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Dark Water Death in Heaven

Missy (Michelle Gomez) meets the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) at last in Dark Water/Death in Heaven (2014).

“THE DARKEST HOUR. THE BLACKEST HOUR. CHIN UP, SHOULDERS BACK. LET’S SEE WHAT WE’RE MADE OF. YOU AND I.” The Doctor

A desperate Clara (Jenna Coleman) threatens to destroy the Doctor’s TARDIS keys.

Story synopsis

Dark Water

Danny is walking through a park when Clara phones him. She has something important to tell him, but first she tells him she loves him. He tells her he loves her, then goes quiet. A woman’s voice comes on the line, telling Clara that Danny has just been knocked down by a car.

Danny is dead. The pupils of Coal Hill School make a shrine to his memory. Clara calls the Doctor. He answers – and then he wakes up, outside the TARDIS overlooking a river of lava. After he answered Clara, she asked to see a volcano, then she collected a box of sleep patches and put one on his neck.

Clara tells the Doctor she has all seven TARDIS keys. She tells him she wants the Doctor to save Danny – and each time he says no, she throws another key in the lava. She ends up throwing them all in, but it turns out she has been in a dream state all along. The Doctor was curious to see how far she would go and agrees to use the TARDIS telepathic interface to locate Danny.

Danny is in an office in the Nethersphere After Death Department. A man called Seb enters to check whether Danny is being cremated. He shows him the city of the Nethersphere; “Where you go when you die.” The TARDIS lands in what appears to be a mausoleum lined with tanks of water, each containing a skeleton sitting on a chair. The Doctor activates a hologram recording about 3W; aftercare for the deceased. He is greeted by Missy, who kisses the Doctor to welcome him to the 3W Institute. She explains she is an interactive-welcome droid maintained by a man called Dr Chang.

Seb leads Danny out onto a balcony and asks him if he has ever killed anybody. Because he has had a request from someone wishing to meet Danny; a young boy Danny unintentionally killed in action.

Chang leads the Doctor, Clara and Missy into his laboratory. He explains that the skeletons are maintained by an exoskeleton which is invisible in the water. He says that 3W stands for three words, then explains that 3W’s founder, Dr Skarosa, found a way of communicating with the dead. The three words are a message from the dead: “Don’t cremate me!” Seb explains to Danny that he is still connected to his old body, and will feel what it feels.

Chang uses the device to contact Danny. Clara speaks to him while the Doctor goes to examine the tanks with Dr Chang. They find Missy, who has set the tanks to drain away the dark water. Chang explains that Missy is not a droid, she is his boss. Missy tells Chang to say something nice and, after he does, she kills him. The Doctor then sees that the skeletons in the tanks are inside Cybermen.

Danny is offered the chance to delete his emotions.
Danny’s final moments before his tragic accident are spent talking to Clara.
Missy reveals the dark secret of the 3W Institute – corpses in its care have been turned into Cybermen!

Missy shows the Doctor a floating sphere, which he identifies as a Gallifreyan hard drive. Missy has been uploading dying minds into cyberspace while their bodies become Cybermen. The Doctor runs outside – finding himself on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Clara asks Danny to say something only Danny would say. He tells her he loves her, and she tells him that if he says it again she will switch the device off. He does, and she ends the call.

Seb gives Danny the chance to delete his emotions. The Cybermen emerge from the tanks and march down the steps of St Paul’s. Missy introduces herself to the Doctor: “Well, I couldn’t very well keep calling myself the Master, now could I?”

“THE CONTROL FREAK AND THE MAN WHO CAN NEVER BE CONTROLLED. YOU’D GO TO HELL IF SHE ASKED, AND SHE WOULD.” Missy

The TARDIS is loaded onto the UNIT aircraft.

Story synopsis

Death In Heaven

Clara is confronted by a Cyberman. She claims that she is, in fact, the Doctor. Nobody outside St Paul’s seems worried by the Cybermen; in fact, people take ‘selfies’ with them. But one of the onlookers is Sergeant Osgood; UNIT soldiers emerge from the surrounding buildings, along with Kate Stewart. The Cybermen rocket up into the air, and one of them explodes; Missy says it is “pollinating”.

A young boy notices that a cloud has formed over a graveyard, raining over the graves. In a funeral home, water rises up through the drains – transforming the dead into Cybermen. The Doctor, Missy and the TARDIS are brought on board a UNIT aircraft. The Doctor is saluted by Colonel Ahmed and Kate announces that the Doctor has been inducted as President of Earth. Clara fails to convince the Cybermen that she’s the Doctor, but then another Cyberman arrives. It knocks Clara out, then blasts the other Cybermen.

Missy wakes up in the aircraft hold. She tells the Doctor that she knows where Gallifrey is. Clara wakes up in a graveyard – and watches in horror as Cybermen rise from the graves.

The Doctor explains to Kate and Ahmed that the rain is Cyber-pollen which converts the dead into Cybermen. “Every graveyard on planet Earth is about to burst its banks!” Missy tells Osgood she is going to kill her. She has freed herself from her handcuffs; she grabs her weapon and vaporises the two soldiers on guard and Osgood.

Clara speaks to the Cyberman that rescued her. It then removes its face plate, revealing itself to be Danny Pink. He asks Clara to switch on his ‘inhibitor’ to delete his emotions. Flying Cybermen start to attack the UNIT aircraft. The Doctor runs down to the hold, where Missy tells him she has a gift for him. The TARDIS telephone rings; Missy says that she’s the one who gave Clara the Doctor’s number. The Doctor answers the call, and Clara tells him about Danny.

