Doctor Who (series 9)
|Doctor Who (series 9)|
DVD box set cover art
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of stories||9|
|No. of episodes||12 (+2 supplemental)|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||19 September– 5 December 2015|
The ninth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who premiered on 19 September 2015 with "The Magician's Apprentice" and concluded on 5 December 2015 with "Hell Bent". The series was led by head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, alongside executive producer Brian Minchin. Nikki Wilson, Peter Bennett, and Derek Ritchie served as producers. The series is the ninth to air following the programme's revival in 2005, and is the thirty-fifth season overall.
This is the second series starring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, an alien Time Lord who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which is disguised as a British police box. It also stars Jenna Coleman as the Doctor's companion, Clara Oswald, for her third and final series in the role. Also playing a major recurring role in the series is Maisie Williams as Ashildr, a Viking girl made immortal by the Doctor, which leads to major events resulting of her encounters with the Doctor. The series' main story arc revolves around the mystery of a being called the Hybrid, the combination of two great warrior races. The Hybrid is alluded to with the appearance of many other hybrids such as Osgood and Ashildr. The Doctor's investigation into this being ultimately leads him back to his home planet of Gallifrey, which returns fully in the series.
Steven Moffat wrote four episodes solo and co-wrote an additional two. The other writers who worked on this series included Toby Whithouse, Jamie Mathieson, Catherine Tregenna, Peter Harness, Mark Gatiss, and Sarah Dollard. Directors of the series included ones who had previously worked with Moffat on the show, and brand new ones. Filming began on 5 January 2015. The ninth series received high acclaim from critics, with many labelling it as the show's strongest season to date. Aspects of the series that were met with the most praise included the writing, directing, and structure of the series, as well as the performances of Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Maisie Williams.
The series contains more than one two-part story for the first time since the sixth series in 2011. Episodes such as "The Girl Who Died" / "The Woman Who Lived" and "Face the Raven" / "Heaven Sent" / "Hell Bent" are connected through loose story arcs, but are considered separate when it comes to their respective story numbers.
|Story||Episode||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||UK viewers|
|253||–||"Last Christmas"||Paul Wilmshurst||Steven Moffat||25 December 2014||8.28||82|
|Clara is awakened and discovers Santa Claus on her rooftop. As she tries to deny his existence, the Doctor arrives and takes her away in the TARDIS. At the North Pole, a group of scientists work on trying to save their fellow base personnel who have been taken over by crab-like creatures. The Doctor and Clara arrive at the base and come under attack from the crabs, only to be rescued by Santa. The Doctor realizes the creatures are Dream Crabs, alien crabs that induce a dream state while devouring a person's brain. The Doctor realizes everyone is in a dream, with Santa being part of it. They escape when they dream that Santa is flying them home. One by one they wake up and their crabs die, until only Clara is left. The Doctor awakens and removes the crab from Clara, only to discover that it has been 62 years for her since they last met. Santa appears and the Doctor realizes he is still dreaming. Back in reality, the Doctor finds Clara at her normal age. He asks Clara if she wants to rejoin him aboard the TARDIS; she accepts.|
|254a||1||"The Magician's Apprentice"||Hettie MacDonald||Steven Moffat||19 September 2015||6.54||84|
|The Doctor attempts to rescue a boy on a battlefield, but upon discovering that the boy is a young Davros, abandons him. Colony Sarff, a creature composed of snakes, searches for the Doctor in various locations, including the planet Karn and the Shadow Proclamation headquarters ("The Stolen Earth"). On Earth, Clara is summoned by UNIT when all of the world's aircraft freeze in the sky, and they discover Missy is causing the phenomenon. Missy has the last will and testament of the Doctor, and tells Clara that they must search for him. They trace him to Essex in 1138, where he has spent three weeks having a party. When Clara and Missy reunite with the Doctor, Sarff arrives and explains that the elderly Davros wishes to see the Doctor, before taking the three to a hospital ship. Clara and Missy discover the ship is a building on an invisible planet, but as the landscape reappears, Missy identifies the planet as Skaro. They are captured by the Daleks, who appear to kill them and destroy the TARDIS. The Doctor returns to the battlefield, holding a Dalek weapon, apparently preparing to kill the younger Davros.|
