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The Lie of the Land was the eighth episode of series 10 of Doctor Who. It was written by Toby Whithouse, directed by Wayne Yip and featured Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts and Matt Lucas as Nardole.

The conclusion of a three-story arc in which the Twelfth Doctor is pitted against the Monks, it saw him enter the Vault to consult Missy, revealing his endeavour to turn her from her destructive past to a path of "good".

The episode is very notable before it even aired for having one scene shown from it in the preview for all of Series 10 at the end of The Pilot: that being the Doctor starting to regenerate. Much like David Tennant before, after The Stolen Earth had aired, there were rumours and speculations that Peter Capaldi was actually leaving Doctor Who much earlier than he had previously announced.[1] However The Lie of the Land reveals that the Doctor doesn't actually regenerate, as it's shown that Time Lords can actually fake a regeneration by making the usual effects appear, but with no actual change in appearance happening.

Synopsis Edit

The Monks have ruled the world since humanity took its very first baby steps towards the Sun. One problem... they haven't always been there. And only Bill Potts sees the truth. But where is the Doctor? And how can Bill make the rest of the world see?

Plot Edit

A montage of images of events in human evolution is shown, as the Doctor does a voice over, saying that the Monks have guided humanity and helped them evolve while praising them, as a shot of the world on Earth shows that the Monks have erected giant statues of them.

In a house a family is watching it, as a symbol is shown with the words "truth" underneath. Suddenly, armed men break into the house and arrest the mother for spreading information that denies the "true history" as she yells that the Monks have only been there a few months. She is sentenced to ten years in a labour camp. Bill watches them in horror, as a shot of the cities on Earth show that the statues are erected everywhere. The camera cuts to the Doctor telling everyone to relax and be obedient, assuring them that their future is being taken care of with a sinister smile.

In her flat, Bill sets down two mugs on a table, then concentrates. Another woman appears across the table. Bill greets her, saying, "Hello, Mum," revealing her to be her mother. She tells her that she did not know how the Monks had invaded. The scene changes to a flashback- Bill walking in the streets, among multiple representations of the Monks, and watching as bystanders cheer at images in a television of the Monks implementing "A swift and painless death". She remarks that it's like the population has been brainwashed. She says that she used to travel with the Doctor and Nardole, telling her mum that every day it's harder for her to remember. However, she's sure that he has a plan and "one day soon, he's going to come back and save us all".

Bill hears someone opening her door. She grabs a stool to use as a weapon, but finds that the intruder is Nardole. They scream at each other in fright. She angrily asks him where he had been, who says that he had been laid up with the bacteria for 6 weeks, having been poisoned. Nardole asks Bill who she had been talking to, and she tells him that she imagined a version of her mother who she talks to "all the time". Bill notices that she knows the Monks haven't been on Earth that long, but part of her is beginning to think that it's real.

Nardole reveals that in the time after his recovery, he's done some research—he's traced the broadcasts made by the Doctor with a device he found in a drawer in the TARDIS and has thus surmised that he's being held in a prison ship. Luckily, the ships stop for supply every six weeks, and the next time the Doctor's ship does is in two days. They obtain the aid of a supply boat's captain, who isn't exactly the greatest fan of the Monks—his son got ten years in a labour camp for possessing illegal comics. After getting on the prison ship, they are stopped for a spot check (Nardole doesn't have any identity papers, and Bill is university kitchen staff) but are luckily interrupted by a Monk, who enters the room and leaves again, visibly putting off the guards and letting them go without checking Bill and Nardole's papers.

The pair quickly head into the main part of the ship, and after a while they detect the sound of the Doctor's speech; he appears to be doing another broadcast. They find him in a room, surrounded by what appears to be speeches. The Doctor, upon noticing them bursting into the room, calls for guards and then makes a telephone call to the Monks. After inquiring as to what they were doing there, the Doctor explains that the Monks are helping human society, which is, in fact, regressing, and any extra fatalities due to them are for the greater good; the Romans did things like that as well, and saved billions more from disease, war, famine, and barbarism. Bill protests: "What about free will?" She recalls him having made her write a three thousand word essay on free will. He replies that humans had free will, and they did terrible things with it. He needed to stop them, or at least not stand in the way of someone who wanted to. Besides, she never delivered the essay. When Bill objects that it was because the world was invaded by zombie monks, the Doctor smiles dryly. "And whose fault was that?" he questions. He didn't ask for his sight back, but she had taken it upon herself to ignore him, to do what she thought best. At least they were lucky that it was a benevolent race, nothing like the Daleks.

