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Death in Heaven was the twelfth and final episode of the eighth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the second death of Danny Pink, the death of one of the two Osgoods, and the apparent death of Missy.

It revealed that Missy had been the "woman in the shop" who gave Clara the TARDIS phone number in The Bells of Saint John and the one who had provided the advertisement that drew the Doctor and Clara together again in Deep Breath.

It also allowed Doctor Who to again pay homage to the late Nicholas Courtney, with his character, the Brigadier, appearing as a Cyberman. This was the first televised Doctor Who appearance by the character since Battlefield, and effectively his first televised appearance since Courtney's death. He had appeared in audios and The Sarah Jane Adventures in the intervening time period.

The events of the two-parter takes place on the Doctor's birthday. This is the first story to be revealed to be doing so.

In a strange twist, the Cybermen gain the ability to fly in this story. In Clara and the Doctor's previous encounter with the Cybermen, Clara had wondered if the Cybermen could fly; at that point they could not, therefore allowing air superiority by those apposing the Cybermen.

Death in Heaven, and first-part episode Dark Water, was 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. It was followed by the premiere of the prequel scene The Doctor's Meditation. This screening was only shown in the United States of America, Canada, Denmark and Russia.

Synopsis Edit

With Cybermen on the streets of London, old friends unite against old enemies and the Doctor takes to the air in a startling new role.

Can the mighty UNIT contain Missy? As the Doctor faces his greatest challenge, sacrifices must be made before the day is won.

Plot Edit

Inside the 3W facility, Clara hides behind a desk as the Cyberman that had been Dr. Skarosa marches out of his tank. However, it detects her, demanding she reveal herself. Clara complies, hands raised; she tells the Cyberman that she is a target of strategic value. The Cyberman scans her, and states that she is Clara Oswald, an ordinary human with no value whatsoever. Clara tells the Cyberman it's wrong, that the identity of "Clara Oswald" is just a story she made up. It's interest piqued, the Cyberman asks for her identification again. Clara tells it that she is the one person who can change their face and hide in place sight in front of the Cybermen. When asked again for her identity, Clara claims to be "The Doctor".

Outside of St Paul's Cathedral, the Doctor tries getting everyone to run away from the Cybermen. However, Missy sarcastically passes him off as a ranting madman. The Doctor is baffled by this sight; no-one is panicking at the sight of these silver monstrosities. Missy advertises the Cybermen as big metal men and charges the public one pound for a picture with them. Slinging an arm around the Doctor, Missy shows him pictures on her device which show that the same thing is happening globally.

When Missy states they should take a picture, an undercover Osgood offers to take a picture, seizing Missy's weapon. She calls in a strike, and UNIT officers reveal themselves from the crowd. Kate walks out of the crowd, introducing herself to the Cybermen, who dismiss her threats as insignificant as human technology cannot match Cyber-technology. With a smile, Kate tosses the empty head of a Cyberman from The Invasion in front of the Cybermen; they left that behind on their last attempt to conquer the Earth. The Cybermen use their rocket boots to escape. The roof of St Paul's opens and more fly out.

Missy reveals that there are ninety-one Cybermen. Osgood states that this is the number of areas of significant population densities in the British Isles, meaning one Cyberman for every town and city in the world. One Cyberman detonates itself above St Paul's, creating a dark cloud and deploying Cyber-pollen.

Meanwhile in the Nethersphere, all the lights go out. Seb tells Danny that they all might be going home. He explains to Danny that he should think of the Nethersphere as a data-cloud for storing recently deceased minds. The good news, he says, is that their bodies have been "upgraded". 

Back at St Paul's both Missy and the Doctor are sedated and the Doctor just manages to whisper to Osgood, "Guard the graveyards" before passing out. Kate states on the phone that the "first protocol" has been implemented as the cloud made by the Cyberman starts to rain into the graveyards – and only the graveyards. The water seeps out and makes the sewers and gutters overflow. The water gets into the Chaplet Funeral Home and animates the newly converted Cybermen within. One of these is revealed to be Danny Pink, who clutches the sheet of paper with his information on it. 

Meanwhile, the Doctor wakes up in a UNIT aircraft hanger with the TARDIS as Kate informs him that protocols are in place and his co-operation is to be ensured, since UNIT assumes that he won't automatically do so. The Doctor asks for Clara and Kate says that he just has to give the order, as soon as he is on the plane his word is literally law. The plane is revealed to be Boat One. Kate tells someone on the phone that the President is aboard and when the Doctor comments on the uselessness of Americans, Colonel Ahmed reveals that the President of the United States was not being referred to; instead they were talking about the newly inaugurated President of Earth, commander in chief of all armies on the planet with complete authority in every nation. 'That your solution for everything? Vote for an idiot?" the Doctor asks. And to his shock, Colonel Ahmed reveals the Doctor just insulted himself.

