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The Doctor Falls was the twelfth and final episode of the tenth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the departures of both Bill Potts and Nardole, and the apparent end of the Master's life.

Expanding on the Twelfth Doctor's regeneration teased in the previous episode, it saw him mortally wounded in battle against the Cybermen. The regeneration would also begin twice, both of which he managed to postpone, however, as the Doctor refused to change, having grown accustomed to being in his current incarnation, mirroring the Tenth Doctor's attitude towards the process. Furthermore, the Twelfth Doctor had also expressed he was sick of "always having to be someone else"; reflecting how the Doctor has become tired of regeneration, having changed many times.

The episode also shows the events leading to the Master's regeneration into Missy, with the male Master being mortally wounded by his female successor, and he in turn seemingly killing her, presenting how (unlike the Doctor who has teamed up with his past and future incarnations and has gotten along with each incarnation he's encountered) the Master rarely works with any of his other incarnations as he would eventually double-cross himself. Having displayed how the Master had regenerated into Missy, the episode marks the last appearance of John Simm as the "Harold Saxon" incarnation of the Master in his natural stream of events. Missy's fate, and as a whole the Master's fate, is unknown, and with Michelle Gomez's announcement that she was stepping down from the role The Doctor Falls marks her last appearance as Missy.

The finale also shows that, while Time Lords don't retain conscious memory of meeting their past or future incarnations, it is possible for their subconscious to retain certain thoughts and ideas. Notably, the Master had a hand in creating this branch of Cybermen, and though Missy didn't remember this, she was inspired to create her own army out of dead humans back in Series 8.

Missy's existence presented as a time loop; if the Doctor had not chosen this ship to test her newfound goodness, she would not have been able to give her past self help to escape or mortally wound him to ensure he regenerated into her. As such, if Missy was not around, the Doctor would not have met Clara Oswald.

The story featured several connections to the 1966 serial The Tenth Planet, including a story featuring humans from Mondas, and featured appearances by the Cybermen from said planet. Most notably, the episode featured the unexpected return of the First Doctor, now portrayed by David Bradley, in a scene set during the events of The Tenth Planet itself, the first time an incarnation of the Doctor from the classic series has appeared since the series was revived in 2005 (excluding the mini-episodes Time Crash and The Night of the Doctor and the use of archive footage). Bradley had previously portrayed William Hartnell in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.

The episode explained that the Cybermen take on different appearances due to "parallel evolution"; even though the Cybermen are descended from Mondasians, they came into existence in different parts of the universe.

Synopsis Edit

As he struggles to resist regenerating, the Twelfth Doctor prepares to make a last stand against the ever growing army of Cybermen. However, with Bill still a Cyberman, and Missy gradually turning to her old wicked ways as the Master reminds her of who she used to be, can the Doctor convince his old friend to finally be good before he falls?

Plot Edit

The episode opens to a group of farmers, adults and children, on Floor 0507 facing against the prototypes from Floor 1056, dubbed "scarecrows", shooting them down by night to then restrain them on wooden crosses by day. A school child is out in the field one morning when a shuttlepod blasts through the ground, crash landing near her. From the rubble, a Cyberman walks out carrying an unconscious Doctor.

Sometime earlier, the Doctor awakes on top of the hospital, now restrained in a wheelchair, soon recalling how he was subdued by Missy and the Master. The Master and Missy dance and flirt , with him asking if she's his next incarnation; Missy guesses she is as she can't remember what caused her to regenerate. The Master is stunned: "I'm going to turn into a woman, and you can't remember it happening?" Missy wonders if she is a woman; the Master confirms it. Though the Master doubts it, the Doctor begins deducing what he's been up to since he vanished while blasting Rassilon with his life energy in The End of Time.

Upon getting back to Gallifrey, the Time Lords, grateful for the Master's help in preventing Rassilon from executing The Final Sanction, properly restored his body. With that done, the Master stole a TARDIS to go back into the universe; though he considers it a mutual being kicked out. After that, the Master landed on the colony ship, lived like a king and killed people at his leisure. However, the colonists eventually rebelled against him and the Master attempted to flee. However, as his TARDIS was on the last level, closest to the black hole, it burned out his dematerialisation circuit and left him stranded. "You never could drive could you?" the Doctor asks.