|254b||2||"The Witch's Familiar"||Hettie MacDonald||Steven Moffat||26 September 2015||5.71||83|
|Using Dalek energy, Missy was able to power her teleporter for her and Clara to escape. The two attempt to find the Doctor, going through the sewers, which are filled with decaying Daleks. They successfully kill a Dalek and empty its case to disguise Clara inside of it. Meanwhile, Davros tells the Doctor he wishes to heal him, and asks the Doctor if he is a good man. The Doctor comforts Davros, and the two begin to bond. Feeling compassion for him, the Doctor uses a little regeneration energy to power Davros' life support, which is also connected to every Dalek. This turns out to be a trap, and begins draining the Doctor to regenerate Davros and the Daleks. Missy saves the Doctor, and the energy also restores the dying Daleks, who wish to destroy the functional Daleks. While escaping, the Doctor and Missy encounter Clara's Dalek. Missy tries to trick the Doctor into killing her, but fails and escapes. The Doctor then returns to the battlefield, where he doesn't kill Davros, but destroys the mines to free him and then helps the young Davros home.|
|255a||3||"Under the Lake"||Daniel O'Hara||Toby Whithouse||3 October 2015||5.63||84|
|The Doctor and Clara arrive in an underwater base in the year 2119. The military team there have discovered an alien space ship, but the leader of their crew was killed upon its discovery. Now an alien and their dead crew member have come back as ghosts trying to kill them. The Doctor and the others attempt to capture the ghosts and understand what they want, and find out that they are repeating coordinates. They find a deadlocked pod in suspended animation at the church where the coordinates led. The Doctor concludes that the ghosts are being used to send a call to the location. The lake they are in exists because a dam broke and a town was flooded, the Doctor decides to go back to before the flood and find out the true meaning behind the signal. However, on his way through the base, he is separated from Clara. Clara must stay in the base with military personnel Cass and Lunn as it begins flooding, while the Doctor goes to the TARDIS with O'Donnell and Bennet. After they leave, Clara spots a new ghost in the lake, only to discover that it is the Doctor.|
|255b||4||"Before the Flood"||Daniel O'Hara||Toby Whithouse||10 October 2015||6.05||83|
|The Doctor explains the Bootstrap Paradox to the audience, before landing in 1980 with Bennett and O'Donnell. They discover that the Tivolian, Prentis, is still alive, the writing has not yet been scratched into the wall, and that the spaceship is a hearse, carrying The Fisher King. Meanwhile, Clara, Cass and Lunn realise that The Doctor's ghost is uttering their names instead of coordinates. The Doctor contacts Clara and tries to reason with his ghost but it unlocks the Faraday cage, releasing the others. The Fisher King awakes, killing Prentis and writing the words on the wall. O'Donnell, Bennet and The Doctor flees but they get separated and O'Donnell is killed. The Doctor confronts the Fisher King, tricking him into leaving the church and the stasis chamber behind, and he uses the missing power cell to destroy the dam wall, flooding the base. The stasis chamber opens in the future to reveal The Doctor inside; his "ghost" is a hologram, programmed by the Doctor. The ghosts are sealed within the Faraday cage, and the Doctor and Clara leave. The Doctor asks Clara who thought of what to program the ghost to say, drawing a parallel with the Bootstrap paradox.|
|256||5||"The Girl Who Died"||Ed Bazalgette||Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat||17 October 2015||6.56||82|
|After being captured by vikings, the Doctor and Clara are brought to their village, who find themselves under siege by the Mire, one of the universe's most powerful warrior races due to a girl named Ashildr antagonizing them. The Doctor and Clara begin training the villagers for war after the Mire kills all of the village's soldiers. At first it seems hopeless, but then the Doctor concocts a plan utilizing Ashildr. The next day, the Mire invades, and the Doctor steals a helmet for Ashildr to use. Using this, she hacks into the Mire's other helmets and forces them to retreat, but she dies due to the helmet draining her life away. The Doctor and Clara mourn, but then he remembers Caecilius, a man whom he saved at the insistence of Donna ("The Fires of Pompeii"), realising he and Caecilius now share a face. The Doctor realises his face is a reminder that he doesn't have to follow the rules of time and space, and he uses Mire technology to bring Ashildr back to life. However, this makes her an immortal "hybrid," and a final shot shows her becoming miserable in her eternal life.|
|257||6||"The Woman Who Lived"||Ed Bazalgette||Catherine Tregenna||24 October 2015||6.11||81|
