Doctor Who (series 6)
|Doctor Who series 6|
DVD box set
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||13 (+1 Christmas Special)|
|Original channel||BBC One
BBC One HD
|Original run||23 April 2011– 1 October 2011|
|Home video release|
|Region 1||22 November 2011|
|Region 2||21 November 2011|
|Region 4||1 December 2011|
|Blu-ray Disc release|
|Region A||22 November 2011|
|Region B||21 November 2011
1 December 2011 (Region 4)
The sixth series of British science fiction television programme Doctor Who was shown in two parts. The first seven episodes were broadcast from April to June 2011, beginning with "The Impossible Astronaut" and ending with mid-series finale "A Good Man Goes to War". The final six episodes aired from August to October, beginning with "Let's Kill Hitler" and ending with "The Wedding of River Song". The main series was preceded by "A Christmas Carol", the 2010 Christmas special. The series was led by head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, alongside executive producers Beth Willis and Piers Wenger. Sanne Wohlenberg, Marcus Wilson, and Denise Paul served as producers. The series is the sixth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and is the thirty-second season overall.
The series stars Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which appears to be a British police box on the outside. It also stars Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as his companions, newlyweds Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Alex Kingston also returns as River Song, a mysterious woman from the Doctor's future who is revealed throughout the series to be Amy and Rory's part-Time Lord daughter and the Doctor's wife. In addition to River, the series continues story threads from the fifth series, most notably the Silence, the cause of the TARDIS exploding in "The Pandorica Opens" / "The Big Bang".
- 1 List of episodes
- 2 Casting
- 3 Production
- 4 Promotion
- 5 Broadcast
- 6 Reception
- 7 Soundtrack
- 8 References
- 9 External links
List of episodes
|Story No.||Episode||Title||Directed by||Written by||UK viewers
|AI||Original air date||Production
|213||—||"A Christmas Carol"||Toby Haynes||Steven Moffat||12.11||83||25 December 2010||2.X|
|A space liner containing 4,000 people and Amy and Rory on their honeymoon becomes caught in an electrified cloud. The Doctor, summoned by Amy, lands on the planet beneath and discovers that the atmosphere is controlled by the miserly Kazran Sardick (Michael Gambon) who refuses to let the ship safely land. The Doctor travels back to Kazran's youth and attempts to alter his past to make him kinder, spending time adventuring with young Kazran and a young woman named Abigail (Katherine Jenkins), who was released from a cryogenic chamber as her singing abilities calm the sharks which occupy the atmosphere. However, Abigail was suffering from an incurable disease, and Kazran grows up bitter that she cannot be let out again or she will die; however, the Doctor shows Kazran's younger self what he would become and he decides to release the ship. As he needs his sonic screwdriver which had been eaten by a shark, the Doctor convinces Kazran to release Abigail to sing, and the two enjoy their last time together.|
|214a||1||"The Impossible Astronaut"||Toby Haynes||Steven Moffat||8.86||88||23 April 2011||2.1|
|Amy and Rory and River Song receive invitations to the Utah desert where they meet the Doctor, who claims to be nearly 200 years older than when they had last seen him and says that he will take them to "Space: 1969". As they dine beside Lake Silencio they witness an unknown figure in a spacesuit kill the Doctor and are then met by an old man called Canton Everett Delaware III (William Morgan Sheppard), who had also been invited. They meet a younger version of the Doctor who had been invited and land in the Oval Office in 1969, where they are enlisted by President Nixon (Stuart Milligan) to assist a younger version of Canton (Mark Sheppard) in saving a terrified little girl (Sydney Wade) from a mysterious spaceman. The Doctor traces her to a warehouse in Florida where they investigate, unaware that the warehouse contains creatures which they forget after looking away from. After Amy tells the Doctor she is pregnant, the little girl appears in a spacesuit and Amy shoots at her.|
|214b||2||"Day of the Moon"||Toby Haynes||Steven Moffat||7.30||87||30 April 2011||2.2|
