TARDIS Index File

Dark Water (TV story)

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Dark Water
Dark Water story image
Doctor: Twelfth Doctor
Companion(s): Clara
Featuring: Danny
Main enemy: Missy
Main setting: London, 2010s
Key crew
Writer: Steven Moffat
Director: Rachel Talalay
Producer: Peter Bennett
Release details
Story number: 251a
Season/series: 8
Premiere broadcast: 1 November 2014
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1x45 minute episode
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Doctor Who television stories
In the Forest of the Night Death in Heaven
Production order
Flatline Death in Heaven
Official trailer
The finale begins - Dark Water Next Time Trailer - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One00:36

The finale begins - Dark Water Next Time Trailer - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One

Another official trailer
Dark Water Official TV Trailer - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One00:31

Dark Water Official TV Trailer - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One

Memorable moment
Who's Missy? - Dark Water Preview - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One01:05

Who's Missy? - Dark Water Preview - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One

Behind the scenes video
Introduction to Dark Water - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One00:46

Introduction to Dark Water - Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC One

More behind the scenes stuff
Dark Water - Doctor Who Extra Series 1 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC10:49

Dark Water - Doctor Who Extra Series 1 Episode 11 (2014) - BBC

Another behind the scenes moment
DOCTOR WHO Exclusive Inside Look at 'Dark Water' Clara Oswald - BBC AMERICA01:13

DOCTOR WHO Exclusive Inside Look at 'Dark Water' Clara Oswald - BBC AMERICA


Dark Water was the eleventh episode of the eighth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the return of the Cybermen and Missy, and the Twelfth Doctor's first encounter with both. The events of the episode centred around the sudden and unexpected physical death of Danny Pink after a fatal accident, his transition into an existence beyond his body and the effect his bodily demise had on Clara Oswald. The story also explored the concept of an engineered afterlife, and revealed the identity of the victim unintentionally killed by Danny when he was still a soldier.

Dark Water showed an important aspect of the Time Lord's regeneration process that had been mentioned before, but never seen on screen: the possibility for a change of gender to occur. Missy, a mysterious figure throughout the series, was revealed to be a female incarnation of the Master, showing for the first time in the history of the series a Time Lord who had been portrayed by male actors, now being portrayed by a female actor.

This was also the first encounter between the Doctor and the Master since The End of Time, before each had changed into their next incarnations. However, it was not revealed when the previously male Master had regenerated, nor how she had escaped the pocket dimension that held Gallifrey.

Dark Water, and its follow-up episode Death in Heaven, were shown in cinemas in 3D as a two-night event on the 15th and 16th September as a run-up to prepare for Series 9. The screening also featured a prequel scene to the ninth series.

Synopsis Edit

In the mysterious world of the Nethersphere, plans have been drawn up.

Missy is about to come face to face with the Doctor, and an impossible choice is looming.

“Death is not an end” promises the sinister organisation known only as 3W – but, as the Doctor and Clara discover, you might wish it was.

Plot Edit

Clara is ready to confess to Danny the adventures she's been having with the Doctor, despite telling him she wasn't. She's about to tell him over the phone, when Danny steps out into the road and is killed by an oncoming car. Unable to deal with her grief, Clara calls the Doctor for help with the intention that he'll change events.

The Doctor picks up Clara asking her where she wants to go, almost immediately sensing something is wrong. She asks the Doctor to take her to a volcano, all while collecting up the TARDIS keys that are hidden in the console room. After the Doctor sets the destination, Clara uses a sleep patch on him.

The Doctor seemingly wakes on a volcanic planet, and Clara tells him what's happened and that she is holding the seven TARDIS keys hostage. Clara then reveals that she knows lava can destroy them and if the Doctor doesn't let her try to save Danny she'll throw them all into the crater in order to prevent the Doctor from ever re-entering the TARDIS, proving that she's serious by throwing one straight away. The Doctor point-blank refuses to save Danny since his death is part of her personal timeline, trying to take control of the situation by telling her to throw another key in the lava. Clara then throws all but one in, and when the Doctor still won't help she throws the last in before suddenly being overcome by the enormity of what she's done. The Doctor then reveals that she didn't actually knock him to sleep (the two are still in the console room), and this has been a telepathic test to see how far she'd be willing to go to be with Danny again. Seeing the extremity of her desire to see him, the Doctor agrees to do everything he can and connects her to the TARDIS' telepathic circuits, as her timestream's connected to Danny's. The TARDIS takes them to wherever she thinks Danny now is.

