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Peter Capaldi
Extremis
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Synopsis


Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
 In the Haereticum (the Vatican's secret library of blasphemy) there is an ancient book known only as The Veritas. Throughout history, anyone who has ever read it has immediately taken their own life. Now a new translation is online, and the danger is spreading.

 The Vatican appeals to The Doctor.

 Will he read The Veritas?

 But can even The Doctor survive the ultimate truth?

Source: Radio Times


General Information

Season: Thirty Six (New Series 10)
Production Code: 10-6
Story Number: 269 (New Series: 113)
Episode Number:833 (New Series: 137)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: November 2016 - January 2017
Broadcast Date: 20 May 2017
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location:
Writer:Steven Moffat
Director:Daniel Nettheim
Producer:Peter Bennett
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Lauren Pate and Rhun Llewelyn
Script Executive:Lindsey Alford
Script Supervisor:Nicki Coles
Script Editor:Emma Genders
Editors:Xavier Russell, 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:Ashley Rowe
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-ordinator:Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performer:Troy Kenchington
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: 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) Guest Cast: Michelle Gomez (Missy) Additional Cast: Jennifer Hennessy (Moira), Corrado Invernizzi (Cardinal Angelo), Joseph Long (The Pope), Ronke Adekoluejo (Penny), Ivanno Jeremiah (Rafando), Francesco Martino (Piero), Alana Maria (Pentagon Woman), Laurent Maurel (Nicholas), Jamie Hill (Monk), Tim Bentinck (Voice of the Monk)Setting: Shadow Earth (2017) Villain:The Monks

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
833Extremis20 May 201748'51"5.5Yes

Total Duration 49 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.5
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2017)75.50%  (Position = 4 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 notable for revealing that Missy is inside the vault beneath St Luke's University. It also explained how Nardole came to travel with The Doctor after the events of the 2016 Christmas Special "The Husbands of River Song".

This story was written by Steven Moffat and it received extremely positive reviews from television critics, with many praising Peter Capaldi's performance and Steven Moffat's script, though some commented on the complicated script.

This story was directed by Daniel Nettheim. He previously directed the 2015 story "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion". As well as this story he has returned to oversee "The Pyramid at the End of the World" - both of which make up this season’s Recording Block Five.

This story guest stars Michelle Gomez (playing once more The Doctor's nemesis Missy, aka The Master).

The part of The Pope is played by Joseph Long who previously played the part of Rocco Colasanto in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Turn Left". And Jennifer Hennessy returns as Moira, the character first seen in "The Pilot".

Playing the part of The Monk is Jamie Hill. He played the part of The Foretold in the 2014 story "Mummy on the Orient Express" and one of The Silence during Season Thirty Two (New Series 6).

Tim Bentinck, who provided the voice of The Monk, has previously played numerous roles in various Doctor Who audio productions.

Daniel Nettheim’s uncle, actor David Nettheim (1925 - 2008), played the part of Fedorin in the 1967/1968 Second Doctor story "The Enemy of the World".

Filming for this story began on the 23rd November 2016, exactly 53 years after the very first episode of Doctor Who aired. Recording was completed on the 17th January 2017.

The Doctor is still experiencing blindness. He lost his sight in the vacuum of space, saving Bill Potts' life in "Oxygen").

Missy alludes to The Doctor's 'retirement' on Darillium with River song (see "The Husbands of River Song") and offers her condolences regarding River Song's passing. Missy is heard to say to The Doctor ‘Domestic bliss on Darillium. That’s the word among the Daleks’. Darillium was the planet where The Doctor and River Song spent time together following the defeat of King Hydroflax. It was first mentioned in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" when River Song revealed ‘You took me to Darillium to see the Singing Towers. What a night that was’. Missy asks The Doctor what happened, but is met with silence, and gives condolences for his loss.

The Doctor worries that, because he managed to temporarily ‘borrow’ eyesight from his future self, his future regenerations might all be blind, or he might not regenerate at all.

