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Peter Capaldi
Time Heist
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Synopsis


Bank of Karabraxos
Bank of Karabraxos
 The Doctor turns bank robber when he is given a task he cannot refuse - steal from the most dangerous bank in the cosmos.

 With the help of a beautiful shape-shifter and a cyber-augmented gamer, The Doctor and Clara must fight their way past deadly security, and come face-to-face with the fearsome Teller - a creature of terrifying power that can detect guilt and turn your brain to soup.

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Four (New Series 8)
Production Code: 8-5
Story Number: 246 (New Series: 90)
Episode Number:805 (New Series: 109)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: March 2014
Broadcast Date: 20 September 2014
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location: Hadyn Ellis Building (Cardiff University), Oval Basin and Bute Park (Cardiff) and Uskmouth Power Station
Writers:Steve Thompson and Steven Moffat
Director:Douglas MacKinnon
Producer:Peter Bennett
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Chris Thomas and Gareth Jones
Script Supervisor:Steve Walker
Script Editors:David P Davis and Richard Cookson
Editors:Selina MacArthur, Carmen Sanchez-Roberts (Assistant) and Katrina Aust (Assistant)
Production Executive:Julie Scott
Production Manager:Simon Morris
Production Assistants:Katie Player and Matthew Jones
Post Production Supervisor:Nerys Davies
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Suzie Lavelle
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Tracie Simpson
Costume Designer:Howard Burden
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Cai Thompson (Assistant), Gethin Williams (Assistant), Katy Kardasz (Assistant) and Martin Stephens (Operator)
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Visual Effects:BBC Wales VFX and Milk
Special Effects:Real SFX
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinator:Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performer:Gordon Seed
Title Sequence:Billy Hanshaw
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
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Peter Capaldi (The Twelfth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald) Additional Cast: Keeley Hawes (Ms Delphox), Jonathan Bailey (Psi), Pippa Bennett-Warner (Saibra), Mark Ebulue (Guard), Trevor Sellers (Mr Porrima), Junior Laniyan (Suited Customer), Ross Mullan (The Teller)Setting: Bank of Karabraxos Villain: Ms Delphox

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
805Time Heist20 September 201445'22"7.0Yes

Total Duration 45 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.0
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2015)71.20%  (Position = 7 out of 12)


Archives


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



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Notes


This story is the fifth story of Season Thirty Four (New Series 8). It has been written by Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat, and was directed by Douglas Mackinnon. It stars Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman with Keeley Hawes guest starring.

Keeley Hawes is well known for her starring roles in several high-profile BBC dramas including Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton in the recent second series of Line of Duty (where she received rave reviews), Lady Agnes Holland in Upstairs Downstairs, Detective Inspector Alex Drake in 1980s-set Ashes to Ashes, and Zoe Reynolds in Spooks. In this story Keeley Hawes plays a villainous banker with a dark secret.

Keeley Hawes, who is credited as playing the part of Ms Delphox, is not credited as playing Madame Karabraxos, presumably as she appeared mostly as Ms Delphox. Also appearing uncredited in this story are: Samuel Anderson, as Danny Pink, and Kevan Brighting as the vault's security voice.

This story also stars Jonathan Bailey and Pippa Bennett-Warner. Jonathan Bailey's previous credits include: Five Children and It (2004), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Leonardo (2011), Groove High (2012) and Broadchurch (2013-2015). While Pippa-Bennett Warner's previous credits include: Come Fly With Me (2010), Spirit Children (2011), Pickman's Model (2012) and The Smoke (2014) and Death in Paradise (2014).

The Teller is played by Ross Mullan who previously played a Silent in the 2013 Eleventh Doctor story "The Time of The Doctor".

This story is set around a time travel-based bank robbery and it has been revealed that Steven Moffat had thought of the concept some years earlier before handing it over to Steve Thompson when he found a way to utilise it.

This is Steve Thompson's third Doctor Who story, following 2013’s "Journey to the Centre" of the TARDIS and 2011’s pirate adventure "The Curse of the Black Spot". Steve Thompson also provided scripts for BBC1’s Sherlock such as The Blind Banker, series two finale The Reichenbach Fall and The Sign of Three which was broadcast in January 2014.

Steve Thompson borrowed concepts from the 'classic heist movie', adapting them for science fiction. The Teller came from this notion as 'the ultimate CCTV system' alongside Psi and Saibra as the motley crew, endowed with specialist skills. Steve Thompson also made a different approach to his 'monster'. In "The Curse of the Black Spot", he found that a CGI monster used up the entire special effects budget. For "Time Heist" prosthetics were used leaving room for CGI to create the alien worlds.

