Peter Capaldi (The Doctor)
David Bradley (the Doctor), Pearl Mackie (Bill), Mark Gattis (Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Helen Clay), Toby Whitehouse (WW1 Soldier), Lilly Travers (Polly), Jarad Garfield (Ben), Jenna Coleman (Clara), Matt Lucas (Nardole), Jodie Whittaker (the Doctor), Nicholas Briggs (the Daleks/Cybermen)
|Written by||Steven Moffat|
|Directed by||Rachel Talalay|
|Produced by||Peter Bennett|
The magical final chapter of the Twelfth Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) journey sees the Time Lord team up with his former self, the first ever Doctor (David Bradley – Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and a returning Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), for one last adventure.
Two Doctors stranded in an Arctic snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. Enchanted glass people, stealing their victims from frozen time. And a World War One captain destined to die on the battlefield, but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor’s story.
An uplifting new tale about the power of hope in humanity’s darkest hours, Twice Upon A Time marks the end of an era. But as the Doctor must face his past to decide his future, his journey is only just beginning…
Twice Upon A Time is written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay, and executive produced by Brian Minchin.
The 60 minute special guest stars Mark Gatiss as The Captain and Nikki Amuka-Bird as the voice of the glass woman, and will see Peter Capaldi’s Doctor regenerate into the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker).
The First Doctor is towards the end of his encounter with the Cybermen from Mondas. He is freed from his restraints by his companions Ben and Polly, now that the threat is over. However, he is weak, his body beginning to regenerate. Refusing to give in, he leaves and wanders the South Pole, mumbling to himself that he will not change. Nearing his TARDIS, he hears a voice in the distance claiming to be the Doctor. He approaches the man knelt in the snow next to the TARDIS, also claiming to be The Doctor.
The Twelfth Doctor gets to his feet, and is shocked to see his past self. The Doctor is delighted at meeting his first incarnation, but realises that he is refusing to regenerate. The First Doctor is confused and dismisses his future self as just another Time Lord, until he notices what appears to be his TARDIS. The Twelfth Doctor questions why his younger self is refusing to regenerate, fearing the consequences the decision might cause. However, the snow suddenly freezes in midair, capturing the pair’s attention, as a man dressed in World War I attire approaches them.
On Christmas Day 1914, the soldier, a captain in the British Expeditionary Force, lies in a shell hole on the battlefield in Ypres. His revolver is aimed at a German soldier, who also has his sidearm trained on the Captain. Both men realise they will kill each other in self-defense, their respective troops far away in their trenches, unable to assist either of them. Just as the Captain prepares to accept his fate and fire, a wave of energy flows through the field, freezing everything around him. As he exits the hole, a bright light suddenly flashes and encapsulates him. He collapses to the ground in the arctic and, hearing the two Doctors discussing the static snow, he approaches them.
The scene once more shifts back to the Twelfth Doctor’s perspective. A portal of light opens in the distance, and the two Doctors approach it. The First Doctor orders the portal to reveal itself, while the Twelfth Doctor declares that the planet is protected, to the confusion of his first incarnation. However, the light quickly vanishes, surprising the Twelfth Doctor as “that almost never works.” The First Doctor returns to the Captain, telling him to enter his TARDIS, and the Twelfth Doctor coaxes him to follow. As they enter, the First Doctor is shocked by the changes to the TARDIS interior, while the Captain is shocked by the room’s size. The Twelfth Doctor attempts to convince his younger self they are the same person by displaying that he too is undergoing regeneration. He also points out that the First Doctor’s TARDIS is 70 feet away, and they are inside a later version of the TARDIS, hence the differences in appearance. Regardless, the First Doctor remains sceptical. The First Doctor notices the Captain’s unease, telling the soldier to sit down and orders the Twelfth Doctor to fetch some brandy. He does so, and the First Doctor notices that there is less in the glass than he remembered.
