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The Doctor's Wife was the fourth episode of series 6 of Doctor Who.

It was notable for being the first episode of the show to be written by Gaiman, a famed fantasy and comic book writer. Such was the notoriety of Gaiman that he was given some of the privileges of head writer, though not complete creative control. (He even wrote the production diary section in Doctor Who Magazine and hosted Doctor Who Confidential.)

The story received an exceptional amount of pre-broadcast hype in part due of the length of time which had passed since its inception. Originally scheduled as a part of series 5, it was not produced until the 2011 series, and rumours of Gaiman being recruited to write an episode for Steven Moffat dated back as early as 2008, when then-incoming showrunner was preparing to take over from Russell T Davies.

Narratively, The Doctor's Wife was important because it depicted the Doctor's TARDIS in human form, and offered revelations about the relationship of the two time travellers. It was also the first episode of BBC Wales Doctor Who to extensively feature the corridors of the TARDIS — a setting common to several stories of the 1963 version of the show. It also contained the first appearance of the Ood in the Steven Moffat era, and was thus the first time that Russell T Davies was formally credited as their creator.

In this story, the Doctor finally vents all his frustration at the TARDIS for her inability to get him where he wishes to go, which usually ends up causing one of his adventures. However, the TARDIS is also finally able to tell her side of the story; she wished to leave Gallifrey as much as the Doctor, so had allowed him to steal her. As for its seemingly faulty navigation, the TARDIS takes the Doctor where he is needed most.

The story is also notable for reintroducing the concept that Time Lords could change gender during a regeneration. While the concept had originally been seen in The Curse of Fatal Death, where the Doctor regenerated into the "Female Doctor", and in Exile, a Big Finish story set in a parallel universe, which featured a controversial incarnation of a female Doctor, the reintroduction of the concept in The Doctor's Wife was the first time in the 2005 revival it had been brought up when The Doctor mentions how his old friend the Corsair had at least two female incarnations. This concept would be greatly expanded on: Dark Water [+]Steven Moffat, Doctor Who series 8 (BBC One, 2014). introduced the first female incarnation of the Master, known as Missy, Hell Bent [+]Steven Moffat, Doctor Who series 9 (BBC One, 2015). saw the General regenerate into a female incarnation, and, finally, Twice Upon a Time [+]Steven Moffat, Doctor Who Christmas Special 2017 (BBC One, 2017). depicted the regeneration of the Twelfth Doctor into the female Thirteenth. This was all a progression towards the recognition and acceptance that the Doctor could be played by a woman, despite it already having been done twice prior, finally given form with the casting of Jodie Whittaker in 2017. Fugitive of the Judoon [+]Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall, Doctor Who series 12 (BBC One, 2020). would also introduce another female incarnation of the Doctor in the form of Jo Martin's Fugitive Doctor.

Like Love & Monsters [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 2 (BBC One, 2006). and Utopia [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 3 (BBC One, 2007). before it, The Doctor's Wife was also notable for its connection to a Blue Peter competition. Teenager Susannah Leah's winning design for a TARDIS console was prominently featured in this episode, and subsequently turned into a Character Options action figure set.

As an episode which would receive much praise from fans, as shown in Doctor Who Magazine polls, The Doctor's Wife was also the recipient of Doctor Who's first Hugo Award (not won by the head writer), since it received the 2012 Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Award.


The Eleventh Doctor receives a message from an old Time Lord friend. The message brings him, Rory Williams and Amy Pond to another universe where they meet an alien who eats TARDISes.


In another universe, a woman named Idris is led down a corridor by an old woman referred to as "Auntie", with Idris admitting that she is afraid of what's about to happen to her. Auntie tells her that she is right to be afraid, as it will hurt, but that her actions will serve a greater purpose. A man called "Uncle" tells Idris that he wishes he was the one, but then darkly laughs that he isn't. She asks what will happen, to which Auntie explains: "Nephew" will drain Idris of her mind and soul, leaving her empty until her new soul comes. A green-eyed Ood brings her onto a platform and drains her mind and soul in preparation for the arrival of a Time Lord.

In the main universe, the Eleventh Doctor's TARDIS is floating in deep space; regardless of this, however, there is a knock at the door, thoroughly puzzling Amy and Rory. The Doctor, confused and intrigued, opens the door to find a small white cube, which flies into the TARDIS and whizzes about wildly before he is finally able to catch it. When Amy and Rory wonder what it is, the Doctor excitedly responds that he has mail.


"I've got mail!"

