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Peter Capaldi
Flatline
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Synopsis


The TARDIS Has Shrunk
The TARDIS Has Shrunk
 Separated from The Doctor, Clara discovers a new menace from another dimension.

 But how do you hide when even the walls are no protection?

 With people to save and The Doctor trapped, Clara goes against an enemy that exists beyond human perception.

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Four (New Series 8)
Production Code: 8-9
Story Number: 250 (New Series: 94)
Episode Number:809 (New Series: 113)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: May - June 2014
Broadcast Date: 18 October 2014
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location: Cardiff, Barry, Winchcombe and Disused Railway Tunnels (Gloucestershire)
Writer:Jamie Mathieson
Director:Douglas MacKinnon
Producer:Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Kyran Davies, Michael Williams and Rheinalt Rees
Script Supervisor:Sandy McKellar
Script Editors:David P Davis and Richard Cookson
Editors:Phil Hookway, Katrina Aust (Assistant) and Urien Deiniol (Assistant)
Production Executive:Julie Scott
Production Manager:Simon Morris
Production Assistants:Amorette Kristina Darby, Katie Player and Matthew Jones
Post Production Supervisor:Nerys Davies
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Nic Morris
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Tracie Simpson
Costume Designer:Howard Burden
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Elliot Hale (Assistant), John Davies (Assistant), Tom Rowe (Assistant) and Trevelyan Oliver (Operator)
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Bryn Thomas
Visual Effects:Axis and BBC Wales VFX
Special Effects:Real SFX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Crispin Layfield and Gordon Seed
Stunt Performers:Bob Pavey, Dani Biernat and Rob Jarman
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) Number of Acquaintances: 1The Acquaintance: Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink) Guest Cast: Michelle Gomez (Missy), Joivan Wade (Rigsy) Additional Cast: John Cummins (Roscoe), Jessica Hayles (PC Forrest), Christopher Fairbank (Fenton), Matt Bardock (Al), Raj Bajaj (George), James Quinn (Bill)Setting: Bristol (21st century) Villain: The Boneless

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
809Flatline18 October 201443'16"6.7Yes

Total Duration 43 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 6.7
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2015)84.20%  (Position = 2 out of 12)


Archives


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



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Notes


"Flatline" is the ninth story of Season Thirty Four (New Series 8). For scheduling reasons it was a 'Doctor-lite' story.

The guest cast for this story includes: Christopher Fairbank, Joivan Wade, Matt Bardock, James Quinn and John Cummins.

Christopher Fairbank, who plays the part of Fenton, previously appeared in Sapphire and Steel and Alien 3. He also played the part of Albert Moxey in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

The part of Rigsy is played by Joivan Wade whose previous television work includes regular roles in Youngers and Big School.

The part of Al is played by Matt Bardock who has previously been a series regular in Casualty, No Angels, The Bill and The Lakes.

The part of Bill is played by James Quinn whose previous credits include recurring roles on Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Heartbeat.

John Cummins, who plays the part of Roscoe, previously appeared in 24: Live Another Day and The Hour.

This story was written by Jamie Mathieson who also wrote the preceding story, "Mummy on the Orient Express". This is the first time, since the show returned in 2005, that a writer new to Doctor Who has written two stories that were transmitted in a row.

This story was Jamie Mathieson's first script for the show as he wrote this story before "Mummy on the Orient Express". Two years before writing this story he had pitched his ideas for a story to Steven Moffat, but was unsuccessful. When he again met with the Executive Producer, he showed him four ideas for stories, complete with his own illustrations, aided by his background in art college. Taking an interest in the monster he had created for what would become "Flatline", Steven Moffat asked Jamie Mathieson to produce a story outline and he got the job to script this story.

It was only after writing several drafts that Jamie Mathieson was told the story would need to lock The Doctor away in a single location, as Peter Capaldis scenes for the story needed to be filmed quickly to fit in with the production schedule.

Jamie Mathieson decided to write a script where The Doctor was 'in the dark'. For this to be successful, he had to create a unknown quantity to feature as his alien enemy. Much like his other creation for this season, The Foretold, he elected to have no dialogue for the aggressors, allowing something about them to remain 'unknowable'.