|Amy's shot had missed and she, Rory, and River spend three months searching for the creatures — later revealed to be called Silence — while the Doctor and the TARDIS are held in Area 51 by Canton. The group reunites and discuss the Silence, which have been found throughout America and have the ability to implant post-hypnotic suggestions in the humans they encounter. While the Doctor tampers with Apollo 11, Amy and Canton visit a Silence-infested orphanage where the little girl was kept. Amy sees a woman with an eye-patch through a hatch and finds a picture of herself with a baby in the little girl's room before she is kidnapped by the Silence. Canton wounds a Silent in the Doctor's prison and records it taunting him, "you should kill us all on sight." The Doctor tracks down Amy in the Silence's base and shows them the live broadcast of the moon landing. He implants Canton's recording of the Silence into the footage, thereby instructing all humans watching it to attack the Silence when they see them. Later, Amy tells the Doctor that she was afraid travelling on the TARDIS would have an effect on the possible development of her child; Amy denies that she is actually pregnant but the Doctor initiates a scan, the result of which is inconclusive. Six months later in New York City, the little girl is dying but reveals that she can regenerate, a trait of which only the Time Lords are capable.|
|215||3||"The Curse of the Black Spot"||Jeremy Webb||Stephen Thompson||7.85||86||7 May 2011||2.9|
|Following a distress signal, the TARDIS lands on a 17th century pirate ship captained by Henry Avery (Hugh Bonneville) whose crew is terrorised by a Siren-like creature (Lily Cole) who marks crew members with black spots when they are injured and then seemingly disintegrates them. Rory receives a cut and Amy and the Doctor keep him away from the Siren. Discovering that the Siren uses reflection as a portal, they rid the ship of any reflective surfaces. When Rory and Avery's son Toby (Oscar Lloyd) are taken by the Siren, the Doctor, Amy, and Avery prick themselves and the Siren teleports them on an invisible alien spaceship which occupies the same spot as the pirate ship. There they find a sickbay where Rory and Toby are kept; Amy and the Doctor pull Rory off life support and Amy performs CPR to revive him.|
|216||4||"The Doctor's Wife"||Richard Clark||Neil Gaiman||7.97||87||14 May 2011||2.3|
|A distress signal from a Time Lord sends the Doctor, Amy and Rory outside the universe to a junkyard on an asteroid. They are introduced to the place's strange inhabitants — Auntie (Elizabeth Berrington), Uncle (Adrian Schiller), an Ood known as Nephew, and an excited woman named Idris (Suranne Jones), who seems attracted to the Doctor. An intelligence called "House" (voiced by Michael Sheen) is controlling the asteroid. The Doctor discovers that other Time Lords have been lured to the asteroid and killed so House could feed off the energy. Upon learning that the Doctor is the last of the Time Lords, House takes possession of the TARDIS to escape to the regular universe, with Amy and Rory trapped inside. The Doctor learns that House has trapped the personality of the TARDIS inside Idris, causing her body to fail quickly. The two decide to build a makeshift TARDIS out of the scraps in the junkyard to pursue Amy, Rory and House. As they materialise inside the TARDIS, Idris releases the TARDIS's matrix, destroying House and liberating the TARDIS.|
|217a||5||"The Rebel Flesh"||Julian Simpson||Matthew Graham||7.35||85||21 May 2011||2.5|
|Caught in a "solar tsunami", the TARDIS crash-lands on a 22nd century monastery which been turned into a factory for pumping the deadly acid off an island. The crew of the factory, headed by Miranda Cleaves (Raquel Cassidy), creates doppelgängers (called "Gangers") of themselves using a self-replicating fluid known as the Flesh, which they can safely operate through dangerous duties and are disposable. Cleaves refuses to heed the Doctor's warning about the solar storm until she receives official orders. The Doctor attempts to disconnect the solar connector, but an electrical strike knocks everyone unconscious and have caused the crew's Gangers to become sentient, and the Gangers are planning on killing the humans. As the Doctor herds the humans to a safe place in the monastery, Rory leaves to find Jennifer (Sarah Smart), whose estranged Ganger is hunting her. In the chapel, Amy and the Doctor discover a Flesh version of the Doctor.|
|217b||6||"The Almost People"||Julian Simpson||Matthew Graham||6.72||86||28 May 2011||2.6|
|Amy does not trust the Flesh version of the Doctor but accidentally tells it about his future death at Lake Silencio. Jennifer's Ganger, leading the war against the humans, kills her human counterpart and creates another Ganger, manipulating Rory into imprisoning the humans in an acid storage room. The Doctor's Ganger persuades the Gangers to liberate the humans, but they are pursued by Jennifer's Ganger, who has transformed herself into a monster. The Doctor reveals that Amy was actually distrusting the real version of him, and his Ganger and Cleaves' Ganger stay behind to destroy the monster. Amy begins experiencing contractions, and the Doctor explains she is going into labour an had been replaced by a Ganger which her real self is controlling. He disintegrates her Flesh form and she awakes in her real body fully pregnant in a white tube, watched over by the "Eye Patch Lady" (Frances Barber), who instructs her to "push".|
