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Deep Breath was the first episode of series 8 of Doctor Who. After a surprise cameo in The Day of the Doctor and a short appearance at the end of The Time of the Doctor, this episode marked the first full appearance of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. Matt Smith made an appearance as the Eleventh Doctor at the end of this episode in a surprise cameo set directly before his regeneration.

The episode also introduced Missy, a character whose motives and true identity would remain a mystery until Dark Water, and Courtney Woods, a mischief-making Coal Hill student.

The episode also features the return of the Clockwork Droids, last seen in the Series 2 episode The Girl in the Fireplace.

Following the success of the theatrical simulcast of The Day of the Doctor, this premiere episode also received a release in cinemas across the world. It had an extended runtime of seventy-six minutes.

Behind the scenes, Steven Moffat had collaborated[source needed] with his predecessor as head writer Russell T Davies to create a reason behind why the Doctor sometimes takes on the appearance of people who have previously appeared in the show. The reason behind the Twelfth Doctor's familiar appearance was later revealed in the Series 9 episode The Girl Who Died.

Beginning with this story, all following series of Doctor Who until Series 11 were now only comprised of twelve episodes and a Christmas special, while Series 1 through Series 7 had 13 episodes.


Shortly after his regeneration, the Twelfth Doctor arrives in Victorian London, and Clara Oswald struggles to embrace the new man the Doctor has become. All the while, they reunite with the Paternoster Gang to investigate a series of combustions that have been occurring all around the city.


In late Victorian London, a dinosaur is rampaging in the River Thames, much to the shock of onlookers. When the Paternoster Gang arrive, the inspector is sure Madame Vastra hasn't seen anything like this; however, she comments "not since I was a little girl." Jenny comments the dinosaur is awfully big, with Vastra correcting her on the common size for dinosaurs and its gender; the Tyrannosaurus is a female. The inspector wonders how the dinosaur ended up in the Thames, with Vastra explaining it time travelled, much to the disbelief of the inspector.

Seeing the dinosaur coughing, Jenny uses a wrist-worn device to examine it; there is something lodged in its throat. It coughs up the TARDIS, which lands upright on the banks of the river. When the inspector says the dinosaur laid an egg, Vastra rather incredulously, responds by stating, "It dropped a blue box marked "police" from its mouth...your grasp of biology troubles me". She then gives him a bagful of sonic lanterns, explaining to put them in 20-foot intervals; the devices will emit a signal that will convince the Tyrannosaurus to remain in place. With the dinosaur confined to the Thames, London will be safe from any casualties from the dinosaur trying to hunt the locals for food; it will also prevent any property damage aside from the bridges.

The group descends to the bank, with Jenny curious as to if the Doctor is trouble. Vastra nods to Strax to investigate the TARDIS. Strax knocks on the TARDIS door, demanding that the occupants come out and surrender to the glory of the Sontaran Empire. The freshly regenerated Doctor opens the door, shushing Strax and shutting the door. Confused, Strax asks for the Doctor. The Doctor opens the door again, letting smoke out; he begins questioning if Strax is one of the seven dwarfs, much to Strax's own confusion. The Doctor appears to be suffering from post-regeneration confusion.

The Doctor and a dishevelled frizzy-haired Clara leave the TARDIS, and the Doctor explains a dinosaur was chasing him, but he thinks he escaped. Seeing Vastra and Jenny, the Doctor calls them "The Green One and the Not Green One" before stating he mustn't prejudge as he could be wrong. Clara tries calming the Doctor, who mistakes her for Handles; he wonders if she regenerated from that robot head before stating Clara's let herself go. Hearing the dinosaur roar, the Doctor yells for it to shut up; he yells in shock at them having a dinosaur as well. Listening to it, the Doctor tells Vastra to turn down the sonic lanterns, as they are giving the dinosaur a headache.

Clara holds Doctor

The Doctor passes out.

Strax questions how the Doctor knew, to which the Doctor calls him Clara and announces his ability to talk to dinosaurs. Clara points out the Doctor's mistake; he defends it by stating they are similar in height, making Strax and Clara share a look. The Doctor says everything is going dark and wobbly, asking them to stop. Clara tells him that it's not them doing that; it's him, meaning he's about to pass out. The Doctor decides to pay no mind to his condition, telling everyone to "take five". He collapses, unconscious, with Jenny asking who he is and where the Doctor is. Clara identifies the new Doctor as the same man. Vastra comments, "Here we go again..."

