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Closing Time was the twelfth episode in the sixth series of Doctor Who. The Mondasian Cybermen, rather than their Cybus counterparts, returned to Earth for the first time since Silver Nemesis. It also saw the return of Craig Owens from series 5, this time as the "official" companion of the story. A huge time gap takes place between this story and the last for the Doctor, in his personal timeline. It also saw the return of the Cybermats. Their last appearance on television was in the Fourth Doctor episode Revenge of the Cybermen. They also previously appeared in the video game Blood of the Cybermen. The question of who is inside the astronaut suit that kills the Doctor at Lake Silencio is also answered.

Synopsis

In the last few days of his life, the Doctor decides to pay a farewell visit to his old friend Craig Owens. However, he soon discovers a mystery in the local paper; people are going missing. Also, a silver rat has been seen scuttling around the shadows of a department store. Could these events be related, and what about the mysterious power surges that seem to coincide with the disappearances?

Plot

At a department store in Colchester, two saleswomen ring up the final customers of the night. When one of the saleswomen, Kelly, laments being late for her date, the other, Shona, offers to cash up and clean out the changing rooms for her. The lights in the department store flicker ominously as Kelly leaves. As Shona clears out the messy changing rooms, she sees that someone is still using the stall at the far end. After repeated warnings that the store has closed, she pulls back the curtain and screams in terror when she sees a Cyberman.

Sophie prepares to leave for a weekend holiday, though she expresses unease at leaving Craig in charge of the house. She tells him nervously that his parents and her mum and "innocent people" may call to check up on him.

Craig resents the implication that he can't cope on his own. So when the doorbell rings after Sophie's departure, he believes she's returned to remind him of something else. He opens the door, shouting that he can cope on his own, only to see the Doctor on the porch. The Doctor claims he's just popped around to say hello and is about to leave when he notices the porch light flickering. His suspicions raised, he forces himself into the house. Despite Craig's repeated requests to be quiet, he uses the sonic screwdriver to ascertain that Craig is, in fact, not alone. As he explores the upper floors of the house, he storms into one of the bedrooms to discover a crying baby -- it is Alfie, Craig and Sophie's son.

The Doctor sits in the kitchen, watching as Craig tries to calm the crying Alfie. Craig admits he can't cope on his own. Alfie cries all the time. The Doctor remedies the problem by shushing Alfie, who immediately quiets. Craig continues to request parenting hints, so the Doctor -- who speaks baby -- informs him that Alfie prefers to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All; that he refers to Sophie as "Mum;" Craig as "not Mum"; the Doctor as "also not Mum"; and everyone else as "peasants."

Craig wonders why the Doctor has come, refusing to believe that he's merely making a social call. He suspects the Doctor has sensed some alien presence and insists that he checked the upstairs when they moved into their new house. Their next-door neighbours on both sides are humans. The Doctor, however, is merely on a bit of a farewell tour and Craig is his last stop. Nevertheless, as they converse, he is troubled by a story he sees in the newspaper. After Craig comments that the Doctor has his "noticing face" on -- which he has nightmares about -- the Doctor departs with another goodbye. As he returns to the TARDIS, he continues to pick up on the flickering lights.

The next day, at the same department store where Shona and Kelly work, the Doctor has a job demonstrating toys to excited children. Craig arrives with Alfie, and is confused by the situation. As he tries to explain himself, the Doctor notices a small robotic gadget whiz around the shop. It seems to be what he's been looking for.

Craig persists with the idea that the Doctor is in town to investigate something. The Doctor finally relents. He tells Craig of people who have gone missing in recent days and that the power fluctuations coincide with these disappearances. He escorts Craig and Alfie out of the store into a broken lift, which he repairs with the sonic screwdriver. The Doctor explains that someone has been using a teleport relay inside the shop and that the CCTV footage has been wiped. Suddenly, the elevator appears to dissolve around them.

Craig is not immediately aware of it, thinking it another power issue. The Doctor, however, can see that they have stumbled upon the aforementioned teleport and are now onboard an alien spaceship. He tries to distract Craig by claiming to love him, but as a Cyberman approaches them, Craig becomes aware of what's happened. The Doctor returns them to the shop safely and closes the teleport. He allays Craig's fears by insisting that they are only friends.

The Doctor orders Craig to take Alfie and leave Colchester, but Craig knows the safest place for him and his son is next to the Doctor. The Doctor is flattered by Craig's trust in him, so he allows Craig to stay and help him investigate. He tells Craig to look around, notice everything and ask questions. He suggests that people will be more open to him because he has a baby -- this is why the Doctor usually brings a human companion with him.

