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Matt Smith
The Doctor's Wife
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Synopsis


The Doctor's Wife
The Doctor's Wife
 The TARDIS, drawn off course by the most unlikely distress signal, materialises outside of space and time itself. In this bubble universe, The Doctor meets Idris and her Aunt and Uncle, who live together in a scrapyard full of impossible things.

 Idris, it seems, is mad - and when The Doctor finds out why she is the way she is, things start to get a bit complicated.

 And unmentionable…



General Information

Season: Thirty Two (New Series 6)
Production Code: 6-3
Story Number: 216 (New Series: 60)
Episode Number:774 (New Series: 78)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"Bigger on the Inside" and "The House of Nothing"
Production Dates: September - October 2010
Broadcast Date: 14 May 2011
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Upper Boat, Pontypridd) and Dragon International Film Studios (Bridgend)
Location: Cemex (Taffs Well), Pentyrch, Cardiff.
Writer:Neil Gaiman
Director:Richard Clark
Producer:Sanne Wohlenberg
Executive Producers:Beth Willis, Piers Wenger and Steven Moffat
Script Executive:Lindsey Alford
Editor:Peter H Oliver
Production Executive:Julie Scott
Production Manager:Steffan Morris
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Owen McPolin
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Diana Barton
Costume Designer:Barbara Kidd
Make-Up Designer:Barbara Southcott
Cameramen:Matthew Lepper (Assistant), Simon Ridge (Assistant), Svetlana Miko (Assistant) and Bob Shipsey (Operator)
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Paul Jefferies
Sound Recordist:Bryn Thomas
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
Music Conducted and Orchestrated By: Ben Foster
Music Mixed By: Jake Jackson
Music Recorded By: Gerry O'Riordan
Odd Originally Created By: Russell T Davies
Junkyard Console Designer: Susannah Leah
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Matt Smith (The Eleventh Doctor)
Number of Companions: 2The Companions: Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) Additional Cast: Suranne Jones (Idris), Michael Sheen (Voice of House), Paul Kasey (Nephew), Adrian Schiller (Uncle), Elizabeth Berrington (Auntie)Setting: Bubble Universe and the TARDIS Villain: House

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
774The Doctor's Wife14 May 201145'47"8.0Yes

Total Duration 46 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 8.0
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2011)84.70%  (Position = 1 out of 13)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)81.68% Lower (Position = 37 out of 241)


Archives


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



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Notes


This story was the fourth episode in Season Thirty Two (New Series 6) and saw the TARDIS personified in human-form.

This story has been written by Neil Gaiman – his first Doctor Who story. During an interview with Neil Gaiman, on BBC Breakfast, he revealed that this story is ‘very spooky’ and that fans were ‘likely to be biting their nails off by the end’.

Suranne Jones, who played the part of Idris, starred in Coronation Street and, alongside David Tennant, in Single Father. Suranne Jones also played the part of Mona Lisa in The Sarah Jane Adventures 2009 story "Mona Lisa's Revenge".

Adrian Schiller, who played the part of Uncle, appeared in Silk and Being Human. He also previously appeared in the Big Finish Productions Eighth Doctor audio story "Time Works" where he played Zanith.

Elizabeth Berrington, who played the part of Auntie, played the part of Ruby in the BBC One drama Waterloo Road.

Although we do not see him, acclaimed actor Michael Sheen provides the voice of House. Michael Sheen is credited as ‘Voice of House’ on-screen, and just as ‘House’ in The Radio Times. Michael Sheen notably played Tony Blair in The Queen and Kenneth Williams in Fantabulosa!. He also played David Frost in Ron Howard’s 2008 movie, Frost/Nixon. This film tells the story of Frost interviewing the former President US Richard Nixon. In "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon", The Doctor alludes to this meeting, moments before leaving the White House.

At one stage this story was called "Bigger on the Inside". This was changed to "The Doctor’s Wife". The original title did make it to screen as the title of this story’s accompanying edition of Doctor Who Confidential.