Written before the Twelfth Doctor was cast, Steve Thompson expressed delight at being able to write for this new Doctor, scripting him, per Peter Capaldi's description, as being 'less user-friendly'.

This is the third story directed by Douglas Mackinnon for Season Thirty Four (New Series 8) - the previous two stories being "Listen" and "Flatline". Douglas Mackinnon also previously directed the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky" and the Eleventh Doctor stories "The Power of Three" in 2012 and "Cold War" in 2013. In addition Douglas MacKinnon's work, on the second series of the crime thriller Line of Duty, has been highly acclaimed.

Speaking about the premise for this story, Douglas Mackinnon revealed 'What we wanted to do was a heist movie for Doctor Who. I've watched virtually every heist movie there's ever been, and it incorporates things into it, but because it's Doctor Who, time travel is involved'.

The read through for this story took place on the 11th February 2014. Filming started on the 3rd March and finished three weeks later on the 24th March.

Filming locations for this story include Cardiff’s Oval Basin and took place at George Street in Bridgend on the 5th March 2014, and in Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff Bay on 13rd March 2014. Filming continued at the Hadyn Ellis Building, part of Cardiff University, on the 18th March 2014, and at the nearby Bute Park the next day. Scenes were also filmed at the Uskmouth Power Station, previously a location for the 2011 Christmas Special "The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" and "Into the Dalek".

Reports during recording revealed that Peter Capaldi had suffered a head injury while climbing a tree to film this story. However, a BBC spokesperson responded by stating that the apparent gash was actually makeup applied for filming.

Media coverage of filming made note of a new monster that was spotted on set, with some calling it Doctor Who's 'strangest monster yet'.

The Doctor, when telling The Teller about his memories, alludes to the Fourth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor (or Second Doctor) by their scarf and bowties respectively. Unlike the Eleventh Doctor, who considered them to be 'cool', the Twelfth Doctor thought that they were 'embarrassing'.

The Doctor makes a remark that implies some ongoing degree of self-hatred (see the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "Amy's Choice").

The Doctor is heard to call Clara his 'boss', but unlike his previous self he does so sarcastically (see 2013 Eleventh Doctor story "The Crimson Horror").

Psi and Saibra are identify as human variants: augmented human and mutant human respectively.

This is the third story of this season not to feature Missy, the first was "Robot of Sherwood" and the second was "Listen".

A bank staffed by clones of its owner was encountered by The Doctor's former companion Bernice Summerfield, who like The Doctor, came there to steal something (see the Big Finish Productions' Bernice Summerfield audio story "Glory Days").

The Doctor is heard to note that Clara got his phone number from 'a woman in a shop', connecting with the events of the 2013 Eleventh Doctor story "The Bells of Saint John" and this season's "Deep Breath". He also notes that very few people actually have his number.

Evidently The Doctor still has not got around to rerouting the external phone through the console (see "The Time of The Doctor").

It is revealed that The TARDIS cannot be piloted properly in the wake of a solar storm. This is not the first time a solar storm has created problems for The Doctor. In "The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People" a solar storm animated the Gangers, in effect giving them enough autonomy to launch a revolt.

The Doctor is heard to suggest the Satanic Nebula, the Laguna of Lost Stars, and Brighton as possible places to visit, 'Or we could go to Brighton…'. If The Doctor suggests a trip to Brighton - watch out! When the Fourth Doctor tried to take Leela to this holiday resort on the South coast they ended up miles away facing a Rutan invasion in a lighthouse (see the 1977 Fourth Doctor story "Horror of Fang Rock"). Later, when he attempted to attend the opening of the Brighton Pavilion he got the place right but the TARDIS materialised in the wrong time. The visit however, still ended in disaster when K9 was blown up whilst taking a dip on Brighton beach (see "The Leisure Hive").

This is not the first time memory worms have appeared in the show. We first saw one of these strange creatures in the 2012 Christmas Special, "The Snowmen". Like in that story coming into contact with one wipes away chunks of memory but apparently leaves the ‘victim’ otherwise unharmed.

The Doctor's statement 'You agreed to rob the most impregnable bank in history…' could suggest that he has got over his antipathy towards that adjective! In the 1970 Fourth Doctor story "Robot" The Doctor is heard telling The Brigadier that he ‘Never cared much for the word impregnable. Sounds a bit too much like unsinkable’. When his old friend asked what was wrong with ‘unsinkable’, he replied, ‘Nothing, as the iceberg said to the Titanic…’.

