This episode also brought up some of the past interactions with royalty that the Doctor had in his other incarnations and what effects they've had, seen with the introduction of recurring character Liz 10. Apparently, the Doctor had become well-known by the 21st century; he is accepted enough to the point where he can park his TARDIS in the Queen's garden.
Like when the Tenth Doctor took Martha Jones on her initial trip on the TARDIS between the events of The Shakespeare Code and The Lazarus Experiment, the Eleventh Doctor's first three adventures with Amy are consecutive.
This episode was the first time that the Doctor's "promise" to himself was mentioned. As he could only see a horrible compromise as the only way to make things right, the Doctor stated that he wouldn't be worthy of the title he chose, which means "never cowardly, or cruel; never give up, never give in".
For Amy Pond's first trip in the TARDIS, the Eleventh Doctor brings his new companion to the 33rd century, where all of the United Kingdom's citizens (apart from the Scottish) live onboard Starship UK, searching for a new home amongst the stars as the Earth is being roasted by solar flares. However, the Doctor soon finds something amiss onboard the vessel. The citizens appear to fear "the smiling fellows in the booths" and ignore crying children. What is going on? What secrets does Starship UK hold at its depths, and who is hiding them? Soon, the Doctor is forced to make an impossible choice. No matter what he chooses, death is the only outcome.
On Starship UK, children sit in class waiting to be graded by their instructor, a Smiler. Timmy does not want to line up, and so he joins at the very end; the Smiler calls Timmy a bad boy and gives him a zero. As the students walk out, Timmy's friend Mandy reminds him that he cannot take the vator; students aren't allowed to if they have a zero. She leaves in one, promising to wait for him back in London. Not wanting to walk twenty decks to get there, Timmy enters the second vator as it arrives. On the monitor, a little girl recites a poem. Instead of heading to London, the vator drops down to Floor 0, with the floor in the vator opening to a red chasm beneath as the Smiler in the vator shows its anger. Timmy screams in terror and falls into the chasm...
Amy is suspended in space outside the TARDIS, the Eleventh Doctor standing at the ledge holding her ankle to keep her from floating away. Pulling Amy inside, the Doctor asks her if she believes him now; she does. However, she then questions how they can be breathing with the doors open; the Doctor calmly explains that he's extended the TARDIS's air shell. He then looks below them, seeing Starship UK and then races back to the console, going on to explain that in the 29th century, solar flares burned the Earth and forced the entire human race to flee to the stars until it was all over. However, he notices Amy hasn't followed after him and is repeatedly calling his name; she is floating outside the TARDIS again, holding onto the doorway for dear life.
Pulling Amy back inside, the Doctor puts Starship UK up on the circular monitor, going on to say its the same UK, only metal. Amy asks if they can go onboard. The Doctor agrees, but goes through the rules: they are observers and cannot interfere, something that he has always (tried) to stick to doing in his travels. Amy compares them to filmers of a wildlife documentary. But when they spot Mandy crying silently on the scanner, the Doctor suddenly appears on the screen, asking Mandy if she needs help. The little girl runs away from him, and the Doctor beckons for Amy to join him outside.
Amy exits the TARDIS and is immediately overwhelmed by everything around her. Amy is hit by a realisation; she's been dead for centuries, the Doctor is less than amused: "you're a cheery one!" The duo explore the area, known locally as the London Market, with the Doctor encouraging Amy to notice everything as there is something wrong. Looking around, Amy notices people riding bikes, asking if its unusual on a spaceship; the Doctor playfully notes that Amy is in her nightie, which is also weird and Amy then becomes embarrassed. The Doctor then smiles, before becoming serious again; he tells her to really look as there are "secrets, shadows, lives lived in fear."
Abruptly, he stops and takes a glass of water off a nearby table, setting it on the floor and observing it for a brief moment before returning it; he tells those he took it from that "there's an escaped fish". He informs Amy that this is a police state: the government controls everything. The Doctor spots Mandy crying across the room, and they move towards her, followed closely by a dark-robed individual. The figure phones Hawthorne, controller of the Smilers, to report what he's seen. Hawthorne, likewise, calls a cloaked woman sitting on a bedchamber floor amidst a sea of water glasses; he tells her that there has been a sighting. She asks him if he "did the thing"; yes, he did. The woman tells him that she will take a look at the monitors, and grabs a porcelain mask before leaving.
