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Let's Kill Hitler was the eighth episode and mid-series premiere of series 6 of Doctor Who.

It was the first episode in the autumn half of the sixth series. It was, in a sense, the second episode of a two-part story, preceded by A Good Man Goes to War. Like A Good Man Goes to War, it revealed much about River Song's origins, also dealing with Amy and Rory's childhood and how they became a couple. Additionally, it explained why the Silence had been trying to kill the Doctor and it is stated that the Doctor's death at Lake Silencio is a fixed point in time. At the end of the episode and in following episodes, the Doctor is occasionally seen looking at the information he downloaded from the Teselecta on his death.

The episode featured the first "Time Lord-style" regeneration of a female that showed the complete change in physical appearance from old to new incarnation on-screen. Previously, such regenerations were shown with the change from an old form already completed or cut out before the physical change even began. Let's Kill Hitler also dealt with other aspects of regeneration, such as being able to rapidly heal from otherwise fatal injuries while the regenerative cycle was still in process, and a capability to donate some amount of regeneration energy to another at will.

This was the first televised Doctor Who story to feature the personal appearance of the tyrant dictator Adolf Hitler. However, although the title of this episode suggested the story might revolve around him, in truth he received close to five minutes of screen time and was quickly ejected from the plot. A few references to World War II and Nazism were present, but much of the episode focused on the first appearance of the Justice Department and the strange types of technology they utilised. Instead, the title comes from Mels' demand to be taken back in time to kill Hitler in the cornfield at the beginning.

In this episode, the shapeshifting robot known as the Teselecta is introduced. The Teselecta and her crew make a return in The Wedding of River Song where they play an important role in the plot. Unknown until the events of The Wedding of River Song, the Teselecta also appeared at the beginning of The Impossible Astronaut and played a major role there where the two episodes events were connected to each other.

Additionally, the episode introduces The Question which is described as "the oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight." While the Doctor learns of the Question from the Teselecta, he does not learn what it is or its significance to him. The Question is revisited in The Wedding of River Song where the Doctor learns what the Question is from Dorium Maldovar and why it means he must die and in The Time of the Doctor where the true nature of the Question and its meaning are revealed.


In the desperate search for Melody Pond, the TARDIS crash lands in Thirties Berlin, as the time-travelling drama returns for the second half of the series shown earlier in the year. The Doctor comes face to face with the greatest war criminal in the Universe. And Hitler. Old friendships are tested to their limits as the Doctor suffers the ultimate betrayal and learns a harsh lesson in the cruellest warfare of all. As precious time ebbs away, the Doctor must teach his adversaries that time travel has responsibilities. And he must succeed before an almighty price is paid.



Amy and Rory's way of contacting the Doctor.

Rory drives through a wheat field wildly as Amy gives directions poorly. She is telling him how to trace letters by mowing down the wheat with the car that will spell out a name, trying to summon the Doctor in the loudest manner possible, so that he cannot avoid contact with them any longer by dodging Amy's phone calls. Stopping their car, they find the Doctor standing by his TARDIS in a new green pea coat.

Doctor sees ridiculous Leadworth Crop Circle


He holds a newspaper with a photo of the crop circle reading "Doctor" they have just made, commenting "Seriously?" with an incredulous smirk on his face. Rory replies that the Doctor had not been answering his phone and this was the only way they could really get his attention. She asks if he has found Melody over the summer. The Doctor makes the bad news easier to deliver by asking Rory if he can give Amy a hug. Once he has permission, he embraces Amy and tells her "You know who she grows up to be, so you know I will find her." Amy notices that this is a polite way of saying he failed to track down her baby. Rory then examines the picture and notices a line in the message that they didn't make.

The trio suddenly learns what caused the unknown stroke in the message when they hear the high-powered engine of a sports car revving through the field and shredding a new line down the middle of their crop circle. All of them start screaming for their lives. They dodge out of the way as a Corvette almost runs them over. Out steps Amy and Rory's best friend, Mels, who flirts with the Doctor and fondles the TARDIS. With police sirens prophesying her arrest for car theft, she points a gun at the Doctor and demands he take her to kill Hitler.

