The Witch's Familiar was the second episode of the ninth series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. Much like the previous episode title referred to Clara assisting the Twelfth Doctor, who looks like a magician, this episode refers to her helping Missy; the "witch" part of the title refers to Missy's wicked behaviour.

It probed the reason why the Doctor had fled from Gallifrey and gave a needed explanation as to why Skaro had returned after it was shown to be destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks. It also divulged how Missy had escaped her death in Death in Heaven, using the same technique to allow herself and Clara to survive the cliffhanger of the previous episode.

Missy also continues the Master's infamous ability to escape a certain death. However, the next time she appears would be in Extremis two years later, revealing she survived the Daleks.

This story was further notable for exploring several new narratives with Davros. For the first time, Davros was seen outside his chair, revealing both a lack of legs and Dalek technology hooking him into the chair. Davros also opened his own eyes for the first time on-screen, and the possibility of him dying an indisputable death--as well as him regretting his actions--was brought up. This story was also the first to show Davros cry, as well as sharing a moment where he and the Doctor genuinely find something funny and laugh together. On the other hand, it was also the first time Davros and the Master encountered each other on-screen and had any interaction.

In that same respect, the mechanics of a Dalek were given an in-depth look, specifically how they control their casing functions, their weaponry and the filtering of their speech. It also gave an explanation for why they often shout "Exterminate!".

In addition, it introduced the sonic sunglasses to replace the sonic screwdriver.


The Doctor is trapped in the place that is the nightmare of all Time Lords: Skaro, the home planet of the Daleks. Forced to keep Davros company, the Doctor will be tempted by the dying madman to trying to do something for the greater good of the universe; however, is this really what Davros had intended, or does he have something else up his sleeve?

Elsewhere, the Doctor's best friend and Clara Oswald are figuring out how to rescue him.


On the outskirts of the Dalek City, Clara awakens to find herself suspended upside down in the air by rope and Missy sharpening a stick nearby. Missy tells her they'll probably have to hunt for food, hence the stick, Clara asks if that's the case, why is she tied up; Missy retorts with a mischievous wink "in case there's nothing to hunt". Clara is left confused as she's sure the Daleks killed them. Deciding it will help them pass the time, Missy begins revealing how she managed to save the both of them from being killed by the Daleks.

Missy thinks about to how the Doctor once faced 40 invisible Android Assassins without a TARDIS or companion, just his sonic screwdriver and a teleport device - "in short, the Doctor happy." As she can't remember which Doctor had this adventure (as they're all the same person to her), she decides to put the Twelfth Doctor in it. At the moment that the androids fired on him, the Doctor used siphoned energy from the blasts to power the teleporter and escape. Clara is left impressed with the trick; the androids think the Doctor's dead and he escapes. However, Missy then points out this is the Doctor they're talking about; he's not that lucky. The Doctor fell into a nest of vampire monkeys soon after "but that's another story!"

Clara immediately realises that Missy copied what the Doctor did back when she attacked with the Cyber-converted deceased; Missy used the energy from the Brigadier's attack to teleport away. To save them from being being exterminated, Missy repeated the process; since their manipulators were linked, it was an easy task. However, it would seem that the Daleks have a bit more energy in their blasts than Cybermen, as doing this has fried their manipulators to useless wrist accessories. Without them or a TARDIS, they are left stranded on Skaro.

Missy frees Clara from her restraint (albeit painfully for Clara) and both stare at the city; Missy states that standing between them and the Doctor is everything that the greatest empire in the universe can throw at them, but they have a pointy stick. She asks Clara where they start; Clara tells Missy it starts by believing that they can win. Laughing, Missy agrees to go along with her idea, but starts she was feeling a bit hungry. They walk off, with Clara asking if she can have a stick; Missy tells her to make her own.

Meanwhile, the Doctor searches the infirmary and finds a gunstick, grabs it and threatens Davros, aiming directly behind his head. Davros tells him it's ancient and inoperable; the Doctor quickly repairs the device, proving Davros wrong. The Doctor tells Davros to "get out"; Davros explains that he cannot leave. Increasingly angry, the Doctor yells for him to get out again.

