Doctor Who Logo 'The Impossible Astronaut'
(Story Code 6.1)

by Steven Moffat
The Doctor, River, Rory and Amy

“That most certainly is the Doctor. And he is most certainly dead.” – Canton Everett Delaware III

It’s been two months since Amy and Rory last saw the Doctor, and they are now living back on Earth in wedded bliss in Upper Leadworth. However, they soon realise that the Doctor is trying to attract their attention, deliberately leaving ridiculous adventures in history for them to find: in the Eighteenth Century he has his nude portrait painted by the King’s lady; in the Second World War the Doctor ‘helps’ British prisoners to escape from Nazi Colditz; and he even re-dons a fez to star alongside Laurel and Hardy in one of their comedies. Then Rory and Amy receive a TARDIS-blue envelope, labelled as “No.3”, which contains an invite to a mysterious rendezvous… In the future, at the Stormcage facility, prisoner Doctor River Song receives a similar invite – and so immediately stages another break out… Following the instructions in their invitation, Amy and Rory travel to the Utah desert in the United States of America, where they find a Stetson-wearing Doctor (“Stetsons are cool”) waiting for them. Once joined by a gun-toting, Stetson-shooting River, the quartet enjoy a happy reunion and then head for a nearby diner; after comparing diaries and adventures with River, the Doctor – now over two-hundred years older than when they last met – explains that after running all his life, he now wants to stop and take his friends for a picnic, and then take them on a trip to “Space 1969”… Whilst enjoying a picnic of wine and nibbles on the shore of Lake Silencia, Amy sees a strange figure standing nearby: a grey-faced alien wearing a black suit – but when she looks away, she immediately forgets what she has seen. Just then a car draws up and an old man gets out, but before the Doctor and his friends can learn the identity of this new arrival, an astronaut in an Apollo spacesuit emerges from the waters of the lake. Instructing his friends to remain behind, the Doctor goes to talk with the spaceman – but after a brief conversation, he is shot point-blank by the astronaut .As his friends look on in horror, the Doctor starts to regenerate – but the spaceman shoots him again, killing him mid-transformation. As the astronaut returns into the waters, the Doctor’s shocked friends rush to his side; River opens fire, but her gun has no effect on the retreating assassin. After confirming that the Doctor is indeed dead, the mysterious old man gives Amy, Rory and River a gift from the Time Lord: a can of gasoline with which to burn his body, to prevent it falling into enemy hands. Carrying out the Doctor’s last wish, the Time Lord’s distraught friends place his corpse in a nearby boat, setting it aflame and casting it into the waters of the lake in a hero’s funeral pyre… After the solemn ceremony, the old man introduces himself as Canton Everett Delaware III; he then shows Amy, Rory and River that he also has a blue envelope, numbered “4”. Walking back to his vehicle, Canton promises that he will see them again soon… Pondering the meaning of “Space 1969”, River, Amy and Rory return to the diner, where they find another envelope, this one labelled as “No.1”. Puzzling over who else the Doctor would have trusted for his final mission, the trio are amazed at the sudden arrival of the Doctor himself, who is equally surprised to see them. It quickly becomes apparent that this is a younger version of the Doctor who just died, summoned by his own future self. Realising that they must keep the Doctor’s future a secret from him, Amy, River and Rory encourage their friend to return to the TARDIS to follow-up on the only lead they have: one Canton Everett Delaware III. Once his time-space craft has located their quarry to Washington DC, on the 8th April 1969, the Doctor confronts his friends over the secrets they are obviously keeping from him; when the trio refuse to explain, the Doctor grudgingly accepts Amy’s word to trust them… Elsewhen, in 1969, ex-F.B.I. agent Canton Everett Delaware III is escorted by government agents to the White House for a meeting with President Nixon. The President needs Canton’s help on a matter of extreme importance: every night he has received a mysterious telephone call from an unknown child, warning him of something terrible in the White House. Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor (with some help from River) renders the ship invisible and lands it inside the Oval Office; emerging from the time-space vessel the Doctor is just in time to hear Nixon’s conversation with Canton – and then promptly gets arrested by armed guards. However, once River has de-cloaked the Police Box the Doctor is able to use his quick-talking to explain himself away as an undercover agent on loan from Scotland Yard, accompanied by his three associates: ‘The Legs’, ‘The Nose’ and ‘Mrs Robinson’. As the Doctor uses Nixon’s latest telephone conversation to pinpoint the source of the call, Amy sees the grey-faced alien standing in the doorway of the office – but again forgets what she has seen when she looks away. Complaining of nausea, Amy is escorted to the bathroom by one of the President’s aides; inside the toilet Amy meets the suited creature – but before she can question it another woman emerges from a cubicle: as Amy watches, the woman sees the alien, forgets it when she looks away, and then registers it again when she returns her gaze to it. Then, to Amy’s dismay, the creature blasts the woman into pieces with an energy blast from its claw-like hand. After Amy takes a photograph of the creature with her mobile phone, the alien tells her to give the Doctor a message; Amy runs from the room in terror – and then instantly forgets what she has just witnessed… Back in the Oval Office, the Doctor has worked out the source of the telephone calls, and urges his three friends into the TARDIS; Canton follows them inside, and is blown away by the sight of the ship’s interior. Leaving Rory to explain, the Doctor takes the ship to a disused warehouse five miles away from Cape Kennedy Space Centre; noting that the telephone line has been cut off, the Time Lord immediately suspects a trap; he and his associates are unaware that they are being watched by the spaceman… Exploring the warehouse, the five adventurers discover alien technology from the future mixed with crates containing equipment from the U.S. Space Programme. Spotting a number of power leads running into a manhole, River descends to investigate: at the start of a network of tunnels she sees several of the grey-faced creatures, but when she retreats back to the safety of the Doctor and the others, she forgets her alien encounter. With Rory accompanying her this time, River returns to the tunnels, now seemingly devoid of the bizarre aliens – although one still remains behind them, watching their progress… Searching the tunnels, River and Rory soon find a maintenance hatch; once River has picked its lock, the two adventurers head inside, where they find a chamber that looks disturbingly similar to a TARDIS control room (Clive’s note: this looks exactly the same as the control room of the ship situated above Craig’s flat, as seen in ’The Lodger’). As an alarm is triggered, River uses her detector to determine that the tunnels are centuries old, and run under the entire surface of the planet. Rory checks if the coast is still clear and sees a hoard of grey-faced aliens closing in on him and River – but then forgets when he looks away… Back in the warehouse, the Doctor, Amy and Canton hear the little girl calling for help; Canton rushes off ahead, only to be rendered unconscious by an unknown assailant. Feeling the strain of the situation, Amy urgently confides to the Doctor that she is pregnant; but before the surprised Time Lord can learn more, the duo are interrupted by the appearance of the astronaut. Seeing a way to change history, Amy turns and reaches for Canton’s gun. The Doctor looks on as the spaceman retracts its visor to reveal the face of a terrified young girl – and then Amy opens fire on the astronaut…

Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Alex Kingston (Doctor River Song), Mark Sheppard (Canton Everett Delaware III), William Morgan Sheppard (Old Canton Everett Delaware III), Stuart Milligan (President Richard Milhous Nixon), Chuk Iwuji (White House Secret Service Man), Mark Griffin (Phil), Marnix Van Den Broeke (The Silent), Sydney Wade (Little Girl), Nancy Baldwin (Joy), Kieran O'Connor (Prison Guard), Adam Napier (Captain Simmons), Henrietta Clemett (Matila), Paul Critoph (Charles), Emilio Aquino (Busboy)

Directed by Toby Haynes
Produced by Marcus Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis
A BBC Wales production, co-produced with BBC America

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
23rd April 2011 @ 6.00 pm

*Featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy, Rory and River

*This episode is part one of a two part story

*Working title: 'The Year of the Moon'

*Music heard in this episode: 'Rolling in the Deep' by Adele

*This episode was dedicated to the memory of Elisabeth Sladen, who tragically passed away from cancer earlier that week, on 19th April - she will be missed...

*This was the first episode to have ‘BBC’ featured in its title logo

*When it was originally transmitted, this episode was the most recorded British television event of all time, as 4.11 million viewers 'time-shifted' their watching of the programme; the final total audience recorded was 8.9 million, indicating that some 46% of the audience did not watch the programme 'live'

*A specially-made prelude to this story was made available on the BBC's official 'Doctor Who' website, posted at 4.00 pm on 25th March. In this two-minute scene written by Steven Moffatt, President Nixon of the United States of America receives a mysterious telephone call, warning him that there are monsters in the Oval Office. A shortened version of this was shown on BBC1 the evening before the episode's transmission.