Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.


Mary Celeste

The Mary Celeste, (TV: The Eaters of Light) or Marie Celeste, (COMIC: A Stitch in Time) as it was sometimes wrongly named, was a merchant ship (PROSE: A History of Humankind) commanded by Captain Benjamin Briggs. It was originally named the Amazon. (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters) She was famous for her mysterious abandonment at sea in 1872. According to several accounts, the Doctor was involved in the crew's disappearance.

The ship was salvaged after running aground in 1867. (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters)

The Mary Celeste left New York for Genoa in November 1872. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) Its crew included Captain Bejamin Briggs, first mate Albert G. Richardson, second mate Andrew Gillings, and four German sailors, Arien Martens, Gottlieb Gottschalk, and Boy and Volkert Lorenzen. Captain Briggs' wife Sarah and daughter Sophia Matilda were also on the voyage. (PROSE: The Chase)

By one account, the Doctor's TARDIS accidentally materialised on the ship while the First Doctor was trying to evade a Dalek time machine. Barbara Wright left the TARDIS to explore the ship but was captured by first mate Albert C. Richardson. She was then rescued by Vicki Pallister, and they returned to the TARDIS with Ian Chesterton, who alone noticed the name of the ship. Richardson witnessed the TARDIS' dematerialisation and reported it to Captain Briggs.

Shortly afterwards, Daleks arrived on the ship in their time machine (TV: The Chase) or, by another account, through a Time-Conveyor. (PROSE: Timechase) With the boatswain identifying the Daleks as the Barbary Terror, the crew – including the captain, his family, Willoughby, and the cabin steward – jumped overboard. (TV: The Chase) As the Second Doctor would later say when telling the story to Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon, everyone left on deck was exterminated. (AUDIO: The Rosemariners) By another account, the Daleks were followed by Peter and David, who pushed one Dalek overboard before leaving, unaware that the ship was the Marie Celeste. (PROSE: Timechase) In his annotation of a Coal Hill School history book, the Twelfth Doctor credited the tragedy of the Mary Celeste to the Daleks. (PROSE: A History of Humankind)

In a different account, the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe found that the crew of the Mary Celeste had been abducted by Arcturians. The Doctor freed the crew, but they were subsequently killed by a sea serpent. (PROSE: The Mystery of the Marie Celeste)

The Third Doctor on board the Marie Celeste. (COMIC: A Stitch in Time)

By another account, the Third Doctor became involved with the Mary Celeste when, after landing the TARDIS on the New York docks, the crew mistook it for cargo and loaded it onboard. To regain access to his ship, the Doctor paid for passage on the Mary Celeste. After he showed Professor Theodore Cassells the TARDIS interior, Cassells fled to the deck and told Captain Briggs what he had seen. However, Briggs misunderstood and thought the TARDIS was a time bomb. He, Cassells, and the crew left the Mary Celeste in a lifeboat, which was swamped by a large wave that drowned everyone on it. The Doctor left, unaware of the name of the ship he was on. (COMIC: A Stitch in Time)

She never arrived in Genoa, and was discovered a month after her departure in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the Azores Islands, (PROSE: A History of Humankind) about 600 miles west of Portugal, drifting and abandoned, by the Dei Gratia on 4 December 1872. (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters) Although she was still seaworthy, there was no sign of the crew. The ship was well provisioned, and the captain and crew's belongings were still there. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) The Mary Celeste was deliberately destroyed in 1885 in an attempted insurance fraud. (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters)

In a story Nardole related to a group of Picts, an Enzomodon ambassador, in an attempt to communicate, digested the whole crew of the Mary Celeste before ultimately choking on a lifeboat. (TV: The Eaters of Light)

The annals of the Silversmiths' Coterie claimed that they were descended from the survivors of the Mary Celeste. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

References made to the ship[]

The First Doctor, upon finding a deserted spacecraft on Vortis, wondered if the ship was like the Mary Celeste. (PROSE: The Lair of Zarbi Supremo)

The Third Doctor, travelling with Jo Grant, compared the mystery of the S.S. Bernice to that of the Mary Celeste. (TV: Carnival of Monsters)