|218||7||"A Good Man Goes to War"||Peter Hoar||Steven Moffat||7.51||88||4 June 2011||2.7|
|The Doctor assembles an army and he and Rory infiltrate the asteroid base Demon's Run, where Amy is held captive and her newborn child, Melody Pond, has been taken by the Eye Patch Lady, Madame Kovarian. River Song refuses to join the Doctor, explaining that she cannot be there until the end, when he discovers her identity. The Doctor and Rory secure the base, free Amy, and take back Melody. The Doctor's allies discover that Melody contains both human and Time Lord DNA, a result of her being conceived on the TARDIS on Amy and Rory's wedding night ("The Big Bang"). As Rory and the rest of the Doctor's allies battle the Headless Monks, the Doctor learns that he has been tricked: Melody has been replaced by a Ganger duplicate, and he is too late. River Song arrives communicates her identity to the Doctor and he races off in the TARDIS, promising Amy and Rory that he will get their daughter back. River then informs the couple that she is in fact their daughter; "River Song" is a translation of "Melody Pond" in the Gamma Forest where her captors are from.|
|219||8||"Let's Kill Hitler"||Richard Senior||Steven Moffat||8.10||85||27 August 2011||2.8|
|Amy and Rory summon the Doctor to Leadworth, and he admits he has not found Melody. They are met by Mels (Nina Toussaint-White), their childhood friend responsible for Amy and Rory's relationship and whom Amy named Melody after. Mels hijacks the TARDIS and causes it to spin out of control and crash into Hitler's office in 1938 Berlin. They accidentally save Hitler, as they disrupted a Teselecta, a shapeshifting robot piloted by miniaturised people to punish criminals, from killing him. Before Rory locks him away, Hitler shoots at the Teselecta but hits Mels instead. Instead of dying, however, Mels begins to regenerate into another incarnation which they recognise as River Song. She attempts to kill the Doctor several times before she kisses him; he discovers her lipstick was laced with poison that will kill him in 32 minutes. The Teselecta identifies River as responsible for the Doctor's death and thus a criminal, but Amy and Rory plead they not torture her and turn the Teselecta's security robots against the crew, who promptly teleport out. River saves the dying Doctor by using her regenerative powers.|
|220||9||"Night Terrors"||Richard Clark||Mark Gatiss||7.07||86||3 September 2011||2.4|
|The Doctor, Amy, and Rory make a "house call" to a young boy named George (Jamie Oram) who is terrified of almost everything, especially the wardrobe in his room. As the Doctor talks to his father Alex (Daniel Mays), Amy and Rory find themselves suddenly transported from the lift to a life-size doll house where other members of the housing estate have arrived, only to be turned into life-size peg dolls, which soon happens to Amy. The Doctor investigates and Alex suddenly realises that his wife Claire (Emma Cunniffe) was never pregnant and cannot have children. The Doctor asserts that George is a Tenza child, an empathic alien who took on the form of Alex and Claire's desired child through a perception filter, and has the ability to literally lock away his fears within the wardrobe. George panics, causing the Doctor and Alex to be sucked into the doll's house in his wardrobe. The Doctor soon realizes that if George faces his fears by opening the wardrobe, the world in the dollhouse will be destroyed and the inhabitants safe. George opens the wardrobe and is surrounded by dolls due to his belief that he is not wanted. Alex stops the fear when he embraces George as a son, causing the dollhouse world to cease to exist and so the earlier inhabitants are returned to their world.|
|221||10||"The Girl Who Waited"||Nick Hurran||Tom MacRae||7.60||85||10 September 2011||2.10|
|The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to the planet Apalapucia, but they find that the planet is under quarantine as the two-hearted natives are susceptible to a deadly plague which will kill the infected within a day. Those infected by the plague are placed in an accelerated time stream, allowing them to live out their lives whilst in communication with their loved ones. Amy accidentally enters one of these rooms and is separated from the Doctor and Rory. The Doctor uses the TARDIS to locate her and Rory leaves to rescue her; the Doctor, who has two hearts, must remain on the TARDIS to avoid catching the plague. However, they have arrived 36 years later in Amy's time stream and the older Amy refuses to let them rescue her younger self. She later softens, however, and the Doctor says that both versions of Amy will be able to travel on the TARDIS. However, as both Amys are brought together and proceed to enter the TARDIS, the Doctor locks the older Amy out, explaining to Rory that the TARDIS would not allow this paradox.|
