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Peter Capaldi
Twice Upon a Time
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Two Doctors
Two Doctors
 Two Doctors stranded in a forbidding snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. A British army captain, seemingly destined to die in the First World War but taken from the trenches to play his part in The Doctor's story.

 In the final chapter of the Twelfth Doctor's epic adventure, he must face his past to decide his future. Along the way he realises the resilience of humanity, discovering hope in his darkest frozen moment.

 It is the end of an era, but The Doctor's journey is only just beginning.

Source: BBC Website

General Information

Season: Thirty Six (New Series 10)
Production Code: 10-X2
Story Number: 275 (New Series: 119)
Episode Number:840 (New Series: 144)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 25 December 2017
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Writer:Steven Moffat
Director:Rachel Talalay
Producer:Peter Bennett
Executive Producers:Brian Minchin and Steven Moffat
Assistant Directors:Kieran Hayhow and Lauren Pate
Script Supervisor:Nicki Coles
Script Editor:Nick Lambon
Editors:Will Oswald and David Davies (Assistant)
Head of Production:Gordon Ronald
Production Executive:Tracie Simpson
Production Assistants:Jamie Shaw and Tereza Dvorakova
Post Production Supervisor:Samantha Price
Production Designer:Michael Pickwoad
Director of Photography:Richard Stoddard
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:Gareth Méirion Thomas
Visual Effects:BBC Wales VFX and MILK
Special Effects:Real SFX
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Special Creature Effects:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Crispin Layfield and Dani Biernat
Stunt Performers:Andrew Burford, Belinda McGinley, Ian Pead, Jamie Edgell, Liam Carey, Lloyd Bass and Samual Stefan
Title Sequence:Billy Hanshaw
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Murray Gold
The Tenth Planet (The Doctor): William Hartnell
The Tenth Planet (Polly): Anneke Wills
The Tenth Planet (Ben): Michael Craze
The Tenth Planet (Written By): Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis
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: 3
The Doctors: Peter Capaldi (The Twelfth Doctor) (Regenerates), Jodie Whittaker (The Thirteenth Doctor) (Newly Regenerated) and David Bradley (The First Doctor) (Returns)
Number of Companions: 3The Companions: Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald) (Rejoins and Departs), Matt Lucas (Nardole) (Rejoins and Departs) and Pearl Mackie (Bill Potts) (Rejoins and Departs) Guest Cast: Mark Gatiss (The Captain) Additional Cast: Nikki Amuka-Bird (Helen Clay), Toby Whithouse (German Soldier), Lily Travers (Polly), Jared Garfield (Ben), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Dalek)Setting: South Pole (December 1986); Villengard and Ypres (Christmas 1914) Villain:None

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
Duration Viewers
In Archive
840Twice Upon a Time25 December 201759'50"7.9Yes

Total Duration 60 Minutes

Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.9


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

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Only the First 50 Story Notes are shown below - Click to Show All Story Notes

This is the last story of Season Thirty Six (New Series 10) and is Peter Capaldi's fourth and final Christmas special as the Twelfth Doctor and featured not one, not two, but three incarnations of The Doctor, as the end of this story marked Jodie Whittaker's first on-screen appearance in the show as the Thirteenth Doctor - the first female incarnation of The Doctor in the history of the show.

This story begins with a recap and partial retelling of the final moments of the 1966 First Doctor story "The Tenth Planet", the story which introduced the Cybermen and saw the First Doctor regenerate. We see his two companions from that era - Polly Wright and Ben Jackson - originally played by Anneke Wills and Michael Craze, but in this story (in recreated scenes) portrayed by Lily Travers and former Hollyoaks cast member Jared Garfield.

This story is a continuation of events after "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls", addressing the cliffhanger that the previous story ended on, and takes place during the final story of the First Doctor; footage from "The Tenth Planet", is used in this special.

This story was written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay, and was broadcast as the thirteenth Christmas special on the 25th December 2017 on BBC One. It features the final regular appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, the first official appearance of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, and guest-stars David Bradley as the First Doctor, having previously portrayed original First Doctor actor William Hartnell in the 2013 docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. Pearl Mackie guest stars as the Twelfth Doctor's former companion Bill Potts, while his other companions make guest appearances - Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald and Matt Lucas as Nardole.

