Empress of Mars was the ninth episode of the tenth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. This episode was notable for introducing in 2017 the first on-screen female Ice Warrior, the Ice Queen Iraxxa, 50 years since the species were introduced in 1967's The Ice Warriors.
Empress saw the return of two actors from classic Doctor Who: Ysanne Churchman, reprising the role of Alpha Centauri for the first time since the 1974 story The Monster of Peladon, and Anthony Calf, who last appeared on televised Doctor Who in the 1982 serial, The Visitation.
Narratively, this episode saw Missy out of her vault for the first time in the series, discounting flashbacks. A large part of the series arc revolved around guarding the vault to make sure that she did not escape; in this story, Nardole allows Missy to pilot the TARDIS to save the Doctor and Bill.
When NASA discovers a message reading GOD SAVE THE QUEEN under the ice on Mars's surface, the Twelfth Doctor, Nardole, and Bill travel to the Red Planet to investigate. On arrival, they find Victorian soldiers embroiled in a conflict with one of Mars’s ancient species.
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- The Doctor - Peter Capaldi
- Bill - Pearl Mackie
- Nardole - Matt Lucas
- Missy - Michelle Gomez
- Godsacre - Anthony Calf
- Catchlove - Ferdinand Kingsley
- Friday - Richard Ashton
- Iraxxa - Adele Lynch
- Sergeant Major Peach - Glenn Speers
- Jackdaw - Ian Beattie
- Vincey - Bayo Gbadamosi
- Knibbs - Ian Hughes
- Coolidge - Lesley Ewen
- Voice of Alpha Centauri - Ysanne Churchman
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- The Doctor has never seen the Terminator movies, but he has heard of the movie Frozen.
- Bill compares the underground tunnels to those in The Thing.
- Bill mentions the film The Vikings, which stars Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, and has an amazing theme tune.
- The soldiers brought a Union Flag with them.
- Friday is named after Man Friday from Robinson Crusoe.
- Godsacre finds the notion of a woman in the police force hilarious.
- The Doctor refers to this event as the beginning of a "Martian Golden Age".
Foods and beverages Edit
- Nardole is drinking a cup of tea at NASA.
- The Doctor, Bill, Catchlove and Godsacre drinks "afternoon tea" and eats cake.
- When Friday is serving tea, Catchlove questions as to whether Bill would like "Indian or China".
- Godsacre was stationed in South Africa and was a "hero of Isandlwana".
- Catchlove says Mars is now part of the British Empire.
- The Doctor uses his psychic paper.
- NASA is testing out the space probe Valkyrie on Mars.
- The probe pictures needs to download before they show up.
- Bill says The Terminator has "killer robots".
- Friday offered his spaceship's artillery to build a mining machine.
- Friday helped the Victorian soldiers build the Gargantua, apparently for mining.
- The Ice Warriors have been sleeping in cryogenic cells.
- Catchlove plans to "dynamite the lifts".
- Bill points out a photograph of Neil Armstrong on the wall of NASA. The Doctor clarifies that Armstrong was not the "first man on the Moon".
- The psychic paper tells NASA the TARDIS crew has been allowed everywhere at the company by the Chief.
- Godsacre was a "hero of Isandlwana".
- The British Army have a portrait of Queen Victoria. They aimed to claim Mars in her name.
- Missy agrees to help Nardole get the TARDIS back to Mars.
- Friday and Iraxxa have been in hibernation for 5,000 years.
- Vincey is engaged to someone named Alice.
- The Doctor, Bill and Nardole take a trip to NASA, where a probe is being tested.
- Jobs at NASA were given as:
- The Doctor suggests the reason for the message on the surface of Mars could be state visit, patriotic fervour or rogue graffiti artist.
- "God Save The Queen" is written on the surface of Mars.
- Jackdaw uses the expression "Sweet Fanny Adams".
- Peach says RHIP, meaning "Rank has its privileges".
- Iraxxa refers to Vincey as "fleshy worm".
- The greeting "by the moons, I honour thee" is used.
- Catchlove refers to the Colonel's hanging as "dancing the Newgate polka" and calls him a "paper tiger".
- Catchlove says the British Army is more than a match to "upright crocodiles".
- Catchlove tells Iraxxa to "call off her dogs".
- Vincey uses the phrase "in all my puff".
- The Doctor sends out a round-robin email.
- Godsacre says he can't go to battle due to "blue funk".
- Jackdaw sings "She Was Poor But She Was Honest" to himself.
Story notes Edit
- The read-through for Empress of Mars took place on 11 January 2017, and filming took place between 27 January and 22 February of that same year.
