BBC Doctor Who - The Stories BBC
QuickNav to a Season: 
QuickNav to a Story: 
 
The Previous Story
The Woman Who Lived
 The Previous Story
The Previous Story
(The Girl Who Died)
 The Next Story
(The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion)
Season
Details
SynopsisGeneral
Information
The
Episodes
Audience
Appreciation
ArchivesNotesFirst and LastThe PlotQuote of
the Story
Release
Information
In PrintPhoto
Gallery
 

Peter Capaldi
The Woman Who Lived
Twelfth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


The Woman Who Lived
The Woman Who Lived
 England, 1651. Deadly highwayman 'The Knightmare' and his sidekick stalk the dark streets of London. But when they find loot that is not of this world, they come face to face with The Doctor.

 Who is the Knightmare in league with? And can The Doctor avoid the hangman's noose and protect the Earth from a devilish betrayal?

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Five (New Series 9)
Production Code: 9-6
Story Number: 257 (New Series: 101)
Episode Number:819 (New Series: 123)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: March – May 2015
Broadcast Date: 24 October 2015
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location:
Writer:Catherine Tregenna
Director:Ed Bazalgette
Producer:Derek Ritchie
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Chris Thomas and Gareth Jones
Script Executive:Lindsey Alford
Script Supervisor:Steve Walker
Script Editor:Nick Lambon
Editors:Adam Green, Becky Trotman (Assistant) and Robbie Gibbon (Assistant)
Head of Production:Gordon Ronald
Production Manager:Steffan Morris
Production Assistants:Hannah Jones and Jamie Shaw
Post Production Supervisor:Samantha Price
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Richard Stoddard
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Tracie Simpson
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Barbara Southcott
Cameramen:Cai Thompson (Assistant), Matthew Lepper (Assistant), Scott Waller (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Visual Effects:Milk
Special Effects:Real SFX
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Special Creature Effects:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinator:Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performers:Annabel Canaven and Rob Pavey
Incidental Music:Murray Gold
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Music Orchestrated By:Ben Foster
Music Conducted By:Ben Foster
Music Performed By:The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Music Recorded By:Gerry O'Riordan
Music Mixed By:Jake Jackson
Title Sequence:Billy Hanshaw
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Peter Capaldi (The Twelfth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald) Guest Cast: Maisie Williams (Me), Rufus Hound (Sam Swift) Additional Cast: Gareth Berliner (Coachman), Elisabeth Hopper (Lucie Fanshawe), John Voce (Mr Fanshawe), Struan Rodger (Clayton), Gruffudd Glyn (Pikeman Lloyd Llewelyn), Reuben Johnson (Pikeman William Stout), Ariyon Bakare (Leandro), Daniel Fearn (Crowd 1), Karen Seacombe (Crowd 2), John Hales (Hangman), Will Brown (Voice of The Knightmare)Setting: England (1651) Villains:Ashildr and Leandro

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
819The Woman Who Lived24 October 201545'35"6.1Yes

Total Duration 46 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 6.1
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2016)64.40%  (Position = 8 out of 9)


Archives


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



Return to the top of this page
 


Notes


This story follows on from the previous story "The Girl Who Died" and features the return of Ashildr, now going by the name ‘Me’.

Written by Catherine Tregenna this is the first story, since the 2008 story "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky", to be written by a woman. This is also Catherine Tregenna’s first script for Doctor Who. Fans though may remember her for writing four episodes of Torchwood:- Out of Time, Captain Jack Harkness, Meat and Adam.

This is Edward Bazalgette’s second full-length Doctor Who that he has directed – the first being the previous story "The Girl Who Died". Edward Bazalgette’s previous directing credits include episodes of The Guilty (2013), DCI Banks (2014) and Poldark (2015). He is also notable for having played lead guitar in the new wave pop group The Vapors, who had a one-hit wonder in 1980 with Turning Japanese!

This marks the first full length Twelfth Doctor story to feature Clara Oswald in a lesser role. She only appears at the very end. There are few notable companion-lite stories, which feature The Doctor travelling with no companions or with his companion on a brief break. Other key examples are "The Deadly Assassin" and "Midnight".

Comedian and actor Rufus Hound, who recently appeared in the series Cucumber, joins the guest cast. His previous involvement with the show was to help reveal Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor in 2013's Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor.

Also starring is BBC Three’s Siblings and CBBC’s Horrible Histories star Tom Stourton.

Also starring are Ariyon Bakare, Simon Lipkin, Ian Conningham, Murray McArthur, Barnaby Kay, John Voce and Struan Rodger - who was previously the voice of the Face of Boe in "New Earth" and "Gridlock".

