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The Ghost Monument was the second episode of series 11 of Doctor Who.

This episode introduced the new title sequence, which had been left out of the preceding episode, and marked the debut of the Thirteenth Doctor's TARDIS. It also contained the first mention of the "Timeless Child", an aspect of the Doctor's past that would go on to be a major plot point of the Jodie Whittaker era.


Stranded on an alien planet infamously called Desolation, can the Doctor find her way to the TARDIS as she promised her new friends? Will her newest company be of any help when they're also racing against each other? And what exactly is "the Ghost Monument"?


Floating in the vacuum of deep space, Ryan has difficulty breathing whilst staring into the stars when a large spacecraft shoots into view before he falls into unconsciousness. Blurred and disorientated, Ryan is awoken from a pod by Graham in a dark spaceship, being piloted by Angstrom. She tells them they are on descent to the "final planet", and warns Graham and Ryan to brace themselves. Meanwhile, on another spaceship, Yaz wakes up inside a MediPod outside of the control deck and walks in to find the Thirteenth Doctor arguing with the pilot, Epzo, about how to steady the crashing ship. The planet the ship was heading for is no longer in its orbit and rescuing the Doctor and Yaz depleted the ship's fuel. The Doctor suggests that the back half of the ship be ejected to make it down to the planet, which Epzo identifies as Desolation.

On the planet's surface, Graham and Ryan take in their surroundings while Angstrom takes readings of the planet. The Doctor makes attempts to stabilise their descent, but cannot restore the failing shields and attempts to land the ship herself. Below them, Graham, Ryan and Angstrom notice the ship headed straight for them and run for it. The Doctor narrowly manages to stop the crash before they are crushed underneath it.

While the Doctor's party try and determine where they are, Epzo and Angstrom talk about others who failed to emerge from hyperjump, making them the last participants of something. Hearing an alarm in the distance, the group trek over the desert to find a tent at the bottom of a sand dune. Going to investigate, the interior of the tent and the occupant, a strange man calling himself Ilin, are just holograms. Ilin explains Angstrom and Epzo are the remaining two participants in the final Rally of the Twelve Galaxies. On the last leg, they have to survive the dangers of the planet with no sabotage, injuries or killing one another, to a site known only as the Ghost Monument. The winner will receive 3.2 trillion Krin and be taken off-planet while the loser will be stranded. After Angstrom and Epzo take their trackers and are sent on their way, the Doctor insists that Ilin show her what the Ghost Monument actually looks like. Ilin lifts another hologram on the table to show the Ghost Monument when it appears. To the Doctor's joy, she finds that the 'Ghost Monument' is none other than her lost TARDIS, their only way off-world. Ilin's hologram then disappears and the Doctor's group follow Epzo and Angstrom.

Outside the tent, the Doctor explains that the Ghost Monument is her ship however the engines are stuck in a loop which is why it constantly phases in and out on this planet. Nevertheless, she promises her companions she will get them home, the Doctor finds Epzo threatening Angstrom over the boat supplied as their only means of transport. The Doctor uses Venusian Aikido to disarm him while Ryan and Graham look at the boat's engine. Scanning the water, the Doctor and Yaz find it infested with millions of flesh-eating microbes. On the boat, while examining the engine, Graham tries to get Ryan to open up about the loss of Grace, to no avail, when they have a breakthrough about how to repair the boat. Outside, Angstrom has a discussion with Yaz about her planet, but stops herself short, when the Doctor tells them the boat is fixed and they make way.

On board, Epzo relays a story about when he was young, when his mother told him to jump from a tree and be caught by her, only for her to step out of the way as he fell. He deemed it the most important lesson he'd ever been taught and has since trusted no-one. Later, as Epzo is napping, Angstrom explains the stages of the rally and that she entered the race at her family's request so that she can return after winning and bring them all back together again. Exhausted, Graham, Ryan and Yaz go to sleep, while the Doctor remains awake.

When they get off the boat, they make their way to the ruins of a building. While Epzo and Angstrom go their separate ways, the Doctor and her companions press into the ruins cautiously when the readings on the sonic screwdriver aren't clear. While they all explore different parts of the building, Epzo trips a hidden sensor which activates a platoon of SniperBots. While initially inactive, Epzo fires at one while it fires back and both are hit. The shot actives the rest of the robots which shoot at the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan. Running into an enclave, they find an inactive SniperBot and discover that everything in the perimeter is target practice, including the shooting range in which they're standing in.

Opting to fight back, Ryan, against the Doctor's express instructions, picks up one of their guns and worsens the situation by going out to shoot at them but can't reload and runs back inside. After the Doctor reprimands him, the robots enter the shooting range and they hide behind targets. Dragging the broken SniperBot with her, the Doctor rewires it and takes out all the robots with an EMP.

