|The Bells of Saint John|
|Main setting:||London, 2013|
|Premiere broadcast:||30 March 2013|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x45 minute episode|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Snowmen||The Rings of Akhaten|
|Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS||The Rings of Akhaten|
|Another memorable moment|
|Behind the scenes video|
- You may be looking for The Bells of Saint John: A Prequel.
The Bells of Saint John was the sixth episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It marked the first regular appearance of Clara Oswald as a companion, and the debut of a new costume for the Eleventh Doctor. He changed to a purple cashmere coat with a black bow tie and darker-accented garb. As the first story broadcast in 2013, its marketing had a similar feel to that of a "series opener", but the BBC firmly maintained that it was merely the beginning of the second part of series 7.
London, 2013. "Danger. This is a warning. A warning to the whole world. You're looking for Wi-Fi. Sometimes you see something, a bit like this. Don't click it. Do not click it. Once you've clicked it, they're in your computer. They can see you. If they can see you, they might choose you. And if they do... you die."
When Clara Oswald has problems with her Internet, she's given a telephone number: the number of the "best help line in the universe". When the Eleventh Doctor answers at the other end, Clara is pulled into a life of adventure and mystery. But danger is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them. "It's like immortality, only fatal." But can the Doctor save Clara before... "I don't know where I am!"
Nabile warns anyone listening about the dangers of the Wi-Fi. He shows a placard with some odd symbols, and warns not to connect to any networks with writing like it. If you do, you may get chosen. And people who get chosen die within 24 hours. At least temporarily — their souls live on, trapped. Sometimes you can hear their cries, "I don't know where I am!" on the radio, on the telly, or on the net. Nabile says that he knows this because, "I don't know where I am." He's trapped in a screen, surrounded by a wall of other victims who are all calling out in fear and confusion, "I don't know where I am!"
In 1207 Cumbria, a monk named Paul pounds on the doors to an abbey, calling to wake the Abbot because "the bells of Saint John are ringing." As they head into a cave, Paul asks the Abbot why they call the Doctor "the Mad Monk". The Abbot informs him that they should not, as the man is hardly a monk. They give their message to the Eleventh Doctor, who asks for a horse. As he goes to prepare, the monks discuss the painting in his room of "the woman twice dead", and her last message: "Run you clever boy, and remember." The Abbot observes that if the Doctor is mad, this is his madness.
Meanwhile, in 2013 London, it is 3:30pm and Clara Oswald is having trouble with connecting her computer to the internet. She tells Angie that she's been ringing the help line but they haven't answered. George comes through on his way out, saying that the adverts to replace Clara are in. Clara catches sight of the book that Artie has, Summer Falls, by Amelia Williams. He tells her he's on chapter 10. She replies that, "Eleven is the best. You'll cry your eyes out." They head out, and Clara chants "pick it up, pick it up" as she goes upstairs to her computer and continues to try the help line.
Back in 1207, the Doctor and the monks arrive to find the TARDIS police box telephone, next to the St John's ambulance sticker, ringing. A very confused Doctor picks up the phone, to be told that the caller can't find the Internet. The Doctor slowly realises that the caller is in modern-day London. Clara was given his number by a "woman in the shop", and told that "it's the best helpline out there. In the universe, she said." The Doctor starts to explain he's not actually a help line, but gives up and asks if she's tried clicking on the Wi-Fi button. She first tries the Maitland_Family link, but needs the password from Angie, who gives her a mnemonic to remember it. She mutters the phrase aloud on the phone as she enters it. "Run you clever boy and remember." The Doctor recognises her voice and the phrase, and shouts, spoiling her concentration. She puts in the wrong password. She goes back to the screen this time choosing the open network with the strange symbols.
Other lines of symbols appear on her computer, and Clara's room appears in a wall of little screens showing people. Clara runs out of screen to answer her frantically ringing doorbell. The Doctor, still in his Monk's robes, greets her in excitement. "Clara Oswin Oswald?"
Revealing that Oswin's not part of her name, Clara states that she doesn't remember him. "Doctor who?" He asks her to repeat herself, twice, and tells her that he never realised how much he enjoyed hearing that said out loud. Clara takes that moment to close the door in his face, locking it. She pauses on the stairs as he continues to pound on the door.