|The Doctor travels alone to 1600s London, where he encounters the immortal Ashildr, now calling herself "Me." Throughout her immortal life, she has lost many memories, and now isolates herself as to not lose loved ones. She begs the Doctor to take her away from this world, but he refuses, so Me then uses a backup plan; with an alien, Me plans to use an amulet that will open a portal to take them away from the Earth, though it requires the death of another to activate. The creature and Me kill an outlaw and the amulet begins draining his life while opening the portal, when the creature reveals it was manipulating Me to bring his own people to conquer this world. The Doctor and Me then use the med pack the Doctor gave to Me in the previous episode to save the outlaw, closing the portal and killing the creature. When Clara returns to the TARDIS, the Doctor sees a photo with Me staring at him in the background in present day London on Clara's phone.|
|258a||7||"The Zygon Invasion"||Daniel Nettheim||Peter Harness||31 October 2015||5.76||82|
|In the aftermath of the previous Zygon attack on Earth ("The Day of the Doctor"), there exists a treaty that allowed 20 million Zygons to remain on Earth, peacefully living out as disguised humans. The Doctor receives a warning from Osgood that something called the Nightmare Scenario has occurred. The Doctor asserts there must be a splinter group of Zygons that want to invade Earth. As President of the World, he goes to Turmezistan, where Osgood is being held hostage, to try and stop them. Clara joins with Jac to investigate problems with lifts which leads to the realization that they lead to a secret Zygon command center. Clara reveals herself to be a disguised Zygon called Bonnie, who had switched places with the real Clara, and kills Jac, while Kate Stewart is attacked by a Zygon while investigating in New Mexico. The Doctor rescues Osgood from captivity and sets off back to London, but Bonnie fires a missile and shoots down his plane.|
|258b||8||"The Zygon Inversion"||Daniel Nettheim||Peter Harness and Steven Moffat||7 November 2015||6.03||84|
|The Doctor and Osgood survive the plane crash. Within Clara's mind, Bonnie learns that the Osgood Box, which holds the solution to Zygon-human conflict, is held in the UNIT's Black Archives. Clara is able to telepathically break through Bonnie's control and alert the Doctor to her whereabouts. Kate joins the Doctor and Osgood, revealing she is pretending to be a Zygon to gain information from Bonnie. The three arrive at the Black Archives, where Bonnie is holding Clara hostage and has found there are two Osgood boxes, one having the ability to remove all Zygon disguises and the other releasing gas to kill all Zygons. When Bonnie and Kate prepare to activate the boxes, the Doctor manages to talk them out by explaining that the boxes' actions reflect the repetitive truth and consequences of actions of war. Bonnie realizes the boxes are actually empty as a ploy, but accepts the peace regardless. In the aftermath, the Doctor invites Osgood to join him and Clara in the TARDIS, but she declines as both she and Bonnie have taken on the role of protecting the Osgood boxes and keeping the peace between humans and Zygons.|
|259||9||"Sleep No More"||Justin Molotnikov||Mark Gatiss||14 November 2015||5.61||78|
|The Doctor and Clara travel to the Le Verrier, a space station in the 38th century in orbit above Neptune. Here they meet a four person rescue team, who arrived at the station to find out why communications fell silent 24 hours ago. They then meet Gagan Rassmussen, the last survivor of the Le Verrier and creator of a machine called the Morpheus pod, which has the intent to reduce the amount of sleep for a person to allow them to work more. These pods are revealed to also mutate the sleep dust into a life form called the Sandmen who were the apparent cause for the deaths of the Le Verrier crew. Rassmussen, claiming to be working with the Sandmen, planned to send the longest mutated Sandman upon humanity to multiply, but the Doctor and Clara foil his plan and leave the station as it crashes into Neptune. But Rassmussen, revealed to be a Sandman himself, actually orchestrated the events to use assembled footage recorded from Morpheus victims' vision to create an exciting video to transmit the Morpheus signal to unwary viewers and spread the virus.|
|260||10||"Face the Raven"||Justin Molotnikov||Sarah Dollard||21 November 2015||6.05||84|
|The Doctor and Clara receive a phone call from Rigsy, who informs them of strange numbers that have appeared on the back of his neck and that are counting down. After examining him, the Doctor concludes that a Chronolock has been placed on him and he will die when the countdown reaches zero. Determined to discover who is responsible and save Rigsy, the trio discover an alien community in London. They then discover that Ashildr/"Me" is the mayor of this street, and that Rigsy has been sentenced to death for murder. Clara discovers that the Chronolock can be transferred to a willing recipient and takes it from Rigsy, believing that Ashildr will remove the Chronolock and spare her. In the end, the alien woman Rigsy has been framed for murdering proves to be a lie; Ashildr made a deal with an unknown party to have the Doctor transported to another location via a teleport bracelet. It is revealed that as the Chronolock has been passed on to Clara, Ashildr cannot remove it and Clara cannot be saved. Clara pleads with the Doctor not to take revenge for her. Clara then dies, and the Doctor is teleported away.|