The Daleks see Davros' signal leaving the infirmary; he calls for the Daleks to aid him. The Supreme Dalek orders that assistance be given, telling Davros to go back. However, Davros tells all Daleks to find the escaping Doctor. The Supreme Dalek orders the Doctor's capture, as Davros' signal arrives right outside of the command centre. Told to admit their creator, the Daleks beginning opening the door, which shows Davros' chair. A Dalek checks the infirmary, finding Davros on the ground, yelling for Sarff. Sarff slithers in to aid his master.

Doctor makes a Dalek nightmare reality

"Admit it- you've all had this exact nightmare."

The door finishes opening, revealing the Doctor pulled Davros out of his chair and took it for himself. Riding into the room of surprised Daleks, the Doctor tells them to admit to having "this exact nightmare." The Daleks attempt exterminating the Doctor, but find him unharmed. Even more strange, is the Doctor is enjoying a cup of tea. He tells them "I'm the Doctor, just accept it." The Doctor explains "Davros is an insane, paranoid scientist who has survived centuries around trigger-happy mini tanks", and thus has a personal force-field to keep them from killing him. Amused, the Doctor says he's keeping the chair.

Threatening the Supreme Dalek with a gunstick, he asks if any Dalek is brave enough to admit Clara is dead; if she's not, she's to be brought to him. Davros appears on the monitor, telling the Doctor that it's good to see him learn; that this desire for conquest is an improvement in his character. The Doctor taunts Davros, asking how he is, as he's not getting his chair back as it's taken. Davros smirks, saying that the chair is indeed taken by someone else; just not the Doctor. At that moment snakes emerge from the chair, causing the Doctor to lose grip on the gunstick; Colony Sarff has left agents wherever Davros needs them. The snakes wrap completely around the Doctor, causing him to pass out from a lack of oxygen.

Meanwhile, Missy and Clara are standing in another area on the outskirts of the City. After having heard the Doctor's call for Clara, they enter a Dalek sewers. In an attempt to find out how deep it is, Missy pushes Clara down into it, and the landing knocks her unconscious. Clara reawakens to find Missy standing in front of her, then grabs her stick and threatens her. However, Missy reclaims her stick and enters the main sewer area, explaining that all the "nasty stuff" they see on the walls are old decaying and angry Daleks that have been left to rot and liquefy. Missy soon cuffs Clara to a security camera, which spots her and sends a Dalek to collect her. As a Dalek approaches, Missy attacks it, using her brooch to poke holes in the casing, allowing the old Daleks to enter it and kill the new Dalek as revenge.

Back in the infirmary, the Doctor awakens to find Davros back in his chair. Davros tells him to be grateful and should feel privileged as this item was not easy to procure: the only other chair on Skaro. The Doctor quickly picks himself up, but Davros advises him not to try leaving again as the room has been sealed shut. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, Colony Sarff is hidden amongst the tubes of Davros' life-support. Examining the life-support system, the Doctor is able to deduce its function. Davros is "vampiring" off the Daleks; so long as the Daleks' hearts beat, so does Davros'. The Daleks allow this because of the one flaw Davros couldn't get rid of in them: respect for the one who gave them life.

Davros shows the Doctor that Colony Sarff confiscated the confession dial and sunglasses; the Doctor quickly takes his sunglasses, saying they are one of the few things that matter to him. Davros points out the Doctor still plays the part of the fool, which the Doctor says should still make Davros nervous. Davros asks why the Doctor came; the Doctor explains that he came because a sick man asked him to. Wondering what the Doctor has confessed, Davros asks to be gifted with such knowledge before he dies; the Doctor points out Davros keeps claiming to dying soon, but never ends up doing so. "Give it some welly' the Doctor retorts.

