New to Doctor Who or returning after a break? Check out our guides designed to help you find your way!



You may be looking for the reference book of the same name.

Hell Bent was the twelfth and final episode of series 9 of Doctor Who.

It was the final regular appearance of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald. Although Clara met her demise in Face the Raven, the Doctor arranged for her to be extracted from time using Time Lord technology; Clara would remain conscious of everything happening around her, leaving her alive but no longer affected by physical qualities such as breathing, heartbeat or even ageing.

This story depicted the Doctor reaching his limit, seeing him break his own moral codes, step away from being the Doctor and unleash his fury on the Time Lords in an attempt to save his companion's life, which came with the price of losing his memories of Clara as atonement for what he had done. Additionally, several facts about his past before fleeing Gallifrey and prophecies of the Hybrid were revealed, though who or what the Hybrid is remained uncertain.

It featured the return of the Time Lords, who were last seen in The Day of the Doctor, and had given the Eleventh Doctor new regenerations off-screen in The Time of the Doctor. Among them was Rassilon, now in a new incarnation after his previous body was last seen being attacked by the Saxon Master in The End of Time in 2010. Rassilon was banished from Gallifrey, along with the High Council, after losing the allegiance of his race for his cruelty to the Doctor and his role as one of the driving forces of the Last Great Time War. He was also deposed as Lord President, with the Doctor briefly assuming it in his place. Also returning was the General, who regenerated and was revealed to be a usually-female Time Lady who had assumed a male incarnation, marking the first instance of an on-screen regeneration where a Time Lord changed sex, as well as being a rare on-screen instance of a Time Lord also changing skin colour.

Ohila and the Sisterhood of Karn also reappeared, wherein Ohila was hinted to have a greater personal history with the Doctor that may have gone back to his earlier days. Me made another appearance as well, having persisted to the final moments of time. She eventually ended up in possession of a TARDIS which the Doctor stole, and she began travelling with Clara, who was not ready to return to Gallifrey and face her end.

Hell Bent ended up being full circle for the Doctor, where he was once again running away in his TARDIS. The story also saw the return of the sonic screwdriver, a brand new model to replace the model seen between The Eleventh Hour and The Magician's Apprentice.


After being tortured for billions of years inside his own confession dial, the Doctor has been pushed to the brink of madness. Returning to Gallifrey, he must face his own people, the Time Lords, but how far will he go in his quest for vengeance? Does he have another confession? And how fiercely does his rage towards them for causing Clara's death burn?


In the Nevada desert, the Twelfth Doctor walks into a diner and is greeted by a waitress who looks and sounds exactly like Clara Oswald, though neither seem to recognise the other. Having no money, the Doctor offers to play his guitar as payment for a drink. He notices the waitress has an English accent, wondering how she got there. The waitress says it was magic, before quickly stating that she got on a plane and came here; the Doctor smirks at her sarcasm. She asks how he got there, to which the Doctor replies "by magic". Using his sonic sunglasses to turn a radio into an amplifier, the Doctor begins playing. The waitress says she believes him.

As the Doctor tunes his guitar, the waitress asks if he's a traveller (due to his Scottish accent); he tells her he travels "from time to time", finishing his prep work. The Doctor plays a piece of music, and she asks him if it is a sad piece. He says that nothing is sad until it's over, resuming his playing. He tells her that he thinks the piece is called "Clara". The waitress asks him to tell her about this "Clara"...

In his past, the Doctor walks through the desert-like plains of Gallifrey, after having just sent the boy with his message; he arrives at the old barn where he slept in as a child and worked out how to save his home. He climbs up into its loft, seeming nostalgic as he overlooks his old bed. A woman he recognises enters the barn; with the Doctor's face blocked by a beam, she cannot tell who it is, so she asks him to leave. Walking closer, she meets his gaze, immediately realising his identity; she warns the Doctor that "they" will kill him.

In the chamber of the High Council, the Cloister Bells are ringing without end, warning of great danger. Rassilon wonders if that means the Doctor has returned; the General confirms it, radioing a guard named Gastron. Gastron has arrived via lift to the Cloisters, being advised not to approach them; he reports that Cloister Wraiths are more active. Rassilon wonders why the Doctor hasn't arrived yet. Ohila enters the chamber with two guards, annoying Rassilon that the Sisterhood of Karn would arrive uninvited; she tells him that at the end of time, one should expect the presence of immortals. Having heard that the Doctor has returned home, she came to see the resulting "fireworks".

