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Death in Heaven was the twelfth and final episode of series 8 of Doctor Who.

It saw the demise of Danny Pink, and the death of one of the two Osgoods. It revealed that Missy had been the "woman in the shop" who gave Clara the TARDIS phone number in The Bells of Saint John and the one who had provided the advertisement that drew the Doctor and Clara together again in Deep Breath. It also allowed Doctor Who to again pay homage to the late Nicholas Courtney, with his character, the Brigadier, appearing as a Cyberman. This was the first televised Doctor Who appearance by the character since Battlefield, and effectively his first televised appearance since Courtney's death. He had appeared in audios and The Sarah Jane Adventures in the intervening time period.

Death in Heaven, and previous episode Dark Water, was shown in cinemas in 3D as a two-night event on the 15th and 16th September as a run-up to prepare for Series 9. It was followed by the premiere of the prequel scene The Doctor's Meditation. This screening was only shown in the United States of America, Canada, Denmark and Russia.


With Cybermen on the streets of London, old friends unite against old enemies and the Doctor takes to the air in a startling new role.

Can the mighty UNIT contain Missy? As the Doctor faces his greatest challenge, sacrifices must be made before the day is won.


Inside the 3W facility, Clara hides behind a desk as the Cyberman that had been Dr Skarosa marches out of its tank. However, it detects her, demanding she reveal herself. Clara complies, hands raised; she tells the Cyberman that she is a target of strategic value. The Cyberman scans her and states that she is Clara Oswald, an ordinary human with no value whatsoever. Clara tells the Cyberman it's wrong, to which the Cyberman scans her again, and states she is indeed Clara Oswald. Clara insists that the Cyberman is wrong, and that the identity of "Clara Oswald" is just a story she made up. Clara states she is someone who would have to hide their identity from the Cybermen. With its interest piqued, the Cyberman demands she identifies herself. Clara then states she is the Doctor.

Outside of St Paul's Cathedral, the Doctor tries getting everyone to run away from the Cybermen, but everyone just ignores him. Missy sarcastically passes him off as a ranting madman. The Doctor is baffled; no-one is panicking at the sight of these silver monstrosities. Missy advertises the Cybermen as big metal men and charges the public one pound for a picture with them; people take selfies with passive Cybermen. Slinging an arm around the Doctor, Missy shows him pictures on her device which show that the same thing is happening globally.

When Missy states they should take a picture, an undercover Osgood offers to take a picture, seizing Missy's weapon. She calls in a strike, and UNIT officers reveal themselves from the crowd. Kate walks out of the crowd, introducing herself to the Cybermen, who dismiss her threats as insignificant as human technology cannot match Cyber-technology. With a smile, Kate tosses the empty head of a dead Faction Cyberman in front of them; they left that behind on one of their previous attempts to conquer the Earth. The Cybermen use their rocket boots to escape.

The roof of St Paul's opens and more Cybermen fly out; Kate and the Doctor attempt to count them all, but fail. Osgood guesses eighty-seven due to her OCD, but Missy reveals that there are ninety-one Cybermen. Osgood states that this is the number of areas of significant population densities in the British Isles, meaning one Cyberman for every town and city in the world. One Cyberman detonates itself above St Paul's, creating a dark cloud and deploying Cyber-pollen.

Meanwhile, in the Nethersphere, all the lights go out. Seb tells Danny that they all might be going home - the deceased will be returning to their bodies. He explains to Danny that he should think of the Nethersphere as a data-cloud for storing recently deceased minds. The good news, he says, is that their bodies have been "upgraded".

Back at St Paul's, both Missy and the Doctor are sedated and the Doctor just manages to whisper to Osgood, "Guard the graveyards" before passing out. Kate states on the phone that the "first protocol" has been implemented as the cloud made by the Cyberman starts to rain into the graveyards – and only the graveyards. The water seeps out and makes the sewers and gutters overflow. The water gets into the Chaplet Funeral Home and converts the deceased bodies within. One of these is revealed to be Danny Pink, who clutches the sheet of paper with his information on it.

Meanwhile, the Doctor wakes up in a UNIT aircraft hanger with the TARDIS as Kate informs him that protocols are in place and his cooperation is to be ensured since UNIT assumes that he won't automatically do so. The Doctor asks for Clara, and Kate says that he just has to give the order, as soon as he is on the plane his word is literally law. The plane is revealed to be Boat One. Kate tells someone on the phone that the President is aboard and when the Doctor comments on the uselessness of Americans, Colonel Ahmed reveals that the President of the United States was not being referred to; instead they were talking about the newly inaugurated President of Earth, commander in chief of all armies on the planet with complete authority in every nation. The Doctor scoffs at the idea, but Kate reveals that the Doctor himself is the President.

