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Jodie Whittaker
Legend of the Sea Devils
Thirteenth Doctor Logo


A Sea Devil
A Sea Devil
 The Doctor, Yasmin and Dan come face to fin with one of The Doctor’s oldest adversaries, the Sea Devils.

 Why has legendary pirate queen Madam Ching come searching for a lost treasure and what terrifying forces lurk beneath the oceans of the 19th century?

Source: BBC Website

General Information

Season: Thirty Nine (New Series 13)
Production Code: 13-3
Story Number: 298 (New Series: 142)
Episode Number:870 (New Series: 174)
Number of Episodes: 1
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates:
Broadcast Date: 17 April 2022
Colour Status: HD Colour
Studio: BBC Wales (Roath Lock Studios, Cardiff)
Writers:Chris Chibnall and Ella Road
Director:Haolu Wang
Executive Producers:Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens
Co-Executive Producer:Nikki Wilson
Executive Producer for the BBC:Ben Irving
Associate Producer:Sheena Bucktowonsing
Assistant Directors:Jac Lewis, Laura Thompson and Tom May
Script Supervisors:Abdoulie Mboob and Amanda Lean
Script Editors:Caroline Buckley and Rebecca Roughan
Editors:Tom White, Brooke Taylor Michael (Assistant), Joseph Keirle (Assistant), Jacob Percival (Assistant VFX) and Emily Lawrence (VFX)
Colourist:Gareth Spensley
Head of Production:Charlotte Bloxham
Production Executive:Tracie Simpson
Production Manager:Delmi Thomas
Post Production Producer:Ceres Doyle
Post Production Supervisor:Liv Duffin
Location Manager:Gareth Roberts
Supervising Location Manager:Iwan Roberts
Production Designer:Dafydd Shurmer
Director of Photography:Mark Waters
Casting Director:Andy Pryor CDG
Line Producer:Steffan Morris
Costume Designer:Ray Holman
Make-Up Designer:Emma Cowen
Cameramen:Evangeline Davies (Assistant), Nic Yates (Assistant), Mark McQuoid (Operator), Adam Clewes (Trainee) and Olga Walus (Trainee)
Visual Effects:DNEG
Additional VFX:Ben Pickles, Martyn Western, Rory Williams and Zodiak VFX
Special Effects:Real SFX
Special Creature Effects:Robert Allsopp & Associates
Creature Designer:Ray Holman
Stunt Co-ordinators:Andy Benton, Belinda McGinley, Crispin Layfield, Derek Lea and Stephanie Carey
Stunt Performers:Anna Benton, Donovan Louis, Isky Fay, James Pavey, Louis Samms, Rob Jarmen, Robert Pavey, Tom Hatt and Varpu Kronholm
Movement Coach:Paul Kasey
Incidental Music:Segun Akinola
Sound Designer:Harry Barnes
Sound Recordist:Deian Llyr Humphreys
Dubbing Mixers:Howard Bargroff and Natasha Haycocks
Music Orchestrated By:Alec Roberts
Music Conducted By:Alastair King
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
Sea Devils Originally Designed By: John Friedlander
Sea Devils Created By: Malcolm Hulke
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker (The Thirteenth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 2The Companions: Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan) and John Bishop (Dan Lewis) Additional Cast: Marlowe Chan-Reeves (Ying Ki), Crystal Yu (Madam Ching), Craige Els (Chief Sea Devil), Arthur Lee (Ji-Hun), David K.S. Tse (Ying Wai), Jon Davey, Simon Carew, Chester Durrant, Richard Price, Mickey Lewis, Andrew Cross (Sea Devils)Setting: China (1533 and 1807) Villain: Sea Devils

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
Duration Viewers
In Archive
870Legend of the Sea Devils17 April 202247'39"3.5Yes

Total Duration 48 Minutes

Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 3.5
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2023) Position = 22 out of 24


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

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This is the second of the 2022 specials and follows "Eve of the Daleks", serving as an Easter special for 2022.

"Legend of the Sea Devils" was written by newcomer Ella Road, and showrunner and executive producer Chris Chibnall. It was directed by Haolu Wang.

This story sees the return of the Sea Devils for the first time for 38 years - since the 1984 Fifth Doctor story "Warriors of the Deep".

This story stars Jodie Whittaker, as the Thirteenth Doctor, alongside her two travelling companions Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan and John Bishop as Dan Lewis. The casting of Crystal Yu, Arthur Lee and Marlowe Chan-Reeves were announced alongside their appearances in a trailer following the credits in "Eve of the Daleks".

This story is the first time that Chris Chibnall had his executive producer credit above Matt Strevens' credit. All the previous Thirteenth Doctor stories had Matt Strevens credited above Chris Chibnall.