Back at Vastra's house, the Doctor is conscious again and dressed in a Victorian nightshirt, but hyperactive; he demands to know "who invented this room", since he's never used a bedroom before, and having an entire room to be unconscious in seems pointless as you're missing the room. After claiming that a nearby mirror is "absolutely furious", he becomes annoyed about the accent Jenny and Clara speak with, as his accent is now Scottish; he thinks they've developed faults. Vastra, however, talks "properly" by adopting a Scottish accent which pleases the Doctor. She asks him to project the image of perfect sleep into her mind, though he warns psychic-linking with a Time Lord would be like dropping a piano on her; however, thanks to the Doctor being weakened from his recent regeneration, Vastra is able to bounce the image back into his mind, putting the Doctor back to sleep to recover.

Putting the Doctor back to bed, Clara wonders how to change him back; Vastra leaves the room, asking Jenny to fetch her veil. Clara explains to Jenny how confused she is about the Doctor's new incarnation: he's old and grey, even through it's a new body. When questioned how she'd react if Vastra was different, Jenny points out that Vastra isn't even human and that she loves her anyway before leaving. Watching over the Doctor, Clara hears the dinosaur wailing. The Doctor mumbles in his sleep, seemingly translating its roars into a lament for its lost world, ending with, "Can't see me. Doesn't see me," which Clara believes refers to the dinosaur (which she thinks is odd given the size of it). Strax comes in and escorts Clara to Madame Vastra, who asked to have a word with her.

Alf Deep Breath

Alf looks at the dinosaur.

Outside on the street, people are still looking at the giant dinosaur. A man called Alf guesses the Tyrannosaurus is part of a government plan, in conversation with his wife. Alf then says to a mysterious man there is something wrong with the dinosaur's neck, that makes it look unreal. The man replies that Alf has good eyes, and he needs to remove them for himself as a gift to replace his bad eyes. He reveals the other side of his face — it looks like a clockwork robot — and then proceeds to butcher Alf and take his eyes.

In Vastra's study, she questions Clara about how she and the Doctor came to be in Victorian London after Trenzalore. When Clara says that the Doctor is gone, Vastra corrects her by stating he renewed himself; this amuses Clara, who finds it ironic as the Doctor's new form is aged. Vastra goes on to state that the Doctor wears a face as she wears a veil, and that is to be accepted; she wears a veil to hide her face as a judgement on the hearts of others. The conversation escalates as Clara thinks Vastra is judging her, but Vastra retorts by implying that Clara is judging the Doctor because he is no longer the handsome young man she met. Clara explodes, insisting that she is not so shallow that the previous Doctor's looks are what made her travel with him, even insisting that if there were someone who could "flirt with a mountain range", it was her. Jenny applauds, surprising Vastra; Vastra laughs that she wondered what Clara would be like when angered. Vastra explains that the Doctor needs all of them — especially Clara — as anchors to find himself again. When Clara realises that Vastra has removed her veil, she wonders when that happened; "When you stopped seeing it".

Upstairs, the Doctor wakes up smelling something. After sniffing about on the floor, he finds a piece of chalk. He writes Gallifreyan calculations with the chalk around the whole room, including on the walls and floor. Hearing the dinosaur roar, the Doctor heads to the door; however, he finds it "boring; not me". He then proceeds to climb out of the window and on to the roof; he shouts across London at the dinosaur, apologising for getting his time machine stuck in its throat. However, just as he vows to get it home safely, the dinosaur spontaneously bursts into flames and collapses, to his horror.

Inside the house, Vastra and the others hear the dinosaur wail in agony and call for Strax to prepare the carriage. Outside, the Doctor jumps off the roof and lands in a tree. Falling from the tree and getting stuck on a branch, he stops a horse and carriage and asks that he will need to relieve him of his "pet", much to the driver's confusion. The Doctor replies that he was talking to the horse. Jumping onto the horse, he uses the sonic screwdriver to cut the ropes linking the horse to the carriage. As the Doctor struggles to properly control the horse and also fails to tell his "new hands" apart, the Paternoster Gang and Clara unknowingly follow him.

The Doctor arrives at the bridge and quietly observes as the dinosaur burns in the flames; he is horrified by its death as he dragged it here to this time. The Paternoster Gang arrives, with Clara questioning the Doctor's sudden appearance here; Vastra explains the Doctor goes wherever there is trouble. They continue to watch the flames wonder who would do such a thing. The Doctor says that's not the real question, nor is "how". The question is: "Have there been any similar murders?" Vastra admits there have been similar ones. The Doctor then asks if humans are watching the dinosaur's corpse burn, then who would be calmly walking by; he points to the mechanical man who stole Alf's eyes, who is ignoring these strange events completely. The Doctor jumps into the Thames. Clara worries that he'll drown, but Vastra explains that the Doctor has taken up the case — the only way to find him again is to do the same.

Clara washes up the next morning, taking notice of Strax's voice out the window; he is threatening workmen to be careful with unloading the TARDIS. Greeting Clara, Strax explains the Doctor will always come looking for his time machine, and "By bringing it here, he will be lured from the dangers of London to this place of safety, and we will melt him with acid." Clara retorts "OK, that last part?" Strax apologises for his verbal fumble, citing it's an old habit. Clara asks for "The Times" to be sent up to her; Strax promptly throws the paper up to Clara, striking her in the face and knocking her down.

