The Pandorica Opens (TV story)

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The Pandorica Opens was the twelfth and penultimate episode of series 5 of Doctor Who.

It was the first of a two-part series finale. Its narrative concluded in the following episode. River Song, Winston Churchill, Vincent van Gogh, Edwin Bracewell and Liz 10 all made a reappearance in this episode, as did the Autons, along with the stunning return of Rory Williams, after losing his life and every trace of his existence, save one link that provided the means for his resurrection. Dorium Maldovar makes his first appearance in this episode.

At the time of its release, it was unique amongst BBC Wales series finales as the first series-ender with significant principal photography outside Wales. It was also the first to have been the Doctor Who debut of its director and cinematographer. It was the first finale to have used major guest actors — aside from companions — who had featured in previous single episodes of the series. Finally, it featured the largest number of individual alien species seen in a single episode of Doctor Who ever.

In Doctor Who Confidential, Steven Moffat noted that the first time Russell T Davies was the head writer, he always made his season finales bigger and bigger than the previous year. Steven took this into consideration when writing the two-part finale of Series 5, hoping it would continue the tradition.


A Van Gogh painting ferried across thousands of years offering a terrifying prophecy, a message on the oldest cliff-face in the universe and a love that lasts a thousand years: in 102 AD England, Romans receive a surprise visit from Cleopatra. Nearby, Stonehenge hides a legendary prison-box. As it slowly unlocks from the inside, terrible forces gather in the heavens. The fates are closing around the TARDIS. The Pandorica, which contains the most dangerous threat in the Universe, is opening. Only one thing is certain: "The Pandorica will open... Silence will fall".


In France in 1890, Vincent Van Gogh, who has finished his sunflower painting and dedicated it to Amy, screams and sobs unceasingly. Doctor Gachet and Madame Vernet are at his bedside; Gachet tries to calm Vincent with Vernet complaining about how much worse Vincent's screaming is compared to his drinking as the whole neighbourhood can hear him. Gachet firmly tells Vernet that Vincent is ill before she notes the painting displayed on a nearby easel is worse than his usual work. Gachet stops attending to Vincent briefly to see the painting; both wonder what it can be.

Churchill tries divining the meaning of the lost Van Gogh painting.

In the Cabinet War Rooms in 1941, Professor Edwin Bracewell, now with a working replacement left hand carries a rolled-up canvas to Winston Churchill's office. Bracewell shows it to the Prime Minister, explaining it's a Van Gogh original found behind a wall in an attic in France. The painting is a message; Churchill doesn't understand it. However, Bracewell points out that he's not to understand it, but to deliver the message instead; they both know who needs to see it.

At the Stormcage Containment Facility in 5145, a guard answers the phone outside River Song's cell; he asks if the "Doctor" the caller is looking for is Dr Song. River tells the guard she's entitled to phone calls and receives the phone. Once she realises it's not the Doctor on the other end of the line, Churchill demands to know where the Doctor is. River explains that phoning the Time Vortex doesn't always work; however, the TARDIS rerouted the call to her. As the connection between their eras won't last long, River demands the message. She returns the phone to the guard and asks if this is his first day. When he says it is, she apologises and pulls him into a kiss, much to his shock.

Alarms go off, with the guard pointing his gun in the cell as backup arrives; he states that she attempted to use her hallucinogenic lipstick on him, but it didn't work. The other guards give him a confused look as the first guard tells Dr Song that her trick won't work. It turns out that he's pointing his gun at a stick-figure drawing with River's signature curly hair. Next to it is a speech bubble simply saying "Bye".

In the Royal Collection that same year, River walks among the paintings in the gallery. She finds the one she is looking for, but trips an alarm on her way out and is held at gunpoint by Liz 10, who now has some grey hair due to being 450 years old. River asks Liz if she has met the Doctor, making the Queen smile while remembering her adventure with him. River explains to Liz that the Doctor is in trouble, making the Queen wonder why she is stealing a painting if it's true. River explains that the Doctor must see the painting; she has Liz look at the painting, which horrifies the Queen.

River Song in the Maldovarium Bar.

River speaks to Dorium Maldovar at the Maldovarium. Dorium has heard rumours that she is seeking time travel; he offers her a vortex manipulator taken from the wrist of a Time Agent. Dorium informs her that it is not cheap, wondering if she's brought him another "pretty toy". River offers him a Callisto Pulse, which can deactivate micro-explosives from up to twenty feet away. Dorium wonders why he'd need it and learns that she has slipped some micro-explosives into his wine.

