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Fugitive of the Judoon was the fifth episode of series 12 of Doctor Who.

It featured the introduction of a new incarnation of the Doctor, wrapped in mystery, with her own TARDIS, though neither Doctor can remember living the life of the other. This other Doctor is said to have used a Chameleon Arch to hide on Earth in her "Ruth Clayton" identity, and has a history working for the Time Lords, in an undisclosed capacity. As a result of this revelation, Jo Martin makes history by becoming the first non-white actor to be cast in the role of the Doctor, as well as the first to receive credit in this role.

This episode also saw the return of Captain Jack Harkness, who last made a televised appearance at the end of Torchwood series 4 in 2011 with The Blood Line. This was also his first appearance in televised Doctor Who in just over a decade, last having been seen in 2010's The End of Time. Although Jack does not interact with the Thirteenth Doctor in this story, he warns her companions about the Lone Cyberman, setting up a story arc that came to fruition in The Haunting of Villa Diodati.

True to its title, this story also saw the reintroduction of the Judoon, who were last seen, briefly, on Doctor Who in 2015's Face the Raven.


The Judoon are on the hunt for a runaway and they have narrowed their search down to modern-day Gloucester. The Thirteenth Doctor and her friends decide to step in before anyone can get hurt, but things are far more complex than they seem. A complex web is about to unfold, featuring a surprising new face and a worrying prophecy from an old friend.


In a flat in 2020 Gloucester, a woman called Ruth Clayton wakes up on her 44th birthday and makes herself breakfast. Her husband, Lee Clayton, goes to collect her cake as she heads to work. Advertising her guided tours of the city, she greets various passersby with a smile and eventually manages to hook one tourist with a mention of Harry Potter. Sitting down with an elderly acquaintance called Marcia, they both agree that the tourist will not be coming back.

Later, Ruth visits a café where the barista, Allan, gives her a coffee and shares his suspicions about Lee. He shows Ruth a dossier of information about Lee's strange activity, but she laughs it off. Meanwhile, in a Judoon spaceship hovering above Earth, platoon captain Pol-Kon-Don targets the city.

In the Doctor's TARDIS, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan gather on the steps and discuss the Thirteenth Doctor's distant behaviour. When they confront her, she explains she is searching for the Spy Master, believing he could have escaped after the Kasaavin took him, because of a message he had sent her. Just then, a Judoon warning transmission sounds. The Doctor gives her companions a brief rundown on the Judoon and notes they have put up a zonal enforcement field on Earth so nobody can enter or exit the city. She decides to try and slip the TARDIS through.

In Gloucester, the Judoon appear and cause mass panic, scanning the public and stamping a red X on their hands. Marcia confronts them and they scan her and translate their speech to English. As Ruth faces up to them as well, the Judoon introduce themselves. Marcia runs away, straight into the enforcement field, and is disintegrated. The Judoon explain they are searching for a fugitive in the city.

In the coffee shop, Lee enters to receive Ruth's birthday cake and Allan presents him with one topped with "You can do better". Annoyed, Lee mutters about humans as the TARDIS materialises in the back room. The Doctor and her friends explain the situation and Lee runs away before Allan can lock the shop. As the Doctor, Yaz, and Ryan leave, Graham stays behind to look at Lee's cake, and is teleported away. Outside, Lee meets up with Ruth and tells her they need to go home. Meanwhile, the Judoon arrive at the coffee shop and scan Allan. However, as they have made a mess of the shop, he shoves Pol-Kon-Don and is immediately sentenced to execution.

Back in Ruth and Lee's flat, Lee begins packing some suitcases and Ruth finds herself very suspicious of his behaviour. The Judoon gather outside the apartment block, but the Doctor faces up to Pol-Kon-Don and uses her psychic paper to convince them she is an Imperial Regulator. She tells them they do not have jurisdiction in the area and the temporal isolator they are planning to use on the flats is outlawed. Although the Judoon say that the fugitive is highly dangerous, the Doctor tells them to stand down, pretending that Earth laws state "any potential arrestee is entitled to arbitration with a third party". As they haggle to get five minutes talking time, the Doctor realises Graham is missing.

Graham wakes up on the floor of a very wide and light spaceship. A male American voice tells him to not move until the movement sensors are calibrated, and that he is "looking good". Finishing his preparations, the owner of the voice teleports in, revealing himself to be none other than Captain Jack Harkness. He runs up and snogs Graham, asking "how you been, Doctor?"

In the apartment, the Doctor, Yaz and Ryan meet Ruth and Lee. Lee tells them that he has been part of a case of mistaken identity, but they are not convinced, noting the hurriedly packed bags. However, the sonic screwdriver scans both Ruth and Lee as completely human.

In the spaceship, Jack explains he has stolen the ship and its owners are shooting at them to get it back. As Graham explains he just travels with the Doctor, Jack says he was trying to get to "him" to warn him that the future of the universe is at stake. Finding out the Doctor is now female, Jack gets excited; saying "This I gotta see!".

