8.9. Flatline

Series 8 - 2014

Writer: Jamie Mathieson
Produced by: Nikki Wilson
Director: Douglas MacKinnon
Music: Murray Gold

Well, I wonder what caused this. This is huge! Well, not literally huge. Slightly smaller than usual. Which is huge.


The Doctor returns Clara back to Earth, although it is not quite the exact place she had left earlier. Also, the door to leave the TARDIS appears to have shrunk to about half it's size. The Doctor and Clara manage to squeeze out and find themselves at a railway sidings in Bristol next to a TARDIS that is half the size it should be. Whilst Clara goes to look around the Doctor squeezes back inside the TARDIS.

In the town a group of workmen, supervised by Fenton, are clearing graffiti off the walls. One of the workmen, Rigsy, is on community service. As a graffiti artist Fenton makes sure he starts with his signature. Clara, seeing a memorial to missing people, is taunted by the workmen. Rigsy goes to introduce himself to Clara as she enters an underground walkway that appears to have people graffitied on the walls.

Rigsy tells Clara that his Aunt Karina is one of the people in the mural. It's then that he tells Clara about the people that have been going missing around Bristol, some of whom end up in the mural. Clara returns to the railway sidings and calls the Doctor to let him know. She asks where the TARDIS is, and the Doctor says it is in the same place. Clara eventually sees a miniature TARDIS and her first instinct is to start laughing.

It doesn't help when the Doctor opens the TARDIS doors and she can see his face looking out. Through the doors he hands her a small earpiece through which the she can hear, and speak to, the Doctor and allows him to see what she sees. The Doctor says something is leeching dimensional energy from the TARDIS and asks Clara to pick up the TARDIS and head into Bristol. The Doctor also manages to hand Clara his psychic paper and sonic screwdriver, making Clara the new Doctor.

With the TARDIS in her handbag Clara begins to scan around Bristol. She meets up with Rigsy where she introduces herself as Doctor Oswald. Using the psychic paper to convince Rigsy she is an MI5 agent Rigsy shows her a flat where a person disappeared. The mystery is that the person disappeared even though the flat was locked. On the wall is a strange pattern.

When Clara starts to behave oddly Rigsy tries to leave. In order to convince him she is sane she shows him the small TARDIS with the Doctor inside. The Doctor asks Clara to find more places where people have disappeared, and she contacts the police to show her the first case, Mr Heath.

In Mr Heath's house the Doctor thinks that the shrunk people could be in the walls and hands Clara a sledgehammer which Rigsy uses to smash the walls of the bedroom. Downstairs the police woman, PC Forrest, hears a noise and doesn't notice the floor before she is dragged into it. Her screams alert Clara and Rigsy. When the arrive she has disappeared. On the wall is a pattern on the wall, and the Doctor recognises it as a flattened nervous system. The Doctor then realises the pattern in the first flat was actually a flattened, enlarged, version of human skin.

The Doctor realises that aliens are trying to understand humans and, being from a universe of only two dimensions, understand three dimensional space. Clara and Rigsy try to leave the room but the door closes and the handle is flattened. As they watch furniture starts to flatten. In the room is a chair hanging from the ceiling. Both Rigsy and Clara get into the chair and off the floor. Rigsy starts the chair swinging and using the sonic screwdriver to unscrew the chair from the ceiling the chair goes flying through the window.

Back at the underground walkway Clara tries to get her earpiece working again as Rigsy tries to get the workmen to stop white washing the graffiti, calling it a memorial to the missing people. Seeing the mural the Doctor realises it is not a memorial - these are the actual people who have disappeared. Clara claims, via the psychic paper, to be from Health and Safety. Fenton, seeing a blank sheet, tells Stan to start work on the graffiti. In a moment he disappears appearing as a person in the mural, and in the mural all the people start to turn round.

Clara and the remaining workmen all run as the people start to flow from the walls and into the ground. They find an old railway garage, and Clara takes control of the group. Inside the TARDIS the Doctor tries to get the TARDIS to communicate with the aliens and Clara patches the TARDIS through some old speakers. The aliens respond with the number 55 - the number that was on Stan's jacket.

They also respond with the number 22 - the number that is on George's jacket. George appears to be standing still, but from a different angle it is apparent he has been flattened, and starts to flow into the ground. The group makes their way through the only other exit - a path into a railway tunnel. In the tunnel is another door, but it has been flattened. From inside the TARDIS the Doctor hands Clara a 2DIS - a device to restore 3 dimensions to a small area such as a door handle.

At first the device doesn't work. Detecting the device the aliens create a 3D form and snatch Al. Around Clara, Rigsy and Fenton 3D forms start to appear. Clara uses the device, boosted by the Doctor, to restore the door's handle. Once through the door the device is reversed to once again flatten the door handle.

The creatures are able to restore the dimensions to open the door and give chase. The Doctor tells Clara he knows how to send the creatures back to their dimension but that the TARDIS does not have enough power to do it. Fenton is angry with Clara's handling of the situation and accidentally knocks the TARDIS down a hole and onto the tracks of an oncoming train. The Doctor is able to save the TARDIS by putting it into siege mode. Nothing can get in or out of the TARDIS, including communications, and there is not enough power to turn it off.

Clara, Rigsy and Fenton make their way into the tunnels where another train is coming. Using the sonic screwdriver Clara is able to apply the train's brakes. Clara plans to use the empty train to ram the creature. The driver says it is possible, but it needs someone to manage the dean man's handle. As she watches Rigsy gets into the train and starts driving towards the creature. Clara boards the train and instead uses a hair-band to rig the train, and both her and Rigsy jump from the train.

As soon as the train gets close to the creature in the tunnel it becomes flat graffiti on the wall. Clara, Rigsy, Fenton and the train driver make their way to an old office, stopping on the way to pick up a strange grey box near the tracks which Clara thinks is the TARDIS.

Clara has a plan and asks Rigsy to start drawing graffiti on the back of an old poster. The poster is hung over the wall of the tunnel. The creatures approach the poster and see a flattened door. They keep using their energy against the poster but nothing appears to happen. Clara has propped the TARDIS behind the wall and the energy goes through the wall into the TARDIS.

As Clara watches the restored TARDIS appears and locks the creatures behind a forcefield. The Doctor appears and sends the creatures, named the Boneless, back into their rightful dimension.

Guest Cast

  • Clara Oswald: Jenna Coleman
  • Rigsy: Joivan Wade
  • Danny Pink: Samuel Anderson
  • Roscoe: John Cummins
  • PC Forrest: Jessica Hayles
  • Fenton: Christopher Fairbank
  • Al: Matt Bardock
  • George: Raj Bajaj
  • Bill: James Quinn
  • Missy: Michelle Gomez

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 9. Flatline Saturday, October 18, 2014 8:25 PM - 9:10 PM 6.71M

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