Danny wakes-up in the Nethersphere, and is greeted by Seb, who informs him of his death.

The Doctor feels Missy's hearts

The Doctor feels Missy's two hearts.

The TARDIS has taken the Doctor and Clara to the 3W, where they see skeletons seated in watery graves. They're greeted by Missy. Stating that he clearly didn't receive the formal advance materials, she kisses the Doctor, and claims to be a Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface. Missy lets the Doctor feel her heart, evoking a reaction of quiet surprise from the Doctor.

In the Nethersphere, Seb asks Danny if he's ever killed someone, due to a request from someone Danny could have killed in the army. Remembering his "bad day", the child Danny accidentally killed is revealed to him.

Chang reveals the dark water to the Doctor and Clara. When submerged, only organic matter can be seen – the skeletons are inside something else, hidden by the water.

Danny meets with the child, who runs away when Danny tries reaching out to him. He and Seb hear a man screaming, which Seb explains to mean he left his body to science.

Chang then explains to the Doctor and Clara that the 3W was established after a discovery from television static, that their founder, Dr Skarosa, translated to be distant voices. Believing them to be the voices of the dead, Skarosa isolated some of them. Chang plays a recording of the voice that inspired 3W's founding: “Don't cremate me”. Chang tells them the dead are still conscious, and aware of everything that happens to their body.

Seb is explaining the same to Danny, who constantly feels cold because he's still connected to his body, which is being kept in a cold place.

The Doctor states that the dead don't come back, and Chang establishes a communication signal to the Nethersphere, and Clara is able to speak to Danny, with Seb's assistance. The Doctor tells Clara to ask Danny questions only to which would he know the answer.

Missy activates the tanks, and the skeletons stand. When Chang and the Doctor arrive, Missy reveals she was only pretending to be an android, and kills Chang. As the tanks begin to empty, the Cybermen are slowly revealed.

Clara asks Danny to name the restaurant of their first date – he can't remember.

Missy shows the Doctor the Nethersphere, which is a Matrix data slice housing minds of the deceased in edited forms, while their bodies are used for Cyber-conversion. The Doctor knows the Nethersphere (actually a small sphere within 3W) which is containing the neural patterns is actually Gallifreyan technology, and Missy reveals that she is indeed a Time Lord, or rather a Time Lady as she prefers to be called. The Doctor asks her which Time Lady she is – she's the one he "left for dead", without expecting her to "find [her] way back". The Doctor runs out of the 3W, which is St Paul's Cathedral.

Clara asks Danny more information about her and tells him that if he is Danny, she is determined to find him in the netherworld and threatens to hang up if he says "I love you" one more time instead of answering her questions. Danny tells Clara she must continue her life and not follow him; he repeats the same words for the last time and she disconnects the communication signal. Seb gives Danny the option to delete himself, which would relieve him from the surge of emotional trauma from his call with Clara.

Back in 3W, Clara turns around to see a fully-revealed Cyberman in the water tank. The Cybermen activate, and begin marching down the steps of St Paul's Cathedral. The Doctor yells at civilians to run away, but he's dismissed as an angry Scotsman. The Doctor demands that Missy tell him who she truly is, and Missy reveals that her name is short for "Mistress" as she couldn't keep calling herself by her previous title... the Master. The Doctor initially reacts with disbelief that quickly turns to horror when he realises she is telling the truth and his old nemesis has returned.

