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Demons of the Punjab
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Jodie Whittaker
Demons of the Punjab
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A Thijarian
A Thijarian
 India, 1947. The Doctor and her friends arrive in the Punjab, as India is being torn apart.

 While Yasmin attempts to discover her grandmother's hidden history, The Doctor discovers demons haunting the land.

 Who are they, and what do they want?

Source: BBC Website

General Information

Season: Thirty Seven (New Series 11)
Production Code: 11-6
Story Number: 281 (New Series: 125)
Episode Number:846 (New Series: 150)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 11 November 2018
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location: Province of Grenada, Spain; Park Hill Flats, Sheffield
Writer:Vinay Patel
Director:Jamie Childs
Series Producer:Nikki Wilson
Producer:Alex Mercer
Executive Producers:Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens
Co-Executive Producer:Sam Hoyle
Executive Producer (for the BBC):Ben Irving
Assistant Directors:Lauren Pate and Sion Eirug
Script Supervisor:Nicki Coles
Script Editors:Fiona McAllister and Hannah Mason (Assistant)
Series Script Editor:Sheena Bucktowonsing
Editors:David Fisher, David Davies (Assistant), Hayley Williams (Assistant) and Martyn Western (VFX)
Colourist:Gareth Spensley
Head of Production:Radford Neville
Production Executive:Tracie Simpson
Production Manager:James DeHaviland
Production Assistant:Ellie Simmons
Post Production Supervisor:Ceres Doyle
Production Designer:Arwel Wyn Jones
Director of Photography:Sam Heasman
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Steffan Morris
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Dan Patounas (Assistant), Scott Waller (Assistant), Sophie Hardcastle (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Visual Effects:DNEG
Special Effects:Real SFX
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Special Creature Effects:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Crispin Layfield and Dani Biernat
Stunt Performers:Belinda McGinley and Will Mackay
Incidental Music:Segun Akinola
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Dubbing Mixer:Howard Bargroff
Music Orchestrated By:Alec Roberts
Music Conducted By:Alec Roberts
Music Recorded By:Olga Fitzroy
Music Mixed By:Goetz Botzenhardt
Title Sequence:Ben Pickles
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Segun Akinola
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker (The Thirteenth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 3The Companions: Bradley Walsh (Graham O'Brien), Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair) and Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan) Additional Cast: Leena Dhingra (Nani Umbreen), Amita Suman (Umbreen), Shane Zaza (Prem), Hamza Jeetooa (Manish), Shaheen Khan (Hasna), Shobna Gulati (Najia), Ravin J Ganatra (Hakim), Bhavnisha Parmar (Sonya), Emma Fielding (Voice of Kisar), Nathalie Curzner (Performance of Kisar), Isobel Middleton (Voice of Almak), Barbara Fadden (Performance of Almak)Setting: Pakistan-India border, Punjab (17th and 18th August 1947) Villain:Manish

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
Duration Viewers
In Archive
846Demons of the Punjab11 November 201850'03"7.2Yes

Total Duration 50 Minutes

Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.2


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

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This is the sixth story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11). It was written by Vinay Patel and directed by Jamie Childs.

In this story Yasmin Khan persuades The Doctor to take her to India to see her grandmother when she was a young woman. However, they soon become caught up in the events preceding the partition of India. The Doctor however, questions if aliens are involved in the death of a man that is killed during their visit.

This is the first story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11) that isn't written or co-written by Chris Chibnall.

After the premiere story, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" of this season was broadcast, it was announced that Shane Zaza, Hamza Jeetooa, and Amita Suman would be among a number of guest actors that would appear in during this season. In this story they play the parts of Prem, Manish and the younger Umbreen respectively.

This story's closing theme was arranged after the style of Punjabi music by this season's composer Segun Akinola.

The story was filmed in the Province of Granada in Spain.

This is the second story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11) in which its title may be considered to have a double meaning, following "The Woman Who Fell to Earth". In this case, ‘Demons’ may refer to the Thijarians or the Hindu thugs who kill Prem, as he refers to them as demons.

While participating in the pre-wedding celebrations, The Doctor muses that she never used to do this kind of thing when she was a man, a reference to her previous male incarnations.

The Doctor can officiate weddings, having previously officiated Albert Einstein's.

The Doctor is heard to state that she is too kind, something her predecessor told her to be in "Twice Upon a Time".

Yasmin's Muslim faith was briefly touched upon before in "Rosa".

Graham O'Brien is heard calling The Doctor ‘Doc’ as he has done previously in "Rosa", "Arachnids in the UK" and "The Tsuranga Conundrum".