Everybody regroups. The Doctor hacks Angstrom's tracker and inputs the SniperBot's information which leads them to a hatchway that takes them into an underground tunnel beneath the ruins. Noting the surroundings, they find the entrance to an experimentation facility. Angstrom wants to leave but the Doctor, remembering Ilin's warning about travelling at night, advises against it. Epzo, tired of listening to her, goes off to have a nap, while everybody else explores.

Syncing Angstrom's tracker to the facility's computer, they find the entire tunnel system mapped out, giving them the chance to navigate underground and avoid the threat up top. Yaz and Ryan look at the surveillance and find that the SniperBots have found the hatch. Making their way into a chamber, the Doctor, Graham and Angstrom find a form of writing scorched into the floor, left by whoever ran the facility. Translating, the Doctor reads that the facility was run by a group of scientists, captured, tortured and made to work, under duress and threat of harm to their families, to create new weapons. With their work having destroyed most of the planet, the scientists opted to destroy all of what they'd created rather than let it fall into the hands of the Stenza. Angstrom reveals the Stenza destroyed most of her planet and sent millions of her people, including her family into hiding.

Elsewhere, the Remnants of the scientists' experiments attack Epzo in his sleep, nearly killing him, but the Doctor, Graham and Angstrom hear his cries and save him. Yaz and Ryan run in to tell the Doctor about the SniperBots and they all flee. The SniperBots shut down the life support in the tunnels, leaving them all with no choice but to go to the surface. Up top, they are confronted and encircled by the Remnants, who coax the Doctor by cryptically referencing something from her past. Telling everybody to dig themselves into the ground, the Doctor has Epzo throw his Althusian cigar into the air, which the Doctor lights by snapping her fingers, combusting the Acetylene gas in the air and destroying the Remnants.

By daybreak, the party have made it to the site of the Ghost Monument, but Epzo and Angstrom can't agree on who really wins, so the Doctor has them enter at the same time and declared joint winners. Ilin is displeased by this arrangement but concedes nonetheless; in spite of this, he refuses to take the Doctor and her companions off-planet and the hologram, along with Epzo and Angstrom, vanishes around them, stranding them on the planet. With no apparent means off-world, the Doctor despondently apologises for letting her friends down and breaking her promise to get them home. Graham, Yaz and Ryan refuse to let the Doctor give in, after all they've survived so far. Just then the Doctor hears the distant sound of the TARDIS attempting to materialise. The Doctor uses her sonic screwdriver to try and stablise the engines, and is overjoyed when it works and TARDIS finally lands. She approaches and has an emotional reunion with her beloved ship, which has given itself a minor makeover; it now sports a deeper shade of blue, the St. John's Ambulance sign is gone again and the plaque on the telephone door is now black. She likes these changes, but then remembers that she's lost her key... only for the TARDIS to open the door itself for her. She invites Graham, Yaz and Ryan inside promising they'll all fit.

Upon entering, she is overjoyed to discover that the TARDIS has rebuilt and redecorated its control room in her absence. Graham, Yaz and Ryan are in shock and awe at the ship's interior and the revelation that it's a time machine. With that, the Doctor starts the engines to take the others home, even having a custard cream dispensed to her from the console and the blue box vanishes from Desolation.



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


South Africa crew
General production staff

Art department

Camera and lighting department

Hair and make-up


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[]



Martial arts[]



Food and beverages[]


  • Angstrom and Epzo are competitors in the last ever Rally of the Twelve Galaxies. They have reached the final stage.
    • Other competitors included Kornlite, Fythen and Finskad. Angstrom initially thought that Epzo was the latter.
  • An alarm sounds when the competitors arrive on Desolation.
  • The Doctor compares the rally to Paris-Dakar, but in space.
  • Epzo plans to light up his Althusian cigar once he wins.



  • The Doctor and friends are about to suffocate in space.
  • Angstrom has a tattoo on her neck.
  • The Doctor and friends are mistaken for bonuses.
  • Ilin says bonuses and snaketraps are not in the final stage.
  • People have written songs about the Cerebos because she is the envy of millions.
    • The Doctor states that people will write an opera about their pointless deaths should Ezpo not jettison the rear section.
  • The Doctor gives Graham a pair of glasses which belonged to Audrey Hepburn, though the Doctor fails to remember and states that they could have belonged to Pythagoras.
  • The Doctor has seen Pythagoras with a hangover.
  • Yaz mentions Karl Wright and Tzim-Sha and how the Doctor jumped off a crane.
  • Ryan still refuses to befriend Graham and call him granddad. He even mocks him sarcastically, saying to not argue with his wisdom and politics.
  • Graham suggest Ryan uses his NVQ studies to repair the boat.
  • Graham and Ryan talk about Grace and her death.
  • Epzo's mother was untrustworthy.
  • Angstrom made Yaz miss her family, saying her dad drives her crazy and her sister attempts to get her to move out.
  • Graham calls Epzo Sleeping Beauty.
  • Angstrom's wife was killed by the Stenza.


