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The Angels Take Manhattan was the fifth episode and mid-series finale of series 7 of Doctor Who.

It was the final appearance of Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams and also featured the return of River Song. It also marked the return of the Weeping Angels, giving them their second major and third overall appearance in the Moffat era of Doctor Who.

The Angels Take Manhattan was given additional closure through the complimentary webcast entitled P.S., which showed the final fate of the Ponds. It also gave Brian Williams a working narrative endpoint.


A simple trip to New York in 2012 goes horribly wrong when the Eleventh Doctor's companion, Rory Williams, is sent back to the 1930s by the Weeping Angels. There, he finds that his daughter, River Song, is investigating the Angels, as Manhattan has become their hunting grounds. The Doctor and Amy Pond must find Rory before it is too late, but they soon find that not every point in time can be changed. And here, the Doctor must face the one thing he has been dreading — a final farewell to the Ponds.


Art collector and mob boss, Julius Grayle, has hired private detective Sam Garner, but wonders if Sam believes the reason he has been hired — and that statues can move. Sam simply says he believes what he's told to believe, as long as he's paid. Grayle sends detective Garner to Winter Quay, an apartment building "where the statues live". Once Garner leaves for the Quay, Grayle looks out his office window and notices one of two statues standing outside his mansion has disappeared when he wasn't looking. When Garner arrives at Winter Quay, he notices the residents of the Quay and the surrounding apartment buildings watching his arrival with dread. A little girl sees him from the window of a building across from the Quay, mimicking weeping. He ignores her and enters the Quay, unaware as a Weeping Angel sitting on a plinth near the building awakening as he enters.

The Statue of Liberty at Winter Quay.

Garner enters a room in Winter Quay that has his name on it, unaware of the Angels stalking him through the building. He encounters an elderly version of himself, who warns him that "they" are going to send him back in time now that he is there. Garner is then attacked by the Weeping Angels. He manages to avoid them, as something large is heard approaching Winter Quay from outside. When he finds the Angels have blocked the stairwell, Garner is forced onto the roof. He comes face to face with the snarling Statue of Liberty, revealed to be a Weeping Angel of gigantic size. As he succumbs to his fate, someone is writing about Garner's demise on a typewriter.

In 2012 New York City, the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams are having a picnic in Central Park. Amy is annoyed by the Doctor's habit of reading his pulp paperback novel, Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old New York Town, out loud. He, in turn, is perturbed by Amy's use of reading glasses. The Doctor tells Amy that he doesn't like her glasses because they make her eyes look "all liney". After taking Amy's glasses off, he realises that the lines are actually minor wrinkles in her skin. He tells her that her eyes look better with the glasses. Amy then starts arguing with the Doctor about how she looks, asking Rory (who is a safe distance away from his wife) if there are lines around her eyes. Rory claims he never noticed them, walking back to his wife, who happily kisses him. Rory goes off to get more coffee for them as Amy tells the Doctor to tell her a story. The Doctor is amused she has changed her mind. The Doctor tears out the last page, telling Amy that he hates endings. The story will never end now, for him.

On Rory's way back, he hears the sound of children giggling, as a small statue under Angel of the Waters disappears. As Rory passes an archway and enters a darkened terrace, the giggling gets closer and closer. In the meantime, the Doctor's book says Melody saw a thin man appear on 3 April 1938, and followed him until he noticed her. The Doctor is shocked by what the thin man says to Melody: "I was just getting coffee for the Doctor and Amy. Hello, River." "Hello, Dad," River Song replies. The Doctor and Amy run to the TARDIS, while in 1938, Rory questions River about how he got there. River tells him she has no idea, but he better put his hands up; armed men are surrounding them.

In the meantime, the Doctor and Amy have boarded the TARDIS as Amy continues reading from the book, which has River saying the TARDIS cannot land in New York during this time because of several time distortions. Comparing it to trying to land a plane in a blizzard, she says even she couldn't do it. An annoyed Doctor attempts to land the TARDIS, but it is bounced back to 2012 New York by a wall of temporal energy. Landing in a cemetery, the Doctor tells Amy to stop reading ahead in the book because reading the events written in it causes them to become fixed in time. However, Amy has read that River and Rory have been taken to Grayle's mansion, where River comments on the mob boss's taste in Qin artefacts. Hearing this, the Doctor figures out how to get "landing lights". Going back to 221 BC, he leaves a message on one of the vases: "Yowzah!" in period Chinese.