|261||11||"Heaven Sent"||Rachel Talalay||Steven Moffat||28 November 2015||6.19||80|
|The Doctor appears in a chamber after being teleported, still angry about having lost Clara. He soon learns that he is being followed by a creature which intends to kill him. He concludes that after giving a confession, the creature will momentarily retreat and the castle will shift its form. The Doctor tries to figure out how to escape. After going into a garden and digging, he finds a tablet with "I AM IN 12" engraved into it. After eventually discovering Room 12, he finds a wall made entirely out of Azbantium, a mineral 400 times harder than diamond. He starts to break away at it with his fist, when the creature appears and mortally wounds him. The Doctor crawls back to the room he appeared in and sacrifices himself to teleport his past self there, which he has been doing for 7000 years. Eventually, after over four billion years of being killed over and over again, the wall is now weakened and he breaks through. Upon stepping through, the Doctor sees he was inside his confession dial all along. The Doctor, having returned to Gallifrey, tells a nearby child to inform someone that he has arrived.|
|262||12||"Hell Bent"||Rachel Talalay||Steven Moffat||5 December 2015||6.17||82|
|In a Nevada diner, the Doctor encounters a waitress physically identical to Clara, and begins to tell her a "story" about Clara; neither appear to recognize the other. On Gallifrey, Rassilon attempts to have the Doctor imprisoned and executed. The Time Lord military instead pledges its loyalty to the Doctor, turning on Rassilon. The Doctor has the Time Lords use an extraction chamber to retrieve Clara from her timeline at the instant of her death. The Doctor takes Clara and a TARDIS and escapes Gallifrey, attempting to take her far away enough that she will return to life. At the end of the universe, the Doctor encounters Ashildr; the two conclude the Hybrid is the Doctor and Clara together. The Doctor decides to remove Clara's memories of him, but Clara alters the device so it will affect the Doctor. In the present, the Doctor concludes his story, and the waitress encourages him to keep going. In the back room is Ashildr and the TARDIS console; it departs, leaving the Doctor with his own TARDIS, where the Doctor is left confounded and Clara sets off with Ashildr with the intention of eventually returning to Gallifrey to meet her end.|
|263||–||"The Husbands of River Song"||Douglas Mackinnon||Steven Moffat||25 December 2015||7.69||82|
|The Doctor is on the planet Mendorax Dellora in 5343, where due to a case of mistaken identity he is recruited by his former companion and wife River Song to assist her in removing a diamond from the head of King Hydroflax after his maligned attempt to steal it. Surprised that River cannot identify his newest face, the Doctor struggles to break the news to her while learning how she acts on her own – and how many other lovers she has had. The Doctor and River bring the head of Hydroflax to the starship Harmony and Redemption to sell it, and a series of events cause River to discover the Doctor's identity. The starship is caught in a meteor strike and crashes into the planet Darillium, where the Doctor and River are fated to have their final date together before River dies meeting a younger Doctor. Having deliberately held it off for as long as possible, the Doctor finally decides to give in and arranges for a restaurant to be constructed on the planet. The Doctor and River then have their final date together, which lasts for 24 years – the span of a night on Darillium.|
The following were both prequels to "The Magician's Apprentice".
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date||Length|
|Prologue||Hettie MacDonald||Steven Moffat||11 September 2015||1:55|
|A prologue that leads into the first episode of the series, "The Magician's Apprentice". It features a scene between the Doctor and the leader of the Sisterhood of Karn, Ohila. They discuss a very old enemy summoning the Doctor, to which he replies he won't go. However, Ohila knows he is lying.|
|"The Doctor's Meditation"||Ed Bazalgette||Steven Moffat||15 September 2015||6:36|
The Doctor appears in medieval times alongside Bors, who appears to be a loyal friend, and Bors questions who he must face, asking whether he faces an old friend or a foe. The Doctor replies that he must meditate, but has trouble doing so. Finally, he does meditate, but only after Bors promises to stay by his side. During the short the Doctor builds a well and a visitors' centre.