In the TARDIS, Amy is sitting on the swing below the console floor, examining the ring she earlier found in the Doctor's jacket. The Doctor pops his head down from above, shouting gibberish, and she quickly hides the ring. The Doctor tells her that he has just had the most brilliant idea; they're going to visit Planet One, the oldest planet in the universe, where a message has been carved into a diamond cliff face and has never been translated before. The TARDIS translation matrix will crack the inscription and reveal to them the oldest message in creation. When they step out to see it, the message reads, "Hello, sweetie" with a set of temporal coordinates carved beneath. The Doctor looks annoyed, while Amy smirks with a nod; both know River wants the Doctor's attention.

Van Gogh's Painting.

The coordinates lead them to Roman Britain in the 2nd century, where Amy notes that Roman history was her favourite topic at school. They are greeted by a Roman soldier with a lipstick smear across his mouth; he thinks the Doctor is Caesar. He takes them to meet "Cleopatra", who is actually River in disguise. He scolds River for her graffiti, only for her to retort that he doesn't answer his phone. She shows them Vincent's painting; they are shocked to see it's a painting of the TARDIS exploding. As the Doctor has already retrieved a TARDIS fragment from a Time Field in a Silurian city, this new find worries him. He asks if it has a title; River informs him it's "The Pandorica Opens", and that Vincent left coordinates in the painting to lead him there. Amy wonders what it is; River explains that the Pandorica is a prison designed to contain the most feared thing in all the universe. The Doctor then begins looking at maps, despite River's protest that it won't be on one; however, the Doctor says that if someone buried the most feared thing of all, they'd want to remember where.

The Doctor, Amy and River ride to Stonehenge to find the Pandorica. Amy explains to River that she warned them about this after climbing out of Byzantium; River says that she hasn't, but will. Amy, still not really understanding that this is an earlier version of River, is silenced by the Doctor to avoid giving away spoilers. River's scanner gives a reading that shows energy weapons have been fired in this spot, implying that the Pandorica is there. The Doctor quickly deduces that they need to get underground.

By nightfall, River has placed devices that move a stone on the ground away from a secret entrance. The three of them descend, not noticing a Cyber-head, which begins to reactivate.

Amy with a torch.

They discover the Pandorica, much to the Doctor's disbelief, as he thought it was simply a fairy tale. He goes on to reexplain that the most feared being in all creation, a trickster soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies, who could not be reasoned with, was locked in the Pandorica. Amy wonders how; the Doctor says that like most fairy tales, a good wizard tricked it. River expresses her hatred for good wizards in fairy tales as she feels they always turn out to be the Doctor. Amy notes that the name is similar to Pandora's box, her favourite childhood story, and the Doctor quickly notes the link between the Pandorica and the Romans... both of them have been claimed by Amy to be her favourites. He tells her that one should never ignore a coincidence, "unless you're busy; in which case, always ignore a coincidence".

Scanning the Pandorica and the surrounding area, River finds its security failsafes are turning on and the box is opening. Amy then wonders how Vincent could know about it, prompting the Doctor to scan the pillars of the room; the pillars are acting like big transmitters, sending a warning across time and space that the Pandorica is opening. Poor Vincent heard the message in his dreams. River then makes the Doctor realise that anyone who can hear the message might be showing up; they quickly reverse the signal to scan for any time-active species, learning, much to their horror, that there are at least ten thousand ships in Earth's orbit. Every one belongs to the Doctor's enemies: Cybermen, Daleks, Sontarans, Slitheen, Draconians, and many more.

They return topside, where they see several ships entering Earth's atmosphere. River warns the Doctor that "everything that ever hated you is coming here tonight," asking him to run for once. The Doctor asks where he can run, making River wonder how he can fight. The Doctor simply tells his worrying companions, "the best fighting machine in the history of the universe — the Romans!"

The Doctor sends River back to camp to appeal to the Roman commander for help. However, the commander has realised that she is not actually Cleopatra, who is dead in Egypt, and refuses. River calls the Romans "barbarians" compared to what is coming this night, firing her energy weapon, disintegrating a cabinet to demonstrate her power. Before the commander can grasp the implications, a centurion arrives to volunteer.

