10.13. Twice Upon A Time

Series 10 - 2017

Writer: Steven Moffat
Produced by: Peter Bennett
Directed By: Rachel Talalay
Music: Murray Gold


A long time ago, at the South Pole, the Doctor refused to regenerate. Out in the frozen snow the Doctor finds another person who claims to be the Doctor. The First Doctor is trying to hold back his regenration, as is the Twelfth Doctor. In both cases the regeneration process has started, and where they were feeling weak they are feeling stronger. But the Twelfth Doctor very real consequences if the First Doctor does not regenerate.

Ypres, 1914: Two soldiers - one British and one German, in a bomb crater, face each other. Neither really wants to kill the other, but each is prepared to do so in self-defence. As he levels his weapon the British Captain notices time appear to stand still. On the battlefield he is the only one moving. He notices a strange figure appear - a glass woman. The woman takes the Captain out of time, but whilst doing so an error lands him at the South Pole.

The Twelfth Doctor then notices the snow; it's stopped in mid-air. And there is another man at the South Pole, a British World War I Captain in need of a Doctor. The glass woman follows the Captain, and the First Doctor leads them into the TARDIS to escape. Only it's not the First Doctor's TARDIS.

Whilst the Twelfth Doctor tries to convince the First Doctor he really is a future regeneration the First Doctor helps the Captain who is starting to go into shock. Whilst the Doctors are bickering the TARDIS is grabbed by a spacecraft and drawn inside.

The Twelfth Doctor stays to fix the engines whilst the First Doctor goes outside to stall for time, where a voice tells him he is standing inside the Chamber of the Dead. The voice says that the Doctor is known as the Doctor of War - something he refutes. The voice tells the Doctor that if he returns the human he can speak with her again. When the Doctor looks round he sees Bill Potts - although he hasn't even met her yet.

Seeing her on a screen in the TARDIS the Twelfth Doctor rushes out to meet her. Bill Potts was turned into a Cyberman, and the Doctor is sceptical that the person in front of his is the real Bill Potts. The Doctor scans Bill and finds three markers to indicate she is really a duplicate. The Doctors find equipment so they can find out who has been stealing the faces of the dead. A glass woman appears and explains to the Doctors that glass people are the Testimony: they appear at the moment of death, take something from the person who is about to die, and then return them.

Having watched from inside the TARDIS the Captain exits and tells the Doctor that as far as he can see Bill's live was being offered in place of his own, and he would happily give his life for hers. Bill is not happy with that, and tells the Doctor to find a better way. The Twelfth Doctor announces he is going to escape and find out what is going on. If he doesn't like it we will return. When the First Doctor wants to know why the Doctor is announcing his plans, and who the Twelfth Doctor really is the glass woman shows excerpts from the Doctor's different regenerations.

The First Doctor is astounded by what he sees, but the Twelfth Doctor is busy escaping. He opens the hatch through which the TARDIS was brought, and sets winches into free-fall. As the TARDIS plummets the Doctors, Bill, and the Captain, each grab a chain. The winch is stopped, but it's a short drop back to the ground. As they jump the TARDIS is drawn back into the ship. But there is still the First Doctor's TARDIS. Once inside the Twelfth Doctor tries to identify the face on the glass woman. Only the TARDIS database is not big enough. A bigger database is needed.

The TARDIS materialises at the centre of the universe: the Weapon Forges of Villengard. From a tower the two Doctors are attacked until the Twelfth Doctor asks to be scanned. When he reveals he is dying the Doctors are allowed to enter the tower. The Twelfth Doctor says the creature in the TARDIS would love to kill the Doctor twice, and tells the First Doctor to stay outside the tower as he goes inside. At the top of the tower the Doctor finds a Dalek - Rusty (see Into The Dalek).

The Doctor wants to access the Dalek database - the biggest database he knows off. Using the database the Doctor finds the face of the glass woman in the space craft was of Professor Helen Clay of the University of New Earth. She founded Testimony which combined time travel with memory extraction to lift the near-dead from their time streams, duplicate their memories, and then return the physical form. Channelled through the glass avatars the dead can live again.

The Doctor realises that this is not part of an evil plan, and is not sure what to do. When time becomes frozen again the First Doctor and Bill, who herself is now an avatar, appear at the top of the tower. Bill has been talking to the First Doctor and learnt that the Twelfth Doctor plans to not regenerate. A fact she confronts him about. The Doctor tells Bill everyone has to end. When Bill mentions the Captain the Doctor asks that, as he was the cause of the time line error (two Doctors trying to not regenerate at the same time) he should be the one to return him.

As the Captain returns to the crater he asks the Doctors to look in on his family and tells them his name: Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart. As time restarts both the Captain and the German soldier are about to fire when the German soldiers start to sing Christmas carols, followed by the British soldiers. The Doctor managed to nudge the time frame to the first, and only, Christmas armistice. With both Doctors hidden by a perception filter the First Doctor sees what he becomes and no longer fears regeneration.

The Twelfth Doctor is still not sure about regenerating. The avatar that is Bill Potts tries to convince the Doctor, and she appears as Clara, causing the Doctor to remember her. A second avatar appears as Nardole. They leave the Doctor to make his choice whether to regenerate or not. Before he finally lets go he gives advice to the next Doctor...

When the Doctor does finally let go the energy erupts causing damage to the TARDIS. In amongst it is the new Doctor - the first in female form. As she tries to make sense of what is happening she accidentally opens the TARDIS doors and is sucked out in mid flight as she watches the TARDIS disappear.

Guest Cast

  • The Doctor: David Bradley, and introducing Jodie Whittaker
  • Bill Potts: Pearl Mackie
  • The Captain: Mark Gatiss
  • Clara: Jenna Coleman
  • Nardole: Matt Lucas
  • Helen Clay: Nikki Amuka-Bird
  • German Soldier: Toby Whithouse
  • Polly: Lily Travers
  • Ben: Jared Garfield
  • Voice of the Daleks: Nicholas Briggs
  • Footage from: The Tenth Planet
  • The Doctor: William Hartnell
  • Polly: Anneke Wills
  • Ben: Michael Craze
  • Written by: Kit Pedler, Gerry Davis

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 13. Twice Upon A Time Monday, December 25, 2017 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM 7.92M 81

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