In the meantime, the Doctor is enjoying a bowl of soup, with a small crowd of Gallifreyans watching him in awe; he gives a friendly smile and moves his spoon to the bowl. However, he notices ripples in the soup and the sound of an incoming craft. Gastron arrives in a military craft, asking that everyone back away; they don't comply, even when he warns it's for their safety. Gastron orders the Doctor to drop his weapons and come with them peacefully. The Doctor silently walks up to the craft. Gastron explains he will take the Doctor to the chamber of the High Council. However, the Doctor instead drags his heel through the sand, drawing a line (it's a warning to not come closer than that). He then returns to his soup, unconcerned.

Watching via a monitor in the Council room, Rassilon wonders what the Doctor is up to; Ohila retorts that he's finishing his soup. Taken aback by the Doctor's bravado, Rassilon wonders who the Doctor thinks he is; the General states the Doctor is the man who won the Time War. The General decides they should try talking to the Doctor: words are his weapons, but when did they stop being theirs?

The Doctor rests on his old bed in the barn, and the woman comes in to inform him someone important has arrived. It's the General and his squad; the Doctor simply ignores them and goes back inside. Soon after, the Doctor hears someone else has come; he opens the door to see the High Council, who bow in respect to him. However, he simply shuts the door again. Watching, Rassilon is infuriated by the Doctor ignoring his attempts to open a dialogue, and wonders what he's waiting for. Ohila then goes on to explain the Doctor doesn't blame the Time Lords for the horrors of the Last Great Time War, just Rassilon.

A third time, the woman enters the barn, seemingly scared speechless. The Doctor exits to find Rassilon, escorted by the General's team. Rassilon greets the Doctor, offering a handshake. The Doctor walks up, giving Rassilon a grim once-over and simply drops his confession dial in the line he drew. The Doctor coldly states "Get off my planet", clearly sickened not only by the horrors Rassilon created in the Time War, but for the centuries he kept him trapped in the confession dial. Rassilon tries defending his actions, but the Doctor only repeats himself. Seeing he cannot win, Rassilon orders his execution; however, the guards are hesitant. The General protests, as the Doctor is a war hero. Uncaring, Rassilon threatens them into obeying his orders by raising his gauntlet; he turns his back to the Doctor, ordering shots to be fired.

In the present, the Doctor stops his story to take a drink. The waitress notices that he loves cliffhangers; she wonders if this is a real story, to which the Doctor says every story he's ever told is real. She recaps what he's told her: he returned to his "home town", a war hero and a "gang boss" who hates him tried to have him killed. Smiling, the Doctor emphasises "tried".

Coup Hell Bent

The Time Lords unite against Rassilon.

In the past, Rassilon laughs smugly; however, his smile vanishes when he turns back around. The Doctor is perfectly fine; all the soldiers missed him, and left a burned outline of him on the barn instead. Angered, Rassilon demands an answer from his men, but they remain silent. He grabs Gastron's shoulder, ordering him to tell him why they're all scared of an unarmed man. Gastron explains that in the Time War, the first thing that was noticed about the "Doctor of War" was that he was unarmed, and that "For many, it's also the last." Gastron throws his weapon to the ground and joins the Doctor, explaining that he served at Skull Moon with him. The rest of the firing squad follow suit.

Angered, Rassilon raises his gauntlet; he asks how many regenerations they granted him back on Trenzalore, gloating that he's "got all night" to kill the Doctor's remaining incarnations. More ships from the Capitol arrive, much to Rassilon's joy as it means he doesn't have to dirty his own hands to kill the Doctor and the traitors. However, the General states that he did not call them. Putting on his Sonic sunglasses, the Doctor states he called them; all of Time Lord society has turned against their founder. In disbelief, Rassilon begins listing all the titles he's gained through helping advance the Time Lords; he aims his gauntlet at the Doctor to kill him in petty revenge. However, the General forces his hand down, telling him "Lord President, with respect, get off his planet." The General then joins the Doctor's side.

