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Smile was the second episode of the tenth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales.

Synopsis Edit

The Doctor and Bill Potts travel to the future. They come across one of Earth's first colonies, but can they save the colonists from the Vardy?

Plot Edit

The Twelfth Doctor and Bill are discussing where they should visit in the TARDIS when a knock on the door interrupts them. The Doctor answers "Mum", sarcastically referring to Nardole. The Doctor and Nardole discuss plans, promises and premises before Nardole is ordered to put the kettle on. The Doctor and Bill decide to have one trip, and be back before the kettle has boiled. The travellers embark on a journey... to the future.

The TARDIS materialises on a human colony planet, where they encounter the Vardy, a swarm of microbots, which implant communication devices into the Doctor's and Bill's ears. The two find humanoid robots that wear emoji-like smiling faces on their face screens. The Doctor explains that these are interfaces that can be used to communicate with the Vardy swarm.

The Emojibot gives them badges that reflect their moods in the form of emojis, which only other people (and not the user) can see. The badges suddenly slide over to the Doctor's and Bill's backs. The Doctor presumes that this is so that seeing one's own emotion on the badge doesn't change it, which would have caused a "feedback loop".

The Emojibot serves cubes of gelatinous blue food; the Doctor receives two cubes – one for each heart, an idea that Bill finds difficult to handle. The Doctor explains that the Vardies and Emojibots are a sort of advance party, preparing this planet before humans land to colonise the planet. Meanwhile, the Emojibot monitor's the Doctor's emotions, reflected by a thoughtful emoji on the robot's screen and the Doctor's badge.

The Emojibot continues to escort the Doctor and Bill to a greenhouse outside, where it pollinates plants and an automated system sprays calcium-based fertiliser onto the plants. The Doctor finds a discarded necklace. Bill asks the Doctor what he is thinking about, and he replies, suspicious that he is thinking about "a magic haddock". The Doctors discover broken human skeletons being crushed into fertiliser. He realises that these must be the remains of the human party sent in advance of the rest of the colonists. The two try to escape, but the Emojibot shows the Doctor the teary-eyed emoji on his mood badge, changing into the skull-faced emoji as they escape.

In the centre of a corridor, the Doctor and Bill find themselves surrounded by Emojibots that can sense their fear. The Doctor tells Bill to smile, which psychologically affects the mood to an extent, stalling the Emojibots. However, as they run out of the building, an Emojibot grabs Bill's arm, signalling a swarm of Vardies to seemingly emerge from the building's structure itself. As the two run back to the TARDIS, the Vardies stop their pursuit. The Doctor tells Bill to remain in the TARDIS while he runs back to the city to destroy the Vardies and the city before they kill the incoming colonists, expressing a "childish impulse to blow it up" . Bill wonders why he can't call a "helpline" to deal with the problem instead, but then notices the reassuring message on the TARDIS' police box door: "Advice and assistance obtainable immediately",

In the city, the Doctor convinces an Emojibot that he is happy, but his happy-faced badge changes to show a light bulb shortly afterwards. He hears someone breathing on his communication device and realises that Bill has followed him back. He explains to her that the entire city is made out of interlocked Vardy microbots. However, the Doctor believes that the centre of the city houses the spaceship in which the colonists first arrived. The Doctor and Bill enter through the door of the ship, which alerts all Emojibots in the city, whose smiley emojis now incorporate exclamation marks for eyes.

Inside the spaceship, the Doctor comments on the difference between design of the ship interior and the city outside, each designed by "wet brains" (humans) and "dry brains" (Vardies). They come across a map labelling where they are, and the Doctor plans to walk to the engine room in the middle of the ship. He instructs Bill to stay back to guide him through the map, which displays the Doctor's current position. On his way, the Doctor finds all sorts of furniture and artefacts, including the bust of Nefertiti. Bill asks how the Doctor is allowed to blow up the spaceship without consequences, but he responds that it is a "moral imperative" to destroy the "murder machine" that surrounds them. Bill notices an unexpected empty space surrounding the engine room, but the tannoy of the ship distracts her. Outside, the Emojibots' faces change to skulls as the ship, Erehwon, begins to wake up, and as the Doctor descends into the engine room.

