10.9. Empress Of Mars

Series 10 - 2017

Writer: Mark Gatiss
Produced by: Nikki Wilson
Director: Wayne Yip
Music: Murray Gold


Whilst visiting NASA during the launch of the Valkyrie mission to Mars, to probe the ice caps, the first pictures back from the surface show the words 'GOD SAVE THE QUEEN'.

The Doctor takes Bill and Nardole to Mars, 1881 (roughly). The TARDIS has registered multiple life forms under the surface, although the Doctor assures Bill there weren't Victorians on Mars. Under the surface they find a fire burning - meaning an oxygen. When Bill disappears down a hole the Doctor sends Nardole back to the TARDIS for rope - which promptly disappears.

The TARDIS materialises back in the Doctor's office. Unable to fly the TARDIS Nardole goes to the vault to ask Missy for help; she suggests it would be better if she just showed him instead.

On Mars, alone, the Doctor comes face to face with an Ice Warrior - with a human ally. He is taken to an underground base where he is reunited with Bill, and offered tea and cake by the Victorian soldiers stationed there. The Colonel explains to the Doctor how he found a crashed spacecraft with the Ice Warrior - Friday - in a sort of coma. Friday asked for help to repair his spacecraft, and the soldiers helped him to return to Mars.

In return for their help Friday helped the soldiers build the Gargantua - a mining laser. Friday also promised that there were gemstones that the soldiers could mine. Bill asks what Friday gets out of the deal. He told the soldiers he was returning to find his people - but Mars appears to be lifeless.

Whilst the Doctor and Bill are talking other soldiers are continuing to mine. Although they haven't found anything they do manage to break through to a what appears to be the tomb of an Ice Queen. The Doctor tries to warn the Colonel and Catchlove that they have been used by Friday to find the tomb, and that they should leave. But Catchlove is having none of it now that Mars is part of the British Empire.

The Colonel orders everyone out of the tomb and puts Peach in charge or guarding it. When Peach is drugged Jackdaw is able to sneak in to steal some of the jewels, with Vincey as lookout. In doing so Jackdaw accidentally activates a device that awakens the Ice Queen. Friday senses the Ice Queen being resurrected and pledges himself to her.

After Jackdaw is killed the Doctor tries to negotiate peace between the Ice Warriors and the Victorians. The Ice Queen is more interested in what Bill, as a female, has to say rather than the noisy males. When negotiations fail and a soldier is killed Catchlove orders the men to retreat, and he uses the Gargantua to collapse the entrance to the tomb. Revealing the Colonel to be a coward Catchlove takes command, and orders the Doctor, Bill, and the Colonel, to the brig.

The soldiers line up and aim their weapons at the tomb in case the Ice Warriors break through. They don't see more Ice Warriors awaken, and emerge from the ground behind them. As more Ice Warriors awaken one even emerges in the brig. It's Friday, and he asks the Doctor for help in working together. Whilst Bill distracts the Ice Queen the Doctor aims the Gargantua at the ceiling. He tells the Ice Queen that if she does not stop he will fire, bringing tonnes of ice from Mars' North Pole on top of them all.

Catchlove threatens the Ice Queen with a knife, saying he needs her help to fix the spacecraft they come in. The Ice Warriors will not fire, but from behind the Colonel kills Catchlove, and offers his life to the Ice Queen. He appeals to the Ice Queen to spare his friends and his world. The Ice Queen tells him he will die... but not today. The Colonel offers his life to the service of the Ice Queen.

With peace negotiated the Doctor sets up the Ice Warriors' equipment to send a message. She is soon contacted by Alpha Centauri who offers help. All Alpha Centauri needs is a something to guide them in - like a message on the surface.

When the TARDIS returns to Mars the Doctor is pleased to see Nardole, and less pleased to see Missy.

Regular Cast

  • Nardole: Matt Lucas
  • Bill Potts: Pearl Mackie

Guest Cast

  • Missy: Michelle Gomez
  • Godsacre: Anthony Calf
  • Catchlove: Ferdinand Kingsley
  • Friday: Richard Ashton
  • Iraxxa: Adele Lynch
  • Sergeant Major Peach: Glenn Speers
  • Jackdaw: Ian Beattie
  • Vincey: Bayo Gbadamosi
  • Knibbs: Ian Hughes
  • Coolidge: Lesley Ewen
  • Voice of Alpha Centauri: Ysanne Churchman

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 9. Empress Of Mars Saturday, June 10, 2017 7:15 PM - 8:00 PM 5.02M 83

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This story introduces Alpha Centauri who appeared in two stories alongside the Third Doctor (Jon Perwee). It is voiced by the same actor - Ysanne Churchman.