Back in St Paul's, Clara uses her knowledge of the Doctor to convince the Cybermen that she is him. She even offers to reveal his true name, however, another Cyberman arrives and tells the others the truth about who she is. Clara tries to argue, saying that she is an incredible liar, to which the Cyberman agrees. The Cyberman then knocks her unconscious and kills the other Cybermen who realise that he is not under Cyber-control. He is revealed to be Danny, as his unused hand is still clutching the piece of paper from the morgue.

As Missy wakes up in Boat One, the Doctor asks her how she is alive, and she states that he saved her when he saved Gallifrey. She then reveals that she knows where it is but refuses to tell him as seeing him in agony over not knowing is fun. Osgood quickly guesses who Missy is and brings the Cyber-clouds to the Doctor's attention, specifically the fact that they have expanded and now cover all land-masses. Impressed, the Doctor offers her a position in the TARDIS before he is called back to the office. It is revealed that Cybermen have been climbing out of graves the world over.

When Clara wakes up, she finds herself in a graveyard just as Cybermen start climbing out of their graves.

On Boat One, a council discusses the graves, finding that though only a handful of Cybermen have come out yet, many more are hatching. Seeing Missy sticking her tongue out at him on the monitor, the Doctor realises what the entire point of the 3W Institute was; it was to provide the Cybermen with a much more efficient method of adding to their ranks. Not only does this Cyber-pollen allow them to convert the dead, it can even convert children into Cybermen when they were previously only used for Cyber-Planners due to being too small for a typical conversion. A pessimistic Doctor tells Colonel Ahmed to "throw away" his guns, as "how can you defeat an army that can recruit the dead?"

Meanwhile, all the Cybermen in the graveyard that Clara is in are fully out and wander aimlessly.

Onboard Boat One, the Doctor notes that these new Cybermen are not attacking since they are newborns; their software hasn't fully linked with the Cyberiad, thus they are harmless until attacked or given orders. Kate reveals that they had been investigating 3W for a while before they got a tip-off from a woman with a Scottish accent – Missy, the Doctor guesses, since she likes to show off her madcap schemes to the masses. The Doctor speculates that Missy has been uploading minds in the Nethersphere for as long as humanity has had a concept of an afterlife.

While this is happening, Missy attempts to gain Osgood's attention by singing a version of "Mickey" replacing "Mickey" with "Missy". After drawing Osgood closer, she whispers a secret in her ear: "I'm going to kill you in a minute". She refers to this as her "secret girl plan". She starts a countdown from ten while mocking human lifespans, before revealing that she has already escaped her restraints. She then kills her guards and Osgood before thanking her for being "yummy". She presses a button on her bracelet which causes a horde of flying Cybermen to attack the plane.

In the graveyard, Clara finds the Cyberman that brought her there - Danny. She tells what she thinks is just a drone that the Doctor will come for her, but Danny states he will not come. Defiant, Clara says that she believes in the Doctor, who has never let her down; she says he is the one man that she would never lie to. Shaking, Danny drops the piece of paper from his hand and raises his blaster, scaring Clara. However, he forces his arm down. He takes the mask off his helmet, revealing his face to be severely mutilated by the cyber-conversion. Crying, he asks her to turn on his emotion inhibitor.

Meanwhile, back on Boat One, the Doctor realises that Missy had escaped her restraints and confronts her. Missy prompts him to ask her about her plan, promising that he will be surprised. She claims that by investigating those that die to save him, she has realised that he needs to know that he is like her. The TARDIS phone begins ringing and Missy reveals that she both gave Clara the TARDIS' phone number and placed the advert in the Victorian newspaper. She claims that it was the only way to make sure the two of them — a control freak and a man who can never be controlled - stayed together.

The Doctor answers the TARDIS phone; Clara has called to tell him about Danny; she's opened the logo on his chest, but can't figure out how to turn on the inhibitor. He warns her not to turn on the inhibitor, because Danny will revert to a mindless Cyberman and kill her if she does. Meanwhile, the Cybermen are breaking into Boat One and killing crew members. Clara begins to hit switches around Danny's power core, hoping to find the inhibitor switch.

On Boat One, Kate has alerted other organisations of their situation and rushes into the room to warn the Doctor that the plane is going down. Missy turns her attention to her and says that she likes Kate before blowing out a section of the wall, sucking her out of the plane. She orders the Cybermen to destroy the plane and teleports away, leaving the Doctor.

