Synopsis revealed for ‘Doctor Who’ opener ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’

The BBC has released the official story synopsis for the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who.

Written by showrunner Steven Moffat, ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’ will air on Saturday 19 September on BBC One.

The synopsis reads: “Where is the Doctor? When the skies of Earth are frozen by a mysterious alien force, Clara needs her friend. But where is the Doctor, and what is he hiding from?

“As past deeds come back to haunt him, old enemies will come face-to-face, and for the Doctor and Clara survival seems impossible.”

Doctor Who 9 Missy Michelle Gomez

The full guest cast for the episode is listed as Michelle Gomez, Jemma Redgrave, Kelly Hunter, Clare Higgins, Jaye Griffiths, Harki Bhambra, Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, Joey Price, Aaron Neil, India Ria Amarteifio, Dasharn Anderson, Demi Papaminas, Jami Reid-Quarrell, Benjamin Cawley, Stefan Adegbola, Shin-Fei Chen, Lucy Newman-Williams, Barnaby Edwards, Nicholas Pegg and Jonathon Ojinnaka.

Steven Moffat has described the two-part story which opens Season 9 as “a blockbuster”, teasing: “…it’s like starting with a finale, and having a big, grand, movie-sized story, as opposed to a 45-minute story.”

> Buy Season 8 on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy Season 8 on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Season 9 has been filming in Cardiff since January.

> Here’s everything we know about Season 9 so far.

Are you looking forward to ‘The Magician’s Apprentice’? Let us know below…

  • Dr. Moo

    “where is the Doctor? […] Clara needs her friend” This implies 12’s going to show up fairly late in the episode. And the first line he says in the trailer: “Sorry I’m late!”

    “what is he hiding from?” The Daleks possibly, who am I kidding, probably {token series 8 quote}. Mission Dalek confirms outright that he’s had some dealings with the Daleks prior to the episode’s start but since the end of Last Christmas.

    “the skies of Earth are frozen” Sounds like The Sontaran Stratagem meets Death In Heaven. Both these episodes were okay but nothing spectacular. Hopefully lessons have been learnt in this department.

    “mysterious alien force” At this point we already know that the Master and Daleks are both in this story so unless the BBC is insulting our intelligence I’m going out on a limb and calling this a hint that there’ll be another monster/villain in this story as well.

    “past deeds come back to haunt him” This fits in with the older Dalek designs seen in the trailer. Are they out for revenge somehow?

    “old enemies will come face-to-face” Is this the Master meeting up with the Daleks? We saw both together in the trailer but the last time they met it was the Time War, the time before that they executed her (or him, as she was then – damn these confusing pronouns). Or does this refer to one or both of these villains meeting the Doctor?

    “survival seems impossible” Doesn’t it always? In the trailer we saw Clara surrounded by all the different Daleks before the Doctor showed up.



    Bring. It. On. More adventures with 12 & Clara please!

    • Shockwave527

      “where is the Doctor? […] Clara needs her friend” If you notice, Capaldi is nowhere to be seen on that cast list. Is it possible he doesn’t arrive until episode 2?

      Edit: Wait, no, it doesn’t list Jenna Coleman either, so they probably just weren’t included for some reason. My mistake.

      • Dr. Moo

        “…full guest cast for the episode is…”

      • Rob

        “Where is the Doctor?” O-so-scary.

        Hasn’t the idiot Moffy-Boy recycled that to death. You would think a hack that everybody worships so much would actually have a clue. Says very little about you who worship him.. 🙂

        • It “says very little about you” if you will keep saying that (and only that) with no explanation for it. Back up your opinions PLEASE!!!

  • Shockwave527

    Did anyone else notice that the cast list has no mention of Capaldi? Is the doctor going to be completely absent from the first episode of the season?

    • Shockwave527

      Wait, no, it doesn’t list Jenna Coleman either, so they probably just weren’t included for some reason. My mistake.

      • Juan Gutierrez

        again GUEST cast. main cast is not mentioned

    • Kiernla

      It says “guest cast” so it’s implied that Capaldi & Coleman will be present.