Bill nods, seemingly agreeing; she replies that it was like that "big fish creature under the Seine in Paris". The Doctor answers that it was a coded message—it was the Thames, not the Seine. If he had played along, she would have known he was tricking them. Bill appears incensed; she takes a guard's gun and points it at the Doctor, explaining angrily that she's spent so much time looking for him, and if he really joined the Monks, they've lost. When the Doctor tells her that she really has, she shoots him. The Doctor appears to regenerate, then stands up and congratulates Bill. He and his group had to make sure that she wasn't being controlled like the rest of the population. He just needs to make sure she isn't testing him, as he needs the Monks' trust. The last six months have been spent deprogramming all the guards, talking sense into them. The plan, the Doctor explains, for testing Bill was exchanging all their ammunition for blanks, save one person who forgot. Fortunately, the person who forgot wasn't the one whose gun Bill took. He sends someone to explain to the kitchen staff, who he called instead of the Monks—they were going to be really confused. Nardole was in on the plot, as well, and the Doctor separates Bill from Nardole after she claims that she's going to beat him up. Now, he has a job for them—they are to retrieve the only person almost as smart as the Doctor, or so he claims. "Blimey, has it really come to that?" Nardole wonders.

Bill voices they should have sneaked in, Bill thinks, but the Doctor appears to drive a giant ship up toward the school. By the time they reach the university, the Monks had already arrived. Luckily, the Doctor and Bill were not heading for the office, but the vault instead, which is free of Monk surveillance. Bill noticed that by the way he and Nardole have been acting, it seemed as if they had a monster locked up in there. "I do," the Doctor replies heavily. He opens the vault, revealing Missy.

Missy tries "haggling over the fate of [the Earth]" before playing "Hot or Cold" with the Doctor and giving him hints as to how the Monks maintain their lie to the population. He eventually deduces that the Monks, through a psychic link, use Bill as the "lynchpin" to keep themselves in power, and the Monk statues transmit the signal all over the globe. Missy tells him that now all he has to do is find the lynchpin and kill them to prevent the link from being passed on. Bill tells Missy she's the lynchpin, to which Missy replies, "Awkward." Missy adds that it would be better if Bill's brain was simply transmitting nothing, rather than her actually dying. The Doctor confronts Missy and tells her she has not changed despite her time under his care, to which Missy replies that she will be in the Vault for a long time before she becomes good then.

In the resistance group's headquarters, the Doctor and Bill explain to Nardole that Missy told Bill she has to die, and Nardole suggests they think of something else. The Doctor explains they have to break into the Cathedral, where the Monks are powering the transmitters, so the Doctor can replace Bill's brainwaves with his and cancel out the signal. Nardole expresses doubt to the plan, but the Doctor dismisses him.

In a boarded-up building, the resistance group hides while Nardole spies on the Cathedral. There are no Monks outside, which Nardole says as such, but when he turns away he tells them there were twelve. The Doctor uses this as an example of the signal beam being stronger here, and as a precaution gives them a tape with headphones to play a recording telling them why they are there and why they are fighting the Monks.

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Cast Edit

Crew Edit

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References Edit

Culture Edit

Science Edit

Biology Edit

  • A montage (in the beginning of the episode) shows a cell splitting.

Weapons Edit

  • Missy claims she "once built a gun out of leaves".

Technology Edit

Martial arts Edit

Philosophy Edit

  • The Doctor had Bill write a 3000 word essay on free will, which she never completed due to the Monk invasion.
  • The Doctor says Missy is going cold turkey from being bad.

Business Edit

Currency Edit

Food and beverages Edit

  • The Doctor has takeaway menus in a drawer in the TARDIS.
  • The Doctor says that after spending six months of talking sense into the guards, he could use a Strepsil.
  • Missy says Nardole looks like an egg.

Locations Edit

Species Edit

People Edit

Music Edit

Story notes Edit

Millenium FX's Gary Pollard Talks Series 10 Monsters - The Aftershow - Doctor Who The Fan Show

Millenium FX's Gary Pollard Talks Series 10 Monsters - The Aftershow - Doctor Who The Fan Show

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

McNeiceLotL

McNeice's Churchill in review copies

  • Ian McNeice's version of Winston Churchill was to appear at one of the screens in The Cathedral, seen as the Doctor is walking in. This was changed in the broadcast episode, as an image of the real Churchill was instead used.
  • This is the only episode of the revived series to feature the appearance of regeneration (albeit a faked one) to not be written by the head writer (then Steven Moffat).

Ratings Edit

  • 3.01m (UK overnight figures)
  • 4.82m (UK final)

The episode also notably had the lowest audience share of any episode since the series revived in 2005, with only 20.3%.

Filming locations Edit

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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.

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Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

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Blu-ray releases Edit

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Digital releases Edit

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External links Edit

Footnotes Edit