like a simple helix. When given a personal copy of the concept art, David Tennant himself commented on the lack of the swivelling emitter. [source needed]
Another early piece of concept art, similar to a simple Bitmap drawing, reveals that the black “cap” at the reverse end of the sonic screwdriver was intended to be an opening set of “feet,” allowing the sonic screwdriver to plug into a section of the TARDIS console. This feature was also dropped from the eventual prop model. [source needed]
Dan Walker redesigned the sonic screwdriver, devising how it looks when used by the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. “We hit upon the idea of spark plugs, which in themselves are very iconic,” Walker stated. “Initially, we started off quite techy, with retractable elements that would interface with an unlimited number of devices.” Despite his work on redesigning the device, Walker wasn’t allowed to take one of the sonic screwdriver props home with him. (ImageFX magazine, October 2008, pp. 63 & 64)

SONIC SCREWDRIVER TOY

A toy of the Eleventh Doctor’s version was seen in “Light Echoes”, an edition of “The Sky at Night” broadcast on BBC4 on Wednesday 5th October 2010. The screwdriver was (jokingly) used to scan a part of the LOFAR radio telescope, then under construction in Chilbolton, Hampshire, UK.
The Eleventh Doctor’s sonic screwdriver toy has a total of four sound effects, two of which alternate with every other button press. The third is activated by pressing twice and holding on the third button push. The fourth is activated with three presses and a hold on the fourth push. However, in some models of the toy, over-use of the hidden sound effects causes the sound functions to eventually break, leaving only the LED functional.
The customisable toy sonic screwdriver set featuring three screwdrivers with interchangeable parts can produce up to eight sound effects: the first two are the basic screwdriver sound, with slightly different pitches, and alternate each time the button is pressed. The other six effects are achieved in a similar manner to those of the Eleventh Doctor’s sonic screwdriver toy, and are accompanied by a flashing lights instead of a constant light.
Since the War Doctor’s sonic screwdriver prop was created by modifying a toy replica, the toy version that was subsequently produced is screen accurate.

ATTACK OF THE GRASKE

In Attack of the Graske, the Tenth Doctor appears to break the fourth wall by noting the player at home’s been watching his adventures. Later, he points the sonic screwdriver at the television screen, transferring its powers to the player’s digital remote control. This, along with having the player choose multiple endings to this game, disqualifies it as a valid source on this website.

OTHER MATTERS

In the animated title sequence of the first series of Totally Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to fire a blue burst of energy which blows off the hand of a Cyberman.
In the original script for The Eleventh Hour, The Doctor referred to his screwdriver as “Level 4000” technology.
Scientists at the University of Dundee invented a device which turns objects with ultrasonic waves, an invention which has been described as a real-world version of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.[5]
Doctor Who: Legacy mobile game contains a premium pack called “Sonic Adventure”, which is centred around finding various sonic devices used by different incarnations of the Doctor and by several other characters. The playable characters form this premium pack represented almost every model of sonic screwdriver encountered in the DWU.

RIVER’S SCREWDRIVER

The Twelfth Doctor gave River Song another screwdriver before River’s final date with him at the Singing Towers of Darillium. (The Husbands of River Song, Silence in the Library) This version of the sonic screwdriver somewhat resembled the Ninth and Tenth Doctor’s model, which was notable when she met the former in the Library, though it looked elaborately decorated and modified, featuring increased and enhanced functionality, including “dampers” and a “red setting” that allowed it to work without interference from The Doctor Moon. The Doctor gave it to River so she would be ready when she met his tenth incarnation in the Library. (Forest of the Dead)

RIVER’S SONGS SONIC SCREWDRIVER

River Song’s sonic screwdriver was given to her by the Twelfth Doctor during their last date, on the Singing Towers of Darillium. Consistent with his memories, the screwdriver was the same model as what he previously possessed in his tenth incarnation.

It was the first gift The Doctor personally gave to River face-to-face, after seeing that she was using a sonic trowel, which he found “embarrassing”. (The Husbands of River Song)

Unbeknownst to her, this version included a neural relay (for the benefit of the Tenth Doctor), which would save her data ghost for uploading into the main computer of the Library. (Forest of the Dead)

Among its functions, most of which were shared with The Doctor’s screwdriver, River’s screwdriver was capable of increasing the mesh densities of her expedition’s suits to over 800%, (Silence in the Library) activating and disabling the Library’s gravity platforms, slowing the descent of a fall within a gravity well, fixing light bulbs and storing the consciousness of an individual held within its neural relay. (Forest of the Dead)

The screwdriver was also fitted with dampers and a red setting, which made it more efficient than the Tenth Doctor’s. (Forest of the Dead) She told Helen Sinclair that it was better than The Doctor’s. (The Sonomancer)

OTHER SCREWDRIVERS

A clone of the Second Doctor also possessed a sonic screwdriver, which he used along with the Fourth Doctor’s to send Hexford home. (Survivors in Space)

Romana II constructed her own sonic screwdriver. Her version was so impressive that The Doctor offered to swap sonic screwdrivers with her. (The Horns of Nimon) Her version also included a silencer. (Luna Romana) She later gave it to The Doctor. (Lungbarrow) Nonetheless, during the final term of her presidency, her third incarnation used a sonic screwdriver. (Intervention Earth)

Narvin had a sonic screwdriver made, based on The Doctor’s design, after seeing its utility when carried by The Doctor. At first he objected, preferring to call it a sonic lockpick, but then admitted the nature of his new device. (The Quantum Possibility Engine)

Jackson Lake carried a primitive “iteration” of the sonic screwdriver. His version was a regular 19th century screwdriver, which he claimed was sonic by virtue of it making a sound when it was struck against a surface. (The Next Doctor)

While trapped on Apalapucia for thirty-six years, Amy Pond cobbled together a sonic device from various pieces of technology, but insisted upon calling it a sonic probe. She later conceded that it was a “sonic screwdriver”. (The Girl Who Waited)

Vastra had a sonic screwdriver that was a gift from The Doctor. She used it to shatter the glass of the Crystal Palace. It had a red tip, and was similar in design to that used by The Doctor’s eleventh incarnation. (The Crystal Throne)

Doctor Ogron built his own sonic screwdriver. (Planet of the Ogrons)

BEHIND THE SCENES

According to the non-fiction source Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary, which this website does not count as a valid source, a sonic screwdriver was a common and basic Time Lord device. If needed, a Time Lord could make one from scratch in very little time.

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