A flashback shows Mels is a childhood friend of Amy and Rory and a troublemaker at school. She gets in more trouble than anyone except boys, insults teachers, continually references the Doctor, steals buses and points out to Amy and Rory that they're in love. Back in the present, the TARDIS flies wildly because Mels has shot the time rotor. He barks at the delinquent, "You shot it! You shot my TARDIS! You shot the console!" Mels accusingly remarks, "It's your fault!" He inquires, "How is it my fault?" She replies, "You said guns didn't work in this place. You said we're in a state of temporal grace." Angry that she fired her gun out of foolish curiosity, he snarks, "Oh, that was a clever lie, you idiot! Anyone could tell that was a clever lie!"

In 1938 Berlin, a janitor watches a Nazi officer. In a futuristic control room, the crew discuss copying the officer as the janitor follows him. In the control room, a woman complains that the last time they relied on the computer, it "made Rasputin green". She goes to "the top level", where an electronic voice politely threatens her until she adjusts a device on her wrist. She looks through a viewport, which is the eye of the janitor, actually a highly advanced ship, the Teselecta. She relays colour codes to the control room. The janitor becomes the officer's double and beams him aboard with a miniaturisation ray. Learning the officer's identity as a war criminal, the crew leave him to the antibodies. They politely threaten the officer before killing him.

The Teselecta enters Adolf Hitler's office while the captain complains about the shock-absorbers malfunctioning. Hitler asks why his officer has entered without permission. The Teselecta activates "justice mode" and paralyses him with a beam of light from its mouth. However, one of the crew says they arrived too early in his timeline, just before the TARDIS crashes through a window and knocks over the Teselecta.

The TARDIS occupants stagger out in a cloud of smoke caused by Mels' havoc. Hitler thanks the dumbfounded travellers for saving him and asks what the TARDIS is. The Doctor advances on him, saying it's a police box and "The British are coming!" The Teselecta picks itself up and a panicky Hitler fires at it. Rory punches Hitler and takes his gun.

The Doctor and Amy help up the Teselecta. Rory shoves Hitler in the cupboard while the Teselecta goes into observation mode — "fainting". Mels staggers forward. She calls Hitler a lousy shot and collapses; she was hit by a bullet. Rory tries to help her and the Doctor tries keeping her conscious by talking to her. Mels says she wanted to marry the Doctor and he promises to ask her parents when they fix her up. Mels says they're right there, then begins to glow. The Doctor, who recognises that Mels is starting to regenerate, pulls the others away from her.

Mels comments about regenerating once before as a child in New York and reveals her actual name to be Melody. Amy says she named her daughter after her, but the Doctor explains, "You named your daughter after your daughter" and Mels finally regenerates with a scream.

The crew of the Teselecta look in bewilderment at a criminal whose crimes dwarf Hitler's: Melody Pond. Melody ends her regeneration in an incarnation that the Doctor, Amy and Rory recognise as River Song. She chatters on about her new look before going off to weigh herself.

The three time travellers talk, realising that Melody is River Song right at the beginning. Melody asks who River is, but the Doctor refuses to tell her "spoilers". She pulls out a gun, "getting back to business", points it at the Doctor and pulls the trigger. The gun, emptied by the Doctor during the regeneration, clicks uselessly. A scintillating conversation ensues and Melody pulls a banana at the Doctor, who had turned the fruit bowl she had left the gun in, then Melody swings a letter opener at him but is disarmed. The Doctor asks why she didn't kill him in the field and receives the reply that they'd only just met — she's a psychopath, not rude.

An impatient Melody asks if killing him will take all day. The Doctor inquires if she was busy and, an explanation that the Silence tailored Melody as the Doctor's "own bespoke psychopath" later, Melody kisses him with poisoned lipstick and jumps out a window to go shopping. The Doctor gives Amy his sonic screwdriver and tells her to find Melody. Dying, he stumbles into the TARDIS.

Regeneration Attack

Melody weaponises her regeneration cycle.

Outside, Melody enrages soldiers into shooting her. Rory who is horrified, cries out, "No!" as his daughter is pelted by automatic gunfire. However, she is within the first fifteen hours of her regeneration; she produces a shock wave that heals her and knocks out the guards. She steals a motorcycle. Amy and Rory steal another and follow her.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor turns on the voice interface as a hologram of himself. He asks for someone he likes. In succession, it offers images of Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Donna Noble, all of whom induce wails of guilt. Finally, it offers young Amelia Pond, who tells the Doctor that he will shortly be dead. The poison comes from the Judas tree, and regeneration is not available. The Doctor tries to get "Amelia" to help him gather his strength. It insists it is not Amelia, but a hologram. He collapses, gasping for help, then hears Amelia the hologram say "Fish fingers and custard". He finds the strength to drag himself to the console.

