TARDIS Index File

Under the Lake (TV story)

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Under the Lake
Doctor: Twelfth Doctor
Companion(s): Clara
Featuring: Cass, Lunn, O'Donnell, Bennett
Main enemy: Ghosts
Main setting: The Drum, Caithness, Scotland, 2119
Key crew
Writer: Toby Whithouse
Director: Daniel O'Hara
Producer: Derek Ritchie
Release details
Story number: 254a
Season/series: 9
Premiere broadcast: 3 October 2015
Premiere network: BBC One
Format: 1x45 minute episode
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Doctor Who television stories
The Witch's Familiar Before the Flood
Production order
Last Christmas Before the Flood
Official trailer
Under The Lake - Next Time Trailer - Doctor Who Series 9 - BBC00:38

Under The Lake - Next Time Trailer - Doctor Who Series 9 - BBC

Memorable moment
What's On The Cards? - Under The Lake - Doctor Who - BBC04:02

What's On The Cards? - Under The Lake - Doctor Who - BBC

Another memorable moment
The Doctor's Ghost - Under The Lake - Doctor Who - BBC03:43

The Doctor's Ghost - Under The Lake - Doctor Who - BBC

Behind the scenes video
Introduction to Under The Lake - Doctor Who Series 9 - BBC01:07

Introduction to Under The Lake - Doctor Who Series 9 - BBC

More behind the scenes stuff
Peter On Ghosts With A Twist - Under The Lake - Doctor Who Series 901:33

Peter On Ghosts With A Twist - Under The Lake - Doctor Who Series 9

Under the Lake was the third episode of the ninth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales.

It saw the series revisit the concept of ghosts and hauntings, last explored in the television story Hide. The episode poses another explanation for the apparitions, in this case as resurrected transmitters of an alien presence's signal.

It also continued the thematic concept of the Doctor apparently facing death, with the end of the episode setting up yet another opportunity for the Doctor to reflect on his mortality.

Synopsis Edit

Arriving on an underwater base under attack, it's up to the Doctor and Clara to save the frightened crew. But also onboard is an alien spaceship, and the base is being haunted by the most impossible of things.

The Doctor's deepest beliefs are challenged when he encounters something he cannot explain. Can it really be possible? Can ghosts be real?

Plot Edit

In an underwater mining facility based in Scotland, 2119 designated The Drum, the captain, Moran, is recording a log in his journal. Moran states that the team has discovered a small craft located on the bank, and, as they are unable to analyse it from within the base, they have brought it inside, where he and the crew will investigate.

A crew member named Lunn interprets the sign language of another crew member, Cass, saying that the reason for its sudden appearance is due to underwater movement and shifts on the floor of the lake. Another crew member named Pritchard recommends they discuss ownership the spaceship, prompting Moran to tell everybody to stop calling it a spaceship, as they don't know what it is.

The crew enter, and Moran notices something inside the craft, asking Lunn to hand him a torch. Lunn does so, but glimpses a ghostly figure reflected in the glass. He reluctantly hands Moran the torch. Moran investigates four strange markings on the wall, whilst Lunn asks Cass why he shouldn't go inside. Whilst they bicker, Pritchard cries out as he glimpses the ghost, accidentally starting the engines. Moran pushes Cass out of the way of the boosters' range, but is struck by the blast, forcing the crew to retreat, leaving him behind.

O'Donnell, another crew member, bangs on the sealed door, demanding they go back for Moran, but is told it is impossible by the rest of the crew. She yells at Pritchard for messing with the controls, but is interrupted as Cass screams. She turns, startled to see Moran hovering in front of her. Albar Prentis appears, and the pair begin to attack the crew.

(Note: until the rest of the episode's plot is added what happens at the end shall be added to give context for what happens in the next episode)

Managing to escape from the ghosts Clara gets separated from the Doctor, who tells her he'll be back as he goes to the TARDIS. Upon entering another room Clara and the crew catch their breathes, and Clara looks out of the dome windows to an unpleasant image- the Doctor staring right back at her, having seemingly been converted into a Transmitter Ghost...

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


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

Astronomy Edit

The Doctor Edit

Technology Edit

Organisations Edit

Individuals Edit

Food and beverages Edit

  • A cup of coffee is seen on a table; the Doctor is able to work out how long it's been there by tasting it.
  • Clara states that the Doctor raved about ghosts "like a kid who has had too much sherbet."

Languages Edit

  • The Doctor can no longer understand British Sign Language. He believes it has been deleted from the TARDIS language bank, along with semaphore. Despite this, he nonetheless correctly signs "you're beautiful" to Cass when he attempts to communicate with her and partially, and apparently unconsciously, partially signs the American Sign Language sign for "I love you" when speaking to Clara in the TARDIS about his "duty of care".

Popular culture Edit

Story notes Edit

  • The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders shot of Morven Christie as O'Donnell, with the accompanying caption "Doctor Who / 8.25 p.m. / Could O'Donnell and her colleagues have fallen victim to undead beings?"
  • The working title of the story (and the following episode) was Ghost in the Machine. (DWM 492)

Ratings Edit

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.
  • Recordings of Prichard's drowning portray his words and movement slightly differently.