Davros wonders why the Doctor left Gallifrey, to which they argue; the Doctor was bored there, but is homesick. The Doctor then wonders how Skaro came back, which Davros explains was due to the Daleks wanting a homeland; the Doctor points out that was actually Davros' longing for Skaro, which is in the Daleks' DNA. Amused, Davros points out that while his home and children are alive, the Time lords and Gallifrey were forever lost in the Time War. However, the Doctor explains that he saved Gallifrey, and it's safe from the both of them, somewhere out there.

Surprised, Davros asks if it's true; once it's confirmed, Davros congratulates the Doctor. Confused, the Doctor asks why. Davros tells him that a man should have a people, a species, an allegiance; . Darvos notes that he failed to save the Kaleds. He tells the Doctor, if he has truly redeemed the Time Lords from the fire, he should hold onto them. Even if it means taking the darkest path through the harshest hell, the Doctor must ensure the Time Lords live.

Davros opens his eyes

Davros sees the Doctor with his true eyes.

Davros asks to see the Doctor's face. The Doctor tells him he's seen it enough; however, Davros says he wishes to see it with his own eyes, shutting off the implant in his forehead and opening his true eyes. Showing genuine fragility, Davros asks the Doctor a tough question: was he a good man, was he right to create the Daleks? The Doctor realizes Davros is indeed dying, telling him he did doubt it. Davros tells him they have confirmed only one thing; the Doctor is not a very good doctor. Both genuinely laugh at the Doctor's failure to see this.

In the sewer, Missy pulls the now-dead Dalek mutant out of its casing; she has Clara sit in the armour and sticks the telepathic circuits into her temples before sealing her inside; nano-tech heals the wounds. Clara learns whatever she says is spoken by the shell, something she finds weird; however, her own voice can't be heard outside of the shell. Amusing herself, Missy has Clara attempt saying her name, but gets "I am a Dalek" instead; she then has Clara try "you are different from me" and "I love you", but they come out as "exterminate". She then has Clara say "exterminate", causing the shell to spin and fire rapidly; Missy laughs as Clara regains control. Missy explains that unlike the Cybermen, who cut out their emotions, the Daleks harness it to fire their weapons, and reload by saying "exterminate."

Now understanding how the Dalek shell works, Clara heads back into the hospital with Missy. They are confronted by a Dalek, which questions Clara as to why an intruder in the city hasn't been exterminated yet. As Clara isn't able to think of a good excuse, Missy takes control of the situation, explaining that she's a Time Lady, and thus a prisoner of value; she tells the Dalek to inform the Supreme Dalek had better be informed that "the bitch is back".

Back in the infirmary, the Doctor connects Davros' chair to the life support system, and maxing out the life it can give the ancient scientist. Davros wonders why the Doctor is helping him, to which he hears the Doctor is doing something for the little boy he abandoned. Reflecting on the past, Davros says he wishes he and the Doctor had been on the same side; smiling, the Doctor tells Davros they're on the same side now. Davros says all he wants is to see one last sunrise, but cannot open his eyes now. As the sun looms on the horizon, the Doctor asks Davros "not to tell anyone that I did this" as his hand starts to glow with regenerative energy. Commenting that what he's about to do will "probably cost me an arm or a leg somewhere down the line", or just result in him being smaller in one of his future incarnations, the Doctor approaches Davros' life support as Davros chuckles softly behind him.

Doctor Regeneration Energy Siphoned

The Doctor's regeneration energy is siphoned from him by Davros.

Grabbing one of the tubes with his glowing hand, the Doctor prepares to donate a tiny bit of regenerative energy to revive Davros long enough to see the sunrise. However, the moment he touches the life-support, Sarff binds him to the cables, and the machinery begins to drain more energy from the Doctor, transmitting it to the Daleks, renewing them. Davros laughs, commenting that regenerative energy is "The ancient magic of the Time Lords", and remarking that he thought he would have to vivisect the Doctor to take it from him. He gloats the Doctor's compassion drove him to open his veins willingly, allowing all Daleks to "Drink the blood of Gallifrey."

