Doctor Who: Season 9: Episode 11: Heaven Sent by Steven Moffat.

November 28, 2015 | By | 4 Replies More

As usual with these examination of ‘Doctor Who’ stories shortly after transmission, if you haven’t seen them, I’ll try not to give away too many unintentional spoilers, although I will give a quick resume of the plot. Much of the analysis will be about it so feel suitably warned.


This has to be the most surreal cerebral episode of ‘Doctor Who’ ever to this point. The Doctor is in trap that recycles through the same events for a couple million years but he needs to do because each time he does this he can chip through a barrier that is keeping him imprisoned.

If you remember the 1960s ‘The Avengers’ story, ‘This Is The House That Jack Built’, then this is the Science Fiction equivalent. We follow the thought processes of the Doctor as he slowly figures things out, using the dead Clara as his muse and the TARDIS as his safety blanket. The symbolism of numbers will have many of you pondering on its implications and a hasty rewatch but really number 12 should have been the giveaway. The revelation at the end as to where the Doctor really is is total spoiler.



Peter Capaldi is totally alone in this episode. Well, almost. He has this Hybrid following him and attempting to kill him but it’s a non-speaking part. If you were ever familiar with the 1960s Marvel Comics ‘Doctor Who’ story that features Vertis – the truth- storyline, then the Hybrid looks something like that. However, his soliloquies are captivating strong and arresting and a demonstration of just how good an actor he is. It has to be because he is alone. Considering how much budget was spent in the previous episode, this is the bottle show of all bottle shows. It works because its Capaldi. I suspect the younger generations will wonder at what’s going on but I doubt in this instance, they are the target audience.


It is the bridge to the final episode of the season and if the Doctor wasn’t in trouble before, he is now. Cue music.

GF Willmetts

28 November 2015


Category: Doctor Who, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (4)

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  1. Eamonn Murphy says:

    I thought it was great, Geoff but afterwards I wondered how effective thumping the wall would really be. He should have used the spade. If you thump a diamond and nothing happens, not an atom moved, then a billion times nothing is still nothing. However, I could be wrong and it was a brilliant concept. The Doctor was 9000 years old last time it was mentioned, I think. He’s a bit older now.

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Eamonn
    Maybe the Doctor realised the castle wasn’t exactly real. Maybe he was also imparting some of his own energy to each thump.
    I bet Rasilon is involved somehow.

    • Eamonn Murphy says:

      Both those points are possible. Maybe it wasn’t real and maybe he was using energy too. In any case, it was a clever concept and the mind boggling time span gives that ‘sense of wonder’ we like from good science-fiction. That said, there’s an element of spooky horror too – classic for Who. I recognized, belatedly, that Peter Capaldi bears quite a resemblance to Peter Cushing. He could remake the two films!

  3. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Eamonn
    I thought Capaldi was looking more like Pertwee.

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