Later, a shuttle is seen leaving the top of the Capitol. On a balcony, the General then explains to the Doctor that Gallifrey came back into the universe at the extreme end of the time continuum, give or take a star system; thus anyone banished from the planet has little choice in where to go. This was done for the safety of the Time Lords, as the fact that the Doctor never confirmed that it was safe for them to return meant that Gallifrey could not be returned to the moment it disappeared. The General asks the new Lord President if he's gone too far, but the Doctor grimly warns that he's barely started; the High Council is next to go on a shuttle.

In the High Council chamber, the Doctor tosses his confession dial on the table, disgusted with what he had to go through. He tells Ohila and the General, the only other people with authority left on Gallifrey, that a confession dial is meant to purify a dying Time Lord's soul so they can be uploaded to the Matrix without regrets; instead, they re-purposed it to serve as a torture chamber. Ohila explains that Rassilon grew concerned about the prophecy of the Hybrid and felt that the Doctor would not willing give up the information. The Doctor sarcastically asks if they want him to protect them; he tells them he will, but he needs more information.

The General explains some Matrix prophecies foresaw the birth of a hybrid from two warrior races that will stand in the ruins of Gallifrey as it breaks millions of hearts to mend its own; however, the Doctor detects that the General is lying. The General explains it was not some, but ALL Matrix prophecies warned them of this coming threat. The Doctor mockingly asks "what colour is is it?", pointing out "the problem with prophecies; they never tell you anything important." Ohila tells him he shouldn't be playing the part of the fool. The Doctor says he needs help; he turns down the General and Ohila, saying people with bad hats cramp his style. He needs to talk to an old friend...

Clara's death by the Raven is shown again; however, right before it kills her, time freezes. Confused, she looks behind her to see the Doctor looking out from Me's home. She then sees a light, with the future Doctor motioning for her to come into the light. Clara complies, finding herself in a sterile room with technicians and the General. Clara asks where she is and the Doctor tells her that they're on Gallifrey "billions of years in the future and [that] the universe is pretty much over"; she is happy the Doctor found his home. Clara hears a ringing in her ears, as the Doctor and General argue over telling her the truth. The Doctor finally relents, and explains she is frozen between two heart-beats; the ringing was her realising that she can't hear her heartbeat anymore. Thus she doesn't have a pulse or need to breathe, though she still does so out of habit. The General goes on to explain that her death is a fixed point in time; they will return her once they find out what they can from her about the Hybrid.

General regeneration

The General regenerates.

However, the Doctor takes the General's gun, threatening "on pain of death, no-one take a selfie". Clara is shocked by his actions, wondering what happened to him since she died. The Doctor asks for a human compatible neural block. The General informs the Doctor that his weapon has no stun setting, and that there is no way he'll allow the Doctor to leave the room with Clara. The Doctor coldly pronounces, "I will not let Clara die," before asking the General what regeneration he's on; confirming his regeneration is the tenth, meaning he is in his eleventh incarnation. The General is wished good luck. The General, unfazed by his upcoming regeneration returns the wish to the Doctor and is shot. The Doctor takes the device and drops the gun, running off with Clara. Clara is shocked by what the Doctor has done, but he explains death on Gallifrey is basically man flu.

Gastron arrives in the extractor room, reporting the General's regeneration. Once the regeneration finishes, Gastron asks the General if he's okay; the General gets up, revealed to now be female. Gastron quickly corrects himself, addressing the General as "ma'am". The General is glad to be back to normal, explaining to Gastron that her last incarnation was her only male body; and sneeringly asks "Dear Lord, how do you cope with all that ego?" After getting her bearings, the General wonders where the Doctor could have run off to. Ohila enters the room, explaining that the Doctor did what he always does; he ran straight into the most dangerous place he could think of.

The Doctor takes Clara to the Cloisters, an area located below Gallifrey's Capitol; it is guarded by the Wraiths, which only attack if they attempt to leave. Clara wonders how long they plan to stay, prompting the Doctor to retort they also attack if you stay too long. Clara asks if he notice how fast the conversation went south; he did. Clara asks him to explain what the Cloisters are better, so the Doctor explains that "the Time Lords have got a big computer made of ghosts, in a crypt, guarded by more ghosts". The Wraiths are basically the firewall to keep foreign things out. Clara is confused as to why a computer would protect itself from the very people that built it; "just wait until the Internet starts. Ooh! That was a war!" the Doctor retorts.