Back at Stonehenge, the Doctor monitors the Pandorica and uses its force field technology to buy them half an hour. Amy wonders what the Pandorica has to do with the TARDIS exploding, but the Doctor tells her that they have to focus on one problem at a time. Amy then asks about the engagement ring she found in his jacket pocket. The Doctor explains that it belongs to a friend of his and that it's a memory of that friend; he says sometimes people fall out of the universe, but leave traces behind that can bring them back. Not getting what the Doctor is encouraging her to try to remember, Amy asks if his friend was nice. He then asks her if she remembers the night she flew away with him. He admits he was lying when he told her there wasn't a reason he was taking her. He draws her attention to her house; it's too big with too many empty rooms. Before she can respond, a laser fires.

They hide behind the Pandorica. The Doctor tells Amy that he usually has great plans, but not this time; he needs to draw its fire to find out what's shooting at them. "Look at me! I'm a target!" he yells as he briefly jumps into the open and hides again. The Doctor tells Amy that it's the arm of a Cyberman firing. Due to the cracks, Amy asks what a Cyberman is, and the Doctor explains that its is a cyborg, except it's like being a screaming organ donor. He tells Amy to distract it so he can disable it. The plan succeeds, with the Doctor grabbing the arm and scrambling its circuits with the sonic screwdriver. However, he warns her to stay back as the arm could be bluffing. Amy scoffs at the idea but complies.

Amy being restrained by the Cyberman head.

Amy leans on the Pandorica, but she is grabbed by the wires coming out of the Cyber-head, which has worked its way down the steps. The arm then shocks the Doctor unconscious. The head grabs Amy's arms with its wires and opens, ejecting the skull of its last occupant. Amy smashes the Cyber-head against the Pandorica until the wires come off her arms. As Amy watches the head flail around, it shoots a dart into her neck, which she promptly removes. The head tells Amy that she will be assimilated, prompting her to ask "You and whose body?" At that moment, the Cyber-body arrives and reattaches its head. It advances on an increasingly drowsy Amy.

She takes cover in a side chamber, where she hears it banging on the doors in its attempt to get in. However, when things grow silent, she wonders if the Doctor has woken up and stopped it. Suddenly a blade comes through the door, barely missing her head, and the doors open to reveal the Cyberman stuck to the door with a Roman sword. Seeing the centurion who offered River his help on the other side, Amy asks who it is. The centurion steps into the light and removes his helmet to reveal Rory Williams. Amy finally succumbs to the dart's effects and faints.

The Doctor wakes and enters the side chamber to find Amy alright. He initially doesn't register Rory's reappearance, as he's trying to puzzle out the latest attack. He notices that the room is a sentry box with Cyberman weaponry, and the "headless wonder" was a sentry that the Cybermen left behind that got damaged by the locals. However, the Doctor is only left further confused; is it a Cyberthing in the box? He then thinks better of the idea, knowing the Cybermen won't lock up one of their own. He tells Rory that he is missing something standing right in front of him. As he still hasn't really noticed him, Rory emphatically agrees; the Doctor says he'll figure it out in a minute. He leaves the room, only to return a moment later to prod Rory in the chest in disbelief. They have an awkward conversation. Rory knows he died near the Silurian city, but can't account for how he ended up in 102 A.D.

The conversation is interrupted by the sound of spaceships descending. The Doctor leads the way outside, seeing several different ships flying around. He stands on a rock and addresses his enemies over a communicator, telling them to stay in place as he's talking; all the ships hover silently, knowing what incurring the rage of the Doctor will do. The Doctor informs them that he has possession of the Pandorica and that it's opening. Though they have plenty of weapons, he has nothing to lose. He reminds them of all the times he has defeated them in the past and encourages them to "do the smart thing" and "let someone else try first". With that, the fleet promptly flees. The Doctor says he's bought an additional half hour; all the aliens will be bickering over which of them should be cannon fodder.

Rory and the Doctor return to the Pandorica and try to make sense of what has happened; Rory explains his time with Amy and the Doctor felt like a dream he woke from when he found himself a Roman in this era. Amy then wakes but fails to recognise Rory, devastating him. He is told by the Doctor that the crack should have erased him from completely, though he's still here; Amy's memory of her time with the original version was wiped. The Doctor admits he can't explain Rory's appearance, supposing it to be something like a miracle, which he hasn't seen in all his years. He gives Rory the engagement ring and encourages him to go after Amy.