Now in a Victorian dress, Clara makes her way downstairs and meets Jenny, who warns her not to disturb Vastra as she is busy with other cases - including having the Camberwell child poisoner for dinner. Met with a confused look, Jenny explains that Vastra will interrogate him first; she warns Clara to stay out of the larder, as it will get noisy later (from the poisoner's screams). Knowing that Clara is still worried about the Doctor, Jenny explains that they have the Paternoster Irregulars out in force to track him down.

Strax examining Clara Deep Breath

Strax sees into Clara's mind.

Clara encounters Strax once again, who offers her water. Clara at first accepts but then declines when Strax gives her the bucket of water he has been using to mop the floor and had previously bathed in; Strax takes no offence, still not used to human customs. Strax then gives Clara a medical examination, finding her spleen to be in enviable great condition. He moves on to her head, stating she's 27 years old and is silenced about her life expectancy, though not before indicating her prognosis for a long life is excellent and tries figuring out the image he's seeing in her subconscious. Strax explains Clara may end up serving with him, as London has many dangerous thugs who could kill the Doctor in his current state.

In a dirty alley somewhere, the Doctor examines his new face in a small mirror and rummages through debris. As an old man stumbles by, the Doctor is confused over why he now has this face. Ranting and belligerent, he asks the man's input on why he gave himself this face, noting it's familiar to him; it's like his subconscious is trying to tell him something, but the Doctor can't figure it out. The Doctor asks the frightened man if he has seen his face before. Intimidated by it, he says he doesn't like the Doctor's face—the Doctor's not too fond of it either, due to a new, potent set of "attack eyebrows" that seem like they want to cede from the rest of his face and "set up their own independent state of eyebrows". Playing along with the Doctor's madness, the old man agrees he has mighty eyebrows. The Doctor then notes that he has a Scottish accent, which the man confirms; he is delighted by this and excitedly rants on that he can now complain about things, before demanding the man's coat. The man whimpers in fear, until the Doctor brings up a newspaper, showing the article "Fourth Case of Spontaneous Combustion". The man wonders what "devilment" it is; the Doctor doesn't know but says he'd probably blame the English.

Jenny Flint

Jenny is not too pleased Vastra tricked her.

In Vastra's study, she is busy in front of a board, with Jenny posing for her in her underthings. Vastra goes on to explain about spontaneous combustion, confirming Jenny's question if it's similar to "love at first sight". Jenny tells Vastra she doesn't need to flirt with her; they're already married. Vastra turns the board, revealing a map and the locations of the incidents; Jenny is not too amused that her wife had her posing for no good reason. Vastra tries passing it off as just a whim. Clara barges in, which Vastra mistakes as Clara wanting to take Jenny's place posing.

However, Clara shows her the adverts; there's a notice in the paper addressed to the "Impossible Girl" — the Doctor's nickname for her - saying to meet "on the other side". Vastra calls for Strax to bring tea, as this is going to take some time to figure out. The four of them examine the entire paper, finding nothing else of importance except the message. They begin guessing what the message means: the other side of London or the other side of regeneration after he's recovered? However, Clara states that the Doctor isn't complicated, and "frankly doesn't have the attention span" for puzzles. Deciding to keep the meaning of the phrase dead simple, Clara checks the other side of the same page, finding Mancini's Family Restaurant is the meeting place the Doctor has chosen.

Clara arrives at the restaurant and notices an unpleasant smell. She is soon joined by the Doctor, now wearing the tramp's coat; he traded his favourite watch for it. She is horrified to hear that as it was a beautiful watch. The Doctor tries to laugh to lighten the mood, but Clara is angry with him; she asks what kind of person would put a cryptic message in the paper instead of sending a note to someone they've known a long time. The Doctor says it would be an egomaniac needy-game player, to which Clara says is something that hasn't changed; however, the Doctor says he doesn't want her to change and doesn't mind playing her games, having figured out the puzzle. They argue over if the message is "for" or "from" the Impossible Girl, before realising neither of them placed the ad; however, Clara then realises the Doctor insulted her.

While Clara is upset, the Doctor is more interested in their surroundings. He makes Clara look at the diners and notice how they are mechanically cutting food and bringing silverware to their mouths — but not actually eating anything. The Doctor then uses a hair from his head, prompting her to laugh that if he's having a cull, it's not the only grey hair he has. He then pulls out Clara's hair, telling her that she would have wanted it killed anyway for being out of place. He drops it, deducing that the air flow in the restaurant is only coming from them because the other diners are not breathing. The two stand up to leave, only for every diner in unison to rise and block them off, forcing them to sit again.