Melody with MP40s

"Ladies and gentlemen: I don't have a thing to wear. Take off your clothes."

Elsewhere, Melody enters a restaurant and orders the patrons at gunpoint to take off their clothes. Outside, Amy and Rory wonder where she is. They see the screaming restaurant patrons run out in their undergarments and hurry in just as the Teselecta, now in Amy's form, arrives.

Melody is working on her ensemble when Amy — actually the Teselecta — runs in. Amy and Rory wake up where the Nazi officer did. They are threatened politely by the antibodies until a crew member gives wrist devices to ward them off. They are taken to the bridge, where they are told that their memories of these events will be erased later.

Outside, the Teselecta asks Melody why she killed the Doctor on behalf of the Silence. Melody really doesn't know. Her past is all a blur. It captures Melody as it did Hitler. The Doctor arrives in evening clothes. He asks whom she killed. He uses a sonic cane to scan the Teselecta and learns Amy and Rory are inside it.

Melody tries to flee but is recaptured. The Doctor demands they leave her alone and asks who they are. The Teselecta explains that as a form of justice, they visit unpunished criminals at the ends of their lives and "give them hell", agonising pain, while the timeline continues. The Doctor asks who wants him dead and Amy persuades the captain to tell him. It says the Silence are behind the plot to kill him. They are a religious cult who believe "silence will fall" when the oldest question in the universe is asked. It does not know what the question is. The Teselecta resumes torturing Melody.

The Doctor tells Amy to save her daughter. She uses the sonic screwdriver to turn off the crew's security clearances. The antibodies attack them and they teleport to safety. Amy uses a microphone to ask the Doctor for help. The antibodies are politely threatening Rory and her again. The Doctor struggles against his painful death. He crawls towards the TARDIS, shocking Melody that he still cares. The Doctor asks for her help, using her name, River. Melody demands to know who River is.

Inside the Teselecta, Amy and Rory are cornered by the antibodies. They accept their doom. Suddenly, the TARDIS materialises around them. They begin to thank the Doctor. Instead, they find a shaken Melody at the console, saying she flew the TARDIS. It taught her how.

They go to the Doctor, but he says there is no way for him to survive. He asks to speak to Melody. He asks her to find River Song, whispers something in her ear and dies. Melody asks who "River Song" is. Amy orders the Teselecta to show them. It shifts into the form of Melody's current incarnation.

Melody becomes River

"Hello sweetie." Melody Pond becomes River Song.

Melody learns that she is River Song. Amy and Rory ask Melody what the Doctor whispered in her ear. She does not answer this, but asks her parents if the Doctor is "worth it". They don't understand her question but agree he is. Melody kisses the Doctor and gives up all her regenerations to save him.

Melody wakes in the greatest hospital in the universe. The Doctor leaves her a TARDIS blue diary. They must leave her to find her own way back to them.

In 5123, Melody, now calling herself River Song, applies to study at the Luna University. When asked why she wants a degree in archaeology, she says she is "looking for a good man".


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.

Jay Harley was credited under their deadname as assistant director.


  • The Doctor makes a joke about female indecisiveness.


The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor covertly switches a gun for a banana.
  • The Doctor adds to his rules:
  • Rule 1: The Doctor lies.
  • Rule 7: Never run when you are scared.
  • Rule 27: Never knowingly be serious.
  • Rule 408: Time is not the boss of you.

The Doctor's items[]

Companions of the Doctor[]

Foods and beverages[]


  • River is confronted by the Teselecta at the Hotel Adlon.



  • The temporal grace in the TARDIS, which supposedly prevents weapons fire, is said by the Doctor to be a "clever lie".
  • The TARDIS has extractor fans which work, much to the Doctor's surprise.


  • Before punching out the Nazi and taking his bike, Rory shouts 'Heil!'
  • River deliberately provokes a group of Nazis by flippantly mentioning that she was on her way to a "gay gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the disabled", referencing the Nazi's targeted categories of the victims in the Holocaust.
  • Melody Pond says, "Hello Benjamin", to the Doctor. The Doctor previously claimed Scotland Yard's code name for her was Mrs Robinson. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut) Both reference The Graduate, in which a younger man, Benjamin, is seduced by an older woman, Mrs Robinson.


