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Peter Capaldi
Thin Ice
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Synopsis


Danger Thin Ice
Danger Thin Ice
 London, 1814. The entire city has turned out for the biggest Frost Fair in decades.

 But beneath the frozen Thames, revellers are disappearing, snatched through the ice and pulled into the depths where a terrifying monster lurks.

 Will The Doctor and Bill stop the slaughter before they too are dragged into the icy waters?

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Six (New Series 10)
Production Code: 10-3
Story Number: 266 (New Series: 110)
Episode Number:830 (New Series: 134)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: July - August 2016
Broadcast Date: 29 April 2017
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location:
Writer:Sarah Dollard
Director:Bill Anderson
Producer:Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Lauren Pate and Rhun Llewelyn
Script Executive:Lindsey Alford
Script Supervisor:Nicki Coles
Script Editors:Nick Lambon and Emma Genders (Assistant)
Editors:Adam Trotman, Becky Trotman (Assistant) and David Davies (Assistant)
Head of Production:Gordon Ronald
Production Executive:Tracie Simpson
Production Manager:Adam Knopf
Production Assistants:Jamie Shaw and Virginia Bonet
Post Production Supervisor:Samantha Price
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Damien Bromley
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Steffan Morris
Costume Designer:Hayley Nebauer
Make-Up Designer:Barbara Southcott
Cameramen:Dan Patounas (Assistant), Drew Marsden (Assistant), Gethin Williams (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (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
Special Creature Effects:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Crispin Layfield, Dani Biernat, Dean Forster and Jo McLaren
Stunt Performers:Andrew Burford, Belinda McGinley and Troy Kenchington
Title Sequence:Billy Hanshaw
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
Miniature Effects: The Model Unit
Music Performed By: The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Music Conducted and Orchestrated By: Alastair King
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: 2The Companions: Matt Lucas (Nardole) and Pearl Mackie (Bill Potts) Additional Cast: Nicholas Burns (Sutcliffe), Asiatu Koroma (Kitty), Peter Singh (Pie-Man), Simon Ludders (Overseer), Tomi May (Dowell), Austin Taylor (Spider), Ellie Shenker (Dot), Kishaina Thiruselvan (Harriet), Badger Skelton (Perry)Setting: Regency London (February 1814) Villain:Sutcliffe

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
830Thin Ice29 April 201744'15"5.6Yes

Total Duration 44 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.6
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2017)69.70%  (Position = 8 out of 12)


Archives


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



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Notes


In this story The Doctor and Bill Potts travel back in time to Regency-era London - 1814 to be precise - and we see them change out of their regular clothes and adopt more appropriate attire for the period. The Doctor is seen donning a natty top hat and a sombre black suit while his companion wears an elegant green dress.

This story continues on from the end of the previous story, "Smile", where we saw The Doctor and Bill arriving on the frozen River Thames with an elephant crossing their path.

This story has been written by Sarah Dollard - the writer of 2015 story "Face the Raven". Sarah tweeted ‘I don't know how Michael Pickwoad does it. His team are building something VERY BIG for my ep. I just stared and stared and was like... how? ’.

The director is a newcomer to Doctor Who, Bill Anderson, whose previous credits include Mr Selfridge, Taggart and Silent Witness.

The read-through for the second production block of this season took place on the 18th July 2016 with recording beginning on the 1st August 2016. The second production included this story and the next story "Knock Knock".

For the shots involving The Doctor falling below the ice in his diving gear were created by The Model Unit using a miniature 1/3 scale puppet inspired by a similar effect in James Cameron’s film The Abyss.

Sutcliffe greets The Doctor as ‘Doctor Disco, from the Fairford Club’ - a moniker he first used when leaving Clara Oswald a voice message in the 2015 Eleventh Doctor story "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion".

Nardole reminds The Doctor of his oath and that he would not be going off-world.

The Doctor once more states that he is 2000 years old (see "Deep Breath" and Smile").