The Doctor Falls Any Requests Master

Insulted, both Missy and the Master wonder how to punish the Doctor

Both the Master and Missy are insulted; she asks her earlier self if he has any requests as to how to torture the Doctor. They taunt their old friend by telling him of their plan of the Cybermen converting all the humans on the ship. They mockingly call the Doctor "granddad", reminding him that Bill is now a Cyberman. The Doctor tells them that after all this time, if they still think they're winning when he's in the room, they're missing something obvious. Hearing the Cybermen advancing, Missy looks over the ledge and quakes in horror; the Cybermen are coming for them. The Master is confused, as these Cybermen are primitive and shouldn't even be attempting to convert non-humans.

The Doctor explains that when he was knocked down by Missy, he altered the signal of the Cybermen so they would convert two-hearted beings as well, hence why they are now focusing on the Time Lord's presence. The Masters panic, Missy frantically using her sonic umbrella to lock a metal door to hold back advancing Cybermen while the Master uses his laser screwdriver to destroy advancing Cybermen. The Doctor brags that he is the only one who is has able to stop so many Cybermen at once. Realising this, a conflicted Missy knocks the Master out and frees the Doctor from his restraints. The Doctor starts wondering which side she is on to which she admits her indecisiveness as she is confused and her other half is unconscious.

The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to contact Nardole, who reveals he has commandeered a shuttlecraft, lands near the roof to help escape, but the Doctor is grabbed and electrified by a Cyberman before he boards. Missy tries to save him using her other self's laser screwdriver but Bill, in her cyber form, intervenes first, destroying the Cyberman with a blaster based on her head. Missy and the Master try to convince Nardole to abandon the Doctor "The Doctor's dead; told me to say he always hated you." they both say. However, Bill prevents the shuttle from leaving, grabbing the ladders until they rescue him.

They escape to Floor 0507, where time moves slower. They find themselves on a solar farm, the Master deducing such by the holographic sky, where some of the humans and a large number of children protect themselves from the early Cybermen prototypes from Operation Exodus. Nardole approaches the girl, declaring they will need her help. They spend two weeks there while the Doctor recovers from his injuries.

The Doctor Falls Cyberman Mirror

Bill discovers her true appearance.

Bill awakes in the barn, unsure why the villagers are scared of her, concerned why she can't see the Doctor. When given a mirror by a child, she becomes horrified to discover she was converted into a Cyberman. The girl goes to run but bumps into the Doctor who thanks her for being kind to Bill, offering her a jelly baby as she leaves. The Doctor has somewhat recovered, though he still has a scar from where he was hit by the Master.

Trying to console Bill, she gradually realises that though she thinks she is human, she is still a Mondasian Cyberman in appearance. She grows angry, the Doctor backing away as Bill accidentally triggers the blaster on her head, igniting the door on the barn, causing an explosion. Nardole, who has been preparing the town for the oncoming Cybermen despite one women saying he has been working them too hard, passively tells the farmers not to worry; they have an upcoming war to focus on.

Bill sheds a tear when she realises the humans are frightened of her, and the Doctor wipes it away, noting it unusual. The Master tells the Doctor that he and Missy have been working on something, and pauses briefly to mock Bill, chastising the Doctor for still referring to her as a female and taunts how he hated the time he had to spend with Bill as "Razor". He stops because Bill claims he is not upsetting her, though she cries beneath her mask when he leaves. The Doctor finds it odd she is still able to shed tears. While traversing after the Master, the Doctor struggles to walk, limping heavily. He briefly stumbles against a tree, regeneration energy attempting to trickle from his hand. Wanting to not worry Bill, he draws up a stick and carries onwards but Bill is still distraught that the Doctor can't fix her current condition, the Doctor responding "where's there's tears; there's hope."

They soon reach the middle of a forest, just after the Master and Missy theorize they can't retain their memories as their timelines are out of sync. Missy briefly displays empathy for Bill's condition, something the Master finds disgusting. Missy reveals she has discovered a camouflaged lift in the nearby forest, which she suggests they can escape to the bridge, using her sonic umbrella to call it. However, the Doctor declares that there will no doubt be a Cyberman in the lift waiting to find their floor, as the lift was taken to the bottom by them previously. Understanding this, Bill orders them to stand aside, the Doctor convincing the two Masters to do so.

The three Time Lords prepare behind Bill, drawing their respective devices. As guessed, the lift brings up an advanced Cyberman from the lower floor, Bill speedily firing on it with her cyber blaster, the Master following likewise with his laser screwdriver as the Doctor and Missy use their sonic devices to slow its advance with a barrier. After several seconds, they disable it.

