Sci-fi drama. London, 1814. The entire city has turned out for the biggest Frost Fair in decades. But beneath the frozen Thames, revellers are disappearing.
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CHATTER AND BUSTLE
CATHEDRAL BELLS TOLL
OK. I have questions.
You never said we could travel to parallel worlds!
-Not a parallel world.
-But that's London...
TRILLING Our London.
We're on the Thames. The last great Frost Fair. 1814, February the 4th.
Hang on, why aren't we home? Can't you steer this thing?
I told you. You don't steer the TARDIS, you reason with it.
-Unsuccessfully, most of the time...
She's a bad girl, this one... RHYTHMIC THRUMMING
Always looking for trouble.
STREET BUSTLE, TARDIS THRUMS
Last day before the thaw.
Thought I'd better find a more reliable parking spot.
Wait, you want to go out there?
Slavery is still totally a thing.
SADLY: Yes, it is...
-It might be, like, dangerous out there.
So, how do we stay out of trouble?
Well, I'm not the right person to ask.
OK, when you go somewhere dangerous, what do you take?
First door on the left, second right, under the stairs,
-past the bins, fifth door on the left.
The wardrobe. Pick a dress.
So, the TARDIS has dresses and likes a bit of trouble?
-Yeah, I think I'm low-key in love with her.
Watch out, sir!
HE SCUFFLES AND SLIPS
Doesn't anyone notice the TARDIS?
Your species hardly notices anything.
So, what are the rules?
Travelling to the past, There's got to be rules.
If I step on a butterfly, it could send ripples through time
that mean I'm not even born in the first place
-and I could just disappear.
-That's what happened to Pete.
-Your friend, Pete.
He was standing there a moment ago,
but he stepped on a butterfly and now you don't even remember him.
-I'm being serious!
-Yeah, so was Pete...
You know what I mean.
Every choice I make in this moment,
here and now, could change the whole future.
Exactly like every other day of your life.
The only thing to do is to stop worrying about it.
OK. If you say so.
-Pete's stopped worrying.
Come to the Frost Fair, miss. Only a sixpence, miss.
Oh, my God...!
You're not stepping on a butterfly, you're just taking a flyer.
It's just time travel.
-Don't overthink it.
-Is that what you said to Pete?
-Sixpence to the waterman!
Sixpence for the Frost Fair!
Sixpence to the waterman!
-Sixpence for the Frost Fair!
-Sixpence for the Frost Fair!
Yeah, no big deal.
Just walking on the Thames!
I hope you realise I'm going to try everything.
Tasty ox cheek, piping hot!
Lapland mutton! Lapland mutton, cooked right on the ice!
Get your sheep hearts here! Juicy, juicy sheep hearts!
Yeah... Maybe not everything...
-Oh, go on. Try this, at least.
-It's my favourite.
Your favourite? You've been here before?
Oh, yeah. A few times.
Of course, it's not really wrestling unless it's in zero gravity...
-..and magic spells.
THUDDING, THEY GROAN
CROWD SHOUTS AND CHEERS
Bit more black than they show in the movies.
So was Jesus.
History's a whitewash.
Pub champion, two years running.
Best fish pies on the ice.
Try your luck, ladies and gentlemen! Toss for a pie!
-Better luck next time, miss.
And you're sure this isn't cow brains or sheep eyes or...
I caught the fish myself, miss.
Made it right here in the old... Hey!
-What are you about?
-Do that again. Toss the coin.
-Pay me another and I will!
-Forget about the pie, I don't want a pie.
-I just want to see how you cheated.
Don't look at me like that. I'm saying you're a very good con-man.
-I'm a what?
-A trickster. A swindler.
You see, I'm a bit of a thief myself.
I bet you I could steal anything from your shop.
I could steal anything...in theory!
-Honestly, some people!
Are there side-effects to time travel? Like, physical symptoms?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah
Sometimes you see lights under the ice.
OK, so you've seen the lights.
-Well, why didn't you say something?
Well, you're enjoying yourself.
I assumed we'd get to work eventually.
Are these lights electric or organic?
Please, sir. Have you seen my dog?
He was right here, but then I looked away and he...
It's OK, we'll help.
Um, what does he look like?
He's small and brown and ever so soft.