The wall of little screens is in a dark room full of computers and people, where an analyst approaches his superior. Alexei calls Clara borderline, meaning she's "very clever, but no computer skills". Miss Kizlet tells him to "upload" her anyway, and "splice" her a computer skills package. He responds that he'll activate the Spoonheads, which Kizlet complained were called "servers". As she returns to her office, Kizlet discusses him with Mahler, then decides that they should probably kill him, but only after he gets back from holiday — "let's not be unreasonable."
Mahler is worried that they're uploading too many people too quickly, that they'll get noticed. She tries to comfort him, calling this "immortality, only fatal". She then picks up a tablet with his name and picture, and sliders marked conscience, paranoia, obedience and IQ. She lowers the conscience slider, and he backs down. Mahler then realises that she hacked him, as reflected by his rising paranoia slider. He voices his concerns, to which Miss Kizlet coolly asks, "Because you changed your mind?" and lowers the paranoia until he's walked out of the office.
Back with Clara, the Doctor begs to be let in. Clara talks to him once more, during which he states that he was in the area "with his mobile phone", indicating the TARDIS as he says this. When asked why, he says, "Because it's a surprisingly accurate description." Clara cuts him off again and turns to go back upstairs. Suddenly, she hears footsteps. A little girl walks down the stairs. Clara asks if she's a friend of Angie's, and the girl repeats just that. When asked what she was doing upstairs, the girl replies that she was upstairs. Clara thinks she recognises her — and the girl repeats, "You know me, don't you?"
Clara realises that the girl is from the cover of Summer Falls, the book that Artie had. The girl's head turns around revealing a spoon-like indentation in the back of her head. Clara backs away, scared.
In the TARDIS, the Doctor decides that a change of clothes is in order, since "monks are not cool." He tries on a fez, then drops a tweed jacket in favour of a new purple one. With new clothes on, the Doctor opens up a compartment below the control room, and takes out a fancy box with a bow tie in it.
He walks out of the TARDIS, excited to make a better impression. He asks her to let him in through the intercom, but she instead responds, "I don't know where I am!" Using his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor enters the house, and finds Clara lying on the floor, unconscious. If she's not moving though, how can he can still hear her cries?
Looking up, he realises that her voice is coming from the Spoonhead; Clara's face can now be seen in the indentation. He uses his screwdriver on the little girl and it reveals the true form of the Spoonhead, a walking robotic base station. The upload halts and the Doctor thinks aloud that it is "hoovering up data. Hoovering up people." It used a camouflage based on its victim's thoughts. He quickly scans with the screwdriver, and finds Clara's laptop upstairs. He grabs it and brings it back downstairs. He begins to reverse the upload on the computer, fighting hard not to lose Clara again.
At the secret base, Alexei is working on Clara's acquisition when an alarm goes off. He, Mahler and Kizlet find that the download metre for Clara has halted and is going down rapidly. They marvel and Mahler reveals that such a reverse is possible, in theory. Alexei is typing rapidly, apparently attempting to block the reversal, but the Doctor prevails and the bar goes all the way down to zero. A pause, and then the Spoonhead transmits a pillar of light that returns to Clara. The Doctor checks her pulse.
At Kizlet's office, they find that their hacker has left a message: "UNDER MY PROTECTION - The Doctor." She shoos Mahler out, to contact her client. "Sir. The one you told me about. He's here. The Doctor is here."
In Clara's room, the Doctor is tidying up. He takes out Jammie Dodgers, half-eating one and leaving it on the plate. He then leaves the room. Waking up from her sleep, she pokes out the window, and the Doctor, outside guarding her, recounts everything that she'd missed. Clara reveals that she is a friend of the family who live in the house, and she looks after the children — similar to the "governess" role that her Victorian copy held.
When Clara makes a tech-savvy joke about Twitter, they realise that she has gained greater knowledge of computers as a result of being partially uploaded. The duo spot another Spoonhead, presumably sent to re-upload Clara, before all the lights in the neighbourhood switch on. The Doctor realises that the residents are being compelled to do so via the Wi-Fi. The lights in the rest of London go off, and the Doctor and Clara see an aeroplane that is plummeting towards them. He rushes her into the TARDIS and they quickly travel aboard the plane, where the confused Clara watches the Doctor managing to pull the plane out of its dive and revive the crew and passengers, who had been rendered unconscious via the Wi-Fi.