  • The layout of the Teselecta's bridge is reminiscent of that of the Enterprise and other Federation starships from the television series Star Trek.
  • Steven Moffat wanted to show Hitler in a comedic light and "take the mickey out of him" instead of making him "an icon of evil". He cited Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as an influence.

Story notes[]

  • A week and a day before this episode was broadcast in the US and two days before it was broadcast in the UK, the Torchwood episode Immortal Sins was broadcast. In it, a Brainspawn attempted to rewrite history by enabling the Third Reich to win the Second World War.
  • This is the first episode of the autumn half of the series. The spring half concluded on 4 June with A Good Man Goes to War. In addition, Amy says the Doctor has had all summer to find Melody, making the in-universe present day synchronised with real time.
  • This is the first episode since the first episode of The Leisure Hive to air in August.
  • This was Richard Senior's television directorial debut.
  • This is the second time that companions of the previous two Doctors have been mentioned or seen in a proper episode since The End of Time; Rose Tyler was previously seen (briefly) in The Lodger.
  • The images of all the former companions are taken from publicity shots. The projections of Rose and Donna are publicity images from Series 4. That of Martha is from a publicity image for Series 3.
  • The Doctor makes the "Doctor Who?" running joke.
  • The car Mels steals is a Chevrolet Corvette, third generation (68-82). It is the same model of car featured in the film Apollo 13 and the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon.
  • The TARDIS' voice interface tells the Doctor he will be dead in thirty-two minutes. Coincidentally in-universe, the invitation the future Doctor sent out to everyone in The Impossible Astronaut, to meet at Lake Silencio for the Doctor's death, was for 4:30 pm and according to the biographical information the Doctor is shot during regeneration and killed at 5:02 pm.
  • The handgun that Mels pulls out is an IMI Jericho 941.
  • Harriet mentions the Teselecta having transformed into Rasputin. Tom Baker played Rasputin in the movie Nicholas and Alexandra and the Master impersonates him in The Power of the Doctor.
  • In Mels' first scene in the episode, her face cannot be seen due to the sun's glare behind her. She moves her body to block the sun and her face is shown, much like the first scene of River in The Impossible Astronaut.
  • In the Leadworth Chronicle, a story with the headline "BACK OF THE NECK" can be seen. This is a reference to the weakness of the Sontarans. (TV: The Poison Sky)
  • This episode introduces a new article of clothing for the Eleventh Doctor that he continues to wear for most of the remainder of Series 6 - a green, double-breasted moleskin coat with six pockets and six gold buttons.
  • Arthur Candy was introduced in the short story Continuity Errors, roughly fifteen years earlier. As such, this marks the first televised appearance of a character introduced elsewhere.
  • Mels' regeneration marks the first time a regeneration has been shown onscreen where the person has short sleeves instead of long sleeves, proving that the body gives off regeneration energy, and not just the hands and head.
  • The first BBC America broadcast of the episode includes an extra scene which aired during a commercial break. It was sponsored by AT&T. As written by Steven Moffat, it is an extension of the motorcycle chase sequence with Rory and Amy. It is presented in animation/motion comic format. Lasting sixty seconds and produced by Double Barrel Motion Labs, the scene was originally promoted as intended for inclusion in the Series 6 DVD/Blu-ray releases, but as of early November 2011, this has not happened. The ad/motion comic was only seen in America.[5][6]
  • Paul Bentley would later play High Septon on Game of Thrones. Matt Smith would later play Daemon Targeryren on the prequel series House of the Dragon.
  • As the crew of the Teselecta witness the poisoning of the Doctor, despite record of him dying in 2011, one crewmember mentions an individual called "Kennedy" whose timeline was rewritten. While not stated, this is possibly a reference to US President John F. Kennedy or the Kennedy family in general.
  • Steven Moffat wanted an episode that would draw in viewers after a twelve-week break and be tonally different from The Impossible Astronaut.
  • Steven Moffat wanted the narrative's true focus to be on the relationship between Amy, Rory and River. In particular, the revelation that Amy and Rory's childhood friend Mels was another incarnation of Melody/River was intended to temper the darker implications of the baby's abduction, since Amy and Rory would now be shown to have played an integral role in their daughter's formative years.
  • Steven Moffat originally envisaged the Anti-Bodies as humanoid robots with featureless chrome heads. However, it was eventually felt that this design hewed too closely to the look of the Handbots, so they became floating, tentacular automatons.
  • The episode comprised Block Eight of season six, formally dubbed “Block Seven-A”.
  • Jenna Coleman auditioned for the role of Mels. Less than a year later, she would be cast as Clara Oswald.
  • By casting Nina Toussaint-White as Mels, the production team definitively established that race was another characteristic which could change via the process of regeneration. Indeed, Steven Moffat had previously explored the possibility of selecting a non-white actor to portray the Eleventh Doctor.
  • Filming on the set for Hitler's office was delayed because of the complexity of achieving the TARDIS crashing through the windows.
  • The opening sequence in the cornfield was the last scene to be shot. It was filmed two and half months after the rest of production because there was a delay until midsummer before the crops had reached an appropriate height. It was the last scene of season six to be filmed.
  • Steven Moffat enjoyed writing Mels' regeneration scene, finding comedy in her checking out her new body.
  • The cast and crew felt that the costume and make-up artists did a good job with Albert Welling, as he looked so much like Hitler it was a "surreal" experience.
  • Arthur Darvill was pleased that Rory was more of an "action hero" in the episode.
  • Before broadcast, Matt Smith stated that it was "maybe [his] favorite episode to date...it just rockets along".
  • Matt Smith wanted to wear a long coat because of the cold weather.
  • Vintage vehicles from the period were used. Arthur Darvill loved the motorbike, although he was not allowed to ride it as it was the job of the stuntman.
  • Hitler's office was one of the biggest sets that had been built for the show. Typically it would have been filmed in a real building, but the TARDIS had to crash through the wall and thus the set had to be destroyed with an air cannon.
  • The Large Hadron Collider was the inspiration for the design of the Teselecta corridors.
  • One scene involving the Teselecta (disguised as a German soldier) chasing Amy and Rory on motorcycles through Berlin was cut from filming due to budget issues.
  • When Steven Moffat wrote the episode, he was simultaneously overseeing Doctor Who and Sherlock, as well as co-writing The Adventures of Tintin. As a result, he was too exhausted to rewrite this episode, so his only option was to hand the cast a first draft and hope for the best.
  • The famously clumsy Matt Smith was worried about ruining his suit jacket, so he put it on a nearby table - right into a jug of grape juice.
  • This was the last time Caitlin Blackwood played Amelia Pond, although The God Complex was made first.