The prequel was shown in cinemas in Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Denmark and the United States alongside the 3D showing of the series 8 finale, "Dark Water" / "Death in Heaven". It was made available through the official Doctor Who Facebook page, and other online sources such Amazon Instant Video and iTunes.
The ninth series is the second starring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, and the third and final starring Jenna Coleman as the Doctor's companion Clara Oswald.
In Doctor Who Magazine, Michelle Gomez confirmed that she would return as Missy, the latest incarnation of the Master, who served as the main villain in series 8. In February 2015, it was confirmed that Missy would return in "The Magician's Apprentice" / "The Witch's Familiar", the opening episodes of the series.
In January 2015, it was announced that actor Paul Kaye had a guest role in the first production block. It was later announced that other guest actors featuring in the first block include Arsher Ali, Morven Christie, Neil Fingleton, Colin McFarlane, and Steven Robertson.
Jemma Redgrave returned in the recurring role of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart. Kelly Hunter was also confirmed to be appearing in the opening story, alongside Jaye Griffiths and Clare Higgins. Hunter previously appeared as the Shadow Architect for the Shadow Proclamation in "The Stolen Earth", while Higgins appeared in "The Night of the Doctor" as Ohila, High Priestess of the Sisterhood of Karn. It was announced on 8 May 2015 that Ingrid Oliver would return as Osgood alongside Redgrave for "The Zygon Invasion" / "The Zygon Inversion", a story involving the Zygons, despite her apparent death in the previous series.
Other guests included India Ria Amarteifio, Dasharn Anderson, Harki Bhambra, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Aaron Neil, Demi Papaminas, Joey Price and Jami Reid-Quarrell. On 30 March 2015, Maisie Williams, Rufus Hound, Tom Stourton, Ariyon Bakare, Simon Lipkin, Ian Conningham, Murray McArthur, Barnaby Kay, John Voce, and Struan Rodger were announced to be appearing. On 19 April 2015, David Schofield was announced to be playing Viking god Odin. On 4 June 2015, it was announced that Rebecca Front, who starred alongside Capaldi in The Thick of It, would appear in "The Zygon Invasion". On 10 June 2015, it was announced that Joivan Wade would return as Rigsy, who previously appeared in "Flatline". Robin Soans played Chronolock Guy in "Face the Raven"; Soans previously appeared in Doctor Who as Luvic in The Keeper of Traken.
Julian Bleach reprised his role as Davros, having last appeared in the role in 2008's "The Stolen Earth" / "Journey's End", while Joey Price debuted as a younger version of the character. On September 28, 2015 it was announced that Corey Taylor, frontman for the heavy metal band Slipknot, would feature in the fourth episode "Before the Flood", as the scream of the alien warlord Fisher King.
Writing and development
Steven Moffat wrote the opening two-parter story, and Catherine Tregenna wrote an episode for the series. Tregenna is known for her earlier involvement in Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood.
Before series 8 began, Moffat promised a cliffhanger for series 9, and teased in Doctor Who Magazine Issue 475, "I've figured out the cliffhanger to the penultimate episode of series 9. And it's a whopper. Ohh, I don’t think you'll see this coming!"
As the series coincides with the 10th anniversary of the show's revival, the BBC asked former showrunner and head writer, Russell T. Davies to return, along with Steven Moffat who asks Davies every year. He replied with a polite "thanks but no thanks". A BBC source says that plans for the revival anniversary were still to be decided, despite Davies' reluctance to return. He also believed that the success of the revived show meant that "It’s now impossible for it to ever be axed." However, despite the comments made to Radio Times, in an interview with BBC Radio 2 a week later, Davies said he would love to write more Doctor Who, specifically a movie.
In January 2015, the Doctor Who Twitter page reported that filming had begun on episodes written by Toby Whithouse, who has previously contributed episodes "School Reunion", "The Vampires of Venice", "The God Complex" and "A Town Called Mercy". On 16 March 2015, Mark Gatiss confirmed he would be writing an episode for the series. On 30 March 2015, it was confirmed Jamie Mathieson, who previously wrote "Mummy on the Orient Express" and "Flatline" for series 8, would write a new episode called "The Girl Who Died" with Moffat. On 8 May 2015 it was announced that Peter Harness, who wrote series 8's "Kill the Moon", would write a two-part story. Justin Molotnikov was to direct two 60 minute episodes for Doctor Who, according to his CV, though this was removed at a later date. However, he directed the ninth and tenth episodes of the series.