As River is led into Grayle's office, Rory is placed in the basement with "the babies". Grayle tells River that "they" are everywhere, but no one seems to notice. He then shows her the prize of his collection: a chained and damaged Weeping Angel. River says she's met them before, and that the Angel is screaming out in pain to its comrades; this is why Grayle has so many locks on his doors. However, Grayle quickly turns the tables on River by briefly turning off the lights long enough for the shackled Angel to grab her wrist. Grayle demands to know everything River knows about the Angels.

In the meantime, Rory has been tossed in the dark basement and given a box of matches by the guard, who tells him that he'll last longer with them. Left alone in the darkness, Rory hears the giggling again, scaring him into lighting a match. He comes across several stone cherubs, and during the time Rory takes to light another match after the first one has gone out, the cherubs move closer and begin to attack him. He repeatedly lights the matches, but they keep extinguishing. Down to one match, Rory watches as a cherub that got close to him blows it out. Above, as Grayle attempts to threaten River, she hears the TARDIS trying to materialise and tells her captor that he'd better watch out when her husband gets home. With a shockwave, the TARDIS lands, knocking Grayle out.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor is busy fixing his hair for his wife, annoying Amy. Once done, they depart and find River. He asks her how Stormcage is, only to learn that she was pardoned years earlier in her timeline, because her alleged victim, the Doctor, apparently never existed due to the Doctor erasing himself from every database in the universe. She has received a posting as a professor of archaeology. The Doctor tells River they either have to break her wrist or the Angel's to get her free. Unfortunately, Amy read ahead again and knows that River breaks her wrist to get free, so it's the only way now. However, Amy has a brilliant idea to know what's ahead without details or spoilers: they read the chapter titles. Reading one, Amy learns where Rory is and rushes off. After she does, the Doctor reads the table of contents and sees the last chapter is called "Amelia's Last Farewell". An upset Doctor then angrily leaves River to find a way to escape the Angel's grip without breaking her wrist.

Amy checks the basement, only to find Rory gone. She returns to the Doctor, who is now sitting on the stairs, deep in thought. River emerges from the collection room with her scanner, saying that Rory is at Winter Quay, having only been moved in space, rather than time. The Doctor is delighted to see River didn't have to break her wrist to get free. As he grabs her hand, however, River grimaces in pain, revealing that she did indeed break it. He heals her hand with a little of his regeneration energy and is scolded by River for wasting the energy. Amy asks River why the Doctor is in a bad mood and River subtly says they should never let the Doctor see them age. They then commandeer one of the mob's cars and drive off to get Rory. However, they leave the doors open, which the two statues outside seem to see. As Grayle comes to, he finds the statues are now inside the mansion. He tries escaping, only to get trapped.

The Doctor, Amy and River arrive at Winter Quay, where Rory has been exploring on his own. They find him on exactly the same floor where Sam Garner arrived. At the end of the hall is a Weeping Angel. The way out is blocked. Rory discovers a room marked "R. Williams" and enters with Amy. River and the Doctor linger, only to see the Angel is smiling. Inside the room is an old man who calls over to Amy and is revealed to be Rory's future self. Amy holds the older Rory's hand as he passes away.

As the group discuss the situation, the Doctor explains that Winter Quay is a "battery farm" for the Weeping Angels to keep their victims imprisoned in and to send them back in time over and over. He also sadly informs Rory that their meeting with the elder Rory means the Angels will send Rory back in time and keep him imprisoned in the Quay until he dies, as they've seen. Amy won't be sent with him, explaining why the older Rory was so pleased to see her. Rory decides to defy this. If the Angels aren't able to catch him, he won't die there. However, the Doctor notes that Rory will have to run for his entire life then. River then realises that if Rory escapes, the subsequent negation of the timeline in which the Angels trapped Rory at Winter Quay will create a paradox, which will in turn poison the time energy the Angels feed on and kill them.

Something large is heard approaching Winter Quay, forcing the group to decide that Rory and River's plan will work. Amy and Rory run out, but the Doctor and River are forced back into the room by two Weeping Angels. Amy and Rory enter the stairway, seeing an Angel is blocking the way out downwards. Thus, they climb up to the roof, where they are confronted by the snarling Statue of Liberty. Back inside, the Doctor causes a distraction that allows him and River to escape the Angels via the fire escape. Back on the roof, Rory sees the only way out is to jump and commit suicide, thereby preventing the Angels from sending him back in time to become the aged Rory who just died, creating a paradox which would kill the Angels and keep him from having been sent back. Amy tries talking him out of it, but Rory defends the idea by reminding her that he has died and come back to life numerous times before. Amy decides to jump with Rory just as the Doctor and River reach the roof. Before the Doctor can stop Amy or Rory, the two jump from the roof, and embrace as they fall to their deaths. The paradox that Rory's death has created then begins to take effect.