Having seen the Doctor scare off his enemies, River calls him, wondering what he plans to do next. He tells her that he needs some equipment, so he needs the TARDIS. River complies and heads to the TARDIS. Once inside, River notices that the engine take-off noise is not quite right, making her wonder what's wrong with it. The TARDIS is thrown through the vortex and materialises outside Amy's house on 26 June 2010, the date of the explosion that caused the cracks in time and space. As she leaves the TARDIS to explore, a crack splits the scanner screen and a voice cries, "Silence will fall!"

River discovers Amy's favourite books were used to create the current scenario in 102.

River notes landing patterns of alien crafts in Amy's front yard and enters the house, which has had the door broken off. In Amy's room, she finds a book on Roman Britain and a copy of The Legend of Pandora's Box. There is also a photograph of Rory and Amy, where Rory is dressed as a centurion. All of the pictures from the books resemble things and people back in the second century, thus explaining why there's another Rory; whoever copied the people in the book mistook him for one of the characters due to his costume in the picture. She rushes to the TARDIS and, once there, contacts the Doctor to warn him.

The Doctor has become impatient with River and demands to know where she is. River explains her discovery and is confused as to how they can be fake as her lipstick works on them. The Doctor comes to the conclusion that these projections or duplicates may believe that they're real — the perfect disguise. However, when River tells him the date, the Doctor tells her about the cracks and to go to any other date to prevent them from occurring. When this doesn't work, he tells her to land and leave the TARDIS as the engines will shut down automatically when there is no-one inside. Though she manages to land, the doors are locked.

A piercing, shrill noise comes from the Pandorica and the Romans begin falling asleep on their feet. Even Rory, who is talking to Amy, has to resist shutting down; Amy only pays attention to Rory, who is in noticeable pain. The Romans wake and advance on the Doctor. They are Autons controlled by the Nestene Consciousness. They seize the Doctor, declaring that the Pandorica is ready. Much to the Doctor's shock, he sees Daleks, Cybermen, Sycorax, Judoon, Silurians, Sontarans, Roboforms, Hoix, Zygons, Terileptils, Slitheen, and many other past foes materialise in the room. The Supreme Dalek says that the Pandorica is ready for him; inside the box is a chair covered in restraints.

Above, the Auton Rory continues to fight against the Nestene's command to drop his personality and join the other mindless drones. Repeatedly yelling that he is Rory, he manages to finally jog Amy's memory. She asks him if he remembers the ring he never let her wear in case she lost it; he shows her the ring. As Rory continues crying, Amy hugs him, saying she won't lose him again. However, Rory's Auton body betrays him as his hand opens to reveal the gun inside; he shoots Amy in the stomach. Amy hugs Rory as she dies; Rory is left to grieve while fighting for control of himself.

An alliance of the Doctor's enemies, who wrongly believe they've prevented the cracks.

Back below, the Autons drag the Doctor to the prison and clamp him into the chair inside. The Doctor is aghast that all of these races have managed to form an alliance and asks how that is possible. They explain that it is an alliance against him, as he will cause the end of the universe. They know that the TARDIS will be at the centre of the explosion that ends the universe and, as they wrongly believe he is the only one who can fly the TARDIS, they will imprison him in the Pandorica to stop the explosion. To lure him to this spot, they built the perfect trap, using Amy's memories as a basis.

The Doctor shouts his innocence, that the threat to the universe is the TARDIS, not him, and that he can stop the explosion. The alliance refuses to listen to their hated enemy, and the Cyber-Leader orders the Pandorica closed over his desperate pleas.

Somewhere in time, River improvises a way to open the TARDIS doors by using a controlled explosion. However, upon opening the doors, River finds a stone wall blocking her departure. "I'm sorry my love," River says, turning to the console. It sparks and eruption begins.

Rory holds Amy's body in his arms, crying.

Explosions occur in the space around Earth, signifying that the stars have gone supernova and that the cracks have finally begun eating the universe entirely. When the explosions cease, Earth is left alone in the middle of a spreading, black void.

Silence falls.


Uncredited cast[[edit]]


General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

This story had no direct Visual Effects credit. Instead, it had a wider credits for visual effects crew than normal.





  • Planet One is the oldest planet in the universe. It has "Hello Sweetie" and space/time coordinates written into one of its cliff faces in a language only the TARDIS can translate.