Back in St Paul's, Clara displays an incredible knowledge of the Doctor, trying to convince the Cybermen that she is him. She even offered to reveal his true name, however another Cyberman arrives telling the other three both the lie and its cause. He looks down when she says that she is an incredible liar. He then knocks her unconscious and kills the other three who realise that he is not under Cyber-control. He is revealed to be Danny.

As Missy wakes up, the Doctor asks her why she is alive and she states that he saved her, with Gallifrey being collateral damage. She then reveals that she knows where it is but refuses to give him this information. As he leaves the Doctor reminds her of all those times she wanted to rule the world and calls it a piece of cake. Osgood quickly guesses who Missy is and brings the Cyber-clouds to the Doctor's attention, specifically the fact that they have expanded and now cover all land-masses. In response, the Doctor offers her a position in the TARDIS. It is revealed that Cybermen have been climbing out of graves the world over. 

When Clara wakes up, she finds herself in a graveyard just as Cybermen start climbing out of their graves. 

On Boat One, a council discusses the graves, finding that though only a handful of Cybermen had come out yet, many more were hatching. The Doctor realises that the entire point of the 3W organisation was to learn how to Cyber-convert the dead, and is very pessimistic of the chances of stopping them now they have this new ability. 

Meanwhile all the Cybermen in the graveyard that Clara is in are fully out as they wander aimlessly. 

On board Boat One the Doctor notes that these new Cybermen are not attacking since they are newborns. Kate reveals that they had been investigating 3W for a while, before they got a tip-off from a woman with a Scottish accent – Missy, the Doctor guesses. The Doctor reveals that Missy has been uploading minds in the Nethersphere for as long as humanity has had a concept of an after life.

While this is happening, Missy attempts to gain Osgood's attention by singing a version of "Hey, Mickey" replacing Mickey with Missy. She whispers a secret in her ear in a distinctly Scottish accent — "I'm going to kill you in a minute." She refers to this as her "secret girl plan". She starts a countdown from ten, while mocking human lifespans, before revealing that she had already escaped her restraints. She then kills her guards and Osgood before thanking her for being 'yummy'. She presses a button on her bracelet which causes a horde of flying Cybermen to attack the plane. 

In the graveyard, Clara finds the one that brought her there and says that the Doctor is the one man that she would never lie to. At this point, the Cyberman tries to shoot her but cannot. Instead he takes his mask off and reveals himself to be a highly mutilated Danny, who asks her to turn on his emotion inhibitor. 

Meanwhile, back on Boat One, Missy prompts the Doctor to ask her about her plan, promising that he will be surprised. She claims that by investigating those that die to save him she has realised that he wants to know that he is like her. The TARDIS phone begins ringing and Missy reveals that she both gave Clara the TARDIS' phone number (pretending it was for a PC helpline), and placed the advert in the Victorian newspaper. She claims that it was the only way to make sure the two deeply-opposite personalities — a control freak and a man who can never be controlled - stayed together.

The Doctor answers the TARDIS phone; Clara has called to tell him about Danny. He warns her not to turn on the inhibitor, because Danny will revert to a Cyberman and kill her if she does. Meanwhile, the Cybermen are breaking into Boat One and killing crew members. Clara begins to hit switches around Danny's power core, hoping to find the inhibitor switch.

On Boat One, Kate has alerted other organisations of their situation and rushes into the room, saying that the plane is going down. Missy turns her attention to her and says that she likes Kate before blowing out a section of the wall, sucking her out of the plane. She orders the Cybermen to destroy the plane and teleports away, leaving the Doctor.

Boat One explodes and the Doctor is thrown clear of the debris. Seb and Missy watch on from the Nethersphere, remarking on how boring his death will be. Using his key to summon the TARDIS, the Doctor manages to catch and enter his ship before reaching the ground. Seb is excited over the turn of events, to which Missy replies that Seb is merely an AI. Seb continues to be enthusiastic before Missy promptly destroys him.

The Doctor materialises in the graveyard and warns Clara that if she deletes Danny's emotions, he will kill her. He denies that he will, and the Doctor says that the difference between himself and Missy is emotion: "pain is a gift". He tries to get Danny to tell him what the cloud will do, but Danny says he isn't fully integrated into the Cyber hivemind and cannot see. Danny then laughs that all of the Doctor's bravado just crumbled in the sight of a tactical advantage, mocking the Doctor as a typical officer who has to keep his hands clean.

Death in Heaven story

Danny tells Clara he loves her

Knowing how much it will hurt Clara, the Doctor sadly tells her that he has to know. Clara takes the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, telling Danny she loves him. Danny says the same, joking that he'll never say that again. Smiling through her tears, Clara turns on the emotional inhibitor. Danny stops smiling and goes blanked faced. The Doctor asks him what Missy's plan for the Cyber Pollen is. He tells the Doctor that the cloud will convert all of humanity into Cybermen. Anguished, Clara hugs Danny, who remains motionless.