|222||11||"The God Complex"||Nick Hurran||Toby Whithouse||6.77||86||17 September 2011||2.11|
|The TARDIS lands in what appears to be a 1980s hotel, which the Doctor recognises as a disguised alien structure. The layout of the hotel is constantly shifting, and they soon lose the TARDIS. They meet others who had also suddenly found themselves in the hotel: humans Rita (Amara Karan), Howie (Dimitri Leonidas), Joe (Daniel Pirrie), and the alien Gibbis (David Walliams). One by one, Joe, Howie, and Rita are seemingly possessed by a minotaur-like monster and lured to it and subsequently killed. The Doctor surmises that the minotaur fed on a specific faith each of them had and discovers that Amy will be next, as she has faith in him. He convinces her to break her faith and the monster collapses and the hotel setting is revealed to be part of a simulation taking place on a prison ship. The Doctor takes Amy and Rory back to Earth, believing it is best for them to stop travelling with him before they are killed.|
|223||12||"Closing Time"||Steve Hughes||Gareth Roberts||6.93||86||24 September 2011||2.12|
|Nearly 200 years have passed for the Doctor, and as he nears his death at Lake Silencio he decides to visit his friend Craig Owens (James Corden), previously seen in "The Lodger". Craig has moved in with his girlfriend Sophie (Daisy Haggard) and the two are raising their baby son, Alfie. The Doctor arrives just as Sophie has departed for a holiday and is compelled to stay and investigate strange electrical disturbances in the area. He traces this back to a department store, which The Doctor and Craig discover contains a teleporter to a Cyberman spacecraft as well as a Cybermat. The Doctor finds the ship underneath the building and is captured by the Cybermen; Craig follows and is nearly converted to a Cyberman, but he hears Alfie crying and recovers the strength to reverse the conversion. Elsewhere, Kovarian and the Silence strap River into the astronaut suit.|
|224||13||"The Wedding of River Song"||Jeremy Webb||Steven Moffat||7.67||86||1 October 2011||2.13|
|Understanding his death cannot be avoided, he gives the invitations to Lake Silencio for Amy, Rory, River, and Canton to a Teselecta. However, the River in the astronaut suit refuses to kill him, but as it was meant to be a fixed point in time the Earth is thrown into an aborted timeline where all of history is running at once. He is found by Amy who is able to remember the universe as it was due to the crack in her wall, though she is unaware that one of her soldiers is Rory. The Doctor is taken to River, who is aware that if the two of them touch the correct time will resume. Amy realises who Rory is and kills Madame Kovarian for taking their child. The Doctor, believing the universe will collapse if they stay in the aborted timeline as River suggests, whispers something in River's ear and then marries her. They kiss, allowing the universe to return. Later, Amy and Rory are visited by River, who reveals that the Doctor had revealed to her that the Teselecta was impersonating him while he was safely inside it, and therefore he did not really die. Elsewhere, the Doctor is warned by the head of his ally Dorium (Simon Fisher-Becker) that the question the Silence were attempting to prevent will be asked as they did not succeed in killing him: "Doctor who?"|
Two, three minute mini-episodes titled "Space" and "Time", directed by Richard Senior, were released on 18 March 2011, filmed under the sixth series' production cycle as part of BBC One's Red Nose Day telethon for the charity Comic Relief. The episodes form a two-part story, set entirely within the TARDIS, starring Matt Smith as The Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams, and were written by the programme's head writer Steven Moffat.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||UK viewers
|Original air date||Production
|"Space" / "Time"||Richard Senior||Steven Moffat||10.26||18 March 2011||—|
|The episodes form a two-part story, set entirely within the TARDIS, starring Matt Smith as The Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams, and were written by the programme's head writer Steven Moffat.|
|"Death Is the Only Answer"||Jeremy Webb||Children of Oakley Junior School||1 October 2011||—|
|"Script to Screen" competition winning script, written by the pupils of Oakley CE Junior School.|
|Night and the Doctor||Richard Senior (Episodes 1-4)
TBA (Episode 5)
|Steven Moffat||N/A||21 November 2011(home video release)||—|
|A series of five mini-episodes produced for the Series 6 DVD and Blu-Ray box set.|
A number of short prequel videos were released online prior to selected episodes' airings.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||UK viewers
|Original online release date||Production
|"The Impossible Astronaut prequel"||TBA||Steven Moffat||N/A||25 March 2011||—|