Waiter Deep Breath

The waiter.

A waiter comes over, and the Doctor asks for a children's menu. Instead, the waiter scans the Doctor with an advanced gadget and recites various body parts such as spleen, liver and kidneys. Clara wonders why such things would be on the menu, but the Doctor informs her they are the menu. He reaches up to remove the waiter's face, revealing a mechanical form underneath. He presses the face to Clara's own to show her — to her horror — it's an actual human face. The robot tells them that the restaurant does have a children's menu before locking them into their chairs as the booth lowers itself into a tunnel. The Doctor tells Clara the efficiency is admirable; Clara disagrees.

Finding themselves in a chamber below the restaurant, the Doctor says it functions as a larder; it's cheaper to keep them alive until they're needed for parts. The Doctor plans to drop the sonic screwdriver onto the floor and have Clara pick it up with her feet, then toss it to him. As Clara tries reaching the sonic, the Doctor mutters he misses Amy. Clara grabs the sonic, tossing a bit too low; however, it does land in the Doctor's lap. Sore in more than one sense, the Doctor frees them, with Clara asking why the sonic screwdriver wasn't voice-activated before realising he forgot it was.

They make their way to a chamber and find the Half-Faced Man from before sitting in a chair. Around him are pods containing other droids, all dressed and resembling real Londoners. Examining the Half-Faced Man, the Doctor realises it's recharging and this is not a typical cyborg — but a robot who adds human flesh to himself. The restaurant is their way of capturing random humans to harvest their flesh and organs for themselves since they require a constant supply of spares to replace their rotting organic parts. The cases of "spontaneous combustion" are their way of killing the victims quickly to hide the evidence of mutilation, including the dinosaur.


Clara relives her worst nightmare, quite literally.

The Droid begins to awaken and the Doctor and Clara start to run. A door slides closed between them, Clara begging the Doctor to let her in but the Doctor shocks her by saying it's better they're not both captured and leaves her behind. Clara remembers the Doctor saying that the robots don't breathe and holds her breath as she tries to walk to the exit. She nearly makes it but eventually is forced to take a breath and passes out, remembering taunts from her unruly pupils in the past. She had made the mistake of using the biggest threat she could make (expelling them) first, leaving nothing else to scare the children with. The students proceeded to laugh at her.

Waking up, Clara is confronted by the Half-Faced Man, who demands to know where the Doctor is. Knowing it's logical, Clara states she will not talk and killing her will have the same result — loss of information. Clara offers it a deal: a question for a question. She asks why it killed the dinosaur and is told it was to harvest its optic nerve. Clara realises the Half-Faced Man was specific, knowing exactly what a dinosaur's organs were like, and asks how old it is. The Half-Faced Man states they have been working for millions of years to rebuild themselves over and over, all in search of the "Promised Land." It threatens to kill Clara but she remains strong and defiant despite her obvious fear; it then decides torture would be an effective way of getting information from her.

When it asks once more where the Doctor is, Clara replies that if the Doctor is still the Doctor, he will be right behind her and extends her hand behind her. She whispers for him to be there and suddenly, one of the robots grabs her hand. He pulls her back before peeling off his mask to reveal himself as the Doctor in a new suit who thanks the "Rubbish robots from the dawn of time" for "all the gratuitous information." He places his sonic screwdriver into the charger, warning the Half-Faced Man he will blow the entire room if he sees one thing he doesn't like "and that includes karaoke and mimes, so take no chances." Clara is still upset over being left behind as the Doctor states he's not really sorry about that. The Half-Faced Man asks why they are there and the Doctor replies because of the ad in the paper. The cyborg's confusion makes the Doctor and Clara realise he didn't place the ad, with the Doctor hugely embarrassed at his blunder and asking that nobody ever mention that again.

The Doctor tells Clara to "say the word" and with reluctance, she touches her brooch, which lights up as they both intone "Geronimo." From a hole in the ceiling, Vastra and Jenny twirl down attached to curtains; Strax falls after them. Vastra reports the restaurant has been "disabled with maximum prejudice" and the police summoned. The Half-Faced Man calls in more robots as the Doctor states killing isn't their way. Clara protests the restaurant is a slaughterhouse and the Doctor shrugs it's no different than any other restaurant. The Half-Faced Man declares again that they are in search of the Promised Land, but the Doctor snaps that after millions of years, he should know it doesn't exist. The Half-Faced Man makes his way to the booth elevator and rises up with the Doctor hanging on to its bottom while Vastra, Jenny and Strax are left to fight the other robots.

Half-Face Man

"The restaurant is closed".