Continuity Edit

Home video releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

Under the Lake was released on DVD as part of "Doctor Who: Series 9, Part 1" on November 2 in region 2 and November 3 in region 1.

Blu-ray releases Edit

Under the Lake was released on Blu-ray as part of "Doctor Who: Series 9, Part 1" on November 2 in region 2 and November 3 in region 1.

External links Edit

Transcript of Under the Lake at Chrissie's Transcripts Site
Facts about "Under the Lake (TV story)"RDF feed
1ADScott Bates +
2ADDanielle Richards +
3ADGareth Jones +
ADChris Thomas + and Nick Goolding +
ADR editorMatthew Cox +
Assistant costume designerGeorgie Sayer +
Assistant editorBecky Trotman +
Assistant gripSean Cronin +
Assistant production accountantJustine Wooff +
Assistant production co-ordinatorSandra Cosfeld +
BSL monitorJean St. Clair +
Best boyAndrew Gardiner +
Camera assistantCai Thompson +, Matthew Lepper + and Scott Waller +
Camera operatorMark McQuoid +
CarpenterTim Burke +, Lawrie Ferry +, Matt Ferry +, Chris Daniels +, Julian Tucker +, George Rees +, Dan Berrow +, Keith Richards + and Campbell Fraser +
Casting associateAlice Purser +
Casting directorAndy Pryor CDG +
Chargehand carpenterJohn Sinnott +
ChoreographerAila Berk +
ColouristGareth Spensley +
Concept artistChris Lees +
Construction chargehandDean Tucker +
Construction driverJonathan Tylke +
Construction managerTerry Horle +
ContinuityNicki Coles +
Costume assistantAndie Mear +, Ian Fowler + and Jenny Tindle +
Costume designerRay Holman +
Costume supervisorSimon Marks +
DOPRichard Stoddard +
Dialogue editorDarran Clement +
DirectorDaniel O'Hara +
DoctorTwelfth Doctor +
DraughtsmanKartik Nagar + and Ursula Marshall +
DriverSean Evans + and Kyle Davies +
Dubbing mixerMark Ferda +
EditorWill Oswald +
Effects editorHarry Barnes +
ElectricianAndrew Williams +, Bob Milton +, Gareth Sheldon +, Gawain Nash + and Matt Wilson +
Executive producerSteven Moffat + and Brian Minchin +
Focus pullerJonathan Vidgen + and Steve Rees +
Foley artistJulie Ankerson +
Foley editorJamie Talbutt +
GafferMark Hutchings +
Graphic artistMatthew Clark +
GripJohn Robinson +
Has imageFile:Moran.jpg +
Head scenic artistClive Clarke +
Line producerTracie Simpson +
Location managerNick Clark +
Make-up artistMegan Bowes + and James Spinks +
Make-up designerBarbara Southcott +
Make-up supervisorSara Anghard +
Mixed byJake Jackson +
MusicMurray Gold +
On-line editorGeraint Pari Huws +
OrchestratorBen Foster +
Post-production co-ordinatorSamantha Price +
Post-production supervisorNerys Davies +
Practical electricianChristian Davies + and Austin Curtis +
ProducerDerek Ritchie +
Production accountantCeredig Parry +
Production assistantHannah Jones + and Jamie Shaw +
Production buyerSarah Frere +
Production co-ordinatorAdam Knopf +
Production designerMichael Pickwoad +
Production executiveGordon Ronald +
Production managerJames DeHaviland +
Prop handScott Howe +, Nigel Magni + and Matt Watts +
Props buyerMay Johnson + and Vicki Male +
Props chargehandKyle Belmont +
Props driverGareth Fox +
Props makerAlan Hardy +, Jamie Thomas +, Paul Lynch + and Jamie Farrell +
Props masterPaul Smith (prop master) +
Recorded byGerry O'Riordan +
RiggingShadow Scaffolding +
Scenic painterSteve Nelms +, Matt Weston + and Paul Murray +
Script editorNick Lambon +
Script executiveLindsey Alford +
Set decoratorAdrian Anscombe +
Sound maintenance engineerTam Shoring + and Christopher Goding +
Sound recordistDeian Llŷr Humphreys +
Special creature effects and prostheticsMillennium FX +
Standby art directorNick Murray +
Standby carpenterPaul Jones +
Standby propsLiam Collins + and Ian Davies +
Store personJamie Southcott +
Storyboard artistMike Collins +
Stunt co-ordinatorCrispin Layfield +, Gordon Seed + and Jo McLaren +
Stunt performerMatt Crook +
Supervising art directorTristan Peatfield +
ThanksBBC National Orchestra of Wales +
ThemeRon Grainer +
Title conceptBilly Hanshaw +
TitlesBBC Wales Graphics +
Unit managerIestyn Hampson-Jones +
Unit medicGlyn Evans +
VFX editorDan Rawlings +
WriterToby Whithouse +

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