The read through for this story took place on the 30th March 2015 and it was filmed at the same time as "The Girl Who Died" – as revealed in an interview with Maisie Williams in the Doctor Who Extra segment entitled Me and Ashildr.

According to an interview with writer Catherine Tregenna, in issue 492 of the Doctor Who Magazine, this story is set in Hounslow.

The Doctor is branded ‘whey-faced’ - a term that suggests pallor due to ill-health. A variation of it is used in Shakespeare’s Macbeth when the eponymous military man asks ‘What soldiers, whey-face?’. In the Third Doctor adventure "The Time Warrior", Irongron has the nerve to say to a SontaranIf you’ve lost one of your dumb, whey-faced ninnies, Linx, then look for him yourself!’

The Doctor claims to be working undercover for Scotland Yard ‘I’m an undercover constable from Scotland Yard’. Before wondering if it has been invented yet ‘Do you have a Scotland Yard, yet?’ As this story is set in 1651 it won’t exist for over a century as it was formed in the year 1829!

The Doctor is seen using his sonic sunglasses despite them being broken in the previous story "The Girl Who Died".

The Doctor mentions how much humans matter (see "The Power of Three" and "Deep Breath").

The Doctor again plays his electric guitar (see "The Magician's Apprentice" and "Under the Lake/Before the Flood").

The Doctor again demonstrates he is a skilled horse rider (see "The Masque of Mandragora").

Clara hugs The Doctor but this time he embraces it (see "Deep Breath").

A number of The Doctor’s old friends are name-checked in this story. Aside from the villagers that he helped in "The Girl Who Died" he talks about Captain Jack Harkness who appeared during the eras of the Ninth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor. Clara also later mentions Winston Churchill.

Though not realising it at first, Me points out that The Doctor will only take on companions whose perspectives are different from his own.

Clara is seen wearing her silver bird necklace (see "The Bells of Saint John").

It is revealed that Clara is not with The Doctor because she is taking her Year Seven students to taekwondo. Clara previously told The Doctor she had been taking taekwondo lessons (see "Robot of Sherwood").

Clara is heard to mention to The Doctor that she ‘isn't going anywhere’. Previous companion Rose Tyler had also said this to The Doctor (see the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday").

The Doctor has previously met a female highwayman who posed as a man (see the Big Finish Productions audio story "Phantasmagoria").

The Doctor sarcastically calls Me, ‘Zorro’ – a reference to the masked alter ego of Don Diego de la Vega, the fictional hero created in 1919 by Johnston McCulley. The word is Spanish for ‘fox’.

It is revealed that Me took an active role in the Battle of Agincourt, a pivotal confrontation that was fought in the early fifteenth century. In fact the battle took place on 25th October 1415, meaning this story premiered the day before its 600th anniversary.

The Fourth Doctor previously mentioned to his companion Leela, in the 1977 story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", that she would have loved Agincourt.

The Doctor informs Me that she may come across Captain Jack Harkness in the future given that his life, like hers, is indefinitely extended. The Doctor already expressed his dislike and avoidance of immortals in a conversation with Captain Jack Harkness in the 2007 story "Utopia".

It is revealed that somewhere between the 9th century and the 17th century, Me founded a leper colony, which The Doctor oversaw from afar. She also cured an entire village of scarlet fever, however as a result they attempted to drown her for being a witch.

The Doctor, in an attempt to jog Me's memory, mentions Einarr, and how he called him ‘Chuckles’, as well as the Viking village. Later he is heard to say that he had just tried to save a terrified young woman's life. (see "The Girl Who Died").

The Doctor mentions that he had meant to warn Ashildr about the Black Death in 1348. Ashildr lost her children due to it.

Me is heard to ask The Doctor how many companions he has lost (see "Earthshock", "Absolution" and "To the Death"). Me also asks how many Clara’s he has lost (see "Asylum of the Daleks", "The Snowmen" and "The Name of The Doctor").

Me still has the second Mire medical kit, that The Doctor gave her in "The Girl Who Died", and uses it to save Sam Swift.

The Doctor tries to save Sam Swift with a fake pardon from Oliver Cromwell.

This is not the first time an alien has claimed to have peaceful intentions to be on Earth, but is actually planning a mass invasion (see "The Claws of Axos" and "The Unquiet Dead").

The Doctor calls Leandro ‘Lenny the Lion’ - a possible reference to the famous puppet of ventriloquist Terence ‘Terry’ Hall (1926 –2007). He was an English entertainer who achieved fame in the 1950s regularly appearing on the BBC. Lenny was an amiable but bumbling big cat with the catchphrase ‘Aw, don’t embawass me!

The Doctor informs Me that the imminent Great Fire of London was caused by the Terileptils. This warlike race was first seen in the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "The Visitation". In that story a fire breaks out as The Doctor battles Terileptils in London 1666. The Terileptils were also glimpsed in the 2014 story "Time Heist". They were also mentioned in "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" and "The Time of The Doctor" although they remained unseen in both these stories.