The Doctor and Amy observe Mandy from a bench. The Doctor explains that children cry because they want attention or they're hurt; when they cry silently, it means they can't stop. He tells her that any parent would know that, making Amy ask if he's a father; the Doctor doesn't answer. He goes on to explain that several possible parents are passing Mandy and are not even bothering to talk to her, meaning it's highly likely that they know what's making her cry, and it's something that they're too afraid to talk about. Mandy leaves, still crying. Amy wonders where she went, to which the Doctor rattles off Mandy's full name and which part of the ship she lives in; Amy gives him a look of surprise. The Doctor pulls out some sort of identification, explaining that Mandy dropped it when he bumped into her; took him four tries.
The Doctor encourages Amy to follow Mandy, not only to comfort her and learn about her plight, but to also ask about the Smilers because they are everywhere; even more disturbing is that the cases they're in are clean. When Amy questions his orders, the Doctor retorts, "it's either this or Leadworth", prompting Amy to comply with his orders. As for himself, the Doctor explains that he's going to do what he always does — "Stay out of trouble. Badly." As they part ways, Amy asks the Doctor if he interferes with other lives and planets if children are crying. The Doctor confirms this with a grin.
Amy finds Mandy waiting for her in a street. Mandy explains that she noticed her and the Doctor watching her. Amy hands Mandy's identification back to her, with Mandy stating she only dropped it because the Doctor kept bumping into her. They discover a sealed-off part of the road — which Mandy refers to as a "hole" — which Amy investigates despite Mandy's warnings that they are not allowed; it has something to do with the Smilers and "below". She asks Amy whether she's Scottish, informing her that Scotland has its own ship, something that amuses Amy. Meanwhile, the nearby Smiler's face turns angry as Amy enters the tent. Inside, she discovers a giant tentacle rising up through the ship from below; it attacks her and forces her back out of the tent, where she is immediately surrounded by a group of hooded men who put her to sleep with a gas in one of their rings as Mandy looks on.
Meanwhile, the Doctor descends a ladder into the ship's "engine" room. After examining the surrounding area with the sonic, he meets the masked woman, who tells him that she is conducting an investigation similar to the Doctor's and demands to know why he thought to put the glass of water on the floor in the marketplace earlier. He relays his suspicions that, in a ship of this size, the engines would have created some sort of disturbance on the surface of the water — and yet there was none. He opens the power coupling boxes, which reveals they are dummies; they aren't even connected. In fact, it would appear that the ship has no engine at all. The woman replies in the affirmative and offers him a device that will lead him to Amy. The Doctor inquires how he can find her again, learning she is Liz Ten, and she will find him.
Amy regains consciousness in a voting booth as she's scanned by a machine, confirming her name and reading her age as 1,306 years — which amuses her — and her marital status as "unknown", which unsettles her. The screen switches to a video narrated by a man in a smart suit who tells her that she will now be shown the truth of the ship's travels; afterwards, she will be faced with the choice to "forget" everything she's learned in the booth or to "protest". Should only one percent of the population protest, the project will be discontinued "with consequences for you all". She is shown the film — a succession of subliminal images that suggests a huge influx of information — then suddenly finds herself having pressed the "forget" button and has no idea what she just saw.
A recording she made prior to forgetting appears on the screen, where, crying, Amy tells herself to find the Doctor and get him off Starship UK to keep him from investigating. No doubt, there is something going on that the Doctor wouldn't approve of. The booth's door opens, with the Doctor and Mandy waiting for her outside; Amy quickly stops the message before the Doctor can see it. The Doctor wonders what it is that she's done.