Boat One explodes and the Doctor is thrown clear of the debris. Seb and Missy watch on from the Nethersphere, remarking on how boring his death will be. However, using his key to summon the TARDIS, the Doctor manages to catch and enter his ship before reaching the ground. Seb is excited over the turn of events, to which Missy replies that Seb is merely an AI. Seb continues to be enthusiastic before Missy promptly destroys him.

The TARDIS materialises in the graveyard and the Doctor warns Clara that if she deletes Danny's emotions, he will kill her. Danny denies this, and the Doctor says that the difference between himself and Missy is emotion; "pain is a gift". He tells Danny that "without the capacity for pain, we can't feel the hurt we inflict". He tries to get Danny to tell him what the cloud will do, but Danny says he isn't fully integrated into the Cyber hivemind and cannot see. Danny then points out that all of the Doctor's bravado just crumbled in the sight of a tactical advantage, mocking the Doctor as a typical officer who has to keep his hands clean.

Death in Heaven story

Danny tells Clara he loves her.

Knowing how much it will hurt Clara, the Doctor sadly tells her that he has to know. Deciding that she needs to be the one to do it, Clara takes the Doctor's sonic screwdriver, telling Danny she loves him. Danny says the same, joking that he'll never say that again. Smiling through her tears, Clara turns on the emotional inhibitor. Danny stops smiling and goes blank-faced. The Doctor asks him what Missy's plan for the Cyber Pollen is and he replies that the cloud will convert all of humanity into Cybermen. Anguished, Clara hugs Danny, who remains motionless.

Missy then teleports into the graveyard. Seeing Clara in agony, Missy offers to "pop away" the pain; however, the Doctor tosses Missy's device onto the ground, sick of the senseless murder. Missy apologises since she tends to get carried away; she tells the Doctor to cheer up as she came to give him a gift. Missy speaks into her bracelet, which controls the Cybermen. She makes them demonstrate plane safety tips and random movements. She then gives the Doctor the bracelet, allowing him the same control, as a birthday gift — "It's lucky one of us remembers," she notes. The Cybermen bow.

The Doctor refuses control of the army, but Missy points out that he does want an army. With this army, the Doctor will now have the final say in the result of every great battle in the history of the universe. He can even save the people suffering in the Dalek camps, and overthrow dictators; the universe would be at peace eternally. Tearing off the bracelet, the Doctor demands to know why she is doing this. Missy says she wants to show him that they are not so different; after all these centuries of fighting each other, she wants to rebuild their friendship. Seeing the Doctor panicking, Missy asks him if he can trust himself with this kind of power; if he can stay morally pure.

The Doctor takes a moment to reflect every time he wondered if he was a good man. He suddenly has a realisation and thanks Missy for helping him. He declares that he is not a good man, nor a bad man, nor a hero, nor a president, nor an officer, as Danny had described him. He says that he is "an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver, passing through, helping out, learning". He tells Missy that he doesn't need an army, as he has his companions. He points to Danny, stating that he would never harm Clara; love isn't an emotion, but a promise. Danny raises an arm and holds the crying Clara, much to Missy's shock.

Cyber-Danny orders troops (DIH)

Danny orders the dead to save the living from the Cyber-pollen.

The Doctor laughs that Missy didn't notice the only Cyberman not listening to her orders, right in front of her. "P.E., catch!" yells the Doctor as he tosses the bracelet to Danny, who promptly puts it on. Missy wonders what Danny will do and Danny states that the clouds will be burned. When asked by what, Danny states himself. Missy laughs, noting one burning Cyberman won't destroy the cloud. With a smirk, Danny tells Missy she's right.

Danny commands the Cybermen to attention. He tells them that this is Earth's darkest day, but the dead shall save the land of the living. "This is not the order of a general, nor the whim of a lunatic. This is a promise. The promise of a soldier!" Danny turns to Clara, promising that she will "sleep safe tonight" before flying into the cloud with the rest of the Cybermen and destroying it, along with himself and the other Cybermen.

In the graveyard, Missy recites the coordinates of Gallifrey, claiming it has returned to its original location. Clara threatens to kill Missy with her own weapon; the Doctor takes it from her and prepares to do it himself to spare Clara from carrying the burden of a murder the rest of her life. Seeing that she's finally brought the Doctor down to her level, Missy asks him to say something nice. With a sigh, the Doctor tells Missy that she's won. However, right before he can kill her, a blast from behind them hits her, seemingly disintegrating her.