The Doctor begins flipping levers in a hurry. Amy and Rory demand to know what is going on. The Doctor refers to the object as a hypercube — a form of communication for Time Lords. This one is from the Doctor's old friend, the Corsair, a Time Lord he knew across several incarnations, at least two female. and comes from outside the universe. They follow the signal, deleting the TARDIS rooms for fuel, and succeed in breaking the barriers of their universe, landing on an unfamiliar planet in a bubble universe.

Upon landing, the TARDIS loses total power; the Doctor worriedly explains that the matrix — the heart and soul of the TARDIS — has completely vanished. He then wonders where it could have gone. Elsewhere, Idris awakens with the sound of the TARDIS whooshing coming from her as golden light emanates from her mouth and hands. Auntie and Uncle watch as Idris looks at her glowing hands.

Elsewhere, the time travellers step out of the TARDIS to find that they've landed on a planetoid junkyard. Optimistically, the Doctor observes that the yard is full of rift energy, and so the TARDIS should refuel. They are spotted by Idris, who kisses, then bites the Doctor, calling him her "thief" while speaking madly. She is closely followed by Auntie and Uncle; all make their apologies for Idris, explaining that she is insane. However, Idris says she is not insane and tries saying something, but then tries kissing the Doctor again. She is stopped from doing so. Idris tells the Doctor that "the little boxes will make you angry" and tells Amy what "petrichor" means. Auntie tells Idris to get some sleep and she agrees, saying she will look for an "off switch". She then faints. Uncle then says sadly that Idris has died, but Rory examines her and says she hasn't.


Nephew, the Ood.

Uncle then asks Nephew (the Ood) to take Idris somewhere she cannot bite others. The Doctor and his companions turn around to see the green-eyed Ood. Amy is shocked, but the Doctor calms her and explains what Nephew is. The Doctor tries talking with Nephew but finds that his translation sphere is broken. As a gesture of goodwill, the Doctor fixes the device; upon activating, it plays a series of interwoven distress messages from various Time Lords. The Doctor demands Auntie and Uncle tell him who else is there, but they say it's just the four of them and the House. The travellers are confused; Auntie explains that the world that they're on is House. She then asks if they want to meet him. The Doctor agrees, taking Amy and Rory with him into a cavern, led by Auntie and Uncle while Nephew takes Idris away.

Inside the cavern, Auntie shows the travellers a vent cover that the Doctor immediately examines. He then tells his companions the asteroid is sentient. Nephew joins them as Auntie explains that the four of them breathe House's air, eat his food, live on his "back" and "smell its armpits" as Amy points out by how the air smells. House then takes control of the three natives, greeting the travellers — specifically the Doctor as a Time Lord. The Doctor then asks House if there are other Time Lords on him, but House says though there have been many TARDISes in the past, none are there now. The Doctor then tells House that he is the last Time Lord and his TARDIS is the last as well. House only says it's a pity as the Time Lords were kind. House offers the Doctor, Amy, and Rory free rein for as long as they'd like, giving them the opportunity to explore. As the travellers leave, Auntie, Uncle and Nephew look on with worried faces.

In the meantime, Idris has awoken and begins babbling random lines and gibberish. She then realises the Doctor isn't there and calls out for her "thief". Nearby, the Doctor hears her and tells his companions that he knows House is lying because of what he heard on Nephew's translator. However, Amy points out even if there are other Time Lords, the Doctor will have to explain his annihilation of the rest of their species to them; he wants to be forgiven. Wondering what the Doctor needs to help in his search, Amy is instructed to retrieve the sonic screwdriver from his spare coat. Amy gives him her phone to keep in touch and leaves Rory to look after him. However, Rory follows Amy on the Doctor's orders. He believes the Doctor will be okay, but Amy thinks different — the Doctor might get emotional and make mistakes. They enter the TARDIS as a green smoke begins swirling out of the ground and around it.

Amy calls the Doctor, asking him where he said the sonic screwdriver was and is told to have a long look for it; the Doctor actually has it with him and locks the TARDIS with it. He then traces the distress signals to a cupboard. He is dismissive of the idea of all the Time Lords being in a cupboard but is soon prompted to open it when the voices calling for help continue. Inside the cupboard, the Doctor discovers the horrific truth: the Ood's translation sphere was picking up a series of hypercubes, all transmitting similar distress signals from Time Lords that are now long dead.

Auntie and Uncle — at House's behest — released the hypercube as a means of luring the Doctor to the asteroid. Distraught, the Doctor turns on them and deduces that House has been "repairing" them with bits and pieces of the Time Lords who have landed here. Angered, he tells them to run.