|Nixon receives a phone call from the little girl who keeps calling him in the episode. She begs for the President to look behind him, but he asks how she got that number, which the 'spaceman' told her. She tells him it is about monsters, to which he replies "Young lady, there are no monsters in the Oval Office." He then hangs up and leans back. Behind him stands an out-of-focus Silent.|
|"The Curse of the Black Spot prequel"||TBA||Stephen Thompson||N/A||30 April 2011||—|
|There is a short montage of atmospheric shots of the pirate ship, bridged by a narration in the form of Captain Avery's journal for "April the first, 1699; the good ship Fancy." Avery describes how his ship has been becalmed for eight days, and the crew are being taken one by one by "an enemy"; he fears that they are all doomed to die there.|
|"A Good Man Goes to War prequel"||TBA||Steven Moffat||N/A||28 May 2011||—|
|Dorium talks to two Headless Monks. He gives them the brain of a Judoon, which contains a security protocol the monks need. Dorium tells them that he knows what they are up to, as he has heard rumours around the area. He asks them, "All this, to imprison one child? Oh, I know what you're up to, I hear everything in this place. I even hear rumours about whose child you've taken. Are you mad? You know the stories about the Doctor? The things that man has done? God help us if you make him angry!"|
|"Let's Kill Hitler prequel"||TBA||Steven Moffat||N/A||15 August 2011||—|
|Amy calls the Doctor and leaves a message for the Doctor on the TARDIS's answer phone, begging him to find her child, Melody. Though Amy knows Melody will grow up to be River Song, she does not want to miss seeing her grow up. As she ends her message, it is revealed that a very upset Doctor was listening but did not pick up the phone, even though Amy had pleaded for him to.|
|"The Wedding of River Song prequel"||TBA||Steven Moffat||N/A||24 September 2011||—|
|At Area 52, which has a clock stuck at 5:02 p.m., Silence are kept in stasis and River Song is wearing an eye patch in the same fashion as Madame Kovarian.|
Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill continued their roles as The Doctor, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams. Darvill had appeared in the previous series in a recurring role, but became a regular in this series. Darvill had his "fingers crossed" that he would become a regular. Alex Kingston returned as River Song. James Corden also reprised his role as Craig Owens from "The Lodger" in "Closing Time", and Simon Callow briefly reprised his role as Charles Dickens from the first series episode "The Unquiet Dead".
"A Christmas Carol" guest-starred Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins. Guest stars of the main series included Michael Sheen (voice), Imelda Staunton (voice), Suranne Jones, David Walliams, Hugh Bonneville, Lily Cole, Mark Sheppard, and Daniel Mays,
Development and writing
The sixth series was commissioned in March 2010, before the fifth series aired. Neither Peter Bennett or Tracie Simpson returned as producers, with Sanne Wohlenberg covering the role for the "A Christmas Carol" and the first two episodes filmed for the main series ("The Doctor's Wife" and "Night Terrors"). Marcus Wilson produced every other episode except "Closing Time", where Denise Paul produces and Wilson is credited as "series producer". Production designer Edward Thomas was replaced by Michael Pickwoad. Lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat stated that the purpose of the previous series was to "reassure" the audience that the show was the same, despite the many production changes. However, he wanted this series to be more of a "ghost train" and "worry" the audience. The series is much more serialised than previous ones; the arc-driven nature was inspired by positive reactions from fans when the Doctor from the fifth series finale "The Big Bang" appeared in the earlier episode "Flesh and Stone". Moffat decided to "rest" the Doctor's arch-enemies the Daleks for the series, as being the "most frequent" enemies of the show made them "the most reliably defeatable enemies in the universe".
The series continues to build the mystery of the Silence, which had been vaguely introduced in the fifth series. Moffat did not wish to end the arc in the previous series, as he felt it would be "more fun" to continue it. Moffat had planned the revelation about River Song "for a long time"; when creating Amy's character, he chose "Pond" for her last name to create a link. Moffat intended for the "answer to be as complicated as the question". Moffat informed Kingston of the secrets of her character at the end of the previous series and she was not allowed to tell anyone; Smith, Gillan, and Darvill were unaware of the identity of her character. River's identity was kept in top secrecy; the script read at the read-through of "A Good Man Goes to War" had a false ending, and only a select few were issued the real script.