Bill is heard asking The Doctor how many people he has seen die (see "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End"). He replies by saying that he has lost count (see "The Day of The Doctor").

The Doctor is seen punching Sutcliffe in the face out of anger and defence of his companion. He did a similar thing in the 2015 story "Hell Bent".

The Doctor asks Bill if she noticed he was ‘down with the kids’ after entertaining the urchins. He previously noted his ability to fit in with children in the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "School Reunion".

Bill refers to the melanin in her skin and is heard voicing her fear that she will be mistaken for a slave due to the colour of her skin. Martha Jones voiced the same concern when she visited London of 1599 with the Tenth Doctor in the 2007 story "The Shakespeare Code".

On arriving in 1814 London Bill first thinks they have travelled to a parallel world.

Bill asks about if there are any physical side effects of time travel (see "The End of the World", "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday" and "The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords").

The Doctor is heard reminding Bill that he is her tutor (see "The Pilot").

When Sutcliffe first sees Bill it is obvious that he is racist and sexist.

Nardole mentions being reassembled (see "The Husbands of River Song" and "The Return of Doctor Mysterio").

Kitty is worried that The Doctor will take her and the other urchins to the Magistrate.

She is heard warning Spider about how they will be transported if they are caught. This is a reference to how convicted criminals during this period could be transported to Australia.

Spider is one of the few child characters to be killed on-screen throughout the history of the show.

In an interview Steven Moffat was heard to joke that the introduction to EastEnders was always about a giant snake, a reference towards the view of the River Thames from above, which makes it look like a serpent.

Bill worries that the serpent will eat people off the Southbank and half of London and that they have doomed Greenland.

The Doctor refers to the sea serpent as ‘Tiny’, ‘the loch-less monster’ and the ‘not-so-little mermaid’.

The sinister looking underwater creature The Doctor discovers is not the first creature to be found lurking in the Thames. In the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Terror of the Zygons" we discovered that Nessie is actually a Skarasen which followed The Doctor to London and eventually made its way into the city’s famous river. Also in the 1964 First Doctor story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" The Doctor was confronted by a Dalek that emerged from the Thames and in the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Aliens of London/World War Three", the Slitheen crashed their spaceship, carrying the so-called ‘Space Pig’ into its waters.

According to the BBC short story "The Frozen" (an exclusive-to-Internet Doctor Who audio story that was published on the Doctor Who website in 2007) in February 1814 the Hyban Masoon froze the Thames on arrival.

The TARDIS lands on Blackfriars Bridge next to New Lime Wharf. The Frost Fair stretched from Blackfriars to London Bridge. The Doctor and Bill are seen heading towards Freezeland Street.

A map of 19th century London is displayed on the TARDIS console.

The Doctor again mentions how you don't steer the TARDIS but you have to reason with the time machine (see "Smile").

The Doctor is heard to give Bill the same set of directions to the TARDIS wardrobe that the Ninth Doctor gave Rose in the 2005 story "The Unquiet Dead".

This story features a visit to the 1814 Frost Fair, the last one to be held at the Old London Bridge, which caused the water flow in the Thames to be slow enough to allow it to freeze. Old London Bridge was replaced in 1831. As shown in this story during this fair a stunt took place when an elephant was led across the frozen Thames.

The Frost Fair contains many activities and performances, notably wrestling, sword swallowing, skittles, cartwheel performers, magicians, ring toss, M. G. Clark Printing Co., souvenir shops, book shops, pubs, The Nelson Arms, The City of Moscow and ‘try your luck’ stalls.

Frost Fairs were hugely popular and held sporadically in London on the River Thames until 1814.

