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Jodie Whittaker
Kerblam!
Thirteenth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


Kerblam! It..
Kerblam! It..
 A mysterious message arrives in a package addressed to The Doctor, leading her, Graham, Yaz and Ryan to investigate the warehouse moon orbiting Kandoka, and the home of the galaxy's largest retailer, Kerblam.

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Seven (New Series 11)
Production Code: 11-7
Story Number: 282 (New Series: 126)
Episode Number:847 (New Series: 151)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 18 November 2018
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location:
Writer:Pete McTighe
Director:Jennifer Perrott
Producer:Alex Mercer
Series Producer:Nikki Wilson
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:Ulrike Munch, David S J 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:Alexandra Bahiyyih Wain
Post Production Supervisor:Ceres Doyle
Production Designer:Arwel Wyn Jones
Director of Photography:Simon Chapman
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Steffan Morris
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Cai Stephens (Assistant), Gethin Williams (Assistant), Scott Waller (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Incidental Music:Segun Akinola
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Dubbing Mixer:Howard Bargroff
Visual Effects:DNEG
Special Effects:Real SFX
Stunt Co-ordinators:Crispin Layfield and Dani Biernat
Stunt Performer:Andrew Burfold
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Segun Akinola
Music Recorded and Mixed By: Olga Fitzroy
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: Julie Hesmondhalgh (Judy Maddox), Lee Mack (Dan Cooper), Callum Dixon (Jarva Slade), Claudia Jessie (Kira Arlo), Leo Flanagan (Charlie Duffy), Matthew Gravelle (Voice of Kerblam)Setting: Kerblam, Kandoka's Moon Villain:Charlie Duffy

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
847Kerblam!18 November 201848'50"7.2Yes

Total Duration 49 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.2


Archives


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



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Notes


This is the seventh story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11). It was written by Pete McTighe and directed by Jennifer Perrott.

Australian director Jennifer Perrott also helped with production of the fifth story "The Tsuranga Conundrum".

This story guest stars Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lee Mack, Callum Dixon, Claudia Jessie, Leo Flanagan and Matthew Gravelle.

This marks the first Doctor Who television story to have an exclamation mark in its title. Many other Doctor Who stories in other mediums have an exclamation mark in their titles - such as the BBC Books' The Past Doctors Stories novel "Byzantium!" written by Keith Topping, the Big Finish Productions audio stories "Bang-Bang-A-Boom!" and "Unregenerate!" and the comic strip stories "Doctor Conkerer!" and "Flood!!!".

After "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" and "Demons of the Punjab", this is the third story of Season Thirty Seven (New Series 11) to have a double meaning in its title. In this case, the title can either refer to the company Kerblam! or the onomatopoeia for an explosion, where in this episode people are exploded after they pop the bubble wrap packaging.

The Doctor previously visited a warehouse which also contained a mystery in the Big Finish Productions Seventh Doctor audio story "The Warehouse".

The Doctor receives a fez in the post (see the 2010 story "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang").

Two previous incarnations of The Doctor have also received mail delivered directly to the TARDIS. The Seventh Doctor encountered an advertising drone promoting the Psychic Circus on the planet Segonax in the 1988/89 story "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy", while the Eleventh Doctor received a hypercube from his old friend, The Corsair in the 2011 story "The Doctor's Wife".

The Doctor is seen again using the psychic paper as a reference (see "The Vampires of Venice" and "The Lodger").

The Doctor is heard to comment that ‘some of her best friends are robots’. These include: K9, Kamelion and Handles.

The Doctor mentions having met Agatha Christie in an encounter with wasps (see the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Unicorn and the Wasp").

The Doctor is again seen using Venusian Aikido as she had done before in "The Ghost Monument". (see also "Inferno", "The Sea Devils", "Robot of Sherwood", "World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls" and the Big Finish Productions audio stories "Faith Stealer" and "Last of the Cybermen").

Twirly notes that The Doctor has high blood pressure (see the 2017 Twelfth Doctor story "Smile").

The Doctor still has not got used to the TARDIS' new controls (see "Rosa").

Graham O'Brien is heard again calling The Doctor ‘Doc’ as he has done in previous stories in this season.

The missing Kerblam! employees include: Rhys Fenjh, Arien Elgyum, Jax Harkall, Irsa Moyner, Zoff Pillax, Ra Mon Sheshter, Bagola Thotum, Basog Thotum, Kamel Wmoyna and Chirzello Zoogul.

The Doctor describes the prejudice against robots as being ‘robophobia’ – this was a theme covered in the 1977 Fourth Doctor story "The Robots of Death".

