Under the Lake: The Fact File

The read through for Under the Lake took place on Wednesday, 17 December, 2014. The first day of the shoot was just under 3 weeks later on Tuesday, 6 January, 2015.

Writer Toby Whithouse

Although he produced the Prequel for The Magician’s Apprentice, this is the first full-length episode produced by Derek Ritchie who was script editor on The Time of the Doctor, Deep Breath, Into the Dalek and The Caretaker as well as the 2013 special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. In fact, that’s Derek – appearing at 22:54 into the piece – before receiving Peter Davison’s famous brush off, ‘Sorry! Must dash!’

The episode is written by Toby Whithouse whose previous work on Doctor Who includes School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice, The God Complex and A Town Called Mercy. He’s also written for Torchwood and away from the Doctor’s world he created the long-running drama, Being Human.

The Doctor reveals that Prentis (the ‘ghost’ in the top hat) is from the planet Tivoli. We previously met someone from that world – the unctuous Gibbis from The God Complex, also written by Toby Whithouse. In that adventure it was revealed that Tivoli was the most conquered planet in its galaxy and its cities were specifically designed to be comfortable for any invaders!

‘She once had an argument with Gandhi…’ The Doctor is presumably referring to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, one of the leaders of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Famous for his non-violent, peaceful approach, we shudder to think what Clara said to rile him…

David Walliams as Gibbis in The God Complex

The Doctor remembers an encounter with Shirley Bassey… Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, DBE, is a Welsh singing legend, probably best-known for belting out the theme song for the 1964 Bond movie, Goldfinger. If you want a Doctor Who connection we could stretch it and say that film stars Honor Blackman (Lasky in Trial of a Time Lord) and features Bert Kwouk (Lin Futu in Four to Doomsday) as Mr Ling.

Faraday cages - named after the British scientist, Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836 - are enclosures formed by conductive material used to block electric fields. They’re often used to protect sensitive equipment from external radio frequency interference but sometimes they’re employed to protect people from actual electricity such as lightning strikes.

The Cloister Bell was first heard in the Fourth Doctor’s swansong, Logopolis, when he described it as ‘…a sort of communications device reserved for wild catastrophes and sudden calls to man the battle stations.’ It’s subsequently sounded in many adventures including Resurrection of the Daleks, The Waters of Mars and The Eleventh Hour. Before Under the Lake it was most recently heard during Dark Water, albeit during the ‘dream sequence’ near the start of the episode.

The TARDIS' Cloister Bell sounds in Under the Lake

It’s the first appearance of the series for the psychic paper! The ultimate in fake ID (it usually projects a useful identity when shown to someone - or something - the carrier wants to fool), this nifty piece of tech was first seen in The End of the World. But it’s not infallible! It didn’t deceive Shakespeare, and Fenton (in Flatline) was immune to psychic paper due to his ‘serious lack of imagination’!