Suddenly, the TARDIS shakes violently, prompting the Twelfth Doctor to attempt to take off, only to find that the engines are unresponsive. Looking upwards out of the TARDIS doors, he sees large metal claws pulling the TARDIS upwards. Once the TARDIS has stopped moving, the Twelfth Doctor instructs his predecessor to confront their captors. A humanoid glass figure seated at the top of a staircase speaks to the Doctor, addressing him as “The Doctor of War.” The figure requests the return of the Captain in exchange for a friend of the Doctor.
Much to the confusion of the First Doctor, Bill then exits one of the corridors. The Twelfth Doctor quickly exits the TARDIS to hug her, before slowly pulling away, drawing his sonic screwdriver, and scanning Bill. To her surprise, the Twelfth Doctor demands that she proves herself to be real, as he believes Bill to have sacrified herself to defeat the Cybermen. Bill insists she is her real self, explaining how Heather had saved her. The Twelfth Doctor asks where Heather is now. Bill struggles for an answer.
The Twelfth Doctor decides to confront his captor directly and runs up the staircase. He is slowly followed by his younger self, who questions the need to move so fast. They find an empty chair with several panels behind it. The First Doctor takes to observing the panels, commenting on their extraterrestrial origin. He turns to his older self, his eye glass dropping from his eye as he notices the Twelfth Doctor wearing sunglasses to scan the panels. They turn to the chair, where a woman made completely of glass materialises. While the Twelfth Doctor scans the panels with his sonic screwdriver, the original Doctor looks more closely. He berates the Twelfth Doctor for not noticing the asymmetrical features of the woman’s face, blaming his use of the sunglasses instead of his eyes. The Twelfth Doctor shyly agrees, and his younger self throws the sunglasses to the ground.
The Testimony proceeds to explain its desire for the Captain back in exchange for Bill, insisting the Doctors return him to them. The Captain, having heard the conversation, exits the TARDIS. He declares they let him be taken, not wanting any harm to come to Bill because of his cowardice. However, the Twelfth Doctor disagrees. Picking up his sonic sunglasses, he races down the stairs, remarking he will stop the Testimony once he learns its true purpose. The First Doctor once more berates him for revealing his plan, both firmly declaring they are the Doctor. The Testimony, in an effort to ruffle the First Doctor, reveals the history hew is destined to create as a “Doctor of War”, which perplexes him.
The Twelfth Doctor presses on with his plan to escape, using the sonic screwdriver to activate the crane which pulled the TARDIS up to take them down, the team jumping onto the chains to escape as well. The Testimony refuses to let them escape, halting the chains and pulling the TARDIS back into the ship, although the team manage to jump to the ground before being pulled back in. Bill expresses concern about what they will do without the TARDIS but the Doctors reveal they have another, younger version, at their disposal. They head to the First Doctor’s TARDIS, swiftly entering. As she does so, Bill comments on how much smaller it is, causing the Twelfth Doctor to briefly observe the windows before insisting his younger self take off “deep space, anywhere”.
While in flight, the First Doctor insists Bill clean the TARDIS only for the Twelfth Doctor to distract him by pointing out the astral map. The Twelfth Doctor uses the sonic sunglasses to access the data banks noting what his predeccessor said earlier before placing the shades on the First Doctor. Befuddlfed, the Doctor asks why he must wear them only for his successor to remark on how much he loves it before taking them back. The Twelfth Doctor quickly realsies the databanks are rather scarce, given the TARDIS is still young. To compensate, he sets the to land at the centre of the universe, Villengard, impressing his younger self at how easily he did such. While searching the area, the Captain is attacked by a creature with multiple little green legs but they save him, both Doctors recognising the creature as a Kaled mutant. The Twelfth Doctor insists Bill wait in the First Doctor’s TARDIS to look after the Captain, but Bill blasts him by calling him a “stupid bloody arse”, leading to the First Doctor to threaten her with a “jolly good smacked bottom”, much to the Twelfth Doctor’s embarassment. Bill tells the Twelfth Doctor to come back alive, to which he replies: “Be here when I do.”
