The Doctor's Meditation was a prequel to the ninth series of Doctor Who, and was released 15 September 2015 in cinemas in a select group of countries, the USA, Denmark, Russia and Canada, as a bonus feature as part of a double-bill of the 3D-converted versions of Dark Water and Death in Heaven. It was later released on Facebook in the United Kingdom, and aired on TV in Australia.
It was the first theatrical Doctor Who story since the previous season's Deep Breath prequel, and only the fifth overall.
As the Doctor prepares for his upcoming demise, he beds down in an unusual location.
In a castle in Essex in 1138, the Doctor is meditating. As Bors runs in, the Time Lord stirs, and asks Bors how many days he has been there. Bors informs a disbelieving Doctor that he has been there about three hours. Bors asks the Doctor if he had another friend. The Doctor, unsatisfied with the quality of the water in his chalice, exits the castle to build a well.
Bors and his men begin to dig a well on the Doctor's orders. Five days later, they have tried eleven different spots and none of them have yielded water. The Doctor simply responds by saying, "well, twelve is my lucky number". Seven days later, they finally dig a well. Bors offers the Doctor a bucket of it. Uninterested, the Doctor suggests a visitor's centre for the well. Bors drops the bucket back down the well, deeply frustrated by the Doctor's actions.
Five days later, the Doctor is practising his magic tricks. Bors alerts him to the fact that his order for the throne room extension has been filled — except for the sun-roof since nobody knows what a sun-roof is. The Doctor, in an attempt to test his magic, asks Bors where the coin he had been practising with is, to which Bors replies that it was still in his right hand. Frustrated, the Doctor protests, bluffing that the coin is not there. Bors continues to question him on what his presence means. The Doctor concedes that he is not the idiot he originally thought him to be.
Four days later, Bors prepares the Doctor's final meditation; he and the Time Lord converse, the Doctor claiming that he only has one day left and must genuinely dedicate some time to thought. Bors replies that he believes the Doctor incapable of silence. Bors leaves the Doctor, only for the Doctor to call him back a few moments later, to offer him a joust. Bors stands his ground, demanding an answer or he will not leave the room, intending to force the Doctor to tell him his story. The Time Lord states that he recently let someone down; he found a battlefield, and although he had come across many before, this one would be his last.
On another world, the sound of gunfire and shouts of soldiers penetrate the mist...
- The Doctor is wearing plaid trousers. He is also wearing a worn out Label Lab Misty Mountain graphic t-shirt.
- The Doctor's Meditation was first shown prior to a 3-D screening of Dark Water and Death in Heaven at 7:30 PM local time in the US and Canada. Alongside The Five Doctors and The TV Movie, it is one of the few stories to be first shown in the US. It was also released in the UK on the official Doctor Who Facebook page, the first mini-episode to do so.
- It is also one of the few stories to first be shown in cinemas. It has since been broadcast on television in the United States on BBC America on 18 September 2015 and the ABC in Australia on 19 September 2015.
- The final scene of a battlefield leads directly into the first episode of Series 9; The Magician's Apprentice.
- This is the first live-action "pure historical" since Black Orchid in 1982.
- From the Twelfth Doctor's perspective, this story takes place between hearing Colony Sarff's message, and his "axe fight" with Bors. As such, it takes place entirely within the narrative of TV: The Magician's Apprentice.
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- The Doctor meditates, as he had previously told Ohila that he would do. (WC: Prologue)
- The Doctor is called a magician. He previously mentioned that he accidentally came up with the look of a magician. (TV: Time Heist) He was also previously called one. (TV: Last Christmas)
- The Doctor mentions he's avoiding an old familiarity. (WC: Prologue) This familiarity later turns out to be Davros. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)
- The Doctor is terrible at magic tricks, when he ask Bors where his coin went but refuses to show his hand, insisting it's not there. (TV: Kinda)
- The Doctor again uses chalk to write, (TV: Deep Breath, Into the Dalek, Robot of Sherwood, Listen) but instead of using a blackboard, he writes on the floor like he did immediately after regeneration. (TV: Deep Breath)
- The Doctor asks Bors if he would like a friendly sword fight, pulling out his spoon. He previously battled Robin Hood using the spoon. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
Home video releases
DVD and Blu-ray releases
- The mini-episode was included in the Complete Series 9 DVD and Blu-ray box sets in the UK and North America.
- Prior to its release in the box set, it was also included as a bonus feature on the North American 3-D Blu-ray release of Dark Water/Death in Heaven.
- In lieu of there being a theatrical showing or release with the 3D Blu-ray version of Dark Water/Death in Heaven, the short was released on 17 September 2015 to watch for free in the UK on Facebook, Google Play and Amazon Instant Video. However, the content is geo-locked and cannot be viewed outside of the UK. It is also available to purchase on iTunes.
- The Doctor's Meditation on DoctorWhoTV.co.uk - http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/watch-the-doctors-meditation-76077.htm
- 'Doctor Who' Returns to Cinemas with a Never-Before-Seen Season 9 Prequel. BBC America. Retrieved on 15 September 2015.