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Matt Smith
The Beast Below
Eleventh Doctor Logo


Synopsis


Starship UK
Starship UK
 The Doctor takes Amy to the far future, and Starship UK. The British people, adrift among the stars on a giant spaceship, in search of a new home.

 But there are secrets here, in the rusting corridors and clanging hallways. A masked figure, who knows The Doctor of old, begs his help, while Amy encounters the terrifying Smilers, and uncovers a secret so dreadful, no one can remember it…

Source: Radio Times


General Information

Season: Thirty One (New Series 5)
Production Code: 5-2
Story Number: 204 (New Series: 48)
Episode Number:758 (New Series: 62)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: 2009 (Block 2)
Broadcast Date: 10 April 2010
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Upper Boat, Pontypridd)
Location: Mamhilad (Monmouthshire).
Writer:Steven Moffat
Director:Andrew Gunn
Producer:Peter Bennett
Executive Producers:Beth Willis, Piers Wenger and Steven Moffat
Script Editor:Brian Minchin
Editors:John Richards and Mat Newman
Production Executive:Julie Scott
Production Manager:Steffan Morris
Production Designer:Edward Thomas
Director of Photography:Graham Frake
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Patrick Schweitzer
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Barbara Southcott
Cameramen:Jon Vidgen (Assistant), Tom Hartley (Assistant) and Martin Stephens (Operator)
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Paul Jefferies
Sound Recordist:Bryn Thomas
Sound Supervisor:Paul McFadden
Visual Effects:The Mill
Special Effects:Real SFX
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinator:Crispin Layfield
Title Sequence:Frame Store
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
Music Performed By: The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) Number of Acquaintances: 1The Acquaintance: Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill) (Joins) Additional Cast: Sophie Okonedo (Liz 10), Terrance Hardiman (Hawthorne), Hannah Sharp (Mandy), Alfie Field (Timmy), Christopher Good (Morgan), David Ajala (Peter), Catrin Richards (Poem Girl), Jonathan Battersby (Winder), Chris Porter (Voice of Smilers/Winder)Setting: Starship UK (3295) Villains:Hawthorne and The Smilers

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
758The Beast Below10 April 201041'56"BBC One: 7.9
BBC HD: 0.5
Total: 8.4
Yes

Total Duration 42 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 8.4 (BBC One: 7.9   BBC HD: 0.5)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2010)68.30%  (Position = 9 out of 10)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)61.68% Lower (Position = 186 out of 241)


Archives


 This story exists and is held in the BBC's Film and Videotape Library.



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Notes


The director for this story is Andrew Gunn. This is his first Director credit on Doctor Who. Andrew Gunn’s previous directing credits include episodes of ITV‘s long-running police drama The Bill in 2006, two episodes of BBC One’s Life on Mars in 2007, two episodes of ITV’s Primeval in 2008 and two episodes of BBC One’s Survivors in 2008.

The cast include Terrence Hardiman (The Demon Headmaster) as Hawthorne, Alfie Field (Claude) as Timmy, Christopher Good (The Famous Five) as Morgan, David Ajala (Dream Team) as Peter, and Jonathan Battersby (Taggart) as the sinister Smilers.

Amy spends the whole of this story in her nightie. This parallels the Tenth Doctor's spending most of his first story ("The Christmas Invasion") in his pyjamas. Steven Moffatt likened the character of Amy to that of Wendy in Peter Pan - as a girl who refused to grow up and went off in a spaceship before her wedding.

This is not the first time The Doctor has taken a new companion, for their first trip in the TARDIS, to the distant future. The Ninth Doctor took Rose to a similar time period in the 2005 story "The End of the World".

The Doctor is heard telling Amy about some of the events that happened in "The End of Time" – namely how he is coping with the fact that he is the last of the Time Lords since all the others were taken back to the day Gallifrey was destroyed - much like he did with Rose, Martha, and Donna shortly after they joined him.

Mandy is a little girl in a red cardigan, just as Amelia was a little girl in a red cardigan in the previous story "The Eleventh Hour".

The Doctor and Amy's exchange ‘You look human/You look Time Lord’ mirrors a similar conversation between his previous incarnation and Lady Christina de Souza in "Planet of the Dead".

Look out for the scene with the workman's tent investigated by Amy. It is situated in front of a shop called ‘Magpie Electricals’. This shop was first featured in the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "The Idiot's Lantern".