A Cyberman is behind them. It lowers its weapon and points toward another section of the graveyard; Clara sees Kate Stewart lying there, still alive, muttering about her father. The Doctor, now understanding, turns back to the Cyberman, who he realises is Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and remarks, "The Earth's darkest hour, and mine. Where else would you be?" before saluting him — Kate had previously remarked that her father's greatest wish had been to receive a salute from the Doctor. The Cyberman Brigadier then flies up into the sky, with the Doctor whispering "Thank you" after him...

Two weeks later, Clara awakes in the middle of the night to find a portal to the Nethersphere in her hallway. Danny speaks through it, saying that the Nethersphere is collapsing and that the bracelet only has enough power left for one one-way trip. Instead of coming through the portal himself, however, he sends through the young Afghan boy he killed, telling her to find his parents. Crying, Danny says he is sorry and the portal closes, leaving the boy in the hallway along with the broken bracelet.

Later, the Doctor meets Clara in a restaurant, the latter remarking that he is two weeks late, an apparent improvement compared to previous errors. The Doctor notes she is wearing the bracelet and assumes Danny has returned from the Nethersphere; she tries to tell him he hasn't, but he thinks she is trying to say that she can't travel in the TARDIS anymore. He says that it is fine and that he has found Gallifrey exactly where Missy said it was, and that, "for once, she wasn't lying". In fact, it is revealed that the Doctor travelled to the coordinates Missy gave him and found nothing but empty space. Closing the TARDIS door, he entered a fit of rage and attacked the console before sinking to the floor and weeping for his lost home planet.

Thinking that he has found his way home at last, Clara changes her mind and goes along with the Doctor's belief that Danny has returned and that she too will be happy. Clara asks what he will do now; the Doctor says that Gallifrey can be a good place and that he will try to make it one. He says it's a long commute and Clara and Danny mightn't be able to make it. They part ways with a hug. Clara asks why he doesn't like hugging and hethe Doctor responds that you should "never trust a hug" as "it's just a way to hide your face". As they hug, their faces each reveal their sadness behind each other's back.

As the Doctor enters his TARDIS, Clara tells him that he made her feel special when they travelled together, and thanks him for it. He thanks her "for exactly the same" and dematerialises the TARDIS while Clara walks away.

Later, the Doctor is brooding alone in his TARDIS when he hears someone knocking at the door, telling him that "it can't end like this" and that neither Clara nor the Doctor is "okay". The voice turns out to be that of Santa Claus, who enters the TARDIS in a swirl of snowflakes and asks a boggling Doctor what he wants for Christmas...



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


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.

Uncredited crew[]

Millennium FX[]




  • Missy's bracelet is able to give the mind of someone in the Nethersphere a physical body if they use it to teleport back to the real world, serving as a means of continual resurrection.


  • Missy descends from the clouds with her umbrella opened, copying the title character in Mary Poppins.
  • Missy does an impression of Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday, Mr President".
  • Missy sings a version of "Mickey", replacing "Mickey" with "Missy".
  • The Doctor calls the Valiant "Cloudbase". Osgood immediately says Cloudbase is from Thunderbirds, but Colonel Ahmed quickly corrects her with Captain Scarlet. In addition, the Doctor claims he and Sylvia Anderson, co-creator of both shows, shared at least one dance together.
  • The Doctor mocks Colonel Ahmed about being a Man Scout.


  • Missy claims that she is giving the Cyberman army to the Doctor as a birthday present.
  • Kate Stewart declares herself divorced, mother of two children, a "keen" gardener, and an "outstanding" bridge player.
  • The Doctor recalls his friendship with the Brigadier, noting he would have given his old friend a salute if he had asked him.
  • The Doctor is declared President of Earth following a UNIT protocol.


Story notes[]