The Doctor mentions having been to the 1814 Frost Fair ‘a few times’ before. (see "A Good Man Goes to War", the BBC New Series Adventures novel "Silhouette" and the Big Finish Productions Companion Chronicles audio story "Frostfire"). In the 2011 Eleventh Doctor story "A Good Man Goes to War" River Song is heard to say to Rory that The Doctor took her to the 1814 Frost Fair for her birthday ‘The Doctor took me ice skating on the River Thames in 1814, the last of the great Frost Fairs. He got Stevie Wonder to sing for me under London Bridge’. The First Doctor with Vicki and Steven Taylor also visited the 1814 Frost Fair in "Frostfire" where they encountered Jane Austen.

The phrase ‘on thin ice’ means to be in a situation close to peril. Ralph Waldo Emerson is often credited as originating the idiom in his essay of 1841 entitled Prudence, in which he wrote, ‘In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed’. However, variations of the phrase pre-date that work, with Emanuel Swedenborg writing in 1786, ‘They may therefore be likened unto those, who are carried in a Chariot over a smooth thin Ice, which breaketh under them’.

The Doctor once again notes humanity's habit of overlooking and forgetting the bizarre when he states that ‘Your species hardly notices anything’. This echoes his words to Ace in the 1988 Seventh doctor story "Remembrance of the Daleks" ‘Do you remember the Zygon gambit with the Loch Ness Monster?’ he asked his companion ‘or the Yeti in the Underground? Your species has an amazing capacity for self-deception’. Humanity's habit of overlooking and forgetting events was also mentioned in the 2014 story "In the Forest of the Night". Charlie Smith noted the same after the Shadow Kin came close to invading Earth through Coal Hill School in the spin-off series, Class, story "The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo").

The Doctor reminds Bill of her recent experience with death when they visited, in "Smile", a garden full of dead people. He confirms this was only a few hours before this story.

Bill is heard voicing her concern about the Butterfly Effect. The ‘Butterfly Effect’ in relation to time travel suggests that an apparently trivial act in the past can have massive repercussions in the future. The concept was referenced in the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "The Shakespeare Code" when Martha is heard to say ‘It’s like in the films. You step on a butterfly, you change the future of the human race!’ Perhaps coincidentally, Bill Pott’s first tentative step onto the frozen Thames brings to mind Martha’s cautious first step outside the TARDIS in that story.

The Doctor is heard to joke with Bill about an imaginary person called ‘Pete’ who stepped on a butterfly and doing so got erased from history.

Bill is heard to reveal that she was a skittles champion two years in a row.

The ‘pop up’ pub where Bill plays skittles in is called The Nelson Arms. In the 1972 Third Doctor story "The Sea Devils" The Doctor is heard telling Captain Hart that ‘Horatio Nelson was a personal friend of mine’.

The Doctor is heard to comment ‘Of course it’s not wrestling unless it’s in zero gravity’. The Doctor previously mentioned the Anti-Gravity Olympics in the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "Tooth and Claw" and later, in the 2013 story "The Bells of Saint John", he even claimed to have taken part in the 2074 games!

The Doctor reads the children a passage from The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb, one of the Struwwelpeter tales by Heinrich Hoffmann. The Doctor must have been carrying the book with him as it was first published in 1845. Incidentally, ‘Shockheaded Peter’ (a theatrical production that was first staged in 1998) remains one of the most celebrated interpretations of the Struwwelpeter stories. It was co-created by Julian Bleach (best known to Doctor Who fans for his portrayal as Davros in the 2015 story "The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar").

The Doctor says he is getting used to being asked how he finds people (see "Partners in Crime" and "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky".

The Doctor is again seen using his psychic paper.

The Doctor again leaves a historical decision up to his companion (see "Kill the Moon").

The Doctor is asked how many people he has seen die ("The Stolen Earth/Journey's End") and personally killed ("The End of the World", "The Day of The Doctor", "The Time of The Doctor" and "Heaven Sent/Hell Bent"). He remarks on how he has lost count (see "The Day of The Doctor").

When The Doctor and Bill return to The Doctor's study Bill is heard to remark that it looks the exact same as when they left - from the cup of previous sonic screwdrivers, wooden raven and family photographs to the books, the busts and the placing of the chairs (see "The Pilot"). Nardole then enters the room having made tea. He announces that he has added some coffee to give it flavour.

