Time Heist: The Fact File

The read through for Time Heist took place on Tuesday, 11 February, 2014. Filming started on 3 March and finished three weeks later on 24 March.

The Doctor attempts to rob the Bank of Karabraxos in Time Heist.

Filming locations for the episode included Cardiff’s Oval Basin and Bute Park as well as Uskmouth Power Station, previously used in adventures including The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe and more recently, Into the Dalek.

This isn’t the first time a solar storm has created problems for the Doctor. In The Rebel Flesh he noted that a solar storm had animated the Gangers, in effect giving the ‘almost people’ enough autonomy to launch a revolt. But solar storms are not simply a science fiction construct and are, in fact, a natural occurrence caused by high-energy particles hitting the Earth. You can read more about them in the BBC’s Science & Environment pages.

“Or we could go to Brighton…” If the Doctor suggests a trip to Brighton – watch out! When he tried to take Leela to the coastal resort they ended up miles away, on Fang Rock, facing a Rutan invasion. Later, when he attempted to attend the opening of the Brighton Pavilion he got the time wrong and the place right but the visit still ended in disaster when K-9 was blown up whilst taking a dip on Brighton beach! Check out Horror of Fang Rock and The Leisure Hive to find out more about both adventures.

Remember the memory worms? We first saw one of these strange creatures in the 2012 Christmas Special, The Snowmen. Coming into contact with one wipes away chunks of memory but apparently leaves the ‘victim’ otherwise unharmed.

The Sensorites

When Psi attempts to gain the Teller’s attention by stating, ‘every famous burglar in history is hiding in this bank right now in one body!’ we see a stream of villains, each individual appearing very briefly. These include several aliens who have previously featured in Doctor Who such as a Sensorite, a member of the Slitheen family, the Gunslinger, an Ice Warrior and a Terileptil. Although the Terileptils have not had a major appearance since their debut story, The Visitation, in 1982, they were mentioned more recently in The Pandorica Opens and The Time of the Doctor.

Other aliens seen in Psi’s rapid rogues gallery include the Trickster, as he appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Although never seen in Doctor Who, this mysterious menace was referenced by the Tenth Doctor in Turn Left. We also glimpse what appears to be Androvax, a ruthless ‘body snatcher’ seen in two of The Sarah Jane Adventures - Prisoner of the Judoon and The Vault of Secrets.

“You agreed to rob the most impregnable bank in history…” Looks like the Doctor has got over his antipathy towards that adjective! In Robot the Fourth Doctor tells the Brigadier that he, ‘Never cared much for the word impregnable. Sounds a bit too much like unsinkable.’ When his old friend asked what was wrong with ‘unsinkable’, he replied, ‘Nothing, as the iceberg said to the Titanic…’

The Doctor finds a neophyte circuit kept in the bank's vault.

The Doctor mentions an encounter with Cesare Borgia, the Italian nobleman, politician and cardinal born in Rome in the 1470s. He was the brother of the notorious Lucrezia Borgia and widely regarded as a capable general and statesman, ultimately undone by his reliance on his father - Pope Alexander VI. At one point Cesare employed the Doctor’s old friend Leonardo da Vinci as a military architect and engineer and it’s possible that this is when their paths crossed.

The device that can restore Psi’s memory is called a neophyte circuit. The word neophyte comes from the Greek neophutos with neo meaning ‘new’ and phutos meaning ‘planted’. It’s therefore an appropriately named circuit as it allows Psi’s memories to be newly planted in his consciousness.

The Teller is played by Ross Mullan. You may not recognise his face but he also played a Silent in The Time of the Doctor.