Back in the apartment, Yaz discovers a box that is not from Earth as the Judoon prepare their final warnings. Lee asks for the box despite claiming to never have seen it before and tells the Doctor to escape with Ruth out the back while Yaz and Ryan make a diversion to prevent the Judoon from attacking him. With the time up, they split up and Ruth promises to meet Lee at the cathedral. Yaz and Ryan tell the Judoon they can come in if they are peaceful, but the two of them are teleported away. Lee begins texting Ruth and surrenders to the Judoon.

Yaz and Ryan appear on the spaceship with Graham and Jack. Confusing first Ryan then Yaz for the Doctor, Jack curses missing her three times. In the apartment, a woman called Commander Gat beams in next to Pol-Kon-Don. Gat squares up to Lee, revealing that they know each other and she believed him to be dead before trying to track him down, and that she found him because of his otherworldly army medal. Despairing of Lee, Gat tells the Judoon to kill him. However, they scan him and realise he is not the fugitive after all. Calling him a "faithful companion", Gat disintegrates Lee herself.

In Gloucester Cathedral, as the Doctor interrogates Ruth, she receives the text from Lee, reading "Follow the light. Break the glass. Happy birthday" and sees brief visions of a lighthouse. However, the Judoon reappear and surround them. Pol-Kon-Don reveals to Ruth that Lee has been killed and that she has decrypted Ruth's biological shielding and identified her as the fugitive. Acting unnaturally fast, Ruth attacks the Judoon, steals a weapon from them, and threatens Pol-Kon-Don, before tearing off her horn. Pol-Kon-Don yells in pain before Ruth activates their communicator and teleports them away.

Back in the spaceship, Jack realises he was unable to scoop up the Doctor due to the Judoon interference as the attacks on the ship intensify.

Meanwhile, the Doctor realises the Judoon have evacuated and freed the city, which she views as a bad sign. Although she is convinced both Ruth and Lee were bio-shielded, Ruth is adamant she is not hiding anything. The Doctor believes that Lee's text was some kind of activation for the real Ruth, and Ruth recalls the memory of the lighthouse, which was her childhood home and where her parents are buried. The Doctor decides they must go there immediately.

On the spaceship, the ship's nanogenes begin fighting back against Jack and he has one minute before having to teleport off. He sets his scoop to send the Doctor's friends back, but not before giving them a message for her. Promising to see her again, he tells them to "beware the lone Cyberman. Don't give it what it wants. At all costs." Jack then vanishes and the trio are returned to Gloucester.

In Ruth's car, the Doctor quizzes her on her memories. Upon arriving at the lighthouse, Ruth sets up a fire as the Doctor looks around. On the viewing platform, the Doctor notices Ruth's parents' grave and sonics it. Finding something strange, she walks down to it and realises it is not a grave at all. Inside, voices in Ruth's head urge her to break the glass as Lee said. Finding a fire alarm with strange markings on it, she smashes it and golden energy encompasses her. Outside, the Doctor collects a spade and starts digging, eventually hitting something solid. With Ruth recovered, she visibly changes personality, finding a very large alien gun in a nearby basket, and changes her outfit. Finally, the Doctor uncovers the buried object: it is the roof of the TARDIS. Utterly baffled, the Doctor is only made more confused when Ruth arrives and introduces herself as the Doctor as well. The Doctor can barely speak as "Ruth" explains she is a traveller in space and time and warps them onboard her TARDIS.

"Ruth" gets into action to wake the TARDIS up and prepares to stand up to Gat. The Doctor introduces herself as the Doctor as well and the pair speculate why neither can remember the other, a scan from the sonic screwdriver revealing that they are definitely the same person. The Fugitive Doctor explains she used to work for Gat, and the Thirteenth Doctor realises she hid on Earth, using an Chameleon Arch to disguise herself as a human, to escape her. Suddenly the Judoon ship grabs the TARDIS and drags it onboard, and the Fugitive Doctor orders the Thirteenth Doctor to not get involved.

Approaching Gat and the Judoon onboard the ship, the Fugitive Doctor hands her rifle back to its original owner. Gat wants to be finished with the Doctor but Pol-Kon-Don insists she must be delivered to their contractee, indicating that someone higher than Gat is after her. Although the Fugitive Doctor urges the Thirteenth Doctor to be quiet, she reveals her identity to Gat anyway and the Judoon scan her to confirm it. Gat states it is impossible, as they could not return to Gallifrey together, leading the Thirteenth Doctor to realise they must be from her past, as Gallifrey is destroyed in her time. The Thirteenth Doctor makes psychic contact with Gat to prove it, but she does not believe it and goes to shoot the Doctors. However, the gun backfires, disintegrating her. The Fugitive Doctor reveals she knew that would happen and the Judoon prepare to arrest her, but she calculates their ship just entered interstellar space where there are no laws. Returning to her TARDIS, the Fugitive Doctor warns the Judoon to never come for her again.