On returning to The Doctor’s study he shows Bill the British Newspaper Archives when trying to find information about the frost fair-incident.

Bill uses search-wise.net to look for the serpent incident. Rose Tyler used the same website to look up about the Ninth Doctor in the 2005 story "Rose".

Nardole is seen at the end of this story checking on the vault. During this scene someone behind the vault doors knocks three times repeatedly. The last row of knocks is 4 times. The Doctor previously said knocks were weirdly in rows of 4 ("Heaven Sent/Hell Bent") The Master was previously plagued with a drumming sound in 4 beats, and later a prophecy developed around the Tenth Doctor's death being preceded by 4 knocks ("Utopia", "The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords", "Planet of the Dead", "The Waters of Mars" and "The End of Time") The Midnight entity also used 2, 3 and 4 knocks when inspecting the Midnight Crusader Tours' shuttle bus in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Midnight".



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Bill Anderson.


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The Plot

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

After experiencing the events in the previous story, "Smile", The Doctor and his travelling companion Bill Potts find that they have arrived in London in 1814. Dressing for the period they start to explore Victorian London. However, as they exit the TARDIS, they are unaware that the TARDIS' sensors alerting them of a large abnormal creature under the Thames.

As they walk a street urchin offers them a flyer for a Frost Fair that is being held on the frozen Thames which they decide to attend. As they enjoy the festivities, Bill notices some strange green lights moving under the ice and follows them. Joining The Doctor he reveals that he has noticed them too. Elsewhere, a drunken man is following the lights across the ice to an area of thin ice before being sucked under leaving only his drink bottle behind.

As they continue to explore the fair The Doctor and Bill are approached by a girl, called Kitty, wanting their help when she claims to be looking for her dog that has gone missing. However, The Doctor deduces that she is trying to con them, catching a boy's arm as he attempts to pickpocket his sonic screwdriver from behind, only for the girl to kick his leg, enabling the pair to flee. The Doctor and Bill give chase, but observe more green lights moving under the ice. The lights pursue and encircle the boy before they create a hole in the ice underneath him. The Doctor tries to save the young boy but the ice hole seals up leaving only the boy’s outstretched arm, with the sonic screwdriver, protruding through the ice.

The Doctor
The Doctor

Unable to save the boy The Doctor is only able to retrieve his sonic screwdriver. His relief at having done so, and his seeming lack of care towards the boy's death, angers Bill. She confronts him and demands to know how many people he has seen die and how many people he has killed. The Doctor tells her that he is 2000 years old and does not have the time for the luxury of outrage otherwise more people would die.

The Doctor eventually tracks down Kitty and they meet the rest of the urchin gang - including the girl who handed Bill the flyer. After gaining their trust, by giving the children food, they learn that the orphans are being paid to lure people to the ice fair, with some going missing. Curious as to what is under the ice, The Doctor and Bill put on diving suits and walk out onto the ice. They are followed by the lighted creatures which create an ice hole under Bill who falls through into the water below. Seeing Bill disappear through the ice The Doctor jumps through before the ice reseals. Once submerged, they discover a giant sea creature chained to the bottom of the river. Locating the hat that belonged to the boy The Doctor deduces that the creature is feeding on the people that have fallen through the ice.

Dressed for the Occasion
Dressed for the Occasion

Back on the surface Bill notes that the creature sounded miserable from its imprisonment. They then track down a group of dredgers harvesting the waste from the creature. Under the pretence of conducting an inspection, The Doctor and Bill learn that the waste from the creature is more efficient than coal and can even burn underwater making it a highly valuable resource. They also learn that the whole operation is being run by a Lord Sutcliffe.

