4. The Girl In The Fireplace

Series 2 - 2006

Writer: Steven Moffatt
Produced by: Phil Collinson
Director: Euros Lyn
Music: Murray Gold

Rose: No, you're not keeping the horse.
The Doctor: I let you keep Mickey.


The TARDIS materialises on a ship from the 51st century. Mickey is delighted to get a spaceship on his first trip in the TARDIS. Although the ships warp engines are operating at full power the ship is not moving.. The Doctor mentions that something like that could punch a hole in the Universe. Looking round the ship there does not seem to be any crew, but there is a fireplace in a wall that leads to the outside of the ship.

On the other side of the fireplace is a French girl, who is wondering why there is someone in her fire. Examining the fireplace the Doctor finds a switch, and the fireplace swings round. In an instant the Doctor finds himself in the girl's bedroom, a few months later.

The girl wakes and the Doctor introduces himself. He is worried by a broken clock as there is a ticking sound in the room. He uses his sonic screwdriver to scan under the bed. It is knocked from his hand, and when he gets up there is a robot standing behind the girl.

The robot had been scanning her brain, and said she was not complete. The robot goes after the Doctor, who activates the fireplace, transporting them both back to the ship. Using a powerful looking gun the Doctor freezes it. It is in fact a fire extinguisher. When the Doctor threatens to disassemble the device it teleports away.

The Doctor goes back via the fireplace, and tells Rose and Mickey to not go looking for the robot. As the Doctor leaves Rose, holding the fire extinguisher, waits for Mickey. As with all companions, waiting is not their strong pointt. Whilst wandering round the ship they make some rather nasty discoveries, including a camera containing a human eye, and a heart beating behind one of the panels.

The Doctor, meanwhile, has jumped forward many years in the life of Reinette. Reinette, now much older, kisses the Doctor. When the Doctor realises who she is he laughs, remarking he has just kissed Madame De Pompadour. Back on the ship he has to look for his wandering companions, and meets a horse. The horse had accidentally wandered through one of the time windows that the robots have opened.

The Doctor finds Rose and Mickey looking through another of the time windows. As they watch another robot appears. The Doctor goes through the window, and the robot repeats that she is not yet complete. The robot obeys Reinette, and when she tells it to get out of her sight it obeys. The Doctor tells Rose and Mickey to go and look for it - but in doing so get captured by other robots.

The Doctor telepathically links with Reinette to try and find out why the robots want her. But a door opened can be stepped through in either direction, and Reinette reads the Doctor's mind, and finds out much about him. Feeling sorry, she persuades the Doctor to join in their dance.

Back on the ship the robots think Rose and Mickey are compatible, and are close to making them part of the ship when the Doctor, seemingly drunk, returns. The Doctor has worked out that the ship is 37 years old, and for some reason the robots need Reinette when she is 37 years old. The robots say they have found a 37 year old Reinette and disappear. Different windows connecf, often at random, to different periods of Reinette's life. Whilst the Doctor searches for the right window Rose goesd back to warn a 32 year old Reinette that the Doctor will appear in five years.

But there is a problem. The robots have sealed off the time window so he cannot follow. They would need something very powerful to break through, and it would be a one way trip. In the 18th century a party is interrupted by the robots. Reinette states she will not set foot in their world, to which the robot replies they do not require her feet. Suddenly a mirror smashes and the Doctor appears on horseback.

With the time window broken all the robots seize up, the link with their ship broken. This has also left the Doctor stranded. Back on the ship Rose is speechless whilst Mickey panics about how the Doctor will return.

Reinette tells the Doctor she had the original fireplace moved to the new house. Because it was off line when the time windows were destroyed it could be restarted. Much to Reinette's dismay the Doctor returns to the ship, where the Rose and Mickey have waited 5 1/2 hours. The robots had been harvesting the crew to fix the ship, but the answer to the main question was still unknown: why Reinette? As the TARDIS departs is reveals a portrait of Reinette. The ship is called the SS Madame De Pompadour.

Regular Cast

  • Rose Tyler: Billie Piper
  • Mickey Smith: Noel Clarke

Guest Cast

  • Reinette/Madame De Pompadour: Sophia Myles
  • King Louis: Ben Turner
  • Young Reinette: Jessica Atkins
  • Katherine: Angel Coulby
  • Manservant: Gareth Wyn Griffiths
  • Clockwork Man: Paul Kasey
  • Clockwork Woman: Ellen Thomas
  • Alien Voices: Jonathan Hart, Emily Joyce
  • Male Droids: Sean Palmer, Marc Rees, Neil Davies
  • Ballroom Guests: Fionnulla Rochford, Elen Florence, Phillipa Treverton-Jones, Ann Chinca, Rhiannon Ward, Jason Hayes, Nick Barton, Robert Hugenin
  • Picnic Ladies: Natalia Russell, Patricia Croughan
  • Picnic Men: Colum Sanson Regan, Howard Hall
  • Footman: Andrew Bullivant
  • Courtiers: Julian Hensey, Howard Goode
  • Female Droid Double: Romina Chiappa
  • Female Droids: Aga Blonska, Caroline Sabin, Marega Palsar
  • Queen: Gayle Anne Felton
  • Stunt Double for the Doctor: Peter Miles
  • Additional Dialogue Recording: Stephen Bracken-Keogh, Nina Kit, Paul Ganney, Wendie Sheard, Nicholas Wilkes, Hannah Welch, Daryl Adcock

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 4. The Girl In The Fireplace Saturday, May 6, 2006 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM 7.9M 84

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • HTV Studios, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff
  • Unit Q2, Newport

Outside Locations

  • Dyffryn Gardens, St. Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Mount Ballan Manor, Crick, Monmouthshire
  • Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire
  • Tredegar House and Park, Newport