In the Daleks' command room, Missy walks up to the Supreme Dalek, calling it her "special favourite" and not to tell anyone. The Supreme Dalek declares her to be an enemy of the Daleks, but Missy pokes fun of its logic; the Daleks considered anyone who isn't one of them to be an enemy, so that was an easy guess. Missy offers to reveal where Clara Oswald is, to which the Daleks chant for her to reveal her information; Missy refuses, dancing to their chanting. Suddenly, all the Daleks freeze, with their casings seeming to shut down. Missy wonders if this was because she was boring them. Missy reacts with horror as the regenerative energy stolen from the Doctor begins leaking from their casings. Telling Clara that she needs to find the Doctor, Missy runs off to find Davros' room.

In the infirmary, Davros asks if the Doctor's true reason for leaving Gallifrey was because of a prophecy concerning the creation of a Dalek/Time Lord hybrid that he may now be the catalyst for. Before Davros can pursue this line of inquiry any further Missy breaks in and zaps Colony Sarff with a gunstick, killing it. The Doctor is freed, though it is unclear if any of his remaining regenerations were consumed by Davros' attempt to harness his energy. Seeing Missy is alive, the Doctor knows it mean Clara is. Insulted, Missy tells him she's fine too.

Elsewhere, the Daleks reactivate, gloating that they have been renewed, and begin chanting praise for Davros' experiment succeeding. Davros gloats the Daleks have gained new strength, and that his own life has been prolonged; however, the Doctor pays no mind to him, reclaiming his confession dial as he counts down from three. Missy recognises the Doctor's face, wondering what her friend has done this time.

At "one", the city begins shaking; Davros wonders what's happening. The Doctor has two words for him "Moron" and "Sewers". Missy begins laughing. The Doctor has used Davros' own plan against him; the regenerative energy Davros used to renew the Daleks was also distributed through the sewers beneath the city, and the decaying Daleks within have awoken "very cross" and started attacking the city. The Doctor sets off to find Clara, and Missy follows after informing Davros that it was a pleasure to finally meet him; she reaches to shake his hand. Instead, Missy pokes his eye implant, and runs off after the Doctor, laughing.

In the hall, Clara finds them, but cannot tell the Doctor that she's inside the Dalek shell, due to it not speaking what she wants. Missy lies, saying that Clara was killed by the Dalek casing in front of them, trying to goad the Doctor into using a gunstick to kill it; the Daleks are going to die anyway, so what's one Dalek dying to the Doctor? All Clara's attempts to tell the Doctor her identity come out "I am a Dalek" and "I am your enemy"; Missy says that "the Dalek" appears to be insanely gloating. Seeing the gunstick not firing, the Doctor asks the Dalek why it hasn't killed him. Begging the Doctor not to kill her, Clara causes the casing to say "I... show... mercy"; the Doctor lowers the gun and tells her to open the casing just by thinking the word.

The casing opens to reveal Clara, who was crying from fear. The Doctor glares at Missy for trying to trick him into killing Clara and tells her to run. Missy explains this is a metaphor as to why she gave Clara to the Doctor - to see the friend inside the enemy and vice versa. Reminding Missy to run after she concludes that "Everyone's a bit of both; everyone's a hybrid.", the Doctor is told that it was always him who ran; the Doctor begins helping Clara out. Continuing to run through the collapsing building, Missy is caught by the Daleks, but tells them that she has an idea.

After freeing Clara of the Dalek casing, they head back to where the TARDIS was destroyed. The Supreme Dalek demands to know what's happening, to which the Doctor says "your sewers are revolting." The Doctor then reveals that the HADS broke apart the TARDIS to save it; all it will take to repair is using the sonic. Clara is surprised to hear this, noting she hasn't seen his screwdriver. The Doctor tells Clara he's over screwdrivers, putting on his new wearable technology, the sonic sunglasses. Activating them, the Doctor taunts the Daleks as he and Clare are sealed inside of the rebuilt TARDIS to flee

The TARDIS has materialised on a nearby hillside outside the Dalek city and the Doctor and Clara are standing watching the city as it suffers damage. The Doctor wonders why the Dalek shell was able to say "mercy". He then realises what he must do. He returns to young Davros, shooting the Handmines with a Dalek gun, telling him it doesn't matter what side anyone's on so long as there's mercy. He then begins guiding Davros back home.