Pope Benedict said that The Doctor was ‘more in need of confession than any man breathing’, but when the offer was made The Doctor replied ‘it would take too much time’.

The Doctor is seen brandishing a new sonic screwdriver. His previous sonic screwdriver, of the same design, was destroyed in the previous story "Oxygen".

The Doctor uses his sonic sunglasses as visual aid to scan people's data, as he cannot see them. The data The Doctor can detect are: Gender (male or female), Age (in years), Height (in centimetres), Weight (in pounds), Heart rate (in BPM) and Temperature (in degrees Celsius). The Doctor can also get a sense of the architecture around him.

The Virtual Doctor uses the sonic sunglasses to send a message to the real Doctor. The Doctor used his sonic sunglasses to get out of an impasse before in the 2015 story "Under the Lake/Before the Flood". He also used them to summon reinforcements on Gallifrey in the 2015 story "Heaven Sent/Hell Bent".

The Doctor was previously aided by a virtual copy of himself in the comic strip story "A Life of Matter and Death" that was printed in issue 250 of the Doctor Who Magazine.

Nardole is heard calling The Doctor an idiot, to which The Doctor replies that everyone knows that.

During this story Nardole's presence with The Doctor throughout this season is explained as a continuation from "The Husbands of River Song", with River Song having ordered Nardole to prevent The Doctor from taking extreme actions after her death. Nardole also states that he has full permission from River Song to kick his arse.

When Nardole, disguised as a cleric, meets The Doctor he is carrying River Song’s diary from which he is heard reciting a passage from River Song about how The Doctor is a ‘Madman in a box’ (see the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Eleventh Hour"). River Song used the book to chronicle her adventures with The Doctor and when the two friends bumped into each other she would often consult it to get a fix on whereabouts in their personal time lines they stood. It was first seen in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" - River Song's 'final' adventure and another story that was set largely in a library.

Bill is heard to mention how her attempts to change home, in "Knock Knock", did not work out.

Pope Benedict IX, referenced by Cardinal Angelo and The Doctor, was one of the most controversial figures in the history of the Catholic Church. He remains the only pontiff to have been Pope on more than one occasion and was ultimately excommunicated.

It is revealed that Pope Benedict IX made a personal recommendation for The Doctor in 1045. The Doctor remembers Pope Benedict, and recalls ‘I knew she was trouble, but she wove a spell with her castanets’.

The Pope is also known as the Bishop of Rome. He pays The Doctor a visit in the lecture hall.

One stipulation of the Fatality Index is that a death sentence of a Time Lord must be carried out by another Time Lord. That Time Lord must also swear an oath to guard the condemned’s body for 1000 years in case of relapses.

In promising to guard Missy The Doctor states ‘On my oath as a Time Lord of the Prydonian Chapter’. This Time Lord Chapter was first mentioned in the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Deadly Assassin" when it was revealed that The Doctor was one of its members. On Gallifrey, Prydonians had a reputation for being notoriously devious, although Goth (who was a member of that ‘noble Chapter’) denied this, claiming ‘We simply see a little further ahead than most’. In "The Deadly Assassin" Castellan Spandrell also once referred to The Doctor as a ‘Prydonian renegade’, and mentioned ‘Prydonian vows’. She said that ‘when a Prydonian forswears his birthright, there is nothing else he fears to lose’.

Reference is made to Time Lords' binary vascular system (see "Spearhead From Space") and it is stated that they also have three brain stems.

Rafando mentions the tendencies of Time Lords to have relapses of life (see the 1996 Eighth Doctor film "Doctor Who: The Movie").