The Doctor and Clara travel forward to the next morning, and travel on a motorbike to a local café, where Clara uses her laptop to hack into the organisation's webcams. She then searches for the staff on social network sites, where they have all detailed their work location — the Shard. In the café, the Doctor talks to several people who are being controlled remotely by Kizlet while Clara is re-uploaded by a Spoonhead replica of the Doctor. Upon realising what occurred, the Doctor sets off for the Shard on his motorbike and uses its anti-gravity setting to scale the building and crashes into Kizlet's office. He tells her to download Clara from the cloud. Kizlet states this is only possible if everyone else in the cloud is downloaded too. He says he knows, and tells her to download everyone. She refuses, so the Doctor finds a clever way to motivate her. As his head spins around, Kizlet realises that this is not actually the Doctor... but a Spoonhead.
It is then revealed that the real Doctor is still at the café and has reprogrammed the Spoonhead, saying, "You hack people. Me, I'm old-fashioned. I hack technology." The Spoonhead uploads Kizlet. Experiencing the fear that her prior victims felt, she then from a TV screen orders Mahler to download everyone. They initially do not, but the Doctor has the Spoonhead use Miss Kizlet's tablet to hack Mahler into obedience. They download everybody from the cloud. Clara wakes up at the café to find the Doctor gone.
Later, as UNIT troops begin to take over the base, Kizlet reports a failure to the organisation's leader, who is revealed to be the Great Intelligence. He identifies UNIT as "old friends" of the Doctor, and orders her to restore the members of the organisation to their "factory settings", stating, "It is time for you to reduce". As a result, all the organisation members' memories after being inducted are wiped, with Miss Kizlet revealed to have been aiding the Great Intelligence for most of her life — she now has the mentality of a scared child.
Clara and the Doctor then talk inside the TARDIS, where the Doctor invites her to travel with him. She declines, but tells him to come back the next day to ask her again. She leaves, and the Doctor says, "Right then, Clara Oswald. Time to find out who you are."
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Clara Oswald - Jenna-Louise Coleman
- Nabile – Manpreet Bachu
- Paul – Sean Knopp
- The Abbot – James Greene
- Angie – Eve De Leon Allen
- Artie – Kassius Carey Johnson
- George – Geff Francis
- Miss Kizlet – Celia Imrie
- Mahler – Robert Whitelock
- Alexei - Dan Li
- Little Girl – Daniella Eames
- Pilot – Antony Edridge
- Barista – Fred Pearson
- Waitress – Jade Anouka
- Newsreader – Olivia Hill
- Man with Chips – Matthew Earley
- Child reading Comic – Isabella Blake-Thomas
- The Great Intelligence - Richard E Grant
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner|
|Series Producer Marcus Wilson|
|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.|
- The 65th floor of the Shard is the Great Intelligence's base.
- A police box on Earl's Court is mentioned.
- Clara jokes about Twitter.
- All the employees working in the Shard used social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+ or Tumblr, and they have posted the location of their workplace.
- Peoples' voices could be heard on the radio, on televisions and on the internet.
- Clara calls the TARDIS a "snogging booth" and a "snog box." She also states that it is "bigger on the inside."
- There's a garage in the TARDIS.
- The TARDIS doors close automatically (as seen after Clara and the Doctor board the motorcycle; the doors are open in one shot, but closed in the next).
- The Doctor claims that Time Lords have two hearts and 27 brains. He then admits that he was exaggerating about the number of brains.
- The Doctor owns an anti-gravity motorbike, which he states he rode in a motor race during the Anti-Grav Olympics in 2074, where he came last in the competition.
- The Doctor claims to have just invented the quadricycle.
- George, Artie, and Angie's household Wi-Fi network is named "Maitland_Family".
- Clara has skipped ages 16 and 23 in the list of ages she has written in 101 Places to See.
- The American fast food franchise Burger King is mentioned by name.
- The Great Intelligence is aware of the Doctor's long-time connection to UNIT.
- In Japan, a poster for Rockbound Neighbours can be seen in the prologue.
- Angie has a friend named Nina that she likes to hang out with, sometimes sleeping over at her friend's house.
- Mrs Maitland died within ten days of Clara's planned departure to travel the world. She put her plans on hold to take care of the Maitland children and be there for the people who needed her.
- In his downtime, the Doctor made himself a street performer and started doing a disappearing/reappearing "magic" act with his TARDIS as a weekly shtick.