They separate. The Doctor has considerable success with Val, a chatty perfume saleswoman, who mentions a silver rat with glowing red eyes. Craig is less successful. His attempts to talk to Kelly are misconstrued as harassment and he accidentally knocks over a lingerie display while trying to escape the wrath of George. The Doctor rescues Craig and yarns happily with Kelly and George, the security guard. Kelly mentions that Shona didn't turn up for work. The Doctor suspects Shona has gone missing as well.

The two men look through the changing rooms where Shona was last seen. Craig is furious. In following the Doctor's orders, he has humiliated himself in front of his son. The Doctor tells Craig that Alfie thinks he should believe in himself more. He uses the sonic to scan the changing room and deduces that a Cyberman took Shona the night before. The "silver rat" that Val saw is a Cybermat, an infiltrator that's been responsible for the electrical fluctuations. It is harvesting power. The Doctor doesn't understand why the Cybermen would target a shop as opposed to a nuclear power station. He decides to capture the Cybermat.

Craig wonders why aliens only turn up in Colchester when the Doctor is around. The Doctor claims that it's merely coincidence. As Craig goes to change Alfie, the Doctor notices Amy and Rory walking in his direction from across the shop, unaware of his presence. A little girl stops Amy and asks for her autograph. As the Doctor hides so they don't see him, he notices Amy's photo on an ad for perfume called "Petrichor," for the girl who's tired of waiting.

That night, the Doctor and Craig remain in the store after it closes and wait for the Cybermat. The Doctor captures it easily enough. Meanwhile, in the basement, George is inspecting the fuse boxes when he is attacked by a Cyberman. The Doctor and Craig hear his screaming. The Doctor immediately rushes to his aid, but is knocked out by one of the Cybermen. However, he is not killed. The Cyberman was weak and made of spare parts. On regaining consciousness, the Doctor finds Craig looking over him. He expresses confusion as to how the Cybermen have travelled, seeing as he shut down the teleport relay and it should've taken them days to repair it.

They return to Craig's house. As the Doctor examines the Cybermat, Craig tells him he's going to get more milk, leaving the Doctor in charge of Alfie. Alfie begins crying as soon as Craig leaves and the Doctor leaves the Cybermat unattended to go comfort him. The Doctor tells Alfie to save his tears for later. The Cybermat, which has reactivated itself, sneaks up behind the Doctor, who stuns it with the sonic and escapes outside with Alfie. However, as he moves to go back into the house, he realises that the door has locked behind him and he has dropped his sonic inside. Craig returns from the shop, not realising the danger. He is attacked by the Cybermat. The Doctor heard Craig's cries for help, crashes through the back window and rescues him. They subdue it comically.

Later, as the Doctor reprograms the Cybermat, Craig wonders about its presence. The Doctor doesn't understand why the Cyber-ship needs so much power and why the conversions of the missing people are incomplete. He continues to feel guilt for letting Craig stay to help him, referring to himself as a selfish man who puts people in danger. Craig reminds the Doctor that, if not for him, the entire planet would be in ruin, leading the Doctor to tell him sadly that he will not be around for much longer -- his time is running out and he is set to die tomorrow. However, when he turns back, Craig and Alfie have fallen asleep and apparently not heard a word he's said.

The next morning, the Doctor returns with the Cybermat to the shop. When Craig wakes, he finds a message from the Doctor that he's gone to stop the Cybermen. Sophie calls and leaves a message. She will be home soon. Craig readies himself and Alfie to go help the Doctor because, as Craig explains to Alfie, he wouldn't have him or Sophie if not for the Doctor's help.

At the department store, the Doctor deduces that secondary transport must exist. He finds a passageway behind the mirror in the changing room where Shona was taken. He follows it down to a crashed Cyber-ship. While he investigates the control room, he is confronted by one of the Cybermen.

The Doctor explains what happened. The Cyber-ship crashed centuries earlier with a single, dormant survivor. The town council began laying cables. The Cybermat activated and tunnelled to the surface to salvage power for the ship's systems. The Cyberman announces they will reemerge when they are ready and convert the planet. The Doctor offers them a choice: deactivate themselves or be deactivated.

As he prepares to make good on this threat, a second Cyberman appears and holds him in place. Though the first Cyberman claims the Doctor will be their new leader, the second recognises that his binary vascular system makes him incompatible. Instead, they will use him for parts and discard what they don't need.