The police are in the restaurant, stunned at its mess when the Half-Faced Man arrives and informs them it is closed, showing off his flame-thrower arm as a hint. The police leave, the head detective declaring the restaurant off-limits to anyone before ordering one of the constables to get reinforcements. Back inside, the Doctor is sitting at a table, pouring a drink into a glass, telling the Half-Faced Man he is afraid he is going to have to kill him and offers it a drink first. The Half-Faced Man moves to a control panel with the Doctor following and observing the controls. The Doctor states there is no way to escape, but the Half-Faced Man stating that the escape pod is there. The Doctor insists the pod cannot have enough power but the restaurant shakes. As the police outside stare in shock, the restaurant rises up, lifted by a hot air balloon made of human skin.

Below, the rest of the group continues to fight the robots, who keep rising up after stabs and laser blasts. Vastra notes that unlike the robots in the faux restaurant, these were designed for combat, and thus have weapons. Strax is enraged that these cowards cannot accept death.

The Doctor examines a control button that fell off; this pod belonged to the SS Marie Antoinette, sister ship to the SS Madame de Pompadour, but despite how familiar it all is, he cannot place it. The Doctor realises the ship fell through time, crashing in England millions of years earlier. The only survivors were the service robots, who began their cycle of repairing themselves over and over again. He tells the Half-Faced Man to look out the window at London, asking his opinion. The Half-Faced man says it is beautiful. The Doctor disagrees, saying it looks tiny and far away from up here. He prefers it down there, where all the lives are big and important. The humans are never small to him, and he will fight for them.

Twelfth silver reflection

The Doctor questions as to whether the Droid knows where he got his face.

The Half-Faced Man continues to talk of the need to find "the Promised Land" as the Doctor rails on him for the fact that he's rebuilt himself so many times that all trace of his original self has been lost, comparing him to a broom that is broken and rebuilt but still not the same broom. This search was a myth the Half-Faced Man picked up from all the humanity it stuffed inside itself. The Doctor holds up a silver plate to say the Droid does not even know where he got that face from. As the Half-Faced Man stares at his reflection, the Doctor does the same.

Opening the doors, the Doctor tells the Half-Faced Man that it has to end, and gestures for him to commit suicide. Angered, the Half-Faced Man attacks the Doctor, but is pinned; the Doctor tells him that murder is against his basic programming, much like self-destruction is against the robot's. The Doctor is not wishing to find a Promised Land and will go as far as he needs to protect the people of Earth. Seeing it can't win, the Half-Faced Man admits that one of them has lied about their basic programming.

Below, Clara suggests they hold their breaths, the robots freezing as they do. It's too much for Jenny, but Vastra gives her a kiss to share oxygen. Just as Strax is about to take his own life, all the robots collapse. Above, the Half-Faced Man is shown impaled on the spire of Big Ben as the Doctor looks out, his expression grim.

The Gang return to Vastra's home to find that the Doctor and the TARDIS have both vanished. Later, Clara asks Vastra if she's got a vacancy since it looks like she's stuck in Victorian times, but Vastra assures her he'll be back; she even further points out that Clara has changed in preparation for returning home. She's proven true as the TARDIS returns, telling Clara "Give him hell; he'll always need it" as she happily runs off.

Not your boyfriend

The Doctor makes a guilty admission that he isn't Clara's boyfriend.

Clara finds the interior changed, the time rotor now a shade of orange and some furniture about, with the Doctor seated in a chair. The Doctor admits he's not sure about the new look himself after Clara says she doesn't like it, muttering that he used to have more round things, wondering where they went. The Doctor tells Clara "I've lived for over two thousand years and not all of them were good. I've made many mistakes, and it's about time I did something about it." He tells her that he is not her boyfriend, which she interprets as her being at fault until the Doctor addresses that it wasn't her mistake.

The Doctor puts the TARDIS in flight, takes a step back, and partially unbuttons his new suit jacket, exposing a flashy red lining inside to show off his new look to Clara. She grins in approval, and then the Doctor gets right to business, wondering how she got the TARDIS telephone number. Clara asks who put the ad in the paper and the Doctor reminds her of the woman in the shop long ago who gave her the number of a computer help line that instead connected her to the TARDIS. It seems someone wants the two together, and maybe they should find out who.

Clara feels like leaving the Doctor's company

"I'm sorry... I'm so, so sorry... but I don't think I know who you are anymore."

The TARDIS lands and the Doctor wonders how Clara feels about staying on as that mystery woman seems to want. Clara, still having mixed feelings at this new incarnation of the Doctor, is unsure if she wants to stay his companion, saying that she doesn't think she knows him anymore. Her phone begins to ring. The Doctor teasingly suggests she should get that call because it might be her boyfriend. Staring away from the Doctor, she tells him to shut up because she doesn't have a boyfriend.