This story was originally planned to be the eleventh episode of Season Thirty One (New Series 5) but was delayed to Season Thirty Two (New Series 6) due to budget limitations. It was then planned to be third episode of this season but the order was changed during the production process.

This story was first broadcast on 14th May 2011. That date already has a special significance for the TARDIS. On that day in 2005, the Ninth Doctor story "Father's Day" debuted - a story in which the TARDIS apparently lost its powers and was reduced to an empty box.

The white cube which brings the message to The Doctor references the cube the Second Doctor used in the 1969 story "The War Games" to communicate with his fellow Time Lords. In that story, this contact with the Time Lords resulted in his exile to the planet Earth and the secrets of the TARDIS being removed from his mind. Conversely, this time, the sequence of events triggered by the cube leads to greater knowledge of the TARDIS.

The rift that the TARDIS uses to get to the Bubble Universe resembles one of the Cracks, which can also transport people through time and space.

Rory asks The Doctor if the House is the ‘junkyard at the end of the universe’, - a reference to Douglas Adams’ ‘Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ that appears in his novel The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

The inhabitants of House’s asteroid refer to themselves using familial titles, much like The Family of Blood in the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "Human Nature/The Family of Blood".

An Ood appears in this story (the first time that the Eleventh Doctor has encountered a member of this race). The Ood are a peaceful race but unfortunately, members of their species keep getting possessed by evil entities! The Ood first appeared in the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit" and the 2008 Story "The Planet of the Ood". A solitary Ood also featured in the 2009 story "The Waters of Mars" before the Oodkind returned in "The End of Time" – the final story for Tenth Doctor.

In this story Nephew displays green eyes to show he was under the control of House. In "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit" and "The Planet of the Ood" The Ood’s eyes have been shown to change colour when possessed. As with the Ood controlled by the The Beast, The Doctor indicates that Nephew was another Ood he was unable to save.

Idris reveals that The Doctor first took the TARDIS seven hundred years before.

A debate, amongst Doctor Who fans, rages as to whether ‘TARDIS’ stands for ‘Time And Relative Dimensions In Space’ or ‘Time And Relative Dimension In Space’. In this story the latter acronym is cited but in the past The Doctor has used both versions.

This is the first time we have seen beyond the TARDIS Console Room since the Adventure Game, "TARDIS". Before that we saw a cavernous room storing clothes in the 2005 Tenth Doctor story "The Christmas Invasion" but those stories aside, very little of the inside of the TARDIS has been seen since the 1996 Eighth Doctor film "Doctor Who: The Movie".

The TARDIS corridors are seen for the first time in the revived series. They are a similar design to that seen in the original series, though they are now hexagonal in shape with updated roundels.

At one point Idris asks The Doctor to describe the instruction on the TARDIS door, to which he replies, ‘Pull to open’ this contrasts with the fact that when entering the TARDIS the doors open inwards.

This is the first story since "The Eleventh Hour" to show the control room used by the Ninth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor, although it is implied that this room is then erased permanently. It is also stated that the TARDIS has all of the other control rooms saved in its archive, as well as many that have not been seen yet.

The TARDIS’ secondary Console Room was first implied in the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Masque of Mandragora".

The Doctor has transformed TARDIS matter to energy before. In the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "Castrovalva", he jettisoned parts of the TARDIS to escape the Big Bang.

Rift energy has been a feature of stories including the 2005 Ninth Doctor stories "The Unquiet Dead" and "Boom Town", while artron energy has been mentioned as far back as the 1976 Fourth Doctor story, "The Deadly Assassin". It has never been revealed what the exact nature of artron energy is, but it appears to be a form of energy with a physical connection to the process and actuality of time travel.