The Doctor's mention of colony ships and solar flares refers the advent of the Earth being rendered uninhabitable by solar flares not long before the 30th century in the 1975 Fourth Doctor stories "The Ark in Space" and "The Sontaran Experiment".

STARSHIP UK consist of a number of skyscrapers some of which bear the names of the counties of England such as ‘Devon’, 'Essex', ‘Kent’, ‘Surrey’ and ‘Yorkshire’. Reference is also made to ‘London’ and the London Undeground symbol is seen on the lifts – which include ‘Mind the Doors’ warning notices (instead of the usual ‘Mind the Gap’ used in the real underground).

Liz 10, the Queen of STARSHIP UK, is heard to mention The Doctor's previous encounters with members of the royal family in his travels. She mentions Queen Victoria who knighted then exiled The Doctor in "Tooth and Claw" and his relationship with the ‘Virgin Queen’ ("The End of Time"), as well as Henry XVII and Liz 2. His relationship with the "Virgin Queen" led into the ending of "The Shakespeare Code". Additionally we saw Queen Elizabeth I in the First Doctor adventure "The Chase" and the Seventh Doctor spots Queen Elizabeth II in "Silver Nemesis".

The logos for STARSHIP UK are based on the appearance of BBC television logos from the early 1960s, including the same slanted black capital sans-serif lettering in white parallelogram-shaped boxes. A logo in front of a map of the United Kingdom within a circle is also shown, similar to that for BBC Television shown in the 1988 Seventh Doctor story "Remembrance of the Daleks".

The Star Whale's exposed brain being restrained by humans is similar to the Ood Brain in the Tenth Doctor story "Planet of the Ood". Just as in that story, the brain was released in the end, and the restrained creature was freed. Similarly, The Doctor allows the beast's screams to be heard, just as The Doctor allowed Donna to listen to the Ood Song.

Nobody is killed in this story, as with previous Steven Moffat stories (which only feature deaths from natural causes on screen and sometimes have nobody die at all), this is unusual for the show.

Including the flashback sequence in the previous story, this is the first story not to show the Tenth Doctor since the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways".

This story leads directly into the next story, "Victory of the Daleks" - with the appearance Winston Churchill, who calls The Doctor, and the shadow of a Dalek is seen on the office wall.

The role of Winston Churchill is played by Ian McNeice. One of his biggest film roles came was the 1994 comedy, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. This film also co-starred Sophie Okonedo, who plays Liz 10 in this story, and Simon Callow, who portrayed Charles Dickens in the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "The Unquiet Dead".

The crack, previously seen on Amelia's wall and the TARDIS' monitor in "The Eleventh Hour" is seen again at the very end of this story on the side of STARSHIP UK. So continuing the theme of cracks appearing throughout the universe.

This is the first average length Doctor Who episode since the first episode of the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End". All stories shown since then have all been specials or have had episodes extended beyond the average 45 minutes.

Following on immediately after this story, on BBC3, was the second chapter of the fifth series of Doctor Who Confidential. Titled "All About the Girl" which looked into the making of this story and the introduction of new companion Amy Pond. It was presented by Alex Price.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 Amy Pond's first trip in the TARDIS and her first trip to the future.

 The first average length Doctor Who episode since the first episode of the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End".

 The first story not to show the Tenth Doctor since the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways".

 The first Doctor Who story to be produced by Peter Bennett.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Andrew Gunn.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Amy and The Doctor
Amy and The Doctor

The TARDIS takes The Doctor, and his new companion Amy Pond, to a spaceship on top of which has been built a Manhattan-style city full of skyscrapers bearing the names of the counties of England such as ‘Devon’, 'Essex', ‘Kent’, ‘Surrey’ and ‘Yorkshire’. The Doctor informs Amy that the spaceship is a colony ship from the Earth, which has been devastated by solar flares, containing the remnants of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. On exploring this spaceship, known as STARSHIP UK, The Doctor quickly deduces that it has no engines. So what provides its propulsion system to enable it to travel in space?

But both The Doctor and Amy are being observed, dotted around the corridors and rooms are strange fairground type booths containing enamel-painted heads which swivel around to show either; a happy face, an unhappy face or an angry face. Known as Smilers, The Doctor notices that all these booths are spotlessly clean and the population seem to give them a wide berth.