This is the third story directed by Douglas Mackinnon for Season Thirty Four (New Series 8) - the previous two stories being "Listen" and "Time Heist". 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.

The read through for this story took place on the 19th May 2014. Recording began nine days later and finished on the 18th June 2014.

Filming took place in a number of locations around Cardiff, Barry and Winchcombe, but the scenes with the TARDIS in the tunnel were filmed in the BBCs Roath Lock studios. This is not the first time that underground train tunnels have been recreated so effectively. Back in 1968, designer David Myerscough-Jones created replicas of several London Underground tunnels and station for the locations in the classic Second Doctor story "The Web of Fear". These looked so convincing that the London Underground authorities sent the BBC a letter of complaint alleging that filming had taken place on their property without consent!

This is not the first time we have seen the exterior dimensions of the TARDIS shrink. In the 1964 First Doctor story "Planet of Giants", both the TARDIS and its occupants were reduced to roughly to the size of an inch. Later in 1981, in the Fourth Doctors last story "Logopolis", The Masters villainous interference, with the Logopolitan's Block Transfer Computation, resulted in the TARDIS shrinking. As in "Flatline", The Doctor was in the TARDIS when this occurred and it took help from a companion on the outside to ensure that it got back to its proper size.

"Flatline" is one of the very few stories where we see the TARDIS exterior in a state where it does not resemble an old police box. In the 1985 Sixth Doctor story "Attack of the Cybermen" the malfunctioning chameleon circuit made the TARDIS change its external appearance, at one point taking the form of an old organ that The Doctor was able to play! And in the 2013 story "The Name of The Doctor" we see the TARDIS before The Doctor stole it and it took its current, familiar appearance.

The Doctor puts the TARDIS in 'siege mode'. Time Lord writing is clearly visible on the exterior of the TARDIS when it is in this further-miniaturised state and it resembles a miniature version of the Pandorica, the inescapable prison first mentioned in the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Eleventh Hour" and shown fully in the 2010 story "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang".

The Cloister Bell tolls when the TARDIS is in the path of a train with no shields.

The first train featured in this story is clearly numbered A113. This is an in-joke used in several other animated movies and television shows as this designation is often featured in films created by former students of California Institute of the Arts, referring to the classroom used by graphic design and character animation students, widely recognised by alumni of the institute. As such, A113 has appeared (with varying degrees of subtlety!) in television shows such as The Simpsons and Family Guy as well as various movies including Toy Story, Monsters University and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

A Dead Mans Handle, referenced in this story, is a fail-safe mechanism that is designed to stop a train so preventing it running out of control if the driver becomes unconscious or otherwise incapacitated.

This is not the first time The Doctor has encountered sinister artwork that has turned out to be influenced by extra-terrestrial creatures. In the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "Fear Her", the scribbles of Chloe Webber were brought to life by the Isolus and in the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "Vincent and The Doctor" the Time Lord spotted a Krafayis in van Goghs painting, The Church at Auvers.

Previously the Mona Lisa was able to transfer from the two dimensional into the three dimensional, and vice versa, in The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Mona Lisa's Revenge".

Clara suggests mimicking a hand motion as performed by the disembodied hand character Thing from The Addams Family to enable The Doctor to move the shrunken TARDIS out of the path of an approaching train. In the television series this Thing is a disembodied hand, often appearing out of a small box to complete simple tasks like sorting out envelopes or giving someone directions.

The Addams Family is a group of fictional characters created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. They originally appeared in cartoon strips run in The New Yorker but reached a wider audience through television series and movies.

The Doctor names the device he creates, to defeat The Boneless, 2Dis.

Clara pretends to be from 'MI5' and 'Health and Safety'. She is also seen to be proficient with operating the sonic screwdriver, including being able to repair her earpiece without direction from The Doctor.

Fenton is not tricked by the psychic paper shown to him by Clara. The Doctor suggests this is due to a lack of imagination. He is not the first person naturally immune to the psychic paper (see the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "The Shakespeare Code").