The Doctor mentions an encounter with Cesare Borgia, the Italian nobleman, politician and cardinal born in Rome in the 1470s. He was the brother of the notorious Lucrezia Borgia and widely regarded as a capable general and statesman, ultimately undone by his reliance on his father - Pope Alexander VI. At one point Cesare employed The Doctor’s old friend Leonardo da Vinci as a military architect and engineer and it’s possible that this is when their paths crossed.

When Psi attempts to gain The Teller’s attention, so as to lure The Teller away from Clara, we hear him state that ‘every famous burglar in history is hiding in this bank right now in one body!’. We also see a stream of villains, each individual appearing very briefly. These include several aliens who have previously featured in the show such as a Sensorite (from the 1964 First Doctor story "The Sensorites"), a member of the Slitheen family, the Gunslinger (from the 2012 Eleventh Doctor story "A Town Called Mercy", an Ice Warrior and a Terileptil (from the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "The Visitation"). Although the Terileptils have not had a major appearance since their debut story they were mentioned more recently in the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" and "The Time of The Doctor".

Other aliens seen in Psi’s rapid rogues gallery include a Weevil and James Marsters, as Captain John Hart, (see the Torchwood stories "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and "Exit Wounds"). This marks the first on-screen reference to a Torchwood character in Doctor Who since "The End of Time".

We also glimpse what appears to be Androvax - a ruthless ‘body snatcher’ seen in two of The Sarah Jane Adventures stories: "Prisoner of the Judoon" and "The Vault of Secrets" - and The Trickster, who also appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Although never seen in Doctor Who, this mysterious menace was referenced by The Doctor in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Turn Left".

Abslom Daak, from the Doctor Who comics is also seen. The inclusion of Abslom Daak is one of the few examples of a television story referencing a character who originated outside of the television story itself.

The device that can restore Psi’s memory is called a Neophyte Circuit. The word neophyte comes from the Greek neophutos with neo meaning ‘new’ and phutos meaning ‘planted’. It is therefore an appropriately named circuit as it allows Psi’s memories to be newly planted in his consciousness.

In the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways" The Doctor previously saw an atomic disintegrator which was actually a teleporter.

An Egyptian sarcophagus is seen in the private vault (see also "Pyramids of Mars").

This story shares the same pre-opening theme sting with "Robot of Sherwood" which, interestingly, is from Season Twenty Seven (New Series 1) to Season Thirty (New Series 4).

This story was one of five scripts leaked online after being sent for translation to a BBC Worldwide server in Miami. A rough cut of the story was also leaked on the 21st August 2014 following the leaks of the first three episodes of the season ("Deep Breath", "Into the Dalek" and "Robot of Sherwood"). It was followed shortly by the leak of the fourth episode "Listen".


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Phone Call
The Phone Call

The Doctor tries to convince Clara to come with him for a day sightseeing via the TARDIS but she is about to go on a date with fellow school teacher, Danny Pink. Just as she is about to leave, they hear the TARDIS phone ringing. They are both curious as they know that very few beings in the universe know The Doctor's phone number.

As The Doctor goes to answer the phone, the two of them suddenly find themselves in a strange chamber suffering from memory loss, with the likely culprit - a Memory Worm - wiggling around on the table. They are not alone as they are with two others - Psi, a hacker with an augmented brain, who had previously lost his memories when he was convicted as a criminal, and Saibra, a humanoid with the ability to shapeshift who seeks to become more human and who has also lost her memory.

A briefcase on the table then opens to reveal plans by a person, who introduces himself as 'The Architect'. He instructs them to rob the Bank of Karabraxos - the most impregnable bank vault in the universe with numerous levels of security. As guards are about to break into the room the group takes tools, provided in the cases, and flee from the room.

Inside the Bank
Inside the Bank

They work their way back to the main floor of the vault, with Saibra using the identity of a customer to gain them access to the bank. There they witness another customer, accused by the bank's head of security, Ms. Delphox, of planning to steal from the bank. He has his brain scanned and then turned to 'soup' by The Teller, an alien with powerful psychic abilities that is said to be the last of its kind.

Despite this warning, of what will happen to them if they are caught, The Doctor, Clara, Psi, and Saibra continue to follow The Architect's plan, finding more cases with useful items left by The Architect as they get closer to the main vaults. At one point, they collect six devices whose purpose The Doctor claims he does not know.

The Teller
The Teller

Part of the plan requires them to pass through the cage where The Teller is kept in near-hibernation, but the creature picks up on Clara's brainwaves. The Doctor is able to help Clara break out of The Teller's scan and so enable the group to flee the room - except for Saibra who then becomes caught in The Teller's scan. Unable to free her The Doctor gives Saibra one of the devices, telling her it is an atomic disintegrator and so a more humane way to die than The Teller's brain scan. Realising she has no choice she activates the device and disappears.

