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Orphan 55
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Jodie Whittaker
Orphan 55
Thirteenth Doctor Logo


A Dreg
A Dreg
 The Doctor and her friends discover that the luxury resort where they are holidaying is hiding a number of deadly secrets.

 What are the ferocious monsters attacking Tranquillity Spa?

Source: BBC Website

General Information

Season: Thirty Eight (New Series 12)
Production Code: 12-3
Story Number: 288 (New Series: 132)
Episode Number:854 (New Series: 158)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 12 January 2020
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location: Tenerife
Writer:Ed Hime
Director:Lee Haven Jones
Producer:Alex Mercer
Series Producer:Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers:Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens
Executive Producer (for the BBC):Ben Irving
Assistant Directors:Jennifer Day and Rosey-Pepper Mortley
Script Supervisor:Nicki Coles
Script Editors:Fiona McAllister and Caroline Buckley (Assistant)
Series Script Editor:Sheena Bucktowonsing
Editors:Rebecca Trotman, Tom Chapman, David S J Davies (Assistant), Hayley Williams (Assistant), Alastair Gray (Assistant VFX) and Georgina Careless (VFX)
Colourist:Gareth Spensley
Head of Production:Radford Neville
Production Executive:Tracie Simpson
Production Manager:Delmi Thomas
Production Assistant:Gwenno Hughes
Post Production Supervisor:Ceres Doyle
Supervising Location Manager:Iwan Roberts
Location Manager:Gareth Roberts
Production Designer:Dafydd Shurmer
Director of Photography:Ed Moore
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Steffan Morris
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Claire Pritchard-Jones
Cameramen:Dan Patounas (Assistant), Gwilym Jenner (Assistant), Scott Waller (Assistant), Sophie Hardcastle (Assistant) and Mark McQuoid (Operator)
Incidental Music:Segun Akinola
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Dubbing Mixers:Howard Bargroff and Kiran Marshall
Visual Effects:DNEG
Special Effects:Real SFX
Special Creature Effects:Robert Allsopp & Associates
Stunt Co-ordinators:Belinda McGinley and Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performer:Matt Hermiston
Title Sequence:Ben Pickles
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Segun Akinola
Additional VFX: Ben Pickles
Additional VFX: BBC Wales Graphics
Creature Designer: Ray Holman
Creature Movement: Spencer Wilding
Music Mixed By: Goetz Botzenhardt
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: Laura Fraser (Kane), Gia Ré (Bella), James Buckley (Nevi), Julia Foster (Vilma), Amy Booth-Steel (Hyph3n), Will Austin (Vorm), Col Farrell (Benni), Lewin Lloyd (Sylas), Spencer Wilding (Lead Dreg)Setting: Tranquility Spa, Orphan 55 Villain:Dregs

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
Duration Viewers
In Archive
854Orphan 5512 January 202046'42"5.2Yes

Total Duration 47 Minutes

Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.2


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

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"Orphan 55" is the second story of Season Thirty Eight (New Series 12) and was written by Ed Hime and directed by Lee Haven Jones. Ed Hime wrote the previous season’s story "It Takes You Away".

The Doctor and her three travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, travel to a possible future of Earth, in which it has become known as Orphan 55, with the surviving residents having mutated into creatures known as Dregs.

Lee Haven Jones directed the second recording block, which comprised this story, and the second part of the opening story "Spyfall". He also directed "Revolution of the Daleks" - the 2020 Christmas special.

Playing the part of Nevi, James Buckley was revealed to be appearing in this story in June 2019. Then in December 2019, Laura Fraser was announced as a guest star – she played the part of Kane. Further cast were announced in Issue 547 of the Doctor Who Magazine that was published in early January 2020.

This story was filmed on location in Tenerife, including the Auditorio de Tenerife for the external shots of Tranquillity Spa and the area around the dormant volcano Mount Teide for the barren wasteland.