Clara walks out of the TARDIS in modern times to answer the call and is shocked to hear the voice of the Eleventh Doctor. He explains he's calling through time from Trenzalore just minutes before he changed. Clara, remembering how she found the TARDIS telephone dangling off the hook from the call box, begins to tear up from hearing from him again. He says that the man before her is still him — just changed. Holding back her tears, Clara asks him why he would do this. The Eleventh Doctor explains that he's phoning her because he thinks this regeneration "is gonna be a whopper", and that she may be afraid. The new Doctor will be, he says, even more so and needs her help to handle all this. She should not be afraid, for his sake. The Twelfth Doctor, now outside the TARDIS also, asks her who is on the phone. The Eleventh hears and asks her if that's the Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor then asks her the same question — "Is that the Doctor?" When he hears the voice of his future self, the previous Doctor groans over "turning old", which makes Clara laugh, as she also confirms his hair will be grey as well. He's not at all impressed at the discovery that he'll have grey hair, noting how young he was in his soon-to-change appearance. The Eleventh Doctor says a final goodbye to Clara before he hangs up.

The new Doctor asks Clara if she will do as she was asked on the call, and help him. She says he shouldn't have been listening, but he replies that he wasn't — that was him on the call. He then bemoans that Clara still can't see him, despite still being the same man yet changed. Hurt and upset that she's looking right through him but doesn't view him as the same person, the Doctor, almost on the verge of tears, begs, "Just see me." Clara walks up to the Doctor and gives him a good look over, and concentrates on his eyes. She beams, thanking him for phoning from the past.

Awkward Hug

Clara accepts the regenerated Doctor.

Clara hugs him, to which the Doctor looks a bit confused and wonders where he should put his hands. He says that in his current incarnation, he doesn't think hugging is his thing. She's unsure he's entitled to a vote. Clara offhandedly says they're not at her home, and the Doctor apologises. He reveals they're in Glasgow, Clara pointing out he'll fit in with the accent. They go off in search of chips and coffee... with the Doctor revealing Clara will have to pay for them as he has no money. However, she thinks he's the fetching sort. Although the Doctor is willing to debate this, Clara still isn't sure he should get a vote. They stroll off together in search of coffee, the Doctor still hesitant.

Deep Breath The Promised Land

The Half-Faced Man greeted by Missy in "Paradise".

Elsewhere, the Half-Faced Man awakens in a beautiful garden and replaces his top hat on his head. A mysterious woman calls out to him, introducing herself as Missy; she inquires if the cyborg killed himself or if the Doctor pushed him since she couldn't tell. Missy goes on to claim that the Doctor is her boyfriend and that she likes his new accent. Over his initial discombobulation, the Half-Faced Man then asks where he is. Missy laughs, asking him where he thinks he is; she goes on to explain he has finally reached the "Promised Land", and that it is a paradise. The woman grandly introduces his new home, "Welcome... to Heaven". She chomps her teeth fatuously, then begins prancing and twirling around an ornate fountain with an umbrella in hand...


Uncredited cast[]


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[]

Milk VFX[3]

Millennium FX[2]



  • The Doctor having no memory of the Clockwork Robots was inspired by Columbo, in which the titular sleuth would seem nonplussed by references to his old cases.


  • The Doctor accidentally brings Clara to Glasgow.


  • In his confusion, the Doctor thinks Clara is a regenerated Handles.
  • Vastra claims she hasn't seen dinosaurs since she was a little girl.
  • Clara had a difficult time controlling her pupils in her first days as a teacher in Coal Hill School.
  • Madame Vastra uses a Scottish accent.
  • As Clara is struggling to reach for the Doctor's sonic screwdriver with her legs, the Doctor remarks that he misses the long-legged Amy.
  • According to Vastra, the Doctor founded a musical band with Marcus Aurelius as bass guitar player.

The Doctor[]



  • The Doctor describes his and Clara's situation in the restaurant as "Sweeney Todd without the pies".
  • Clara likens the body-part harvesting to an alien version of Burke and Hare.
  • There are several references and allusions to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, which were previously suggested to be based on Madame Vastra's exploits (TV: The Snowmen):
    • In this episode, Inspector Gregson helps the Paternoster Gang.
    • The Paternoster Gang uses "Paternoster Irregulars" to find the Doctor.
    • After discovering the advertisement, Madame Vastra exclaims, "The game is afoot!", a line originally from William Shakespeare's play Henry V, but more commonly associated with the Holmes stories.
    • At one point, Jenny mentions "the Conk-Singleton forgery case" and "the Camberwell poisoning case". Both cases are referred to in the Canon.
    • At another point, Vastra is shown reading the agony column, a frequent habit of Sherlock Holmes.