Bill realises she could have followed the Doctor the entire time if she had photographed the map. The Doctor reveals that he had already memorised the map, as Bill protests against his leaving her "out of trouble". Bill follows the Doctor's path, but she stumbles upon a room containing a recently deceased old woman, with a book placed at her feet. Bill finds that the book contains digital images of human history on Earth, continuing past her time and through an apocalyptic war. The Doctor explains that humans evacuated Earth following this conflict, and that this colony must be one of those evacuative ships. He meanwhile fiddles with the engine room controls, trying to reroute the engine's flow into the calorimeter. However, as he tries to do so, the calorimeter begins to rise to its peak, which spells doom for the Doctor.

Bill proceeds to the engine room, but to her shock, finds a boy, which asks, "Are we there yet?" Meanwhile, an Emojibot closes in on the Doctor, who is still waiting for Bill to help him hold the calorimeter tightly while he jams it shut with a spanner. The Doctor sees its reflection in a dial, and smashes the emojibot off the catwalk with the spanner, nearly dragged down himself, only to run into Bill and the confused boy, who asks where everyone else is. The Doctor is puzzled by this, until he and Bill find that the empty space around the engine room is where the remaining human population is cryogenically stored. One of the stored humans, named Steadfast, wakes up, and the Doctor assertively instructs him to stay inside the ship as the other humans begin to unfreeze behind him.

Bill takes the Doctor to the old woman's corpse, and they try to understand history and the woman's role in it. They discover a large number of deaths increasing in numbers since the death of this woman, the first death of the colony. The Doctor realises that it was grief that led to the deaths of all the people. The Vardies, not knowing how to interpret grief (after a loved one has died), so they interpreted it as a threat to happiness that needed to be killed. Subsequently, all the grieving loved ones of every next person killed. In the short period of a day, sadness has become much like a plague. The Doctor again mentions the magic haddock, and produces the discarded necklace, which contains a hologram of the boy waving happily. Bill says that they will find the owner of the necklace when she wakes up, but the Doctor tells her that he found it in the greenhouse, belonging to one of the dead advance colonists. Meanwhile, an Emojibot offers a mood badge to the boy, who is walking outside in the city, looking for his mother. His mood changes to a puzzled emoji.

The waking colonists arm themselves with laser guns to fight the Vardies, and exit the ship Erehwon, only to find the boy flanked by two Emojibots inside a city building. The boy begins to cry, unable to find his mother, at which point Steadfast fires upon the Emojibots. The rest of the colonists begin to fire, as some Vardies break off from the ceiling to attack, and kill a man. The Doctor notes that the Vardies are identifying as being under attack and realises that they now identify as their own living species. He runs to a broken Emojibot, using the sonic screwdriver on its wiring, creating a blinding, disorienting flash throughout the city.

The Doctor tells the story of the fisherman and the magic haddock, which grants wishes: A fisherman wished for his son to return from war and 100 gold pieces, but the haddock thinks in a different way (like a robot), instead sending the son's corpse home from the war, along with 100 gold pieces commending his service. The fisherman then wished that he hadn't wished the first two wishes, pressing the "reset button", which is what the Doctor has done to the Vardies. The Doctor has wiped the Vardies' memories, so they now believe they are the indigenous life forms of the planet. The Doctor tells Steadfast that the Vardies are willing to negotiate with the humans, now considered a migrant race to the planet belonging to the Vardies.

Returning to Earth in the TARDIS, Bill asks the Doctor if the human-Vardy relationship will work. The Doctor replies that it is up to them. Bill asks him if he normally deals with such affairs, acting as an "intergalactic policeman". The Doctor replies that the police box exterior of the TARDIS is a mere coincidence, as they land, exactly at the point they left, but when Bill steps out of the TARDIS, it is snowing, and an elephant is approaching the TARDIS. The Doctor explains that they are in London, not Bristol, and that they are standing on the frozen Thames...