This story was filmed at the same time as the previous story, "Eve of the Daleks". Filming for these two specials concluded in August 2021.

The sets for this story were particularly ambitious and included a full-sized pirate ship. Executive Producer Matt Strevens said that they were probably the biggest sets that had ever been made for the show while Mandip Gill said they were the biggest sets she's ever worked on.

John Friedlander is credited as originally designing the Sea Devils from the stories "The Sea Devils" and "Warriors of the Deep".

The Doctor is heard to mention that she has dealt with the Sea Devils ‘once or twice’ in the future (see "The Sea Devils" and "Warriors of the Deep").

The Doctor gets angry at Ji-Hun for killing an enemy unnecessarily (see "Doctor Who and the Silurians", "The Christmas Invasion" and "War of the Sontarans" (the second chapter of "Flux")).

The Doctor acknowledges to Yasmin of her wife, River Song (see "The Wedding of River Song"), though mentions she was ‘a different man’ during their marriage.

The Doctor is heard to shout ‘Geronimo’ when swinging across the pirate ships, just like the Eleventh Doctor in "The End of Time").

The Doctor is aware that her time is running short (see "The Vanquishers" (the sixth chapter of "Flux")).

Yasmin encounters the Sea Devils for the first time, although another account suggests that she has already encountered them once before (see the 2020 Titan’s Graphic Novel comic strip "Alternating Current").

Yasmin and Dan recall their earlier conversation regarding Yasmin's romantic feelings for The Doctor (see "Eve of the Daleks").

Dan claims he is ‘forty two’. For this to be true, he has seemingly discounted the four years he was trapped in the past with Yasmin. Indeed, he nearly says ‘forty six’ before quickly saying ‘forty two’ in its place (see "The Vanquishers" (the sixth chapter of "Flux")).

It is revealed that Zheng Yi Sao is after the lost treasure of Ji-Hun, known as the keystone. Ji-Hun gave the keystone to Lei Bao, whose family handed it down the generations. The keystone is a plutonic crystal created by the Sea Devils.

Unlike the 2010 redesign of the Sea Devils' sister species, the Silurians, in "The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood", the Sea Devils remained largely faithful to their original designs, with CGI augmentations mostly allowing for a greater variety of expressions.

The Sea Devils have a Geomagnograph for measuring the current flow underwater, and a current regulator for controlling the flow. The Sea Devils also employ orbital electron stripping to keep their underwater base airtight, and algae to keep the microclimate under check.

The TARDIS is able to sustain being underwater with the doors open without hurting its occupants due to its oxygen bubble (see "The Runaway Bride", "The Beast Below" and "Oxygen").

While the TARDIS is underwater, The Doctor reinforces the oxygen bubble with an aquashield.

The Doctor makes reference to Pimp My Ride, saying that the Sea Devils ‘really pimped Ji-Hun's ride’. Yasmin reminds her that this is an anachronism.

At the end of this story Dan is seen getting back in touch with his friend, Diane, who worked at the Museum of Liverpool (see "The Vanquishers" (the sixth chapter of "Flux")).

This story has the distinction of being only the second Easter Special, following the 2009 Tenth Doctor story "Planet of the Dead" 13 years prior.

This is the first story for the Thirteenth Doctor that has the 'Coming Soon' trailer before the end credits and also does not include the Doctor Who theme. A special rendition of the Thirteenth Doctor's theme by Segun Akinola was played instead.

This is the first story since, the 2021 story "Revolution of the Daleks", to include the old BBC logo in the title sequence.

The end credits misspelt Malcolm Hulke's name as Malcom Hulke.

This story is the shortest Doctor Who special up to that point, with a running time of 48 minutes (the average length of a regular story in the revived era of the show).

First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first appearance of the Sea Devils since they were last seen on-screen in the 1984 Fifth Doctor story "Warriors of the Deep".

 The Thirteenth Doctor's first encounter with the Sea Devils.

The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last Doctor Who story to be broadcast during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Doctor
The Doctor

In 1807 the population of a Chinese coastal village take cover in their houses as the lone figure of a female pirate walks into their town square intent on smashing a stone statue of a Sea Devil victoriously holding a small human figure. An old man, called Ying Wai, confronts the female pirate who is digging into the statue with her sword, trying to make out some inscriptions. Ying Wai tries to warn her off, knowing that she will unleash something inconceivable, by holding her at sword-point. But he is to late as their squabbling is interrupted when glowing green cracks start to spread across the statue. The entire stone statue then explodes - falling away to reveal a living Sea Devil, dressed like the statue and holding a glowing cutlass. The Sea Devil promptly kills Ying Wai.