The Doctor warns that (through the Cybernet) they will now have much more time to plan, given they now know what floor they reside on, so they must prepare for a battle. The Doctor returns to the village, revealing the alarm they now hear is the Cybermen's warning from the lower floors. Using a computer, Nardole discovers that the floor below this one has many fuel pipes that he can detonate as weaponry against the Cybermen, briefly testing such by blowing up a wind mill, stunning the villagers; the Doctor remarks that they can use such to confuse the Cybermen and make them believe they are stronger than them. The Doctor finds a conduit to another solar farm on a higher floor that can be used to evacuate the children, having Bill blast it open, knowing this is a fight they will likely lose.

Meanwhile, the Master and Missy decide to leave and plan to find the Master's TARDIS at the lowest floor, though the Master reveals he broke his TARDIS. Missy convinces her younger self to always keep a dematerialisation circuit on hand. She recalls the time a woman shoved her against her a wall to convince her to carry the device on her at all times. While recalling the story she shoves the Master against the wall, revealing herself was the one to convince the Master to carry the circuit. The Master hints to her that he is feeling sexual feelings for her, but Missy tells him it's very wrong. Night falls, the Doctor standing guard outside the house. Inside, a woman attempts to flirt with Nardole as he works on his computer, only to turn around and shoot at Bill, falsely thinking her a hostile Cyberman. She leaves distraught, going outside to the Doctor. The first wave arrives, Nardole and a girl preparing to combat them, successfully tricking them that an apple was capable of destroy an entire group of them. They retreat to the house, now understanding the Cybermen will likely return to outright destroy them next time rather than merely capture them for conversion.

Meanwhile, the Doctor notices the two Masters trying to leave and runs after them. He pleads for them to be by his side to help. He gives an emotional and passionate speech on why he helps people, since it isn't easy or always going to work, it is just the right thing to do, as saving people would just be kind. The Master ridicules the idea, saying that he didn't listen to a word the Doctor said. However Missy was somewhat moved by the Doctor's speech, agreeing being the Doctor's friend was what she always wanted. However, after briefly grabbing each other's hand, she sides with her predecessor. At the lift, Missy tricks the Master into dancing with her and fatally stabs him, forcing his next regeneration, though she makes the wound "precise" so that the Master will have enough time to reach his TARDIS before regenerating.

Missy Dies The Doctor Falls 2

Missy seemingly dies from the Master's strike.

Gradually dying, the Master compliments her, glad they haven't lost their touch. After helping him into the elevator, Missy announces she will return to help the Doctor, turning to walk away as her predecessor shouts her to not go. Missy tells her past self this is where all the scheming, killing and egomania has led them: standing with the Doctor.

Unable to accept that his future self will side with the Doctor, the Master draws and fires his laser screwdriver at full blast, causing Missy to collapse on the ground, fatally wounded. He claims the strike has disabled her regeneration, commenting that it is the perfect ending, with them both shooting themselves in the back. They both laugh as the Master descends in the lift and Missy seemingly dies.

An initial wave of Cybermen arrive, but using Nardole's tricks with the explosives, they are able to make the humans appear more powerful, forcing the Cybermen to retreat and develop a new plan, giving the humans more time. Back at the house, and against Nardole's protests, the Doctor downloads the plans for the floor into his sonic screwdriver and sends him to help evacuate the children, intending to stay alone to fight the Cybermen. Nardole resists, having deduced the Doctor is going to commit suicide by detonating the entire floor in a last ditch attempt to destroy as many Cybermen as possible. The pair argue over who really should die, Nardole reasoning he can't given how he was before meeting the Doctor even though the Doctor tries to reason that he should stay as he is already dying. The Doctor eventually convinces Nardole that helping the children will be his penance for the crimes he committed before they met, as he is the stronger of the pair. Nardole jokes he will name a farm after him. Bill also insists on staying with the Doctor despite Nardole trying to tell her otherwise. As he leaves with the humans, Nardole admits that he will never be able to find the words for Bill and the Doctor's sacrifice.

The Cybermen attack the Doctor (The Doctor Falls)

The Mondasian Cybermen killing the Doctor with their energy beam.