Previous TARDISes in human form include Marie in the BBC Books’ The Eighth Doctor Stories novel "Alien Bodies" and Compassion from "The Shadows of Avalon" to "The Ancestor Cell " (Although they were evolved future TARDISes); the idea of TARDIS minds in human bodies was also seen in the Big Finish Productions audio story "Unregenerate!".

The TARDIS also previously took on the form of The Brigadier to communicate with The Doctor in the Big Finish Productions audio story "Zagreus". Although this communication may have been aided by Rassilon and the TARDIS having been contaminated by anti-time.

The Doctor mentions meeting King Arthur, assuring Rory ‘It was the real one. Fortunately I was able to re-attach he head!’. The legendary ruler played an important role in the 1989 Seventh Doctor story "Battlefield" when hostile forces travelled to Earth in search of him. Ultimately The Doctor revealed Arthur had died at the Battle of Camlann. In this story The Doctor’s companion, Ace, even got her hands on King Arthur’s mighty sword, Excalibur.

In the 2007 Children In Need special "Time Crash", whilst the Tenth Doctor waits for it to click, with the Fifth Doctor, that they are the same Time Lord, the physical appearance of the TARDIS is referred to as a desktop theme. The idea of the time machine’s aesthetics being a ‘desktop’ is again used in this story. We also get hear the Cloister Bell, the solemn announcement of danger that tolls in the TARDIS, warning that disaster is imminent. The Cloister Bell was first heard in the 1981 Fourth Doctor’s final story "Logopolis".

The Doctor visited the Eye of Orion for a spot of relaxation in the 1983 Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors", a story which also featured Gallifrey and the High Council. The closing moments of "The Five Doctors" saw The Doctor remind his companions that he originally took the TARDIS and went on the run from his own people. During the closing moments of "The Doctor's Wife", whilst alone at the TARDIS controls, he again mentions the Eye of Orion, possibly recalling the happier moments he spent at that peaceful alien location.

There are several echoes of the 2010 story "The Eleventh Hour" in this story. The idea of The Doctor being ‘A mad man with a box was first expressed in that story and the line, ‘Basically... run! was also first heard in the Eleventh Doctor’s debut story. We also see the previous Console Room for the first time since "The Eleventh Hour" and The Doctor tries to open the TARDIS by clicking his fingers. It worked in "The Eleventh Hour" - but not in this story!

The Doctor mentions he had an umbrella that resembled the patchwork of body parts that Uncle and Auntie both have. This is a reference to the Sixth Doctor and Seventh Doctor.

The Doctor asserts that he killed all of the Time Lords, referring to the events of the Time War.

The Doctor refers to another Time Lord, The Corsair, who changed gender via regeneration. While it has been hinted a few times before (and most directly in the ending of "The End of Time") this story offers the first concrete confirmation that Time Lords can change gender when they regenerate. Although The Doctor may have been joking, as he had made similar comments on different subjects before, to amuse his companions.

The Doctor and Idris operate a TARDIS control panel outside of an outer TARDIS shell, as the Third Doctor did in the 1970 story "Inferno". When The Doctor and Idris build this console, to go after the TARDIS, there are 3 walls, left, right, and centre. But when the custom console is flying through the rift, the centre wall has mysteriously disappeared. This console was designed by schoolgirl Susannah Leah in a Blue Peter competition.

A hallucination of Rory mentions waiting 2000 years for the third time (see the 2010 story "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang").

While housing the Matrix, Idris names herself ‘Sexy’ in reference to The Doctor calling her ‘you sexy thing in the 2010 story "The Eleventh Doctor".

Behind The Doctor’s back, Amy and Rory again discuss what they are going to do with him concerning them witnessing the death of his 1103 year old self. (see "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon" and "The Curse of the Black Spot").

Following on after this story, on BBC3, was the fourth chapter of the sixth series of Doctor Who Confidential. Titled "Bigger on the Inside" it was presented by Russell Tovey and looked into the making of this story.