From a scan with the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor deduces that a machine in the lamp above Amy's head has made her forget the last twenty minutes; basic memory wipe. Mandy explains that anyone 16 and older can choose to use a booth once every five years; the Doctor jokes that everyone choosing to forget is "democracy in action". Mandy wonders if the Doctor is Scottish as well, to which he says "I'm much worse than Scottish." The Doctor explains that the machine won't show him the film as he is not human; Amy points out that he looks human. However, the Doctor retorts that humans look Time Lord; his species came first. When asked if there are other Time Lords, the Doctor tells her that there isn't anymore; just him. The rest died on a "bad day". And now, all he does is help people every single day that he can. Rubbing his hands together, the Doctor comes to a decision. "Hold on; we're bringing down the government!" He slams his fist on the "protest" button, making the door shut and the floor open to the red abyss that Timmy fell into. While Amy screams in terror, the Doctor is overjoyed, telling her to instead say, "Wheee!" Both plummet down a chute. Liz Ten goes over to Mandy, who recognises her once Liz takes off her mask.
Amy and the Doctor land in a rubbish dump at the heart of the ship, which the Doctor jokes is Lancashire. He then notices that only food refuse is down there with them, and Amy notices the floor is all squishy. A scan from the sonic tells him the truth: they're in a mouth of a large beast. As pipes have been surgically implanted in the beast, they can try using the normal "entrance" to escape; however, it is "closed for business". Amy tries walking to the teeth, accidentally causing the swallow reflex. To avoid being digested, the Doctor uses the sonic to make the beast vomit.
Amy awakens to find herself in an overspill pipe, where the Doctor explains that she has no injuries and is covered in sick. The Doctor sees that the only way they can get back into the ship is to press another "forget" button. When they refuse to press the switch, the Smilers at the end of the corridor not only become angry but physically step out of their booths and move to attack them. They are rescued by the mask-less Liz Ten, who enters from the other side of the door and shoots the Smilers down with a gun.
Liz explains that she tracked the device she gave the Doctor; she heard everything they did through it. Liz jokes that the Doctor is a bit hard to miss; "Mysterious Stranger M.O.; intelligence of higher alien life forms, hair of an idiot". Walking through a hall, Liz goes on to explain that the Doctor was old drinking buddies with Henry 12, "Vicky" knighted and exiled him on the same day, and he at least once shared tea and scones with Liz 2. "And so much for the 'Virgin Queen', you bad, bad boy!" The Doctor immediately realises who Liz is: Queen Elizabeth X - Liz Ten. She makes them duck and shoots down more Smilers. "I'm the bloody Queen, mate; basically, I rule".
Walking through another corridor, they notice another root coming from the creature pounding against a barred opening. Amy explains her previous encounter with the root that burst through the road; the Doctor confirms that the roots are part of the same creature whose mouth they were just inside and that it's reaching out. Liz wonders if the beast is infesting the kingdom, but is more angry that someone is feeding her subjects to it. Explaining that there is a high-speed vator to her quarters nearby, Liz walks off with Mandy. Watching the roots continue to bang against the bars, the Doctor sadly tells Amy that they shouldn't have come here. Amy remembers her message to herself. Hawthorne sees them on the monitor and calls it in, saying since Liz has seen the truth, it's time to activate the pre-agreed protocol.
In Liz's room, Amy fixes her hair as the Queen goes on to explain that she has been investigating the creature for ten years, ever since she came to the throne at the age of forty. Liz had her ageing process slowed down; "keeps me looking like the stamps." With everyone knowing who she is, Liz wears her mask for anonymity; the Doctor notes that, because the mask is made of air-balanced porcelain, it must have been made to perfectly fit her face. Though he points out that it's at least 200 years old. Liz seems briefly confused, wondering why an antique would be of any concern in their situation.
At that moment, the hooded men enter Liz's room and demand that she come with them. However, when she protests, their heads rotate to show angry Smiler faces; they are half-human, half-Smiler. Called Winders, they're in charge of keeping the peace on Starship UK. Liz tells the Winders that she is still their Queen; they agree, but tell her that, on the highest authority, she must go to the Tower of London.
They are taken to the Tower in the bowels of the ship, where Liz meets Hawthorne, a senior member of the government; apparently, he's not been seen for a while. Seeing children being put to work, they question this; Hawthorne explains protesters and citizens of limited value are fed to the beast. However, it won't eat children for some reason. He calls the Doctor and Amy lucky for being the first adults it has spared. The Doctor retorts that they're very lucky to be in the torture chamber of the Tower of London; "except it isn't, except it is; depends on your perspective". He leads Amy and the Queen over to pit, which has a laser periodically zapping the creature's brain. They wonder what it is, to which the Doctor repeats that it's up to their perspective. It's either the gas pedal, Starship UK's go faster button, or the exposed pain centre of the creature's brain being repeatedly tortured to force it to continue flying the ship across the stars.