Prior to this story being broadcast, a preview of its opening scenes was shown during the Children In Need telethon on the 16th November 2018.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Pete McTighe.

 The first Doctor Who television story to have an exclamation mark in its title.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
You Have Mail
You Have Mail

Inside the TARDIS, The Doctor is having problems flying her time machine. Her three travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, are holding on to the console the best they can. Graham asks if The Doctor can do anything about the turbulence, to which she replies that she is trying to avoid something that is chasing them. The Doctor though is frustrated as she is still having problems understanding the new systems of the renovated console. On a monitor screen a blue light is following them in the time vortex. The Doctor identifies it as a teleport pulse just as a robotic man in a postal outfit appears in the TARDIS. Holding a white and red box it announces that he has a delivery for The Doctor.

Recognising the robot The Doctor tells her friends that it is the Kerblam! Man. Taking her package the Kerblam! Man recites the company motto ‘if you want it, Kerblam it!’ as it departs. The Doctor starts to open the box explaining that Kerbam! is the biggest delivery company in this galaxy. She then states that she does not remember ordering anything. When she opens the box and discovers inside a fez! As the Eleventh Doctor had a fondness for these unusual hats she assumes that he must have ordered it. The Doctor puts on the fez, asking her friends if it suits her. It is then that Yasmin notices something strange on the packing card - written on the back is a message that says ‘help me’. Ryan thinks it is just a prank. However, Graham and Yasmin convince The Doctor that it might be worth investigating just in case somebody really does need there help. The Doctor agrees and as TARDIS heads to their new destination she states ‘Kerblam!, here we come’.

The TARDIS lands on the moon of Kandoka where the automated warehouses of Kerblam! are situated. They enter the main office and walk into the reception area where they are greeted by the Head of People, Judy Maddox. So as to find out what is happening in the company they pose as potential workers and are led into the workers' area where they are scanned and allocated different roles based on their physical and mental capabilities. However, as Ryan gets scanned, the power briefly goes out and Judy explains that due to their location on the moon the power tends to fluctuate.

The Doctor's Gift
The Doctor's Gift

After they are all scanned, they are all given a coloured ankle bracelet, which is explained to keep track of them and their productivity. Ryan and Graham are given purple bracelets, Yasmin is given a red one while The Doctor is given white. Judy then leads them through the facility, showing off each work area. She notes that there are over 10,000 human workers which prompts Ryan to comment that they are going to have a hard time figuring out who sent the message asking for help. They also learn that as the well as the Kerblam! Man robots the warehouse also uses another type of robot which are called TeamMate robots. They are similar to the Kerbam! Man but programmed to help out the workers.

When they enter the packing area, The Doctor discovers that the colours on the ankle bracelets dictate what job they will be doing and that purple is for the packaging area. Because she feels that this area is the most likely to be where the message, that was placed in her parcel, came from The Doctor uses her sonic-screwdriver to swap colours with Graham. Yasmin is then escorted by a TeamMate robot to work in storage while Graham is presented with a bucket and mop and is told that he is a janitor. Ryan is just able to contain himself when he realises that this was the job that The Doctor would have been doing had she not swapped colours with Graham.

Arrival at Kerblam!
Arrival at Kerblam!

While The Doctor and Ryan work at the packing line they start chatting with their co-worker Kira Arlo. Meanwhile, Yasmin is assigned to a storage room with a man called Dan. He warns Yasmin that the TeamMate robots are constantly watching them so that their productivity can be monitored. However, their working together is short lived when Dan, who swaps an assignment to a dangerous section of the warehouse that was intended for Yasmin, is killed by a robot. When Dan does not return Yasmin starts to look for him and discovers his necklace. She calls for a TeamMate robot for help, but instead a delivery bot arrives. Feeling that something is very wrong Yasmin manages to escape.

Back at the packing area The Doctor witnesses another power drain. Kira’s boss, Jarva Slade, then walks in and scolds Kira simply for losing focus for a second, leading The Doctor to confront him about the way he spoke to Kira. The Doctor then questions Jarva about if he knows if any of his workers are distressed or in trouble. Unnerved, he tells her to get back to work. Kira tells The Doctor not to cross Jarva as a co-worker of hers, that got warned about a minor mistake, was fired and then disappeared. Meanwhile Graham receives instructions on his job as a janitor and gets to meet his superior, a young man named Charlie Duffy. An intercom then announces an emergency break period resulting in The Doctor and her three traveling companions being reunited. This enables Yasmin to mention Dan’s disappearance. While Graham is assigned to collect a map of the facility for them The Doctor decides to confront Judy and Slade. However, before The Doctor, Ryan and Yasmin go to Slade's office they observe Charlie bumping into Kira. It is obvious that Charlie has a crush on her.