The Fugitive Doctor homes in on the Thirteenth Doctor's TARDIS and drops her off at the Gloucester docks. They part ways knowing that they cannot both be wrong about their pasts. Eventually, the Thirteenth Doctor meets back up with her friends, who share the news about Jack, baffling the Doctor even further.

Back in her TARDIS, the Doctor listens to Jack's message and explains her history with him and the Cybermen. She also tells them about what she discovered with "Ruth" and figures that with her, the Master, and Jack all appearing, something is centring on her. Ryan tries to reassure her, but she snaps at him, pointing out that he barely knows her. However, her friends band together to say that she is the best person they know and that they are family, which is all that matters. Suddenly, an alarm sounds, alerting the Doctor to major separate events on three continents of Earth. They decide to have a quick look and spring into action.



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.






Food and drink[]

Jargon, slang and colloquialisms[]

  • The Doctor calls the infiltration a "Judoon platoon near the moon" and "...near that lagoon". Yaz calls the latter "more of a canal".
  • Jack calls Graham "Silver Fox".
  • The Fugitive Doctor calls the sonic screwdriver a "cute little gizmo".
  • The Thirteenth Doctor calls her ruse as an Imperial Regulator a "fib".
  • The Thirteenth Doctor hatches a plan she calls "the curveball and the Judoon".


The Judoon[]



Story notes[]

  • John Barrowman had to fake a house renovation in Cardiff to keep it secret that he was filming for Doctor Who. In fact, in order to keep up the ruse, Barrowman did actually carry out this renovation.[1]
    • Additionally, to preserve the surprise of his return, Barrowman's name and character name were listed as 'Roy Lester', an anagram of Rose Tyler. (DWM 570 supplement)
  • The Judoon Captain is named Pol-Kon-Don as a tribute to late Doctor Who fan and friend of Chris Chibnall, Paul Condon.[2]
  • Although Nida Manzoor directed the episode, Jamie Magnus Stone directed Captain Jack Harkness' scenes.[3]
  • The events of this Earth-based story are closely followed by the next episode, Praxeus, which is set "early in the third decade of the 21st century".
  • "Ruth" celebrates what she believes to be her 44th birthday. The broadcast date of this episode, January 26, 2020, marks 44 years and 2 days since the January 24, 1976 broadcast of the final episode of TV: The Brain of Morbius, the last episode to explicitly suggest pre-Hartnell incarnations of the Doctor.
  • This story is meant to take place in January[note 1]2020.
  • This is the first television episode of Doctor Who featuring Jack Harkness since his introduction in TV: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances to not be written by Russell T Davies.
  • This story was one of the first planned for Jodie Whittaker's era of Doctor Who, as far back as March 2016. This early version would have included scenes in a Spanish vineyard and a Zumba class. (DWM 570 supplement)
    • Later drafts of this story were titled Semper Fidelis, the motto of Exeter, where it was originally set. Ruth would have been a ghost tour guide in her late 50s with a son called Tony, who would be revealed as a future Doctor and a member of her warrior squad, respectively. Gat was named Gax and the Judoon were replaced by a race called the Karreg. (DWM 570 supplement)


  • 4.21 million (BBC overnight)[4]
  • 5.57 million (BBC final)[5]

Filming locations[]

  • Gloucester
  • Gloucester Cathedral
  • Gloucester Docks
  • Ocean House, Cardiff - Ruth and Lee Clayton's flat
  • St German's Church, Cardiff - Gloucester Cathedral interior
  • The Little Man Coffee Company, Cardiff - Allan Hogan's café
  • Spillers and Bakers, Cardiff - block of flats
  • Dock Feeder Canal, Cardiff - Gloucester Docks
  • West Usk Lighthouse, Newport - Ruth's lighthouse. Since 2012, this lighthouse-turned-bed and breakfast has had a Dalek in the foyer and a TARDIS as changing room for the hot tub on the roof.[6]
  • Clifton Cathedral, Bristol - Jack Harkness' ship

(All DWM 570 supplement)

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.
  • When the two Doctors exit the Fugitive Doctor's TARDIS, as they open the door, the backside of the police box prop is visible.
    • This is the first such error since the early days of the Classic era of the show.
  • When in the "Fugitive" Doctor's TARDIS, the wide shots with the "Fugitive" and Thirteenth Doctors show that the doors in the background appear to be slightly open.


Home video releases[]

DVD and Blu-ray releases[]

  • This story was released as part of the Complete Twelfth Series boxset on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1/A on 9 June 2020, in region 2/B on 4 May 2020 and in region 4/B on 3 June 2020.

Digital releases[]

  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[]


  1. PROSE: The Tourist from Adventures in Lockdown reveals that the Judoon invasion of Gloucester took place in the month of January.