Tegan Jovanka told Nyssa that Mawdryn's ship was more Mary Celeste than Queen Mary, due to its apparently empty state. (TV: Mawdryn Undead)

Sarah Jane Smith, speaking to Maria Jackson, Luke Smith and Clyde Langer, compared an empty research facility to the Mary Celeste. (TV: The Last Sontaran)

The ship is indirectly referenced by another doomed ship also commanded by a Captain Briggs and lost to arch nemeses of the Doctor. (TV: Earthshock)

The Sixth Doctor mentioned the disappearance of the Mary Celeste to Peri Brown when they visited 1872. (AUDIO: The First Sontarans)

In 2009, a future version of Peri Brown claimed that the Mary Celeste disappearance was caused by Piscons wanting to take over human forms. This was later revealed as simply something she made up. (AUDIO: Peri and the Piscon Paradox)

In 1742, Ace mentioned the ship when she, the Seventh Doctor and Thomas Hector Schofield landed on an apparently abandoned Isabella. The Doctor told her not to remind him of it. (AUDIO: The Flying Dutchman)

Sarah Jane Smith asked Harry Sullivan if he also thought the apparently abandoned galleon in space was an "interplanetary Mary Celeste". (PROSE: Avast There!)

Graham Stevens claimed that his grandfather was rescued from the Marie Celeste by a mermaid. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark)

Fitz Kreiner and Sasha found a building that was completely empty. Fitz likened it to the Celeste. (PROSE: History 101)

Martha Jones compared the deserted spaceship Castor to the Mary Celeste. (PROSE: Wooden Heart)

Amy Pond compared an apparently deserted science research centre to the Mary Celeste. The Eleventh Doctor said that he did not want to go through that trouble again. (PROSE: Heart of Stone)

Rory Williams once asked the Doctor if he had anything to do with the mystery of the missing crew of the Mary Celeste to which the Doctor replied, "Not directly. Long story". (PROSE: The Good, the Bad and the Alien)

Amy Pond found lifebelts labelled SS Mary Celeste on the Doctor's TARDIS. (PROSE: The Water Thief)

In 2221, Jo visited an exhibit about the Mary Celeste in Prague. (PROSE: Spoilsport)

Offered a trip in the TARDIS, CJ, a follower of mysteries, suggested visiting the Mary Celeste. This was rejected by the Twelfth Doctor as "boring", already knowing that "that was the Daleks." (PROSE: The Persistence of Memory) In his vault underneath St Luke's University, the Doctor had a sign which had Mary Celeste written on it. (TV: The Pilot)

Upon returning to Nerva Beacon following their failure to avert the creation of the Daleks, Harry Sullivan compared the silent station to the Mary Celeste. When the Fourth Doctor noted that there was a perfectly simple explanation for the Mary Celeste, Harry expressed disbelief. (AUDIO: Return of the Cybermen)

Behind the scenes[]

  • In reality, the disappearance of the crew of the Mary Celeste remains a mystery.

The nameplate of the abandoned ship, identifying it as the Mary Celeste. (TV: The Chase)

  • On the DVD release of The Chase, the production notes commentary indicates that although some feel the nameplate seen in the episode is misspelled, the spelling used is actually correct. Though Mary is technically correct, Marie was popularised when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the first fictional account of the ship and misspelled the name. This account became ubiquitous when some 19th century newspapers mistook Conan Doyle's fiction for fact. Through the years, many fictional accounts have traced their way back to Conan Doyle's original account. The net result has been widespread confusion — as expressed in the documentary for The Chase — over whether Mary or Marie is the correct spelling.
  • Although The Chase is played mostly for laughs, the scene in which the Daleks force the passengers to jump overboard takes on a sombre note as a baby is shown among those falling into the sea, becoming the first baby to presumably die during the course of a televised Doctor Who story.
  • The Marie Celeste is mentioned by the Seventh Doctor in the script for the ultimately unproduced film The Dark Dimension.
  • One possible "game over" for the video game Don't Blink has the player being sent back in time by a Weeping Angel to the year 1872 to die on the Mary Celeste.