The surviving Angel.

The group awake back in the cemetery in 2012 New York with the TARDIS, relieved to be alive, and the Doctor happily explains that Winter Quay's negation from the timeline by the paradox meant that they never went there in the first place. Rory complains that when they came to New York, he wanted to go to a pub. The Doctor decides they can all do that; a family outing. However, as everyone boards the TARDIS, Rory notices a gravestone with his name on it, and immediately vanishes; a surviving Angel has sneaked up behind Rory and sent him back in time, and the group notice that Rory's gravestone now reads that he was 82 years of age when he died.

Amy's Tearful Farewell.

The Doctor explains to a distraught Amy that he cannot go back for Rory; creating another paradox in New York will destroy the city. Amy asks the Doctor if she would end up at the same time and place as Rory if the Angel touched her, of which he cannot be certain. River, however, encourages her mother, believing her plan to be sound. Despite the Doctor's attempts to talk Amy out of it, his mother-in-law approaches the Angel. Amy holds her daughter's hand behind herself and addressing her by her birth name; Melody, tells her to take care of the Doctor. The Doctor tells Amy that by doing this, she will have created a fixed point in time and he will never see her and Rory again, but Amy assures the Doctor that she will be fine and live with Rory. The Doctor, in tears, begs her to come back into the TARDIS. Amy turns, crying, to the Doctor, and says, "Raggedy Man... goodbye," as the Angel sends her back with Rory. The Doctor sobs in agony as Rory's gravestone now also reads Amy's name and that she died aged 87.

Amy and Rory's gravestone.

In the TARDIS, River comforts the Doctor, knowing that he can never see Amy and Rory again. The Doctor apologises to River, as Amy and Rory were her parents. River says that it's okay and strictly reminds the Doctor not to travel alone. He then asks her to travel with him and River says she'd be more than willing to share adventures with him, but not all the time; "one psychopath per TARDIS." Heading up to a room to begin writing the book, River tells the Doctor that while he may not listen to her, he may listen to Amy. After giving her the story for publishing, she'll make sure Amy leaves a message for him in the book's afterword.

The Doctor remembers that he tore out the last page from the book and rushes back to Central Park immediately after their picnic. The Doctor grabs the page and reads Amy's message: "Afterword, by Amelia Williams. Hello, old friend, and here we are. You and me, on the last page. By the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone, so know that we lived well, and were very happy. And, above all else, know that we will love you, always. Sometimes, I do worry about you though; I think, once we're gone, you won't be coming back here for a while, and you might be alone, which you should never be. Don't be alone, Doctor."

Amelia as the Doctor fulfils her elder self's final request.

Amy has just one more request from her "Raggedy Doctor"; to go back to her seven-year-old self sitting in the garden and tell her a story: "And do one more thing for me: there's a little girl, waiting in a garden; she's going to wait a long while, so she's going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that, if she's patient, the days are coming that she'll never forget. Tell her she'll go to sea and fight pirates, she'll fall in love with a man who'll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she'll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived, and save a whale in outer space."

The Doctor appears to honour Amy's request as young Amelia is seen waiting for him in the garden and looks up as the sound of the TARDIS is heard; as this happens, Amy finishes the story by narrating "Tell her: This is the story of Amelia Pond — and this is how it ends."



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

Uncredited crew[]

Stargate Studios[]

The Mill[]



Cars and trucks[]

  • The Doctor adjusts his hair before exiting the TARDIS, using a brass plaque as a mirror. The plaque reads "Type FD 12 MK V11 Rolls Royce Motors Crewe England". It has a space in which to list a NATO stock number.


Foods and beverages[]


Sports from the real world[]


  • Amy plays Pooh Sticks on the bridge in Central Park.


Theories and concepts[]

  • By changing his future and creating a paradox Amy and Rory's actions wipe out the Angels' Winter Quay building.


  • The Doctor says that there are significant time distortions around New York City.
  • If someone learns of their personal future by reading about it, it becomes a fixed point in time and therefore cannot be changed.
  • Due to the paradox created by Amy and Rory, the Doctor cannot travel back in time to visit them without destroying New York.


  • The Doctor visits China in 221 BC to have a message placed on a vase to alert River.