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.



  • Missy mentions she had a daughter.
  • Missy has a brooch made of a dark star alloy, which was a gift from the Doctor.
  • Davros likens the Doctor's compassion to a cancer, that grows stronger in him and that it will kill him in the end.
  • Missy references Elton John's The Bitch Is Back, when telling a Dalek those exact words.

Story notes

  • Missy is seen in a sewer. Previously, in the Doctor Who spoof The Curse of Fatal Death also written by Steven Moffat, an incompetent version of the Master was shown falling into an absurdly vast sewer three times and taking three hundred and twelve years to climb out each time.
  • Davros says the Doctor is privileged to be able to use the only other chair on Skaro. This was similarly brought up in the spoof The Curse of the Fatal Death, where the Doctor and his companion were tied to chairs by Daleks; when his companion asked why the Daleks had chairs, the Doctor promised to "explain later."
  • A dying Davros telling the Doctor that he wants to look at him with his own eyes is very similar to a scene in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi when Anakin Skywalker says he wants to look at his son Luke with his own eyes as he is dying, and, like Davros, has been hooked up to mechanical apparatuses after suffering crippling injuries, including a mask over his face as part of his Sith identity as Darth Vader.
  • At one point, the Doctor is enjoying some tea. He says "Now the real question is this: where did I get a cup of tea? The answer: I'm the Doctor. Just accept it." This is a message to the audience, who try understanding how he's able to pull off his, often, hare-brained antics to save the day.
  • On 27 September, the day after the episode's broadcast, the two-part opener was broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD as one single feature-length episode.
  • This episode saw a rare use of the mild expletive "bitch" on the series, spoken by Missy. This is notable as the episode premiered pre-watershed hours on BBC One and Doctor Who is often considered a family-friendly television series. To further denote the rarity of this language on the show, the expletive was last heard in the twelfth episode of Series 1, in TV: Bad Wolf by Jack Harkness.
  • Missy tells Clara Oswald a story about the Doctor that happened a long time ago, and told it didn't matter to her which incarnation it was, as they were all the Doctor, but told Clara to imagine "the eyebrows" (Twelfth Doctor).
  • The Dalek sewers connect to the Dalek City via the Lower Level Thirteen.
  • Davros, as a child, thinks that the Doctor might be a Thal.
  • Missy says that murdering Daleks is like golf to Time Lords. This line was previously used in a different show Steven Moffat writes for - Sherlock - where the detective mentions that the activities of secret terrorist organisations are basically golf.
  • Daleks have one genetic flaw that Davros was unable to eliminate; respect towards him.
  • Missy said that Cybermen suppress emotion whereas Daleks channel it through their gun.
  • Daleks are unable to say anything that betrays their basic function of hatred.
  • Davros says that regenerative energy is "The ancient magic of the Time Lords", and describes it as "The blood of Gallifrey."
  • Daleks are shown to be controlling their casing via telepathy.
  • The inside of the Dalek-casing have a button that can open and close it.
  • Davros mentions a Gallifreyan prophecy about a hybrid creature that was half-Dalek half-Time Lord.
  • The Special Weapons Dalek speaks for the first time.


  • BBC One overnight: 3.71 million
  • BBC America overnight: to be added
  • UK final ratings: 5.71 million

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.
  • Because of a reflection in the sonic sunglasses, a camera can be seen.
  • When the Daleks corner Missy at the end of the episode, none of their dome lights flash as they threaten her.


Home video releases

DVD releases

The Witch's Familiar was released on DVD as part of "Doctor Who: Series 9, Part 1" on November 2 in region 2 and November 3 in region 1.

Blu-ray releases

to be added

External links


  1. That was my Dalek. That was my Dalek. Retrieved on 9 October 2015.
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