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You may be looking for the reference book of the same name.

The Satan Pit was the ninth episode of series two of Doctor Who.

It introduced the presence of the Beast, a demon claiming to be the ultimate evil: Satan. The Beast would indirectly have an impact on the spin-off series Torchwood. Moreover, it set forth an ominous prediction for Rose Tyler's fate.

The prequel to this episode, Tardisode 9, reveals more victims have been killed due to the possessive influence of the Beast, increasing the body count of this conflict.


The Tenth Doctor faces off against an enemy that defies all his beliefs while Rose and the survivors of the Sanctuary Base 6 crew are trying to escape from the Beast's legion of possessed Ood. Can the Doctor stop an impossible enemy from escaping its prison, and save the universe?


The three Ood advance towards Jefferson, his guard and Rose. Jefferson gives the order to open fire on the Ood, killing them. In the control room, Zack announces that the planet's orbit is stabilising around the black hole again. Danny reaches the others, warning them that the rest of the Ood are on their way. The pursuing Ood kill the female guard with a translation sphere before Jefferson opens fire again.

Zack finds himself trapped in the control room, as Jefferson reports that he is low on ammunition. Zack himself only has a bolt gun with a single bolt left. Jefferson recommends "Strategy 9"; Zack agrees, and tells him to get everyone together. To Rose's relief, the Tenth Doctor and Ida manage to contact the base. The Doctor reports that the seal on the mysterious door is open, but nothing seems to have come out of the pit, which appears bottomless.

Zack orders Ida and the Doctor back up because of Strategy 9, but Ida is reluctant and asks the Doctor what he thinks. The Doctor muses about the curiosity he and humans feel about going down into the pit but notes that the Beast said he was "the temptation" — perhaps that curiosity is what the Beast is relying on. The Doctor suggests they retreat.

Jefferson cocks his rifle on Toby, but Rose stops him from killing the now normal-looking and terrified archaeologist. She reasons that they saw whatever was possessing him pass from him to the Ood. Toby cannot remember much of what happened but believes it was the Devil who possessed him. Jefferson states that he will shoot Toby if the Devil tries to possess him again.

Beast ood

The Beast speaks through the Ood.

Down below, Ida explains that Strategy 9 is to throw open the airlocks while everyone else is safe in lockdown; the Ood will be sucked out into the vacuum. However, as they prepare to be brought up in the lift, the power fails. The Beast, speaking through the Ood, takes control of the viewscreens. To the Doctor's question as to which Devil he is, given that there are so many religions, the Beast answers that he is all of them. He explains that the Disciples of the Light rose up against him leaving him defeated, and subsequently chained in the pit for all eternity. He states this occurred before the creation of this universe, to which the Doctor retorts that this is impossible as nothing could exist before the creation of the universe. The Beast asks the Doctor if that is his religion; a question that the Doctor can only answer with that is what he believes. The Beast tells the crew that they know nothing. He begins to speak to each of them in turn, playing on their secrets and hidden fears and insecurities: to the Doctor, he refers to the Time War, calling him the "killer of his own kind", and ominously predicts that Rose will soon die in battle.

Ten into the abyss

The Doctor lowers himself into the pit.

The humans begin to panic. The Doctor tries to calm them by reminding the group of the strengths of the human race, demonstrated by their defiance of conventional belief in even making it to this impossible planet, and pointing out that they are united while the Beast is alone. As if in response, the lift cable snaps, and the Doctor and Ida barely get away before its ten miles of length collapses on top of the capsule, severing communications. They are stuck down there, with just fifty-five minutes of air left. Ida decides to rig up the loose cable so she can explore the pit, but the Doctor tells her that he will go down, not her.

With the power loss, Zack is unable to implement Strategy 9. Meanwhile, the Ood are trying to break through the sealed doors to reach the humans. Rose rallies them, getting them to think of a way out. Zack reroutes energy from the rocket to restore half power. Danny comes up with a way to disable the Ood: broadcasting a telepathic flare that will reduce their telepathic field to zero, disrupting their brains. However, this can only be done from the central monitor in Ood Habitation. The only access from where they are is through the airless maintenance shafts below the base, but Zack can extend the oxygen field to follow them through the tunnels.

Rose Walker expedition vents

Rose and the expedition members in the ducts.

Danny creates the flare programme and stores it on a memory card and the humans scramble down into the tunnels just as the Ood break through the door. Zack directs them towards their goal, aerating each section of the vents and decompressing the previous one before they can go through. However, the Ood are also in pursuit. Jefferson stays behind to hold them off but is too slow in reaching a junction before it is sealed. Knowing that there is nothing Zack can do to prevent his death, Jefferson requests that the oxygen be removed quickly so he can die before he is killed by the Ood. Zack does this, and Jefferson's life signs wink out on the monitor.