The First Doctor fetches the Captain nother brandy, realising that was why his successors was missing some. He soon leaves to join his older self, while Bill looks after the Captain, but when she grabs the brandy, her hand is revealed to be glass. While outside on Villengard, the two Doctors rest, discussing their respective regenerations. The Twelfth Doctor remarks they have yet to change because they are in a “state of grace”, though he himself finds his body starting to deteriorate. He asks why his younger self halted the regenerative process, unable to remember himself. The First Doctor admits he is “afraid” about regenerating. Before the Twelfth Doctor can answer the question himself, they suddenly come under attack from a creature in a nearby tower, and only stops when the Twelfth Doctor asks the creature to scan him, announcing: “I’m dying!”, before going into the tower. He tells his younger self to wait outside to which he begrudgingly agrees.
The First Doctor observes the area, finding the remains of a Dalek casing. He inspects it thoguh Bill sneaks up on him and begins asking why he ran away. The Doctor insists she return to the Captain but Bill insists, asking what he was running to. Interested by the question, The First doctor responds that he left to discover why good always defeats evil. Bill suggests it might be because of “some bloke” though the First Doctor doubts such. Bill hugs him, thanking him for his efforts. However, when she pulls away, the First Doctor realises she is a glass avatar.
Alone, the Twelfth Doctor meets with the rogue Dalek Rusty, who has taken refuge from the other Daleks hunting it. He remarks on how he is a “good Dalek” though Rusty continues to fire at the Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor decides to come to a truce to which Rusty agrees by disarming his gunstick. Given access to the Dalek Hivemind, the Doctor learns that the pilot and its ship, known as Testimony, were created on New Earth, designed to extract people from their timelines at the moment of their death, and archive their memories into glass avatars. “Bill” is one such avatar, created from her memories. Time suddenly freezes again, the First Doctor and Bill entering the room. Although disappointed at seeing no evil to fight, the Doctors agree to return the Captain to his timeline.
Upon doing so, the Captain asks the Doctors to keep an eye on his family, introducing himself as Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart, an ancestor of the Doctor’s close friend the Brigadier. The First Doctor assures he will do so, the Twelfth Doctor confirming they did. The Testinmony remarks the Captain will not remember the incident and a perception filter will ensure the Doctors are not noticed once time restarts. As time resumes, the Doctors watch as soldiers on both sides begin singing “Silent Night”. Soon, each side disarms their weapons and enters the battle field, leading the Captain and the German soldier to withdraw their weapons and make peace. The Twelfth Doctor explains to the First that he deliberately shifted the Captain’s timeline to the start of the Christmas truce, to ensure his life would be spared.
With the Captain saved, the First Doctor informs the Twelfth that he is prepared to regenerate and bids him good-bye before returning to his TARDIS. As the soldiers play football, draw and spend the day together, the Twelfth Doctor watches on, saluting the Captain – who briefly bypasses the perception filter, but dismisses him and returns to his trench. Now alone with Bill’s avatar, the Doctor adamantly contends she is not the genuine Bill, only for her avatar to explain that memories are what define a person. To help him understand, the avatar restores the Doctor’s memories of Clara Oswald, bringing him joy, before they are joined by Nardole’s avatar. The Doctor refuses to give the avatars testimony of his life, stating he must be left alone before he changes. They respect his wish and leave after he embraces them both. The Doctor then returns to the TARDIS and, after arguing with the TARDIS, decides to regenerate, but not before relaying advice to his next incarnation. He collapses as he does so but manages to return to his feet: “One more lifetime won’t kill me”. With that, he regenerates, igniting the console room as his face changes.
Smoke fills the console room, the Twelfth Doctor’s ring falling from his hand. As the smoke clears, the new Thirteenth Doctor examines thier reflection, finding they are a female: “Oh, brilliant”. She presses a button before the TARDIS suffers multiple failures. Tumbling out of the ship, the Doctor observes the console room explode before the TARDIS dematerialises, as she plummets towards the Earth below…