Clara questions what the vines around the pillars are, which the Doctor explains, as best as he can, are fiber-optic cables. They trap anyone who attempts to steal information from the Matrix; many enemies were trapped by the vines during the Cloister Wars. They are shocked to find a Dalek wrapped in the vines; not even having enough power left to self-destruct, the Dalek begs for a mercy-killing. However, the Doctor states there is nothing they can do; he ushers Clara on even as the Dalek continues to wail for them to kill it. They continue past it and Clara is surprised by Weeping Angels, which she manages to outmanoeuvre. However, Clara is surprised to find her arm being grabbed from behind by a Cyberman; the Doctor pulls her free of its grip, explaining that these are projections from the Matrix to deter them from finding the exit.

Soon after, the Doctor notices that Clara is standing on part of the floor which he says is the maintenance hatch. The doctor tells Clara that a boy once got lost in the Cloisters and was told a secret by the Wraiths that caused him to never be right in the head again. However, the boy knew where a secret maintenance hatch was. Clara asks if the boy told anyone, the Doctor tells her that the boy kept it a secret; last anyone heard of him, the boy stole the moon and the president's wife. Remembering back to when Missy told her about the Doctor's past, Clara realises the Doctor was the boy in his story. The Doctor begins telling her about the time he spent in the confession dial; they are observed by the General and Ohila, who decide to go after them. Clara, meanwhile, is shocked to learn that the Doctor knew that the Time Lords were responsible for her death; he pretended to know about the Hybrid, so he could get back to Gallifrey and use their tech to resurrect her. He just "had to hang in there for a bit".

The General and Ohila arrive via lift, demanding that the Doctor come with them, unable to arrest them as the Wraiths would attack; Clara silences them as she tries to get the Doctor to tell her how long he was trapped in his confession dial, getting no result. Wondering how long the Doctor spent inside the confession dial, Clara turns to the two and demands to know how long. Thinking a moment, Ohila says 4.5 billion years; the General explains that the Doctor could have left any time he wanted, just needing to tell the Time Lords what he knew. Clara is shocked by this, realising that she meant more to him than she thought possible. Turning to the Doctor, she tearfully asks him why he'd put himself through hell for so long, and he replies with a simple, "I had a duty of care", and the significance of what had become a mantra for him in recent adventures is brought into sharp relief. She tells him that "people like me and you, we should say things to one another" and, taking his arm, proceeds to do so - words kept private from the audience and from the General and Ohila, to whom she refuses to divulge what she said.

Clara gives the General and Ohila a furious tirade - "You're monsters. Here you are. Hiding away at the end of time Do you even know why? Because you are hated. You. Are. Hated. By everybody." But none more than her. Smirking, she then tells them part of what she told the Doctor; he doesn't need to worry because they will be looking at her. The Doctor has gotten through the maintenance hatch, and is heading to the repair shop to steal a TARDIS; as one appears around her, Clara waves good-bye to them. The Doctor asks Clara what she thinks of the original design for the control rooms; she's not too fond of it. Ohila demands that the Doctor face her; seeing her face on the monitor, the Doctor opens the door and sticks his head out. Ohila points out that the Doctor has gone against everything he believes in, just to give Clara false hope; he just shuts the door and takes off. The General wonders where the Doctor is going; Ohila says "away", heading to leave for Karn.

Inside the TARDIS (Hell Bent)

The Doctor happily messes with the controls of his new TARDIS.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor tells Clara that they'll be having lunch, then breakfast, followed by cocktails with Moses, and then he'll invent a flying submarine because the fact no-one has is annoying. "Why? Because we're time travellers, and that's how we roll!" They break free of Gallifrey's time zone, which the Doctor explains is so the Time Lords can't track them; he tells her to check her pulse as she now has one. However, Clara tests her pulse and tells him that she still doesn't have one.

Slightly shocked, the Doctor states they must not have gone far enough yet, telling her that they are going straight to the very end of the universe; with the universe so small, the damage from reviving Clara would be minimal. They arrive, just mere minutes before the universe completely dies, with the Doctor expecting his actions to have worked. However, Clara states she still doesn't have a pulse; the Doctor checks himself, seeing she's right. He checks the back of her neck, finding the Chronolock still there. Anguished over failing to save her, again, the Doctor yells that he is no longer being accountable to anyone.

