Doctor Who (2005– )
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The Pilot 

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The Doctor and Nardole team up with a university student to take down a sinister life-mimicking alien.


Lawrence Gough


Terry Nation (characters: Daleks), Steven Moffat





Episode complete credited cast:
Peter Capaldi ... The Doctor
Pearl Mackie ... Bill Potts
Matt Lucas ... Nardole
Jennifer Hennessy ... Moira
Stephanie Hyam ... Heather
Nicholas Briggs ... Daleks (voice)


The Doctor agrees to tutor Bill, a would be university student, but a strange puddle and the mysterious disappearance of Bill's friend interrupt the tutition. Will the Doctor, Bill and Nardole get to the bottom of things? Will the Doctor gain a new companion? And what IS the Doctor hiding in the vault...? Written by knackeredmum

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

15 April 2017 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Studios Wales See more »
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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


The vinyl record at the beginning of the episode in The Doctor's hand is RCA His Master's Voice UK B.D.1231 from Jan. 1949, a 10 inch 78 rpm record, Deck Of Cards by Phil Harris and T. Texas Tyler. The B side, which The Doctor kisses, is Pray For The Lights To Go Out by Phil Harris and Skidmore Tunnac. See more »


In a close-up shot of Heather during the "You're dead!" exchange, the edge of her contact lens can briefly be seen. See more »


The Doctor: Hardly anything is evil. But most things are hungry. Hunger looks very like evil from the wrong end of the cutlery. Or do you think that your bacon sandwich loves you back?
See more »


Featured in Whovians: The Woman Who Fell to Earth (2018) See more »


Deck the Halls
See more »

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User Reviews

A beautiful companion introduction be it a weak villain
16 April 2017 | by abedein7See all my reviews

So after a year long hiatus, Doctor Who is back on our screens with 'the Pilot'.

I have to say, this was 50 minutes of enjoyable television where new companion, Bill Potts, shone. The wonderful, and previously rather unknown, Pearl Mackie took her character in her stride making the audience fall in love with her automatically. She is very different from the marmite Clara as she is so relatable and modern. The contrast between her character and the Doctor, majestically played as always by Peter Capaldi, was stark.

Her character's introduction felt like it was something out of the Russell T Davies era with no 'timey-wimey' story-line to her character (as previously seen with Amy and Clara) and it really paid off.

The plot was simple enough, and although the villain of the week was... well, weak, it was made up by the beautiful story between Bill and her love-interest, Heather. As with all companion origin stories, the villain took a back seat so you cannot blame this episode for that. The concept of the puddle was mysterious and perhaps could have been dived into - no pun intended - with Moffat once again showing how he takes mundane every-day objects (such as statues or blinking) and makes them creepy.

Overall, this episode was an energetic, enjoyable and human piece of story-telling which introduced a lovable new companion and re-lit my love for this show.

Doctor Who is well and truly back with a solid episode all round 8/10.

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