Doctor Who Logo 'Flatline'
(Story Code 8.09)

by Jamie Mathieson
The Twelfth Doctor and Clara

“Are we really hiding from killer graffiti? This is insane.” – Al

A terrified man phones the police for help, convinced that something has invaded his home, something that is all around him; but before he can say what, the man disappears… only to reappear as a smeared image on a nearby wall… Elsewhere in time and space, the Doctor sets the TARDIS on course to return Clara home. After getting some odd readings on the controls the Doctor is surprised to find that the front door of his ship has shrunk in size – and when he and Clara squeeze through it, they are even more surprised to find that the TARDIS exterior has shrunk too! While Clara is cross to see that they have landed in Bristol, on the waste ground by a railway siding, the Doctor is busy enjoying not knowing what caused his TARDIS to shrink. Clara heads off in search of clues and comes across a group of people on community service duty under the watchful gaze of their grumpy supervisor, Fenton; the gang are painting over graffiti on the estate’s walls, something that strikes home with one of their number, Rigsy, who painted some of the wall scrawl himself. Clara sees that the walls of a nearby underpass tunnel are adorned with life-size images of people as seen from behind; Rigsy explains that they are memorial murals of people who have recently gone missing, including his aunt. When something causes the TARDIS interior to shudder violently, the Doctor calls Clara on her mobile. Racing back to the station, Clara is highly amused to discover that the TARDIS has shrunk even more, and is now the size of a toy! However, the interior of the ship is still the same, meaning that the trapped Doctor can only peer out angrily, or squeeze his hand through the doorway. Explaining that something is leeching all the external dimensions from the TARDIS, the Doctor gives Clara his sonic screwdriver, psychic paper and an earpiece that allows him to both communicate with his friend and hack her optic nerve, enabling him to see everything she does. Amused and excited to be in the role of a surrogate “Doctor”, Clara packs the tiny TARDIS in her shoulder bag and then gets Rigsy to take her to the site of the last person to go missing; the flat is a ‘locked room mystery’, as the man who lived there vanished without trace, even though the door and windows were sealed from within. Scanning the flat Clara can find nothing strange, although there is an odd-looking mural on one of the walls. Rigsy gets scared by Clara’s talk of shrink rays, so she shows him the TARDIS and the Doctor trapped within. When more energy starts to drain from the ship, the Doctor urges Clara and Rigsy to take him outside. Using the psychic paper to pass herself off as MI5, Clara is able to get local police officer to show her and Rigsy the home of the first reported disappearance. Working on a theory that the missing person could be trapped inside the walls, the Doctor passes Clara a sledgehammer. As Clara starts smashing away at the walls, PC Forrest receives a call from her superior; moving into another room, Forrest fails to see how the walls and floor seem to melt and slither towards her… too late, the policewoman is powerless as the room flows over her, causing her body to flatten. Hearing the woman’s screams, Clara and Rigsy investigate but find the room empty; however, when Clara sees a mural on the wall that appears to depict trees by a river, the Doctor realises that it is actually a depiction of a human nervous system – all that remains of PC Forrest; something is scanning people in order to understand them, something that is two-dimensional. Before Clara and Rigsy can get out the door slams shut and the doorknob flattens; then the walls and floor start slithering towards them. As the 2D creatures close in, Clara joins Rigsy in a hanging chair and then fields a phone call from Danny. With the creatures flowing across the ceiling towards the chair’s fixing, Clara swings the chair back and forth and then uses the sonic to shatter the window, allowing her and Rigsy to crash outside to safety. The Doctor is fascinated by the concept of 2D aliens encroaching on the 3D world, but he still takes time to reprimand Clara: not only did she lie to Danny by telling him that everything is fine, she also lied to the Doctor when she said her boyfriend was ok with her continuing to travel with him. Rigsy returns to his street crew, only to find that Fenton has ordered then to paint over the tunnel murals; as Rigsy tries to stop them, the Doctor realises that the images are not paintings – they are the actual missing people. The images turn around and separate from the wall, then attack one of the workers – the aliens are using their victims’ bodies as camouflage. When the aliens flow towards then, Clara, Rigsy, Fenton and the others run for the sanctuary of a nearby train depot. The Doctor tells Clara that the creatures are trying to understand humanity: they started experiencing people by their footprints, then took to pulling them into their two-dimensional world for investigation; however, the aliens not be aware that they are hurting people, so somehow the Doctor and Claray must find a way to communicate. Clara uses the sonic screwdriver to patch the warehouse PA system to the TARDIS, allowing the Doctor to broadcast to the aliens; his transmission of the number pi is answered by the number fifty-five, the number on the jacket of the community service man just killed. Then the aliens broadcast the number twenty-two… and the man with that number on his jacket becomes a flattened image on the wall – clearly the aliens are aggressive. As his form flows towards them, Clara orders everyone into a service tunnel leading down to a disused subway line. In the tunnels, Clara and her group find that every hatchway has been flattened, blocking their escape route. Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor discovers that the aliens have changed frequency and have resumed draining his ship’s power. One of the workers is grabbed by a giant stone hand – the 2D creatures have moved onto the next stage and have become three-dimensional. As the bodies of the invaders’ victims rise up from the tunnel floor and shamble towards Clara, Rigsy and Fenton, the Doctor hands his friend his latest creation, the ‘2DIS’, which can restore flattened things to 3D. Clara uses the device to restore one of the doors and then urges everyone through before the aliens can reach them; she then reverses the device, reconverting the door to 2D – but the shambling aliens just blast it with energy, restoring it to normal so that they can get to their quarry. As Clara, Rigsy and Fenton run for their lives, the Doctor announces that he has a way to send the aliens back to their home dimension; the only problem is that the TARDIS has run out of energy. Fenton bumps into Clara, knocking the TARDIS out of her bag and down a very deep hole; although the Doctor survives the fall, the ship’s shields drop and the structural integrity fails – one more hit and the ship will be destroyed. With his ship powerless, the Doctor discovers that the TARDIS has landed on the railway tracks – and a train is coming straight at him! Recalling cousin Thing from the Addams Family, Clara gives the Doctor an idea: the Time Lord sticks his hand through the TARDIS door and ‘walks’ his ship to safety, but at the last moment the vibrations from the train cause the TARDIS to tip back over onto the rail! With just seconds to impact, the Doctor pulls a lever under the ship’s console that activates ‘Siege Mode’; his quick thinking saves himself and the ship, but preventing him from ever leaving it. Also faced with an oncoming train, Clara, Rigsy and Fenton find their escape route blocked by a glowing light coming from the end of the tunnel – the aliens are massing. Clara sonics a stop light, alerting the driver, who brakes the empty train to a standstill. As the confused driver, Bill, gets out, Rigsy jumps into the cabin and starts up the train, intending to ram the invaders; Clara manages to get aboard too, and after using a hairband to lock the ‘dead man’s switch’ in place, she convinces Rigsy to jump out before the train hits its target. The train strikes the alien light and instantly becomes a 2D image on the tunnel wall. As Rigsy, Fenton and Bill retreat from the monsters rising up from the tunnel floor, Clara finds a cube on the tracks: the TARDIS, now reverted back to its original - if abnormally tiny - form. The group find safe haven in an old railway staff office, and Clara tries in vain to reach the Doctor; knowing that she is on her own, Clara thinks like the Doctor and comes up with a plan to send energy to the TARDIS, a plan that involves paper, spray cans and Rigsy… Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor is in a bad way now that the ship’s life support systems have failed. In the tunnel, the warping, shambling figures of the aliens find a flattened door in the wall and immediately start blasting it with restorative energy. But it’s a trick: the door is really just a painting on paper, made courtesy of Rigsy’s artistic talents – the aliens’ energy is actually going through the wall and restoring the object behind it: the TARDIS! Once the space-time vessel is restored to full size and recharged, the Doctor zaps the aliens with a force field and then vents the full force of his anger. Declaring himself as the protector of this dimensional plane, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to send the invading boneless monsters back to their home dimension… Later, the Doctor and Clara drop off Bill, Fenton and Rigsy at the train station, bidding goodbye as they each go back home. When Clara asks why the Doctor is unable to say that she did a good job, the Time Lord tells her that whilst she was an exceptional ‘Doctor’, goodness had nothing to do with her actions… Elsewhere, in the Neverwhere, Missy watches Clara on a pad, and muses how she was a good choice…

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Samuel Anderson (Danny), John Cummins (Roscoe), Jessica Hayles (PC Forrest), Joivan Wade (Rigsy), Christopher Fairbank (Fenton), Matt Bardock (Al), Raj Bajaj (George), James Quinn (Bill), Michelle Gomez (Missy)

Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Produced by Nikki Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
18th October 2014 @ 8.25 pm

*Featuring the Twelfth Doctor, Clara and Danny