To Clara's shock and more surprisingly, not the Doctor's, there are four knocks on the door to the TARDIS. Clara wonders who could be knocking when they are at the very end of time. Seemingly annoyed, the Doctor simply states "Me" and opens the door to let himself out. He exits, saying that he once told the knocker that the universe would become quite a small place when they have angered him. He asks if it has become small enough now.

It's revealed he's talking to Me, who is sitting in a chair in the remains of the Cloisters; not too far away something burns. To Me's surprise, the Doctor says he knew to expect immortals at the end of time. Me explains the other immortals are gone; she's the last being alive, having finally earned the title Me. The Doctor notes that Me is staying alive by using a reality bubble on the Cloisters. Me tells the Doctor that she's been watching the stars go out, finding it beautiful. However, the Doctor tells her it's sad; she counters that it's both. She then notes the Doctor doesn't like endings, comparing it to someone who doesn't want summer to end; the Doctor tells her that summer can last forever, so long as you have a time machine. Me then tells him that she now sees the beauty and sorrow in Clara's death, angering him. The Doctor tells her "Me, go to Hell. By my calculations you've got about five minutes."

Inside the TARDIS, an impatient Clara uses the sonic sunglasses to turn on the monitor to see what the Doctor is up to, becoming shocked to see Me is still alive. She watches them, wondering what someone who has lived even longer than the Doctor has to say to him.

Seeing as they have only five minutes before the universe officially ends, Me asks the Doctor to finally talk about the secret of the Hybrid that the Wraiths told him about as a boy. He laughs, saying that he knows what the Hybrid is; it's her, a human with Mire medical technology inside; Me speculates it might refer to the Doctor and theorises that the Doctor might be half-human. She goes on to explain that he was a high-born Gallifreyan, yet he elects to spend all his time on Earth. He laughs at her, asking if that's her best idea; he's the Hybrid? That he ran away from Gallifrey out of fear of himself? Me asks if her theory is correct. The Doctor responds "Does it matter?"

Me says it doesn't, because she has a better theory. The Hybrid is not one person, but two true companions who will go to extremes for the sake of each other; a powerful and compassionate Time Lord and human who serves as his guiding conscience. The Doctor denies the idea until Me asks how he met Clara. Clara remembers that Missy brought them together, just as the Doctor remembers. Me goes on to explain that it was another of Missy's plans to win back the Doctor's friendship; loving chaos, she gave Clara to the Doctor, knowing he would abandon his code for the sake of saving Clara.

Me laughs that she wonders what mischief the duo will get into next; the Doctor counters they won't. He will use the neural block to erase Clara's memories of him, as the Time Lords can track her through them and then drop her off somewhere to live her life. As they are friends, he will tell Clara of his intentions to wipe her memory before he does so. Me joins the Doctor entering the TARDIS, to watch his actions unfold; Clara quickly shuts off the monitor.

Once back in the TARDIS, the Doctor reintroduces the two women, with Clara unable to hide the fact she already knew Me lived till this point. Clara tells the Doctor that she was watching on the monitor and is unwilling to be the cause of him continuing to abandon his oath of being the Doctor. The Doctor tries to explain, grabbing the neural block; however, Clara tells him that she used the sonic sunglasses to "reverse the polarity" of the neural block device to erase the Doctor's memory if he used it on her. The Doctor finds the idea unlikely as a neural block shouldn't be able to have its polarity reversed.

As they have reached an impasse, they decided to take a gamble as to which of their memories will be wiped; as the neural block was programmed to wipe out Clara's memories of the Doctor, if it's used on him, his memories of Clara will be wiped. They each hold an end of the neural block, smiling at each other for the last time. After Clara suggests they forget the whole thing and just "fly away somewhere", they press the button. As he feels fine, the Doctor assumes that Clara failed.

However, the Doctor soon starts feeling drowsy; Clara DID reverse the polarity. Clara grabs him, apologising. The Doctor tells her it's okay; he broke every single rule he had. "I became the Hybrid." As he starts losing consciousness, and therefore his memories of her, the Doctor decides to impart some final advice to his old friend, from "never be cruel or cowardly", to the more bizarre "never eat pears". He asks Clara for one last smile before he finally blacks out.

The Doctor next awakens in the middle of a desert, with a pickup driver telling him that a Clara told him to look after the Doctor. Picking himself up, the Doctor confusedly asks the man who Clara is. The Doctor is in America, without his TARDIS and only his sonic sunglasses.

