65,395 Pages


The Eaters of Light was the tenth episode of series 10 of Doctor Who. It was written by Rona Munro, directed by Charles Palmer and featured Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and Matt Lucas as Nardole.

Munro returned to writing for the programme after nearly 28 years since her last television script, Survival — the end of the "Classic" era.

The episode answered the question about what happened to the Ninth Legion of the Roman army, and featured the return of Missy, revealing the Doctor never put her back in the Vault after being let out before. The episode also shows the Doctor and Missy considering mending their broken friendship.


What happened to the legendary Ninth Legion of the Roman army? Bill and the Doctor both have ideas of what happened, but who is right? What is that strange creature lurking in the dark? And why are people suddenly disappearing?


In the present day, in the Devil's Cairn, Scotland, a little girl named Judy goes to a slope against her brother's warnings saying that she wants to hear the music. He tells her that there are ghosts there and that if she stays there, they will eat her. As they go back to the village, Judy turns and goes back to the hill, while a crow alights on a stone, saying "Doc-tor! Doc-tor! Doc-tor!, Doc-tor!", as a carving of the TARDIS is seen on a rock.

The TARDIS materialises in the moor, Aberdeen, Scotland, 2nd Century AD. Nardole exits the TARDIS and asks why they are there, so the Doctor tells him that he and Bill are arguing about what happened to the Ninth Roman Legion, each desiring to prove their theory by visiting the area itself. Bill follows the river, while the Doctor and Nardole goes to find their last battlefield.

While in the woods, something watches Bill as she finds a girl named Kar burning items. She starts to chase her, but Bill falls down a hole, and finds a roman soldier pointing a sword at her.

Back at the Moorland, Nardole finds a crow saying the word "Dark". When he says "Doctor" the crow says "Dark, Doctor", as the Doctor notices a stone cairn, recognising it as Pictish. Nardole comments that the crow talked, with the Doctor saying that all crows talk, people just stopped talking to them. They follow the stones to find a settlement.

Meanwhile, Bill laments that she did not study Latin so she could converse with him. The soldier, named Simon, tell her that he can understand her, with Bill deducing that the TARDIS translation circuits are translating for her. Simon tells her that he is in the Ninth Legion. When Bill asks where they have been, he asks her if she knows what happened to them.

to be added



to be added



  • An image of the TARDIS has been engraved into a Pictish stone.
  • The Doctor says that Picts are early Celts.
  • The Doctor call the cairns "Iron Age churches".
  • The Doctor says that this adventure is "not [my] first rodeo".
  • In Roman culture, bisexuality is "ordinary", and only liking one sex is taken as a surprise. Lucius accepts Bill for only liking women, and relates her to Vitus, who only likes men.
  • The Doctor suggests that the Picts name a cow after him, on their return to safe farming.




  • Bill thinks the Roman soldier Simon is speaking English.
  • Simon thinks Bill is talking Latin.
  • The Picts and Romans can understand each other, not just Bill, Nardole and the Doctor.


  • Judy's brother believes that the music at Devil's Cairn is due to ghosts.
  • According to the Doctor, all crows can talk, but human beings stopped having intelligent conversations with them, so by the 21st century they're all in a "mass sulk". Nardole corrects him by saying they're remembering.
    • The crow on the Pictish stone with TARDIS engraving says "Doctor" in a garbled voice.
    • Ban tells the crows to bring Kar's name into the skies, hence their signature call.
  • Simon says the other soldiers are hiding at a location with a stone-carving of a fish.
  • The Doctor sees multiple light-eating locusts inside the Gate.
  • Nardole tells the Picts about Enzomodons and says the Enzomodon ambassador had choked.


  • Bill discovers that the TARDIS can translate languages. She discovers that it even does lip sync.
  • Bill finds out that foreign languages translated sounds like children-talk.

Food and beverages

  • Nardole is eating a teacake.
  • The Doctor suggests the Romans could have left "sweetie wrappers" as a sign of them being there.
  • Nardole says he isn't Italian, but makes "a mean spag bol".
  • Nardole brings bags of popcorn, one of which the Doctor uses as a distraction.
  • Lucius gives Bill a flatbread to eat.
  • The Doctor calls Kar's light-poisoner a lollipop.
  • Nardole says he knows 10% of the Doctor's secrets, and he's the only one in the TARDIS who knows where the teacakes are.



Story notes

to be added


  • 2.89m (UK overnight figures)
  • 4.73m (UK final)

Despite the ratings being the lowest an episode of the revived series has ever acquired, it still received over 30% of the share of the audience, behind only The Pilot for Series 10.

Filming locations

Production errors

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.

During the scene in which Kar describes the work of the Romans, a mic boom can be seen at the top of the screen.


Home video releases

DVD releases

to be added

Blu-ray releases

to be added

Digital releases

to be added

External links