Back in the TARDIS, Amy and Rory realise that the Doctor has lied to them and call him. The Doctor says that he lied and is sorry, but then wonders how Idris knew that finding the hypercubes could have made him angry. He tells his companions to stay still and hangs up. Amy realises the Doctor is emotional, which is very bad. A green glow comes from outside the windows, prompting Rory to agree with her, at least with the part about their predicament being bad.

The Doctor confronts Idris; he wonders how she could have possibly known, leading her to reveal that she is, in fact, the TARDIS — on landing, House removed the TARDIS matrix and implanted it in her body. While the Doctor's reluctant to believe her, he comes to realise it's true when she explains that she "borrowed" him because she wanted to see the universe, and he was the only Time Lord that was mad enough. He releases her from the cage in which she has been imprisoned and, with her help, deduces that the House "eats TARDISes" by feeding on the Rift energy bursting from them; but because he can't "eat" a TARDIS without blowing a hole in the universe, the House removed the matrix and placed it inside Idris with the hope that it would die off on its own, far away from the console room.

Realising that Amy and Rory are in danger, the Doctor rushes outside. He calls them, telling them to "get the hell out of there!" Amy tells the Doctor that he locked the doors, but the Doctor has unlocked them with the sonic screwdriver; House has begun possessing the TARDIS instead of eating it and is keeping it locked. The Doctor reaches the TARDIS and tries opening it manually by snapping his fingers, but he is unsuccessful.

Inside, the Cloister Bell rings as a green glow fills the console room; the TARDIS vanishes from the asteroid. The Doctor is left dumbstruck by these events; he has no idea what to do, which causes him to smile with joy. He then slaps himself to get back on task of following after House to save his companions.

Inside the control room, House reveals his presence and explains that he will kill Amy and Rory unless they can defend why they should live; Rory claims House needs entertainment, which is why Auntie and Uncle lived on his old home — he likes to make others suffer. Hearing this, House simply tells them to entertain him then, ordering them to run — which they do without much persuasion.

Back on the asteroid, the Doctor tells Idris that the TARDIS has been hijacked just as Auntie and Uncle walk up to them. Auntie explains it's time for them to "pop off", but Uncle is against it — without House around, they lack the source of their life. They then die, albeit comically. Idris tells the Doctor they have to go where she landed, but stops from a pain in her side, Idris only has a short time left to live. The Doctor then asks his TARDIS if it has a name of its own and Idris tells him he named her "Sexy", much to his embarrassment. Remembering that they are in a "TARDIS junkyard," the Doctor and Idris decide to construct a TARDIS control console from the remnants of other models, though Idris rebukes the Doctor briefly when she reminds him that the so-called "junkyard" is in fact filled with the corpses of her sisters.

Elsewhere, as they run through the TARDIS corridors, Amy and Rory must contend with House's mind games; first, he separates them, then seemingly places Rory in a faster time stream than Amy whereby he ages and dies in a matter of minutes, devastating her. However, the true Rory unites with her soon afterwards.

The Doctor and Idris bond while constructing the new console, though initially, the Doctor is confrontational, accusing the TARDIS of acting like his mother and not being very reliable. Idris informs the Doctor although she has not always taken him where he's wanted to go, she's always taken him where he's needed. The Doctor expresses the desire to talk to her even when she's "inside the box," but she states that it's impossible. Moments later, she nearly collapses and informs the Doctor that her body is deteriorating rapidly.

They successfully launch the console and pursue the TARDIS through the vortex, thanks to Idris giving some of her matrix to the console. Because House has raised the TARDIS' exterior shields, the Doctor orders Idris to send Amy a telepathic message, directing her to one of the old control rooms; she mistakes Rory for "the pretty one" and sends him the message instead.

Amy and Rory Discover the Old Console Room

Amy and Rory take refuge in the now-archived coral console room.

On their way to the console room, House continues to play with Amy's mind, turning off the lights so that she can't see. As Rory goes ahead, Amy is confronted by Nephew, who has been brought aboard to do House's bidding. The couple flees to the old control room only to find the doors locked; Idris sends Rory another telepathic message to give him the password. Amy, remembering the TARDIS interface is telepathic, mentally visualises all four of the words, remembering Idris' seemingly random reference to the definition for "petrichor", and they succeed in entering the control room that was used by the Doctor's ninth and tenth incarnations. They manage to lower the shields just as the "invading matrix" materialises. House is able to enter the room.