Back in the present, the Doctor continues talking to Clara; he doesn't remember what she looked like, or the "very important" message she gave him in the Cloisters, but remembers their adventures and half-heartedly says he is trying to look for her. Clara tries one last time to spark a memory by outright suggesting that she could be Clara, only to have the Doctor assert that he would "absolutely know" if he ever saw her again, causing Clara to turn away to hide her tears. Looking around the diner, he suddenly recalls having been to it with Amy and Rory. He tells Clara that he is currently searching for his own TARDIS, as it has disappeared from where he left it in London.

As he begins once again to play the sad melody he'd been playing, Clara smiles and reminds the Doctor what he told her about that memories become stories; while he can't remember what she told him in the Cloisters, she suggests sometimes lost memories become songs. The Doctor responds, "That would be nice," and momentarily turns his back, as Clara walks into the back room, which is revealed to the console room for the TARDIS they stole from Gallifrey. The diner vanishes, leaving the Doctor astounded; he then turns around to find his TARDIS, which still has Rigsy's graffiti memorial for her, left behind. The Doctor notices the portrait of Clara, but gives no indication whether he has connected it with the mysterious waitress.

In Clara's TARDIS, Me, engrossed in a TARDIS Instruction Manual, tells her the chameleon circuit is broken, but Clara is unconcerned, saying that she likes it. Clara affirms that she still has no pulse and acknowledges that the universe still relies on her dying. She asks Me whether the Time Lords can return her to her place and time of death, knowing she will have to face the Raven eventually, to which Me responds with the affirmative. Me asks Clara where will she go now, she replies "Gallifrey, the long way around": she isn't going back to face her death just yet. The two share a smile as Clara, having been undergoing training in how to use the TARDIS for a while, sets the vessel in motion through the vortex.

Twelfth's new Sonic Screwdriver

A new sonic screwdriver is gifted to a revitalised Doctor.

The Doctor boards his long-abandoned TARDIS. The console room lights up as if the TARDIS is welcoming him home. The Doctor puts his guitar away and finds a new coat on a chair in the back of the room, Next to it is a blackboard, which has a last message from Clara - "Run you clever boy, and be a Doctor." With that, the Doctor tosses the old coat he was wearing and dons the new one.

The TARDIS beeps, drawing his attention to the console, which spits out a new sonic screwdriver; the Doctor catches it and tests the new emitter. Smiling, the Doctor heads back to work saving the universe. As the TARDIS dematerialises, it does so without Rigsy's paintwork. The memorial on the front door flakes off piece by piece - any trace of Clara having been with the Doctor now gone.

The Doctor's TARDIS is shown travelling through space, the Doctor once again setting off on a brand new adventure - unaware that Clara and Me's TARDIS quickly passes by his, setting off their own journeys through space and time.



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.


  • The Doctor says that "death is Time Lord for man flu".

The Doctor[]



Food and drinks[]



  • Shane inspired the early part of the story. Steven Moffat indicated that the clothes donned by the Doctor after arriving at the barn should emulate the attire worn by Alan Ladd.

Story notes[]

