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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 534 > The God Complex

The God Complex

The Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves trapped in a bizarre hotel where the residents’ darkest fears become real…
Matt Smith as the Doctor in The God Complex (2011).

What does the Doctor see in Room 11, in The God Complex – the room containing his greatest fear? “Of course. Who else?” he murmurs, looking inside. It’s someone for whom the TARDIS Cloister Bell tolls; someone who must not be disturbed…

The answer comes in the Eleventh Doctor’s final adventure, The Time of the Doctor (2013) – in which we finally see what he saw in Room 11: the crooked crack in time caused by the destruction of his TARDIS (long story: see The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, 2010). “There you are. What took you so long?” he says, when he sees the crack on the planet Trenzalore – addressing it as a person once again. “I always knew it wasn’t over,” he continues.

Mystery solved. Or was it? Because those of us who were certain that what he’d seen was his next incarnation (“Who else,” geddit?) were surprised, to say the least; the rest of us even more so after The Name of the Doctor (2013), when the secret War Doctor (John Hurt) became a no-less plausible alternative. But look again at that Time of the Doctor scene: “I felt a degree of responsibility,” he says. “But the scar tissue remains…” Is that why he sees the crack in Room 11, as an avatar for the thing he fears most – his guilt, his sense of responsibility?

Way back in The Mind of Evil (1971), the deadly Keller Machine sought to kill the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) with the image of the thing he feared most – flames, representing (he later explained) the destruction of an alternative Earth in Inferno (1970). But again: what if those flames represented the Doctor’s responsibility – ie, for failing to prevent that world’s destruction?

Because if the Doctor realised what the vision in Room 11 meant, it would explain why he decides to leave his friends Amy and Rory behind on Earth in the aftermath of this adventure… wouldn’t it?

FIRST BROADCAST: 17 September 2011

A police officer walks along a hotel corridor, opening doors.

00m 38s Room 214 contains a morose clown (Damon Jeffrey, uncredited) holding a single red balloon. In the readthrough script (Draft 4, dated 31 January 2011), the room contained no clown; rather, it was “absolutely packed with party BALLOONS. All different shapes and sizes and colours. The WOMAN regards the room, impassive. Balloons. Yeah, whatever.” (The clown shot is reprised later, at 22m 51s – when he was actually scripted to appear, suggesting that the balloon room was dropped in post-production.)

00m 48s The police officer is Lucy Hayward (Sarah Quintrell), and she’s the last one left. Originally, she was Lucy Miller – renamed shortly before shooting to avoid misidentification with Lucie Miller, the companion character played by Sheridan Smith in several series of Big Finish Productions’ Eighth Doctor audio dramas. Lucy’s narration was a very late addition, not given in the shooting script of 14 February 2011.

01m 03s Having looked into Room 215, only to be flash-bang-walloped by a Victorian photographer (Gary Dobbs, uncredited), Lucy opens the door to another Room 214. The room numbers weren’t given in the script, so it’s unclear whether this was intended to reflect the weird internal dimensions of the hotel, or if it was simply an error!

Rita (Amara Karan) and Amy (Karen Gillan) hide in a room containing a gloomy clown (Damon Jeffrey).
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About Doctor Who Magazine

Contents include: Tom Baker speaks to DWM ahead of the publication of his first Doctor Who novel! • Tom Baker answers questions from our TARDIS tin • An interview with Doctor Who author James Goss, who helped Tom write Scratchman • Actor Shaun Dooley (who played Epzo in 2018 episode The Ghost Monument) reveals his photographic contribution to Series 11 • A look at BBC Audio's resurrection of the 1970s Dalek Annuals • Part Four of The Warmonger, a brand-new comic strip adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends • The Time Team watches three episodes - from 2007, 1966 and 1987 - which introduce new companions • Cosplayer Jamie Lenman shows his appreciation for the Sixth Doctor's coat • The Fact of Fiction delves into the 2011 Eleventh Doctor story The God Complex • DWM's reviews of Series 11 episodes It Takes You Away, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos and the New Year's Day Special Resolution • An overview of Series 11’s ratings • Answers to the DWM Christmas Quiz • The Blogs of Doom, reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!