In 2012 writer Neil Gaiman accepted a Hugo Award for his script for this story - the sixth occasion that Doctor Who has won the category Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form in the last seven years.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first time the Eleventh Doctor encounters the Ood.

 The first Doctor Who story where the TARDIS is personified in human-form.

 The first time a hypercube - a form of communication for Time Lords - is seen since the 1969 story "The War Games".

 This story offers the first concrete confirmation that Time Lords can change gender when they regenerate.

 This is the first time we have seen beyond the TARDIS console room in the revived series.

 This is the first story since "The Eleventh Hour" to show the control room used by the Ninth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor.

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Neil Gaiman.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Inside the TARDIS
Inside the TARDIS

While in flight there is a knock on the TARDIS door. The Doctor goes to investigate and discovers a cube of light outside. When beckoned it flies into the Console Room, whizzes about and then hits The Doctor in the chest.

This is a hypercube - a form of communication for Time Lords - and The Doctor discovers that this hypercube contains a distress call from a Time Lord called The Corsair. Tracing the source of the call to a rift leading outside the universe, and thinking that he has discovered a member of his own race, The Doctor deletes part of his TARDIS to generate enough energy to cross through the rift.

The TARDIS materialises on a solitary asteroid, a virtual junkyard, but the TARDIS immediately shuts down, as The TARDIS loses power, and its matrix then suddenly disappears. Along with his travelling companions, Amy and Rory, The Doctor starts to explore the planet and they soon get to meet its strange inhabitants, Auntie, Uncle, a green eyed Ood (who Auntie and Uncle call ‘Nephew’) and an excited young woman named Idris who starts kissing and fawning all over The Doctor. Auntie and Uncle apologise for her actions claiming that she is mad. Idris then asks if there is an ‘off switch’ and instantly falls asleep. She is then carried away by Nephew so that she can get some rest.

A Knock at the Door
A Knock at the Door

As they start to explore some more The Doctor, who wants to find and help any possibly living Time Lords, sends Rory and Amy back to the TARDIS, on a fool’s errand, before heading towards the distress signals. But as soon as Amy and Rory enter the TARDIS the doors become locked and a strange green cloud starts to emanate from the ground around the TARDIS.

With his travelling companions out of the way, The Doctor follows the distress signal and discovers a cupboard full of hypercubes. Upon further investigation The Doctor discovers that Auntie and Uncle are constructs made up of body parts from other beings, including Time Lords, which found their way to the planet. He also discovers that those on the planet are under the control of a giant sentient asteroid, called House, which can interface with other technology around it. House purposely led The Doctor here and ripped out the TARDIS’ matrix, initially in order to consume it for energy, but upon learning that The Doctor is the last Time Lord, and therefore no more TARDISes will ever arrive, House decides to transfer itself into The Doctor’s TARDIS and escape from the rift. As the TARDIS dematerialises Amy and Rory find themselves trapped inside as House sends the TARDIS hurtling off in the direction of the bigger, energy-rich universe so breaking connection with The Doctor who is left stranded on the asteroid.

I've Got mail
I've Got mail

Without House’s support, Auntie and Uncle die, while The Doctor is surprised to learn that Idris is a similar vessel but presently holding the TARDIS’ matrix personality. Idris, as the TARDIS, and The Doctor come to realise they selected each other hundreds of years prior when The Doctor fled Gallifrey. Idris further reveals that House has stranded many TARDISes before on the planet, and that this universe only has hours left before it collapses, while Idris’ body only has minutes before it too fails. The Doctor and Idris therefore work together to construct a makeshift TARDIS from the junked parts. When it is completed Idris infuses the mechanical bits with a part of her inherent matrix energy. The makeshift TARDIS then dematerialises and they begin to chase after The Doctor’s TARDIS.