The series saw the return of the cliffhanger, with six of the twelve episodes divided into two-parters. Moffat has stated that the two-part stories aren't as connected as similar stories in previous series, but instead are quite different and only vaguely related.
In April 2015, Steven Moffat confirmed that Doctor Who would run for at least another five years, extending the show until at least 2020.
Filming and principal photography for the ninth series began on 5 January 2015 in Cardiff, with "Under the Lake" and "Before the Flood" making up the first production block. The read-through for the first block took place on 18 December 2014.
The second production block consist of two of Steven Moffat's episodes, the opening two-parter. Filming for the story took place in Tenerife, Spain in February 2015, directed by Hettie MacDonald, who directed the 2007 episode "Blink".
On 30 March 2015, it was revealed Ed Bazalgette would direct two episodes, one written by Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat and the other by Catherine Tregenna. On 8 May 2015, the BBC announced that filming had started on a two-part episode written by Peter Harness and directed by Daniel Nettheim. On 10 June 2015, it was revealed by the BBC that filming for Block 5 had begun with Justin Molotnikov directing "Face the Raven", written by Sarah Dollard. On 1 July 2015, the BBC confirmed that Rachel Talalay would return to direct the final two episodes of the series, both written by Steven Moffat.
|X||"Last Christmas"||Paul Wilmshurst||Steven Moffat||Paul Frift|
|1||"Under the Lake"
"Before the Flood"
|Daniel O'Hara||Toby Whithouse||Derek Ritchie|
|2||"The Magician's Apprentice"
"The Witch's Familiar"
|Hettie MacDonald||Steven Moffat||Peter Bennett|
|3||"The Girl Who Died"
"The Woman Who Lived"
|Ed Bazalgette||Jamie Mathieson and Steven Moffat
|4||"The Zygon Invasion"
"The Zygon Inversion"
|Daniel Nettheim||Peter Harness
Peter Harness and Steven Moffat
|5||"Face the Raven"||Justin Molotnikov||Sarah Dollard||Nikki Wilson|
|6||"Heaven Sent"||Rachel Talalay||Steven Moffat||Peter Bennett|
|7||"Sleep No More"||Justin Molotnikov||Mark Gatiss||Nikki Wilson|
|8||"Hell Bent"||Rachel Talalay||Steven Moffat||Peter Bennett|
|X||"The Husbands of River Song"||Douglas Mackinnon||Steven Moffat||Nikki Wilson|
On 9 July 2015, the first trailer for the series was released, alongside the confirmation of the airdate of "The Magician's Apprentice". The same day, Capaldi, Coleman, Gomez and Moffat promoted the series at San Diego Comic-Con International. On 12 August 2015, the second trailer for the series was released. A prologue to the series was released online on 11 September 2015. A prequel to the series, entitled "The Doctor's Meditation", was released on 15 September 2015 exclusively shown as part of a 3D cinematic release of the previous series' finale.
Broadcast and reception
Doctor Who's ninth series received positive reviews, and was hailed by many critics as one of the show's best seasons to date. Series 9 holds a 93% score on online review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 7.9. It has also won the Rotten Tomatoes' Golden Tomato Award for best-reviewed TV sci-fi/fantasy/horror show of 2015. The site's consensus reads "Peter Capaldi and the writers have settled into an emotionally engaging tone, allowing the show to raise the stakes for the Twelfth Doctor". Reaction to individual episodes has also been highly positive, with scores on the site ranging from 67% to 95%, all certified fresh by the site. Specifically, episodes such as "The Woman Who Lived" and "Heaven Sent" received particular acclaim, with critics saying that the former "should be an episode that goes down in Doctor Who history" and "stands as perhaps the strongest entry of Season Thirty-Five thus far", whilst the latter was labelled "a masterpiece of the highest order" and "an instant classic". The lowest-scored episode for the season was the episode written by Mark Gatiss, "Sleep No More", which gained a 67% rating though was still considered "fresh".