This story has The Doctor explain more about the specific details of how the telepathic circuits in the TARDIS function when we witness her using them to find a specific place and time in relation to one of her companions (see "Listen" and "Dark Water/Death in Heaven").

This story further expanded on Yasmin Khan's family and heritage, exploring her grandmother Umbreen's personal history in India during its partition in 1947.

The Tenth Doctor also visited India during the 1947 Partition, with Donna Noble in the BBC novel "Ghosts of India" written by Mark Morris.

The Doctor again incorrectly assumes malicious intent from aliens present at people's deaths. Much like "Twice Upon a Time", The Doctor believed the aliens intended to kill, but they were in fact non-hostile. The Thijarians were not killing, but instead bearing witness.

The Doctor lists several things she needs to those around her to get her in order to solve the matter at hand. The Eleventh Doctor did the same in the White House in the 2011 story "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon").

The Doctor refers to the dangers of going back in time to observe family members. Though this time, it is not as disastrous as for Rose Tyler in the 2005 Ninth Doctor story "Father's Day".

The Doctor has attended several weddings before and in this story she is heard to remark how she loves them. The Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor held similar opinions, (see "The Runaway Bride", "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" and "Let's Kill Hitler") although the Tenth Doctor remarked, in the 2007 story "Blink" that he was ‘rubbish’ at his own. By contrast, the Twelfth Doctor hated weddings (see the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story "The Clockwise War").

The Doctor states that the people with her are under her protection. The Eleventh Doctor voiced a similar sentiment multiple times (see "The Eleventh Hour", "The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe", "The Bells of Saint John" and "Nightmare in Silver").

For the second time in this season, the usual Doctor Who theme tune does not play over the end credits. In contrast to "Rosa", this story has an Indian music inspired version of the theme.

First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Vinay Patel.

 The first story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11) that isn't written or co-written by Chris Chibnall.

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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Older Umbreen
Older Umbreen

Yasmin Khan is in her family's flat with her family, celebrating the birthday of her grandmother Umbreen. Umbreen provides each of her granddaughters with a gift - she gives a photo of herself and their grandfather to Sonya, while Yasmin is given a broken watch, warning her never to fix it but refuses to reveal why. Curious over its origins Yasmin decides to ask The Doctor to take her back to her grandmother's past so as to see what she was like in her younger days.

In the TARDIS all that Yasmin can tell The Doctor is that Umbreen was in the Pakistani city of Lahore in the 1950s. The Doctor at first refuses to take Yasmin back in time to see her grandmother, as it risks wiping herself out of existence. But Yasmin begs The Doctor, showing her the broken watch that Umbreen had given her. Although still hesitant The Doctor relents and takes the watch from Yasmin and attaches it to the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits, allowing them to find the exact moment that it was broken in Umbreen's timeline.

Much to Yasmin’s surprise the TARDIS arrives in the Punjabi countryside instead of Lahore, confusing her, The Doctor and also her fellow travelling companions, Graham O'Brien and Ryan Sinclair. The Doctor takes out her sonic screwdriver and starts to get TARDIS readings from all around the area. Suddenly, they are struck by some sort of vision of dark figures, and stumble into a road. There they meet Prem, who is driving an ox-pulled cart. They claim to be family friends, and get a ride to see Umbreen.

The Doctor is Attacked
The Doctor is Attacked

Upon arriving at Umbreen’s home, Yasmin learns that the watch's previous owner is Prem, a Hindu man whom the younger Umbreen is set to marry despite Yasmin's family having Muslim roots. The Doctor notes that the group have arrived on the 14th August 1947, the day before the deadly partition of India.

The Doctor advises Prem and Umbreen to carry out their wedding ceremony soon before they are caught up in the partitioning. However, just before reaching the ceremony, The Doctor again has visions of two alien figures while experiencing brief head pains. They then discover that the ceremony's sadhu, Bhakti, has been murdered apparently by the two aliens. Assuming the aliens killed Bhakti, The Doctor eventually finds their spaceship hidden in the forest. The Doctor at first is unable to get any readings but eventually she manages to identify the spaceship as being a Thijarian Hive and she reveals that the Thijarians are assassins.

Younger Umbreen
Younger Umbreen

Prem claims to have seen them before, standing over the body of his older brother, Kunal while they were both serving in the Second World War. Then the Thijarians appear and they are forced to evacuate the hive. Back out in the forest, Ryan and Prem are transported away appearing some distance away. Not knowing what has just happened all that Ryan can recall is The Doctor telling them to get out of the forest and so they both run. Back near the Thijarians’ spaceship The Doctor notices a device on a tree nearby, a transmat lock, and confiscates it. As she makes her own way out of the forest The Doctor continues to find more locks.

