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Jodie Whittaker
Can You Hear Me?
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The Immortal Gods
The Immortal Gods
 From ancient Syria to present day Sheffield, and out into the wilds of space, something is stalking The Doctor and her friends.

 As Graham, Yaz and Ryan return home to see friends and family, they find themselves haunted by very different experiences.

 Who is the figure calling from beyond the stars for help, and why? And what are the fearsome Chagaskas terrorising Aleppo in 1380?

 To find the answers, Team TARDIS embark on a mission that forces them to face their darkest fears.

Source: BBC Website

General Information

Season: Thirty Eight (New Series 12)
Production Code: 12-7
Story Number: 292 (New Series: 136)
Episode Number:858 (New Series: 162)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 09 February 2020
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Writers:Charlene James and Chris Chibnall
Director:Emma Sullivan
Producer:Alex Mercer
Series Producer:Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers:Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens
Executive Producer (for the BBC):Ben Irving
Assistant Directors:Christian Jeffcoat, Jennifer Day and Lauren Pate
Script Supervisor:Alana Marmion-Warr
Script Editors:Fiona McAllister and Caroline Buckley (Assistant)
Series Script Editor:Sheena Bucktowonsing
Editors:Agnieszka Liggett, David S J Davies (Assistant), Hayley Williams (Assistant), Alastair Gray (Assistant VFX), Rebecca Trotman (Series) and Georgina Careless (VFX)
Colourist:Jateen Patel
Head of Production:Jacquie Glanville and 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: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), Evangeline Davies (Assistant), Gwilym Jenner (Assistant), Scott Waller (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:Ray Holman (Design) and Suzi Battersby (Maker)
Title Sequence:Ben Pickles
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Segun Akinola
Additional VFX: The 2D Workshop
Additional VFX: Ben Pickles
Additional VFX: BBC Wales Graphics
Music Recorded By: Olga Fitzroy
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) Guest Cast: Sharon D Clarke (Grace O'Brien) Additional Cast: Ian Gelder (Zellin), Buom Tihngang (Tibo), Clare-Hope Ashitey (Rakaya), Bhavnisha Parmar (Sonya Khan), Aruhan Galieva (Tahira), Sirine Saba (Maryam), Nasreen Hussain (Anita Patel), Everal A Walsh (Gabriel), Michael Keane (Fred), Amanda Liberman (Mum), Willie Jonah (Old Tibo), Anthony Taylor (Andrew)Setting: Aleppo, Syria (1380); Sheffield (2020); Zellin's spaceship (far future) Villains:Rakaya and Zellin

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
Duration Viewers
In Archive
858Can You Hear Me?09 February 202049'15"4.9Yes

Total Duration 49 Minutes

Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 4.9


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

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"Can You Hear Me?" is the sixth story of Season Thirty Eight (New Series 12) and was written by Charlene James and Chris Chibnall, and directed by Emma Sullivan. This is Charlene James' first Doctor Who story.

This story sees The Doctor and her three travelling companions travelling from ancient Syria to Sheffield and to the far reaches of the universe. It has the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh), Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), and Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) being stalked by a strange being who forces them to confront their worst fears.

Charlene James is an award-winning writer whose television work includes A Discovery of Witches and Snatches: Moments from Women's Lives (both screened in 2018). This is her first Doctor Who script.

Emma Sullivan directed the fourth recording block containing this story and the next story, "The Haunting of Villa Diodati". This is her first Doctor Who story. Her directing credits include BBC drama favourites such as Call the Midwife, Silent Witness and Holby City.

Ian Gelder portrays Zellin in this story. He previously played the part of Dekker in the Torchwood story "Children of Earth". He also voiced the Remnants in "The Ghost Monument".

Sharon D. Clarke reprises her role as Graham's late wife, Grace - appearing in his nightmare scene.

The Doctor’s nightmare is shown to be another vision of The Timeless Child, last mentioned in "Spyfall" - the opening story of this season.

The Dregs, from "Orphan 55", made a cameo appearance during Ryan's dream sequence. Ryan also witnesses Earth surrounded by flames in his nightmare. Yasmin’s nightmare sees a younger version of herself having run off and on a lonely road. While Graham’s nightmare has him waking up in a hospital where he sees his late wife, Grace, as a nurse who tells him that his cancer has returned.

Graham’s late wife, ‘Grace’, was last seen in "It Takes You Away" when she is heard telling Graham that his cancer has returned. In "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" Graham tells The Doctor about being in remission from cancer, and how Grace was his nurse.

Zellin and Rakaya identify themselves as immortals and gods. Zellin alludes to The Eternals and The Guardians of Time, and specifically references The Celestial Toymaker (from the 1966 First Doctor story "The Celestial Toymaker"). The Guardians were seen or referenced in multiple stories, in the Fourth Doctor's and the Fifth Doctor eras, and the Eternals (from the 1983 Fifth Doctor story "Enlightenment"). The Seventh Doctor also previously met two immortals who enjoyed playing with people in the Virgin Books' The New Adventures novel "Falls the Shadow" written by Daniel O'Mahony.

The gods refer to human lives as ‘ephemeral’ (see "Enlightenment").

Zellin is capable of detaching his fingers, which can work separately. The Doctor treats the finger she takes over as a dog.

Zellin's hand effect was achieved via a combination of a fingerless prosthetic hand and digital effects.

The lighting in the TARDIS turns off and the glassy hexagon roundels turn red when it is in danger.

The TARDIS cannot register the fur strands, from the creature that terrorises Tahira that The Doctor tries to analyse, because they are not in the database nor can it see them as they do not exist nor will ever exist.

