Twice Upon a Time
Doctor Who Logo 'Twice Upon a Time'
(Story Code 10.X)

by Steven Moffat
The Twelfth and First Doctors, and Bill

“Time to leave the battlefield.” – The Doctor

709 episodes ago: Following the defeat of the Cybermen at the South Pole, the First Doctor wanders off from his companions Ben and Polly, fighting his aged body’s urge to regenerate. While crossing the icy wastes to his TARDIS the First Doctor comes across his future self, also on the verge of regeneration. Although the First Doctor fails to recognise the man he is to become, the Doctor well knows his past self, but is puzzled as to why he has no recollection of their meeting. Both Doctors now face a choice: to change and go on, or die as they are – and if the First Doctor chooses to die, the consequences to the timeline could be disastrous. At that moment time freezes, and then a World War One Army Captain turns up…

Ypres, 1914: in a battlefield bomb crater during World War One, a standoff ensues between a British Army Captain and a German soldier. To the Captain’s surprise time stops around him, his enemy frozen mid-action, his fellow soldiers unmoving. A glass humanoid woman appears before the Captain, warning of a “timeline error”; the soldier sees flashes of a huge room, then finds himself at the South Pole with two strange men. The glass woman reappears, only to vanish again when confronted by the two Doctors. The First Doctor leads the Captain inside his TARDIS for safety, only to discover that he has picked the wrong ship: this one belongs to his future self, whilst his own still waits for him nearby. By showing the regeneration energy leaking from his hand, the Doctor convinces his earlier self of his true identity – and he also has to deal with the First Doctor’s lack of PC-ness! Then the TARDIS is grabbed by a huge spaceship hovering overhead, and as it is winched aboard using heavy chains the ship’s controls are jammed, preventing the Doctors from escaping. The ship is deposited inside a huge room filled with overlooking alcoves, and a voice announces that they have arrived in the Chamber of the Dead. When the First Doctor emerges from the TARDIS the voice addresses him as “The Doctor of War” - a title he refutes - and offers to exchange the Captain for the chance to see Bill Potts again. The Doctor races out of the TARDIS to greet his old friend, but quickly becomes suspicious: the last time he saw her, Bill had been turned into a Cyberman. Bill explains how she was saved by Heather, but cannot recall her watery lover’s whereabouts, nor how she got aboard the alien ship... Exploring the chamber the Doctors find alien time-travel technology from the far future; they also meet the glass woman again, who identifies her kind as the Testimony: a race who travel through time to abduct people at the moment of their deaths. It seems the Testimony were returning the Captain to his rightful point in time, but an error in the timeline ejected him at the wrong point in history. On hearing this, the Captain leaves the TARDIS and offers up his life instead of Bill’s; but the Doctor is having none of it, and vows to escape and find out the Testimony’s real plan. In response, more of the Testimony appear and show the First Doctor images of his future selves and their adventures, how he earned the sobriquet of “The Doctor of War”. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to open the hatch below his TARDIS, and after activating the winch, orders everyone to grab a chain and escape; the plan almost works, but the Testimony halt their descent, forcing the Doctors, Bill and the Captain to slide down onto the roof of the TARDIS and jump the last few feet to the ground. As the TARDIS is pulled back inside the Testimony spaceship, the quartet race for the First Doctor’s TARDIS. Safely inside, the Doctor sets the controls for the Vortex and then consults the ship’s databank for the real identity of the glass woman; unfortunately, it barely contains any information at this stage, so the Doctor steers the ship to the centre of the universe to consult the biggest database he knows – one that also wants to kill him… Stepping outside onto the ruined surface of a devastated planet, the Doctor explains to Bill, the Captain and his earlier self that they have arrived on Villengard. After saving the Captain from an attack by a small, multi-legged creature, the Doctors leave the soldier in the TARDIS under the watchful eye of Bill; the Captain fails to notice Bill’s hand turn to glass as she reaches for some brandy… On seeing how his future-self is weakening as his regeneration catches up, the First Doctor admits that he too is afraid of changing; they are interrupted by a burst of energy beams from a nearby tower, forcing them to dodge for their lives. The Doctor encourages their assailant to scan his dying body, an act that stops the gunfire, and results in a door opening invitingly at the base of the tower... Back in the TARDIS, the Captain confides to Bill that he is afraid of dying, but expects his wife and children to carry on without him; looking up, he is shocked to see that Bill has transformed into a glass woman… The Doctor instructs his earlier self to remain outside on guard while he ventures into the tower. Inspecting the surrounding wreckage, the First Doctor finds a familiar metal eyestalk – the creatures scuttling around the ruins are Daleks. The First Doctor is joined by Bill, now back in human form, and together they discuss his reasons for stealing the TARDIS. Whilst he is still exploring the universe, the First Doctor has yet to become its champion – something that Bill notes he never quite realises is his destiny. Bill gives the First Doctor a hug, then transforms into her glass form, explaining that she has now become part of the Testimony… Inside the tower, the Doctor meets an old friend: Rusty the ‘good’ Dalek. Rusty is unhappy at seeing the man who left him alone for billions of years, but agrees to disarm itself while they talk. The Doctor appeals to Rusty’s hatred of the Daleks to allow him access to their hive mind; this enables him to identify the glass woman: Doctor Helen Clay of the University of New Earth in the year Five Billion and Twelve, and member of the Testimony Foundation, an organisation devoted to studying the past. By duplicating the memories of those about to die and putting them into glass avatars the foundation ensures their testimony can live on, allowing the dead to be heard among the living. As the Doctor realises that the Testimony doesn’t have an evil plan, time freezes around him, heralding the arrival of the First Doctor and glass Bill. Insisting that her memories make her real, Bill berates the Doctor for not wanting to regenerate, and asks for his help in correcting the problem of the Captain. Realising that it was his and his past self’s fault for causing the error in the timeline, the Doctor agrees…