Missy then teleports into the graveyard. Seeing Clara in agony, Missy offers to "pop away" the pain; however, the Doctor tosses Missy's device into the graveyard, already sick of the senseless murder. Missy apologizes, since she tends to get carried away; she tells the Doctor to cheer up as she came to give him a gift. Missy speaks into her bracelet, which controls the Cybermen. She has then demonstrate plane safety tips and random movements. She then gives the Doctor the bracelet, allowing him the same control, as a birthday gift — "It's lucky one of us remembers," she notes. The Cybermen bow.

He refuses control of the army, but Missy points out the Doctor DOES want an army. With this army, the Doctor will now have the final say in the result of every great battle in the history of the universe. He can even save the people suffering in the Dalek camps and overthrow dictators. Tearing off the bracelet, the Doctor demands to know why she is doing this. Missy says she wants to show him that they are not so different, because she wants to renew their friendship. She then asks the Doctor if he can't trust himself with this kind of power; if he can stay morally pure.

After remembering how he had wondered if he was a good man, the Doctor realises something and thanks Missy for helping him. He declares he is not a good man, nor a bad man, nor a hero, nor a president, nor an officer (as Danny had described him). He says that he is "an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning". He tells Missy that he doesn't need an army, as he has his companions. He points to Danny, stating that he would never harm Clara because love isn't an emotion, but a promise. Danny hugs Clara, much to Missy's shock.

Cyber-Danny orders troops (DIH)

Danny orders the dead to save the living from the Cyber-pollen

The Doctor laughs that Missy didn't notice the only Cyberman not listening to her orders, right in front of her. "P.E. catch!" yells the Doctor as he tosses the bracelet to Danny, who promptly puts it on. Missy wonders what Danny will do. Danny states that the clouds will be burned. When asked by what, Danny states himself; Missy laughs, noting one burning Cyberman won't destroy the cloud. With a smirk, Danny tells Missy she's right.

Danny commands the Cybermen to attention. He tells them that this is earth's darkest day, but the dead shall save the land of the living. "This is not the order of a general, nor the whim of a lunatic. This is the promise, the promise of a soldier!" Danny turns to Clara, promising that she will "sleep safe tonight" before flying into the cloud with the rest of the Cybermen and destroying it, himself and the other Cybermen.

In the graveyard, Missy recites the coordinates of Gallifrey, claiming it has returned to its original location. Clara threatens to kill Missy with her own weapon; the Doctor takes it from her and prepares to do it himself to spare Clara. Seeing that she's finally brought the Doctor down to her level, Missy asks him to say something nice. With a sigh, the Doctor tells Missy that she's won. However, right before he can kill her, a blast from behind them hits her, seemingly disintegrating her.

A Cyberman is behind them. It lowers its weapon and points toward another section of the graveyard; Clara sees Kate Stewart lying there, still alive, muttering about her father.

The Doctor, now understanding, turns back to the Cyberman, who he realises is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and remarks, "The Earth's darkest hour, and mine. Where else would you be?" before saluting him — Kate had previously remarked that her father's greatest wish had been to receive a salute from the Doctor. The Cyberman Brigadier then flies up into the sky, with the Doctor whispering "Thank you" after him...

Two weeks later, Clara awakes in the middle of the night to find a portal to the Nethersphere in her hallway. Danny speaks through it, saying that the Nethersphere is collapsing and that the bracelet only has enough power left for one one-way trip. Instead of coming through the portal himself, however, he sends through the young Afghan boy he killed, telling her to find his parents. Crying, Danny says he is sorry and the portal closes, leaving the boy in the hallway along with the broken bracelet.

The Doctor meets Clara in a restaurant, the latter remarking that he is two weeks late (an apparent improvement compared to previous errors). He notes she is wearing the bracelet and assumes Danny has returned from the Nethersphere; she tries to tell him he hasn't, but he thinks she is trying to say that she can't travel in the TARDIS anymore.

He says that it is fine, and that he has found Gallifrey exactly where Missy said it was, and that, "for once, she wasn't lying". In fact, it is revealed that the Doctor travelled to the coordinates Missy gave him and found nothing but empty space. Closing the TARDIS door, he entered a fit of rage and attacked the console before sinking to the floor and weeping for his lost home planet. At the end of the day, Missy has had the last laugh.

However, the Doctor lies to Clara, telling her he found Gallifrey to make her believe that he will be fine without her. Hearing this, Clara changes her mind and goes along with the Doctor's belief that Danny has returned and that she too will be happy without the Doctor. Clara asks what he will do now; he says that Gallifrey can be a good place and that he will try to make it one. He says it's a long commute and Clara and Danny mightn't be able to make it.

