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Hell Bent: The Fact File

The read through for Hell Bent took place on Tuesday, 4 August, 2015 and filming began the following week on Monday, 10 August. The external scenes set in Nevada and on Gallifrey were captured during a three day shoot in Fuerteventura in late August.

The same diner that was used on location for The Impossible Astronaut was revisited for the scenes set in the ‘classic’ TARDIS. Incidentally, when the Doctor first walks into the place, Foxes’ version of Don’t Stop Me Now is playing, as heard in Mummy on the Orient Express which the Time Lord mentions towards the end of the ep.

Ken Bones returns as the General, last seen in The Day of the Doctor and Clare Higgins is back as Ohila following her most recent appearance in The Magician’s Apprentice. Donald Sumpter (the President in Hell Bent) is also a returnee having played Casali in The Wheel in Space and Commander Ridgeway in The Sea Devils.

When the Doctor is told to lay down his weapons he simply drops the spoon he’s using to eat his soup… A possible reference to his use of a spoon in his ‘sword fight’ with Robin Hood!

In The Magician’s Apprentice Clara asks Missy when she started caring for the Doctor. She replies, ‘Since always. Since the Cloister Wars. Since the night he stole the moon and the President’s wife. Since he was a little girl… One of those was a lie.’ This is brought to mind in Hell Bent when the Doctor mentions the moon theft and the President’s wife to Clara. As the Cloister Wars are also mentioned in the story the implication is that Missy’s ‘lie’ was the bit about the Doctor being a little girl!

Timothy Dalton as Rassilon in The End of Time

Rassilon was first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin – the adventure that also introduced the Matrix. He was seen as one the founding fathers of Time Lord society and was believed to be long dead… In The Five Doctors he appeared like a genie from a bottle when the evil Borusa claimed immortality and he later featured (in full corporeal form) in The End of Time, leading his fellow Gallifreyans in the Time War.

Although it’s not expressly stated it’s heavily implied that the barn visited by the Doctor in Hell Bent is the one seen in both The Day of the Doctor and Listen.

The Doctor wryly notes that, ‘It’s always four knocks…’ When the Tenth Doctor was warned about his imminent regeneration by Carmen in Planet of the Dead, she told him, ‘…your song is ending, sir… It is returning through the dark. And then, Doctor? Oh, but then he will knock four times…’ The ‘he’ turned out to be Wilf who knocked four times to get the Doctor’s attention in The End of Time, Part 2. Their subsequent exchange led to the Doctor’s body being wrecked by radiation, triggering his regeneration.

‘I’m going to wipe her memory of every last detail of me… It’ll be like our friendship never happened… I’ve done it before… telepathically…’ The Doctor may well be referring to the events of Journey’s End when in order to save Donna Noble’s life he had to wipe every memory of himself and their adventures from her mind.

The sonic screwdriver returns!

When fessing up to the Doctor about tinkering with the memory wipe device, Clara admits, ‘I reversed the polarity!’ It’s a further indication of how much she’s become like the Time Lord… ‘Reversed the polarity of the neutron flow’ are words most associated with the Third Doctor but a variant of the phrase has been used by the Fifth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.

He’s got a new sonic screwdriver! We first saw the Doctor using a sonic screwdriver in The Fury from the Deep and various versions of it appeared numerous times until a Terileptil destroyed the ‘old friend’ in The Visitation. A new one then appeared in the Seventh Doctor’s final adventure and sonics have been used regularly ever since until The Witch’s Familiar when at the close of the episode, we saw young Davros clutching the device as he walked across the battlefields of Skaro with the Doctor.