Doctor Who Lie of the Land gallery

Those ‘Doctor Who’ ‘The Lie of the Land’ images and a theory on Bill

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When is a companion more than a companion? When they’re created by Steven Moffat. 

There are possible spoilers for ‘The Lie of the Land’ below… But, then again, maybe not.


One thing I really love about Doctor Who, is trying to predict where it’s all going.

There’s been a theory in my head for a while regarding the role of Bill. It’s a theory that was reignited today with this release of a new series of images from the upcoming episode, ‘Lie of the Land’. Specifically, this one…

Lie of the Land Monk theory
Monk – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

It’s a hoodless variation of the Monks, albeit with very much fancier robes, interacting with the ‘time threads’ we saw them use in ‘The Pyramid at the End of Time’. There, they used them to show a bleak future for the world in order to convince those in power to ask for their protection.

Here you go…

Xiaolian (DAPHNE CHEUNG), Secretary General (TOGO IGAWA) – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway
Monks – (C) BBC/BBC Worldwide – Photographer: Simon Ridgway

Does that not look to you like whoever that is in the top image is somehow feeding into, or at least channeling the time threads? Are they what is in the room above what you see in the second image? Are the monks not only charting, but manipulating future events?

Next, let’s consider The Doctor’s musings on what the Monks could be capable of…

“Those Monk creatures I told you about if they’ve modelled every event in human history, if they’ve simulated entire events streamed from day one till now, think what they’d know…” – The Doctor, ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’.

So, presumably, the Monks have followed the events of the Doctor’s life. They would know how close his relationships with his companions and Missy have become, and how they’ve been used against him.

Which brings us to the theory: that Bill has been placed into the Doctor’s life, or at least their meeting has been manipulated, in order to create the conditions whereby the Monks can take over the world. That Bill is the latest attempt by one of his enemies to use the Doctor’s fondness for his companions against him. 

Refining Tactics

It would, effectively, be a mash-up – or, shall we say, a ‘variation’ on tactics used on the Doctor throughout Steven Moffat’s time in charge. We had a synthetic Amy Pond fool the Doctor for quite sometime before the showdown at Demons Run in ‘A Good Man Goes To War’, and Clara’s status as The Impossible Girl, turning up in various parts of the Doctor’s timestream to alter events.  

We’ve seen the lengths he would go to in order to protect both.

We’ve seen a Pandorica-like ‘vault’ throughout this season’s story, tying down the Doctor in the way Rory protected Amy while she was inside the prison the Doctor’s enemies created for him.

We’ve already seen Bill disappear in a blaze of pixels once already this season, upon which we were told the Doctor’s “suffering is information”. Were the Monks taking another opportunity to see how the Doctor would react to such a situation? Will we see it again, for ‘real’? 

What if, basically, the Monks have been watching episodes of the show over the last few years, noting these tactics, refining what everyone else tried, picking fault in Steven Moffat and Co.’s plans, and working out the perfect way to weaken the Doctor.

That perfect way being Bill – for whom he sacrificed his sight, and who eventually handed the world to the Monks.

The Doctor Falls

Let us not forget, as was the way with Clara and Amy, Bill appeared at exactly the time the Doctor needed her. A little bored, committed to guarding the vault alongside Nardole, and ripe to be distracted by the wide eyes of a new companion who he can show the whole of time and space to.

The footage from ‘Lie of the Land’ that shows Bill with a gun, and seeming shooting the Doctor, is unlikely to be ‘literal’. I doubt there’s a big ‘muhaha’ reveal as she changes character. Steven Moffat’s style, as was the case with Amy and Melody Pond, is to have the person not realise what she is.

The rumours have always been that Bill will only last one season in the show – sadly, as far as I’m concerned. I am also hoping we’re way off the mark here, as Pearl Mackie’s performances have been a real highlight so far in this season. She’s notably not seen in pics with the Mondasian Cyberman that are part of this season’s finale episodes. Is that worthy of note? Indeed, we know little of what’s to come after next weekend at all. Could there be a reason for that, other than saving the big explanation of the two ‘Masters’ conceit?

Finally, let’s look at the image at the top of this article. Are we about to get the truth about Bill, perhaps? Who knows, eh? Who knows…

If Bill’s time on the show were to end sooner than even we thought, I think it’s conceivable that the show’s chief writer would enjoy turning his old plots in on themselves in some kind of meta self-reference-fest.

Could Bill just be too good to be true? Let us know in the comments.