Clearly disgusted, the Queen demands the creature's immediate release; however, no-one moves. When she demands an answer, Hawthorne insists he is simply obeying the orders of a higher authority. Liz protests, calling herself the highest authority on the ship. The Doctor brings her attention back to the impossibility of her mask. How could a mask have been made for her specifically 200 years before when she's only 50? The Doctor answers his own question: "They slowed your body clock, all right, but you're not fifty. Nearer... three hundred." She's reigned the same ten years over and over again, each time choosing to forget the truth. As Liz takes this in, Hawthorne confirms that he, the Winders and the Smilers all work for her.
Hawthorne plays a recording of Liz Ten; she explains that the British people were faced with destruction when Earth was devastated by the solar flares, and the children screamed in pain. All other countries had taken to the sky, but Britain lacked the resources to build their own spaceship. But then, "like a miracle", the creature — the last of the star whales — appeared to them. The government trapped it, and built their ship around it, using the creature in place of an engine; its very beating heart powers the ship. The recording once again gives Liz the option: "forget" or "abdicate". Pressing abdicate will release the star whale — but in doing so will destroy the ship and kill everyone onboard.
The Doctor then pulls a grate off, allowing a tendril to emerge; he tells the humans that this noise is what they all didn't want to hear and points his sonic screwdriver at it. At that moment, a high pitched scream rings through the room; it's the voice of the star whale. He declares that there is no choice but a mercy killing. He will release powerful electric shock to the star whale's brain, leaving it a vegetable but still sustaining Starship UK; it is the only choice other than either leaving the creature to endure more torture for centuries or killing every human on the ship. He then states that he intends to abandon the name "the Doctor" once the deed is done. He expresses his fury towards all of the humans who have allowed this situation to arise; he is also angry with Amy for trying to keep the truth from him by pressing "forget". Amy tries to apologise but he isn't interested and tells her that he'll be taking her back to Leadworth after this is all over.
However, as the Doctor sets up the massive electrical charge which will render the star whale brain-dead, Amy remembers the Doctor's encouragement that she notice everything. Amy sees Mandy find Timmy, not knowing that a tendril from the star whale has risen up behind her. Timmy looks on in fear. However, the tendril simply taps Mandy's shoulder, getting her attention. The tendril plays with them instead of attacking. Amy then remembers the Doctor is the last of his kind and only ever interferes when children need help; she also remembers Liz's recording about how the children suffered until the last of the star whales arrived. This has Amy remember when the Doctor helped her when she was scared of the crack in her wall, making her realise the star whale is, in fact, benevolent and has been voluntarily propelling the ship because of its compassion for children. Shouting at the Doctor to stop, Amy makes Liz Ten press the "abdicate" button and the brain stimulus halts. The star whale is freed. The whole ship shakes.
However, much to their surprise, the creature continues to power the ship, with Hawthorne observing that they have actually increased speed. Amy huffs at him, "Yeah, well, you've stopped torturing the pilot!" Liz wonders why the star whale hasn't dislodged itself from Starship UK yet, before Amy reveals it volunteered its services - the humans were so desperate for help, they did not catch wind of its intentions. They outright trapped and tortured the creature for fear it would abandon them in their time of need. Explaining her actions, Amy says that "if you are very old and the last of your kind" like the star whale — and also just like the Doctor — then "you just can't stand there and watch children cry."
On an observation deck, the Doctor looks out into space, deep in thought over the events that have just transpired. Amy walks up behind him, handing him Liz's mask as a souvenir from their adventure there. She explains that Liz has decided that there will be no more secrets in Starship UK; everyone will know the star whale is to thank for their salvation from the inferno on Earth. Calmly, the Doctor points out to Amy that she could have killed the entire British nation if she was wrong. Amy points out that he could have killed the star whale. She knew how it would react because of its similarities with the Doctor — "Very old and very kind, and the very, very last. Sound a bit familiar?" They share a hug.