The Haereticum is a library of heretical and forbidden works maintained by the Vatican. Since his first incarnation, The Doctor has also been a patron of the Library of St John the Beheaded, a similar collection also established by the Vatican, which was hidden in London (see the Virgin Books' The New Adventures novels "All-Consuming Fire" and "White Darkness"; the Virgin Books' The Missing Adventures novels "Millennial Rites" and "The Empire of Glass"; the Bernice Summerfield The New Adventures novel "Dragons' Wrath" and the Big Finish Productions audio stories "Zagreus" and "No Place Like Home").

Bill is heard to utter ‘Harry Potter’ upon seeing the Haereticum for the first time, for which The Doctor scolds her. She also notes that it has WiFi for which The Doctor replies ‘of course it does; it's a library’.

Nardole relates the holographic simulations, with holographic people to the holodeck on Star Trek, ‘or a really posh VR without a headset’. He also compares the simulation to the video game world Grand Theft Auto, and the virtual Doctor likens the inhabitants of the Shadow Earth finding out they are a simulation and committing suicide as a result to a hypothetical scenario in which ‘Super Mario realises he's inside a video game’.

CERN is an actual organisation, also known as the European Organization for Nuclear Research. It operates the largest particle physics laboratory and the World Wide Web began as one of its projects.

A plaque at CERN reveals that the Large Hadron Collider was first started up on the 10th September 2008. Jack Harkness was present, with his Torchwood Three team of Gwen, Ianto and Martha, when this first test opened a portal to another reality, through the Large Hadron Collider, and let out some neutron eaters (see the Torchwood audio story "Lost Souls").

In "Country of the Blind" (a Brief Encounter short story published in the Doctor Who Yearbook 1993) it was revealed that the Third Doctor's companion Liz Shaw joined CERN after leaving UNIT in the 1970s.

The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia.

The President of the United States of America is seen lying dead in the Oval Office. News reports state that he had not been seen for 12 hours.

The Doctor is seen sitting in the President's chair in the holographic recreation of the Oval Office. The Eleventh Doctor previously did just that in the real Oval Office in the 2011 story "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon".

Extremis is Latin and is most commonly used in the phrase ‘in extremis’ meaning at the point of death, or more literally, at the furthest (or end) extreme.

Bill is seen bringing Penny home on a date. However, Penny runs away after seeing the Pope in Bill's bedroom.

The Doctor employs a reading aid with circular Gallifreyan script on it, which he hopes will temporarily restore his sight. He confirms that it is deadly.

The Doctor says that religion is ‘designed to confuse the uninitiated’, as Cardinal Angelo says of the layout of the Haereticum.

Bill is heard to use the word ‘wizard’ to describe The Doctor. Donna Noble previously used the phrase in a similar manner in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "Turn Left" as did the Tenth Doctor in the 2008 story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End".

The Doctor complains about the book Moby-Dick and suggests it would help to be tied down to a chair, to get through it. The Seventh Doctor previously told Ace, in the short story "Sunday Afternoon, AD 848,988" (published in the Big Finish Productions book "Short Trips 20: Destination Prague"), that he tried over a hundred times to read this book, by American writer Herman Melville that was published in 1851, but could never get past the first ten pages.

This story contains a number of errors. Namely: Outgoing emails on the laptop are shown, when in fact the Inbox, rather than the Sent Messages, is open on the left panel. Later, when The Doctor opens it again, the same messages appear, but now in the Sent Items; The reflection of a cameraman can be seen on the monitor screen at CERN, when the camera pans in on the bomb countdown just before detonation.

This story starts with a 'previously...' sequence showing key parts of the previous story "Oxygen" including when The Doctor reveals to Nardole that he is still blind.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first of three loosely connected stories known as "The Monks Trilogy".


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The Plot

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

After the events in the previous story aboard the space station (see "Oxygen") The Doctor is still blind and is wearing his sonic sunglasses to provide limited sight while masking his condition from Bill Potts. While visiting the vault under the university he receives an email entitled Extremis that he views through his glasses.

In one of the university lecture halls The Doctor is visited by the Pope and members of the Vatican to help deal with a recently-translated text called Veritas, that causes readers to commit suicide.