Craig has left Alfie in Val's care back in the shop. He appears and threatens the Cybermen with a price gun. The Doctor orders Craig to leave. One of the Cybermen recognises Craig's compatibility and declares him their new leader. They begin preparing him for conversion, despite his protests. The Doctor pleads with Craig to think of Alfie and finally declares that he is going to die tomorrow but he doesn't mind if Craig can "prove him right." However, Craig is unable to escape or resist. The Doctor can only watch as the Cyber-armour assimilates Craig entirely.

Above, Alfie seems to sense the danger Craig is in and begins to cry. This sound is picked up on the Cyber-ship and heard by all onboard. As the Cybermen declare that Craig's conversion is complete, something changes. Craig's emotional systems begin to reboot themselves and his faceplate splits down the middle, springing open to reveal Craig. He fights his way out of the armour to get to Alfie. The Doctor realises Craig's rejection of the conversion triggered a feedback loop. The Cybermen begin to feel everything they cut out of themselves. This will lead to a very big explosion. As they realise that the way they came in is cut off, the Doctor remembers the teleport and fuses it back together. As they dematerialise, the Cyber-ship explodes.

In the shop above, the lift doors open and Craig runs out, calling for Alfie. The Doctor informs Craig that Alfie has given him a "ten out of ten." Craig boasts about blowing the Cyber-ship up with love. The Doctor begins to explain the exact process in its technical terms, but ultimately concedes that Craig indeed blew it up with love.

Later, as Craig converses with Val -- who has concluded that Craig and the Doctor are a couple -- he realises that the Doctor has disappeared. He returns home to find the house spotless and the Doctor preparing to leave. The Doctor reveals that Alfie prefers the name Alfie now and is calling Craig "Dad" instead of "not Mum." Craig realises that something is wrong and offers to help the Doctor in any way he can, but the Doctor is certain that no one can help him. He asks only if Sophie will mind if he helps himself to some of her TARDIS-blue envelopes. Craig also gives the Doctor a Stetson before leaving.

Sophie returns home to find the house spotless and though Craig insists that nothing happened all weekend, Sophie is astonished as Alfie happily calls out the word "Doctor".

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, passing a trio of schoolchildren playing in the street. They stop their game and stare at him in wonder. He introduces himself, telling them that he was there to help and they're very, very welcome.

River Spacesuit 1

River under Lake Silencio, waiting for the Doctor

At the Luna University in the 52nd century, River Song reads these accounts of the Doctor's last days. She opens her diary to a page that contains only the date and time of his death. Madame Kovarian steps out of the shadows chanting a mysterious nursery rhyme that she claims has to do with the Doctor.

As River tries to remember who the woman is, Kovarian orders her not to bother because they've been far too "thorough" with her memory. Two of the Silence appear behind River. Kovarian introduces them as her "owners" and calls her Melody Pond. River is astonished, prompting the woman to declare that she made River who she is: the woman who kills the Doctor. As River protests, two members of the Church enter the library with an Apollo astronaut's suit. They inject River with a sedativeand she loses consciousness.

When River awakes, she finds herself submerged below the surface of Lake Silencio in the Apollo astronaut's suit -- awaiting the Doctor.

Cast

Crew

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


References

The Doctor

  • The Doctor mentions that a robot dog is "not as much fun as I remember", referring to K9.
  • The Doctor can make people quiet by simply saying, "Shh!" Craig suggests this is hypnosis.

Businesses

Cybermen

Cultural references from the real world

  • When the Doctor tries to deactivate the Cybermat and discovers it has shielding, he says to Craig, "Don't worry. I have an app for that", parodying the slogan used by Apple to advertise the iPhone's versatility.
  • When the Doctor is flying the toy helicopter, he says, "It goes up-diddley-up, it goes down-diddley-down." This is a line from the theme song of the movie Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
  • The Doctor plans on seeing "the Alignment of Exidor". In the 1970's comedy series "Mork and Mindy" (a show also about an alien and his human companion), Exidor was an insane friend of the title characters who believed in wild theories about aliens.
  • Near the beginning, when the lights are flickering in the shop, Kelly complains that this happened in the middle of Top Model, a TV programme contestants play to be a fashion model.

Fashion and clothing

  • The Doctor buys Craig a papoose to carry Alfie in.
  • Craig gives the Doctor a Stetson as a parting gift. The Doctor is later shown wearing this in DW: The Impossible Astronaut when he brings everyone together in America before his death.

Individuals

  • It seems Amy has become famous; she is seen giving an autograph to a little girl. This is because she models her perfume, Petrichor, with the motto, "For the girl who's tired of waiting."
  • Sean and Melinda are mentioned.
  • River Song does not remember Kovarian or the Silence from her childhood.