The TARDIS[[edit]]




Story notes[[edit]]

  • Almost every major enemy since the beginning of the new Doctor Who series, along with a few from the show's original run, are featured. The list of enemies include the Daleks, (TV: The Daleks) the Drahvins, (TV: Galaxy 4) the Cybermen, (TV: The Tenth Planet) the Autons and the Nestenes, (TV: Spearhead from Space) the Silurians, (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians) the Draconians, (TV: Frontier in Space) the Sontarans, (TV: The Time Warrior) the Zygons, (TV: Terror of the Zygons) the Terileptils, (TV: The Visitation) the Chelonians, (PROSE: The Highest Science) the Slitheen family, (TV: Aliens of London) the Roboforms, the Sycorax, (TV: The Christmas Invasion) the Hoix, (TV: Love & Monsters) the Weevils, (TV: Everything Changes) the Judoon, (TV: Smith and Jones) the Uvodni, (TV: Warriors of Kudlak) the Atraxi, (TV: The Eleventh Hour) and the Haemogoths. (PROSE: The Forgotten Army) Although all of these enemies appeared in the episode, none of the creators received a credit, for example, Terry Nation was not credited for the creation of the Daleks, same with Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis for the Cybermen.
  • People who should have been credited are: William Emms for the Drahvins, Robert Holmes for the Autons, the Nestenes and the Sontarans, Malcolm Hulke for the Silurians and Draconians, Robert Banks Stewart for the Zygons, Eric Saward for the Terileptils, Gareth Roberts for the Chelonians, Phil Gladwin for the Uvodni, Brian Minchin for the Haemogoths and Russell T Davies for the Slitheen, Roboforms, Sycorax, Hoix, Weeveils and the Judoon.
  • In the fairy tale of the Pandorica, the Doctor is not the good wizard. Rather he is a "nameless, terrible thing soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos...[who would] just drop out of the sky and tear down your world". While the Doctor considers himself non-violent, his name means "warrior" in the native tongue of the Gamma Forests, and he is specifically referred to as such in the story of the Pandorica. "There was a goblin or a trickster. Or a warrior." (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)
  • This is the first episode to feature an in-narrative use of the time vortex seen in the series 5 title sequence.
  • The Weevils, Blowfish, and Uvodni are the first aliens originally from a spin-off series to appear in the main show.
  • The Chelonians from the novels get their first mention in a TV episode.
  • When River starts mentioning the aliens that are approaching Stonehenge, the Cyber-Leader and the Supreme Dalek are heard talking about their plan for the Doctor.
  • The disembodied Cyberman head tells Amy, "You will be assimilated." Though modern viewers might think this a line borrowed from the Borg, a Star Trek cybernetic species similar to Cybermen, in fact, the line is in The Tenth Planet.
  • Amy Pond describes her deep interest in Roman culture. Karen Gillan's original appearance on Doctor Who was that of a soothsayer from Pompeii in The Fires of Pompeii.
  • When River begins having problems flying the TARDIS, the Doctor tells her she's not flying it right, to which she promptly replies, "I'm flying it perfectly. You taught me!". In their previous meeting (from the Doctor's POV), River mocked the Doctor for not being able to properly fly the TARDIS, always leaving the brakes on when it lands. She also implied that the Doctor might not have been the one who had taught her. It would be revealed in Let's Kill Hitler that it was the TARDIS herself who taught River.
  • This story marks at least the fifth time in televised Doctor Who that the fate of every universe is at stake. (TV: The Invasion of Time, Logopolis, Journey's End, The End of Time)
  • Amy doesn't know who the Cybermen are, despite having met them in GAME: Blood of the Cybermen.
  • According to Toby Haynes, this episode had no bigger budget, "and maybe even a little less", than other episodes in the series. (DCOM: The Big Bang)
  • Similar to Rise of the Cybermen and The Stolen Earth, this episode is the first part of a two-part story, and features no "Next Time" trailer at the end.
  • This is the first TV story written by Steven Moffat to feature aliens and monsters he did not personally create.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of the Eternal Dalek to date.
  • The episode displayed that if someone is erased by a crack, at least some material proof of their existence still remains. For instance, a picture of Rory in Amy's book, ten years in the past from when he was taken by the cracks, still exists, as well as the ring he bought for Amy.
  • Russell T Davies had the Ninth Doctor use the phrase "I am talking!" when addressing an enemy in the first story of his first series as showrunner. Here, incoming showrunner Steven Moffat has the Eleventh Doctor use the same phrase when addressing enemies in the finale of his first series (albeit in the first part of a two-part finale).
  • Half of the scene with Liz 10 was filmed in advance on 22 October 2009 along with scenes of The Beast Below at an orangery at Margam Country Park, Port Talbot.
  • The story is set at Stonehenge and the episode broadcast just a few days before the real Summer Solstice.
