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. 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.
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?
A montage of images of events in human evolution is shown, as the Doctor does a voiceover, 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.
Inside 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.
to be added
- The Doctor - Peter Capaldi
- Bill - Pearl Mackie
- Nardole - Matt Lucas
- Missy - Michelle Gomez
- Mother - Emma Handy
- Group Commander - Beatrice Curnew
- Alan - Stewart Wright
- Richard - Solomon Israel
- Giant Monk - Jamie Hill
- Bill's Mum - Rosie Jane
to be added
- The Monks propagate falsehoods and Fake News through Bill, and have injected themselves into all of human history. The Monks take credit for humanity's achievements.
- The Doctor suggests he'd make some modifications to history, like ending racism, and people who talk in cinemas.
- Jane broke the Memory Crimes Act of 1975. She is sentenced to 10 years in labour camp.
- The Doctor mentions to Bill that the Romans saved people from disease, war, famine and barbarism.
- The Doctor mentions fascism and fundamentalism.
- Missy plays "Hot or Cold" with the Doctor.
- Missy mentions Celebrity Love Island.
- The Monks' Truth posters have been plastered all over other posters, including Kikiro: One Last Time, "socialist sports car", one that mentions Carl Payne and Paul Moloneux and one that mentions Bristol.
- Missy speaks both Spanish and French.
- The Doctor explains that Bill is unaffected in "Fake News Central" because they are at the eye of the storm, as all the lies are being broadcast from there.
- A montage (in the beginning of the episode) shows a cell splitting.
- Missy claims she "once built a gun out of leaves".
- The Doctor mentions the light bulb, the telephone and the Internet.
- The Bishop family owns a Sharp TV.
- The Monks use a signal scrambler to blur the signal of the broadcasts.
- Nardole found a signal GPS in the TARDIS to trace the broadcasts.
- The Vault is dimensionally transcendental, like some other Time Lord technology.
- Quantum Fold Chambers have containment fields.
- Missy asks for "toys" like a particle accelerator, a 3D printer and a pony, in return for her help.
- The Monk statues around the world act as beacons for false propaganda.
- On an A-Z map highlights the Regalis and the H.M.S. Belfast.
Martial arts Edit
- Nardole performs a Tarovian neck pinch to knock out Alan. He's reached the level of Brown Tabard in Tarovian martial arts.
- 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.
- The Memory Police are roaming the cities enforcing the Truth.
- A Magpie Electricals shop is broadcasting the Doctor's Monk Truth on window-televisions.
- The shop Spencer Skuse & Potter is seen.
- A Fiction Factory shop is seen.
- The Doctor has 50 Danish kroner in a drawer in the TARDIS.
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.
- The Monks have erected statues in cities including Bristol, New York City, Paris, Forbidden City, Sydney and Toronto, among others. Statues have also been erected by landmarks, including St Basil's Cathedral, Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls and Stonehenge.
- Breaking News reports of Memory Criminal investigations going on in Tokyo.
- Nardole mentions Australia.
- Locations on Nardole's map include Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen; all located in the United Kingdom. Locations around the UK include the Hebrides, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. The Faroe Islands, highlighted as being part of Denmark, are also located north of the UK. To the north-east of the UK is Norway which includes the locations Stavange, Bergen and Oslo.
- Some locations on the map appear only partially. "Belfa" (Belfast) is located in Northern Ireland, "lin" (Dublin) is on the east coast of Ireland and "Trondhe" (Trondheim) is located in Norway. Across the border in Sweden are "Stockh" (Stockholm) and "Gothenbur" (Gothenburg).
- The Doctor is located on an old Hulk prison boat off the coast of Scotland.
- The Doctor mentions Vienna in his rant to Bill.
- Bill mentions Seine, in Paris.
- The Cathedral has relocated to central London. It is now located west of St Paul's Cathedral, south of London Wall, east of St Martin Le Grand and north of Cannon Street.
- An A-Z highlights locations such as Bermondsey, Cannon Street, River Thames, Southwark Bridge, London Bridge, Blackfriars, Millennium Bridge, Tooley Street, Queen Victoria Street, Newgate Street, Farmingdon Street, Shoe Lane, St Bride Street, London Wall, Mansion House St, Holborn Viaduct, King's Reach, St. Mary's Overie's Dock, Byward Street, Clerkenwell, Houndsditch, Tower Hill, Minories, East Smithfield, The Tower of London, Mansell Street and Aldersgate Street.