House is annoyed that they lowered the shields, hoping they could have been his servants along with Nephew, but decides they are too much trouble; Nephew is ordered to kill them. The makeshift console then materialises, atomising the Ood. The Doctor reunites with Amy and Rory, introducing them to Idris, whose body is failing. Realising how little time they have left, the Doctor engages House, explaining that he will need the Doctor's help re-entering the larger universe. He suggests that House delete 30% of the TARDIS rooms for extra fuel. House agrees, firstly deleting the room in which they all stand.

However, instead of dying, they find themselves in the main control room, where the Doctor reveals the emergency failsafe that House failed to consider: all living things present in deleted rooms are automatically transported to the main control room. House sees no reason to delay killing the Doctor and his friends now that they have reached the main universe, leading the Doctor and Amy to enthusiastically congratulate him for defeating them; however, the Doctor is merely buying time, watching as Idris dies just after whispering something in Rory's ear. The Doctor reminds House of his plan — to trap the matrix in a mortal body, where it would die off safely far away from the control room; however, this plan has failed, and the matrix has been released into the console room. Upon entering the console, the matrix quickly overrides House and the entity screams in pain as it is consumed.

The matrix has one last conversation with the Doctor, projecting itself as Idris's form into the room. She remembers the sad word she'd forgotten all along — "alive" — which the Doctor insists isn't sad until it's over. She also tells him the one thing she never got to say to him: "Hello." The Doctor pleads that he doesn't want her to go, but she disappears in a burst of light, whispering, "I love you", before vanishing entirely. The heartbroken Doctor tearfully begins to work the console as Amy and Rory look on.

The Doctor works underneath the console platform, placing a firewall around the matrix to prevent it from being removed again. Rory admits to the Doctor that, before she died, Idris whispered, "The only water in the forest is the river," which she believed they'd need to know one day. Amy asks if the TARDIS will be able to speak again, but the Doctor says no due to "spacey-wacey" reasons. As their bedroom was one of the ones deleted, the Doctor constructs them another but is disappointed that the two go for a double bed instead of a bunk bed like they had before. As the two head off, the Doctor, now with a new appreciation of the TARDIS and his relationship with her, speaks to the console and tells her they can head wherever she wants... like the Eye of Orion for some peace and relaxation or to wherever the TARDIS thinks he needs to go. One of the levers moves of its accord making the Doctor gleeful as he goes heading off into another adventure with his oldest companion leading the way as always.



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 mentions he had an umbrella that resembled the patchwork of body parts that Uncle and Auntie both have.

Time Lords[]

  • The Doctor mentions an old Time Lord friend, the Corsair. His TARDIS was destroyed by House.
  • The voices of many other Time Lords are heard coming from other hypercubes and Nephew's voicebox, include one referencing the High Council.


  • The TARDIS has or, at least, had several squash courts, as well as a scullery. The scullery and Squash Court Seven are deleted.
  • The TARDIS says that her consciousness exists simultaneously across all time and space.
  • The TARDIS refers to the Doctor as a "9-year-old trying to repair a motorbike in his bedroom".
  • The current version of the TARDIS still has many corridors, and not all run horizontal, at least after House has disabled the artificial gravity. House comments on this, indicating that he had not had corridors in the asteroid.
  • The Cloister Bell rings as House takes control of the TARDIS.
  • The TARDIS says she's archived all of her old control rooms and has already formed ones that haven't been seen yet, something that the Doctor says is not possible.

The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor mentions that he has rebuilt a TARDIS before.


Story notes[]