They walk through the market street, back to the TARDIS, as Amy wonders if it's really okay to leave without saying goodbye. The Doctor tells her that they'll wonder about that and come up with stories, saying it's a big day tomorrow. Amy, shocked, stops and asks him what he means. The Doctor tells her that it's always a big day tomorrow for him because he skips the little ones. Amy, relieved that he didn't know about her wedding, asks him if there was anything he ever ran away from because he was scared or just because he could. The Doctor says yes, but it was a long time ago; his travels through time and space were the end result. Amy tries revealing the reason she wants to go back the morning after they took off, but the sound of the TARDIS phone ringing distracts them.
Inside, the Doctor works on the TARDIS console as Amy answers the phone; however, the caller is a bit vague about who they are. The Doctor asks Amy to get the specifics; his travels have him meeting different people who have important positions or titles in different points in time. Learning that it's his old buddy British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the Doctor takes the call. Winston tells the Doctor that he's in a bit of a tricky situation; he asks the Doctor for help — as the shadow of a Dalek glides into view. The Doctor and Amy set off to help Churchill.
Amy recites a poem, a positive reprise of the verses spoken by the young girl from the Vator monitor.
The star whale continues to ferry humanity through the stars. The people will enjoy newfound freedom and liberation from their police state, but — unbeknownst to the residents of Starship UK — a luminous, white crack has appeared on the hull of the ship. One rather like the one on Amy's bedroom wall...
- The Doctor - Matt Smith
- Amy Pond - Karen Gillan
- Liz 10 - Sophie Okonedo
- Hawthorne - Terrence Hardiman
- Mandy - Hannah Sharp
- Timmy - Alfie Field
- Morgan - Christopher Good
- Peter - David Ajala
- Poem girl - Catrin Richards
- Winder - Jonathan Battersby
- Voice of Smilers / Winder - Chris Porter
- Churchill - Ian McNeice
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis|
|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 tells Amy that he is the last of the Time Lords.
- The Smiler praises Mabel, Alfie, Tabitha, Ranjit, Chloe, Ben and Mandy before calling Timmy a "bad boy".
Theories and Concepts
- Mandy tells Amy that Scotland wanted its own ship, and Amy says, "Nothing changes", a joke about Scottish independence, which was a hot topic in her time period.
- The Vators resemble and use the London Underground logo, as well as warn people to "mind the doors" ("mind the gap").
- The message shown in the voting booths resembles older 20th century BBC news broadcasts.
- Sophie Okonedo is credited as "Liz 10" on-screen, and as "Liz" in Radio Times.
- A cut line, revealed in an Eleventh Doctor Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition, would have stated that there were other nation-ships and that there used to be travel between them, but that Starship UK sealed off its "borders" several decades ago.
- Like The End of the World, this episode featured the Doctor taking a new companion into the distant future for her first trip in the TARDIS. It also featured a scene comparable to the moment the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler stared out of a large window into space. Rose mentioned that her mother would no longer be alive by this time, and Amy made a similar comment about herself. In both cases, the Doctor was not impressed.
- Like in The Doctor Dances, the resolution to the main problem of the plot is solved by an action people at first believed would cause another effect, and so tried to avoid. Nancy tried to avoid Jamie for fear of becoming infected by the Empty Child, whilst Liz 10 always chose to forget since she believed releasing the star whale would destroy Starship UK.
- Another crack can be seen at the very end of the story, in roughly the same shape as the crack on Amy's wall and the TARDIS monitor in The Eleventh Hour, continuing the Series 5 theme of cracks appearing throughout the universe.
- Amy stopping the Doctor from lobotomising the star whale echoes Donna Noble's pleas for the Tenth Doctor to stop his attack on Empress of the Racnoss and her children in The Runaway Bride. This time, however, Amy was able to stop the Doctor from acting on his plan.
- This is the first average length Doctor Who episode (forty-five minutes) since The Stolen Earth. The intervening episodes were all specials or extended, not including the amalgamated Dreamland.
- A red telephone box, exactly the same as the one destroyed by the sonic screwdriver in Leadworth, appears in the background.
- This episode aired on the same day as the K9 episode Sirens of Ceres was first broadcast on Disney XD in the UK. It also aired on the same day that Liberation was first broadcast on Network Ten in Australia.