This story is the last Doctor Who story to be written and produced by Steven Moffat, who served as the show's Executive Producer and chief writer since taking over from Russell T Davies in 2010. After this special's broadcast, Steven Moffat was succeeded as chief executive and showrunner by Chris Chibnall. This story is also the last to be made by Executive Producer Brian Minchin.

In January 2016 Steven Moffat announced that he would step down as the programme's showrunner after Season Thirty Six (New Series 10), to be replaced by Chris Chibnall beginning with Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11), in 2018. However, this Christmas special was not mentioned in the plans at that time. The change in showrunners almost caused the annual Christmas special for 2017 to be cancelled, as Steven Moffat originally planned to leave after the two-part story "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls" and Chris Chibnall did not want to begin his run with a Christmas special. However, when he learned of Chris Chibnall's plans, Steven Moffat elected to stay long enough to produce one final story, as he was concerned that the show would lose the coveted 25th December slot in the future if it missed a year. As a result, he had to rewrite his plans to allow Peter Capaldi to appear in one more story.

As with the last change of showrunners, Chris Chibnall wrote the final moments of the story, so as to allow him to write Jodie Whittaker's first lines on the show. This happened in the 2010 special "The End of Time", when Steven Moffat took over from Russell T. Davies in the final moments of that story, writing Matt Smith's first words as the Eleventh Doctor.

Steven Moffat and Rachel Talalay, both previously wrote and directed the previous two-part story "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls". Rachel Talalay’s other previous credits include "Dark Water/Death in Heaven" (2014) and "Heaven Sent/Hell Bent" (2015).

On the 30th January 2017 Peter Capaldi confirmed that this season would be his last as the Twelfth Doctor.

The casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor was announced on the 16th July 2017 following the 2017 Wimbledon Championships men's final.

It was then revealed at the San Diego Comic Con that this Christmas special would mark the last appearance of Peter Capaldi as The Twelfth Doctor, before he handed over the role to Jodie Whittaker - the Thirteenth Doctor. It was also revealed that Peter Capaldi would be starring alongside David Bradley who reprised his role as William Hartnell's first incarnation of The Doctor.

After a surprise appearance at the end of "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls", the First Doctor was an integral part of this Christmas special. David Bradley had previously played the original actor William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time. Interestingly An Adventure in Space and Time was written by Mark Gatiss, who plays The Captain in this story.

Though previous incarnations of The Doctor, from the original run of the show, had appeared in the show before, since it was revived in 2005, this was the first televised interaction between an incarnation of The Doctor in the current era of the show since the 2007 mini-story "Time Crash".

This story marks the First Doctor’s first full appearance in the show since the Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors". This also makes David Bradley the third actor to play this role in the television programme, after William Hartnell and then Richard Hurndall (in the 1983 Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors").

David Bradley has also appeared in Doctor Who twice before - as Solomon in the 2002 Eleventh Doctor story "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and then in the final part of "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls" when he made his debut as the First Doctor in the show.

It was announced that companion Bill Potts, played by Pearl Mackie, would be returning for this story after apparently leaving for good in the previous story "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls". Bill Potts joined the two Doctors, and Captain Lethbridge-Stewart, as a Testimony glass avatar. Past companions Nardole and Clara Oswald also made brief appearances.

The cameo appearance of Jenna Coleman, as Clara Oswald, is explained by The Doctor's memories of his former companion, lost during "Heaven Sent/Hell Bent", being restored. The scene was the last to be filmed and so represents the last scene directed by Steven Moffat; while Jenna Coleman was willing to come back to film, timing between the filming of this special and her work in Victoria was difficult to arrange. As Steven Moffat revealed ‘How many times have I killed that girl off and she was right there in my last shot! It's absolutely extraordinary. The unkillable Coleman’.

Companions Ben Jackson and Polly Wright make a brief re-reappearance in the show for the first time since their departure in the 1967 Second Doctor story "The Faceless Ones".

William Hartnell, Anneke Wills and Michael Craze appeared as the First Doctor, Polly and Ben respectively through archive footage as also did Patrick Troughton as the freshly regenerated Second Doctor.