Are you sure of that?
That collar's for a big dog. With long white hair.
Nice con, though.
-What is it, do you think?
Don't break it.
-What happened to the girl?
-Does it matter?
-The boy's the one with your magic wand.
-How is that a screwdriver?
-In a very broad sense.
-How's it sonic?
-It makes a noise.
There they are!
Spider! Come on!
Kitty! Come look!
They'll catch you and have you transported!
Is that what you want? Spider!
The lights! He's seen the lights.
I can't. He's gone.
and save him.
I'm sorry about your friend,
but the danger isn't over yet.
There must be more of you living rough here - tell me where.
-So, you can take us to the Magistrate?
-No, of course not.
We're not here to arrest you, we're here to help.
And if you show me where you live, we can do that.
"We"? She's gone!
How did you find me?
Get used to that question.
-Oh, clever. Yeah, very clever(!)
Seriously, "What's wrong"?
I've never seen anyone die before.
A few hours ago, we were standing in a garden full of dead people.
-That was different.
They were dead already.
Morally and practically,
that's not a useful distinction - unlearn it.
Don't tell me what to think!
I'm your teacher -
telling you things is what I do.
Yeah? Tell me this.
-You've seen people die before, yeah?
-You still care?
Of course I care.
-How many what?
If you care so much,
tell me how many people you've seen die?
I don't know.
How many before you lost count?
I care, Bill, but I move on.
Yeah? How quickly?
It's not me you're angry with.
Have you ever killed anyone?
There's a look in your eyes sometimes that makes me wonder.
There are situations when the options available are limited...
Not what I asked!
-Sometimes the choices are very...
-That's not what I asked!
Don't tell me.
You've moved on.
You know what happens if I don't move on? More people die.
There are kids living rough near here,
they may well be next on the menu.
Do you want to help me? Do you want to stand here stamping your foot?
Because let me tell you something - I'm 2,000 years old...
..and I have never had the time
for the luxury of outrage.
What do you mean, "on the menu"?
-Is this where you live?
But there's no-one here.
Except you, Dot. I can see your shoes.
They're too big, that's why!
Oh! I see! I get it.
You lure people to the fair and then you rob them.
Very good. Very enterprising.
They're all right, Dot.
Strange. But all right.
And that's not how it is.
Oh, what? You DON'T rob people?
Course we do.
But bringing people to the fair - that's by-the-by.
On the side, like.
For coin, of course. Why else?
Someone pays you to promote the fair?
To get people onto the ice?
Who? Who pays you?
Kitty? Where's Spider?
Who's hungry? I'm hungry!
Food! Bill, food!
Food is always useful.
Now, I know what you're thinking,
but don't worry.
These are stolen!
Well, eat up.
Ah, with your permission, of course.
Don't suck your thumbs while I'm away.
The great tall tailor always comes
To little boys who suck their thumbs.
Ere they dream what he's about
He takes his great sharp scissors out
And cuts their thumbs clean off and then...
You done staring yet?
We're going to find out what those things are, OK?
They're not going to hurt anyone else, I promise.
he helps people,
-that's what he does.
What do you do? Apart from shout at him?
We were fighting.
Are you still fighting now?
I moved on.
I'm wondering why the Frost Fair's on this part of the river.
I bet that at least one of you knows
who paid Kitty to take people out on the ice.
-It was a bad man...with a ship.
A ship? What, do you mean a merchant?
-Not that kind of ship.
It's all right. You can tell him.
It's a drawing.
Here. On his hand.
So, this guy, where would we find him?
He finds us.
But a tattoo on his hand, I mean, we could ask around?
I know something that's much easier to find.
Where are we going?
All right, you guys, hang tight! Laters.
I was being all "down with the kids" there, did you notice?
-Yeah, my hair was cringing.
So, what's easier to find?
Conjecture - there's something frozen under the Thames
-and it's eating people.
-Proposal - we need to get a closer look it.
Plan - let's get eaten.
-Is this stuff safe?
-"Potentially"? What does "potentially" mean?
Safe, with a frisson of excitement.
But we're not going to be completely defenceless down there, though?
No, no, no.
Well, yes. But don't worry about it.
What have you got up your sleeve?
Oh, my God! Have you been holding out on me?