However, the humans have little time to grieve, as the next section is also filled with Ood, and the others have to scramble up into the corridor above. The Ood almost reach Toby, but suddenly his eyes turn red, like when he was possessed by the Beast before. He places his finger on his lips signalling the Ood not to attack him or reveal his secret. The Ood pause, allowing Toby to be rescued by Rose and Danny, who didn't notice the momentary change. As the others reach Ood Habitation, the Ood break through into the control room, and Zack prepares to use the bolt gun on them. At the last moment, Danny manages to activate the flare; the telepathic field drops to "Basic Zero", and the Ood grab their heads and collapse. Zack joins the others back at the mine shaft.

Meanwhile, the Doctor continues his journey into the darkness of the pit. He tells Ida how the Devil crops up on so many planets in so many religions — perhaps that is what the Devil is, in the end: just an idea. The cable finally runs out, with the bottom of the pit still out of sight. Preferring exploration to waiting for death, the Doctor decides to detach the cable and fall the rest of the way, despite Ida's pleas that she does not want to die alone. Reassuring her, the Doctor falls and vanishes into the shadows just as the others regain communications with Ida. Rose is grief-stricken when Ida tells them that the Doctor has fallen.

Zack tells Ida that there is no way to get to her, and Ida understands. All they can do is abandon the base and make sure no one comes back here. Rose wants to stay as well, but Zack renders her unconscious and carries her along; he has lost too many people. They make their way to the rocket past the bodies of the Ood, which are beginning to stir, their telepathic field reasserting itself.

Down below, the Doctor awakens. The faceplate of his helmet is smashed, but he discovers that he can still breathe; an air cushion must have supported his fall.

In the rocket, Rose regains consciousness just as it begins to launch. Despite her protests, and even when she threatens Zack with his bolt gun, Zack tells her that it is too late to turn back. Toby seems unusually amused that they have escaped, and when Rose begins to question the relative ease with which they managed to escape the planet, given the various ways the Beast could have killed them, he reprimands her questions with uncharacteristic viciousness.

The Doctor finds ancient drawings on the walls of the pit depicting the story of a battle against the Beast, its defeat and subsequent imprisonment. The drawings also depict two double-handed jars, which are standing on separate pedestals some distance apart in front of him. He touches them and they light up, illuminating a section of the cave. The Doctor comes face to face with a gigantic demon chained to the cavern wall, complete with caprine head and humanoid body.

The Doctor and the Beast

The Doctor: face to face with the Devil.

The Beast who previously communicated with the Doctor was intelligent and vocal, but the creature now towering before him appears to be little more than animalistic in nature. The Doctor deduces that what he is seeing is only the physical form — the mind, the idea of the Devil, has departed. The Doctor also realises, piecing it together from various clues, that the planet was the perfect prison: if the Beast had ever freed itself, the gravity field keeping the planet balanced would collapse, and the planet would fall into the black hole. The air was not provided by the Beast, but its jailers, so the Doctor could stop its escape by destroying the prison and thus the planet.

However, the Beast had prepared for this. The loss of the gravity field would also mean the rocket would fall into the black hole, sacrificing Rose. However, the Doctor tells the Beast's body that the Beast's plan implies that Rose is a victim. The Doctor adds that he has seen a lot of the universe, and various beings calling themselves gods, but out of all that if there is one thing he believes in, it is her. With that, he smashes the jars, causing the gravity field to collapse. The rocket shakes, turns and begins to be dragged into the black hole along with the planet.

Go to hell

Rose kills the Beast.

The body of the Beast writhes, flames bursting from its skin. On the rocket, the runes appear across Toby's skin as the Beast takes full possession of him. He breathes fire and angrily defies death, ranting that "I can never be destroyed!". Rose grabs Zack's bolt gun and aims it at the cockpit's front window. Saying, "Go to Hell," she fires, shooting out the glass. As the air rushes outward, she unbuckles Toby, who is immediately blown into space towards the black hole. Zack raises the emergency shield, but they are still falling towards the black hole. In the base, as the planet now hurtles towards the black hole, the Ood, now free from the Beast's control, huddle together nervously. Near the pit, Ida slowly falls to the ground, the last of her oxygen exhausted.

As he stumbles away from the Beast's burning body, the Doctor finds the TARDIS in the collapsing cavern. The rocket crew watches the planet vanish, and brace themselves for death. Suddenly, everything becomes still, and to Zack's amazement, the rocket turns and heads away from the black hole. To Rose's delight, the Doctor's voice comes over the speakers, telling them that the TARDIS is towing them away. The Doctor was also able to pick up Ida — who will be fine aside from a little oxygen starvation — but unfortunately had no time to save the Ood.

