The Lie of the Land: The Fact File
The read through for episode 8 took place on Wednesday, 11 January, 2017. Shooting started 5 days later (on Monday, 16 January) and wrapped on Wednesday, 22 February.
The Lie of the Land is directed by Wayne Yip. Although it’s his first time on the show he was at the helm for two episodes of Class, the YA series set in the Doctor Who universe.
The episode is written by Toby Whithouse who also wrote School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice, The God Complex, A Town Called Mercy and Under the Lake / Before the Flood. This is the first time he’s written for a returning enemy.
‘Who can forget the time the Monks defeated the Daleks, the Cybermen, the Weeping Angels?’ The Doctor’s voice-over is accompanied by brief clips from Into the Dalek, Nightmare in Silver and Blink. To further add to the broadcast’s sense of untruth, the first two excerpts aren’t even set on Earth. Later in the episode we also see several moments from The Pilot and in the Cathedral there are still images from other scenes from the current series.
It’s the return of Magpie Electricals! Just after the opening titles we see a shop called Magpie Electricals displaying several televisions. It has similar (but not quite identical) branding as we’ve seen on Magpie Electricals goods – such as the guitar amp in The Magician’s Apprentice and Martha’s TV in The Sound of Drums – and on Magpie Electrical outlets, including the store in The Beast Below and the business which apparently started it all – Mr Magpie’s corner shop in London, as introduced in 2006’s The Idiot’s Lantern.
Missy continues to show her skill on the piano. When Bill and the Doctor first join her she plays a snatch of Erik Satie’s Gnossienne No 1 and later in the visit she picks out a little of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer – an altogether more upbeat classic from 1902.
At one moment, following the episode’s first encounter with Missy, we see her eyes superimposed across another scene, almost as if gazing at across proceedings we wouldn’t have expected her to be able to monitor. This provides a visual echo of the Eighth Doctor’s first adventure. In that story, when the Master is introduced we see two planets morph into his eyes. At that moment the Doctor is recounting a request made by the Master that meant the two Time Lords met up again. In The Lie of the Land the effect follows the Doctor making requests, providing a neat inversion of the original ‘eyes across a scene’ motif.
No scenes featuring the TARDIS were shot for The Lie of the Land. That’s unusual for a post 2004 episode of Doctor Who, but not unique – the famous time machine didn’t feature in 2008’s Midnight, for example. We do glimpse a fraction of the TARDIS very briefly however, when Bill mentally fights the Monks in the Cathedral, so in a way, the blue box does appear in this story. Ironically, it could be argued that the last episode before The Lie of the Land in which the TARDIS is absent was Extremis…