They leave with a hug. Clara asks why he doesn't like hugging and he responds, "Never trust a hug. It's just a way to hide your face." As they hug, their faces each reveal their sadness behind each other's back. As the Doctor enters his TARDIS, Clara tells him that he made her feel special when they travelled together and thanks him for it. He thanks her "for exactly the same" and dematerialises the TARDIS while Clara walks away.

In a mid-credits scene, the Doctor is brooding alone in his TARDIS when he hears someone knocking at the door, telling him that "it can't end like this" and that neither Clara nor the Doctor is "okay". The voice turns out to be that of Santa Claus, who enters the TARDIS in a swirl of snowflakes and asks a boggling Doctor what he wants for Christmas...

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

Culture Edit

  • Missy descends from the clouds with her umbrella opened, copying the title character in Mary Poppins. In fact, in the Doctor Who Magazine interview [which?] with Peter Capaldi, a taxi-driver passing by during filming whoops that "it's Doctor Who and Mary Poppins!" - Capaldi promptly started singing "Feed the Birds" from that movie.
  • Missy does an impression of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday, Mr President".
  • Missy sings a version of Toni Basil's song "Mickey", replacing "Mickey" with Missy.
  • The Doctor calls Valiant "Cloudbase". Osgood immediately says Cloudbase is from Thunderbirds, but Colonel Ahmed quickly corrects her with Captain Scarlet. In addition, the Doctor claims he and Sylvia Anderson, co-creator of both shows, shared at least one dance together.
  • The Doctor mocks Colonel Ahmed about being a Man Scout.

Individuals Edit

Story notes Edit

  • Clara's ruse to the Cybermen of claiming to be the Doctor in the pre-opening teaser was followed by a one-off modification to the title sequence, with the eyes of the Twelfth Doctor being replaced by those of Clara's, and Jenna Coleman's name preceding that of Peter Capaldi.
    • This is the first and, as of January 2016, only episode where the name of the actor playing the Doctor is not the first name to appear in the title sequence (Jenna Coleman appears first).
    • This is also the second episode to feature any aspect of the face of someone other than the Doctor in the title sequence. The first was the 1996 TV movie, which also featured the eyes of someone else, in that case the Master.
  • The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders photograph of Missy holding her weapon in her outstretched hand as the Doctor looks on, with the accompanying caption "Doctor Who / 8.00 p.m. Who are you? The Doctor is disturbed by the mysterious Missy in the series finale".
  • To keep the appearance of Santa Claus a surprise, Nick Frost was uncredited in Radio Times and on the BBC website.
  • This is the first episode to show a scene mid-end credits.
  • This is the first series finale to lead directly into the following Christmas Special since Last of the Time Lords.
  • Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor appears for a second time since his regeneration in The Time of the Doctor, in archive footage from The Bells of Saint John. He last appeared in Deep Breath.
  • Danny calling to Clara while she sleeps is very similar to the Tenth Doctor calling to Rose Tyler after she is trapped on a parallel Earth. (TV: Doomsday)
  • This is the first reference of the term Prydonian since the 2005 revival of Doctor Who.
  • The episode continues the trend of the Cybermen appearing in each series' twelfth episode ever since Steven Moffat took over as showrunner. They also appeared in The Pandorica Opens, Closing Time and Nightmare in Silver, the twelfth episodes of series 5, 6 and 7 respectively.
  • Steven Moffat stated that Clara's reference to the Doctor being married four times included his marriage to Susan's grandmother. (DWM 482)

Ratings Edit

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In the BBC iPlayer version of this episode, during the flashback scene featuring Rusty, the subtitles incorrectly credit his lines as being said by Davros.
  • As Missy drops her hat, someone hugs the Cyberman in front of her and squeezes its arm which makes the rubber costume fold in.
  • When Clara is on the phone with the Doctor, telling him about Danny being a Cyberman, the wide shot shows the chest piece that covers the emotional inhibitor on, even though he had already removed it prior.
  • When Missy has the side of the plane blown off, her wrist device is still on. When she tells the Cybermen to blow up the plane over Belgium, it's disappeared, but in the next shot, it's returned to her wrist.
  • When the Doctor prepares to kill Missy, he is clearly holding her device in the wrong orientation, with the beam emitters pointing towards the ground.

Myths Edit

  • This would be Clara's last story. At one point, this was true. Up until shortly before production the plan was for Jenna Coleman to leave the series with this episode, however she decided to return for the Christmas special and Series 9.
  • Clara is pregnant or dying. These two myths/rumours were sparked by the post-it note reading "3 months" seen in Dark Water, with the former also supported by the existence of Orson Pink in TV: Listen who is supposedly a descendant of Clara and Danny, yet Danny is now dead. Ultimately, the significance of "3 months" was never explained.

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

  1. The story features Osgood from Operation Double but it is not clear whether that is the human or the Zygon.

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