Do you have, like, magical, alien powers?
What, was that an impolite question?
Why do we need diving suits on top of the ice?
If we're lucky, the lights will come and take us under.
Whatever they are, they're clever.
When they went after the boy,
they waited until he was away from the crowds, by himself.
Did you say something?
The question is - how?
CLANK! LIGHTS SCREECH
SHE SCREAMS Bingo!
SONIC SCREWDRIVER TRILLS
I know you! You're the cheat!
I love your work!
The sound it made...
I couldn't hear you, but that noise...
..it's like I felt it in my bones, you know?
It sounded like...like...
A prisoner in chains.
That guy! He said he caught the fish himself.
I bought pie off that guy! Fish pie!
Aren't you magnificent?
I ate that pie! I liked that pie!
Definitely not carnivores.
Which means you're cooperating with the creature. Providing for it.
What do you get in return, hmm?
What did it take for you to evolve into that?
The creature. Do you reckon that's what's making London so cold?
-What kind of alien messes with the weather?
Ha-ha! You assume it's alien.
Of course it's alien!
Alien, terrestrial -
it's irrelevant. The real question is,
who's keeping it in those chains?
our friend here can answer that.
Who are you? What do you want with me?
The coin trick. Just tell me how to do it, please!
OK. Not the time.
Have you ever seen a man around here
with a tattoo of a ship?
What's that face? Is that a "no" or are you against tattoos?
I'm against tattoos, too, I think that we're bonding.
We're stood by the docks.
And you just asked me if I've ever seen a man with a tattoo of a ship.
Forget the tattoos.
Have you seen anyone acting suspiciously since the freeze?
There's the dredgers.
-There's a workhouse, upriver.
They have men out there patrolling all hours...
-Be quick about it!
-What are they dredging for?
-Let's find out.
How are we getting in?
You work for the palace?
Haven't had that one in a while.
How'd you get through here?
A-ha! At last, someone in authority.
Oh, I do apologise, sir.
Does Lord Sutcliffe know you're here?
Does Lord Sutcliffe know we're here?!
Does Lord Sutcliffe know we're here?
Lord Sutcliffe insisted we come.
Hmm. Oh, that Lord Sutcliffe, yes.
There's no arguing with Sutcliffe when he puts his foot down.
-You'd better show us around.
-Follow me, sir.
Take it inside!
Same as the last batch.
Why all the fuss?
-It's just mud from the river, isn't it?
-Mud is one word for it.
Is this even the right place?
The creature's almost a mile away.
The creature's HEAD is almost a mile away.
I assume we're now at the other end.
These men... BRICK SPLATS
..why do we trust them?
-Hired them all myself, sir.
-Why do I trust you?
-You understand how important this is, yes?
It is imperative no-one discovers
where this stuff goes when it leaves here.
I know that, sir! We use unmarked carts.
-Are they ever followed?
-Have you checked this personally.
-All the way to Hampton?
No, to the steel mill, sir.
Hampton is code for the steel mill.
Yes, we need to use code, otherwise anyone could walk in here
and get you blabbing like a fool.
That's a good point, sir.
Now, these men, what do they know of this material?
No more than I do, sir.
Yes, but you're someone who knows more than he tells.
Well, I'm not one to speculate...
But you can't help it because you're a man of intelligence.
They won't let us smoke in here, so I assume it's fuel.
Fuel for the furnaces, sir.
Lord Sutcliffe appreciates an enquiring mind.
I keep my ear to the ground.
And what is the ground saying these days?
That this stuff burns a thousand times longer than coal?
Hotter than they can measure.
-I'm right, aren't I, sir?
-Oh, there's no stopping you.
You keep this up, you won't be working in this yard for very long.
-You think not?
-I can almost guarantee it.
You know what else they say?
They say it even burns under water.
This guy has a pet monster that turns people into fuel
and we're just rocking up at his door?
That's his door, this is us rocking.
If we're going to stop him, we need to know where he started.
So, you think Sutcliffe is an alien?
-Because the creature is an alien.
It certainly appears to be producing fuel
suitable for interstellar travel.
Either way, Bill...
-..I need you to leave the talking to me.
Because you have a temper.
OK, I lost it a tiny bit...
