The Time Tyrant known as the Surgeon was a renegade that was exiled from his home world because he did not agree with the brutal morality (or lack of) within his own society. He became a hunted fugitive, running through time and space in his stolen SWARM to evade capture.
Despite his apparent benevolence, his history and general mysterious nature (coupled with his sudden disappearance) makes it quite unclear whether he is friend or really foe.
His real name is unknown. He gained the moniker of the Surgeon back in the days where he was a fierce Time Tyrant soldier, known for disembowling because of his expertise in medicine and anatomy. He took the name himself as a title, for he 'disowned' his real name after seeing what he did.
Not much is known about the Surgeon's life except for his 'betrayal' of his own species and that beforehand, he was a great warrior under Pestilence's servitude who assisted in conquering many galaxies.
Change of heart
His sudden realisation of the evil his race had become came when he saw Pestilence order the release of a deadly virus on an unsuspecting neutral planet. He was on the planet and seemed to be immune to its effects (likely due to Pestilence's bio-engineering) and could see the natives' torment as their very flesh melted until their bodies became like wet clay. The sight of it sickened him and he took his SWARM to a far off location across time and space before killing several Time Tyrants trying to stop him.
It was then that the Surgeon became a fugitive. His execution coveted by many Tyrants, but most of all by Pestilence.
The Time War
Because their Time War destroyed all capabilities of time travel in their universe, all Time Tyrant SWARMs were rendered useless. This made the Surgeon unable to travel anymore but also no one could track him again or try to kill him.
However, he could still fly through space with his SWARM and managed to see that the Horsemen (War, Famine, Pestilence and their leader, Death) were going to try to create another event similar to the 'Eye of Conquest' (their Eye of Harmony) by travelling to another universe. The Surgeon secretly flew his SWARM throught he wormhole War created to pass into the Doctor's universe.
Attempts to warn the Doctor
War needed a time traveller with a wide enough timeline that Famine's stellar manipulator could see it as fit for Time Tyrants and use the traveller as a power source to turn a planet into a new 'Eye of Conquest', now to be named the 'Eye of Supremacy'. War saw the Doctor as the perfect candidate. As both War and the Surgeon (who were using vortex manipulators) could not directley interfere with the mission of a time traveller, due to their own Laws of Time, the Surgeon secretly distracted War and tried to leave clues to the Doctor telling him he is in danger.
These clues became markings that the Doctor noticed throughout his travels before the Surgeon had no choice but to meet him directly.
Encounter with Samhain
When War was first tracking the Doctor, he was watching him during an attack on an English village by an abstract malevolent entity, the Surgeon quickly made the first warning. It was the symbol known as the 'Spear' which signified back on their home planet as someone 'being marked for death'. The Doctor did seem to see it but dismissed it as one of Samhain's minions' graffiti.
The Surgeon managed to stop War (who was impersonating the Reverend in the village using a perception filter) from reaching the Doctor by locking him in the church. The Surgeon himself evaded all of Samhain's tricks by keeping in his SWARM with the chameleon circuit making it look like a tree.
Walking with dinosaurs
The Surgeon used a dead dinosaur's own blood to make a crude warning on a large boulder near the TARDIS when they were in Paleocenic times where the Drakost were attempting to alter Earth history.
This evidently gruesome warning was the first to be directly noticed and mentioned by the Doctor, stating that these symbols mean something but even the TARDIS has no idea what they mean, remaing as indecipherable patterns. The Doctor then says that they all had to leave before they alter history too drastically.
During this time, War was not actually impersonating anyone or anything, keeping a cloaking device on as to not tamper with the wildlife in case it alters the future to make him a paradox and therefore never go to Earth at all. The Surgeon could not locate War but saw it was not needed for him to do anything as the Doctor had left before War could navigate through the terrain.
Shadow of Malevolence
The Call of Evil
Ascendancy of the Daleks
The Crimson Hand
The Doctor finds the 'crown' rune/symbol. Although he just dismissed it as coincidence and carried on with the rescue off Karlel. This was supposed to be the Surgeon's way to remind the Doctor of the warnings.
What was more exhausting for the Surgeon is that the Doctor didn't even register seeing the 'Two Moons', a symbol said to mean 'there will be no daylight'.
Whom The Gods Destroy
Incident in Undejo
The Surgeon then wrote the symbol of the 'Shield' on one of the tents used by a deceased worker when the Doctor was investigating attacks made by a Cujugar. This symbol was meant to mean 'protect yourself'. Again, the Doctor noticed it but because of the commotion, he did not have time to investigate what it meant. War was disguised as Dr. Tek Viddo, the scientist in the camp.
However, before he could even make an attempt at capturing the Doctor, he was injured by the Cujugar. The Surgeon stayed in his SWARM for the most part of the incident while it was hovering above the trees, using a cloaking device.
The Last Warning
This warning was the last one he made. Rather than paint it, he sent the symbol to the TARDIS directly as a signal that he is arriving. He then appeared to the Doctor (his SWARM in 'compact mode', in his pocket) to tell him directly as to what he has been doing and why he has been painting the symbols everywhere. He then goes on to tell him of what each symbol means, showing the Doctor that he is to be trusted and that the matter is far greater than he initially thinks.
