BBC Doctor Who - The Stories BBC
QuickNav to a Season: 
QuickNav to a Story: 
 
The Previous Story
Praxeus
 The Previous Story
The Previous Story
(Fugitive of the Judoon)
 The Next Story
(Can You Hear Me?)
Season
Details
SynopsisGeneral
Information
The
Episodes
Audience
Appreciation
ArchivesNotesFirst and LastThe PlotQuote of
the Story
Release
Information
In PrintPhoto
Gallery
 

Jodie Whittaker
Praxeus
Thirteenth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


The Praxeus Virus
The Praxeus Virus
 What connects a missing astronaut in the Indian Ocean, birds behaving strangely in Peru and a US naval officer who washes up on a Madagascan beach?

 Team Tardis investigate.

Source: BBC Website


General Information

Season: Thirty Eight (New Series 12)
Production Code: 12-6
Story Number: 291 (New Series: 135)
Episode Number:857 (New Series: 161)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 02 February 2020
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Location: South Africa
Writers:Chris Chibnall and Pete McTighe
Director:Jamie Magnus Stone
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:Aina Sabaté-Giralt
Script Editors:Fiona McAllister and Caroline Buckley (Assistant)
Series Script Editor:Sheena Bucktowonsing
Editors:Rebecca Trotman, 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:Ariana Scott
Post Production Supervisor:Ceres Doyle
Supervising Location Manager:Iwan Roberts
Location Manager:Gareth Roberts
Production Designer:Dafydd Shurmer
Director of Photography:Catherine Goldschmidt
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), Joshua Montoro-Bailes (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
Prosthetics:Millennium FX
Stunt Co-ordinator:Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performers:Chris Morrison, Joel Conlan and Rick English
Title Sequence:Ben Pickles
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Segun Akinola
Creature Designer: Ray Holman
Music Mixed By: Goetz Botzenhardt
South Africa Crew - Producer: Adam Friedlander
South Africa Crew - Line Producer: Samantha Putter
South Africa Crew - Production Manager: Simon Rhodes
South Africa Crew - Production Designer: Darryl Hammer
South Africa Crew - Camera Operator: Michael Carstensen
South Africa Crew - Sound Mixer: Ivan Milborrow
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: Warren Brown (Jake Willis), Matthew McNulty (Adam Lang), Joana Borja (Gabriela Camara), Molly Harris (Suki Cheng), Gabriela Toloi (Jamila Velez), Soo Drouet (Joyce), Tristan de Beer (Zach Olson), Thapelo Maropefela (Arumu)Setting: Madagascar, Hong Kong, Indian Ocean (2020s) Villains:Praxeus and Suki Cheng

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
857Praxeus02 February 202049'57"5.1Yes

Total Duration 50 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.1


Archives


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



Return to the top of this page
 


Notes


"Praxeus" is the fifth story of Season Thirty Eight (New Series 12) and was written by Pete McTighe and Chris Chibnall, and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone.

Pete McTighe wrote the previous season story "Kerblam!".

Jamie Magnus Stone directed the stories in the first recording block of this season which included this story and the first part of the opening story "Spyfall". He also directed "Ascension of the Cybermen/The Timeless Children" - the final two-part story of this season.

This story marked the first television role in any licensed Doctor Who media given to a Brazilian actress, Gabriela Toloi.

Parts of this story were filmed in South Africa along with "Spyfall".

The Doctor and her three travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, are investigating three separate distress signals received by the TARDIS (see the end of the previous story "Fugitive of the Judoon"). The Doctor has travelled to Madagascar and sent Graham and Yasmin to Hong Kong. While Ryan has been sent to Peru.

According to Gabriela, Peru has the most beautiful river in the world but they discover it has been polluted with rubbish.

The Doctor's opening monologue places this story as taking place ‘early in the third decade of the 21st century’.

The Doctor and her three travelling companions keep in contact with each other using Comm Dots. In the 2018 story "The Tsuranga Conundrum" the Tsuranga crew used Comm Dots to communicate over great distances.

Yasmin and Graham have a set of skeleton keys that they use at the warehouse in Hong Kong. Jake wonders if they are from Interpol or ESA.

The Doctor indicates she has more than one brain and describes herself as ‘a romantic’.

Zach Olson, the US naval officer who is washed up on a beach in Madagascar, is from a US submarine that went missing in the Indian Ocean. Before dying he tells The Doctor that he tried to rescue his entire navy team before he succumbed to the virus.

