New Series Episode 88:
The Girl Who Waited


The TARDIS lands on a planet ravaged by a plague which is fatal to beings with two hearts. With the Doctor consigned to the Ship, his companions become separated across two time streams which move at very different rates. When the Doctor manages to synchronise the streams, Rory finds himself confronted by an Amy who has waited thirty-six years for rescue. As the Doctor tries desperately to put things right, a still-young Rory finds himself confronted by an embittered Amy who may no longer want to be saved.


In 2006, Tom MacRae's first Doctor Who story, Rise Of The Cybermen / The Age Of Steel, was made as part of Season Twenty-Eight. He then began work on a second adventure called “Century House” which was initially planned for Season Twenty-Nine and later Season Thirty. However, then-showrunner Russell T Davies grew disenchanted with “Century House” and it was ultimately replaced with Midnight. By 2010, MacRae had become acquainted with Doctor Who's new executive producer, Steven Moffat. Keen to try his hand at another script for the programme, MacRae developed an idea in the tradition of Moffat's own time-bending stories such as The Girl In The Fireplace.

Moffat was intrigued by MacRae's proposal, entitled “The Visitors' Room”. One slot was still available for Season Thirty-Two at this point, and it was decided to commission MacRae's script as one of five contenders. Over the course of the writing process, “The Visitors' Room” came to focus increasingly on the Doctor, Amy and Rory while eliminating some secondary characters who were used to set up the premise. In particular, this allowed MacRae to introduce the aged version of Amy into the story much earlier than had originally been the case. The adventure went through alternative titles such as “The Visiting Hour” and “Kindness” but, because MacRae had designed it as a vehicle for exploring Amy's character in particular, it ultimately became known as The Girl Who Waited. This phrase had been associated with Amy ever since her debut appearance in The Eleventh Hour.

To minimise the Doctor's role, he would be confined to the TARDIS instead of accompanying Rory to into the Kindness Facility

Moffat grew increasingly fond of The Girl Who Waited as it was developed, and finally decided to schedule it as the tenth episode of Season Thirty-Two (displacing The God Complex, which would now be episode eleven). At this stage, however, MacRae had to implement one significant change to the script. The production of the story would be “double-banked” with that of Closing Time, which heavily featured the Doctor while reserving only a cameo appearance for Amy and Rory. Conversely, then, The Girl Who Waited would have to minimise the Doctor's role. MacRae accommodated this requirement by stipulating that the Chen7 virus on Apalapucia only affects beings with two hearts. As such, the Doctor could be confined to the TARDIS instead of accompanying Rory into the Kindness Facility. The Doctor's dialogue would instead be delivered via Rory's spectacles, which meant that Matt Smith would only be needed for a couple of days' filming.

The Girl Who Waited was made as part of the sixth production block for Season Thirty-Two (albeit labelled “Block Five”). It was paired with The God Complex, although most of that story was recorded first. Assigned to direct was Nick Hurran, who had helmed films such as Girls' Night and episodes of shows including Never The Twain, Outside Edge and the 2009 version of The Prisoner. Hurran had also both produced and directed for The Last Detective, and had previously handled one of Tom MacRae's scripts on Bonekickers.

The first footage shot for The Girl Who Waited was of the Check-In Girl, recorded at Upper Boat Studios on February 23rd, 2011. It would be almost a week before filming began in earnest, however, with three more days at Upper Boat spanning March 1st to 3rd, covering scenes in the entrance corridor, the two visitors' rooms, and the airlock. This part of the schedule introduced the Handbots, who had evolved throughout the story's development. Originally envisaged by MacRae as cloaked entities whose hands emerged from the folds of their robes, they were eventually revised to appear closer to what was seen on screen, albeit wearing various uniforms and, disquietingly, having actual human hands. The addition of the “secondary delivery system” in their heads came after production had already started. March 1st also saw the debut of the Doctor's long green coat -- part of an intentional plan to evolve the Time Lord's appearance throughout Matt Smith's tenure.

Consideration was given to casting another actress as the older Amy, but Karen Gillan lobbied to play the part

On March 7th, 8th and 10th, Hurran's team was at work at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, for material in the check-in area and the coffee bar. This included the first scenes of Karen Gillan as the older Amy. Consideration had been given to casting another actress in this role, but Gillan lobbied to play the part, and it was felt that this would make the audience more sympathetic to her plight. Meanwhile, the 9th was spent at Uskmouth Power Station in Newport, which offered the industrial area and the engine room. March 11th took cast and crew to Dyffryn Gardens in St Nicholas, for sequences in the surreal mansion grounds (which had originally been written for a forest environment).