- Portland House is also seen.
- A montage (at the beginning of the episode) shows a mudskipper crawling towards a welcoming Monk.
- The Doctor mentions the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels in his broadcast.
- Bill mentions the "Heather creature".
- The Doctor mentions the sea serpent.
- Time Lords can "fake" a regeneration, seemingly by starting the process only to abort it before any actual healing, if needed, is enacted.
- Bill references Heather.
- Nardole once had an imaginary friend.
- Nardole won his current left hand gambling.
- The boat captain has an identity card for the Sea Ranger IV which includes his fingerprint and the Truth logo.
- Richard, Alan and Dave are all part of the resistance group.
- Missy had previously defeated the Monks by pushing the girl, who was the lynchpin back then, into a volcano.
- The Doctor talks to a student.
Story notes Edit
- The read-through for The Lie of the Land took place on 11 January 2017, and filming took place between 16 January and 22 February.
- Archive material from TV: Blink, Nightmare in Silver, Into the Dalek, and The Pilot is shown. By extension, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, Daleks and photos of Bill Potts' birth mother are shown in this capacity.
- This story, along with Mission to the Unknown, Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Mind of Evil, The Dæmons, The Sea Devils, The Sontaran Experiment, Genesis of the Daleks and Midnight, are the only nine stories to not feature the TARDIS, although she is mentioned.
- The desk the Doctor is seen using while on the prison boat is the same one Ms Delphox has in TV: Time Heist.
- This is the second story of the tenth series which sees Bill almost using a curse word; I'm gonna beat the sh…. The first was TV: Thin Ice.
- The various photographs inside The Cathedral showing various moments in the history of our universe, appear to be the originals, whereas the TV broadcast photographs have been altered.
- Screens inside the pyramid show images of a "votes for women" sign, the Truth logo, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Emmeline Pankhurst, Mother Teresa, Neil Armstrong, the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, Martin Luther King, Mount Everest, Big Bang, Big Ben and the London Eye at New Year's Eve, Concorde, Elizabeth II with Prince Philip and Bobby Moore, the Berlin Wall, and Donald Trump.
- 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).
- The Monks are noteworthy of being one of the few enemies to just accept their defeat and leave Earth.
- 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
to be added
Production errors Edit
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- The Doctor mentions the Daleks, (TV: The Daleks, et al.) the Cybermen (TV: The Tenth Planet, et al.) and the Weeping Angels. (TV: Blink et al.)
- Citizens watch the Doctor's broadcasts in a Magpie Electricals shop. (TV: The Idiot's Lantern, et al.)
- To gain Bill's trust, Nardole tells her they went to Australia on the run from "the Heather creature" (TV: The Pilot) and that space doors should go "shuck shuck". (TV: Oxygen)
- The Doctor and Bill reference her asking the Monks for help and him getting back eyesight. (TV: The Pyramid at the End of the World)
- Nardole mentions being contaminated by Raoultella planticola (TV: The Pyramid at the End of the World) and states it laid him up for six weeks.
- Bill mentions her status as kitchen staff at the University. (TV: The Pilot)
- The Doctor tells Bill about the creature under the Thames. (TV: Thin Ice)
- The Doctor fakes a regeneration. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut, The Wedding of River Song) In doing so, he voluntarily conjures up regeneration energy (TV: Rise of the Cybermen, The Angels Take Manhattan, The Witch's Familiar).
- Missy previously scoffed at the idea that she had "turned good" when questioned by Clara Oswald. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice) He preferred to die than be taken "prisoner", under the Tenth Doctor's protection. (TV: Last of the Time Lords) As early as his seventh incarnation, the Doctor had vowed to one day save his friend after the Master was forced to revert following a temporary spell as the kindly John Smith. (AUDIO: Master)
- Nardole knocks Alan out with a Tarovian neck pinch, using only his thumb. Ian Chesterton demonstrated a similar act on Ixta. (TV: The Aztecs)
- Nardole continues to hint at a cybernetic nature (TV: The Return of Doctor Mysterio, The Pilot, The Pyramid at the End of the World) when he tells the group invading the pyramid that his left hand isn't his original hand but is one that he won in a game of some sort.
- The Doctor introduces Missy to Bill as "the other last of the Time Lords". (TV: Utopia, The Sound of Drums, Last of the Time Lords)
- Bill recalls being "attacked by a puddle". (TV: The Pilot)
Home video releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
Blu-ray releases Edit
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Digital releases Edit
to be added