  • This episode had the working titles of The TARDIS Trap, The House of Nothing and Bigger on the Inside.
  • This episode was originally planned as the eleventh episode of Series 5, but because of budget limitations was delayed until Series 6 and its slot was filled by The Lodger. As a result, dialogue for Idris was added which warned the Doctor about the events which were about to unfold in The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang, recalling a similar premonition in The Edge of Destruction.[1]
  • In an interview with Neil Gaiman on BBC breakfast, he revealed that his episode is "very spooky" and that fans "are likely to be biting their nails off by the end".
  • Michael Sheen is credited as 'Voice of House' on-screen, and as 'House' in Radio Times.
  • On his blog, Neil Gaiman released a short conversation between Amy and the Doctor that did not make the final cut in the episode he wrote.[2]
  • While it has been hinted at before a few times in the franchise, most directly in the ending of TV: The End of Time, this episode offers the first concrete confirmation that Time Lords can change genders when they regenerate. This was a deliberate addition to the mythos on Gaiman's part.[3]
  • This story also marks the first time on screen that the Doctor is shown piloting a TARDIS other than his own, with the exception of during the then incomplete TV: Shada.
  • Neil Gaiman had wanted to use a classic-series-era console room for the sequences in the archived control room, but a set could not be reconstructed due to budgetary constraints. Instead, the Tenth Doctor's console was left standing in the studio at Gaiman's request, secretly waiting to be used in this episode.[4]
  • Early drafts of the script featured more of Idris before having her soul removed[5], more backstory about the Corsair's relationship with the Doctor[6], more TARDIS rooms[7], burial of Idris' corpse and clear indication that House survived its defeat.[8]
  • Neil Gaiman read the written text of his script in a video short posted on the BBC. The last lines of the script indicated that the TARDIS took the Doctor and his friends "somewhere that is almost certainly not the Eye of Orion".
  • In a talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival, Neil Gaiman revealed that the original plan for this episode focused on the idea of the Doctor being pursued by an enemy inside the TARDIS, but went through several subsequent changes; Gaiman changed the plan to focus on the companion being the one being chased as the Doctor's knowledge of his ship would make it too easy for him to escape his enemy, made the TARDIS the threat rather than just a specific alien so that the story would not follow a simple 'cat-and-mouse' formula, and then included the idea of Idris to account for what happened to the TARDIS's mind during this attack.
  • The TARDIS corridors built for this story are now standing sets, available for use in future stories.[9]
  • Since the series was revived in 2005, any episode to feature classic alien species would include a tribute in the end credits, with the exception of the Silurians for unknown reasons, until they were ultimately credited in TV: A Good Man Goes to War, crediting the aliens' original creator - e.g., "Daleks created by Terry Nation". This is the first episode to utilise this credit with an alien created in the revived series - specifically, "Ood created by Russell T Davies". The complete change in the production team before Series 5 could be in part the reason behind this.
Susannah Leah TARDIS console design

Susannah Leah's TARDIS console design, used as the Junk TARDIS.