Played by Mark Gatiss this story introduced Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart, credited as ‘The Captain’ - a new member of the Lethbridge-Stewart family.

Mark Gatiss first appeared in Doctor Who playing the eponymous professor in the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "The Lazarus Experiment". He also played the part of Gantok in the 2011 Eleventh Doctor story "The Wedding of River Song" and as ‘Danny Boy’ in both the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "Victory of the Daleks" and the 2011 Eleventh Doctor story "A Good Man Goes to War". Mark Gatiss has also written nine stories including the 2013 Eleventh Doctor story "The Crimson Horror" and the 2017 Twelfth Doctor story "Empress of Mars".

The German soldier, who the Captain speaks to and later assists, is played by Toby Whithouse who wrote "School Reunion", "The Vampires of Venice", "The God Complex", "A Town Called Mercy", "Under the Lake/Before the Flood" and "The Lie of the Land". Toby Whithouse is the second person involved in the revived series as both an actor and a writer, following Mark Gatiss.

Nikki Amuka-Bird voices the Glass Woman making this her second appearance in the Doctor Who universe following her appearance in the Torchwood episode, "Sleeper". Nikki Amuka-Bird is credited as Helen Clay on-screen, and as The Glass Woman in the Radio Times.

The ‘Good Dalek’ Rusty, from the Twelfth Doctor’s second story "Into the Dalek", makes his second appearance - in Villengard, a location mentioned only once before, in Steven Moffat's second television story, the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances".

This story featured the following (all uncredited): From "The Tenth Planet" Robert Beatty (General Cutler), Reg Whitehead (Krail), Roy Skelton and Peter Hawkins (Cyberman Voices) and Patrick Troughton (The Second Doctor); From "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang"; Nicholas Briggs (Cyberman Voice); From "The Waters of Mars" David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor); From "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" Julian Bleach (Davros).

Recording of this story began on the 12th June 2017. This included the filming of the final scene of "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls", involving David Bradley as the First Doctor.

The main production of this story concluded on the 10th July 2017. However, the final scene of this story, in which Jodie Whittaker makes her debut as the Thirteenth Doctor, was not filmed until the 19th July 2017.

This story features a rare instance in which actors that only appeared through use of archive footage were also credited. Another notable instance of this happening is in the 2013 story "The Day of The Doctor".

Director Rachel Talalay had actually shot a number of scenes from "The Tenth Planet", with a complete set reconstruction, recast characters, and the Mondasian Cybermen that had appeared in the previous two part story "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls". She revealed in an interview that she tried to make both the set, and the cinematography, as accurate to the original scenes, and original production values, as much as possible. She did admit to having fun with some parts of the set in particular, and embellishing with a Sixties feel, and noted that some details of the action had to be invented. These scene recreations however, were not used in the final edit of this story - original footage was used in its place. However, these specially shot re-tellings were shown in the cinema feature.

During the final moments of "The Tenth Planet", the First Doctor leaves his companions Ben and Polly and returns to the TARDIS. There they find him collapsed in the console room, where he undergoes his first regeneration. Derek Martinus, the Director for "The Tenth Planet", reportedly cut a line from the original script which suggested that The Doctor was refusing to give in to the regeneration process. "Twice Upon a Time" creates an extended narrative around that part of that story, in which the First Doctor delays his regeneration and encounters his future self - the Twelfth Doctor - in the snowy wasteland of the South Pole.

Even though the final part of "The Tenth Planet" no longer exists in the BBC archives the sequence where the First Doctor regenerates (as seen towards the end of this story) remains available as it was used as a clip in Blue Peter, and luckily the edition in which this clip featured had survived.

The recreated interior of the First Doctor's TARDIS actually included props from the original set in the 1960s. As revealed by Mark Gatiss these included the brass pillars, which are the actual brass pillars from way back in 1963. Other aspects of this set were recreated.

The First and Twelfth Doctors meeting in this story features the scene acted out differently than that seen at the end of "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls". This is similar to how episodes in the 1960s reshooting the prior scene’s cliffhanger, often resulting in little differences. The same situation also occurred in 2006 when "The Runaway Bride" followed the cliffhanger in "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday".