This story starts with Graham having collecting holiday coupons from the Bandohzi Herald. The ‘Six Coupon’ offer gets delivered through the coffee machine in the TARDIS. These coupons, when put together, become a teleport cube which transports The Doctor and her three companions to Tranquillity Spa which they discover is inside a dome on the planet Orphan 55. There is a pool, Bar and Refreshment Zone, muster stations, teleport pads, a linen cupboard in the north corridor and a steam room. There are security cameras in the Aqua Spa Zone, the Ocean View Zone, the Tropical Vista Zone and the Peaceful Paradise Zone.

The Doctor previously investigated a holiday resort which was hiding a secret in the Big Finish Productions’ The Lost Stories audio story "Paradise 5".

Bernice Summerfield previously visited Gigamarket where the humans were hidden behind a force-wall to stop the Borvali from hunting them down (see the Big Finish Productions’ Bernice Summerfield audio story "The Greatest Shop in the Galaxy").

This story showed one possible future for Earth, in which global warming and nuclear warfare eventually lead to it becoming an orphan planet. The Doctor states that Earth's fate as Orphan 55 is ‘one possible future, one timeline’. She explains that the relative future is always in motion, with multiple timelines hanging in the balance, dependent on the decisions of those who act in the present.

The underground tunnel historically served residents of Novosibirsk in Siberia. This is realised when Graham comments that a name plaque, they discover in the tunnel, looks like it is in Russian, but The Doctor informs him that it is Novosibirsk.

In the 1986 story "The Mysterious Planet" (the first story that made up The Trial of a Time Lord, the season-long storyline that constituted Season Twenty Three) the Sixth Doctor previously identified a planet as Earth thanks to an underground railway station.

Also confirming that they are on Earth Ryan notices a sign on a vending machine that states it was made in China.

The Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald previously visited a future Earth devastated by climate change in 2089. The Doctor indicated to Clara that this future was not fixed. (see the short story "All the Empty Towers" which is part of The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who collection of short stories).

The Second Doctor previously witnessed a devastated future Earth in the Big Finish Productions’ The Companion Chronicles audio story "The Apocalypse Mirror". The Seventh Doctor also encountered a possible version of future humanity mutated by pollution in the 1989 story "The Curse of Fenric".

The Doctor mentions scientist warnings of the environment being in danger. She is also heard mentioning a food chain collapse, mass migration and war. While Yasmin mentions global warming.

On exiting the dome they discover Dregs are roaming around the planet. They are apex predators and can adapt to guns and nuclear winter. The Doctor calls the Dreg leader Wheezy and the alpha dog.

Orphan 55 has toxic mists all around it and gets slowly roasted by sunlight because of having no ozone layer. To be outside the dome, people need oxygen tanks as there's not enough oxygen in the wastelands.

Kane justifies the building of the spa on an orphan planet with the radiation having dropped. She is hopeful that the CO2 levels can be reduced and the planet can be terraformed to become habitable.

The Doctor uses her psychic paper to masquerade as a ‘Pan-Galactic Standards and Practices Officer, Health and Safety, Security and Hygiene and Resort Inspector’.

Ryan again mentions that he works in a warehouse (see "The Woman Who Fell to Earth"). While Graham says that he is a bus driver (see "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" and "Rosa").

Graham briefly wonders if he is having a stroke after bumping his head on an invisible void panel.

The symptoms of the Hopper virus in a human include wiggling fingers, which immediately signal the legs giving out, and hallucinations.

The Doctor is heard to say ‘When I say run, run’. This was a favourite saying of the Second Doctor.

The Doctor instructs her companions to be the ‘best of humanity’ (see the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood").

Unlike both parts of the previous story "Spyfall" this story does not have a pre-title sequence.

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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Graham With the Transport Cube
Graham With the Transport Cube

The Doctor and her three travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, are teleported to Tranquillity Spa via a transportation cube for an all-inclusive stay.

On arrival they are welcomed by their customer host, Hyph3n. As Ryan retrieves a snack from a vending machine, he is infected by a Hopper virus, which The Doctor is able to extract from him. While recovering, he meets a fellow guest, Bella. Meanwhile, a physical breach occurs and guests are instructed to assemble for a muster drill. The Doctor convinces Hyph3n to give her access to the ‘linen cupboard’, which is actually a security room with an armoury, where they meet Kane.