  • This is the first Doctor Who television story to actually show a Time Lord regeneration from a male body to a female. There have been references to this having happened with the Corsair in The Doctor's Wife, and the Master in Dark Water, and it was one of the options the Eighth Doctor received in The Night of the Doctor, but it has never been featured on a televised story until now, in this case the General from his eleventh to twelfth incarnation. It also shows the first change of skin colour from white to black.
  • This episode also marks the first time a Time Lord has been shown regenerating lying down since TV: Doctor Who. Since TV: The Parting of the Ways, all regenerations have been portrayed standing.
  • This marks the first time a Doctor Who television episode has had the minor expletive "hell" in the title. The word previously appeared in the titles of the comic stories A Cold Day in Hell! and The Road to Hell as well as the audio story Minuet in Hell.
  • This episode marks the first televised appearance of an interior shot of a TARDIS other than the Doctor's since Time and the Rani, the latter being the Rani's. It is only the second TARDIS control console seen other than the Doctor's since Time and the Rani, after the Junk TARDIS in The Doctor's Wife.
  • The tune played by the Doctor when he was sitting in the diner is a simplified version of Clara Oswald's theme from the Series 7-9 soundtracks. It is a rare example of a piece of incidental music composed for Doctor Who becoming part of its in-universe narrative. The Doctor says he believes the song is called "Clara". "Clara?" is the name of the track on the Series 7 soundtrack, though it has also been performed at the Proms and other events as "The Impossible Girl" and was titled "Clara and the TARDIS" on the soundtrack for The Snowmen, which featured the first appearance of the melody. In the context of the story, it is implied that the melody represents the now-forgotten words Clara says to the Doctor in the Cloisters; this is supported by the fact the same piece of music plays (in a full orchestral version) when the episode cuts away from the couple as Clara begins to speak.
  • The Radio Times programme listing was accompanied by a small colour head-and-shoulders shot of the General, with the accompanying caption "Doctor Who / 8.00 p.m. The General (Ken Bones) prepares for battle in the series finale".
  • Although they only receive a brief cameo, the inclusion of the Cybermen ensures the continuation of the pattern where they appear in every twelfth episode of a Steven Moffat-produced series.
  • This story marked the first mention of the Web of Time in the revived series. It was, however, previously mentioned by the Trickster in The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith.
  • This is the closest thus far the television series has come to showing the complete end of the timeline of the primary universe of Doctor Who, N-Space, showing it at the very precipice of collapse.
  • Rachel Talalay hoped that Timothy Dalton would be able to reprise the role of Rassilon. However, she soon learned that he was committed to Penny Dreadful during the required filming dates.
  • Maisie Williams and Donald Sumpter were both castmembers on Game of Thrones.
  • Maisie Williams was surprised to appear in the episode, as she thought that Face the Raven would be her last appearance.
  • Maisie Williams' availabilty was limited, as she also filming the sixth season of Game of Thrones. At one point during the second week of filming, she abruptly became unavailable, upending the schedule. She returned on what turned out to be Jenna Coleman's last day.
  • Russell T Davies jettisoned Gallifrey and the Time Lords from the series in order to free it from the baggage of its past. Its past appearances had been limited due to being part of a much larger narrative. Steven Moffat wanted to buck this trend, revisiting some established elements, while introducing new ideas.
  • One of Steven Moffat's goals was to make better use of the notion of regeneration; apart from the Doctor, only Romana and the Master had actually been seen to undergo the process. This prompted the notion of the Doctor dealing a mortal wound to another Time Lord because he knew that the other individual still had regenerations remaining. It was also an opportunity to reinforce the concept that a Time Lord's incarnations were not restricted to a particular gender. This idea had already been established with the introduction of Missy.
  • Originally, Ohila's involvement in the narrative ended with the Doctor instigating her installation as the new President of the High Council.
  • In the original script, dialogue between the Doctor and Ashildr referenced his surprise that the Mire battlefield medical kit had not yet ceased to function. Ashildr then implied that she had somehow found a way around this technological limitation.
  • The episode comprised Block Eight of season nine. It was originally part of Block Six alongside Heaven Sent.
  • The set for the Cloisters was adapted from elements constructed for the castle in Heaven Sent.
  • The Cloister Wraiths glided using concealed Segways in the same manner as Colony Sarff. As such, Jami Reid-Quarrell was hired not only to play one of the Sliders, but also to coach his fellow artistes.
  • The Dalek encountered by the Doctor and Clara was one of the casings originally constructed for Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, and so it was already exhibiting considerable wear and tear.
  • The old TARDIS interior had originally been constructed for An Adventure in Space and Time. It was relocated to Roath Lock from the nearby Doctor Who Experience, where it normally formed part of the standing exhibition.
  • Peter Capaldi reviewed clips of William Hartnell so that he could adopt a similar approach to his use of the TARDIS controls.
  • It was discovered that the interior doors on the old TARDIS set had been built too short, meaning that Rachel Talalay had to exercise caution when shooting the characters entering or leaving the set.
  • The diner was Eddie's Diner in Cardiff, the same one from The Impossible Astronaut. A door was borrowed from the establishment for the sequence in which Clara bade farewell to the Doctor.
  • The barn set is the same one from The Day of the Doctor and Listen. It normally formed part of the display at the Doctor Who Experience.
  • Winds were high during the Canary Islands shoot, which resulted in a number of sandstorms. Rachel Talalay had to abandon some shots, while there was also difficulty controlling the aerial drone which captured Gastron's perspective from the sky tank.
  • The shot of the Doctor catching his new sonic screwdriver was taped on the standing TARDIS set; it had been deferred to provide sufficient time for the prop to be completed.
  • Steven Moffat decided to introduce a remodelled sonic screwdriver, because he felt that the previous version was too closely identified with Matt Smith.
  • When Jenna Coleman had to reshoot some of the footage in the diner at the very end of the sequence, Peter Capaldi came in to play acoustic guitar off-camera.
  • In a Doctor Who Magazine interview, Steven Moffat revealed that originally there was a conversation establishing that, rather than being exiled along with Rassilon, the Doctor sentenced the High Council to work in the sewers of Gallifrey. "Ohila remarks that only an aristocrat regards honest work as punishment." This would have foreshadowed Ashildr's claim that the Doctor is a "high-born Gallifreyan".
  • According to the published script, Clara and the Doctor's reunion in the extraction chamber was originally planned as being more tender, with the Doctor hugging her as he told her about her frozen heartbeat.
  • The script also originally had Clara lying to the Doctor about not overhearing his plans to wipe her memory, and not immediately telling him about hacking the neuroblock, making the deception somewhat harder-edged in tone.
  • The published shooting script describes the Doctor, after he steals a new TARDIS, as acting "like a distinguished Scottish actor too excited for his own good."
  • T'Nia Miller had previously appeared in Russell T Davies' series Cucumber and Banana.
  • Steven Moffat talked about the final two-parter of season nine with Doctor Who Magazine : "Episode 11 pushes the Doctor to the brink of madness, and Episode 12 is what happens next. If the Doctor has lost his moral compass, if he's being selfish, if you really, really hacked him off, if you really got him angry and gave him nothing to fight for.. what would you end up with? That's the 'hellbent' of the title. An angry, off-the-rails Doctor."