Newspaper adverts[]


Art and literature[]

Hotels and restaurants[]


Advertised trips[]

Story notes[]

  • The production team had become fond of Courtney Woods, whom Gareth Roberts had developed for The Caretaker, so she was added to the flashback to Clara's first day of teaching. Her role was originally filled by a random schoolgirl.
  • Although considered invalid by this wiki, real-world information coupled with the adverts in the The Times can be used place this story in late 1898. The paper announces the recent publication of Present Day Metallurgical Engineering on the Rand, which in the real world took place in January 1898. The paper then lists dates for the upcoming Gloucester Musical Festival, taking place between the 11 and 18 September 1898. This is backed up by an article in the paper reporting on the inauguration of the Swiss National Museum, which - in the real world - took place in June 1898.
  • In the special Doctor Who, After Who Live, a fan using Twitter to tweet the show actually correctly guessed Missy's identity as the Master regenerated into a female form.
  • This is the only post-regeneration story with a pseudo-historical setting.
  • As of 2024, this is the most recent televised appearance of the Paternoster Gang. They have appeared in audio plays and Dan Starkey has played other Sontarans, but not Strax.

Common among all versions[]

  • The story's premiere broadcast date, 23 August, is the same date as the in-universe setting of The Fires of Pompeii, in which Peter Capaldi made his first appearance in Doctor Who, as Lobus Caecilius. Additionally, during a scene where the Doctor sees his new face he remarks that he'd seen it before.
  • Matt Smith's cameo was recorded during the filming of The Time of the Doctor, as confirmed by Steven Moffat in several interviews following the preview screenings. Moffat joked that Matt's return was the fastest return ever, considering the fact that he last appeared in the previous episode. Indeed, disregarding recaps, the Second Doctor momentarily seeing an image of the First Doctor in The Power of the Daleks, and the special case of the 1996 TV movie, this marks the first time a former Doctor has made a substantial appearance in the very first episode of his successor's era.
  • This episode and its script was leaked online when stored on a publicly-accessible server, with incomplete CGI, watermarks and time codes in black-and-white, prompting a plea from BBC Worldwide not to watch it. The rough cut held the nomenclature, "Prepared for Marcelo Camargo at Drei Marc".
  • The BBC gave this episode a world tour in seven countries over twelve days.
  • No shots of the TARDIS interior are shown before the reveal of its redesign, due to the permanent remodelling of certain parts in the control room for Peter Capaldi's Doctor, which would make the replication of the pre-redecorated console highly taxing.
  • Near the day of filming where Peter Capaldi's official costume would be seen in public for the first time, the BBC released an official publicity shot to deter a press leak.
  • When the Doctor wears a human face as a disguise in the Clockwork Droids' lair, the face is actually that of the Eleventh Doctor. The mask depicting the waiter the Doctor was posing as tore on the first take, forcing the production team to hastily grab a spare mask which happened to be cast from Matt Smith's face made for Doctor Who Experience. The unintentional symbolism of the Doctor ripping off his previous face later in the scene was noted by Nikki Wilson in a behind-the-scenes video for BBC America.[4]
  • Digital raindrop removal was used in the scene where Clara and the Doctor emerged in Glasgow (actually Cardiff) since it was a brisk, overcast day that saw a small downpour during filming. Jenna and Peter used insulated coats to stay warm when they were not in the middle of filming.
  • The role of Barney the tramp was played by Brian Miller, the husband of the late Elisabeth Sladen, who had previously appeared in TV: Snakedance and TV: The Mad Woman in the Attic.
  • This is the first TV story to be sandwiched between two Dalek stories since The Myth Makers in 1965, which aired between Mission to the Unknown and The Daleks' Master Plan. While those two stories were intertwined, however, The Time of the Doctor and Into the Dalek, which aired either side of Deep Breath, are separate stories.
  • Rachel Talalay directed Missy's scene because Ben Wheatley was unavailable. She consulted him and tried to incorporate his ideas. [5]
  • The format of the closing credits changes beginning with this episode. Whereas up to TV: The Time of the Doctor (but not including the 50th anniversary special), the closing credits scrolled across the screen, with this episode the credits are shown in groups, returning to the closing credits format last used in Season 26 in 1989.
  • Matt Smith's cameo was the first sequence that Steven Moffat wrote for the episode. It was originally thought that this would be Smith's final shot as the Doctor, but the material was ultimately recorded one day early, on the standing TARDIS set.
  • Steven Moffat developed the opening sequence involving the tyrannosaur before fleshing out his ideas for the rest of the narrative, but he anticipated being able to amend the scene to suit any direction the script ultimately took.
  • Steven Moffat took the opposite approach to The Eleventh Hour - whereas that episode essentially re-tooled the show with no reognisable elements apart from the TARDIS, this episode would feature familiar characters in order to reassure the audience and highlight the new Doctor's characteristics.
  • Steven Moffat has said that this episode would be a "big introduction" for Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. He said that there will be "plenty of action and nonsense and jeopardy, as there ever is in Doctor Who."
  • Blue Peter ran a contest to design sonic gadgets for the Paternoster Gang. The winners were a sonic hatpin for Vastra, a sonic gauntlet for Jenny, and a sonic lorgnette for Strax. They were chosen over three thousand six hundred entries.
  • The episode formed Block One of season eight along with Into the Dalek.
  • Ben Wheatley had been a lifelong fan of the series and had been looking for an opportunity to make a programme that would appeal to his son.
  • The last scene was filmed at Queen Street in Cardiff, which was also the setting for the last scene of The End of the World.
  • Some of the climactic confrontation between the Doctor and the Half-Face Man had to be remounted, since revisions to the dialogue meant that some of the footage from the Parc Thistle Hotel was no longer suitable.
  • The scene in which Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint exchange a kiss generated six complaints to Ofcom, with viewers criticising the BBC for promoting a "blatant gay agenda". Ofcom decided not to investigate the matter further, judging that the complaints did not "raise issues warranting investigation." The scene was removed from the Asian broadcast of the episode in order to comply with Singapore's broadcast code.
  • During the read-through, the cast and crew-members filled the room with laughter when Peter Capaldi reached the lines ridiculing his eyebrows. The read-through was also the first time that Capaldi and Jenna Coleman had worked together, as Capaldi had been secretly auditioned.
  • When the newly regenerated Doctor is confused by the English accents of everyone in the room, Madame Vastra adopts a subtle Scottish accent (to reflect the new Doctor's Scottish accent). Neve McIntosh played Madame Vastra with an refined English accent but is from Paisley, Scotland.
  • Digital raindrop removal was used for the scene where Clara and the Doctor emerged in Glasgow (actually Cardiff), since it was a brisk, overcast day that saw a small downpour during filming. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman used insulated coats to stay warm when they were not in the middle of filming.
  • The last scene takes place in Glasgow, Peter Capaldi's birthplace.