In reviews for various episodes across the series, many critics highlighted series 9 as the show's greatest yet. In their review for "Hell Bent", IGN called series 9 "a very strong season of Doctor Who – possibly the best season of the modern run of the show", while New York Magazine stated "It’s been a largely brilliant season... possibly even the best since the new series began" in their review for the same episode. Discussing the series as a whole, The A.V. Club stated "Doctor Who is great again, and this season represents maybe the best mixture yet of the show’s head and its heart". Of the twelve episodes in the season, they awarded five a perfect 'A' grade (the most for any season of the show), while awarding a further five episodes either an A- or a B+. Furthermore, TVEquals.com called series 9 "one of the strongest seasons of the show in years".
DVD and Blu-ray releases
|Series||Episode name||Number and duration
|R2/B release date||R4/B release date||R1/A release date|
|9||Doctor Who: Last Christmas
|1 × 60 min.||26 January 2015
|28 January 2015
|17 February 2015|
|Doctor Who: Series 9, Part 1
"The Magician's Apprentice" / "The Witch's Familiar"
"Under the Lake" / "Before the Flood"
"The Girl Who Died"
"The Woman Who Lived"
|2 × 50 min.
4 × 45 min.
|2 November 2015
|4 November 2015
|3 November 2015|
|Doctor Who: Series 9, Part 2
"The Zygon Invasion" / "The Zygon Inversion"
"Sleep No More"
"Face the Raven"
|1 × 50 min.
1 × 55 min.
1 × 60 min.
3 × 45 min.
|4 January 2016
|13 January 2016
|26 January 2016|
|Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song
"The Husbands of River Song"
|1 × 60 min.||25 January 2016
|27 January 2016
|23 February 2016|
|Doctor Who: The Complete Ninth Series||3 × 50 min.
1 × 55 min.
3 × 60 min.
7 × 45 min
|7 March 2016
|9 March 2016
|5 April 2016|
|8, 9, 10||Doctor Who: The Complete Peter Capaldi Years||26 × 45 min.
5 × 50 min.
1 × 55 min.
7 × 60 min.
1 × 76 min.
|N/A||N/A||13 February 2018|
|Doctor Who: The Complete Ninth Series|
|Set details||Special features|
|DVD release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|5 April 2016||7 March 2016||9 March 2016|
Pearson Education will publish three novelisations for use in schools to teach literacy.
|Episode name||Novelisation title||Author||First published|
|"The Girl Who Died"||The Girl Who Died||Jane Rollason||September 2018|
|"The Woman Who Lived"||The Woman Who Lived||Chris Rice||September 2018|
|"Face the Raven"||Face the Raven||Nancy Taylor||September 2018|
Selected pieces of score from this series, as composed by Murray Gold, were released in a 4-CD set on 27 April 2018 by Silva Screen Records along with music from the 2015 Christmas special "The Husbands of River Song", with the third disc consisting primarily of the score from "Heaven Sent".
- Jordan Alsaqa. "Doctor Who "The Zygon Invasion" Review (Season 9 Episode 7) – TV Equals". TV Equals.
- Scott Collura (2015). "Doctor Who: "Hell Bent" Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- "Doctor Who Season Finale Recap: Duty of Care". Vulture. 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
- ""Heaven Sent" · Doctor Who · TV Review The Doctor is all alone in a perfect episode · TV Club · The A.V. Club". avclub.com.
- "Doctor Who Review: "The Zygon Inversion"". pastemagazine.com.
- ""The Woman Who Lived" · Doctor Who · TV Review The Doctor Who lives forever, and the woman who never asked to · TV Club · The A.V. Club".
- "Doctor Who series 9: opening episode titles revealed, Michelle Gomez and Jemma Redgrave to return". RadioTimes. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Spilsbury, Tom (7 January 2016). "Doctor Who Magazine". Doctor Who Magazine. No. 495. United Kingdom: Panini Comics.
Controversially (perhaps), we've decided not to combine The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived, or Face the Raven, Heaven Sent and Hell Bent – as despite their linked nature, the individual styles of each episode meant that we couldn't really consider them as true multi-parters, and we didn't want to short change readers by forcing you to give a combined score."; "Steven Moffat agreed when we asked him how he thought we should arrange the Season Survey form
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Steven Moffat says: 'Obviously, The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar are the same story. You could make that one movie. And The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion. But Heaven Sent and Hell Bent... maybe Face the Raven, too... are they a mini serial? A story split in three, or two? In the end, it doesn’t really matter.'
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