Matthew Graham was not able to write an episode as he was slated to for the fifth series because he did not believe he would have enough time. Moffat then asked him to write the two-part episode "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People". Neil Gaiman had written "The Doctor's Wife" for the previous series, but due to budget constraints it was replaced with "The Lodger". This necessitated changes to the script, including the addition of Rory as a companion. During the production process the order of the third, fourth and ninth episodes was changed. "The Curse of the Black Spot" was swapped with "Night Terrors" because Moffat felt that the second half of the series was too dark. This necessitated minor changes for the episodes to fit into the storyline, most notably in "Night Terrors".
Moffat wanted to start the series with a two-parter that had gravity and a wider scope in plot. He also aimed to make them some of the darkest episodes. In contrast, the following episode, "The Curse of the Black Spot", would allow the characters to "kick back and have some fun". Gaiman's episode was based around the TARDIS, and allowing the Doctor and the TARDIS to speak to each other. Graham's two-parter was intended to lead into "A Good Man Goes to War", the mid-series finale, but have a main plot about "avatars that rebel". Graham took Moffat's pitch and added many of his own aspects, such as the monastery setting and the Flesh. Then, in addition to revealing who River song is, "A Good Man Goes to War" presented the situation of the Doctor, who was typically a pacifist, being provoked enough to assemble an army. Moffat described the ending as "game-changing cliffhanger" and split the series in two because such a climax could not be done at the end of a series, as it would be "too long before it came back".
The mid-series premiere, "Let's Kill Hitler", was intended to be the opposite of the "grim and dark" tone of the series premiere. Mark Gatiss wrote "Night Terrors" to be a scary episode, surprised that dolls had not been used in Doctor Who before. "The Girl Who Waited" is a "Doctor-lite" episode which allowed Tom MacRae to explore Amy and Rory's characters and relationship. The concept of "The God Complex" was originally pitched by Toby Whithouse for the fifth series, but it was pushed back as Moffat felt that it was too similar to the stories in that series. The penultimate episode, "Closing Time", is a sequel to series five's "The Lodger" and allows the Doctor to have some fun while building up to the finale. Writer Gareth Roberts also wanted to bring back the Cybermen, there were no other returning monsters in the series and he thought "there should be a sense of history about the Doctor's final battle to save Earth before he heads off to meet his death". The finale was described by Moffat as "a big roller coaster ride of Doctor Who madness" and concludes the Doctor's death arc, though it intentionally leaves some mysteries.
"Night Terrors" was the first episode to be filmed in September 2010. It was mainly filmed on a council estate in Bath, Somerset, with some scenes filmed in Dyrham Park. Production of "The Doctor's Wife" also occurred in September, with some in October. The two-part opening story was partially filmed in the United States, a first for the programme. This production was done in Utah in November 2010. The story was co-produced by BBC America, who provided extra money for filming in the States. "The Rebel Flesh" and "The Almost People" was filmed in late November 2010 to January 2011, with much location shooting at Caerphilly Castle. "The Curse of the Black Spot" was filmed in Cornwall as well as the Upper Boat Studios, while some of "A Good Man Goes to War" was filmed in a hangar in Cardiff and began shooting mid-January 2011. "The God Complex" was mostly filmed on constructed hotel sets, and the low-budget "The Girl Who Waited" was intentionally set in "big white boxes". "Closing Time" was filmed at night in a department store, as well as a private home in Cardiff, with some filming reports in March 2011. "Let's Kill Hitler" featured Swansea and Cardiff's Temple of Peace as locations in Berlin. Filming concluded on 29 April 2011 with "The Wedding of River Song", though a scene from "Let's Kill Hitler" was delayed and filmed on 11 July 2011.
Production blocks were arranged as follows:
|X||"A Christmas Carol"||Toby Haynes||Steven Moffat||Sanne Wohlenberg||2X|
"The Doctor's Wife"
|Richard Clark||Mark Gatiss
|2||"The Impossible Astronaut"
"Day of the Moon"
|Toby Haynes||Steven Moffat||Marcus Wilson||2.1
|3||"The Rebel Flesh"
"The Almost People"
|Julian Simpson||Matthew Graham||Marcus Wilson||2.5
|4||"A Good Man Goes to War"
"The Curse of the Black Spot"
|5||"The God Complex"
"The Girl Who Waited"
|Nick Hurran||Toby Whithouse
|6||"Closing Time"||Steve Hughes||Gareth Roberts||Denise Paul||2.12|
|7||"The Wedding of River Song"
"Let's Kill Hitler"
|Steven Moffat||Marcus Wilson||2.13
The first trailer for the sixth series was shown directly after "A Christmas Carol". In December 2010, BBC America began airing promotions for the new series with Smith and Gillan in character, announcing that they have landed in America. A 15-second teaser trailer was shown on BBC One at 9pm, 22 March 2011. This was followed by a one-minute trailer on 30 March 2011. BBC America followed with a one-minute trailer on 1 April. In addition, two radio trailers were broadcast in the UK in April.