They visit Lord Sutcliffe’s manor home and discover that he has become wealthy by collecting and selling the creature's waste. Lord Sutcliffe tells The Doctor that the secret of the sea creature has been passed down the generations. He attracts people onto the ice, by helping to fund the Frost Fair, to be sucked under to feed the creature and so provide the fuel. He plans to blow up the ice to cause widespread panic and deaths before the ice thaws so allowing him to keep the creature's presence a secret. The Doctor and Bill are lead away and transported back to the Frost Fair. There they are tied up in a tent with explosives as Lord Sutcliffe prepares to blow the ice up.

With Bill’s help The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to cut through the ropes they are tied up with but the sonic screwdriver attracts the glowing fish. Seeing the glowing fish under the ice their guard rushes in and discovers their attempts to escape. The guard grabs The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver causing the glowing fish to become attracted to him, instead of The Doctor and Bill, and is sucked through the ice. Just before the guard disappears through the ice The Doctor manages to persuade him to throw his sonic screwdriver back to him so allowing The Doctor and Bill to escape.

Visiting the Frost Fair
Visiting the Frost Fair

Bill then works with Kitty and the other orphans to clear all the people off the ice. This though causes Lord Sutcliffe to rush his plans and detonate the explosives immediately. However, he soon realises that The Doctor had moved the explosives around the chains of the sea creature so releasing it. The creature begins to swim away to freedom without harming anyone. The Doctor and Bill watch as the creature swims down the Thames heading for the open sea. However, the creatures cracks the ice above it causing Lord Sutcliffe to fall into the cold water and to his death.

Before leaving, The Doctor invites Kitty and the orphans to Lord Sutcliffe's home to be fed and cared for. He also modifies the deeds for Lord Sutcliffe’s house to place it in the hands of the orphan Perry.

Returning back to St Luke's University, Nardole, who was just finished making tea, walks into The Doctor’s study and is annoyed when he notices their period clothing giving away that they have been time travelling. While Nardole scolds The Doctor, for breaking his oath to stay on Earth, Bill searches, unsuccessfully, for any information in the press about the sea creature that they helped to set free. The Doctor explains to her that humans tend to overlook the inexplicable and that the Frost Fair involved a lot of day drinking. He shows her the headlines which detail Lord Sutcliffe's death and, despite being contested, Perry was eventually deemed the legitimate heir to Lord Sutcliffe’s wealth.

A little bit later Nardole checks on the mysterious Vault that still remains hidden underneath the University. As he goes to leave, knocking comes from inside, Nardole refuses to let the entity, that is locked inside, out before hurrying away looking very worried.

 
Kitty
Kitty
Spider
Spider
Underwater Investigation
Underwater Investigation
Discovering the Truth
Discovering the Truth
 
Visiting Sutcliffe
Visiting Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe
Tied Up
Tied Up
Kitty in Her New Home
Kitty in Her New Home




Quote of the Story


 'Human progress isn't measured by industry. It's measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy's value is your value. That's what defines an age. That's what defines a species.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
Doctor Who Series 10 Part 1 Box SetJune 2017BBCDVD 4202Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 6 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who Series 10 Part 1 Box SetJune 2017BBCBD 0394Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 6 stories
Video
DVD
The Complete Tenth Series Box SetNovember 2017BBCDVD 4224Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 12 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Tenth Series Box SetNovember 2017BBCBD 0406Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 12 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Tenth Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)November 2017BBCBD 0421Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 12 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Tenth Series Box Set (Limited Edition UK Exclusive Steelbook)November 2017BBCBD 0421Photo-montageLimited Edition (UK Exclusive) Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 12 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 511 (Released: May 2017)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 512 (Released: June 2017)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

   

Matt Lucas
Nardole
 
Pearl Mackie
Bill Potts
   




On Release

DVD Part 1 Box Set
DVD Part 1 Box Set

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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
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition (UK Exclusive) Steelbook Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Limited Edition (UK Exclusive) Steelbook Box Set

BBC
VIDEO
   


Magazines

Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 511
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 511

Marvel Comics
 
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 512
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 512

Marvel Comics
   

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