You're about to meet a man, alien or otherwise,
for whom human beings are raw material.
Who grinds up children for profit.
What we are here for is one thing.
We get that with diplomacy and tact.
Charm, if necessary.
I get it.
Always remember, Bill -
but reason wins.
Dr Disco, from the Fairford Club!
Obviously, one aspires to membership,
but to actually be considered for...
Who... Who let this creature in here?
On your feet, girl, in the presence of your betters.
31 years of age. Low on iron.
Yeah, that was pretty convincing racism for an extra-terrestrial.
My thoughts exactly.
Can I just say, this is very unlike me.
I don't normally do this.
-He was aiming for charming.
-..you're not from the Fairford Club.
-The creature in the river.
-Where did it come from?
-Who the devil are you people?
-Where did it come from?
It's always been there.
The secret's been passed down in the family since...
I don't know when. As far back as records go.
Then, tell me. Do you also keep a record of how many it's killed?
Please! The people know the ice is dangerous,
yet they will insist on their festivities.
That's hardly my fault.
Don't sell yourself short. This is the biggest Frost Fair in decades,
and that's down to you.
The man holding me has a tattoo on his left hand.
And that's not all, is it?
The circus performers, the elephant - that's all you.
I made the most of the situation.
It's the first proper freeze it's caused in years.
Production down, huh?
Not enough people dying?
Girl, you show the ignorance of all your kind.
Without that beast, my mills would rely on coal mines,
and men die in coal mines all the time.
I preferred it when you were alien.
-When I was...?
-That explained the lack of humanity.
What makes you so sure that your life is worth more
than those people out there on the ice? Is it the money?
The accident of birth that puts you inside the big, fancy house?
I help move this country forward.
I move this empire forward.
Human progress isn't measured by industry...
..it's measured by the value you place on a life.
An unimportant life.
A life without privilege.
The boy who died on the river, that boy's value is your value.
That's what defines an age. That's...
..what defines a species.
What a beautiful speech.
The...rhythm and vocabulary,
It's enough to move anyone...
..with an ounce of compassion.
So, it's really not your day, is it?
If they know about the beast, then others must, too.
We bring the plan forward.
No time for outrage.
-You've never had time for anything else. Right?
-Don't be smug.
Smug belongs to me.
Are you really 2,000 years old?
I just wanted to know how long it takes,
before you can make a speech like the one you just made.
It was worth the wait.
Come on, out!
Get in there!
Sit down and shut up.
It could be rum.
Rum came in barrels.
Nah, smell that.
It's their home-made rocket fuel, redeployed as explosive.
It's a little reckless, don't you think?
Half the fair disappears into the river,
-the secret of your success won't be a secret any more.
The city will pause to mourn
a fireworks display gone tragically awry,
and the creature will be fed.
By spring, this will be a footnote in history.
That is progress.
They're bringing the elephant out presently.
We won't get bigger crowds than that,
so make sure you're off the ice by noon.
Noon? There's no way you can keep us here that long.
We'll just scream our heads off.
-No. No, please, please, please...
SHOUTING, YELLING, APPLAUSE
Sixpence to the waterman...
SHE COUGHS If you're quite finished,
I could use some help.
Sonic screwdriver. Inside pocket.
Yeah, bit more...
-SONIC SCREWDRIVER TRILLS
How are you doing that?
It makes a noise. That's how the fish choose a victim -
that's how they know they've isolated someone on the ice.
Better question - WHY are you doing that?
Just...a little more.
What are you...?
Give me that!
-Turn it off. There's a button on the side!
Here! Give it here!
Afraid it has a knack to it.
Bill. Miss Potts? I need you with me.
Things to do, Bill. Decisions to make. What are we doing about Tiny?
-The creature. The loch-less monster.
The not-so-little mermaid. Are we just going to leave her down there?
We can't set her free.
She could burst up out of the water and eat 100 people
right off of Southbank! She could eat half of London!
She might. It's a risk.
So, what do you want to do, Bill?
We already know the answers.
-Why are you even asking?
-I don't know the answers.
Only idiots know the answers.
But if your future is built on the suffering of that creature,
what's your future worth?
Why is it up to me?
Because it can't be up to me. Your people, your planet.
I serve at the pleasure of the human race, and right now, that's you.