Near the end of this story, the two Doctors part company and return to their respective TARDISes to undergo their respective regenerations. The First Doctor's regeneration is shown, using original footage from "The Tenth Planet" staring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.

The Twelfth Doctor's regeneration has a new visual and sound effect to those used previously in the revived series. Resembling slow travelling, elongated golden lightning. It is the first regeneration for The Doctor, since the Seventh Doctor's regeneration in 1996, to use an effect which is visually distinct from that seen in "The Parting of the Ways", with the Ninth Doctor up to "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls".

On the last day of filming, Mark Gatiss brought in the jacket that Jon Pertwee wore in the 1973 story "Planet of the Daleks". It is seen hanging from a stand in the background in the Twelfth Doctor's TARDIS during the regeneration scene. Mark Gatiss also published a behind the scenes picture of Peter Capaldi wearing the jacket.

This is not the first time that later incarnations of The Doctor have met the First Doctor and have struggled to remember the encounter (see "The Three Doctors", "The Five Doctors" and "The Day of The Doctor").

The First Doctor remarks on his successor playing the electric guitar (see "The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar", "Heaven Sent/Hell Bent" and "The Pilot").

The First Doctor is confused about the sonic screwdriver. This device was first seen in the 1968 Second Doctor story "Fury From the Deep". However, the First Doctor's amazement and confusion would appear to contradict events in the Virgin Books' The Missing Adventures novel "Venusian Lullaby", written by Paul Leonard, which features the screwdriver being used by the First Doctor.

As well as not approving about the sonic screwdriver the First Doctor also does not approve of the Twelfth Doctor's sonic sunglasses.

The Twelfth Doctor gets concerned when the First Doctor asks what a browser history is. He previously warned Osgood not to look at his browsing history in the 2015 story "The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion" and also to Bill Potts in "Smile".

Bill is heard to ask the First Doctor about his reason for running away from Gallifrey.

Again we witness different incarnations of The Doctor banter about their differences (see "The Three Doctors", "The Five Doctors", "The Two Doctors", "Time Crash" and "The Day of The Doctor").

The Twelfth Doctor addresses his original incarnation as 'Mary Berry', 'Corporal Jones', and 'Mr. Pastry'. Mr. Pastry was a children's show character played by actor Richard Hearne, who was once considered for the role of the Fourth Doctor. Richard Hearne, however, wanted to play The Doctor as a version of Mr. Pastry, so he was passed over in favour of Tom Baker.

The Doctor paraphrases philosopher Bertrand Russell when he advises his future self that 'hate is always foolish and love is always wise'.

When the Testimony show the First Doctor images of his future incarnations, clips from both eras of the show are used. These are: the Third Doctor from the 1974 story "Invasion of the Dinosaurs"; the Fourth Doctor from the 1975 story ("Genesis of the Daleks"); the Fifth Doctor from the 1983 story "Arc of Infinity"; the Seventh Doctor from the 1988 story "The Happiness Patrol"; the Eighth Doctor from "The Night of The Doctor"; the War Doctor ("The Day of The Doctor"); the Ninth Doctor from the 2005 story "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways"; the Tenth Doctor from the 2009 story "The Waters of Mars" and "The Day of The Doctor"; the Eleventh Doctor from the 2013 story "The Day of The Doctor") and the Twelfth Doctor from "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls". The Testimony also shows Davros from the 2008 story "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End".

The Testimony shows the First Doctor and the Twelfth Doctor the amount of times they have become associated with wars (see "The Day of The Doctor", "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" and "The Name of The Doctor".

The Doctor is referred to as 'The Doctor of War' (see "A Good Man Goes to War", "The Name of The Doctor" and "The Day of The Doctor"). The Testimony also calls The Doctor by other titles associated with conflict, as did the Daleks (see "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways", "Asylum of the Daleks" and the War Doctor novel "Engines of War" written by George Mann) and the Great Intelligence (see "The Name of The Doctor").

The Eleventh Doctor's conflict at Trenzalore is mentioned by the Testimony ("The Time of The Doctor") as is the Pandorica ("The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang"), the Last Great Time War ("Dalek") and the destruction of Skaro ("Remembrance of the Daleks").