The Doctor becomes suspicious upon discovering that an Ionic Membrane is needed to protect the holiday spa. The creatures that break into the spa start killing guests. Making matters worse, the Hopper virus also found its way into the spa's systems, disabling the transporter and security cameras.

Arriving at Tranquillity Spa
Arriving at Tranquillity Spa

The remaining survivors, the spa's mechanic Nevi, his son Sylas, and an elderly woman, Vilma, meet at the linen cupboard, but Vilma notices her partner, Benni, has gone missing. The Doctor builds a new Ionic Membrane from scratch to banish the creatures. Now safe, Kane identifies the creatures as the local Dregs.

It is revealed that the spa is a ‘Fakeation’, a place designed to look like a vacation but in a fabricated environment. The spa's system, which tracks all the guests, shows Benni outside the spa, so the survivors go out to rescue him. From the vehicle, the group sees the uninhabitable desolation of the orphan planet they are on, Orphan 55.


Following Benni’s tracker signal the vehicle is caught in a Dreg trap and the Dregs surround it, keeping Benni as a hostage. The group makes a run for a nearby service tunnel, but the Dregs kill Hyph3n and Benni is shot by Kane.

In the underground tunnel, Bella reveals she is Kane's daughter, who the latter neglected in order to build the spa. Bella escapes with Ryan via the transporter while the others are forced to continue further along to the stairs as Dregs swarm into the tunnel. After The Doctor, Graham and Yasmin discover a rusted Russian sign, they deduce that Orphan 55 is actually Earth after it was devastated by global climate change and nuclear war.

With the Dregs closing in Vilma sacrifices herself to give the group more time to escape. Going through a Dreg nest, The Doctor learns that the Dregs are mutated humans that survived the fallout. Kane stays behind to give the group more time to escape.

Graham Relaxes
Graham Relaxes

Back in the spa they discover that Bella has resumed her plan to destroy the spa out of anger toward her mother – having placed explosives around the spa. When they go off the Dregs manage to infiltrate the spa.

As the Dregs attack the spa, Nevi, with the help of his son Sylas, manage to fix the transporter allowing them all to safely evacuate. However, Bella and Kane decide to stay behind to fight off the Dregs.

Back in the TARDIS, The Doctor’s travelling companions despair over Earth's future. The Doctor however, tells them that while this timeline is only a possibility, she cannot promise that it will not come to pass; humanity can either make a positive change or accept their fate and end up like the Dregs.

Benni and Vilma
Benni and Vilma
The Doctor Starts to Learn the Truth
The Doctor Starts to Learn the Truth
A Dreg
A Dreg
Back in the TARDIS
Back in the TARDIS

Quote of the Story

 'I know what you're thinking, but it's one possible future. It's one timeline. You want me to tell you that Earth's going to be okay? Cos I can't. In your time, humanity is busy arguing over the washing-up while the house burns down. Unless people face facts and change, catastrophe is coming. But it's not decided. You know that. The future is not fixed. It depends on billions of decisions, and actions, and people stepping up. Humans. I think you forget how powerful you are. Lives change worlds. People can save planets, or wreck them. That's the choice. Be the best of humanity. Or…'

The Doctor

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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
The Complete Twelfth Series Box SetApril 2020Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 9 stories
The Complete Twelfth Series Box SetApril 2020Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 9 stories
The Complete Twelfth Series Box Set (Amazon Limited Edition Steelbook)April 2020Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 8 stories
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 12April 2020Photo-montageMusic by Segun Akinola

In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - PreviewIssue 547 (Released: February 2020)
Doctor Who Magazine - After ImageIssue 550 (Released: May 2020)

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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 Amazon Limited Edition Steelbook
Complete Series Blu-Ray Amazon Limited Edition Steelbook

Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover



Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 547
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 547

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - After Image: Issue 550
Doctor Who Magazine - After Image: Issue 550

Marvel Comics

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