- This is the only episode to use the new Eleventh Doctor opening theme in the "Next Time trailer". Why the practice of using the music was discontinued has never been explained.
- Sophie Okonedo (Elizabeth X) previously played Alison Cheney, the companion of an alternative Ninth Doctor, in WC: Scream of the Shalka.
- The resolution of this episode bears a resemblance to that of TV: Rose. In both cases, a relatively new companion is responsible for saving the day, rather than the Doctor. Also, on both occasions, the Doctor speaks with disdain about humans and is surprised by his companion's resourcefulness. In both stories, he expresses a keen sense of the motions of his surroundings, or the lack thereof.
- Winston Churchill calls the Doctor at the end of the episode, and the shadow of a Dalek is seen. This episode leads straight into Victory of the Daleks.
- Beginning with this episode and continuing for most of Series 5, North American broadcasts on Space and BBC America precede the opening credits with a specially recorded monologue spoken by Karen Gillan, in character as Amy Pond, explaining the premise of the series over scenes from different episodes.
- Steven Moffat regarded this as his least favorite episode he wrote, calling it a bit of a mess. In 2019, he has mellowed his opinion down as revealed on an Instagram post, with the encouragement of Russell T Davies.
- The set for the whale's tongue was challenging for both the art department and the actors. With guidance from the stunt co-ordinator, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were required to slide down a short slide before dropping six feet. Gillan stated that this was the "most bizzare" moment of filming for her.
- For the opening scene in which the Doctor holds Amy's ankle while she is suspended in space, Karen Gillan was hoisted on wires above the TARDIS prop in front of a greenscreen while a wind machine created the effects of being in space.
- Many of logos used on board the Starship UK parody the BBC logo and idents used in the early 1960s.
- In the original script, the Doctor and Liz 10 did not meet properly until she rescued him and Amy in the overspill pipe.
- Karen Gillan put in some of her own wonder at the set into Amy's actions when she admires the street for the first time.
- This is currently the last episode to feature the "Middle Eight" in the closing credits.
- Liz X mentions that the Doctor had "tea and scones with Liz II". Matt Smith would later play the Queen's husband Prince Phillip in The Crown. She also mentions how "Vicky was a bit on the fence" about the Doctor. In Victoria, Queen Victoria was played by Jenna Coleman.
- 6.7 million - First broadcast
- 8.42 million - Final BARB ratings
- Mamhilad Park Estate, Pontypool - Starship UK
- Neath Abbey ruins - Tower of London dungeons
- The Orangery, Margam Country Park, Port Talbot - Elizabeth X's palace
(All DWM 573)
- It was originally rumoured that Sophie Okonedo was to play the character called "Liz Ten" which then was rumoured to be "Queen Elizabeth X". Okonedo was confirmed as playing the Masked Woman. In dialogue, it was confirmed that her character was indeed "Elizabeth X". In the credits, she was listed as "Liz 10".
- It was rumoured that the Doctor and Amy will be swallowed by a creature, 'the Beast', and have to make the 'Beast' regurgitate then to escape. This is proven more likely with them both being drenched (having wet clothes) in the trailer. The Doctor and Amy actually managed to escape being swallowed, only entering the creature's mouth, but are still covered in "sick". .
- This episode was believed to be titled Meddling Monks by fans prior to transmission.
- When Timmy boards the elevator at the beginning of the episode, the Smiler is smiling at the occupants' standing area. However, before it rotates to its "frown face", it is already seen with its frown face aimed toward the standing area in the external view-shot of the elevator.
- When Amy's age is given as 1306, the computer screen reads 1308 instead.
- When the Doctor and Amy are in the star whale's mouth, the light given off by the sonic screwdriver is the previous version's blue, instead of the usual current green. The sonic screwdriver's diode is shown to change colours in TV: Cold War.
- The star whale's mouth is clearly depicted at the end of the episode as being in open space. However, when the Doctor and Amy are "ejected" from said mouth, they land inside the ship, as opposed to outside of it. No logical explanation is given for this. We can assume that after the torture ended, the whale's mouth could have been freed from attachment to the ship, also giving an explanation to the violent shakes of the ship.
- After being thrown out of the mouth of the star whale, the Doctor's fringe is on his forehead. The next shot, it is pushed back. It returns to normal in all following shots.