    • Andy

      It says, ‘Full guest cast’………Peter Capoldi and Jenna Coleman are not guests. Why do you think Peter Capoldi won’t be in the first episode?

  • Helles

    I don’t think I’ve heard anything other in the various tweets from both media professionals and fans who have seen pre-screeners for The Magician’s Apprentice which haven’t suggested that it is either definitely the best thing Moffat has ever written or at very worst that it’s merely accomplished, wonderfully written and possibly even better than The Eleventh Hour or The Impossible Astronaut as the best opening episode in Who. Literally not a bad word or even that it’s only just ‘good’, even from some people who have thrown quite a lot of shade over Moffat in the past. I can understand the level of excitement and pride everyone seems to have in this series and with the return of River Song in an episode which is intended to be light, witty and delightful Christmas entertainment, it looks as though this will be the best series to date. Have never been this excited before for the return of the show. Peter Capaldi simply can do no wrong in my eyes and is the best thing to ever happen to new Who. Good old Moffat has also redeemed himself in my eyes after delivering an almost faultless series 8 which rubs shoulders with the magnificent series 5 as the best in the rebooted show. Happy for both of them to stay as long as needed if they continue to produce masterpieces like Listen, Dark Water and Deep Breath..

    • Joe

      I was with you up until you said “faultless season 8.” I can’t take you seriously after that.

      • Dr. Moo

        Helles said “almost”! Moon and Forest aside, series 8 was pretty damn perfect.

        • Helles

          I think Forest is the only one that brings down the series but Capaldi and Coleman are still brilliant in it. Kill the Moon has the great final scene on the beach which is lovely and the spooky space spiders. I can forgive the wonky science because of those great moments. I think only one dud and one where the sum of great parts don’t quite gell makes series 8 the best we’ve had. No other series has such a good success rate and Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman were perfect in every scene. No other doctor and companion, not even 11 and Amy have done that. For me it’s almost flawless but for others I guess it’s only ‘brilliant’.

          • Dr. Moo

            Kill the Mo(r)on has a great final scene but up until then it’s very hard to forgive what goes before. In the Forest of the Night is even worse which surprised me as I didn’t think anything worse could come in the same series. Series 8 was flawless elsewhere but those two episodes drag it down. (I’m not a huge fan of Robot of Sherwood, Time Heist or The Caretaker either but there’s still more good than bad in those.)

            Series 5 remains the best New Who series beating Series 8 by default as there’s no duds in there.

          • Rob

            We get it. You don’t like Tennant. Unfortunately, he was head and shoulders above the other three. To all those who don’t like him, the problem is you, not David Tennant. You need the dumbed-down Moffy-Boy style.

            Overrated, thy name is S. Moffet. Can’t remember how to spell his first name and I dislike him too much to take the time to care.

            Worst showrunner ever….100% fact. If every other Who fan on Earth diagrees then every other Who fan on Earth is an idiot.

          • Dr. Moo

            When did I mention Tennant???

            “If every other Who fan on Earth disagrees [with you]” then maybe you should listen. How arrogant that made you sound!

          • Trolls do tend to be arrogant. It’s usually all down to some troubled home life. We shouldn’t bite, but it’s so much fun to play with them!

        • Katie C

          My favourite episodes in series 8 (Mummy and Flatline) were not written by Moffat. The thing that stands out to me most about series 8 (apart from Capaldi of course) is that FINALLY Moffat has decided to write Clara a personality. I’ll be sad to see her go now.

          • Dr. Moo

            Clara was a plot device in series 7. That’s all she was. It took until series 8 until she became a proper character. As the 10th Doctor didn’t say, I don’t want Clara to go.

            The best episodes of series 8 were (Shall we say a top five? In order?) Listen, Mummy on the Orient Express, Flatline, Last Christmas (if it counts) and Deep Breath.
            Moffat & Mathieson wrote all of these between them. This gives me hope for series 9’s The Girl Who Died.

    • James Vaughan

      That was a lot of words to say very little. I thought the series was poor, Danny Pink was a terrible character and Missy was pathetic. If not for the charm of both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, I would stop watching.

