Legend of the Sea Devils

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299 – "Legend of the Sea Devils"
Doctor Who episode
Promotional poster
  • Marlowe Chan-Reeves – Ying Ki
  • Crystal YuMadam Ching
  • Craige Els – Chief Sea Devil
  • Arthur Lee – Ji-Hun
  • David K. S. Tse – Ying Wai
  • Jon Davey, Simon Carew, Chester Durrant, Richard Price, Mickey Lewis, Andrew Cross – Sea Devils
  • Nadia Albina – Diane (uncredited)[1]
Directed byHaolu Wang
Written byElla Road and Chris Chibnall
Script editor
  • Caroline Buckley
  • Rebecca Roughan
Produced byNikki Wilson
Executive producer(s)
  • Chris Chibnall
  • Matt Strevens
  • Nikki Wilson
Music bySegun Akinola
Series2022 specials
Running time48 minutes
First broadcast17 April 2022 (2022-04-17)
← Preceded by
"Eve of the Daleks"
Followed by →
"The Power of the Doctor"
List of Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

"Legend of the Sea Devils" is the second of the 2022 specials of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who, which was broadcast on BBC One on 17 April 2022. The episode was written by Ella Road and Chris Chibnall, and directed by Haolu Wang. It follows "Eve of the Daleks", serving as an Easter special, and stars Jodie Whittaker in her penultimate episode as the Thirteenth Doctor, alongside Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan and John Bishop as Dan Lewis.

The episode received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The penultimate episode of the Thirteenth Doctor era of the show, it was the least-watched episode in the programme’s history since its revival in 2005.


In 1807 China, the pirate Madam Ching raids a village and, using a gem, unwittingly releases the Sea Devil Marsissus from a stone statue. Marsissus kills Ying Wai, the young Ying Ki's father, who was tasked with keeping Marsissus contained. The Doctor, Yaz, and Dan arrive to confront Marsissus and investigate the village. Ying Ki and Dan take the gem, split off, and swim to Ching's ship to take revenge. Ching reveals she is after the treasure of the legendary sailor Ji-Hun (who disappeared searching for the Flor de la Mar treasure) because she needs it to pay the ransom for her kidnapped crew. The Sea Devils unleash a leviathan, the Huasen, on Ching's ship.

The Doctor and Yaz take the TARDIS back 274 years and witness a Sea Devil betraying Ji-Hun aboard the latter's ship. Returning to 1807, they try to find the shipwreck to no avail. The Huasen takes the TARDIS to the Sea Devils’ undersea lair. The Sea Devils seek the gem, the Keystone, to execute their plan. Pretending they have it, the Doctor and Yaz use it as leverage to board Ji-Hun's ship, which has been retrofitted with alien technology. They are shown Ji-Hun, who has been kept in stasis. He reveals he tricked the Sea Devils in their deal. Marsissus calls the Doctor's bluff, claiming the Huasen has located the Keystone.

Ji-Hun, the Doctor, and Yaz board Ching's ship. Ji-Hun finds out Ying Ki is the descendant of his most trusted crew member Lei Bao and reveals he gave the Keystone to Lei, who escaped his ship. Marsissus seizes the Keystone from Ying Ki just as the Doctor realises the Sea Devils plan to use it to flood Earth.

The protagonists fight the Sea Devils aboard Ching's ship. The Doctor tampers with the technology on Ji-Hun's ship, but destroying it requires two cables to be held together. The Doctor volunteers to stay back while the others escape, but Ji-Hun offers to sacrifice himself instead.

Madam Ching announces she has recovered enough treasure to pay the ransom and will make Ying Ki a member of her crew. The Doctor takes Yaz and Dan ashore. Dan leaves a message for his love interest Diane and is surprised when she calls him back. The Doctor, who had acknowledged Yaz's feelings for her on Ji-Hun's ship, solemnly expresses her wish that she could spend more time with Yaz.