A Cyberman smashes through a window and pulls Ahmed outside. Kate rushes down to the hold to tell the Doctor the plane is going down. Missy opens the cargo hatch and Kate is sucked outside. The Doctor falls away from the aircraft as it explodes. He manages to reach the falling TARDIS and get inside.

The TARDIS lands in the graveyard. The Doctor needs to know what the Cybermen are planning, but Danny says he can’t access their ‘hive mind’ unless his inhibitor is switched on. The Doctor gives Clara his sonic screwdriver – and she uses it to switch on the inhibitor. Danny says the rain will fall again and all of humanity will die. They’ll rise again as Cybermen. Missy materialises. She tells the Doctor that the Cybermen are her gift; she is giving him an army to command.

The Doctor refuses and throws the control bracelet to Danny. He uses the bracelet to direct the army and they zoom into the air to burn the clouds. Missy gives the Doctor co-ordinates for Gallifrey – then a Cyberman vaporises her. The same Cyberman has saved Kate; it is her father, the Brigadier. Later, Clara wants to use Missy’s bracelet to bring Danny back – but instead Danny sends back the boy he unintentionally killed.

The Doctor and Clara meet at a cafe. The Doctor tells Clara he has found Gallifrey, when he hasn’t, and she tells him that she is going to be fine without Danny, when she isn’t. The Doctor departs in the TARDIS alone. But then there’s a knock at the door. The Doctor opens it – to reveal Father Christmas!

Kate Lethbridge- Stewart (Jemma Redgrave).
Missy encourages Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) to “say something nice”.
On Danny’s command, the Cybermen fly out of the graveyard.
Art by Lee Johnson.

Pre-production

Michelle Gomez as Missy

The idea of this twoparter was to keep kicking people out of the comfort zone. You think you know how Doctor Who is going to work. Well, it’s not going to this time,” explained Steven Moffat of the conclusion to the 2014 series in Doctor Who Magazine. The executive producer’s ambitious idea for the 2014 series finale was to explore what happened after death in a science-fiction show, showing that such themes were not a game, but something powerful and gruesome. “I suppose I was looking for an adult chill,” he added.

Wanting to return to a movielength two-part story with a cliffhanger midway through, Steven Moffat was very aware that such an approach needed to be justified by the narrative. He was also concerned that many twoparters suffered in their second halves, and so aimed to use the mid-point cliffhanger to take the story in a new direction.

“I really wanted to do a Cyberman story because they were always my favourites when I was a kid,” Moffat told Doctor Who Magazine, recalling in particular The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967) with the Cybermen waiting dormant in their tiers of cryogenic cells until returned to life. Moffat had only been able to write for the creatures briefly at the start of A Good Man Goes to War (2011) and now wanted to investigate the Cybermen in more depth. But to sustain the narrative, there had to be another element – that of the Doctor’s arch enemy, the Master… but with a twist.

Michelle Gomez as Mrs Sowerberry in a 2007 adaptation of Oliver Twist.

“If you really love chess, who would you choose to play with? You’d choose to play with somebody who’s as good as you. The Master has to find the Doctor, otherwise no one else can give him a game,” commented Steven Moffat on Doctor Who Extra.

First introduced to the series in 1971, the Doctor’s Time Lord nemesis had passed through numerous incarnations and had last been seen played by John Simm tormenting the Tenth Doctor in The End of Time (2009- 10). It had been established in dialogue from stories such as The End of Time and The Doctor’s Wife (2011) that Time Lords could change gender between regenerations, and Moffat felt that this was the perfect way to reintroduce the Master into the series in a way that would surprise the viewers.

The new female version of the Master would take her name from the female equivalent, the Mistress, and be referred to as Misty, featuring in Steven Moffat’s script for Deep Breath (2014) from early November 2013, when she was described as a ‘beautiful young girl’ with ‘a smile of utter, utter madness’.

This character would also resolve one of the mysteries set up by Steven Moffat in his script for The Bells of Saint John (2013) – the woman in the shop who had given Clara the TARDIS’ phone number as an IT helpline.

One unused idea was for this to have been resolved in The Name of the Doctor (2013) in which one of Clara’s echoes would have had the phone number and passed it on in old age. However, Moffat had previously considered a female incarnation of the Master as the next regeneration after the John Simm version, last seen in The End of Time. He then considered that he could use this idea to tie up the loose end from The Bells of Saint John, by establishing that Misty had been pushing the Doctor and Clara together.

Steven Moffat, Doctor Who’s showrunner and the writer of Dark Water/Death in Heaven.
Michelle Gomez as Sue White in the Channel 4 comedy Green Wing.
Keeley Hawes as Miss Delphox in Time Heist (2014).
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About Doctor Who Magazine

Doctor Who Magazine continues its in-depth chronicle of the show’s production with a 116-page volume dedicated to four memorable episodes of Series 8 and the subsequent festive special, all starring Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald: • Flatline • In the Forest of the Night • Dark Water/Death in Heaven • Last Christmas Andrew Pixley’s unparalleled behind-the-scenes coverage – originally presented in the partwork Doctor Who: The Complete History and now revised and reproduced in magazine format for the first time – examines every aspect of the stories’ development, from scripting through to transmission and beyond. Richly illustrated with rare images, this is the essential guide to the series that took Doctor Who in a remarkable new direction…