The Hanshaw Title Sequence[]

  • This episode saw the debut of a new title sequence designed by Billy Hanshaw after executive producer Steven Moffat saw a video of his conceptual Doctor Who titles sequence on YouTube and decided to draft him aboard to do a professional version of his sequence. The new titles features a vast expanse of golden-bronze clock gears whizzing by in empty space, and then the TARDIS flying through a tunnel of Roman numeral clock face numbers spiralling into a literal depiction of a time vortex with glowing engravings of circular Gallifreyan. The TARDIS passes across the screen in a way very similar to the Series 1 title sequence as the TARDIS jumped from the blue to red time vortex and then launches past a group of planets. Peter Capaldi's piercing eyes are shown, rather than a full insert of the actor's face.
    • Moffat explained in an interview, "I happened across it [the title sequence], and it was the only new title idea I'd seen since 1963. We got in touch with him, and said, 'OK, we're going to do that one.'" Billy Hanshaw responded, "I had to pinch myself because I didn't know if it was really happening. It's one of those stories about people putting something on YouTube — it's usually a musician this happens to. They put a performance on there and they get picked up by a label. It's a similar kind of story. I thought these things don't generally happen."[6]

Specific to theatrical presentation[]

Myths and Rumours[]


Filming locations[]

  • The Maltings, Pontprennau
  • Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff
  • Queen Street, Cardiff

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.
  • The end of Vastra's mask is visible during the opening scenes.
  • When the Doctor is in bed, Jenny walks to the window and looks up to see the dinosaur. But in the next shot, the Dinosaur is clearly at eye-level.
  • When the Half-Face Man wakes up in "Heaven", he clearly has a left brow, despite him only having a right half of a face.
  • The dinosaur slime that covers the TARDIS appears to disappear from the door when the scene shifts to show Strax knocking.
  • The fictional "Fourth Case of Spontaneous Combustion" article is in a different and anachronistically modern typeface to the rest of the real newspaper.


Home video releases[]

DVD releases[]

  • Deep Breath was initially released as a standalone episode on DVD in region 1 on 9 September 2014, in region 2 on 15 September 2014 and in region 4 on 10 September 2014. The release included the cinema prequel, Doctor Who Extra and Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor. The Region 1 release also featured The Real History of Science Fiction.
  • It was included in the Series 8, Part One DVD boxset in region 1 on 20 September 2016.
  • It was also released as part of the Complete Eighth Series DVD boxset on 9 December 2014 in Region 1, 24 November 2014 in Region 2, and 19 November in Region 4.

Blu-ray releases[]

  • Deep Breath was released as a standalone episode on Blu-ray in North America on 9 September 2014, in Europe on 15 September 2014 and in Australia on 10 September 2014. The release included the cinema prequel, Doctor Who Extra and Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor. The Region 1 release also featured The Real History of Science Fiction.
  • The episode was released as part of the Complete Eighth Series Blu-ray boxset on 9 December 2014 in North America, 24 November 2014 in Europe, and 19 November in Australia.

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.

External links[]