- In the scene where the winders kidnap Liz 10, the Doctor and Amy, despite only the winder's head rotating, the creature's whole body appears to have turned round in its clothes.
- Amy is considerably more amused by being recognised and accepted by the British government as 1,306 years old than Barbara Wright was when Vicki Pallister calculated the latter's age as 550 years, but not as tickled as Ian Chesterton was by Barbara's reaction. (TV: The Rescue)
- A sign with Magpie Electricals can be seen. The brand was first created by Mr Magpie (TV: The Idiot's Lantern) and has continued to appear attached to various electronics years later. (TV: The Sound of Drums, et al.)
- The advent of the Earth being rendered uninhabitable by solar flares not long before the 30th century was also why humans entered suspended hibernation in Space Station Nerva. (TV: The Ark in Space, The Sontaran Experiment)
- The First Doctor also encountered humans escaping to another planet on a spaceship due to the imminent destruction of the Earth. There, the Doctor also concluded he was on a spaceship through the vibrations detected in the ground. (TV: The Ark)
- Liz Ten mentions that the Tenth Doctor was knighted and exiled by Queen Victoria, (TV: Tooth and Claw) that he had a relationship with the "Virgin Queen", (TV: The End of Time, The Shakespeare Code, The Day of the Doctor) that he was an old drinking buddy of Henry XII, and that he had tea and scones with "Liz 2". (TV: Silver Nemesis)
- The crack that appears in the side of Starship UK was previously seen on Amy's wall and the TARDIS' monitor. (TV: The Eleventh Hour)
- The Doctor's, "You look human/You look Time Lord", exchange with Amy mirrors a similar conversation between his previous incarnation and Lady Christina de Souza. (TV: Planet of the Dead) The Doctor also mentions that the Time Lords came before the human race. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks, The Trial of a Time Lord, The Sound of Drums, et al.)
- The star whale's exposed brain being restrained by humans is similar to the Ood Brain. That brain was also released in the end, and the restrained creature was freed. Similarly, the Doctor allows the beast's screams of pain to be heard by others, just as the Doctor uses his telepathic powers to let Donna hear the Ood's song. (TV: Planet of the Ood)
- The Smilers are clockwork (or at least clockwork-based) androids. (TV: The Girl in the Fireplace)
- Amy asks the Doctor if he was a parent and he ignores the statement; he did the same to Rose's, "What?", when he told her he was a dad once. (TV: Fear Her)
- The star whale bears some semblance to the creature from TV: Meat.
- The Sixth Doctor previously encountered space whales. (AUDIO: The Song of Megaptera)
- The voting message resembles that of the "elections" on Varos. (TV: Vengeance on Varos)
- The Doctor's temptation to renounce his name when faced with turning the star whale into a vegetable is a subtle indicator of a past incarnation that actually did renounce the title. (TV: The Name of the Doctor, The Night of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor)
- Meanwhile in the TARDIS leads directly into this episode.
- Amy's actions to save the Star Whale and stop the Doctor from committing murder convinces him to take on travelling companions again. He had renounced the practice after his friend Donna Noble lost her memory. (TV: Journey's End) He had previously turned down a possible companion (TV: Planet of the Dead) and had taken Amy from Leadworth (TV: The Eleventh Hour) because he was intrigued that her house was too big for an orphan. (TV: The Big Bang)
- When the Smilers and Winders are revealed to be just following orders, the Doctor says "And with that sentence, you just lost the right to even talk to me." The exact same line was previously said by the Ninth Doctor. (TV: Bad Wolf)
- Amy is nearly kicked off the TARDIS for bad behaviour. Adam Mitchell, companion to the Ninth Doctor actually did get expelled from the TARDIS permanently for bad behaviour. (TV: The Long Game)
- The Doctor tells Amy he once ran away from somewhere. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The War Games, Remembrance of the Daleks, Heaven Sent, Twice Upon a Time; AUDIO: The Beginning; COMIC: Time & Time Again)
Home video releases
- BBC Video - Doctor Who Series Five - Volume One was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 7 June 2010 (UK only), featuring The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, Victory of the Daleks, and the featurette The Monster Diaries.
- The complete Series 5 boxset was later released on 8 November 2010.