  • Some scenes were filmed at the real Stonehenge, Wiltshire. They could only afford to shoot during one night and spent the only hour of daylight in the morning shooting a three-minute dialogue sequence. The cast and crew had to abide by regulations; they were not allowed to touch the stones, bring heavy equipment in, and the lighting had to be done from the floor. Regardless, The Doctor and Amy appear to touch several of the rocks. The rest of the scenes set at Stonehenge were filmed with a lightweight replica set up in Margam Country Park called "Foamhenge" over four nights. Toby Haynes thought that they had "established" Stonehenge at the real site and now could get away with seeing less of it.
  • For the scene in which the Doctor, Amy, and River are riding on horses, the close-ups of the characters riding were filmed by having the actors sit on a saddle mounted on the back of a truck and act like they were riding horses. Karen Gillan called this the "strangest thing" she had ever done, and was sure she "looked ridiculous".
  • According to Steven Moffat, the Cybermen seen here are the Mondas/Telos Cybermen not seen since Silver Nemesis. The Cybus logo on the chests are only there as there was no budget to redo the Cyberman costumes.
  • The cameos of Vincent Van Gogh, Winston Churchill and Liz X were filmed concurrently with their respective episodes. The first scene shot for the episode was the opening segment in which van Gogh's ominous painting was discovered.
  • This two-parter was originally meant to form Block Seven of season five. However, it became clear that this would give The Mill insufficient time to complete their contributions to what would no doubt be an ambitious pair of episodes, so it formed Block Six. Steven Moffat lost two weeks' writing time as a result.
  • Steven Moffat chose Stonehenge as a setting because the monument was large and important enough to be suitable for the fall of someone as powerful as the Doctor.
  • River Song's message to the Doctor on the cliff at Planet One was originally “Doctor, I need you”, in reference to the way Emma Peel was regularly summoned by John Steed, in the fifth season of The Avengers.
  • The Daleks were represented by the white Supreme, the yellow Eternal and the red Drone created for Victory of the Daleks, since the blue Strategist and the orange Scientist Dalek were modified to portray the Stone Daleks in the next episode.
  • Toby Haynes was impressed with Simon Fisher-Becker's performance as Dorium and suggested to Steven Moffat that he might consider bringing Dorium back in a future adventure.
  • The "Underhenge"was the largest built in the Upper Boat Studios.
  • Amputee Tim Baggaley was able to bring the one-armed Cyberman to life without the need for complicated effects work.
  • Steven Moffat was delighted with the Cyberman scene, particularly with the effectiveness of the Cyber-head, a concept which he now planned to revisit in the future.
  • Dropped from the episode was Liz Ten's explanation that most of the residents of Starship UK were now back on Earth, but that she had remained behind to care for the ageing Star Whale.
  • Originally, it was thought that the Pyroviles and the Vespiforms might be present alongside the various other alien races. Their appearances was scrapped due to budget concerns.
  • Steven Moffat wanted the episode to be "big" and say that "we are turning it up to a level, we are really going mad with it".
  • Atmospheric lighting was added by director of photography Stephan Pehrsson, who wanted to give it a movie feel.
  • The weather conditions at Stonehenge were very cold with wind and rain which caused difficulties, as it was hard to communicate over the wind.
  • Toby Haynes wanted the Doctor's speech to be his "big, pop-star moment" and to look as if he was addressing a large site such as Wembley Stadium.
  • Toby Haynes wanted the chamber to look "dark" and "physical", and the art department added cobwebs and stones. As the chamber was supposed to be underground and thus there was no natural light to light the actors' faces, Haynes decided to utilise gas-fed flaming torches as the source of light; Karen Gillan was initially nervous about working with the torches and struggled with them.
  • The Alliance was made up of the "very best" costumes and props they still had in good condition and of the most iconic monsters. So many enemies standing side-by-side had never been seen in the show before.
  • Karen Gillan stated she "really wanted" to work with a Cyberman.
  • The Cyberman was originally played by an amputee with one arm, but the production team was dissatisfied with the camera angle and decided to reshoot the scene from a different angle, but a different actor who had both arms did the part as the amputee was unavailable. A simple solution was devised to cover his arm with a green sleeve made of the same material as a greenscreen, and the final sequence is a combination of both shots.
  • The Cyberman is killed by Rory, who is unaware he is an Auton; this was meant to signify that there was something different about Rory, as he would have normally panicked in that situation.
  • At the end of the episode Rory is overcome by the Nestene Consciousness's control and shoots Amy, which reflected Steven Moffat's belief that all good love stories end in tragedy.