Meanwhile, on a nearby beach, the TARDIS materialises and The Doctor and her traveling companion, Yasmin Khan, exit decked out in period clothing, and are immediately upset to realise their efforts misfired because they have somehow ended up four hundred years off from their intended date. Further banter follows from fellow travelling companion, Dan Lewis, when he exits the TARDIS dressed as a pantomime Western pirate, complete with an eyepatch and a hook. Hearing screams coming from the nearby village, they rush there to find the Sea Devil wreaking havoc upon the village, massacring its inhabitants. They draw the Sea Devil away from killing Ying Wai’s son, Ying Ki, and the female pirate (who had been thrown to the ground by the exploding statue). However, the Sea Devil thwarts The Doctor’s attempt to catch him in a fish-net, before summoning a flying ship, which he uses to sail off into the distance. Aboard his ship, the Sea Devil addresses his crew, who answered his call, coming out of hibernation. He has them summon the Hua-Shen, a huge sea creature at their command, who attacks a lone human fisherman in his boat, as it returns to the surface.

Back in the village a baffled Doctor is left to analyse Ying Wai's dead body enabling her to confirm to Ying Ki that the female pirate did not kill his father. The woman in question introduces herself as Madam Ching, whom an enthusiastic Doctor recognises as a notorious pirate queen. Madam Ching further explains that she is seeking the lost treasure of the Flor de la Mar, which was supposedly found in the 16th century by the ‘great captain’ Sin Ji-Hun only for his ship to have sunk nearby.

Pirate Dan
Pirate Dan

Intrigued by this and why the Sea Devils are present The Doctor and Yasmin return to the TARDIS so that they can locate the Sea Devil’s ship but the TARDIS systems fail to trace it as it has been cloaked, leading The Doctor to suggest they talk with Madam Ching again. But to do so they need to acquire the lost treasure of the Flor de la Mar themselves, so as to use it as a bargaining chip to get Madame Ching on their side. To find it, she makes a short hop in the TARDIS so that they can see for themselves what happened to Ji-Hun, and thus discover the exact location of the shipwreck on the seabed.

Back in the village, and still thinking that Madame Ching killed his father, Ying Ki and Dan sneak aboard Madame Ching’s ship. Dan however, notices that Madame Ching has no crew. Madame Ching, who captures Dan and Ying Ki, reveals she is after the treasure because she needs it to pay the ransom for her kidnapped crew, which includes her two young sons. Madame Ching’s ship is then attacked by the huge sea creature that was unleashed by the Sea Devils.

Yasmin and Dan
Yasmin and Dan

In 1533, the TARDIS materialises on Ji-Hun's ship. There The Doctor and Yasmin witness a strange scene as Ji-Hun forces all his crew (including his second-in-command Lei Bao) to jump overboard or be killed. The Chief Sea Devil teleports in and Ji-Hun kneels to him, stating that he has fulfilled his request and his ship is ready for the Sea Devil's use. The Sea Devil however, betrays Ji-Hun making it clear that he does not intend to hold up his end of the bargain, considering that he is not bound by promises made to a mere ‘land-crawler’. The two lock swords as the ship begins to sink, prompting The Doctor and Yasmin to hurry back to the safety of the TARDIS.

The Doctor sets the co-ordinates to take them back to 1807 and to the location of the shipwreck, now that they know the exact location where the Flor de la Mar went down. The TARDIS materialises underwater, with an oxygen bubble allowing the Doctor and Yasmin to walk on the ocean floor to investigate the shipwreck. After admiring the underwater scenery, they soon realise that even though they are at the right location, there is no trace of a shipwreck. Suddenly, the seabed drops beneath their feet, revealing itself to actually have been the back of the Hua-Shen. Just after The Doctor and Yasmin re-enter the TARDIS the sea creature catches it in its jaws and carries it away.

The TARDIS is taken to the Sea Devils’ undersea lair where the Doctor and Yasmin emerge to be confronted by the Chief Sea Devil. The Doctor and Yasmin are shown the Flor de la Mar, which has now been retrofitted with alien technology. The Doctor realises that this is the very ghost ship that the Sea Devil flying earlier. The Chief Sea Devil reveals that they are seeking a particular piece of the lost treasure of the Flor de la Mar - known as the Keystone. Pretending she has the Keystone, The Doctor, with Yasmin, use it as leverage to see the ship. Aboard the ship, they are shown Ji-Hun, who has been kept alive in stasis in a living death for hundreds of years as punishment for tricking the Sea Devils. The Doctor manages to talk with Ji-Hun, who reveals that he was never in league with the Sea Devils but merely to trick the Chief Sea Devil into thinking so in order to buy his crew time to escape with their lives, and to safeguard the Keystone which he had given to his most trusted crew member, Lei Bao, back in 1533, just before the Sea Devils arrived. The Keystone, he explains, is a gem of extraordinary power and must not be obtained by the Sea Devils as they will then use it to execute their plan to flood the earth which will then enable them to repopulate the Earth. The Chief Sea Devil though returns and calls The Doctor’s bluff saying the sea creature has discovered the Keystone. Before the Sea Devil can kill The Doctor, Yasmin in desperation manages to use the necessary controls to abruptly make the ship return to the surface, freeing Ji-Hun in the confusion.