Gabriela and Jamila are vloggers on the channel Two Girls Roaming. At the end of this story Jake and Adam go on their honeymoon at last, with Gabriela following. She wants to vlog about it, which Graham suggests calling Three Idiots Roaming.

The Doctor informs Adam Lang that his bloodstream has been infected with an alien pathogen. A pathogen is a microorganism that carries disease.

The Doctor discovers that the Praxeus virus is transferred to humans through contact with infected birds. The Doctor discovers though that the bird enzymes are trying to fight back Praxeus.

This story had fans pointing out the parallels between the fictional bacteria Praxeus and the real-world Coronavirus. The real virus was discovered in December 2019 and spread in 2020, notably after this story was filmed and initially during the week that this story was broadcast – creating a strange coincidence.

The Doctor briefly entertains the possibility that the Autons might have taken over the world's discarded plastic. In fact, the Nestene Consciousness recently did take over the North Atlantic garbage patch, with ongoing plans for world domination through Bakin Petrochemicals. Rhys Williams took care of this threat in the short term in the Torchwood audio story "Sargasso".

When the TARDIS materialises around Jake, he appears in the interior. This has been seen before (see "Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways", "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and "Let's Kill Hitler").

Gabriela asks if the TARDIS is an optical illusion, while Jake believes the interior of the TARDIS is a building.

The TARDIS has a holographic screen that can be extended away from the console it also has a bioreading table that The Doctor uses to synthesise the Praxeus antidote.

After using the teleport device Yasmin thinks she has found an alien colony which The Doctor reveals to just be an alien construct. Yasmin is relieved that she and Gabriela didn't teleport into an active volcano.

Astronaut Adam Lang is onboard a Soyuz spacecraft while calling Control. The spaceship suffers automatic system failure with a failed DMP, unable to switch to ballistic descent and maintain trajectory. Soyuz spacecrafts, as the one seen in this story, exist in the real world.

Adam Lang is heard to state that while in orbit he enjoyed watching Earth from above, seeing hurricanes and the aurora borealis, and the turn of the planet.

Suki and Aramu are working on a marine filtration system connected into a Crystal Oceans Initiative; Microversion. In Suki’s lab there is a broad-spectrum antibiotics, a high-power microscope, blood cultures, rapid genome sequencing, a spectrophotometer, and a super-fast incubator.

The Doctor uses a Chemical Analyser on Suki's computer to check the chemical data on Adam's Blood Analysis.

The climatic moment of the story, where The Doctor desperately saves Jake Willis from certain death in the exploding spacecraft after he sacrifices himself to destroy Praxeus, made fans recall the climatic death scene of former companion Adric in the 1982 story "Earthshock" in which the Fifth Doctor was unable to save Adric due to the Cyber-Leader damaging the control console of the TARDIS, resulting in Adric plummeting towards Earth, being the reason the dinosaurs becoming extinct.

This story contains an error - as The Doctor is standing in the TARDIS doorway, watching Yasmin and Gabriela leave, it is obvious that the interior of the TARDIS is just a photo pasted onto the back wall.


Return to the top of this page
 


The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Gabriela and Jamila
Gabriela and Jamila

The Doctor and her three travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, investigate a strange new bacterium infecting people around the globe.

In Peru, Ryan meets travel vlogger Gabriela, who is looking for her missing companion Jamila. When they find the odd-looking corpse of a bird, Ryan takes it in his backpack. They later come to an abandoned hospital, where they encounter the dying Jamila infected with a crystalline substance, who then disintegrates in front of their eyes.

In Hong Kong, Graham and Yasmin meet up with ex-police officer Jake, whose husband Adam Lang, an astronaut, has crash-landed in the Indian Ocean, but seems to have sent a text message from the city asking for Jake’s help. While investigating a derelict warehouse, they find some alien looking technology including a strange translucent panel in an alien language which Yasmin tries to take, before they are attacked by two humanoid figures in gas masks. Jake handily defeats the two figures in close combat after shooting them with one of their laser rifles.

Jake Willis
Jake Willis

In Madagascar, The Doctor finds US Navy submarine officer Zach Olsen washed ashore, and gets help from medical researchers Suki and Amaru to bring him to safety, but the naval officer reveals that his submarine was attacked and he was also infected. Zach Olsen promptly succumbs to the bacterium. The Doctor, Suki and Amaru then witnesses the same odd behaviour of the birds that Ryan saw in Peru.