  • The Twelfth Doctor's appearance in TV: The Day of the Doctor would be accounted for. This was something that was hinted at during production and early publicity for Series 9 - including public statements made by Capaldi. Ultimately, however, while the episode in itself was a sequel to The Day of the Doctor, no reference is made to the Twelfth Doctor's appearance during the battle and the story affords no opportunity for this event to occur.
  • The diner waitress would be an echo/splinter of Clara Oswald. False. This rumour originated when images of Jenna Coleman in a waitress uniform appeared in media including Doctor Who Magazine prior to broadcast of Hell Bent, with no corresponding scene having occurred before Clara's death in Face the Raven.
  • David Tennant and Paul McGann would appear in the episode. Both actors were spotted in Cardiff in 2016 during the time this episode was filming, leading to speculation that the finale would be a multi-Doctor story. This was compounded when one of the Sliders seen in the episode trailer displayed what many believed to be the Tenth Doctor's screaming face. This was ultimately proven false.
  • The Silence would return. This rumour arose from misinterpretations of a tweet by Rachel Talalay.

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.
  • When taking off in the getaway TARDIS, Clara's hair changes from combed, to messy, to combed again, in a series of jump cuts. Similarly, her hair is noticeably different at the moment time freezes on the trap street than in the flashback footage from Face the Raven.
  • The inner doors of the TARDIS are much shorter than they should be, only reaching about Peter Capaldi's nose and preventing him from getting out without ducking.[2]
  • When the Doctors TARDIS dematerialises, the mural of Clara flakes off the doors. However, in the wide shot prior to this, the mural begins dematerialising with the TARDIS.
  • As Clara waves good-bye to Ohila and a TARDIS materialises around her, a boom mic is seen in full view above Jenna Coleman's head.


Home video releases[]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

  • Hell Bent was released as part of the Series 9, Part Two DVD and Blu-ray boxsets in region 1/A on 26 January 2016, in region 2/B on 4 January 2016 and in region 4/B on 13 January 2016,
  • It was later released as part of the Complete Ninth Series DVD and Blu-ray boxsets in region 1/A on 5 April 2016, in region 2/B on 7 March 2016 and in region 4/B on 9 March 2016.

Digital releases[]

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

External links[]

Transcript of Hell Bent at Chrissie's Transcripts Site


  1. Ratings DW
  2. Doctor Who: The Fan Show – 2017 Christmas Special