Back at the farm, Yasmin is confused about Umbreen intending to marry Prem. Graham tries to comfort her when they hear Ryan yelling and rush outside to discover what is wrong. The Doctor arrives soon after and tells them to all run for the barn. The Thijarians then arrive threatening everyone there with death, but The Doctor drives them away with the transmat locks. The Doctor then gets them all to source things from around the farm so that she can make some ‘demon repellent’. Later Umbreen speaks with The Doctor, asking her to officiate the wedding, as a doctor is a respectable position, which The Doctor agrees to do. Elsewhere, Ryan, Graham, Prem, and Manish are playing cards. Manish appears to be winning. However, he argues with his brother as he does not want Prem to go through with the wedding.

Now alone in the barn The Doctor, while studying some material that she recovered from the Thijarians’ spaceship, finds herself transmatted back to the Hive. There she learns that the Thijarian world was destroyed in the assassin's absence. They claim to have become witnesses, and have spent 100 generations honouring their lost world. Now they have travelled to Earth to witness and honour those left dead, unseen and unknown, in the wake of the Partition. They then reveal that Prem will become a casualty of the partition before allowing The Doctor to view a recording of Bhakti's death. The footage reveals Bhakti was murdered by Prem's younger brother Manish.

The Two Brothers
The Two Brothers

Returning to the others, The Doctor reveals what she has learnt - that Prem must die and that the Thijarians are not actually assassins but merely observers to those who are killed. She warns them that they cannot interfere, or Umbreen will never become Yasmin's grandmother. Yasmin however, convinces The Doctor to remain rather than leave, leading The Doctor to perform the marriage ceremony the following day.

After the wedding ceremony Umbreen offers Manish reconciliation, and Manish coldly casts her and his own brother aside. After that, Prem offers Umbreen his watch, but drops it on the ground, where it breaks. Umbreen's mother says the day is truly cursed, but Umbreen says it is instead perfect, and that the watch is theirs forever, their own moment in time. The Doctor then confronts Manish for murdering Bhakti, causing Manish to reveal that he has contacted a group of armed Hindu nationalists to attack the wedding reception. Realising that Manish has betrayed his whole family, as well as murdering the holy man, The Doctor learns that men on horseback are at this moment charging down the road to take their land and so none of them are safe.

Back in the farmhouse The Doctor warns Prem and Umbreen that they all need to leave straightaway. However, as The Doctor expected, Prem offers to stay behind and distract the groups of thugs so that they can all escape. He tells The Doctor to go as well, claiming that he must face these demons alone. And so while Umbreen and her mother escape with The Doctor's group, Prem goes to meet his brother and the thugs and attempts to reason with them but dies when one of the thugs shoots him. As everyone flees the Thijarians stand vigil, honouring Prem.

Back in the TARDIS, Yasmin worries if Umbreen managed to escape or if she will be killed after all. The Doctor tells a relieved Yasmin that her grandmother did manage to survive and will eventually end up in Sheffield.

A Thijarian
A Thijarian
The Wedding Ceremony
The Wedding Ceremony
Manish Prepares to Kill Prem
Manish Prepares to Kill Prem
The Thijarians Honoring Prem
The Thijarians Honoring Prem

Quote of the Story

 'Ordinary people who've lived here all their lives, whipped into a frenzy to be part of a mob. There's nothing worse than when ordinary people lose their minds. We've lived together for decades, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, and now we're being told that our differences are more important than what unites us. Like we learned nothing in the war. I don't know how we protect people when hatred's coming from all sides.'


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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
The Complete Eleventh Series Box SetJanuary 2019BBCDVD 4296Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 10 stories
The Complete Eleventh Series Box SetJanuary 2019BBCBD 0437Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 10 stories
The Complete Eleventh Series Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)January 2019BBCBD 0455Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 10 stories
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 11January 2019Photo-montageMusic by Segun Akinola

In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 531 (Released: December 2018)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 533 (Released: January 2019)

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Photo Gallery

The Doctor and Companions

Jodie Whittaker
The Thirteenth Doctor


Bradley Walsh
Graham O'Brien
Tosin Cole
Ryan Sinclair
Mandip Gill
Yasmin Khan

On Release

Complete Series DVD Box Set
Complete Series DVD Box Set

Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set

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

Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover



Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 531
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 531

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 533
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 533

Marvel Comics

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