  • The Junk TARDIS console was the subject of a 2009 design competition on Blue Peter. The winning design was by then-12-year-old Susannah Leah, whose subsequent visits to the BBC Art Department and location filming for this story were featured in the 10 May 2011 episode of Blue Peter. Leah's design was selected by Steven Moffat, Edward Thomas, the production designer for the previous series, and Tim Levell, a Blue Peter editor, along with final input among the three age-group winners from Matt Smith. Production designer Michael Pickwoad commented that Leah's design captured the nature of "bits and pieces" of what TARDIS consoles have been in the past, as well as the nature of the makeshift console needed for this episode. The drawing was redesigned faithfully by the production team into the prop for the show, including the use of a coat hanger to start the makeshift TARDIS. Leah was brought by Blue Peter to see both the set under construction and on location during filming of the makeshift TARDIS scenes, meeting Smith and the other actors and production crew.
  • The junkyard of TARDISes references the first appearance of the TARDIS in An Unearthly Child when it was sitting in a junkyard.
  • According to The Doctor Who Companion: The Eleventh Doctor Vol. 3, the gibberish Idris is heard speaking in her cell (prior to asking about fish fingers and referencing the motorbike) was supposed to be "The only water in the forest is the river" backwards.
  • Also according to The Doctor Who Companion: The Eleventh Doctor Vol. 3, Uncle, Auntie and Nephew were originally conceived as monstrous amalgams of various alien races. Their generic names were meant to suggest the loss of their individual identities, while contrasting with Idris, who was a recent arrival on House's asteroid. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that the budget could not accommodate the extensive prosthetics necessary to realise Neil Gaiman's vision. As such, the physical changes to Uncle and Auntie were rewritten to be more subtle, while Nephew was made an Ood so that an existing costume could be pressed into service.
  • According to Neil Gaiman, writing in The Brilliant Book 2012, up until the day shooting began the episode was to have begun with a shot-on-location sequence showing the hypercube inadvertently saving the Doctor, Rory and Amy from being sacrificed by a group of aliens. Later dubbed the "Planet of the Rain Gods" sequence, Gaiman writes it was rewritten as a TARDIS control room scene when the production schedule changed leaving insufficient time to film the planned opening. The Brilliant Book 2012 includes a comic strip adaptation of the aborted opening entitled Planet of the Rain Gods. Gaiman later adapted the scene as a mini-episode entitled Rain Gods that was included as a DVD/Blu-ray exclusive in the Series 7 box set, altering it to focus on the Doctor and River Song instead of Rory and Amy and omitting the reference to the hypercube.
  • The Seventh Doctor comic story, Nineveh!, contains the same narrative backdrop of this story. In the comic, the Doctor is drawn to a world outside normal space which is a junkyard for old TARDISes. There, a figure called the Watcher of Nineveh has been luring Time Lords to their deaths. The Doctor himself is nearly killed because the Watcher has the ability to penetrate and inhabit the Doctor's TARDIS, just as he did all the others. That said, the earlier story doesn't even hint at the personification of the TARDIS, beyond the fact that the Doctor calls the TARDIS "old girl". Nor does Nineveh! feature any companions or people on the "junkyard planet".
  • The Eleventh Doctor Companion mentions additional script elements that were cut before broadcast, including the fact the TARDIS indicates that the chameleon circuit is not broken - she simply stays as a police box because the Doctor likes it; and, during their farewell conversation, the TARDIS was to tell the Doctor he was forgiven for his actions in the Time War (providing narrative bookending to the earlier discussion about the Doctor wanting to be forgiven).
  • As is routine for post-2005 Doctor Who, a "NEXT TIME" trailer for the next episode is shown at the end of the episode.
  • This was the first story since Season 15's Horror of Fang Rock in which every character, with the exception of the Doctor and his companions, is dead by the end of the episode.
  • This episode marks the first time Rory is shown leaving Earth on-screen, though it is not the first time overall.
  • Neil Gaiman incorrectly attributed the Pull to Open instruction on the TARDIS as referring to the police box doors; while true that police boxes traditionally opened outwards, the sign itself refers directly to the panel concealing the telephone.
  • This was the first full story of Series 6 to be produced.
  • Arthur Darvill noted the floor of the older TARDIS set had a cheese grater-like quality to it, so when the scene called for the cast to fall on it, they found it uncomfortable to stay down for a long period of time.
  • Neil Gaiman chose the name Idris because it was an unusual but authentic name which resembled "TARDIS".
  • During a read-through of the script, the producers asked Suranne Jones to "neutralise [her accent] a bit," because they did not want Jones to "be a Northerner" or have a standard accent, but to act "kinda like the Doctor."
  • Originally, House would be revealed as having grown from a spore which entered a bubble universe via one of the cracks in time. Neil Gaiman intended the Doctor to glimpse the true House, an enormous mollusc-like entity concealed beneath the asteroid's mantle.
  • The TARDIS corridors built for this story are now standing sets, available for use in future stories.
  • When Amy was sent back to the TARDIS to fetch the sonic screwdriver, she originally found her engagement ring - a version of which ultimately appeared in The Lodger.
  • The episode originally opened with the Doctor, Amy and Rory about to be sacrificed to rain gods on a primitive planet, before the arrival of the Corsair's psychic container scares the locals and affords the time travellers a chance to escape back to the TARDIS. Due to time and budget constraints, it was changed to the trio in the TARDIS.
  • "The Doctor's Wife" was also a fake title attached to The Caves of Androzani. John Nathan-Turner had changed the title to that on his planning board in an attempt to weed out a suspected leak in his office.
  • A scene involving House toying with Amy and Rory's perceptions as they traverse a hallway lined with mirror-like walls was cut due to budget constraints. The concept was allegedly inspired by Poltergeist III.
  • The 2019 TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s novel Good Omens would go on to star David Tennant and Michael Sheen.
  • Before mentioning fish fingers and a motorbike, Idris, as the TARDIS, says an unintelligible line. That line was English backwards which, spoken forward, is "The only water in the forest is the river".
  • House was originally supposed to be the Great Intelligence as a preview of his return in Series 7, but they couldn't acquire the rights in time.
  • Neil Gaiman envisaged a narrative in which the TARDIS turned into a deadly maze for the Doctor or Amy Pond. He then considered how this might come to pass, which led to the idea of the TARDIS being possessed. This, in turn, raised the question of what would happen to the vessel's true consciousness, which Gaiman imagined might be implanted into a woman. Much of the story would then be driven by her interactions with the Doctor. Through Idris, Gaiman wanted to explore why it was this particular TARDIS which the Doctor had stolen, or, indeed, why the Doctor was stolen by this particular TARDIS.
  • Dropped from the script was a sequence in which Amy was forced to play a creepy version of Hide and Seek inside House itself.
  • The biggest change to the script was the addition of Rory. Steven Moffat offered to write him out in order to simplify the revisions, but Neil Gaiman enjoyed the character, and felt that his inclusion would make the scenes in the House-possessed TARDIS flow more smoothly since Amy would now have someone with whom she could interact.
  • This episode formed Block One of season six, along with Night Terrors.
  • Dropped in post-production was the explanation that House had chosen his voice from the memories of Amy and Rory in order to engender their trust. Rory then recognised the voice from various movie trailers; this was a reference to Don LaFontaine, who had narrated more than five thousand trailers before his death in 2008.
  • Although Michael Sheen was a friend of Neil Gaiman's, his involvement almost didn't come to pass after Gaiman underestimated the seriousness of Sheen's offer to participate.
  • Neil Gaiman originally wrote the script with the Tenth Doctor in mind, as Matt Smith hadn't been cast yet.
  • House was originally a literal house in Neil Gaiman's very first version of the story before being told that there were already creepy houses in the series, so he decided to make it a planet instead.
  • A scene where Rory thought Amy was trying to kill him and House gave Rory a knife to see what would happen was cut for time.
  • Neil Gaiman originally wanted to include more classic series references, such as the Mercury Fluid Link.
  • Neil Gaiman recommended Suranne Jones for Idris, because they were looking for an actress who "is odd; beautiful but strange-looking, and quite funny."
  • Steven Moffat described Idris as "sexy plus motherly plus utterly mad plus serene."
  • During the Doctor Who: Lockdown! event Neil Gaiman revealed several unproduced details about this episode, among them:
    • The original opening scene involved the Doctor taking Amy to see The Beatles perform at the Shea Stadium. The Doctor mentioned that he previously met them during an encounter with Ogrons in one of his previous incarnations.[10]
    • Gaiman wanted to explore the dimensions of the TARDIS and hoped to feature the TARDIS swimming pool. It would have been deleted by the Doctor at the start of the story to help power the journey to the bubble universe, only to reappear later, providing the Doctor with evidence of House's manipulations. This was scrapped because Karen Gillan couldn't swim. He hoped to include it with Rory, but it was scrapped due to budget concerns.[11]
    • Another sequence featured Rory being threatened with madness in the Zero Room.[12]
    • In the TARDIS graveyard, one draft depicted Idris deactivating the chameleon circuits of the other time machines, resulting in the sight of dozens of everyday objects suddenly metamorphosing into their default TARDIS state. This was amended to Idris de-cloaking various TARDIS components, but the sequence was ultimately dropped in editing.[13]
    • The lines "biting’s excellent, it’s like kissing only there’s a winner!" and "Did you wish really hard?" were both Steven Moffat's additions to the script.[14][15]
    • The original ending, set during the time period when Rory was erased from existence, showed the Doctor and Amy burying Idris's body. It would also reveal that The House had managed to survive in her buried body.[16]