  • 7.57 million (UK final)[2]


  • Many fans believed Omega would return. He does not appear in the episode as far as we know.
  • The Doctor himself is inside the Pandorica. At the climax of the episode, the Doctor is placed inside the Pandorica.
  • The Slitheen would be among the villains mentioned by River approaching the Doctor. This was proven true; River says Slitheen whilst reading out the list.
  • It was rumoured that either the Timoreen, the Ha'rik, or the Skarkish would appear – primarily because these were all listed as "new aliens" to appear in Series 5 which had not already appeared. This was proven false.
  • According to the Radio Times, the Vincent van Gogh painting would be in Churchill's war bunker. This was proven true.
  • It was believed that the enemies would form an alliance; this was supported by the screen-shots depicting many of the Doctor's enemies together but not fighting. This was proven true.
  • Many fans believed Rory would reappear. This was proven partially true. He was an Auton duplicate.
  • It was believed the episode would take place on Gallifrey in the Death Zone. This was proven false.

Filming locations[[edit]]

  • Stonehenge, England
  • Margam Park, Wales

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • The 1890 scene is set after Van Gogh famously cut his left ear in 1888, but the actor's unharmed left ear is briefly visible.
  • During the final scene, both the Cyber-Leader's mouth and the Supreme Dalek's indicator lights flash when they aren't speaking.
  • When River says the words, "And it's got something to do with your TARDIS exploding", as the Doctor bends down to examine the painting, a brief view of River's face shows that her lips aren't moving.
  • When the Doctor, Amy and River enter Stonehenge, the Doctor's fringe is on the right of his face. During the close-up of him, it's on the left.
  • When Amy is pushing against the Pandorica and discussing the Cyberman's arm, the Pandorica bends inwards slightly.
  • After the Pandorica is sealed, containing the Doctor, a light from inside is clearly visible through a crack between the two moving walls.
  • When the Doctor, River, Amy and Rory enter the cavern containing the Pandorica, there are several tunnels leading off it. The tunnels then mysteriously disappear until the scene when the aliens appear, as they can definitely be seen behind the Daleks and Judoon. Then the tunnels disappear again and are missing for the remainder of the two-parter.
  • The number of aliens also differs between shots. There are also shots where the Auton Romans aren't present. Also, the Sycorax seem to disappear between takes.
  • The Sontaran leader's head is not fitted properly.
  • Several of the monsters switch places during the underground scene (see the Autons).
  • In the scene where the Doctor gives his speech, there are more spaceship designs present than species mentioned.
  • The Doctor seems to always change his position during his speech during takes.
  • River's hair keeps changing.
  • The Roman costumes vary between the Roman camp, Stonehenge, and the cavern.
  • In the cavern scene with the Alliance members, CGI lines flicker briefly.
  • The Pandorica's pattern changes when the Doctor is inside it. Similarly, it looks different in the next episode in the museum.
  • When Amy is examining the engagement ring, a crew member is reflected in her eye.
  • The one-armed Cyberman's missing left arm casts a shadow on the Pandorica as it staggers towards Amy.
  • In the shots of the Sontaran leader talking to the Doctor, the Supreme Dalek behind him changes positions and distance from the Sontarans multiple times.


Home video releases[[edit]]

Series 5 Volume 4 DVD Cover

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

  • Series 5, Volume Four was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in region 2/B on 6 September 2010 and region 4/B on 7 October 2010. The volume features Vincent and the Doctor, The Lodger, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, and the featurette The Monster Diaries.
  • The episode was later released in the Complete Fifth Series boxset on both DVD and Blu-ray, in region 1/A on 9 November 2010, in region 2/B on 8 November 2010 and in region 4/B on 2 December 2010.
  • A DVD-only release of Series 5, Part Two, containing the latter seven episodes of the series, was released in region 1 on 26 July 2016.

Digital releases[[edit]]

  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[[edit]]