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Death in Heaven: Fact File

The read-through for Death in Heaven took place on Thursday, 12 June, 2014. Production overlapped with the shoot for Dark Water as the two episodes form one adventure, and so the scenes where UNIT surrounds Missy were shot before the moments showing the Cybermen streaming out of St. Paul’s Cathedral, for instance. The main shoot for the finale concluded on Monday, 21 July but In the Forest of the Night was shot shortly afterwards.

Ingrid Oliver as Osgood.

Tying in with Clara’s pre-titles claim of ‘I’m the Doctor!’ the opening credits feature her eyes instead of the customary image of the Doctor’s. And unusually, Jenna Coleman’s name appears first, followed by Peter Capaldi’s.

Osgood is back! The UNIT scientist continues her habit of sporting clothes relating to former Doctors. In The Day of the Doctor it was a multi-coloured scarf and now she wears trainers similar to the Tenth Doctor and a bow tie that brings to mind the Eleventh Doctor’s neckwear. She even quotes him when she declares, ‘Bow ties are cool!’

Kate is back! She’s UNIT’s Chief Scientific Advisor, the daughter of the Doctor’s old friend, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and first appeared in The Power of Three. Like Osgood, Kate was last seen during The Day of the Doctor.

‘You left this behind on one of your previous attempts…’ The Cyber head thrown down by Kate is from the version of Cybermen who first featured in the 1968 adventure, The Invasion. This 1969 story was UNIT’s debut and featured Kate’s dad in the rank of Brigadier for the first time. In that story, Cybermen invade Earth, and as in Dark Water/Death in Heaven, we see the silver giants in the vicinity of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Kate declares that the Doctor is still ‘on the payroll’ and he seems surprised, possibly because in Spearhead from Space, when the Brigadier secures the Time Lord’s services on behalf of UNIT, he was given a financial incentive but rebuffed the offer: ‘Money? My dear chap, I don’t want money. I’ve got no use for the stuff!’ Instead he simply wanted facilities to repair his TARDIS… and a car!

Jackie Lane as Dodo Chaplet.

Danny’s body is kept in the Chaplet Funeral Home. The name of the establishment is a possible nod to the First Doctor’s companion, Dodo Chaplet, who joined the Time Lord the 1966 episode, Bell of Doom, before deciding to remain in the UK during The War Machines. The latter adventure was the first Doctor Who story to show an invasion set in contemporary London.

When Kate says, ‘Clara Oswald? Your assistant?’ the Doctor’s response is a swift, ‘My friend.’ It’s interesting to contrast those words with his dialogue in Into the Dalek. ‘This is Clara, not my assistant. She's… some other word.’ Moments later he added she was his ‘carer’ before noting, ‘She cares so I don't have to.’

Kate mentions the Valiant, the huge flying aircraft carrier that was designed by Missy back when she was known as the Master. It first appeared in The Sound of Drums and we recently caught a brief glimpse of it when it appeared in a flashback during Into the Dalek.

Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in Battlefield.

The portrait of the Brigadier seen inside Boat One appears to show him around the time of events depicted in Battlefield. That 1989 adventure was the last appearance of Lethbridge-Stewart on Doctor Who although he returned, again played by the great Nicholas Courtney, during the 2008 series of The Sarah Jane Adventures, in a two-parter called Enemy of the Bane.

Colonel Ahmed and Osgood briefly discuss Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, leading the Doctor to reference Sylvia Anderson, who worked with her then-husband, Gerry Anderson, on those shows and many more. Both of those cult TV programmes were action/adventure series made in the 1960s and in The Lodger, the Doctor jokingly claimed to be part of International Rescue, the mighty organisation that featured in Thunderbirds.

‘My Prydonian privileges were revoked when I stole a time capsule…’ Clara is spinning a convincing yarn as during his time on Gallifrey, the Doctor belonged to the Prydonian Chapter, one of several chapters on his home planet. According to the villainous Goth, Prydonians were not devious, but ‘simply see a little further ahead than most’. Clara also refers to Jenny, the eponymous hero from The Doctor’s Daughter and touches on getting a degree from Glasgow University. Way back in the Second Doctor adventure, The Moonbase, the Doctor’s companion, Polly, reveals that he once claimed to have taken his degree in Glasgow, in 1888.

‘Oh, my giddy aunt…’ Missy is using a phrase closely associated with the Second Doctor and when she announces, ‘I love the telly here!’ we’re reminded of occasions in The Sea Devils and Last of the Time Lords where the Master is seen to briefly enjoy watching kids’ TV. Finally, the way she says, ‘Happy birthday, Mr President!’ is a reference to Marilyn Monroe’s famous birthday greeting to President Kennedy.

The episode contains several flashbacks… The moments featuring the Eleventh Doctor are from The Bells of Saint John and the conversion that opens with Clara asking, ‘Who put that advert in the paper?’ comes from the end of Deep Breath. Later, during the cemetery scene we see a few seconds of Into the Dalek where the question is put: ‘Am I a good man?’ and ‘Rusty’ declares, ‘I see into your soul…’ Finally, Danny’s salute is from The Caretaker and the glimpse of Robin is, of course, from Robot of Sherwood.

The co-ordinates of Gallifrey are given as 10 - 0 - 11 - 00: 02 as far back as 1975’s Pyramids of Mars, and as Clara stated, the planet is in the Constellation of Kasterborous, another fact that was first mentioned in that mid-70s adventure.

The very last scene introduces Nick Frost as Santa Claus… He will be back when the Doctor returns in 2014’s Doctor Who Christmas Special!