Meanwhile aboard The Doctor’s TARDIS, House threatens to kill Amy and Rory. Rory though quickly claims that House needs entertainment, and killing them quickly wouldn’t be fun - so buying them some time. They head for the TARDIS corridors but House starts playing with their senses as they try to flee through the corridors. He separates Amy and Rory and then tricks Amy with a number of mind-games involving a fake Rory aging, trying to attack Amy and eventually dying, before the real Rory finds her.

As they get close to the TARDIS, The Doctor discovers that House has raised the shields of his TARDIS. They need to be lowered so that The Doctor and Idris can enter. Idris therefore sends Rory directions to a secondary control room where he and Amy are then able to lower the TARDIS shields without House’s interference. This allows The Doctor to land the makeshift console in the secondary control room, The new console though lands on Nephew, who had been sent by House, to kill Amy and Rory, blasting him into atoms.

Idris Greets The Doctor
Idris Greets The Doctor

As House prepares to break through the rift, The Doctor suggests that he deletes 30% of the rooms in the TARDIS for power. But House also deletes the secondary control room. But The Doctor expected this and the TARDIS safety protocols transfer them all to the main control room, where the dying Idris is able to release the TARDIS matrix back to where it belongs so deleting House from the TARDIS.

The last bit of the TARDIS matrix, still in Idris’ body, has a last conversation with The Doctor - though she will always be his TARDIS, they will never be able to talk like this again. Idris’ body then disappears as the TARDIS matrix is fully restored.

As The Doctor starts installing a firewall around the matrix, to prevent the recent events from happening again, Rory asks The Doctor what was meant by the last words Idris said before she died: ‘The only water in the forest is the river’ - but The Doctor cannot answer him.

Wanting to be alone in the main Console Room The Doctor quickly remakes Amy and Rory’s room (the old one having been deleted by House) and then sends them off to search for it. With them gone, The Doctor begins to whisper to the TARDIS to see if there are remnants of Idris left and is rewarded when a lever, on the console, pulls itself.

 
Rory and Amy
Rory and Amy
The Doctor and Nephew
The Doctor and Nephew
Auntie and Uncle
Auntie and Uncle
The TARDIS is Attacked
The TARDIS is Attacked
 
Old Rory
Old Rory
Nephew
Nephew
Idris and The Doctor
Idris and The Doctor
TARDIS Gaining Control
TARDIS Gaining Control




Quote of the Story


 'Time Lord emergency messaging system. Like a flare pistol. In an emergency, we’d wrap up our thoughts in psychic containers and send them through time and space. Okay, not like a flare pistol. Anyway, there’s a living Time Lord still out there! And it’s one of the good ones!'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
Series 6 Part 1: - Episodes 1-7July 2011BBCDVD 3428Photo-montage
Video
Blu-Ray
Series 6 Part 1: - Episodes 1-7July 2011BBCBD 0151Photo-montage
Video
DVD
The Complete Sixth Series Box SetNovember 2011BBCDVD 3430Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing all 12 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Sixth Series Box SetNovember 2011BBCBD 0153Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing all 12 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Sixth Series Box Set (Limited Edition)November 2011BBCDVD 3564Photo-montageLimited Edition DVD boxed set containing all 12 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Sixth Series Box Set (Limited Edition)November 2011BBCBD 0193Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray boxed set containing all 12 stories
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 6December 2011Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold
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
Video
DVD
The Complete Sixth Series (2014 Re-release)August 2014BBCDVD 3970Photo-montageBoxed set containing all 12 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Sixth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)Due: August 2020Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 12 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 434 (Released: June 2011)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 435 (Released: June 2011)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 517 (Released: November 2017)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 523 (Released: April 2018)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Matt Smith
The Eleventh Doctor

   

Karen Gillan
Amy Pond
 
Arthur Darvill
Rory Williams
   




On Release

DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Blu-Ray Cover
Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Box Set
DVD Box Set

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

BBC
VIDEO
   
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 434
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 434

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 435
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 435

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 517
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 517

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 523
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 523

Marvel Comics
   


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