On 10 June 2011, the BBC released a short 30-second teaser trailer for the second half of the series. Smith and Gillan, alongside executive producers Piers Wenger and Beth Willis and "The God Complex" writer Toby Whithouse, attended the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International in late June to promote the second half of the series. There a one minute trailer and a clip of "The God Complex" was show. A 40-second trailer was released on 4 August 2011 for BBC One. A 30-second trailer from BBC America was released on 12 August 2011. An alternative trailer aired on CBBC in August 2011.
In addition, the BBC released prequels on the Doctor Who official website to promote some of the episodes. The first, for "The Impossible Astronaut", was released on 25 March 2011. Prequels were subsequently released to promote "The Curse of the Black Spot", "A Good Man Goes to War", "Let's Kill Hitler", and "The Wedding of River Song".
For storytelling reasons, the series was split into two halves, with the first seven episodes airing in the spring from Easter 2011 and the final six airing in autumn. The first half aired in the United Kingdom on BBC One from 23 April 2011, and the second half from 27 August.
In the United States, the sixth series began airing on BBC America on 23 April; following "A Christmas Carol", this is the first full series to air on the same day in the US as the UK. However, "The Almost People" and "A Good Man Goes to War" were delayed by one week due to expected low numbers of TV viewers during the Memorial Day weekend. Space aired the premiere on 23 April for Canadian viewers, and "The Impossible Astronaut" was broadcast in Australia on ABC1 on 30 April. The series started screening in New Zealand on Prime on 19 May 2011.
The second half of the series, beginning with "Let's Kill Hitler", was broadcast on 27 August 2011 on BBC America and on Space. ABC1 began the second run on 3 September. On Prime, it began airing from 15 September 2011.
Some international broadcasts, including BBC America, contained an introduction by Amy before the opening credits. Moffat was asked to write the sequence; he called it a "bloody good idea" because it would make it accessible to new audiences, despite noting that diehard fans would not like it. Previous showrunner Russell T Davies was also a fan of the sequence.
DVD and Blu-ray release
All of the episodes from the first half of the series ("The Impossible Astronaut" to "A Good Man Goes to War") were released on 11 July 2011 on DVD and Blu-ray, entitled Doctor Who: Series Six, Part 1. This set included two featurettes called "Monster Files", which looked into the Silence and the Gangers. Doctor Who: Series Six, Part 2, covering episodes from "Let's Kill Hitler" to "The Wedding of River Song", was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 10 October 2011. It also contained two "Monster Files" on the Antibodies and the Cybermats. A 6-disc boxset containing all 13 episodes of the series and "A Christmas Carol" was released on 21 November 2011 in Region 1, 22 November in Region 2, on 1 December 2011 in Region 4. A limited edition box set was also released in the UK with a lifted image of a Silent on the cover and including five 3-D art cards. Special features included in the box sets are commentaries on five episodes, "Space" and "Time", the prequels, trailers, "Monster Files", and the cut-down versions of the accompanying Doctor Who Confidential episodes. Also included is Night and the Doctor, which comprises five made-for-DVD mini-episodes.
"A Christmas Carol" received final ratings of 12.11 million viewers, the fourth highest rated Christmas special behind "Voyage of the Damned", "The Next Doctor", and Part Two of The End of Time. The ratings for the series dramatically increased once time-shifted viewers were taken into account. "The Impossible Astronaut" premiered with a consolidated figure 8.86 million viewers in the UK, and was reportedly the most recorded television event of all time. It also received 1.379 million requests on BBC's online iPlayer for the month of April. The series held a consistent viewership in the seven millions, with the lowest-rated episode being "The Almost People" with 6.72 million.
The series also received a strong Appreciation Index, with all episodes aside from "A Christmas Carol" in the "excellent" category of a score of 85 or more. While "The Impossible Astronaut" and "A Good Man Goes to War" reached 88, the finale only scored 86, compared to 88, 89, and 91 of the previous finales of the revived series.