Story notes[]

The Angels Take Manhattan Character Options playset

  • In-universe, Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old New York Town is written by River Song based on what happened to her in New York just before and during the events of TV: The Angels Take Manhattan. PROSE: The Angel's Kiss: A Melody Malone Mystery is an e-book tie-in novel, written by Justin Richards, that segues into the events of River's book and TV: The Angels Take Manhattan. It was released on 4 October 2012.[3][4]
  • This is the first episode to feature River Song that is neither part of a two-parter nor at least preceded by a cameo appearance of River in the previous episode.
  • This story features the last appearance of the Matt Smith title sequence that debuted in The Eleventh Hour. Beginning with The Snowmen, a new title sequence was used, and overall this is the last revived series Doctor Who story title sequence to feature only the time vortex - a concept which had been used since 2005.
  • Similarly, this episode features the last usage of the TARDIS console room that debuted in The Eleventh Hour.
  • It is also currently the last episode in which the theme music includes the counter-melody known as "the chase."

The Doctor Who logo with its Statue of Liberty texture.

  • As with all of the Series 7 part 1 episodes, this episode has individually stylized opening credits: the time vortex appears blue and grey and the Doctor Who logo resembles the Statue of Liberty in colour and pattern.
  • Amy asks the Doctor to return to meet a young Amelia Pond the morning after he left her waiting in the garden in The Eleventh Hour to tell her about the adventures they will have together. The older Amy was dreaming about that morning when the Doctor came back to pick her up the night before her wedding at the end of The Eleventh Hour. Steven Moffat said of the scene, "After showing Amelia Pond in the garden as a young girl in The Eleventh Hour, Karen's first episode, the final shot in Saturday's The Angels Take Manhattan is a punchline I have been waiting to tell for two and a half years."
  • The text inside Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old New York Town is visible for a second just after the Doctor and Amy bounce off 1938 and land in the graveyard. The book used in the episode is actually The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. Melody/River refers to her father as "the skinny guy" when describing his arrival in 1938. Hammett wrote hardboiled detective stories, and the film of one of them, The Maltese Falcon, is the original film noir, a genre which this episode pays extensive homage to.
  • A short teaser for the then-unnamed 2012 Christmas special was shown at the end of this episode, the first such teaser since the sneak peek at The Next Doctor at the end of Series 4 finale Journey's End four years before.
  • Prior to the airing of this episode, executive producer Steven Moffat posted a message on Twitter declaring his intentions to write Amy and Rory out of the series, stressing very seriously that it would mark a permanent end to their characters.
  • Chronologically, The Angels Take Manhattan was the last televised live-action story to feature Matt Smith dressed in the Eleventh Doctor's brown tweed jacket. He would appear in his purple cashmere jacket for the remainder of his tenure.


  • 7.82 million viewers (UK final)[5]


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.
  • The Photoshoot PA who was credited did not appear in this episode but instead appeared in Asylum of the Daleks.
  • When the Doctor rips out the last page of his book, the shot shows that the page that was torn out was actually from the middle of the book.
  • Just after Amy and Rory jump off the roof of Winter Quay, and the Doctor is looking down at them, River is in the background standing normally, looking at the Doctor. In the very next shot, she is leaning on the ledge, looking down at Amy and Rory.
  • As the Doctor examines River's broken wrist, she says it is "pretty bad, too". In this shot, the Doctor has his mouth open as if showing the pain of seeing her hand. But in the next shot, his mouth is closed.
  • When Amy and the Doctor leave the car and enter Winter Quay, they leave River behind, but in a couple of shots later, she is back in the lift with them.
  • During the final graveyard scene, the actress playing the Weeping Angel clearly has small hairs and fuzz on her body make-up.
  • During the final graveyard scene, Rory is only wearing a hoodie over his shirt. When they first wake up, he's wearing a jacket over the hoodie that he had been wearing the entire episode.
  • When the Doctor retrieves the ripped out page to read, it clearly says "by Amelia William", misspelling Amy's name. The voiceover and gravestone are both correct with "Williams".
  • Cobalt blue dye in Chinese vase only became prevalent in AD era Yuan dynasty while the craftsman's wear were in the final Qing dynasty's style.


Home video releases[]

Series 7, part 1 DVD cover.

This episode, along with the rest of the first half of the series (episodes one through to five) was released on DVD and Blu Ray on the 28 October 2012.

External links[]


  1. Fox was erroneously credited for The Angels Take Manhattan instead of Asylum of the Daleks, where he actually played "Photoshoot PA".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Failes, Ian (22 May 2013). Doctor Who: Stargate’s adventures in time. fxguide. Retrieved on 20 November 2018.
  3. http://www.sfx.co.uk/2012/09/27/doctor-whos-first-e-book-exclusive-inspired-by-the-angels-take-manhattan/
  4. http://www.doctorwhonews.net/2012/09/melody-malone-270912171508.html
  5. Doctor Who Ratings - UK final
  6. Peter Dyke; Katie Begley (30 July 2012). DOCTOR WHO: WHAT A LIBERTY. Daily Star. Retrieved on 29 September 2012.