The Testimony tells The Doctor that he is in the shadow of The Valeyard (see The Trial of a Time Lord stories "The Mysterious Planet", "Mindwarp", "Terror of the Vervoids" and "The Ultimate Foe"). The Valeyard had previously caused the Sixth Doctor to regenerate (see Big Finish Productions' 2015 audio anthology "The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure" audio stories: "The End of the Line", "The Red House", "Stage Fright" and "The Brink of Death").

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First and Last

The Firsts:

 Jodie Whittaker's first appearance as the Thirteenth Doctor.

The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last story of Season Thirty Six (New Series 10).

 Peter Capaldi's last full appearance as the Twelfth Doctor.

 Matt Lucas' last appearance as Nardole.

 Pearl Mackie's last story as companion Bill Potts.

 Jenna Coleman's last appearance as Clara Oswald.

 The last Doctor Who story to feature the First Doctor, portrayed by David Bradley.

 Steven Moffat's and Brian Minchin's last involvement in the show as Executive Producers.

 The last Doctor Who story to be produced by Peter Bennett.

 The last Doctor Who story to be written by Mike Bartlett.

 Barbara Southcott's last involvement in the show as Makeup Artist.

 Hayley Nebauer's last involvement in the show as Costume Designer.

 Michael Pickwoad's last involvement in the show as Production Designer.

 Last time Murray Gold's version of the signature tune, sound and music is heard in the show.

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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The First Doctor
The First Doctor

Wandering back to his TARDIS at the South Pole, after defeating the Cybermen (see "The Tenth Planet"), the First Doctor realises that he is about to regenerate. He refuses to do so and leaving his companions, Ben Jackson and Polly Wright, behind he encounters the Twelfth Doctor outside his own TARDIS, in a similar state of mind after his previous ordeal with the Cybermen (see "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls"). The Twelfth Doctor is unable to convince The First Doctor that they are the same person when time suddenly stops causing the falling snow to become static, mid-air.

Meanwhile, in 1914 a soldier, a captain in the British Army, lies in a shell hole on the battlefield in Ypres. His revolver is aimed at a German soldier, who also has his sidearm trained on the Captain. Both men realise they will kill each other in self-defence, their respective troops far away in their trenches, unable to assist either of them. Just as the Captain prepares to accept his fate and fire his gun at the German soldier, a wave of energy flows through the battlefield, freezing everything around him. As the Captain exits the hole, a bright light suddenly flashes and encapsulates him. He then finds himself in a snowy landscape and, on hearing voices, he approaches the two people who are having a heated discussion about the static snow.

The First Doctor and the Twelfth Doctor become curious about the Captain’s appearance but soon become distracted by a portal of light that has opened in the distance. As the two Doctors approach it the First Doctor orders the portal to reveal itself. However, the light quickly vanishes, prompting the First Doctor to tell the Captain to enter his TARDIS, and the Twelfth Doctor coaxes him to follow. As they enter, the First Doctor is shocked by the changes to the TARDIS interior, while the Captain is shocked by the room's size. The Twelfth Doctor attempts to convince his younger self they are the same person by displaying that he too is undergoing regeneration. He also points out that the First Doctor's TARDIS is 70 feet away, and they are inside a later version of the TARDIS, hence the differences in appearance. Regardless, the First Doctor remains sceptical. The First Doctor notices the Captain's unease, telling the soldier to sit down and orders the Twelfth Doctor to fetch some brandy.

Ben and Polly Help The First Doctor
Ben and Polly Help The First Doctor

Suddenly, the TARDIS shakes violently, prompting the Twelfth Doctor to attempt to take off, only to find that the engines are unresponsive. Looking upwards, out of the TARDIS doors, he sees large metal claws pulling the TARDIS upwards. Once the TARDIS has stopped moving the Twelfth Doctor persuades his predecessor to confront their captors. On exiting the TARDIS the First Doctor finds himself in a huge spaceship. A humanoid glass figure seated at the top of a staircase speaks to the First Doctor, addressing him as ‘The Doctor of War’. The figure requests the return of the Captain in exchange for a friend of The Doctor.