Then it was back to Upper Boat, where scenes in the gallery and the gate area were filmed on March 12th, 14th and 15th along with some inserts. On the 16th and 17th, the Johnsey Estates in the Mamhilad Industrial Park, Pontypool, posed as the engine room quarters and the service area. The TARDIS set at Upper Boat was then in use on March 18th, and again on the 23rd to catch up on all of the Doctor-only scenes. Finally, the “ghost” effect showing the overlapped timelines of patients at the Kindness Facility was achieved at Upper Boat on April 26th.

There were numerous cuts to The Girl Who Waited in editing, but the biggest change was to the sequence of events at the heart of the episode. As filmed, Rory encounters the older Amy before the young Amy was shown entering the gardens. As such, Amy venturing towards the time engines and leaving a note for the Doctor in lipstick was meant to be a gradual reveal of how this could come to pass. The final version of the episode instead presented events in a more chronological order.

  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #30, 21st March 2012, “The Girl Who Waited” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 10th Sep 2011
Time 7.14pm
Duration 45'56"
Viewers (more) 7.6m (13th)
· BBC1/HD 7.6m
· iPlayer 1.2m
Appreciation 85%

The Doctor
Matt Smith
Amy Pond
Karen Gillan
Arthur Darvill
Check-in Girl
Josie Taylor
Voice of Interface
Imelda Staunton

Written by
Tom MacRae
Directed by
Nick Hurran
Produced by
Marcus Wilson

Stunt Coordinator
Crispin Layfield
Assistant Stunt Coordinator
Gordon Seed
Stunt Performers
Belinda McGinley
Stephanie Carey
1st Assistant Director
William Hartley
2nd Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
3rd Assistant Director
Janine H Jones
Assistant Director
Danielle Richards
Location Manager
Nicky James
Unit Manager
Rhys Griffiths
Location Assistant
Geraint Williams
Production Manager
Phillipa Cole
Production Coordinator
Claire Hildred
Asst Production Coordinator
Helen Blyth
Production Secretary
Scott Handcock
Production Assistant
Charlie Coombes
Asst Production Accountant
Kristina Raschboeck
Script Executive
Lindsey Alford
Script Editor
Caroline Henry
Script Supervisor
Elaine Matthews
Camera Operator
James Leigh
Focus Pullers
Steve Rees
Jonathan Vidgen
Gary Norman
Camera Assistants
Simon Ridge
Matthew Lepper
Elliot Hale
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Jeff Welch
Dafydd Parry
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Pete Chester
Ben Griffiths
Bob Milton
Stephen Slocombe
Alan Tippetts
Supervising Art Director
Stephen Nicholas
Set Decorator
Julian Luxton
Production Buyer
Ben Morris
Kate Wilson
Standby Art Director
Amy Pickwoad
Assistant Art Director
Jackson Pope
Concept Artist
Richard Shaun Williams
Props Master
Paul Aitken
Props Buyer
Adrian Anscombe
Prop Chargehand
Rhys Jones
Standby Props
Phill Shellard
Helen Atherton
Dressing Props
Tom Belton
Kristian Wilsher
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Julia Jones
Design Assistant
Dan Martin
Petty Cash Buyer
Helen O'Leary
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Store Person
Jayne Davies
Props Makers
Alan Hardy
Penny Howarth
Nicholas Robatto
Props Driver
Medard Mankos
Practical Electrician
Albert James
Construction Manager
Matthew Hywel-Davies
Construction Chargehand
Scott Fisher
BBC Wales Graphics
Assistant Costume Designer
Samantha Keeble
Costume Supervisor
Cat Lovett
Costume Assistants
Jason Gill
Yasemin Kascioglu
Frances Morris
Make-Up Supervisor
Pam Mullins
Make-Up Artists
Vivienne Simpson
Allison Sing
VFX Producer
Beewan Athwal
Casting Associate
Alice Purser
Assistant Editor
Becky Trotman
VFX Editor
Cat Gregory
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Post Production Coordinator
Marie Brown
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
ADR Editor
Matthew Cox
Dialogue Editor
Darran Clement
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Jamie Talbutt
Online Editor
Jeremy Lott
Mick Vincent
Online Conform
Mark Bright
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Production Accountant
Dyfed Thomas
Sound Recordist
Bryn Thomas
Costume Designer
Barbara Kidd
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Real SFX
Millennium FX
Handbot Design
Robert Allsop & Associates
Tim Porter
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Owen McPolin
Associate Producer
Denise Paul
Line Producer
Diana Barton
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Piers Wenger
Beth Willis

Working Titles
The Visitors' Room
The Visiting Hour

Updated 21st July 2014