The Doctor states that he is ‘on record as being against banter’. This is a reference to "Robot of Sherwood" when The Doctor chastises Robin Hood and his Merry Men for their lighthearted banter.

A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes and Heaven's Speedie Hue and Cry posters can be seen hanging on a wall at the Tyburn hanging.

The Doctor helps Clara's student meet Winston Churchill. The Second Doctor, Sixth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor have previously met Winston Churchill. (see "World Game", "Players", "Victory of the Daleks" and "The Wedding of River Song").



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first full length Twelfth Doctor story to feature Clara Oswald in a lesser role.

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Catherine Tregenna.

 The first Doctor Who story, since the 2008 story "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky", to be written by a woman.


Return to the top of this page
 


The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Doctor
The Doctor

Alone, and on the trail of an alien artefact, The Doctor arrives in 1651 England. His tracking device leads him to a stagecoach belonging to the Fanshawes which is travelling through the woods. The stagecoach though has been stopped by a highwayman known as ‘The Knightmare’ who demands something specific of Mrs. Fanshawe. She seems to know what the rogue wants. However, at that moment The Doctor enters the carriage. Seemingly unaware that The Knightmare is in the middle of carrying out a highway robbery. He greets everyone in passing, saying he is tracking something.

The Doctor’s arrival annoys The Knightmare especially as The Doctor ignores the highwayman and is more interested in the tracker that leads him to a case on the back of the carriage, which the Knightmare attempts to stake a claim on. However, the carriage drives off before The Doctor can take the piece of luggage leaving The Doctor and the highwayman alone together by the roadside. With nothing else to do, The Knightmare unmasks, revealing himself to be Ashildr the Viking girl made immortal in the previous story (see "The Girl Who Died"), who can mimic a man's voice. The Doctor is surprised to see her, but is more surprised that she has forgotten her original identity due to the centuries that have passed. Ashildr now calls herself ‘Me’ as there is no-one who can remember her now.

Me takes The Doctor to her home, where he discovers that because of her 800 years of everlasting life she has lost many of her memories and has isolated herself in order to avoid the pain of losing loved ones. She now lives in a mansion thanks to hoarding treasure over the years. She vaguely informs The Doctor that she now has an accomplice, whose glowing yellow eyes watch The Doctor from the shadows. Me repeatedly asks The Doctor to take her away from this world and to take her with him to see the universe But The Doctor refuses despite her pleading.

Me
Me

Me reveals that she dislikes keeping company with other humans, as they're lifespans are like smoke that can be blown away. However, The Doctor notes that she's tried to help humanity, even founding a leper colony. Me points out that when she helped cure a village of scarlet fever, she was drowned as a witch by the small-minded people, but was able to swim away. The Doctor sees that Me keeps several diaries, since her memory is still in its original human-limited form, thus keeping her from remembering everything that's happened. Flicking through one of her journals he finds some of Me's memories ripped out and pages stained by her tears. He also discovers that Me previously had three children, all of whom she lost to the Black Death. The pain of these events were recorded, so she didn't have to keep reliving them through the centuries. However, The Doctor deduces that the reason for the missing pages is because there were some things Me found too painful to remember.

Meanwhile Me talks to her accomplice, explaining that an alien like The Doctor would be useful in their plans. On returning to The Doctor she reluctantly agrees to let him help her steal the object they're both after from the Fanshawes. And so later, they break into the Fanshawe's estate, and find their prize: The Eye of Hades, a glowing purple jewel that The Doctor theorises is linked to ancient Greek mythology as a way of opening a portal to the afterlife or into space. On making their escape they accidentally awaken Mr. Fanshawe who starts a search for the intruders. Me is ready to kill, so as to escape, but The Doctor convinces her that they can escape up a chimney.

Lady Me
Lady Me

Escaping into the forest Me continues prodding The Doctor with questions. They are then surrounded by other highwaymen, lead by The Knightmare's rival - Sam Swift the Quick. Sam Swift, on recognising Me as The Knightmare thinks that The Doctor is her sidekick and father. This annoys The Doctor who taunts the thief for the redundant title. Me quickly disarms Sam Swift, sending him and his cronies fleeing in fear.

The next morning, The Doctor finds out that by day, Me is known as ‘Lady Me’ and lives as a wealthy woman with a servant. He then meets her ally Leandro, a lion-like alien stranded on Earth who was the artefact's original owner. Leandro wants to use The Eye of Hades to open a portal to leave Earth, but it requires the life energy of someone to work (in other words a death is needed). In return for Me tricking The Doctor into helping him, Leandro has agreed to let her come with him to travel the galaxy. They considered using Me's aged butler, but The Doctor opposes it.