To locate the planet, that Graham had a vision of, The Doctor hooks Graham up to the telepathic circuits, which is now a head-piece connected to the console.

Graham's vision leads the TARDIS into deep space in the distant future, half a galaxy past the Geskon Straits. Graham notices the two planets from his vision in the process of an extinction event.

Graham jokes that The Doctor could just give him an ‘A to Z of the universe’, and he would know where they should travel, before saying he has no idea.

Yasmin is heard telling Sonya that she has been to California ("Spyfall"), Gloucester ("Fugitive of the Judoon"), Madagascar and Hong Kong ("Praxeus").

Sonya recalls hearing about the recent events in Gloucester, and that her dad thought that the Russians were responsible ("Fugitive of the Judoon").

This story extended on the ongoing story arc of The Timeless Child a bit further.

This marks the first Doctor Who television story to have a question mark in its title.

This story has a pre-title sequence - the first for this season since the two-part opening story "Spyfall".

This story features an animated segment during Rakaya's tale of her and Zellin's coming-to-be up until her imprisonment. It was created by Nina Chakrabarti and DNEG. This is the first story to include in-story animation since the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "Fear Her".

At the end of this story we witness a flashback to three years earlier when a younger Yasmin was persuaded by a police officer to return home. She was getting bullied and had low grades at the time. The pair made a deal about owing the other 50 pounds or 50 pence.

In the TARDIS we see Ryan talking to Yasmin about being unsure about continuing travelling with The Doctor, worrying about missing bits of his friends' lives and not being there for them.

It has been reported that fans were impressed by this story’s way of tackling mental health issues, however voiced disdain towards The Doctor's dismissal of Graham's fears about his cancer returning, saying it was out of character. The BBC Complaints department later addressed this by saying that the scene's intention was to show The Doctor struggling to deal with the subject matter properly, thus not being able to find the right words.

First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Charlene James.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Emma Sullivan.

 The first Doctor Who television story to have a question mark in its title.

 The first story to include in-story animation since the 2006 Tenth Doctor story "Fear Her".

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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text

The Doctor uses the TARDIS to drop off her three travelling companions, Graham O'Brien, Ryan Sinclair and Yasmin Khan, back home in Sheffield for a few hours so that they can catch up with family and friends. However, shortly after arriving Graham gets a vision of a trapped woman asking for his help, while Yasmin, along with Ryan's friend Tibo, have nightmares and awake to see a dark-clothed man in their rooms. Ryan witnesses the man's fingers detaching and inserting themselves into Tibo's ear before vanishing with Tibo.

Meanwhile, The Doctor, alone in the TARDIS, receives an alert from 1380 in Aleppo, Syria. There she finds a woman called Tahira being terrorised by a threatening creature that has taken everyone else in the hospital.

After The Doctor's companions call her simultaneously to tell her what has happened to them, she takes them all to the near-colliding planets from Graham's vision using the TARDIS' telepathic circuits.

The Doctor
The Doctor

They land on a spaceship near the planets where they find a small prison structure keeping the planets from actually colliding. The Doctor discovers that the spaceship houses a power source, guarded by a quantum fluctuation lock, that powers the prison and is sending it a signal from the man's fingers.

Tahira and The Doctor’s companions wander off on the spaceship and are captured by the man, trapping them in their nightmares. Yasmin’s nightmare sees a younger version of herself having run off and on a lonely road. Ryan’s nightmare is about an Earth surrounded by flames and the Dregs (that he encountered in "Orphan 55"). While Graham’s nightmare has him waking up in a hospital where he sees his late wife, Grace, as a nurse who tells him that his cancer has returned.


The Doctor manages to open the lock just as the man confronts The Doctor and introduces himself as Zellin, an immortal god. Zellin reveals that it was his plan to use the captured humans to lure The Doctor there and trick her into opening the lock.

The prisoner is actually another immortal god, Rakaya. Zellin had been transmitting the captured humans' nightmares to keep Rakaya sane. The two gods take delight in seeding chaos in mortal beings which led to those on the near-colliding planets to turn against them and imprison Rakaya.

The Doctor is imprisoned as the gods arrive on Earth to feed off humanity's nightmares, but The Doctor manages to escape and free the others. Able to control Zellin's detached fingers, she also realises that the creature in Aleppo stemmed from Tahira's own nightmares and consequently cannot attack her. The Doctor lures the gods to Aleppo with the help of the creature. Using Zellin's fingers, she traps them all in the prison.

The Doctor is Attacked
The Doctor is Attacked

Afterward, it is revealed that three years before her travels with The Doctor began, Yasmin was contemplating suicide as she was getting bullied and had low grades at the time. She was stopped by a police officer that Yasmin’s sister Sonya called. The police officer bet Yasmin 50p that her life would get better, claiming she would give Yasmin £50 if it does not. In the present, Yasmin visits ex-police officer Anita Patel to give her back the 50p. She invites Yasmin into her house and they reminisce.

Back in the TARDIS, Graham is confiding in The Doctor about his cancer scares and Ryan talks to Yasmin about being unsure about continuing travelling with The Doctor as he is worrying about missing parts of his friends' lives and not being there for them.

Possible sensing something is up The Doctor declares that they are going to visit Mary Shelley as she operates the TARDIS controls.

Graham and The Doctor
Graham and The Doctor
Earth is Threatened
Earth is Threatened
The Doctor
The Doctor
The Immortal Gods are Defeated
The Immortal Gods are Defeated
Helping a Young Yasmin
Helping a Young Yasmin

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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 548 (Released: March 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 548
Doctor Who Magazine - Preview: Issue 548

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

Marvel Comics

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