As the three continue to the main vaults, they soon realise that Ms. Delphox has released The Teller to chase them down. Psi though stays behind, to help cover their tracks and open the vault. He too opts to use one of the disintegrators when he is caught by The Teller when he sacrifices himself to save Clara who again gets caught by The Teller's scan.

The Doctor and Clara eventually reach the main vaults just as a solar storm begins to strike the surface of the planet. The Doctor realises that they are involved in not just a bank heist, but a time heist, and that The Architect is from the future and he planned to bring them to the vault at this moment when the storm's activity would cause the main vault to automatically open. Inside they locate two safe boxes indicated by The Architect, one containing a neophyte circuit that would have restored Psi's deleted memories, and the other a gene suppressant that would have stabilised Saibra's uncontrollable shapechanging abilities. If only they had not been killed...

Ms Delphox
Ms Delphox

However, as they look for the final safe box location (in the Private Vault), they are caught and taken to Ms. Delphox's office. She takes the stolen goods and leaves, to put The Teller back into hibernation to protect him from the worsening solar storm, ordering her guards to kill them. The Doctor and Clara though are surprised when the guards turn out to be Saibra and Psi - the disintegrators were really teleporters. The Doctor gives the two of them the items from the vault as their payment, but realises they still need to find the Private Vault. Psi leads them into the depths of the bank as the storm intensifies on the surface.

Inside the Private Vault, they find that it is in fact the quarters of Madame Karabraxos, who is surrounded by treasures from around the galaxy. The Doctor realises that Ms. Delphox is just a clone of Madame Karabraxos and she has no problem sending her clone to be incinerated for failure. At this point inspiration strikes The Doctor, and he writes the number to the TARDIS telephone, and that he is a time traveller, on a piece of paper and gives it to Madame Karabraxos, who is hastily packing her treasures before the storm wipes out the bank. As she departs from the vault The Doctor reminds her to give him a call if she has any regrets. Shortly after she leaves, The Teller arrives and The Doctor convinces the alien to scan his mind to find the memories that were blocked by the memory worm.

In a flashback, an elderly and dying Madame Karabraxos - now no longer the richest person in the universe - calls The Doctor on the TARDIS's phone while it is in Clara's flat, and tells him of her regret. The Doctor is then shown preparing all the elements of the time heist, revealing that he himself was The Architect. Because much of the bank's security was based on sensing a criminal's guilt, wiping the short-term memories of The Architect's group would reduce their chances of being caught. The ultimate goal was to bring The Teller, who was telepathically linked to Madame Karabraxos, to the Private Vault after she left, so as to allow him to unlock a combination safe. Inside, they find another alien of the same species as The Teller, chained within the safe but otherwise unharmed; The Doctor then points out that they have the six teleport devices allowing them all to escape the bank before it is destroyed by the solar storm.

Escaping from the bank before it is destroyed The Doctor takes the two aliens to a habitable planet to live out their lives in peace. He then returns Saibra and Psi to their homeworlds before finally piloting the TARDIS to return to Clara's flat moments after they left to allow Clara to continue on her date with Danny Pink. Right after Clara departs, The Doctor declares with a smug grin 'Ha! Robbing a bank! Robbing a whole bank. Beat that for a date!'.

 
The Doctor
The Doctor
Clara
Clara
Saibra
Saibra
Psi
Psi
 
Clara is Caught by The Teller
Clara is Caught by The Teller
Captured
Captured
Memory Extraction
Memory Extraction
Freedom
Freedom




Quote of the Story


 'So much mental traffic in the universe. Solitude is the only peace.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
The Complete Eighth Series Box SetNovember 2014BBCDVD 3935Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Eighth Series Box SetNovember 2014BBCBD 0272Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Eighth Series Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)November 2014BBCDVD 4003Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 11 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Eighth Series Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)November 2014BBCBD 0289Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 11 stories
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 8May 2015Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Eighth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)April 2021BBCBD 0525Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 11 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 478 (Released: November 2014)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 479 (Released: December 2014)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 540 (Released: August 2019)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion

 
Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

   

 
Jenna-Louise Coleman
Clara Oswald
 
   




On Release

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
Complete Series DVD Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)
Complete Series DVD Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)

BBC
VIDEO
   
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set (BBC Shop Exclusive)

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
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 478
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 478

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 479
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 479

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 540
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 540

Marvel Comics
   

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