- The book Summer Falls was written by Amelia Williams.
- The title of this episode is a reference to the phone incorporated into the TARDIS police box disguise, and to the "St John Ambulance" logo on the door of this version of the TARDIS. The "Bells" part is referring to the police box phone ringing. It is also a reference to the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons.
- The title was originally announced as The Bells of St John, in keeping with the actual abbreviated spelling of "St John" on the logo. The uncommon use of "Saint" spelled out in this context may have been due to the discrepancy in how different countries spell "St" -- in the US, Canada and elsewhere, it is commonplace for a full stop to be used: "St."
- This story gives a new logo for the second half of series seven, a weathered metallic texture. Unlike the first half of the season, in which the logo changed from episode to episode, the logo remained constant for the remainder of Series 7.
- Similarly, the new theme tune of the series is slightly modified from its previous arrangement, omitting the "shimmering" musical flourishes and electrical hissing noises heard in its first variation. This can be compared to the theme tune arrangement that debuted in the 2007 Christmas special TV: Voyage of the Damned, which was edited into a new, rearranged version of itself that played in each episode for the remainder of David Tennant's era.
- To keep the reappearance of the Great Intelligence a surprise, Richard E. Grant was not credited in Radio Times. He was, however, originally listed on the BBC website, but was subsequently taken down.
- The password for the Maitland family's wi-fi, 'rycbar123' is both an acronym of 'run you clever boy and remember' and a reference to the fact that this is the third version of Clara to appear.
- The episode begins series 7B's supposed "Cumbrian agenda", with scenes actually set in the region.
- Initial Broadcast: 8.44 million viewers
- BBC Three repeat: 390,000 viewers
- The initial Spoonhead the Doctor meets—the girl from the front cover of Summer Falls—is photographed in a way that ruins the illusion. For reasons obscure, either director Colm McCarthy or editor Mark Davis allows an unnecessary shot of her legs at about 13'48". The curvature of her calves clearly shows that her body is pointed up the stairs. Once this is noticed, it's obvious that the girl is standing away from the Doctor and that she merely has her dress on backwards.
- When the Doctor and Clara are talking during the Romeo and Juliet-esque scene after she wakes up, there's a standby props continuity error. He sets the laptop on the ground. Between takes, however, the position of the screen radically changes, so that when the editor put the shots together the screen goes from being perpendicular to the ground to being parallel—with no apparent way that the Doctor could have effected the change.
- When the TARDIS has travelled to the aeroplane, just before the Doctor gets out, a scene change is visible and the wall position changes.
- During the motorcycle scene, a crew member and camera can be seen reflected in the Doctor's helmet.
- After the little girl under Mrs Kizlet's control says, "Stop", and everybody freezes, the people in the room have a special effect super-imposed over them. However, the barista, seen on the cut back to the Doctor, illogically has no such SFX.
- When the Doctor comes out of the TARDIS on a motorcycle, the doors of the TARDIS are wide open but when the camera is zoomed out the doors are shut, without enough time given for the doors to shut by themselves.
- Clara is shown swinging her coffee cup around on the plane without apparently spilling a drop, and she is then shown drinking from it after returning to the TARDIS, with no suggestion given that she might have refilled it along the way.
- When the Doctor looks through Clara's book after saving her from the Spoonhead, the front page says "Property of Clara Oswald," and lists her age, crossing out the previous one and having written a new one each time. However, ages 16 and 23 are skipped.