"Legend of the Sea Devils" was written by newcomer Ella Road, and showrunner and executive producer Chris Chibnall. The episode sees the return of the Sea Devils for the first time since Warriors of the Deep (1984).[2]


Jodie Whittaker stars as the Thirteenth Doctor, alongside Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan and John Bishop as Dan Lewis. The casting of Crystal Yu, Arthur Lee and Marlowe Chan-Reeves was announced alongside their appearances in a trailer following the credits of "Eve of the Daleks".[2]


The episode was directed by Haolu Wang. The first two 2022 specials were filmed in the same production run as the thirteenth series.[3] Filming for those specials concluded in August 2021.[4]


As part of the promotion for the episode, Scottish musician Nathan Evans was featured on the official Doctor Who YouTube channel, singing an adaptation of the sea ballad "Wellerman".[5]

Broadcast and reception[edit]


"Legend of the Sea Devils" was first broadcast on 17 April 2022 (Easter Sunday) and is the second of the three 2022 specials.[6]


The episode was watched by 2.20 million viewers overnight, becoming the eleventh most-watched programme of the day.[7] The episode received an Audience Appreciation Index score of 76.[8] The final consolidated ratings for the episode were 3.47 million viewers, [9] the lowest viewing figure in the programme's post-2005 history and the second-lowest in its entire history, only ahead of the first episode of Battlefield (Doctor Who) (1989), which received 3.1 million viewers.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer)50%[11]
Rotten Tomatoes (Average Score)4.90/10[11]
Review scores
Radio Times[14]
The Independent[15]
Evening Standard[16]

On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator website, 50% of seven critics gave "Legend of the Sea Devils" a positive review, with an average rating of 4.90 out of 10.[11] On Metacritic, another aggregator, the episode received a weighted average score of 51 based on six reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12] Benji Wilson, writing in The Daily Telegraph, said that his kids thought the Sea Devils were "cute" which undermined the perceived scariness of the episode. However, he praised the "nascent queer relationship between the Doctor and Yaz" commenting that the interplay between the two characters was "genuinely affecting".[17]

Awarding it three stars out of five, Martin Belam of The Guardian said the episode "promised a swashbuckling Easter special, and it partially delivered", but he felt that the scenes between the Doctor and Yaz towards the end "didn't necessarily ring true".[1]

Home media[edit]

"Eve of the Daleks" and "Legend of the Sea Devils" received a joint DVD and Blu-ray release in Region 2/B on 23 May 2022,[18] in Region 1/A on 28 June 2022,[19] and in Region 4/B on 13 July 2022.[20] The episode was included in the home media set for the 2022 specials, released in Region 2/B on 7 November 2022.[21]


On 18 November 2022, composer Segun Akinola announced that selected pieces of the score from this special would be digitally released on 9 December 2022. A physical CD release containing all 3 soundtracks of the 2022 specials was released on 13 January 2023.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Doctor Who Easter special recap – Legend of the Sea Devils". The Guardian. 17 April 2022. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b Jeffery, Morgan (1 January 2022). "The Sea Devils will return to Doctor Who in Spring 2022 special". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  3. ^ Laford, Andrea (29 July 2021). "Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall to leave Doctor Who after trio of 2022 Specials". Cultbox. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  4. ^ Laford, Andrea (9 August 2021). "Doctor Who Series 13 and 2022 specials: directors and casting news". CultBox. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Nathan Evans - Wellerman (Sea Devils Version)". Doctor Who YouTube channel. 13 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  6. ^ Haigh, Josh (28 March 2022). "Doctor Who confirms Easter special release date". DigitalSpy. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  7. ^ Marcus (18 April 2022). "Legend of the Sea Devils - Overnight Viewing Figures". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  8. ^ Foster, Chuck (19 April 2022). "Legend of the Sea Devils - Appreciation Index". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Doctor Who Guide: Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. 25 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  10. ^ Marcus (18 April 2022). "Legend of the Sea Devils - Overnight Viewing Figures". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  11. ^ a b c "Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  13. ^ "Frenzied, forgettable nonsense - Jodie Whittaker's penultimate episode was a disaster". inews.co.uk. 17 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils review – classic monsters resurface in maritime mediocrity". Radio Times.
  15. ^ "In Doctor Who, is Jodie Whittaker on the cusp of a big romantic moment? - review". The Independent. 17 April 2022.
  16. ^ Jessop, Vicky (17 April 2022). "Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils is an Easter treat". Evening Standard.
  17. ^ Wilson, Benji (18 April 2022). "Last night on television". The Daily Telegraph. No. 51, 918. p. 24. ISSN 0307-1235.
  18. ^ "Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks and Legend of the Sea Devils". Retrieved 7 April 2022 – via Amazon.
  19. ^ "Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks and Legend of the Sea Devils". Retrieved 7 April 2022 – via Amazon.
  20. ^ "Doctor Who - Eve Of The Daleks & Legend Of The Sea Devils". Sanity. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Doctor Who: The Series 13 Specials Steelbook". Retrieved 10 October 2022 – via Amazon.
  22. ^ Segun Akinola [@segunakinola] (18 November 2022). "#DoctorWho fans I have one more release for you: Series 13 - The Specials" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 November 2022 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]