Much to the confusion of the First Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor’s former companion Bill Potts then appears from one of the side corridors. The Twelfth Doctor quickly exits the TARDIS to hug her, before slowly pulling away, drawing his sonic screwdriver, and scanning Bill. To her surprise, the Twelfth Doctor demands that she proves herself to be real, as he believes Bill to have sacrificed herself to defeat the Cybermen. Bill insists she is her real self, explaining how Heather had saved her. The Twelfth Doctor asks where Heather is now. Bill however, struggles to give an answer.

The Twelfth Meets The First
The Twelfth Meets The First

The Twelfth Doctor decides to confront their captors directly and runs up the staircase. He is slowly followed by his younger self, who questions the need to move so fast. They find an empty chair with several panels behind it. The First Doctor takes to observing the panels, commenting on their extra-terrestrial origin. He turns to his older self, his eye-glass dropping from his eye as he notices the Twelfth Doctor wearing sunglasses to scan the panels. They turn to the chair, where a woman made completely of glass materialises. While the Twelfth Doctor scans the panels with his sonic screwdriver, the First Doctor looks more closely. He berates the Twelfth Doctor for not noticing the asymmetrical features of the woman's face, blaming his use of the sunglasses instead of his eyes. The Twelfth Doctor shyly agrees, and his younger self throws the sunglasses to the ground.

The Twelfth Doctor presses on with his plan to escape, using the sonic screwdriver to activate the crane which pulled the TARDIS up to take them back down to the ground, the team jumping onto the chains to escape as well. Their captors however, refuse to let them escape, halting the chains and pulling the TARDIS back into the spaceship. However, both incarnations of The Doctor, Bill and the Captain manage to jump to the snowy ground before the TARDIS is pulled back up.

Bill expresses concern about what they will do without the TARDIS but both incarnations of The Doctor reveal they have another, younger version, at their disposal. They head to the First Doctor's TARDIS, swiftly entering. As she does so, Bill comments on how much smaller it is, causing the Twelfth Doctor to briefly observe the windows before insisting his younger self to take off ‘deep space, anywhere’.

The Captain
The Captain

While in flight the Twelfth Doctor attempts to access the databanks but quickly realises they are rather scarce, given the TARDIS is still young. To compensate, he sets the TARDIS to land at the centre of the universe, Villengard, impressing his younger self at how easily he is able to navigate the TARDIS.

As soon as the TARDIS materialises they start to search the area. The Captain however, is attacked by a creature with multiple little green legs but they save him, both Doctors recognising the creature as a Kaled mutant. The Twelfth Doctor insists Bill wait in the First Doctor's TARDIS to look after the shocked Captain. The First Doctor fetches the Captain another brandy before joining his older self outside. However, while Bill looks after the Captain she grabs the brandy and her hand is revealed to be glass.

Meanwhile outside the two Doctors rest, discussing their respective regenerations. The Twelfth Doctor remarks they have yet to change because they are in a ‘state of grace’, though he himself finds his body starting to deteriorate. He asks why his younger self halted the regenerative process, unable to remember himself. The First Doctor admits he is afraid about regenerating. Before the Twelfth Doctor can answer the question himself they suddenly come under attack from a creature in a nearby tower. The attack only stops when the Twelfth Doctor asks the creature to scan him, announcing ‘I'm dying!’. He then goes into the tower, telling his younger self to wait outside to which the First Doctor begrudgingly agrees.

The Captain and Bill Potts
The Captain and Bill Potts

While waiting the First Doctor observes the area, finding the remains of a Dalek casing. As he inspects it Bill sneaks up on him and begins asking why he ran away. The First Doctor insists she return to the Captain but Bill persists by asking him what he was running to. Interested by the question, The First Doctor responds that he left to discover why good always defeats evil. Bill hugs him, thanking him for his efforts. However, when she pulls away, the First Doctor realises that Bill is a glass avatar.