  • Dr. Moo

    As NewWho openers go I don’t know whether The Magician’s Apprentice can possibly outperform The Eleventh Hour, The Impossible Astronaut or Deep Breath but I’m sure it will surpass the horrendous New Earth, the just plain stupid Smith & Jones or Partners in Crime and the okay-but-inconsistent Rose.

    If the current reports are any indicator we’re looking at a total reinvention so that’s a promising sign – all the best openers have been that!

    • Rob

      You get dumber with every post.

      RTD and Tennant > than anything Moffy-Tard could ever create.

      • Dr. Moo

        So now you’ve descended from critique (you’re entitled to do that) to outright attacks on individuals you disagree with? I guess you must be a troll.

        Your comment has been flagged.

      • CultBox

        ‘Moffy-Tard’? Seriously?

    • Katie C

      Deep Breath was boring. You’re constantly RTD bashing. Let it go!

      • Dr. Moo

        Deep Breath = boring?!?!?! Did you watch the same Deep Breath as the rest of us?

        I’ll bash any episode that I didn’t like. I don’t recall mentioning Russell T Davies anywhere in my comment. In fact he’s responsible for three of my top fifteen Doctor Who stories of all time – Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, Midnight, The Waters of Mars – so I don’t see my opinions as “constantly RTD bashing”.

        • KatieC

          Umm yes, bashing is what it sounds like to me. I’ve been reading your comments for a long time. I’m glad you like SOME of RTD’s episodes then…
          Although Deep Breath had a few good scenes most of the time it dragged on and on and on…….

    • Helles

      Moffat is brilliant at opening episodes and finales that’s for sure and to my mind, RTD only has one completely successful one to his credit – Parting of the Ways, so his track record is pretty good so despite the hype, chances are The Magician’s Apprentice will be another strong opening episode. Sometimes it felt like the openers for RTD were there to generate toy sales by featuring new creatures rather than concentrating on the actual storyline and were too zany, rather than full of emotional meat. It did a huge disservice to both Martha and Donna in their introductions. Rose is such a badly written character that even New Earth only added to that with some really toe curlingly bad scenes.

      It’s a pity that people who like RTD’s time in charge of the show and hate on Moffat seem to end up being revealed as nasty trolls rather than arguing their case well. I imagine given the increase in overall viewers most people who liked RTD’s vision of Doctor Who also like Moffat’s. RTD’s version is not for me and as a long time watcher of the show I find Moffat much more to my liking and appreciate that there is more thought and effort going into the show now and better and more suitable actors being cast. But why stoop to personal insults of the show runners? They are doing their best to entertain us. The show is more popular and beloved now than ever so obviously most people are still very happy. I thought series 8 was as good as anything we got during Classic Who and anticipate series 9 will be even better but I also loved series 5, 6 and 1, so you can like one era better than another but still find good things in both. (As series 8 was as different to anything either RTD or Moffat had done before, I also think we are pretty well in another era now anyway – Moffat.2. Peter Capaldi seems to me to be even better than Matt Smith who has until now has been regarded as the most effective and well played of the new doctors).

  • Rob

    I’ve said it in a couple of individual replies, but all you mouth-breathing Moffy fans need to hear this. The guy is an overrated pos. 🙂 Disagree? Oops, you’re irrelevant. I could elaborate, but you’re all too busy pushing each other out of the way to fellate him to learn from a better. Grovel in your ignorance, kids. You’re only hurting yourself. Well, you’re hurting the show, too. The douchebag won’t leave as long you sing his praises and watch the tripe he vomits out. Till then, the show will never get better, or good again.

    Thanks for helping keep the show in the hands of an deluded, egotistical troll.

    • John McJohnson

      When you state what looks to be an unpopular opinion you need to back it up. You haven’t done that. You’ve spent your entire post telling us that we’re irrelevant, ignorant, hurting ourselves… if you really feel that strongly about smoothing common human decency demands that you back it up. Don’t tell people you think they’re wrong unless you can also say why that it the case!

      Grow a pair. Man up. Who cares that we think differently to you? You shouldn’t care and if you do it shows just how immature you are – but your comment already taught us that.