  • Angstrom's spaceship was in Hyperjump.
  • Epzo's ship is named the Cerebos.
  • Cerebos and Angstrom's ship have MediPods.
  • The Doctor says that the Cerebos should be on Antiques Roadshow because of its manual shield activation.
    • It also has manual stabilisers.
  • Angstrom says she needs to collect atmospheric data.
  • MediPods check for Universal translators in their patient and implant them if needed.
  • The Doctor wonders if Ilin is projection reality or AI interface and compliments his nose hairs.
  • Angstrom and Epzo are given route trackers.
  • Epzo has a blaster.
  • The boat has a massive battery powered by tri-solar engineering panels.
  • Epzo triggers an infrared beam.
  • Ryan states that he has played enough Call of Duty to know how to handle a gun.
  • The underground tunnels have surveillance footage and life support systems.

Story notes[]

  • This episode, along with Rosa, was filmed in South Africa in January 2018, with Out of Africa Entertainment, a local production company.[1][2]
  • Timeslice Cinematography provided all the aerial shots.[3]
  • This story marks the debut of the new title sequence for series 11.
    • It also marks the first time since The Snowmen in 2012, with the exception of The Night of the Doctor, The Day of the Doctor, Death in Heaven and Sleep No More in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, in which the Doctor's face or eyes do not appear in the title sequence. However, the Doctor's silhouette can be seen after the logo and before the episode title.
    • It also marks the first time since The Ultimate Foe in 1986, with the exception of The Day of the Doctor and Sleep No More, that the TARDIS does not appear in the title sequence.
    • It also marks the first time since The Day of the Doctor in 2013 that there is no scene shown before the title sequence. Beginning with this episode, episodes would regularly begin with the title sequence rather than a cold open. It also marks the first time since Doctor Who: The Movie,with the exception of The Day of the Doctor, that the sting wasn't included before the title sequence and it has so far not been used in the entire Chibnall era. The sting has been included as part of the title sequence since The Leisure Hive and was last used in the classic series in Survival. With Rose, the sting was reintroduced into the title sequence. The sting is still used in the end credits as a cliffhanger sound effect.
    • It also marks the first time since the mini-episode Time, as well as the second time overall, in which the titles start outside, and then zooms inside, the Time Vortex effect.
    • Despite being the first Thirteenth Doctor story to feature the title sequence, it is actually the second time a woman is credited first in the title sequence, following Death in Heaven.
  • This episode introduced a new TARDIS interior design, and slight modifications to its exterior.
    • The St John Ambulance badge has been removed from the front door, marking its absence for the first time since The Eleventh Hour, having been present for the near-entirety of the Steven Moffat era, the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS only appearing in a few scenes.
    • The black text on white phone sign has changed to white text on a black sign, the first time since the Tom Baker era.
    • For the first time since the show's attempted reboot in 1996 with Doctor Who the TV movie, the time rotor no longer extends all the way to the ceiling. This also marks the first time the rotor isn't shown to be a perfect cylinder, instead, taking on a crystalline appearance. Also for the first time, the interior of the time rotor is not visible.
  • This is the first episode since The Husbands of River Song in 2015 to not have any scenes set on Earth.
  • This story marks the end of a string of TV stories leading into each other, beginning with World Enough and Time.
  • In the Brazillian dubbing the names of Audrey Hepburn and Pythagoras were changed for Carmen Miranda and Palmirinha, respectively. Also, the game Call of Duty was changed for GoldenEye 007.
  • This is the first time in the BBC Wales era that BBC Studios recieved sole credit for the episode. This would occur until the end of the series.
  • Tosin Cole came down with heatstroke while filming part of this episode in South Africa.
  • While travelling to South Africa, Tosin Cole was asked by two different people where his chaperone was, because he was assumed to be a minor, even though he was twenty-five at the time.

Myths and rumours[]

  • Before this was released, the black armoured beings were thought to be pure Sontarans according to an anonymous Reddit user.[4] They were wrong, they were actually SniperBots.


  • 7.11 million (UK overnight)[5]
  • 9 million (UK final)[6]

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 everyone gets off of the boat, there are no footsteps seen behind Ryan as he catches up to the Doctor.


Home video releases[]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

  • This story was released as part of the Complete Eleventh Series boxsets on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1/A on 29 January 2019, in region 2/B on 14 January 2019 and in region 4/B on 6 February 2019.

Digital releases[]

  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[]


  1. Doctor Who was filming near you. The Citizen (9 October 2018). Retrieved on 22 October 2018.
  2. Filmography. Out of Africa. Retrieved on 22 October 2018.
  3. Laford, Andrea (10 October 2018). Doctor Who, The Ghost Monument SPOILERS: Do they find the TARDIS?. CultBox. Retrieved on 22 October 2018.
  4. https://www.markwho42.net/2018/05/16/sontarans-making-a-comeback/
  5. Doctor Who News - Overnight ratings
  6. UK ratings