  • 7.97 million (34.7% market share; UK final)[17]


  • There were rumours this story would be set in a giant doll's house[18] this also seems more likely due to the working title of his story being "The House of Nothing". Incorrect, House was an asteroid. However, the episode Night Terrors was set in a giant doll's house.
  • Suranne Jones' Idris is the Doctor's wife. [19]Whilst Idris was not the Doctor's marital wife, she was his TARDIS in human form, and had many attributes of a wife. Promotion for the episode and its trailer did lead to some speculation that Idris was a previously unknown spouse of the Doctor's.
  • Paul McGann's voice can be heard among the other Time Lord distress calls. There is a male voice that dominates over the others in the sequence, calling out to the High Council and saying "I am still alive!", and the voice sounds very much like McGann, however, neither McGann nor anyone connected with the episode has ever indicated that the actor recorded any dialogue for the episode and there is no narrative reason for the Eighth Doctor's voice to be present.
  • After the release of the Series 6 trailer early in 2011, featuring footage of Amy and Rory hiding behind a strut in the Russell T Davies-era console room as yellow light streams from the centre of the room, it was believed that the two companions would be sent back in time to the moment of either the Ninth or Tenth Doctor's regeneration. The footage in question was actually taken from the moment when the Eleventh Doctor and Idris, travelling in the makeshift TARDIS, materialise in the archived console room.
  • The release of the early Series 6 trailer also led people to believe that the voice of House that was talking to the Doctor was Gabriel Woolf's The Beast from The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit. This was proven false as it was credited to Michael Sheen.