The Doctor is uncomfortable with how easily Clara assumed his role. Previously, Davros and Rory Williams, in different ways, noted The Doctor's tendency to turn his companions into versions of him (see the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" and the 2011 Eleventh Doctor "The Girl Who Waited").

The question of whether The Doctor is 'a good man' is revisited, as he says of Clara's success in his role, 'goodness had nothing to do with it'. Before the Time War, the Eighth Doctor believed he was (see "Night of The Doctor"). At Demon's Run, the Eleventh Doctor clearly believed otherwise (see "A Good Man Goes to War") and the Twelfth Doctor had been unsure himself in "Into the Dalek".

The Doctor again is heard to say 'pudding brain' as a mocking description of humans and their intelligence (see "Deep Breath").

The Doctor uncovers Clara's lies about Danny Pink's stance of her travelling with him (see "Mummy on the Orient Express").

Missy reappears after a two-story absence. During this season she has so far appeared in "Deep Breath", "Into the Dalek" and "The Caretaker". Her stories of absence so far in this season have been "Robot of Sherwood", "Listen", "Time Heist", "Kill the Moon" and "Mummy on the Orient Express". She appears at the very end of this story seated in a darkened room looking at an image of Clara on a hand-held screen or tablet computer.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely: In the TARDIS when Clara asks The Doctor to come and see the shrunken TARDIS door the scanner is in the right side of the TARDIS while before it was in the left side; When the TARDIS was first small, The Doctor used one door to get out due to a lining in between in the doors. The second time the TARDIS was very small, both doors were open with there being no lining in between the doors; The hammer, that The Doctor hands Clara from within the shrunken TARDIS, has a head too big to have fit through the smaller TARDIS' door; The Doctor's hair is noticeably shorter in several scenes, starting when the TARDIS falls onto the train track.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Jamie Mathieson.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Downsizing
Downsizing

In the TARDIS, The Doctor is returning Clara to the present day after an adventure, with Clara still maintaining the lie that her boyfriend, Danny Pink, is fine with her traveling with The Doctor.

When the TARDIS materialises, The Doctor finds that something is draining energy from the TARDIS, and the mystery energy field has caused them to land in Bristol rather than London. They also discover that it has caused the exterior of the TARDIS to shrink in size.

The Doctor stays inside the shrunken TARDIS to figure out what is going on and discover the source of the power drain while Clara looks around outside. She soon encounters a local community service crew, working at repainting over graffiti in the area. Rigsy, one of the workers who was also responsible for some of the graffiti, tells Clara about the strange case of locals disappearing, and of the strange painted murals in a nearby pedestrian tunnel.

The Doctor and His Smaller TARDIS
The Doctor and His Smaller TARDIS

When Clara returns to where the TARDIS landed. she finds that its exterior has shrunk even further, trapping The Doctor within as he is now unable to fit through the tiny doors. The Doctor hands Clara his psychic paper, sonic screwdriver, and an audio/visual earpiece so he can keep in touch with her. He then has her carry the TARDIS with her to where he has traced a large source of energy.

Clara poses as 'Doctor Oswald' and gains the confidence of Rigsy who helps her, despite The Doctor's scepticism about any help Rigsy can provide. Inside the flat, of the latest disappearance, they find nothing but a strange desert mural on the wall. Rigsy gains help from a police officer, PC Forrest, to gain access to the flat of the first known missing person. The Doctor instructs Clara to tear out the walls, believing the energy source to be within them. While they work, PC Forrest is sucked into the floor in another room, out of view of Clara and Rigsy. When they react to her screams they discover that she has disappeared. They look around the room and find another strange mural. The Doctor realises it's likely to be PC Forrest's nervous system, and he deduces that the first mural they saw, inside the flat of the latest disappearance, was a close-up of that victim's human skin.

Doctor Oswald
Doctor Oswald

The Doctor warns them they are dealing with entities that live in two-dimensions and that the missing people are victims of the creatures' experiments in understanding the third dimension. As Clara and Rigsy watch, they see the creatures move about the walls and floor and start to move towards them. They then find themselves trapped in the room when the doorknob becomes flattened into two dimensions. Realising that the walls and floor are dangerous the two scramble onto a hanging seat to protect themselves, and then swing through the nearby window to escape.