The Doctor and Amy are also being followed by cloaked figures called ‘Winders’. One of these uses a telephone box to call his master, Hawthorne, a senior member of the government, who in turns notifies a masked lady of the arrival of the two strangers and the way The Doctor deduced that there are no engines (when he placed a glass of water on the floor and observed that there were no vibrations).

Starship UK
Starship UK

While The Doctor descends to the lower levels, to discover why there are no engines, he tasks Amy to locate a small girl called Mandy, who they earlier observed all alone and crying - due to the recent loss of her friend Timmy who, on failing at school, has disappeared - to find out why everybody is afraid of the Smilers. Mandy, aware that she has been followed confronts Amy. However, Amy becomes curious about a locked workman's tent marked 'keep out' blocking their way. Despite Mandy's protestations, Amy unpicks the lock and a nearby Smiler watches and rotates its head from a happy face to an angry face. But when Amy enters the tent she is confronted by what appears to be a monster's tentacle. She manages to flee this horror only to be confronted by four of the Winders. One of whom sprays Amy with a gas from a ring on his finger, and she falls unconscious.

Amy regains consciousness in small room which is revealed to be a voting booth. A machine with television screens scans Amy and identifies her. It also reveals her being 1,306 years old but her marital status as ‘unknown’. The screen then shows a man in a smart suit who tells her that she will now be shown the truth of the spaceship's travels, and afterwards she will be faced with a choice of pressing one of two buttons. She can either ‘Protest’, but she is warned its use might have terrible consequences for everyone aboard the spaceship, or she can choose ‘Forget’, where everything will continue unchanged but she will be made to forget everything she learns in the booth. After watching a fast succession of subliminal images Amy quickly chooses to ‘Forget’. An image of Amy then appears on the screen, telling herself to send The Doctor back and to stop him investigating the spaceship.

Mandy
Mandy

Meanwhile The Doctor meets the mysterious masked woman, who reveals herself to be Liz 10, and who is curious about the spaceship as The Doctor. Before disappearing Liz 10 gives The Doctor a device to help him locate Amy. This he does just as she comes out of the voting room. On entering the voting room himself The Doctor deduces that the machine has made her forget everything she learned in the last twenty minutes. After tinkering with the machine to no avail, The Doctor presses the 'Protest' button, which causes the door to close, trapping both himself and Amy in the room. The floor then slides open, sending them both hurtling down a chute. They arrive in a dark cave whose floor is covered in red liquid and food waste. The Doctor soon deduces that they are in fact standing on the tongue of a large beast and that the cave is in fact a large mouth. After using his Sonic Screwdriver, to irritate the creature, The Doctor and Amy find themselves drenched in vomit and in an overflow pipe.

They are confronted with a door and another ‘Forget’ switch which The Doctor rightly deduces if used will readmit them back into the main part of the ship but will also make them forget what they have just seen. On refusing to press the switch, two watching Smilers not only rotate their heads, to show their angry face, but also open the door of the booths and, to the astonishment of The Doctor and Amy, stand up and start to approach them. Rescue comes from Liz 10, who has followed The Doctor using the device she gave him earlier, and who has a gun capable of temporarily disabling the Smilers.

Liz 10 reveals that she is Queen Elizabeth the Tenth. She also tells The Doctor that she believes her government to be conspiring against her, and feeding her subjects to the beast. Hawthorne, aware that Liz 10 is close to uncovering the truth about STARSHIP UK has her, along with The Doctor, Amy and Mandy, brought to the bowels of the ship, known as ‘The Tower of London’. There The Doctor discovers that a Star Whale is providing the spaceship’s power and propulsion. But is being goaded by a ray penetrating its brain that is hurting the creature. The Doctor and Liz 10 are outraged at the cruelty being unleashed on the Star Whale, with the latter demanding it be set free. Hawthorne insists he is simply obeying orders from a higher authority, implying Liz 10 herself is that higher authority.

Amy is Attacked
Amy is Attacked

The Doctor then reveals that Liz 10 has actually been Queen for hundreds of years (and not ten as she thinks), but has chosen to forget her past years of rule whenever she discovers the truth about the Star Whale. She is forced to watch a video of herself explaining how the British people faced with the destruction of Earth were saved when the Star Whale - thought to be the last of its kind in the universe - appeared like a miracle, and allowed itself to be captured and used to power the spaceship. Liz 10 is then forced to vote herself by choosing either to ‘Forget’ or ‘Abdicate’. She is informed that by pressing ‘Abdicate’ will release the Star Whale but would also destroy the spaceship and all who are on board.