He also tells him that a very dangerous individual has been following him but has moved onto a different Time Lord (the Master) and that the Doctor, Amy and Rory must head for Earth immediately.
Arrival on Earth
They all arrive on Earth where War has the Master plugged into the machine Famine created to turn Earth into a cataclysmic event that will be amplified by the machine and then harnessed as a means of time travel - the 'Eye of Supremacy'.
War then beckons the remaining Horsemen to Earth to bare witness to the creation of the new Time Tyrant regime. The four of them watch as the Horsemen rip a hole through the universe and send billions of SWARMs to surround Earth, hping to absorb the Eye of Supremacy's released energy to grant them time travel and become the first SWARMs to do so in over 100 years. After that, the Eye is harnessed and stored to power all SWARMs, old and new for eternity.
Defeating the Horsemen
The Surgeon managed to use a transmat device in his cane to teleport into a SWARM and kill the pilot. He then used it to plow into War and drive it into the machine, destroying it. He grabbed the Master and teleported away before they were destroyed along with War.
He then helped killing Famine by sending an EMP to disable her cybernetic parts, rendering her immobile but alive. The Surgeon then shown his true barbarism by turning his cane into a sword and cutting off her head.
The Surgeon was far more brutal to Pestilence, his own nemesis. He had a swordfight with him, almost being impaled in the process. He then had trhe Doctor use Famine's particle cannon to burn off Pestilence's robotic legs. The Surgeon then slowly drove Pestilence's own claymore into his chest.
However, Death teleported, admitting defeat for the first time but before he does, sets a vendetta towards the Surgeon and the Doctor. The SWARMs then return to the wormhole back to their own reality, abandoning their fallen leader.
As the Doctor, Amy and Rory were trying to see to the Master, the Surgeon disappeared, leaving a note with one last symbol... the Face. There was also a line, reading: "Til next time, Doctor. The Surgeon x"
Strangely, the Doctor looked at it with worry. He believed that although the Surgeon assisted them and helped save the planet, he was still a Time Tyrant and sometimes that sort of thing never changes a man.
It would also seem odd for the Surgeon to give the Doctor an indecipherable symbol as a note. However, due to the other symbols the Surgeon has given have turned out to be warnings - this could be one as well.
The Surgeon is a fairly average-heighted man with blond-brown hair, goatee and large eyes. He wears a large black overcoat which goes to his knees, with a blue shirt, gold necklace and pendant and formal black trousers. He carries a multi-purposed cane which can be used as a transmitter, gun or even a sword. He aslo wears a ring with a black stone encrusted in it with gold over it in the shape of the Face symbol. The cane also has the same symbol on its hilt.
Despite having such a violent and guilt-ridden lifestyle in his early years, the Surgeon is a scatter-brained, nonsensical and borderline sociopath who does care about other life but his trauma of realising what he was has almost broken his mind and is now a brilliant but completely unreliable man.
His speech is often accompanied by slurred words, long drawn-out speeches and internal conversations and even going off into a tangent of something completely different. When the situation calls for it, however, he is very determined and quite manipulative in his actions (like the Seventh Doctor), appearing incompetent but still keeping a very calculated and genius plan together.
He often has mood swings, and will be quite stubborn in his actions, which explains why he kept going on with drawing symbols and keeping War at bay, rather than just keeping War at bay and gaining the oppurtunity to get to the Doctor at the time when War would. The Surgeon himself expresses deep frustration with himself after realising how his stubborness caused such grief for himself.
Due to his military training, the Surgeon is also very violent and quick to resort to brute force and execution if needed be, not asking questions or attempting to actually help the villians he destroys, not even giving them a chance. He expresses his morality as saying that he destroys them so coldly because 'they remind him of what he used to be'.
However, there is a possibility that all his absent-minded demeanour may be a clever ruse as his brilliance has shown numerous times and was hinted that he was not all he seemed after disappearing suddenly for unknown reasons and leaving the Doctor a note with another symbol, which could be another warning. This puts speculation as to whether the Surgeon truly is a friend or if he is far from that.
- Eddie Izzard originally expressed interest in playing the actual Eleventh Doctor, before Matt Smith was cast.
- The Surgeon shares many similarities to the Seventh Doctor, from their apparently false pretense as bumbling eccentrics, to their secretly manipulative and often callous undertones and even to their attire - as both carry a stick-like appendage, but the Surgeon carries a cane, not an umbrella.
- The Surgeon's appearance also bears some resemblence to Anthony Ainley's Master, which could be a possible foreshadowing of the Surgeon's 'true' intentions.
- The Surgeon's title is an obvious parody on the Doctor's name. As both are medical professions but the Doctor is more of a physician while the Surgeon has surgical training - as well as a reported former motif of disemboweling, earning him his grim moniker. This shows the full contrast in terms of backgrounds as the Doctor got his name because he 'made people better' while the Surgeon got his because he did the very opposite.