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

Language Edit

  • The Emojibots speak Emoji. Emoji used by them include:
    • 😃 – smiling face
    • 😊 – happy face
    • 💀 – a skull, a symbol of death
    • 😢 – crying face, one tear
    • 😭 – crying face, two tears
    • 💡 – a light bulb, symbolising a new idea forming
    • 😕 – puzzled face
    • 😮 – shocked face
    • 😯 – interested face
    • 😰 – worried face
    • 😦 – confused face
    • 🤔 – thoughtful face
      • can also have a drop of sweat
    • 😐 – suspicious face
    • 🤗 – open-armed smiling face
    • 😵 – dead face
    • 🔫 – under attack
    • 😡 – anger
    • 🗝 – key, interacting with locks
    • ❓ – question mark, indicating confusion
      • can also be a face with a question mark above
    • ❗️ – indicating awareness
    • 👍 – thumbs up, indicating approval
    • 💷 – pound sterling, indicating an interest in monetary gain

Culture Edit

  • The Doctor says that the colonists will come expecting the Garden of Eden.
  • The Vardy identified grief as the enemy of happiness.
  • The Doctor tells the story of "The Magic Haddock".
  • Bill ask whether the Doctor has "stretchy arms" like Mister Fantastic.
  • Bill says Gliese was like a Student Union before the students arrive.
  • Because Bill is only served one jelly while the Doctor is given two, she asks whether they have food sexism even in the future.
  • The Doctor mentions how Vikings used to turn boats upside down and use them as houses.
  • The record Bill looks into shows the entirety of human history.
  • The Doctor and Bill arrive at the frozen River Thames during the 1814 frost fair.
  • A photo in the archive of the Erehwon shows protestors with placards which read: "Socialist Worker: Kill the poll tax. Tories out". Another reads: "Socialist Worker: Finish off the Tory poll tax. Amnesty now. Stop the bailiffs".

Locations Edit

Species Edit

People Edit

Old woman biodata (Smile)

Proof of two similarly numbered people

Technology Edit

Anatomy and physiology Edit

  • The Doctor mentions his binary vascular system, and tells Bill this does indeed lead to high blood pressure.
  • The Doctor says that smiling psycologically have an effect on the mood.

Botany Edit

  • The colony has rosemaries in the garden, which reminds Bill of home.

Food and beverages Edit

  • The Doctor mention the colony will have wheat and olive groves.
  • The Doctor and Bill are served squares of algae jelly.
    • According to Bill, it smells of fish.
  • The Doctor does not like fish. Except socially.

Science Edit

  • The Doctor explains that because space is curved, the Earth is in any direction you choose to look in.

Music Edit


  • Bill asks why the chairs in the TARDIS are so far from the console.
  • Bill asks whether she has to wear a seatbelt during flight.
  • Bill also asks if there is a steering wheel.
  • The Doctor says that you negotiate with the TARDIS.
  • Bill questions the Doctor on the police box exterior, and deduces that he likes it because of the sign—which reads, "Advice & assistance obtainable immediately".
  • Bill asks how much a TARDIS trip costs.
  • The Doctor says the TARDIS has broadband and suggest she watch some movies or something to pass the time.

Story notes Edit

EXCLUSIVE Peter Capaldi & Brian Minchin Interview - The Aftershow - Doctor Who The Fan Show15:53

EXCLUSIVE Peter Capaldi & Brian Minchin Interview - The Aftershow - Doctor Who The Fan Show

This episode's Aftershow on Doctor Who: The Fan Show.

  • The read-through for Smile took place on 14 June 2016, and filming on the episode took place in July.
  • The Doctor says that Scotland demands independence every planet they go to. In real world current events, at the time of this episode's release, Scotland was again seeking independence from the United Kingdom, as a result of Brexit.
  • This story also shares a narrative theme with The Happiness Patrol, the theme being the fact that if you're not happy you would be executed.
  • Bill and the Doctor use the "turn it off and on" joke.

Ratings Edit

to be added

Doctor Who Behind the scenes in Valencia with Pearl Mackie - Smile - Series 10 Episode 2 - BBC One01:24

Doctor Who Behind the scenes in Valencia with Pearl Mackie - Smile - Series 10 Episode 2 - BBC One

Pearl Mackie introduces the City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia.

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.
  • Kezzia states that she is using the Vardy to pollinate the wheat. However, the field used in filming is not a field of wheat, but a field of barley.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

to be added

Blu-ray releases Edit

to be added

Digital releases Edit

to be added

External links Edit

to be added

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