Angry with those who allowed this to happen and disappointed with Amy for having voted earlier to 'Forget', so allowing the creature’s suffering to continue, The Doctor is faced with a dilemma – he can’t allow the Star Whale’s suffering to continue but at the same time he can’t kill all the humans aboard the spaceship. Instead he has no choice but to kill the conscious functions of the creature, in order to avoid it feeling anymore pain, so avoid killing the humans.

But just as The Doctor sets up a large shot of power to make the Star Whale brain dead, Amy remembers The Doctor's encouragement to her to 'notice everything' and spots that while the Star Whale attacks the adults it does not attack the children. She then realises that the Star Whale is in fact benevolent, and has been voluntarily propelling the spaceship. Without warning she grabs Liz 10 and forces her to press the 'Abdicate' button and the stimulus to the brain of the creature stops. The creature however, continues to power the ship and Hawthorne observes that they have, in fact, increased speed.

Explaining her deduction that the Star Whale wants to help the children, and so does not need to persuaded to propel the spaceship, The Doctor and Amy are reconciled. As they head back to the TARDIS Amy is about to reveal to The Doctor that she is engaged to be married when she realises that the sound of a phone can be heard ringing from within the TARDIS. When she answers it she discovers that it is Winston Churchill requesting The Doctor’s assistance. On the wall beside the war time Prime Minister the shadow of a Dalek can be seen….

 
An Undignified Landing
An Undignified Landing
A Smiler
A Smiler
An Unhappy Smiler
An Unhappy Smiler
Exploring Below
Exploring Below
 
The Smilers Come Alive
The Smilers Come Alive
Liz 10
Liz 10
The Doctor Confronts Hawthorne
The Doctor Confronts Hawthorne
The Beast Below
The Beast Below




Quote of the Story


 'In bed above or deep asleep. While greater love lies further deep. This dream must end, this world must know. We all depend on the beast below…'

Amy Pond



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
The Eleventh Hour - The Beast Below - Victory of the DaleksJune 2010BBCDVD 3213Photo-montage
Video
Blu-Ray
The Eleventh Hour - The Beast Below - Victory of the DaleksJune 2010BBCBD 0082Photo-montage
Video
DVD
The Complete Fifth Series Box SetNovember 2010BBCDVD 3285Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing all 10 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Fifth Series Box SetNovember 2010BBCBD 0115Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing all 10 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Fifth Series Box Set (Limited Edition)November 2010BBCDVD 3344Photo-montageLimited Edition DVD boxed set containing all 10 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Fifth Series Box Set (Limited Edition)November 2010BBCBD 0130Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray boxed set containing all 10 stories
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 5November 2010Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold
Audio
CD
The Essential CompanionNovember 2010Photo-montageDocumentary
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Series 1-7 Box Set (Limited Edition)December 2013BBCBD 0242Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray boxed set containing all Series 1-7 stories at full 1080p high definition
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks
Video
DVD
The Complete Fifth Series (2014 Re-release)August 2014BBCDVD 3969Photo-montageBoxed set containing all 10 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Fifth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)February 2020Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 10 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 420 (Released: April 2010)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 421 (Released: May 2010)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 496 (Released: March 2016)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArticleIssue 549 (Released: April 2020)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 74 (Released: November 2011)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion/Acquaintance

 
Matt Smith
The Eleventh Doctor

   

Karen Gillan
Amy Pond
 
Ian McNeice
Winston Churchill
   




On Release

DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Blu-Ray Cover
Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series DVD Box Set
Complete Series DVD Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
   
Ltd Edition DVD Box Set
Ltd Edition DVD Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Ltd Edition Blu-Ray Box Set
Ltd Edition Blu-Ray Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
The Essential Companion Cover
The Essential Companion Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   
Complete Series 1-7 Ltd Edition Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series 1-7 Ltd Edition Blu-Ray Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
Complete Series DVD Box Set<BR>(2014 Re-release)
Complete Series DVD Box Set
(2014 Re-release)

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
   



Magazines

Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 420
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 420

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 421
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 421

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 496
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 496

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 549
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 549

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 74
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 74

GE Fabbri


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