During this, Clara receives a call from Danny, who has been waiting for her in London. She manages to avoid questions of her whereabouts and quickly hangs up. However, The Doctor, who is listening in to her conversation, recognises that Clara has lied to him about Danny accepting her continued travels in the TARDIS.

Clara and Rigsy return to the rest of the community service group, who are about to paint over the murals in the pedestrian tunnel. The Doctor realises that the images are disguises for the creatures and after one of the services workers is taken over by the creatures, Clara leads the rest away with the creatures chasing them. They take shelter in a nearby engine repair warehouse, where The Doctor helps Clara try to communicate with the creatures using mathematics. When another worker is taken, Clara and the surviving members flee into a disused subway tunnel.

Clara and Rigsy
Clara and Rigsy

As they explore, they find that the door of their only escape route flattened into two dimensions by The Boneless. They also soon realise that the creatures have learned how to manifest themselves in three dimensions by drawing even more power from the TARDIS, taking the forms of the missing persons who start to give chase to the survivors. The Doctor provides Clara with a device to restore the dimensions of the door, and they just manage to escape. However, in the chaos, the TARDIS is shrunk further and falls down a shaft on to an active railway line. The Doctor is forced to activate the TARDIS' siege mode to protect it from an oncoming train, but without power, he is unable to return it to normal or to communicate with Clara. Clara uses the sonic screwdriver to stop an out-of-service train, and they attempt to ram the creatures, who are advancing towards them in the railway tunnel, so as to gain time for her to get back in contact with The Doctor. However, the train is simply transformed into two dimensions and appears on the tunnel wall.

As they escape, Clara finds the TARDIS, now looking like a plain Gallifreyan cube, lying on the track, and takes it with her. Taking shelter in a disused office space, Clara comes up with a plan to provide energy to the TARDIS by having Rigsy paint a fake access door on the back of a large poster, so that when the creatures attempt to pull the door into three dimensions, they instead feed their energy into the TARDIS.

Clara's plan works and the TARDIS is returned to normal allowing The Doctor to escape and so take control. Realising they have no interest in peace, The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to stop the creatures, whom he dubs 'The Boneless', by sending them back to their dimension with a warning to those who survive the trip to never return. The Doctor, using his TARDIS, then returns everyone to the surface safely. While saying good-bye to Rigsy, and the other surviving members of the community service group, Clara rejects a call from Danny, catching The Doctor's attention. He notes that she enjoyed 'playing The Doctor' for the day.

Unbeknown to The Doctor or Clara we see Missy, seated in a darkened room, watching Clara on hand-held screen. It appears that Missy has been watching the recent events. Missy is then heard to say, with regard to Clara, that she has 'chosen well'.

 
Clara Finds the Minature TARDIS
Clara Finds the Minature TARDIS
Clara
Clara
The Bonelees Attack
The Bonelees Attack
Power Transfer
Power Transfer
 
The TARDIS Reinstated
The TARDIS Reinstated
The Doctor is Back
The Doctor is Back
The Boneless Defeated
The Boneless Defeated
Safe Again
Safe Again




Quote of the Story


 'I tried to talk. I want you to remember that. I tried to reach out. I tried to understand you, but I think you understand us perfectly I think that you just don't care. And I don't know whether you're here to invade, infiltrate or just replace us I don't think it really matters now. You are monsters! That is the role you seem determined to play! So it seems that I must play mine the man that stops the monsters. I'm sending you back to your own dimension. Who knows, some of you may even survive the trip. And if you do, remember this: you are not welcome here! This plane is protected! I AM THE DOCTOR! And I name you THE BONELESS!'

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 479 (Released: December 2014)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 480 (Released: December 2014)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion/Acquaintance

 
Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

   

Jenna-Louise Coleman
Clara Oswald
 
Samuel Anderson
Danny Pink
   




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 479
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 479

Marvel Comics
 
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 480
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 480

Marvel Comics
   

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