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 Amy is holding the "mail cube" at the beginning of the episode, the closeups of her hand on the cube show her nail polish as red, while in other shots, it is shown as purple.
  • When Amy finds the aged Rory it is obvious that his arms and hands are still those of a young man, no make-up or appliances were added to age them.
  • When the Doctor reaches for the phone in his pocket to call Amy and Rory, the camera is facing his back. In the next shot, however, when the camera is facing his front, he repeats the action.
  • In the scene where the Doctor catches Idris/the TARDIS while building a new TARDIS console when the camera is showing Idris' face, her hand is on his shoulder, but whenever the camera angle shifts to show the Doctor's face, her hand is clearly not there.
  • When Amy and Rory are searching for the control to lower the shields in the old control room, the old console's dematerialisation lever is shown. Since the script established the purple slider to be on the nearest panel and the lever was always on the furthest from the door, this means that either the console panels were misplaced on reconstruction or the camera angles are incorrectly coordinated.


  • Martha Jones made a similar comparison to the Doctor's practice of taking on companions. (TV: Utopia)
  • The Doctor and the TARDIS reference the ability to change the TARDIS 'desktop theme'. (TV: Time Crash)
  • The inhabitants of House's asteroid refer to themselves by familial titles, much like the Family of Blood. (TV: Human Nature / The Family of Blood)
  • While housing the TARDIS Matrix, Idris names herself "Sexy" in reference to the Doctor calling her "you sexy thing". (TV: The Eleventh Hour)
  • The TARDIS calls the Doctor her "thief", and they discuss how he stole (or "borrowed") her. (TV: The War Games, The Five Doctors, et al.)
  • The Doctor says that the place in which they materialise is filled with rift energy, which will enable the TARDIS to power up quickly. (TV: Boom Town, Utopia)
  • While trying (unsuccessfully) to get into the TARDIS, the Doctor snaps his fingers to gain access. (TV: Forest of the Dead, TV: The Eleventh Hour, TV: Day of the Moon)
  • Ian Chesterton was the first to observe of the TARDIS, "It's alive!" (TV: An Unearthly Child)
  • The Third Doctor previously travelled using just the TARDIS console. (TV: Inferno)
  • Idris is annoyed that the Doctor never reads instructions. The Doctor once said he threw the TARDIS instruction manual into a supernova because he disagreed with it. (TV: Amy's Choice) He had previously ripped out pages of the manual because he disagreed with them. (TV: The Pirate Planet)
  • Idris tells Rory to tell the Doctor, "The only water in the forest is the river". The significance of these words is revealed later. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
  • The Junk TARDIS console features safety belts to hold onto, a feature previously seen on the console of the Doctor's TARDIS. (TV: Timelash)
  • The fact that old console rooms were archived within the TARDIS had previously been a major plot point in the Tenth Doctor comic book story COMIC: Tesseract. In the comic book, the Doctor is well aware of the archiving. Here, the Doctor believes that old console rooms "were all deleted or remodelled".
  • The Doctor has previously tricked an adversary into fixing the TARDIS. (TV: Frontios)
  • This isn't the first time the Doctor and his TARDIS communicate. They also did so in AUDIO: Zagreus. The TARDIS used a hologram of the Brigadier in order to speak.
  • A Hypercube is later used to tempt and capture the Doctor by the Dalek Time Controller, which takes him to the planet, Gethria. (PROSE: The Dalek Generation)


  • The Brilliant Book 2012 includes a 3-page comic strip adapting the unused opening sequence for the episode, under the title Planet of the Rain Gods. This opening sequence was later adapted in 2013 as the minisode TV: Rain Gods, which was included as a bonus in the Complete Seventh Series DVD and Blu-ray box sets. The filmed adaptation features the Doctor and River Song and is a standalone mini-adventure unconnected to the events of The Doctor's Wife.
  • In interviews given in June 2011, Gaiman indicated that he was in talks with BBC Books about writing a novelisation of The Doctor's Wife.[20]

Home video releases[]


Series 6, part 1 DVD cover

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

  • The Doctor's Wife was released in Series 6 Part One on DVD and Blu-Ray in region 1/A on 19 July 2011, in region 2/B on 11 July 2011 and in region 4/B on 4 August 2011. It is a collection of the first seven episodes.
  • 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[]

  • This story is available for streaming via Max.
  • It can be purchased on Amazon Instant Video, including episode prequels and behind the scenes featurettes.
  • It can also be purchased on iTunes. The iTunes release of Series 6 includes episode prequels, Monster Files, Comic Relief episodes and a Let's Kill Hitler motion comic.
  • In 2015, it was released by BBC Worldwide on BitTorrent and iTunes, in A Decade of the Doctor bundle to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new series. It included introductions by Peter Capaldi, Earth Conquest: The World Tour and an episode guide.
  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[]