In the Nethersphere, Danny is on the verge of disconnecting himself, and sees the child he killed reflected on the screen of the iPad he holds.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

References Edit

Individuals Edit

  • Clara's birthday (23rd November) is used by Danny to convince her that he is genuine.
  • When asked about having iPads in the afterlife by Danny, Seb responds by saying that they have Apple founder Steve Jobs.
  • Clara has a copy of the Encyclopedia of World Facts.
  • At this point in time, Clara does not have her own TARDIS key, as she's only seen gathering the seven keys from the ship with no indication of her having one of her own.
  • "Air on the G String" by Johann Sebastian Bach was heard on Missy's introduction when the Doctor and Clara were greeted by her.

Story notes Edit

  • The Cybermen walking from St Paul's Cathedral and through the London streets emulates a similar scene in the same location in the TV story The Invasion.
  • This episode marks the first on screen instance of a Time Lord changing gender through regeneration, although the possibility had been alluded to in The End of Time, The Doctor's Wife and The Night of the Doctor. Notably, the only time the Doctor had indicated that he may change genders had been when he was recovering from regeneration, a state in which his mental stability is temporarily diminished.
  • The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders photograph of Missy and the Doctor, with the accompanying caption “ Doctor Who / 8:15 p.m. Missy and the Time Lord come face to face at last – what will the outcome be?”
  • The Hyperscape Body Swap Ticket used to get Clara and the Eleventh Doctor into the Doctor Who at the Proms is shown on Clara's bookshelf among her sticky notes. Discounting the sticky note references to the Paternoster Gang, whom Clara had also encountered in Series 7, and one reading "Impossible Girl" (which was a plot element in TV: Deep Breath), the ticket is the only item exclusive to the Eleventh Doctor era visible on Clara's notes, though the camera does not focus in on all the stickies.
  • When the Doctor hands Dr. Chang the psychic paper, it says that he is from the government and Chang questions the amount of swearing on the paper. The Doctor responds with "I've got a lot of internalized anger." Peter Capaldi is well known for his role as the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It and its spin-off film, In the Loop.[1]
  • This episode marks the first use of the term "Time Lady" in the revived series.
  • At a Royal Television Society event, Steven Moffat revealed a decoy version of Missy's reveal in the episode was shot in case any members of the public overheard: “You know who I am. I'm Missy. Or, if you'd prefer, Random Access Neural Integrator. Rani for short.”[2]
  • Even with series 8 running for one episode shorter than normal, this episode still mananges to continue the trend of the Cybermen appearing in the penultimate episode of every series since Steven Moffat assumed the role of head writer and executive producer. The Pandorica Opens in series 5, Closing Time in series 6 and Nightmare in Silver in series 7, all of them featuring the Cybermen, were also all the twelfth episodes of thirteen in their respective series.
  • From among books in which the Doctor has hidden TARDIS keys, Clara picks up a copy of The Time Traveler's Wife, which influenced the character of River Song and the plot of The Girl in the Fireplace.[3]
  • The plot point of the dead being conscious was controversial enough for the BBC to release a statement defending it after receiving complaints from viewers.

Ratings Edit

7.34 million (DWM 481)

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

  • When Danny is walking across the park, his phone rings, which means that Clara is calling him. When Clara is shown holding her phone, it displays "Danny calling" which would normally indicate that Danny has called her. Furthermore, her phone clearly still shows the "Danny calling" message even when she is talking to him.
  • In a related error, the screen on Clara's phone remains on, partially illuminating her face as she speaks to both Danny and the Doctor. Mobile phones are designed to blank the screen when held up to the ear. In future episodes (such as TV: Before the Flood), this technical error is repeated. (It should be noted that this error is not unique to Doctor Who as many other series and films involving mobile use do this too.)

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

 DVD releases Edit

  • Doctor Who: Series 8 Boxset

Blu-ray releases Edit

  • Doctor Who: Series 8 Blu-ray Boxset

Digital releases Edit

  • The episode was released on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video in HD or SD, also available as part of the Series 8 digital boxset. The digital boxset contains various features: trailer, interviews, The Ultimate Companion, The Ultimate Time Lord, Inside the World Tour and Doctor Who Extra episodes for each episode.
  • In the US, the series was released through digital streaming services Hulu and Netflix with a subscription.

Footnotes Edit

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