Two pikemen then arrive to check on Lady Me as The Knightmare is reported to be in the area. They also reveal that Sam Swift has been captured and is about to be hung at Tyburn. Me, realising that luck is favouring her, informs the pikemen that The Doctor is The Knightmare's sidekick asking them to just imprison The Doctor due to his advanced age. She then sets off to use Sam Swift's death, instead of her butler, to activate the artefact. The Doctor tries passing himself off as an undercover officer from Scotland Yard, but realises this institution has not been founded yet. Seeing Me leave with Leandro in her carriage, The Doctor tells the pikemen guarding him that The Knightmare is escaping and that he wishes to go to the hanging. The guards inform him there's a twenty pound bounty on him, which is a treasure compared to their pay, so they'd rather not take him to be hanged. Realising that only money will tempt the pikemen to let him go The Doctor tells them where they can find Lady Me's treasure. This works and The Doctor pursues Me to the hanging.

Leandro Arrives
Leandro Arrives

At the hangman's noose Sam Swift is making jokes to buy himself a few more minutes. The Doctor arrives assisting with Sam Swift's delay even using his psychic paper to fake a pardon for him from Oliver Cromwell. However, Me manages to overrule the comedy and so the hanging begins. In a last desperate attempt Sam Swift asks for a kiss as his last request. Me complies but uses this as an opportunity to attach The Eye of Hades to Sam Swift's chest so killing him. A portal opens and Leandro reveals himself, breathing fire in triumph, revealing that he is an advanced scout for his people and his actual intent is to assist his people in invading Earth.

Spaceships begin firing at the crowd gathered to watch the hanging. Me, rediscovering her conscience and humanity, after seeing the crowds being slaughtered, and uses the second Mire medical chip, given to her by The Doctor, to save Sam Swift's life. The excess of life energy causes The Eye of Hades to backfire and the portal closes. Leandro is vaporized by his fellow warriors for his failure.

Later, in a tavern, Me wonders if Sam Swift is now immortal like her. The Doctor explains that Sam Swift may or may not have been rendered immortal by the chip as its power could have been drained when closing the portal. However, just in case Sam Swift is immortal, he asks Me keep an eye on him. It's at that moment that Me realises why The Doctor won't take her with him; it's because her view point is too much like his own, and he needs someone who sees things differently. The Doctor mentions having travelled with another immortal named Captain Jack Harkness, and that she may be running into him in the future. Me then says she'll take the role most of the others that have met The Doctor have, protecting the world from his good intentions.

Back in the TARDIS, The Doctor is playing his electric guitar deep in thought. Clara Oswald arrives and The Doctor accepts her hug. Clara explains that The Doctor's idea of taking one of her pupils to meet Winston Churchill has paid off. The Doctor looks at the selfie Clara has on her phone, taking note that Me is the background, looking straight into the camera. The Doctor though pretends that nothing is wrong.

 
The Doctor and Me
The Doctor and Me
The Knightmare
The Knightmare
Sam Swift
Sam Swift
Leandro
Leandro
 
At the Gallows
At the Gallows
The Doctor to the Rescue
The Doctor to the Rescue
The Doctor Has a Plan
The Doctor Has a Plan
Leandro Before Defeat
Leandro Before Defeat




Quote of the Story


 'Enemies are never a problem. It's your friends you have to watch out for.'

Me



Return to the top of this page
 


Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
Doctor Who Series 9 Part 1 Box SetNovember 2015BBCDVD 4083Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 4 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who Series 9 Part 1 Box SetNovember 2015BBCBD 0330Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 4 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Ninth Series Box SetMarch 2016BBCDVD 4066Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 8 stories plus the 2014 & 2015 Christmas Specials
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Ninth Series Box SetMarch 2016BBCBD 0327Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 8 stories plus the 2014 & 2015 Christmas Specials
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Ninth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)March 2016BBCBD 0357Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 8 stories plus the 2014 & 2015 Christmas Specials
Audio
CD
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 9April 2018Photo-montageMusic by Murray Gold


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 492 (Released: December 2015)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 493 (Released: Winter 2015/16)

Return to the top of this page
 


Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion

 
Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

   

 
Jenna-Louise Coleman
Clara Oswald
 
   




On Release

DVD Part 1 Box Set
DVD Part 1 Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
Blu-Ray Part 1 Box Set
Blu-Ray Part 1 Box Set

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

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   


Magazines

Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 492
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 492

Marvel Comics
 
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 493
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 493

Marvel Comics
   

Return to the top of this page
 
 
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Me
Episodes of the
Twelfth Doctor


Season 35 (New Series 9) Press to go back to the previous visited page References
 
 
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.