The Doctor and Rose are joyfully reunited in the TARDIS once the rocket reaches clear space. Rose asks the Doctor what the Beast really was, and the Doctor replies that whatever it was, they beat it, which for him is enough. He assures Rose that when the Beast said she would die in battle, he lied. Before the TARDIS dematerialises, Ida asks who they are, and the Doctor tells her, "The stuff of legend."

Heading back to Earth, Zack dictates the final report of Sanctuary Base 6, recording the names of those who died with honours, beginning with Toby and continuing with every Ood that served on the Base.


Uncredited cast[]


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.



  • During the Tardisode for this episode, the letters "SB6" (presumably standing for Sanctuary Base 6) are seen on a display changing into the numbers "666".
  • The closing scene in which the Doctor tells Rose that they're "the stuff of legend" was the final scene Billie Piper shot as a regular cast member on the series; her departure episode, Doomsday, had been filmed months earlier.
  • According to DWM 401, when the production team couldn't figure out what would be at the bottom of the pit, they considered using Davros or The Master.
  • Except for the final scene (and footage from The Impossible Planet and Love & Monsters), the Tenth Doctor is not seen in his regular costume at all.
  • The episode was nearly going to miss the transmission date, According to David Tennant on the commentary for The Impossible Planet, the episode was delivered on the Friday of the week causing reviewers not to get press copies of the episode who were eager to review it. Some came to ask if it was due to the content (as was done with preview copies of multiple episodes to prevent major twists being spoiled), but it was only due to the late post-production schedule that the episode was involved in.
  • Coincidentally, this episode was shown in the week of 6/6/06. It followed a wave of Devil-related stories in the media, including the release of The Omen.
  • Russell T Davies said that in order to inspire the design of the Beast, he sent the visual designers at The Mill images of paintings by Simon Bisley, a comics artist known for muscular grotesqueries.
  • In the episode commentary, Russell T Davies said that an early draft of the script called for the role of the Ood to be filled by the same species as the Slitheen. Their race would have been enslaved and they wished to awaken the Beast, whom they believed to be a god that could free them. Davies claims credit for naming the Ood as a play on the word "odd".
  • Russell T Davies also mentioned that one of many unused ideas for a creature in this episode would be used in series three; this turned out to be the Toclafane, as revealed via Davies's comments in Doctor Who Magazine Series Three Companion.
  • Russell T Davies suggested that the budget was tight and they might have had to use a child to represent the Beast rather than a CG giant. The money was found by cutting out the planned Jathaa sunglider sequence from Doomsday in favour of taking the lift.
  • The production only had about 15 minutes left to get the scene where the Doctor gives his big speech to the Devil in the pit done. David Tennant nailed it in one take stopping the nail biting by the crew.
  • Originally, Matt Jones intended to hold the revelation of Toby's possession back until the climax, but Russell T Davies felt that doing so seemed too abrupt.
  • The Beast was created when Phil Collinson pointed out that none of the villains in Series 1 had operated on a nigh-omnipotent scale.
  • Russell T Davies wanted to present the Doctor with a challenge to his own belief systems, and confront him and Rose with a scenario in which their trust in each other would provide the resolution, as opposed to the Doctor's prior knowledge and experiences.
  • When it seemed that the budget wouldn't be able to cover a CGI Beast, Russell T Davies suggested that the Beast might appear as an old man or a gigantic disembodied eye.
  • The last scene in the TARDIS was the final scene that Billie Piper filmed as a series regular and her expression wasn't acting. Both she and David Tennant had difficulty getting through the scene.
  • The Mill offered its entire staff the opportunity to design the Beast, and the successful submission came from Grant Bonser, who was working in the company's dispatch department. The production team wanted a primordial creature which did not lean too heavily on common cliches about the Devil's appearance.
  • Although the Beast was depicted as towering over the Doctor, 3D artist Nicolas Hernandez's final version was nonetheless much smaller than Russell T Davies had initially envisaged. In fact, he had imagined a creature so large that the Doctor would mistake the Beast's eyelid for a part of the cavern wall.


  • The movie Alien includes a classic air duct sequence which is similar to Jefferson's sequence with the possessed Ood.
  • The Beast's appearance was inspired by the Lord of Darkness in Legend.


  • 5.5 million (overnight), 6.1 million (UK final)[2]
  • It became the lowest Series Two episode in ratings and the lowest ever viewed episode of the revival until The Witch's Familiar reached a lower 5.7 million viewers around nine years later in 2015.

Filming locations[]

  • Wenvoe quarry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales
  • Clearwell Caves, Gloucestershire

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 Toby tells Rose to shut up, his voice does not match the lip sync; meaning this quote was added in post production.


Home video releases[]

External links[]