The Doctor collects Ryan and Gabriela via the TARDIS, and then lands in Hong Kong to recover the others. Yasmin though insists on staying behind so that she can try and retrieve the panel. Gabriela offers to help. As the others return to Madagascar to take care of Adam, Yasmin and Gabriela return to the alien lab but find another humanoid in a gasmask. He uses a separate panel and teleports away, and Yasmin and Gabriela decide to follow, finding themselves in what appears to be an alien environment.

Graham and Yasmin in Hong Kong
Graham and Yasmin in Hong Kong

In Madagascar, Jake is glad to see Adam, but sees that Adam has become infected as well. The Doctor studies the bacterium, along with the bird corpse Ryan had collected from Peru. She finds that the bacterium attaches easily to plastics, including microplastics; the natural enzymes of the birds though are trying to prevent the alien bacterium from spreading. The Doctor surmises a better antidote must be made to prevent the birds from spreading it across the whole planet.

While working in Suki's lab The Doctor wonders why it is so well-equipped for its size and location, and suspects Suki may be hiding something. Realising that her cover is blown Suki reveals that she belongs to the remnants of an alien race affected by the bacterium, which they have called Praxeus. Suki's race have been deliberately spreading the bacterium on Earth, rich in plastics, to investigate its effects and find an antidote.

When Yasmin contacts The Doctor about her location, Suki suddenly uses a device to teleport away, absconding with the formula for the antidote. Outside, Amaru is attacked by numerous birds, which then burst into Suki’s lab. The Doctor hurries Graham, Jake, Adam, and Ryan into the TARDIS and sets course for Yasmin’s location. En-route, she uses what she had learned to create an antidote for Praxeus, and Adam offers to test it so that the TARDIS can make more, against Jake's concerns.

Suki and Amaru
Suki and Amaru

When the TARDIS lands near Yasmin’s location, The Doctor discovers that they are deep under the Indian Ocean, inside an alien shell made from accumulated plastic waste. The Doctor, Ryan, Graham, Yasmin, Jake, Adam, and Gabriela encounter a wounded masked figure, but he succumbs to Praxeus. They then find Suki tending to her unpowered spaceship. Suki reveals she was able to put off succumbing to Praxeus because her species has a different metabolism, and that her spaceship uses organic fuel cells. Suki has transmitted the formula for the antidote to her species and concocted and taken The Doctor's human-only antidote, but it leaves Suki more vulnerable to Praxeus, which quickly overtakes her body and kills her.

The Doctor finds out that her antidote has worked on Adam, and loads the supply into the fuel cells. She repairs Suki’s spaceship and sets it to fly off and explode in the stratosphere so as to distribute the antivirus, but the autopilot malfunctions.

The Doctor, Graham, Yasmin, Ryan, Gabriela, and Adam rush back to the TARDIS. But once inside they find that Jake has stayed behind so as to pilot the spaceship to make sure it reaches its destination. Knowing that Jake will not survive unless she intervenes The Doctor is able to materialise the TARDIS around Jake and rescue him a millisecond before detonation.

After assuring the antivirus has properly spread around the Earth, via the jet stream, The Doctor drops off Adam, Jake, and Gabriela in Madagascar and encourages them to travel the world together. The Doctor and her three travelling companions then depart in the TARDIS.

 
Graham
Graham
Rescuing Adam Lang
Rescuing Adam Lang
The Doctor
The Doctor
Suki Cheng
Suki Cheng
 
Yasmin
Yasmin
Suki is Infected
Suki is Infected
Jake Saves the Day
Jake Saves the Day
Adam and Jake Reunited
Adam and Jake Reunited



Return to the top of this page
 


Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
DVD
The Complete Twelfth Series Box SetApril 2020Photo-montageDVD boxed set containing 9 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Twelfth Series Box SetApril 2020Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 9 stories
Video
Blu-Ray
The Complete Twelfth Series Box Set (Amazon Limited Edition Steelbook)April 2020Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing 8 stories
Audio
CD
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)

Return to the top of this page
 


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

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   



Magazines

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
   

Return to the top of this page
 
 
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Me
Episodes of the
Thirteenth Doctor


Season 38 (New Series 12) Press to go back to the previous visited page References
 
 
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.