On confronting Judy and Slade, about the disappearances The Doctor is not convinced that they are taking the matter seriously so she decides to return to Slade's office when both Judy and Slade eventually leave. There she discovers a file in a filing cabinet listing all those who have disappeared. Judy then enters the office catching them. She is shocked when The Doctor reveals what they have discovered – that Slade it seems is involved with the disappearances and that he has been keeping a tally. Suddenly just as Graham and Charlie enter the office there is another power drain. This activates a delivery bot, which also enters the office. The robot, to everyone's surprise, attacks Charlie. The Doctor manages to rescue Charlie by using her sonic screwdriver to turn the robot off. This prompts The Doctor to conclude that the warehouse systems are rebelling against the employees.

Judy Maddox
Judy Maddox

Meanwhile Kiran is approached by a robot and is informed that she has earned a reward as being Employee of the Day and that she needs to accompany him to collect her reward. Back in Slade’s office Judy's tablet tells her that Kira has vanished to the Foundation Levels. While The Doctor takes care of the system Ryan, Yasmin and Charlie go looking for Kira. All three ride down the maze-like conveyors to reach the lower levels. They nearly fall to their deaths a few times and as they near their destination they are nearly fried by lasers, when the system mistakes them for organic contaminants, but they finally manage to reach the Foundation Levels. Hearing Kira's voice they find her in a sealed room. She seems to be waiting for something. Then a Kerbam! package is teleported into the room. Kira opens it, only to find bubble wrap inside. Knowing what is about to happen Charlie yells through the soundproof glass for her not to pop the packaging. But Kira can not hear them outside and does so. She suddenly vanishes in a green light, leaving the room empty and Ryan realising that Charlie knew that would happen.

The Doctor then joins them with an early version of a TeamMate robot which when reactivated and patched into the current system reveals that it was the Kerblam! system that sent the message for help to The Doctor as it suspects something is wrong with its workforce. They then discover also in the Foundation Levels the remains of the missing workforce and an army of robots holding packages. When Ryan and Yasmin reveal that they have just witnessed Kira’s death when playing with the bubble wrap, The Doctor realises that someone has weaponised the material, intending for it to be used upon Kerblam!'s customers.

Charlie quickly admits to being the culprit, explaining that Kira's death was not part of his plans. He reveals his motive was to prevent rampant automation making human workforces redundant. Gaining access to the company, Charlie used the missing staff as test subjects for his weaponised bubble wrap. He intended to use it upon the company's customers, knowing blame for the sudden deaths would be placed upon automation and a lack of human diligence. Realising the company's systems killed Kira, to make Charlie understand the severity of his actions, The Doctor re-programmes the robots to deliver the packages to themselves and then pop the bubble wrap in the boxes. The Doctor uses the Kerblam!'s systems to teleport them all to safety but while the others leave, Charlie remains and as the bubble wrap explodes, it fills the room with green light and Charlie is last seen with a look of horror on his face.

The following day Judy and Slade inform The Doctor that they have given all the workers paid time off while the damage from the explosion is repaired. They also plan to reorganise the workforce to be less reliant on the robots and more on humans. Judy offers them management positions but The Doctor refuses and The Doctor and her companions return to the TARDIS where inside Graham finds the box The Doctor originally received from Kerblam! and goes to examine the bubble wrap but stops when Ryan tells him that it's best not to chance it just in case Charlie tampered with that bubble wrap as well. Graham agrees and returns the bubble wrap to the box as The Doctor operates the TARDIS controls.

 
Working In Dispatch
Working In Dispatch
Kira Arlo
Kira Arlo
A Rogue Robot
A Rogue Robot
Charlie Duffy
Charlie Duffy
 
Attacked by a Robot
Attacked by a Robot
Kira Arlo Receives a Bonus
Kira Arlo Receives a Bonus
Deliveries Waiting To Be Sent
Deliveries Waiting To Be Sent
Charlie Activates His Plan
Charlie Activates His Plan




Quote of the Story


 'The systems aren't the problem. How people use and exploit the system — that's the problem.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

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


In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 532 (Released: Winter 2018/2019)
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

BBC
VIDEO
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set
Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set

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

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   



Magazines

Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 532
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 532

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

Marvel Comics
   

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