The Sonic Screwdriver – An Analysis

“Harmless is just a word: that’s why I like it! Doesn’t kill, doesn’t wound, doesn’t maim. But I’ll tell you what it does do: It’s very good at opening doors.”

– The 10th Doctor

Sonic Screwdriver 11
The 11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver (Matt Smith)

Every Doctor Who fan knows the Doctor’s greatest tool that helps him on any and every adventure. His Sonic Screwdriver. The Screwdriver first appeared in “Fury from the Deep” an adventure featuring the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, and has been appearing in the series ever since. It has many uses, including locking and unlocking doors, medical examinations, computer hacking, and scanning for aliens or alien tech. It also has other small uses, like in “The Eleventh Hour” the season 5 premier, the 11th Doctor uses it to call the Atraxi to his location, though unsuccessfully. Of course, lots of devoted fans have complained, stating that the Sonic Screwdriver has become a Deus ex Machina, getting the Doctor out of almost any situation.


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The 10th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver (David Tennant)

Medical Scans: In the episode: “The Empty Child” the 9th Doctor uses his Screwdriver to scan the gas-mask zombies who were admitted into the hospital, finding out that the gas masks that the patients were wearing were fused to their faces. I think that this is alright, as long as its not overused, and as long as the Doctor has some difficulty with the task from time to time.

Computer Hacking: In many episodes, “A Town Called Mercy“, “The Power of Three“, “The Hungry Earth“, the Doctor uses his Screwdriver to hack into computers, usually very fast. Of course, this can seem like a product of the Deus ex Machina when the Screwdriver allows the Doctor to hack into a computer in seconds. Again, like medical scans, hacking is alright as a power, as long as it’s not overused and as long as it is difficult from time to time.

In “The Visitation” An adventure during the 5th Doctor’s run, the Sonic Screwdriver was destroyed, and the writers on the show decided that the Screwdriver would not return, and the Sonic didn’t return for the rest of the Classic Series. It did appear in the “Doctor Who TV Movie” in 1996, which was its next appearance before the New Series.

Comment! What do you think about the Sonic Screwdriver?


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