Under the Lake
Doctor Who Logo 'Under the Lake'
(Story Code 9.03)

by Toby Whithouse
The Twelfth Doctor and Clara

“They can walk through walls. They only come out at night. They’re sort of see-through... They’re ghosts. They’re ghosts!” – The Doctor

2119: an underwater mining facility designated ‘The Drum’, located in Caithness, Scotland; the site of a military town flooded after the local dam broke. Inside the facility, Captain Moran and his crew have brought aboard a mysterious craft they have found on the lake bed. As the crew examine strange writing scratched on the inside wall of the vessel in the main hanger, the base’s sponsor, Pritchard of Vector Petroleum, catches a glimpse of the ghostly figure of an undertaker. The craft’s engines suddenly ignite, catching Moran in the blast; as the base computer registers the fire and starts sealing the door, the crew are forced to abandon their commander and rush to safety. However, after the door seals behind them the ghost of Moran appears in the corridor, his eyes gaping black holes. Joined by the undertaker, Moran advances on his former team mates…

Three days later, the TARDIS materialises aboard the Drum. The Doctor can tell his ship is unhappy, but is unable to discern why. He and Clara explore the apparently empty base, wondering where the crew have gone; they soon come across Moran and the undertaker, the two transparent figures not at all what they were expecting to find. The ghosts walk up to the Doctor and Clara, seeming to examine them before turning around and disappearing into thin air. Intrigued, the Time Lord and his friend continue their search, finding the alien space ship and the unearthly writing inside. The Doctor ponders how the TARDIS cannot translate the words, but is interrupted by the return of the two ghosts; they seem to be saying something, but their words cannot be heard. The spectres take up an axe and harpoon gun and then attack the Doctor and Clara; luckily for them the ghosts have bad aim, allowing the two friends to escape into the corridor outside – but then the ghosts come for them from out of the wall and floor. Running for their lives the Doctor and Clara are saved by the crew, who urge them into the chamber in which they are hiding, sealing the door before the spectres can reach their victims. Introductions are made, and when the crew learn the Doctor’s identity and UNIT affiliation from his psychic paper, they are very pleased to meet him. The Doctor tells the new commander, the deaf-mute Cass, that the undertaker is a member of a cowardly mole-like race from the planet Tivoli, confirming everyone’s suspicions that the vessel was of extraterrestrial origin. The room in which they are hiding is a Faraday Cage, a metal room designed to block all electric fields, lead-lined to act as protection from the mining equipment used for the oil reserves below the lake. As the base’s morning lights come on the crew relax and emerge from hiding, explaining that the ghosts only come out at night. Returning to the alien space ship, the Doctor notes that a fuel cell is missing, as well as the suspended animation chamber that would usually be under the floor, which may contain the pilot; however, Cass and her team insist they haven’t taken them... In the base’s bridge, the Doctor considers their situation, and is forced to admit that they may well be facing ghosts – something he is both amazed and excited about, until Clara points out that he needs to show tact to the crew (using handy cue cards), at the loss of their commander. Just then the base computer switches back to night mode, which crew woman O’Donnell insists is far too early. Hearing the Cloister Bell, the Doctor and Clara race back to the TARDIS to find its interior bathed in red light and steam. Realising that the time-space vessel is reacting to the unnatural aberrations that are the ghosts, the Doctor puts on the hand-brake, instantly calming his ship. While the Doctor and Clara re-join the crew in the safety of the Faraday Cage, Pritchard returns from his fruitless underwater search for the missing power cell. As he takes off his helmet Pritchard sees Moran and the undertaker in the corridor outside the airlock; Moran’s spectral form reaches out and activates the override, flooding the airlock with water… In the mess hall, Clara and Lunn see Pritchard standing with his back to them – and then they see his body floating past a window. Pritchard’s eyeless ghost turns around, his lips mumbling unintelligibly, and he grabs a chair ready to kill just as the Doctor and the rest of the crew arrive on the scene. In the control room, O’Donnell turns the lights back on – and in the mess, Pritchard vanishes. Joining O’Donnell, the Doctor tells everyone that the ghosts are learning how to use the base against them. Cass orders O’Donnell to contact topside over the phone and inform them that they are abandoning the base. When their control advise that they are sending a submarine in response to the crew’s Morse Code summons, the Doctor realises that the ghosts are responsible for the message; pulling rank with his UNIT credentials he orders the sub to return and declares the Drum to be under quarantine. The Time Lord then orders O’Donnell to switch the base’s night mode back on – he wants to capture a ghost and ask it what it wants… Using Lunn as bait, the three ghosts are lured out of the mess towards where Clara is waiting; she tries to get the spectres to follow her, but they split up: two follow Clara, while Pritchard goes for Lunn. Cornered in an airlock, Lunn is about to be beaten by the spanner-wielding Pritchard… but then the ghost seems to change his mind, and leaves to return to his fellows. Reunited, the three ghosts follow Clara into the Faraday Cage – only for her holographic image to flicker and vanish, leaving them trapped inside. The Doctor relays the ghosts’ images to the control room via his sonic shades, so that Cass can try to lip-read what they are saying. Unable to get her a clear view, the Doctor goes inside the room; Moran puts his hand into the Time Lord’s chest, but the Doctor just shrugs off his attack. Cass is able to read the ghosts’ message, a loop of the words “The dark. The sword. The forsaken. The temple”. The Doctor deduces they are co-ordinates on a star map – space and the three stars of Orion, which line up with the Earth. This means that someone is deliberately making ghosts to use as transmitters, their numbers strengthening the message being beamed out into space. Having worked out that the temple refers to the submerged town church, the Doctor offers the crew the option to either leave or stay with him and Clara: one by one they all agree to help. From the safety of the bridge, Bennett pilots a remote controlled mini-sub to investigate the church; as the craft approaches the remains of the building it comes across a white box: the missing suspended animation chamber. The mini-sub brings the object back aboard the Drum, but the Doctor is unable to open it due to a deadlock seal. Puzzling out the situation, the Doctor tries using his sonic shades to decode the writing on the interior of the alien space ship; when that doesn’t work he realises they are not words, they are ‘magnets’ that rewrite the synaptic connections in the brain – ‘earworms’ that make the pilot’s message unforgettable, even in death. The base evacuation alarm sounds – the ghosts have managed to trick the computer into believing the reactor is overheating, and it is now flooding the base. With just thirty seconds to get to safety the Doctor leads everyone in a race through the base; but then bulkhead doors slam down between them, trapping Clara, Cass and Lunn on the wrong side to the Doctor, O’Donnell and Bennett. As the corridor floods with seawater the Doctor vows to save Clara – but because the TARDIS won’t return to the base with the ghosts there, he will have to travel back in time to when the spaceship first arrived, and fix things there. Returning to the mess hall, Clara reassures Cass and Lunn they will be rescued – until they see the ghostly form of the Doctor floating outside…

Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Colin McFarlane (Captain Moran), Sophie Stone (Cass), Zaqi Ismail (Lunn), Morven Christie (O'Donnell), Arsher Ali (Bennett), Steven Robertson (Pritchard), Paul Kaye (Prentis [Undertaker])

Directed by Daniel O'Hara
Produced by Derek Ritchie
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
3rd October 2015 @ 8.25 pm

*Featuring the Twelfth Doctor and Clara

*Part one of a two-part story

*Working title: 'Ghost in the Machine - Part 1'