The two TARDISes materialise in Ypres, 1914, where the Captain prepares to resume his place on the battlefield. Learning from Bill that he will lose his memory of recent events, the Captain asks the Doctors to look in on his family from time to time; the First Doctor promises he will, while his later self is surprised to learn that the Captain’s surname is Lethbridge-Stewart. Time restarts and the Captain finds himself caught in the standoff with the German soldier once more; tension builds between the two men… until they hear the words of ‘Silent Night’ sung by the German troops, causing them to lower their guns. Watching from behind a perception filter, the Doctor explains to his earlier self how he adjusted the timeframe by a few hours so that time resumed at the start of the Christmas Armistice. From seeing how his past-self saved the Captain, the First Doctor understands the true meaning of being the ‘Doctor of War’, and feels he is now ready to change. As the British and German troops play football, sing songs and share drinks, the First Doctor says goodbye to his earlier self and returns to his TARDIS. With his regeneration beginning, the First Doctor sets his ship’s controls for the South Pole, 1986, then collapses to the floor, his features shifting and blurring into those of his Second incarnation… Back in 1914, the Doctor accepts a salute from a slightly confused Captain Lethbridge-Stewart and then encounters Bill once more. Kissing him on the check, Bill shows the Doctor how her memories make her real by giving him a gift: the restoration of his lost memories of Clara. The Doctor receives another visitor in the form of a glass Nardole, who materialises to join him and Bill; despite still believing they are just memories filling glass, the Doctor nonetheless thanks his friends for helping him. The Doctor is now ready to move ahead alone, and after sharing a hug, he watches Bill and Nardole vanish… Leaving the battlefield, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS; the ship also encourages him to regenerate, but the Doctor holds off long enough to leave a message of advice for his next incarnation. Finally succumbing to his oncoming change, the Doctor’s body explodes in arcs of powerful, glowing regeneration energy… and to his delight, he transforms into a woman. But the TARDIS is furious at this dramatic change, and after throwing open its doors and tipping out its owner the ship dematerialises – leaving the Doctor plummeting helplessly towards the ground far below…

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), David Bradley (The Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill Potts), Mark Gatiss (The Captain [Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart]), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Helen Clay [Glass Woman]), Toby Whithouse (German Soldier), Lily Travers (Polly), Jared Garfield (Ben), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Daleks), William Hartnell (The Doctor), Anneke Wills (Polly), Michael Craze (Ben), Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor)

Directed by Rachel Talalay
Produced by Peter Bennett
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
25th December 2017 @ 5.30 pm

*Featuring the Twelfth Doctor and the First Doctor, Ben, Polly, Bill and Nardole, and introducing the Thirteenth Doctor

*Part three of a four-part story (as this episode ends with 'To be continued')

*This Christmas special is sixty minutes long