In Canada on Space, "The Impossible Astronaut" was viewed by 538,000, the most-watched Doctor Who episode for the channel and its most-watched telecast thus far in 2011. On BBC America in the United States, "The Impossible Astronaut" was the channel's highest-rated telecast with 1.3 million viewers, increasing to 1.8 million when DVR recordings were taken into account. The second half of the series, with Top Gear and Luther, contributed to the third quarter of 2011 being BBC America's highest rated. Doctor Who also became the most-downloaded show of 2011 on iTunes in the US, with the sixth series specifically topping the chart.
Reviewing the first half, Dave Golder of SFX praised the change in direction Moffat had taken with the show, calling it "more visually impressive and more narratively rewarding than anything we've had before". The Guardian 's Dan Martin was positive towards the first six episodes, despite calling "The Curse of the Black Spot" a "wasted opportunity" and noting that it would be a risk to serialise the story too much. He particularly praised the way Amy, Rory, and the Doctor had developed since the last series.
Sam McPherson of Zap2it said that, despite a few "duds", the sixth series was the "strongest" since Doctor Who 's revival in 2005. Despite disliking the finale as a conclusion, The Independent 's Neela Debnath praised the character development seen in the series as well as the "cinematic quality". She also was positive to the dynamic between the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, as it was different from other characters seen previously on the show, and continuing with the same character allowed the series to feel more "multi-layered". Charlie Jane Anders of io9 described it as "of the most unusual, and structurally ambitious, eras in Doctor Who 's history" and praised the way the story revolved around the Doctor. DVD Talk's John Sinnott gave the series four out of five stars, feeling that it "[didn't] quite hit the heights" of the fifth series but was "still pretty good (and light years past any other SF show currently in production)". Despite finding the solution "witty, unpredictable ... and very satisfying", he stated that the subplots were "a bit convoluted" and potentially confusing, and they "seem to drop the mystery of the person in the space suit for a large part of the season and [focus] on other odd events". He also noted that the plots of the consecutive episodes "Night Terrors", "The Girl Who Waited", and "The God Complex" were similar.
Reviewing the whole series, SFX 's Ian Berriman was more critical, giving it three and a half out of five stars. He heavily criticised the story arc, finding it too complicated and the solution unsatisfying, and noted that it lacked "emotional impact". Anders felt that the story arc, especially the finale, suffered from Amy and River not being portrayed as believable characters. Digital Spy named Doctor Who the eighth best show of 2011, feeling that the series was "something of a mixed bag" with episodes of varying quality but generally praised the acting of the cast "Matt Smith was firing on all cylinders - there's a confidence that comes with knowing you're a hit with viewers - while Arthur Darvill's Rory excelled in his first year as a series regular"  Gavin Fuller of The Daily Telegraph wrote that "The Wedding of River Song" was "an uneven ending to a slightly uneven series which at times has been in danger of overcomplicating itself, but still has been one of the most creative and distinctive series on television". The series was also criticised by viewers and the press for being "too scary" for young children, "too complicated", and running the risk of alienating casual viewers. Arnold T. Blumburg of IGN stated that the sixth series "inspired seriously divided reactions in fandom" and, in his opinion, "the show has never been more unevenly written or emotionally distant".
"A Christmas Carol" was nominated for the 2011 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), but lost to the fifth series finale "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang". "The Doctor's Wife", "A Good Man Goes to War", and "The Girl Who Waited" were nominated for the same award for 2012, with "The Doctor's Wife" winning. "The Doctor's Wife" also won the 2011 Ray Bradbury award.
At the 2012 BAFTA Cymru awards, the sound team was nominated for "Best Sound" for "The Wedding of River Song", and "The Impossible Astronaut" was nominated for "Best Television Drama". While both lost, the tie-in Doctor Who: The Adventure Games game "The Gunpowder Plot" won the category of "Best Digital Creativity & Games". The series was also nominated for a Saturn Award for "Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television". For his work on the series, Moffat received a nomination for Best Writer (Drama) for the Royal Television Society Programme Awards, though he lost to Peter Bowker of Eric and Ernie. In Canada's Constallation Awards, Gillan was nominated for "Best Female Performance in a 2011 Science Fiction Television Episode" for her work on "The Girl Who Waited", while Doctor Who was nominated in the "Best Science Fiction Television Series of 2011" category. In the 2012 TV Choice Awards, Smith has been nominated for Best Actor, Gillan for Best Actress, and Doctor Who for Best Family Drama.
Selected pieces of score from this series (from "The Impossible Astronaut" to "The Wedding of River Song"), as composed by Murray Gold, was released on 19 December 2011 by Silva Screen Records. The music from "A Christmas Carol" was released separately on its own soundtrack.
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