Meanwhile inside the tower the Twelfth Doctor meets with a rogue Dalek called Rusty, who has taken refuge from the other Daleks who are hunting it. He remarks on how he is a 'Good Dalek' though Rusty continues to fire at the Twelfth Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor decides to come to a truce to which Rusty agrees by disarming his gunstick. Given access to the Dalek Hivemind, the Twelfth Doctor learns that the pilot and its spaceship, known as Testimony, and were created on New Earth (see "New Earth" and "Gridlock"). It is designed to extract people from their timelines at the moment of their death, and archive their memories into glass avatars. Bill is one such avatar, created from her memories. Time suddenly freezes again as the First Doctor and Bill enter the room. She explains she is there to convince The Doctor to return the Captain back to his timeline. Disappointed at seeing no evil to fight, both incarnations of The Doctor agree to take the Captain back to the World War One battlefield.

Upon doing so, the Captain asks the Doctors to keep an eye on his family, introducing himself as Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart. The Twelfth Doctor instantly realises that the Captain must be an ancestor of his close friend Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (aka The Brigadier). The First Doctor assures he will do so, the Twelfth Doctor confirming they did. The Testimony reveal that the Captain will not remember the incident and a perception filter will ensure that both incarnations of The Doctor are not noticed once time restarts. As time resumes they watch as soldiers on both sides start to sing Silent Night. Soon, each side disarms their weapons and enter the battlefield, leading the Captain and the German soldier to withdraw their weapons and make peace. The Twelfth Doctor explains to the First Doctor that he deliberately shifted the Captain's timeline up a few hours, to the moment of the Christmas truce in 1914 where the soldiers stopped shooting and came together for Christmas, to ensure his life would be spared.

Helen Clay
Helen Clay

With the Captain saved, the First Doctor informs the Twelfth Doctor that he is prepared to regenerate and bids him good-bye before returning to his own TARDIS where he regenerates into the Second Doctor. As the soldiers play football and spend Christmas Day together, the Twelfth Doctor watches on, saluting the Captain - who briefly bypasses the perception filter, but dismisses him and returns to his trench. Now alone with Bill's avatar, the Twelfth Doctor adamantly contends she is not the genuine Bill, only for her avatar to explain that memories are what define a person. To help him understand, the avatar restores the Twelfth Doctor's memories of Clara Oswald, bringing him joy, before they are joined by Nardole's avatar.

The Twelfth Doctor however, refuses to give the avatars testimony of his life, stating he must be left alone before he changes. They respect his wish and leave after he embraces the avatars of his former companions. The Doctor then returns to his own TARDIS and, after arguing with his time-machine, decides to regenerate, but not before relaying advice to his next incarnation. He collapses as he does so but manages to return to his feet 'One more lifetime won't kill anyone, except me'. With that, he regenerates, igniting the console room as his face and body changes.

Smoke fills the console room, the Twelfth Doctor's ring falling to the floor. As the smoke clears, the new Thirteenth Doctor, now a female, examines her reflection, before saying 'Oh, brilliant'. She then presses a button before the TARDIS suffers multiple failures. Tumbling out of the time-machine, the Thirteenth Doctor observes the console room exploding. She then watches in horror as the TARDIS dematerialises while she falls through the air to the ground below.

Inside The First Doctor's TARDIS
Inside The First Doctor's TARDIS
Christmas Day 1914
Christmas Day 1914
The First Doctor Regenerates
The First Doctor Regenerates
The Twelfth Doctor Regenerates
The Twelfth Doctor Regenerates
The Thirteenth Doctor
The Thirteenth Doctor

Quote of the Story

 'The Doctor, yes. But the Doctor of War? Never, ma'am. Never.'

The First Doctor

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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Twice Upon a TimeJanuary 2018BBCDVD 4252Photo-montage
Twice Upon a TimeJanuary 2018BBCBD 0423Photo-montage

In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Twice Upon a TimeApril 2018BBC BooksPaul CornellTarget Collection. ISBN: 978-1-78594-330-0
Twice Upon a TimeJune 2018BBC BooksPaul CornellPhoto-montageAudio version of the BBC Books Target Novel read by Mark Gatiss.
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 520 (Released: January 2018)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 521 (Released: February 2018)

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The Doctor and Companions

Peter Capaldi
The Twelfth Doctor

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The Thirteenth Doctor

David Bradley
The First Doctor

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BBC Books Target Collection Cover
BBC Books Target Collection Cover

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BBC Books Target CD Cover



Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 520
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 520

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 521
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 521

Marvel Comics

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