History

Television series

  • Craig asks if the Cybermen's teleport is like "beam me up" from Star Trek. This is the second consecutive episode to feature a reference to Star Trek.

Theories and concepts

  • Amy is seen advertising a fragrance named "Petrichor".

Story notes

  • Working titles were Carry-On Lodging, Everything Must Go, The Last Adventure and Three Cybermen and a Baby. (REF: The Brilliant Book 2012)
  • In The Impossible Astronaut the different versions of the Doctor give their ages as 909, and 1103. Writer Gareth Roberts confirmed in an interview that this is indeed two hundred years after DW: The God Complex for the Doctor, and that he spent these years "waving" at Amy and Rory through history books. (DW: The Impossible Astronaut)
  • Part of the nursery rhyme that was heard DW: Night Terrors is sung by Madame Kovarian, with new lines.
  • Closing Time is the first episode produced by Denise Paul, who has been Associate Producer for several Eleventh Doctor stories.
  • This is the first time since the series revival in 2005 that episode 12 has not been part of a multi-part story written by the head writer. The end does set up the series finale.
  • This is the first television story to feature a Cybermat since the Fourth Doctor story DW: Revenge of the Cybermen. They had been redesigned, with biological teeth and gums.
  • This is the first single-parter episode in which River Song appears.
  • This is also the first regular-season episode since the series revival in which the Doctor does not have an ongoing companion with him at some point.
    • Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill were credited in the opener as they had been during the rest of the season. This is the first time in the series that any actor's name has appeared in the opening credits for less than one minute of on-screen appearance.
    • The BBC America and Space broadcasts retained the opening sequence narrated by Amy Pond.
    • Arthur Darvill (Rory) doesn't have any lines in this episode.
  • A case can be made for Craig to be considered a companion.
  • The "app" for disabling the Cybermat used one of the "bonus sounds" found on the toy version of the Eleventh Doctor's sonic screwdriver, unheard on the show until now.
  • During one of the scenes, BBC Radio 1's Greg James was visible behind Craig. Greg James named his character "Carlos".
    File:GREGJAMES.png
  • This is the first television story since the series revival in which the Cybermen are not armed with any type of weaponary. The Cybermen who are seen have visible gaps in their forearm armour where they would normally have blasters and they are not seen electrocuting anyone.
  • This is the second time where Craig's affection for someone has saved the day. In DW: The Lodger, Craig's love for Sophie motivates his desire to stay where he is, enabling him to destroy the alien time machine. In this case, his love for his son enables him to defeat the Cybermen.
  • The date on Craig's newspaper is 19 April 2011, three days before the events of DW: The Impossible Astronaut. This has caused confusion about Amy and Rory's appearance in the episode. The name of Amy's perfume, Petrichor, and her celebrity status imply that the events take place after DW: The God Complex. If the paper is correct, then for Amy and Rory this would be three days before they meet the Doctor in Utah. Given the time needed to cross the Atlantic and find Lake Silencio, it seems unlikely that this is the case. The Doctor may have dropped off Amy and Rory at their new home (presumably near Colchester) before their younger selves had left Leadworth for Utah, but if that were the case, then there is the question of whether the younger version of the couple would be aware of the now-famous version of Amy (to say nothing of the legal issues of two couples with the same identities existing at the same time).
Alternatively, this may be a reference to the date of Elizabeth Sladen's death.

Ratings

  • UK Overnight: 5.3 Million
  • Final: 6.93 million

Myths

  • Craig Owens may travel in the TARDIS.[1]This proved false.
  • Craig Owens has had a baby.[2]This proved true.
  • The events in the department store, etc. take place on or about 21st April 2011. A blow-up of the newspaper seen in the episode has the date of April 19, 2011.

Filming locations

to be added

Production errors

  • In this episode's Doctor Who Confidential, it's said a single Cyberman survived the crash. However, the Doctor says they weren't any survivors. If there wasn't at least a single Cyberman, it would be farfetched for the Cybermat to convert someone.
If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

Continuity

Prequel

A brief prequel was filmed featuring Craig, Sophie and Alfie. However, unlike other Series 6 prequels this one wasn't released online prior to the episode. Instead, it was given the title Up All Night and released as the fifth chapter of the DVD/Blu-ray exclusive mini-episode DW: Night and the Doctor in the Series 6 DVD/BD box set in November 2011.

Timeline

For the Doctor:

For River Song:

For Amy and Rory:

Home video releases

Series6.2DVD
The episode will be released on DVD and Blu-ray shortly after the airing of episode 13.[3]


Footnotes


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