  • Clara's ruse to the Cybermen of claiming to be the Doctor in the pre-opening teaser was followed by a one-off modification to the title sequence, with the eyes of the Twelfth Doctor being replaced by those of Clara's, and Jenna Coleman's name preceding that of Peter Capaldi. This is the second time any aspect of the face of someone other than the Doctor in the title sequence. The first was the 1996 TV movie, which also featured the eyes of the Bruce Master. This is also the first time where the name of the actor playing the Doctor is not the first name to appear in the title sequence.
  • The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders photograph of Missy holding her weapon in her outstretched hand as the Doctor looks on, with the accompanying caption "Doctor Who / 8.00 p.m. Who are you? The Doctor is disturbed by the mysterious Missy in the series finale".
  • To keep the appearance of Santa Claus a surprise, Nick Frost was uncredited in Radio Times and on the BBC website.
  • This is the first episode to have a mid-credits scene.
  • This is the first series finale to lead directly into the following Christmas Special since Last of the Time Lords.
  • This is the first reference of the term Prydonian since the 2005 revival of Doctor Who.
  • The episode continues the trend of the Cybermen appearing in each series' twelfth episode ever since Steven Moffat took over as showrunner. They also appeared in The Pandorica Opens, Closing Time and Nightmare in Silver, the twelfth episodes of series 5, 6 and 7 respectively.
  • Steven Moffat stated that Clara's reference to the Doctor being married four times included his marriage to Susan's grandmother. (DWM 482)
  • This was meant to be Clara's last episode, as Jenna Coleman's contract only through the end of the season. Coleman decided that she enjoyed working with Peter Capaldi too much to leave yet, so it was decided that she would appear in Last Christmas (which was also meant to be her last appearance).
  • Originally, Clara was the one who appeared to vaporise Missy, the Doctor didn't convince her to hand over Missy's weapon.
  • Steven Moffat wanted to establish the scale of Missy's villainy by having her murder a significant character. He was already planning to include the death of either Osgood or her Zygon doppelganger in The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion. He now decided to bring this event forward, and have Missy be responsible for the murder. To add to the shock of this development, he wrote Osgood's early scenes as if the way was being paved for her to become the Doctor's next companion.
  • The little boy whom Danny had inadvertently killed during his time as a soldier originally had lines of dialogue throughout the episode.
  • The episode originally ended with Clara watching the TARDIS dematerialise, seemingly for the last time. The scene with Santa Claus was a late addition.
  • This two-parter formed Block Six of season eight.
  • A real aircraft undergoing maintenance at the facility posed as the exterior of Boat One.
  • Kate mentions being divorced and having two kids. Jemma Redgrave has two children and would later divorce her husband.
  • Shots of a Cyberman stand outside the gates of a school went unused.
  • The hold of Boat One was a redressed version of the space shuttle from Kill the Moon.
  • "Hey Missy" was made up by Michelle Gomez on the spot to keep herself from stuttering and ruining the take. She thought it was going to be edited out, but the producers got the rights to "Mickey" and kept it in.
  • Rachel Talalay's elder daughter, Sophie, played one of the plainclothed UNIT operatives, while her younger daughter, Lucy, was amongst the civilians.
  • Deleted scenes saw Cybermen emerging at other burial sites around the world.
  • The filming reports showed the graves for Clara Oswin Oswald, Ellie Oswald, Amy Pond and Rory Williams, suggesting that they were originally going to have been indicated to have become Cybermen.
  • Nick Frost's cameo as Santa Claus was filmed during production of Last Christmas.


Filming locations[]

Production errors[]

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.
  • In the BBC iPlayer version of this episode, during the flashback scene featuring Rusty, the subtitles incorrectly credit his lines as being said by Davros.
  • As Missy drops her hat, someone hugs the Cyberman in front of her and squeezes its arm which makes the rubber costume fold in.
  • Furthermore, in the same scene, as the disguised soldiers take selfies with the Cybermen and Missy pulls out her device to show the Doctor, the background of the scene changes from St Paul's to an entirely different street altogether.
  • When Clara is on the phone with the Doctor, telling him about Danny being a Cyberman, the wide shot shows the chest piece that covers the emotional inhibitor on, even though he had already removed it prior.
  • When Missy has the side of the plane blown off, her wrist device is still on. When she tells the Cybermen to blow up the plane over Belgium, it's disappeared, but in the next shot, it's returned to her wrist.
  • When the Doctor prepares to kill Missy, he is clearly holding her device in the wrong orientation, with the beam emitters pointing towards the ground.


  • This would be Clara's last story. At one point, this was true. Up until shortly before production the plan was for Jenna Coleman to leave the series with this episode, however, she decided to return for the Christmas special and Series 9.
  • Clara is pregnant or dying. These two myths/rumours were sparked by the post-it note reading "3 months" seen in Dark Water, with the former also supported by the existence of Orson Pink in TV: Listen who is supposedly a descendant of Clara and Danny, yet Danny is now dead. Ultimately, the significance of "3 months" was never explained.


Home video releases[]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

Complete 8th Series UK Cover

Series Full Box-set Region 2

Digital releases[]

  • The episode was released on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video in HD or SD, also available as part of the Series 8 digital boxset. The digital boxset contains various features: trailer, interviews, The Ultimate Companion, The Ultimate Time Lord, Inside the World Tour and Doctor Who Extra episodes for each episode.
  • In the US, the series was released through digital streaming services Hulu and Netflix with a subscription.
  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.


  1. The story features Osgood from Operation Double, leaving it unclear whether she is the human or the Zygon, until AUDIO: Narcissus revealed her to be the Zygon.