11.7. Kerblam!

Series 11 - 2018

Writer: Pete McTighe
Series Producer: Nikki Wilson
Director: Jennifer Perrott
Music: Segun Akinola


The TARDIS is trying to evade something in the vortex, until the Doctor realises it's a teleport pulse. Moments later, when the TARDIS calms down, a robot postman materialises inside the TARDIS. The Doctor is delighted to receive a package from the Kerblam-man, a new Fez, and also a note asking for help.

The Doctor takes the TARDIS to the moon of Kandoka, home of Kerblam, the largest retailer in the galaxy. Yaz wonders how they can find out who sent the message, and when Ryan mentions feeling like he is back at work the Doctor decides they should all go undercover. Inside they meet Judy Maddox who says she has no record of new workers, until the Doctor swipes her sonic screwdriver over Judy's tablet. Judy begins the Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan's, induction. They are scanned and the system assigns them the most suitable jobs. They are fitted with GroupLoop - a device attached to the ankle to monitor where they are, as well as reporting on their vital statistics.

When the Doctor asks about Kerblam Judy is proud that the company isn't fully automated; 10% are people as per Kandokan regulations. Judy also tells them that Kerblam handles 600 million products with 10,000 employees. Judy gives them a tour of the warehouse and they see the scale of the operation, with hundreds of conveyor belts in operation. The Doctor is determined to work in packing, so uses her sonic screwdriver to alter the GroupLoops an swap jobs with Graham.

The Doctor and Ryan head to packing, and Yaz is taken to the fulfilment section, leaving Graham to head towards cleaning and maintenance.

In packing the Doctor and Ryan meet Kira, who is impressed with the way the Doctor and Ryan are handling the job. It helps that one of Ryan's previous jobs was packing orders for customers. The Doctor asks about the packing slips and Kira tells her they just arrive.

In fulfilment Yaz meets Dan. She asks Dan if he knows any people who may have asked for help, and Dan warns her that the robot TeamMates can, if they wish, hear everything. There's no such thing as privacy at Kerblam. When Yaz gets a message to pick up an antique lamp from section 99955/7 Dan, knowing what happens to people who go to the triple nine sections, swaps devices and goes to fetch the lamp instead. Curious Yaz makes her way to the triple nines to find Dan, and hears him cry out. She finds his cart - but there is no sign of him.

In packing a power drain, which seem to be happening quite often, stops the conveyors for a few moments. As the power returns Jarva Slade, the warehouse executive, appears, and tells them all to get back to work. Kira tells the Doctor to be careful of upsetting Slade. Recently people have gone missing, or have been sacked and never seen again, for trivial offences such as leaning on a conveyor. 

In maintenance Graham has to sit through a list of rules before being introduced to Charlie. 

Staff are alloted specific break periods in the HomeZone, where the Doctor and Ryan meet up with Yaz and Graham. Yaz tells them about Dan's disappearance. The Doctor asks Graham to get a plan of the complex, whilst she, Ryan, and Yaz, file a complaint about the missing people with Judy and Slade. When the Doctor mentions she is told there are no police, and that Kerblam is its own jurisdiction. Judy assures the Doctor that she will look into it. Not entirely believing Judy the Doctor, Ryan, and Yax, hide in an alcove until Slade leaves at the end of the working day. 

In maintenance Graham asks Charlie for a diagram of Kerblam's layout. When the complex is in "night" mode Charlie and Ryan head to reception where there find a map of Kerblam. Upstairs the Doctor, Ryan, and Yaz, break into Slade's office. Although everything is automated Slade has a filing cabinet in his office. As the Doctor grabs paperwork from the filing cabinet they are caught by Judy, who knew they were there due to the GroupLoops they are wearing. Slade has a list of the mission people, leading the Doctor to start to think he is involved. Following another power drain Graham and Charlie arrive with the original plans of Kerblam. 

As the Doctor examines the plans Ryan points out that the power is out - but there is a robot at the entrance to the office. It attacks Charlie when he tries to deactivate it, but Judy is more successful when she pulls the robot's head off. When the power returns the Doctor checks the system, and believes the system has gone rogue. Judy notices that the missing people are still being reported as alive somewhere in the complex. The Doctor wants the original system code from which she can isolate the updates to see what has changed. Graham says be can help, and leads them all to reception where there is the original delivery bot, Twirly, on display - complete with original system code. Twirly needs charging, but when Graham suggests taking it to maintenance Charlie doesn't think that's a good idea.

In packing Kira is told by two robots that she has won Employee of the Day, and that Kerblam has a gift with her. Shocked and overwhelmed at getting a gift she goes with them. In reception Judy receives a notification that another person has gone missing - Kira. Normally the system does not send notifications about missing people; it's as if the system knows they're onto it. Kira's GroupLoop signal was last recorded in Dispatch - where people aren't allowed. Judy tells the Doctor there isn't even a route down to Dispatch. Ryan tells the Doctor he knows how to get down there, and he, Yaz, and Charlie, head off.

Whilst Ryan leads them to a chute that leads down to the conveyors where they travel down to Dispatch, the Doctor activates Twirl in maintenance. The system talks to the Doctor through Twirly, asking the Doctor for help - in Dispatch. 

In Dispatch Charlie can hear Kira's voice and head off to look for her. Back in reception the Doctor realises the robots have teleports built in. Slade appears just as the Doctor teleports Graham, Judy, and Slade, to Dispatch. Slade tells the Doctor he has been investigating the missing people, and Graham finds a huge tank that contains liquidised organic material, so of which is the missing people. Behind them the Doctor sees thousands of Kerblam-men robots waiting to delivery packages - like an army. The Doctor realises the robots are all preparing for a massive simoultaneous transport, and each one is carrying a package. Thinking they are bombs the Doctor checks some packages, but they are just ordinary packages. But every one is wrapped in bubble wrap.

Ryan, Yaz, and Charlie, see Kira inside a room through one-way glass. Kira is not able to see or hear them. Behind her a parcel materialises on a table. The package is empty apart from a sheet of bubble wrap. When Kira pops one of the bubbles the bubble wrap explodes.

As the Doctor scans the bubble wrap Ryan, Yaz, and Charlie join them. Ryan has a remote control for the robots. The system knew it was Ryan and tricked Kira, who Ryan had a crush on, in an attempt to fight back. Charlie killed the other works to test his bubble wrap bombs. Ryan is figthing back against the 10% rule and automation, saying in the future that 10% will get lower. His plan is to kill Kerblam customers, making them fight back against the automation. 

Ryan starts the teleport procedure and smashes the remote. Using Twirly the Doctor changes the Kerblam-men's delivery address to their current location, so they go nowhere. Then she gets Twirly to get each Kerblam-man to open the package and squeeze the bubble wrap. Charlie excapes and run into thje Kerblam-men as they all explode.

Regular Cast

  • Graham O'Brien: Bradley Walsh
  • Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
  • Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole

Guest Cast

  • Judy Maddox: Julie Hesmondhalgh
  • Dan Cooper: Lee Mack
  • Jarva Slade: Callum Dixon
  • Kira Arlo: Claudia Jessie
  • Charlie Duffy: Leo Flanagan
  • Voice of Kerblam: Matthew Gravelle

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 7. Kerblam! Sunday, November 18, 2018 6:30 PM - 7:20 PM 5.93M

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