  • UK Overnight: 6.2 million
  • UK Final: 8.1 million[7]


  • The Daily Mirror reported that Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Donna Noble would appear in this episode.[8] This was partially true. Images of all three appeared but these were avatars for a TARDIS interface, rather than the characters themselves. All images used were promotional images.
  • Some viewers speculated that when River resurrected the Doctor, he absorbed all of River Song's remaining regenerations. If this is true, as River only regenerated twice, the Doctor might now have twenty-two regenerations, instead of the standard twelve. This was proven incorrect by the Doctor himself in The Time of the Doctor, as he confirmed he had reached the natural end of his regeneration cycle and could not change for a thirteenth time.

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 the Doctor and the TARDIS make their first appearance, they point right, towards Amy and Rory's car. However, when the camera zooms out, the Doctor and TARDIS are looking down, and not towards Amy and Rory. This also causes an error when Mels drives through the word Doctor.
  • During the sequences of flashbacks explaining how River and the Doctor obtained and swapped guns right after the former's regeneration, River's uttering of the lines sound a bit more rushed, making it obvious that the original and flashback shots of the scene are two different takes.
  • When Rory asks, "How can they just disappear?" two antibodies appear, but in the next shot, there are three.
  • When the poisoned Doctor is in the TARDIS he has one of his arms up on the bannister; in the next shot, he has it by his side.
  • When the Teselecta's shock absorbers are malfunctioning, the captain's cup falls and can be heard smashing, but when the camera zooms out, there is no evidence of this.
  • Although Mels is shot by Adolf Hitler, resulting in her regeneration, when she stands up there is no sign of blood or a hole in her dress as the regeneration begins.


Home video releases[]


Series 6, part 2 DVD cover

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

  • Let's Kill Hitler was released in Series 6 Part Two on DVD and Blu-Ray in region 1/A on 8 November 2011, in region 2/B on 10 October 2011 and in region 4/B on 3 November 2011.
  • The episode was later released in the Complete Sixth Series boxset on both DVD and Blu-ray, in region 1/A on 22 November 2011, in region 2/B on 21 November 2011 and in region 4/B on 1 December 2011.

Digital releases[]

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

External links[]