- Actor Ysanne Churchman returns as the voice of Alpha Centauri at the age of 92, becoming the oldest actor to appear in the new television series of Doctor Who. To keep the reappearance of Alpha Centauri a surprise, Churchman was not credited in Radio Times, nor on the Doctor Who website.
- Mark Gatiss explains on The Aftershow that Empress of Mars began as a sequel to the 2015 series 9 episode Sleep No More, but later turned into an Ice Warrior story, and with the inclusion of Alpha Centauri was intended as a third Peladon-story, until the story was fully formed.
- Guest star Ferdinand Kingsley was currently co-starring with Jenna Coleman in the TV series Victoria. The image of Queen Victoria used for this episode, however, is a portrait of Pauline Collins from TV: Tooth and Claw.
- At one point Iraxxa tells her soldiers to "sleep no more!" This is a reference to Gatiss' previous episode for the programme, TV: Sleep No More.
- Ian McNeice was originally in talks to appear as Winston Churchill in the episode, but it was left on the scrapheap, as Mark and Steven couldn't fit a 20th century-individual into the 1881-set story.
- Missy's Theme plays during her reveal inside the TARDIS, for the first time since Series 8.
- Though this episode is the sixth on-screen appearance of the Ice Warriors, and the third TV story set on their homeworld of Mars, it is the first time they are seen on Mars.
- The Next Time trailer for this episode includes musical themes commonly associated with the Cybermen, though the Cybermen do not appear in it in any capacity.
- 3.58m (UK overnight figures)
- 5.02m (UK final)
Filming locations Edit
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Production errors Edit
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- The Doctor uses his psychic paper. (TV: The End of the World et al.)
- The Doctor told Friday that he was an Honorary Guardian of the Tythonian Hive. (TV: The Creature from the Pit)
- Friday was found to have hibernated for 5,000 years on Earth in 1881, the Doctor had previously encountered the Grand Marshall Ice Warrior Skaldak on Earth in 1983 who had also been in hibernation for 5,000 years. (TV: Cold War)
- The descendants of Iraxxa's hive, which had woken up from hibernation and 'joined the universe' 102 years prior, are most likely the Ice Warriors who piloted the spaceship which rescued Skaldak from Earth.
- The Doctor again greets Ice Warriors with the "by the Moons, I honour thee." (TV: Cold War)
- The Doctor remarks on how he can't resist a countdown. He previously said similar of the Master. (TV: Last of the Time Lords)
- Bill mentions Neil Armstrong and the 1969 moon landing. The Tenth Doctor was present for it with companion Martha Jones (TV: Blink) while his eleventh incarnation witnessed the broadcast of Armstrong live while interrupting the footage with the image of a Silent. (TV: Day of the Moon)
- Nardole knows how to pilot the TARDIS, (TV: The Return of Doctor Mysterio) though she isn't co-operating.
- The TARDIS pilots herself autonomously. (TV: The Doctor's Wife, Hide, et al.)
- A portrait of Queen Victoria appears. (showing her as she appeared in TV: Tooth and Claw)
- The Doctor visits one of the Ice Warrior Hives. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
- The Doctor previously dealt with another (apparently secret, as later stories feature the alleged first) mission to Mars by British explorers (TV: The Ambassadors of Death), as well as a UK space probe to the Red Planet. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
- The Doctor has previously dealt with Daleks who, like Friday, appear to have become subservient to humans after having been rescued, only to have a secret agenda of reviving more of their race. (TV: The Power of the Daleks, Victory of the Daleks)
- The Doctor has visited the remains of the Ice Warrior civilisation before. (TV: The Waters of Mars) where he met a group of human colonists as well hence he indicated to Bill that there weren't any humans on Mars in Victorian times but he remembered the events in 2059.
- The Vault is visited by Nardole. (TV: The Pilot, Thin Ice, Knock Knock, Extremis, The Lie of the Land)
- The Doctor complains that his sonic screwdriver still has no setting for wood. (TV: Silence in the Library, The Hungry Earth, Night Terrors, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, In the Forest of the Night)
- The Doctor sends a message to Alpha Centauri to start the new Ice Warriors' lives. (TV: The Curse of Peladon)
- The Doctor mentions that Neil Armstrong was not the first man on the moon. (PROSE: Moon Blink)
- The episode is built around a bootstrap paradox; the Doctor only travels to Mars because of the mystery of the "God Save the Queen" message, which he himself will leave there in the future (TV: Before the Flood).
Home video releases Edit
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Digital releases Edit
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