Give me an order.
Not long till noon.
I need an order.
I'll take care of this. You get everyone off the ice.
Fido was right there, but when I turned back he was gone!
-Need help, need it now. Are you in?
-Where's your friend?
-What's he doing?
But whatever it is, I don't think we're going to miss it.
-The thaw! The thaw is here!
-A lady fell through the ice!
-The ice is melting!
-Quick! Get to the shore!
-The ice is melting!
It's a mistake!
The ice isn't melting.
I swear to you, there's no thaw!
The ice is melting!
-Quickly, quickly, that's it.
Come on! Hurry!
Something's happened - they've got the word out.
We blow it now!
No, not yet...
-But there's still people...
-Forget them. There's no time!
SONIC SCREWDRIVER TRILLS
RUMBLING EXPLOSIONS, CHAINS CLANK
RUMBLING EXPLOSIONS, CHAINS CLANK
Agh! Out of my way!
Quick! Get to the shore!
SONIC SCREWDRIVER TRILLS
You did it!
ICE CREAKS AND CRACKS
Where will she go?
Somewhere cold, I imagine.
Hopefully, she's smart enough to avoid you lot now.
What if she isn't? What if we just, like, doomed Greenland?
I'll check in on Greenland.
How long is she?!
SHE SQUEAKS AND SINGS
Can you hear that?
No pinching anything, you hear me?
And no staring like gapeseeds when the lady talks peculiar. It's rude.
Get a load of you lot.
Come on, then!
You going to tell us what we're here for?
A very long time, I hope.
Eat as much as you like.
You, boy! Remind me. What's your name?
Perry. His name's Perry.
Apparently, Lord Sutcliffe's long-lost heir can't be a girl.
We must have changed something, right?
I mean, people saw a monster in the Thames.
Well, it doesn't look any different.
-All right. There you go.
There's your tea.
I put a bit of coffee in it, as well, just to give it some flavour.
See, it's much better...
-..when you stick to your oath?
Oh, sir! No! This is unacceptable!
This is beyond unacceptable. This is naughty.
-I don't get it.
"Monster", "sea creature", "serpent",
"really, really big fish". Nothing.
Sir! You said you wouldn't be going off-world!
Do these look like off-world clothes to you?
But, sir, you said you'd be coming back to your office!
Look, here I am. I'm in my office.
I'm drinking my tea.
In my specially chosen tea clothes.
I don't understand. How could it not have been headline news?
Never underestimate the collective human ability
to overlook the inexplicable.
Also, the Frost Fair involved a lot of day drinking.
You can always rely upon the papers to miss a headline.
"Lord Sutcliffe drowns in snap thaw...
"Shock as steel fortune is passed to street urchin"!
We need to talk. Your oath.
-Give us a coin.
"The new Lord Sutcliffe was found starving on London's streets..."
The inheritance was contested, everyone got super mad...
blah, blah, blah...
"Urchin boy deemed legitimate"!
Oh, my God! It worked!
You did it.
You saved them.
You gave the order...boss.
Give me a coin.
We'll toss for it.
Heads, the TARDIS stays put.
..you leave me alone.
Leave him alone.
Chance would be a fine thing!
Leave ME alone.
How about that for a new idea?
I didn't ask to be re-assembled, did I?
What was that about?
No-one's going to open the door, just because you're knocking!
Oh! Getting cocky now, are you?
What do you think you know?
What has he told you?
Because, yeah, he may have a little friend now
and, yeah, he may be a little bit distracted
but I tell you something, I'm still here
and as long as I'm still here, you are going nowhere!
LOUD KNOCKING, HE WHIMPERS
Are you looking for somewhere to live?
That's your house?
Sharing, yeah. Six of us.
-How do you get into the Tower?
What's that noise?
There's some massive mystery going on.
See you in the morning.
The house is...eating people. CREAKING
No, no! No, no, no! There's something in here!
Come, come! Come back! Hey!
-You signed the contract.
It's time to pay.
London, 1814. The entire city has turned out for the biggest Frost Fair in decades. But beneath the frozen Thames, revellers are disappearing, snatched through the ice and pulled into the depths where a terrifying monster lurks. Will the Doctor and Bill stop the slaughter before they too are dragged into the icy waters?