Demons of the Punjab

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282 – "Demons of the Punjab"
Doctor Who episode
Doctor Who Series 11 Episode 6 Demons of the Punjab.jpg
Promotional image for the episode, showing Yaz's grandmother Umbreen (Amita Suman)
  • Leena Dhingra – Nani Umbreen
  • Amita Suman – Umbreen
  • Shane Zaza – Prem
  • Hamza Jeetooa – Manish
  • Shaheen Khan – Hasna
  • Shobna Gulati – Najia
  • Ravin J. Ganatra – Hakim
  • Bhavnisha Parmar – Sonya
  • Emma Fielding – Voice of Kisar
  • Nathalie Curzner – Performance of Kisar
  • Isobel Middleton – Voice of Almak
  • Barbara Fadden – Performance of Almak
Directed byJamie Childs
Written byVinay Patel
Script editorFiona McAllister
Produced byAlex Mercer
Executive producer(s)
  • Chris Chibnall
  • Matt Strevens
  • Sam Hoyle
Incidental music composerSegun Akinola
SeriesSeries 11
Length50 minutes
First broadcast11 November 2018 (2018-11-11)
← Preceded by
"The Tsuranga Conundrum"
Followed by →
Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

"Demons of the Punjab" is the sixth episode of the eleventh series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. It was written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs, and first broadcast on BBC One on 11 November 2018.

In the episode, Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) asks the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) to take her to see her grandmother (Leena Dhingra) during her youth (Amita Suman), only to cause both them and her friends Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) to become caught up in the events preceding the partition of India. During this time, the Doctor questions if aliens are involved in the death of a man killed during their visit. The episode was watched by 7.48 million viewers, and was met with positive reviews from critics.


While celebrating the birthday of her grandmother Umbreen, Yasmin receives a broken watch from her. Curious over its origins, Yasmin convinces a hesitant Doctor to take her and the others to the Punjab in August 1947 where the watch was broken. Upon arriving, Yasmin learns that the watch's previous owner was a Hindu man named Prem, whom a younger Umbreen intends to marry despite Yasmin's family having Muslim roots. The Doctor notes that the group have arrived on 14 August, the day before the partition of India. She advises her friends to rush to the wedding ceremony to ensure that they and the family are not caught in the partitioning. But matters become complicated when the group see two aliens, that the Doctor had visions of during brief head pains, over the body of the wedding's overseer sadhu Bhakti.

The group are joined by Prem, who saw the aliens around the time of his older brother's death during his military service in World War II, as the Doctor assumed the aliens killed Bhakti and eventually recognises them as members of the Thijarian, a race of assassins, while finding their ship and stealing a capsule from them. But the Doctor learns that the Thijarians are actually the last of their kind, the capsule holding what remained of their destroyed planet, and have dedicated themselves to commemorate those who die alone. After revealing that Prem will become a casualty of the partition they intend to witness, the Thijarians agree to show the Doctor a recording of Bhakti's death. The footage reveals Bhakti was murdered by Prem's younger brother Manish, who opposes the wedding.

Returning to the others and convinced by Yasmin to see the event through, the Doctor oversees the marriage ceremony with the group witnessing the watch being accidently broken as Umbreen cherishes its significance. When the Doctor later accosts Manish for Bhakti's murder, he reveals to have contacted a small group of armed Hindu nationalists to attack the wedding reception. As Umbreen and her mother escape with the Doctor's group, Prem remains behind to reason with Manish and dies when the nationalists shoot him while the Thijarians observe. Back in the present, Yasmin's grandmother comments on her granddaughter's new henna.



After the premiere episode, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" was broadcast, it was announced that Shane Zaza, Hamza Jeetooa, and Amita Suman would be among a number of guest actors that would appear in the series.[1] They play Prem, Manish and the younger Umbreen respectively.


Segun Akinola's soundtrack made use of instruments such as the tabla and shehnai, performed by musicians of South Asian descent.[2] Akinola also created a new arrangement of the closing theme after the style of Punjabi music, performed by Kuljit Bahmra, Surjeet Singh, and singer Shahid Abbas Khan.[3][4]


The episode was filmed in the Province of Granada, Spain.[5]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Rotten Tomatoes (Average Score)7.8[6]
Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer)96%[6]
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyB+[7]
Daily Mirror4/5 stars[8]
New York Magazine5/5 stars[9]
Radio Times3/5 stars[10]
The A.V. ClubB+[11]
The Telegraph3/5 stars[12]
TV Fanatic4/5 stars[13]


"Demons of the Punjab" was watched by 5.77 million viewers overnight, a share of 27.5% of the total TV audience, making it the third-highest overnight viewership for the night and the eleventh-highest overnight viewership for the week on overnights across all channels.[14] It received an official total of 7.48 million viewers across all UK channels, making it the eighth most watched programme of the week, and had an Audience Appreciation Index score of 80.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode earned positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 96%, based on 25 reviews, and an average score of 7.8/10. The critical consensus reads, "'Demons of Punjab' focuses on family and progress, solidifying the cohesive thematic stamp this season is making upon the greater series."[6]


  1. ^ Fullerton, Huw (7 October 2018). "Doctor Who casts Mark Addy, Chris Noth and Julie Hesmondhalgh in mysterious new roles". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. ^ Sequeira, Gayle. "Doctor Who's Newest Episode Is A Compelling Look At Partition-Era India". Film Companion. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  3. ^ "11 burning questions we have after watching Doctor Who: Demons of the Punjab". Radio Times. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  4. ^ Potts, Lianne. "VIDEO: Doctor Who – 'Demons of the Punjab' – End Credits Theme". Blogtor Who. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  5. ^ Laford, Andrea (15 October 2018). "Doctor Who Series 11: episodes 5 and 6 titles, synopses, photos". CultBox. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Doctor Who – Season 11, Episode 6". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  7. ^ Coggan, Devan (11 November 2018). "Doctor Who recap: Love and death in 1947 India". Entertainment Weekly.
  8. ^ Jackson, Daniel (11 November 2018). "Doctor Who series 11 episode 6 Demons of the Punjab review: A chance for Yaz to shine in India's troubled past". Daily Mirror.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (11 November 2018). "Doctor Who Demons of the Punjab review: "an imperfect jewel but a romantic tragedy with immense charm"". Radio Times.
  11. ^ Siede, Caroline (11 November 2018). "Doctor Who delivers a moving history lesson about the Partition of India". The A.V. Club.
  12. ^ Hogan, Michael (11 November 2018). "Doctor Who, episode 6, recap: Remembrance, radicalism and romance". The Telegraph.
  13. ^ Keng, Diana (11 November 2018). "Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 6 Review: Demons of the Punjab". TV Fanatic.
  14. ^ Marcus (12 November 2018). "Demons of the Punjab – Overnight Viewing Figures". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  15. ^ Marcus (19 November 2018). "Demons of the Punjab – Official Ratings". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 20 November 2018.

External links[edit]