The Doctor takes Bill and Nardole to the Haereticum - a secret library inside the Vatican. There they discover a priest who has just read the book and emailed a copy to CERN. He then flees and kills himself.

Bill Potts
Bill Potts

While The Doctor is preoccupied, with the priest and the book, Bill and Nardole discover a portal leading to a hub containing other portals. One of the portals is seemingly linked to CERN while another is linked to the Pentagon and another to the White House. Meanwhile, The Doctor, having tried to read the Veritas, is forced to flee into a second portal with the priest's laptop when a skeletal figure in red robes, appear.

Bill and Nardole having entered the CERN portal, find the scientists are preparing to kill themselves using explosives strapped under the desks. When Bill asks why they are doing this the lead scientist, Nicholas, tells them that they are saving the world. When asked how, he replies that this is not the real world. Nicholas then asks Bill and Nardole to both pick a random number and say it at the same time. Each time they try they both say the same number. Nicholas tells them that this is a ‘Shadow Test’ proving that they are not in the real world.

The Pope
The Pope

With seconds to spare Bill and Nardole manage to flee back to the hub. Nardole then realises that the projectors are actually projecting the locations. To his horror, he realises that the world is really a holographic simulation. To prove if he is correct he steps into the space between projections causing him to dissolve into pixels leaving Bill alone in the hub.

A distraught Bill then spots a trail of blood on the floor leading to one of the portals. She follows the trail and finds herself in the Oval Office of the White House, where The Doctor is waiting.

The Doctor explains to her that Veritas describes a ‘demon’ planning to invade Earth by creating highly detailed simulations to practice their invasion. He also reveals that the simulacra within these ‘shadow worlds’ are able to discover the false reality as they can only come up with pseudo-random numbers due to the nature of computers, leading them to commit suicide to escape the simulation.

The Doctor and Cardinal Angelo
The Doctor and Cardinal Angelo

A Monk then appears and Bill disintegrates the same way Nardole did. The Doctor, aware he is also a simulation, tells the alien that Earth will now be ready as he has been recording everything through his sonic glasses. He emails the recording, titled Extremis, to his real-world self who receives it when visiting the vault.

Throughout these events in the shadow worlds, flashbacks show The Doctor being summoned to perform the execution of Missy. The Doctor however, opted to spare her. As the executioners go to the dais to take Missy's body away, she wakes up and pushes them away. The Doctor reveals that he had sabotaged the execution machine into knocking Missy out instead of killing her. After scaring the executioners away, by tricking them into accessing his record of fatalities, The Doctor with Nardole's help, has her locked in a quantum chamber. This is the Vault under St Luke’s University in Bristol that they have been guarding.

Back in the real world, The Doctor finishes looking at the Extremis email and through the vault doors he asks Missy for her help to fight the forthcoming invasion. He asks her how he can save his friends when he is blind, saying ‘How can I save them when I'm lost to the dark?’.

 
Visiting the Library
Visiting the Library
Security Breach at the Pentagon
Security Breach at the Pentagon
Missy
Missy
Prisoner and Executioner
Prisoner and Executioner
 
Missy is Executed
Missy is Executed
Pixelated Bill
Pixelated Bill
The Monk
The Monk
End Game
End Game




Quote of the Story


 'Goodness is not goodness that seeks advantage. Good is good in the final hour. In the deepest pit. Without hope. Without witness. Without reward. Virtue is only virtue in extremis. This is what he believes. And this is the reason, above all, I love him. My husband. My Madman in a Box. My Doctor.'

Nardole (reading from River Song's diary)



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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 2017Photo-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 2017Photo-montageLimited Edition (UK Exclusive) Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 12 stories


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 512 (Released: June 2017)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 513 (Released: July 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

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
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 512
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 512

Marvel Comics
 
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 513
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 513

Marvel Comics
   

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