A Sea Devil
A Sea Devil

The Sea Devils’ ghost-ship rises up right next to Madam Ching’s ship, which was being attacked by the sea creature. Dan, Ying Ki and Madam Ching are surprised by the sudden appearance of the Sea Devils’ ghost-ship. They are even more surprised when The Doctor, Yasmin and Ji-Hun swing over on ropes. However, The Doctor barely has time to figure out that the Keystone is in fact being worn as a necklace by Ying Ki, who is the descendant of Lei Bao, before the Chief Sea Devils teleports aboard Madam Ching’s ship and takes it at sword-point before returning to his ship.

Intent on taking it back before the Chief Sea Devil can sink the ship again to take the Keystone to the Sea Devils undersea base and use it to trigger a mechanism that will flood the entire Earth, The Doctor and her friends swing back over to the ghost-ship where a sword-fight ensues. But they are too late as the Chief Sea Devil announces that the Keystone has already arrived in their undersea base, just before, to The Doctor's dismay, he is killed by a vengeful Ji-Hun. The Doctor takes control of the ship and sinks it again, instructing Dan to keep an eye on Ching and Ji-Hun and help them keep the Sea Devil crew at bay, while she and Yasmin make their way to the control centre of the underwater base to try and stop the mechanism.

The Doctor is able to tamper with the Sea Devil’s alien technology but to completely destroy it requires two cables to be held together. Initially, The Doctor volunteers to stay back, while the others escape, to sacrifice herself by holding the mechanism in place as it explodes, until Ji-Hun persuades her to let him lay down his own life instead, as he has no wish to return to a world that is no longer his own. This allows The Doctor and Yasmin to make it back to the TARDIS in the nick of time, with the treasure chest containing the treasure of the Flor de la Mar. Examining it, Madam Ching confirms it will be enough to save her crew. Apologising to Ying Ki for failing to save his father, she offers him a chance to start a new life as part of her crew, which he gleefully accepts.

The Doctor, Yasmin and Dan then say their goodbyes. Back on the beach Dan, sitting by the TARDIS, phones his friend Diane, timidly asking if they could meet up again at some point so that he'll have someone to talk to about his ‘mad adventures’. Meanwhile The Doctor and Yasmin are by the waters’ edge when she tells Yasmin that she wished that this would go on forever - knowing that her time as the Thirteenth Doctor will soon come to an end.

Madam Ching
Madam Ching
Ying Ki
Ying Ki
The Doctor
The Doctor
Madam Ching
Madam Ching
Chief Sea Devil
Chief Sea Devil
Ji-Hun and Madam Ching
Ji-Hun and Madam Ching

Quote of the Story

 'My Nani says... courage is knowing something will hurt and doing it anyway. Mind you, she also said it's the definition of stupidity.'


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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Eve of the Daleks & Legend of the Sea DevilsMay 2022BBCDVD 4506Photo-montageDouble DVD release. Released along with "Eve of the Daleks"
Eve of the Daleks & Legend of the Sea DevilsMay 2022BBCBD 0556Photo-montageDouble Blu-Ray release. Released along with "Eve of the Daleks"
The Complete Thirteenth Series Specials Box Set (Limited Edition Steelbook)November 2022BBCBD 0557Photo-montageLimited Edition Blu-Ray Steelbook boxed set containing the 3 special stories from New Series 13
Original Television Soundtrack - Series 13: The SpecialsJanuary 2023Photo-montageMusic by Segun Akinola (includes music from "Eve of the Daleks", "Legend of the Sea Devils" and "The Power of The Doctor")

In Print

No Book Release
Doctor Who Magazine - ArticleIssue 576 (Released: May 2022)
Doctor Who Magazine - ReviewIssue 577 (Released: June 2022)

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Photo Gallery

The Doctor and Companions

Jodie Whittaker
The Thirteenth Doctor


Mandip Gill
Yasmin Khan
John Bishop
Dan Lewis

On Release

DVD Cover
DVD Cover

Blu-Ray Cover
Blu-Ray Cover

Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook
Blu-Ray Limited Edition Steelbook

Original Television Soundtrack Cover
Original Television Soundtrack Cover



Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 576
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 576

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 577
Doctor Who Magazine - Review: Issue 577

Marvel Comics

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