- This isn't the first time that the Doctor has encountered an alien whose plan was to upload humans to a popular technology. Previously, the Tenth Doctor encountered the Wire, who extracted the faces of humans. Both times, the victims were trapped in screens. The Doctor also used a motorbike on both occasions. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern)
- The Doctor has previously reprogrammed a mechanical double of himself to defeat the enemy. (TV: The Android Invasion)
- The Doctor rides a motorbike out of the TARDIS. Previously, a motorbike drove into the TARDIS, turned around, and drove back out. (TV: Doctor Who) In the past, the Doctor has ridden a moped out of the TARDIS. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern)
- The Doctor tells Clara that they are riding a motorbike because he does not bring the TARDIS into battle, fearing that it may fall into the wrong hands. The same concern had been expressed by the Ninth Doctor to Rose Tyler. (TV: The Parting of the Ways)
- The Tenth Doctor also mentioned the Anti-Grav Olympics. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
- Clara is referred to as "The Woman Twice Dead." She had, at least from the Doctor's perspective, died twice. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks, The Snowmen)
- A painting of Clara by the Doctor reads, "RUN, YOU CLEVER BOY, AND REMEMBER." Clara also says this later while trying to remember a password. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks, The Snowmen)
- The Doctor states that he is 1,000 years old, presumably rounding his age for convenience since he was speaking in a hurry at the time. Most recently, he claimed to be 1,200. (TV: A Town Called Mercy)
- When Clara is sucked into the Wi-Fi, she asks "Where am I?" - the exact same question Oswin Oswald asked when she realised she was a Dalek. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks)
- The Doctor mentions that the TARDIS police box telephone should not work. It is meant to be a prop as part of the police box disguise, not a functional phone. (TV: The Empty Child)
- The Doctor says he can't fly an aeroplane, although they do manage to pull it up and avoid crashing. Despite this, his eighth incarnation was perfectly capable in AUDIO: Fugitives. The Eleventh Doctor had previously claimed that he was due for a lesson in flying a bi-plane in 1911. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut)
- The Doctor mentions that Angie, one of the children Clara babysits, went to stay over at Nina's. Another version of Clara mentioned a Nina. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks)
- After saving Clara from being downloaded, the Doctor sends a message to her attempted captors stating that she's "under my protection." (TV: The Christmas Invasion, The Eleventh Hour)
- Summer Falls, a book that Clara has read, was written by Amelia Williams. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan) According to Clara, the best chapter is Eleven.
- The Doctor once again wears Amy's reading glasses. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan, The Snowmen)
- Miss Kizlet's client is revealed to be the Great Intelligence, which was previously defeated by the Second Doctor and left in disembodied form, cut off from communication of the time. (TV: The Web of Fear) It uses Walter Simeon's image when communicating with her. (TV: The Snowmen)
- The Doctor mentions having two hearts. (TV: Spearhead from Space)
- The Doctor briefly dons a fez while changing out of his monk garb, then tosses it away. He later wears it again, but gives it to a young boy standing outside the TARDIS. (TV: The Big Bang, A Christmas Carol)
- The Doctor notes that travelling short hops in the TARDIS can be difficult. (TV: State of Decay, Army of Ghosts, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, The Seeds of Death)
- The Doctor previously disguised himself as a monk in Saxon England, along with another Time Lord. (TV: The Time Meddler) He also temporarily donned a the robe of a Headless Monk to surprise the Silence when the Monks were allowed to have their hoods lowered. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
- Monks, unlike bow ties, fezzes, Stetsons, glasses, and 1960s NASA technology, are evidently not cool. (TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Big Bang, The Impossible Astronaut, The Girl Who Waited)
- The Doctor's fondness for Jammie Dodgers is seen again. (TV: Victory of the Daleks, The Impossible Astronaut)
- When Clara calls the Doctor in the year 1207, Clara believes she is calling another time zone; the Doctor says "You have no idea," and apologises about her phone bill. (TV: The End of the World, The Eleventh Hour)
- When they find the TARDIS, Mahler states that "Earl's Court" was an embarrassment, a reference to the real-life police box outside the Earl's Court Underground station in London. The Great Intelligence was pointed at the London Underground as a key strategic weakness, and eventually fought the Doctor there. (TV: The Snowmen, The Web of Fear)
- Clara thinks of "Oswin" as a username, contracted from "Oswald for the win". (TV: Asylum of the Daleks)
- After leaving the Monastery, the Doctor proclaims that he hates Monks. This could be a subtle nod to the First Doctor villain The Monk or the Headless Monks. (TV: The Time Meddler, A Good Man Goes to War)
- Clara asks the question "Doctor who?" in this episode. The question had been asked in eight consecutive stories, beginning with The Wedding of River Song.
- The Doctor catches Clara joking about Twitter; he has previously mentioned the social media service with great disdain. (TV: The Girl Who Waited, The Power of Three)
- The identity of the "woman in the shop" is never made clear, nor is it made clear how the phone number she gave Clara was able to reach the inoperable phone in the TARDIS.
- The Doctor is summoned for help by someone calling his TARDIS phone. (TV: The Empty Child)
Home video releases
The Bells of Saint John was released as part of Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2 on May 22, 2013, and as part of The Complete Seventh Series on September 24, 2013.
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