With all the humans evacuated, the Doctor and Bill prepare for a last stand, each deciding to charge into opposite ends of the forest. Bill says one last goodbye to the Doctor, even joking briefly about her sexuality, assuring him she had still retained her humanity. They face the oncoming wave. The Doctor ignites several of the Cybermen, listing the numerous times he has defeated them while doing so. However, he is inevitably surrounded and receives a full strike from one Cyberman's laser beam. He declares he is the Doctor but the Cybermen retort they have no need for a doctor anymore, firing at him again. Falling to his knees, he prepares to ignite the floor but is struck again, the blast proving fatal enough that his body attempts to regenerate. Refusing to give in, he holds it back and ignites all the pipes below the floor, engulfing it all in a wave of destruction, destroying all the Cybermen.

Above on floor 0502, Nardole waits outside of one of the lifts, hoping the Doctor and Bill will return however, the children convince him to move on and focus on living with them now.

Back downstairs, the floor is now a wasteland scattered with destroyed Cybermen. Bill, barely functioning, finds the Doctor severely wounded. She mourns over the Doctor's body, but suddenly finds herself out of the Cyberman suit, seemingly human. She looks up and sees Heather (from The Pilot) who found her by her tears and changed her into a being like Heather. To prove to Bill that she isn't dead, Heather kisses her, after which they take the Doctor's body to the TARDIS, and Heather, as the Pilot, sets the controls for the TARDIS heading to a new location, while offering Bill to live out a different life, travelling the universe with her. Before leaving, Bill sheds a tear on the Doctor, but does not wipe it away, saying "Where there's tears, there's hope." She walks over to Heather and the pair of them walk out of the TARDIS into space, off to travel the universe.

The Doctor's wounds heal as he dreams of Bill and Nardole, yelling for him. He then dreams Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Donna Noble, Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, Sarah Jane Smith, Amy Pond, Clara Oswald and River Song calling out his name. Twitching, the Doctor then dreams Missy saying his name and he awakes, gasping for air. Seeing he's begun regenerating, a confused Doctor mumbles some of the last words of his other incarnations. Yelling "No!" with all his might, the Doctor suppresses the complete regeneration. "I can't go on always being somebody else" the Doctor cries out as the TARDIS lands.

He tells his TARDIS that it doesn't matter where it's taken him; he won't listen to whatever kind of lesson that it's trying to teach him. The Doctor steps outside into an arctic landscape. Out in the snow, yet again his regeneration attempts to start. The Doctor forces back screaming and stops the regeneration by shoving his fists into the snow, again stating he will not change.

The Doctor Falls First Doctor

The Doctor meets a mysterious figure in the arctic.

Suddenly, in the distance hears a voice stating the same words of not changing, finding the idea ridiculous. The Doctor calls out, asking for the person to identify themselves. The stranger asks for the Doctor's identity, which he confirms. The stranger replies that while the Doctor may be a Doctor, he is "the Doctor. The original, you might say". Much to the Doctor's shock and surprise the stranger is revealed to be his first incarnation.

Cast Edit

and

Uncredited Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound







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

  • Nardole shouts "Remember the Alamo" when getting the farmers to work.

Cybermen Edit

Technology Edit

Biology Edit

  • The Master and Missy talk about their regeneration.
  • The Doctor again displays a degree of control over his regenerative ability.
  • Nardole implies he is a cyborg.

Food and beverages Edit

People Edit

  • Bill asks the Doctor if her tear is engine oil.
  • Heather the oil creature returns for Bill and removes her from her Cyber-suit.
  • Missy puts on lipstick.
  • Missy calls the Doctor Mister Volcano, because he's internalising.
  • Missy calls the farmers the Waltons.
  • Nardole was a black market dealer once.
  • The Doctor uses mathematics to conclude he can't go to the TARDIS
  • The Doctor mentions Donald Trump as inevitable.
  • The Doctor likens Bill's strong resisting mind to a perception filter.
  • The Master and Missy high five each other.
  • The Master and Missy dance with each other.
  • The Master practises applying eyeliner.
  • The Master thinks about getting inappropriate with his older female self.
  • The Master calls Bill Robo-Mop.
  • The Master calls Missy "sis" and "Lady Version".
  • The Twelfth Doctor meets the First Doctor.
  • Missy creates two bootstrap paradoxes; one by telling her former self to always carry a spare dematerialisation circuit, two by creating herself by killing her predecessor.

Species Edit

Locations Edit

TARDIS Edit

Music Edit

Story notes Edit

An Explosion of Cybermen - Doctor Who Series 1001:50

An Explosion of Cybermen - Doctor Who Series 10

Explosions in Caerwent, and Cybermen on trampolines.

Steven Moffat & Rachel Talalay - The Aftershow - Doctor Who The Fan Show25:51

Steven Moffat & Rachel Talalay - The Aftershow - Doctor Who The Fan Show

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

  • The read-through for The Doctor Falls took place on 21 February 2017. The final segment of the episode—the Twelfth Doctor with the First Doctor in the snow—was filmed only two weeks before World Enough and Time aired, as part of filming of the Christmas special. Post-production on that scene was completed in the short time left; a week before The Doctor Falls aired, Steven Moffat stated that the final version was still being worked on. The Doctor's near-regeneration outside the TARDIS had to be completed in time for World Enough, a week beforehand.
  • This marks David Bradley's first appearance as the First Doctor in a DWU television story. Bradley previously portrayed a fictionalised version of William Hartnell, the original actor to portray the First Doctor, in the non-DWU docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, in which Bradley reenacted scenes from several First Doctor serials. Bradley becomes the fourth actor to play the First Doctor in a televised story following original actor Hartnell, Richard Hurndall, who played him in TV: The Five Doctors, and the uncredited child actor who played him in TV: Listen. He also becomes the fourth actor, following Colin Baker, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi, to play the Doctor after having previously played another character in the franchise (in Bradley's case, Solomon in TV: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, as well as providing the voice of Azure of the Claw Shansheeth for TV: Death of the Doctor on The Sarah Jane Adventures).
  • The Doctor's mention of Marinus as a planet on which the Cybermen originated (COMIC: The World Shapers) is another rare instance of the TV series directly referencing non-televised material.
  • This episode removes any contradiction that had previously revolved around the various Cybermen origin stories, by having the Doctor call all instances parallel evolution.
  • This episode wraps up the stories of several recurring characters;
    • Bill and Heather begin their own travels through time and space, Bill leaving the Doctor behind in the TARDIS.
    • Nardole stays behind on the Mondasian ship to help Hazran and her children escape the Cybermen.
    • The Master is forced to regenerate by Missy after she stabs him. Both agree that he then regenerates into Missy, in his own TARDIS, and he forgets the whole adventure. However, his actual change is not shown on screen.
    • Missy is killed by her previous incarnation, left unable to regenerate. In their own words, they were shot in the back by themselves.
  • The First Doctor states to (unknown to him) his future self: "You may be a doctor, but I am the doctor. The original you might say." This is true in more than one sense and serves as an in-joke: the First Doctor IS the original Doctor.
  • The fact the Doctor dreams of Clara either implies he remembered her after seeing her name on a board during his crossover with Class, or his regeneration energy restored his memories of her.
  • On original broadcast on BBC Scotland HD, a technical fault led to sound problems which rendered the dialogue inaudible for the final five minutes: from Bill leaving the TARDIS to the end credits.[1]
  • The use of the number 507 is a nod to Russell T Davies, who often invokes the number 57 in his writings,[2] and who once had the Eleventh Doctor claim to Clyde Langer that he could regenerate 507 times (TV: Death of the Doctor - the only Eleventh Doctor story written by Davies).
  • A flashback sequence features the Doctor remembering virtually all of his 2005-present companions, including Jack Harkness and Sarah Jane Smith, both of whom appear on screen for the first time in the Steven Moffat era (projected images of Martha Jones, Donna Noble and Rose Tyler had appeared in TV: Let's Kill Hitler, with the Moment taking Rose's form in The Day of the Doctor).
  • Archive footage from two moments in The Pilot are used in the episode.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Missy's Theme.
  • This is the first multi-Doctor story in which no former actors in the role of the Doctor appear, either reprising their role or through archive footage.
  • This is the first season finale in the revived series and the only episode of Series 10 to feature no scenes on present-day Earth.

Ratings Edit

  • 3.75m (UK overnight figures)
  • 5.32m (UK final)

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.
  • After Bill blows up the barn, a cameraman is visible on the edge of the shot.
  • In the forest scenes, several pieces of camera equipment are somewhat visible, such as a dolly and a tripod.

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

Footnotes Edit

  1. Tomlin, Jack (3 July 2017). BBC apologises to Doctor Who viewers after the sound cut out during finale broadcast. Digital Spy. Retrieved on 3 July 2017.
  2. Steven Moffat & Rachel Talalay - The Aftershow. Doctor Who: The Fan Show (1 July 2017). Retrieved on 6 July 2017.

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