13.3. Once, Upon Time

Series 13 - 2021 (Flux)

Writer: Chris Chinball
Producer: Pete Levy
Director: Azhur Saleem
Music: Segun Akinola


In the aftermath of the Flux Bel, searching for her boyfriend, is trapped on a planet in a what she calls the Dalek Sector - a sector that is growing. Nothing makes sense to her any more. Maps are useless, and time is disrupted as time goes from daytime to nighttime in an instant. But it's not the Daleks that worry her. It's the strange blue insect-like swarms that are coming for survivors of the Flux.

Bel manages to escape the Dalek planet on a Lupari ship she found after the Lupari seemed to disappear from the galaxy. Bodies and wreckage are everywhere. Still searching for her boyfriend she lands on a new planet - which seems to be part of the Cyberman Sector.

With Time about to flow through Yaz and Dan the Doctor thinks quick and jumps into the time storm with Yaz, Dan, and Vinder. As her companions disappear a Weeping Angel appears before she too disappears from the time storm.The Doctor plans to lock each of her companions away in separate time streams to protect them, as much as possible, from the time storm.

The Doctor finds herself on Atropos watching a Tubial Monument be destroyed. Alongside her are three soldiers: Yaz, Dan, and Vinder. The Doctor is confused, and her companions think she may be suffering from temporal hazing. Yaz gives an injection to the Doctor and she becomes more focused on the mission to rescue hostages and reset time.

In Liverpool, 2021, Dan meets up with Diane. But as they are walking their location keeps changing, although only Dan seems to notice and feels disorientated, especially when he sees two blue insect swarms before they change to a different location again. This time it's in the evening. Dan begins to realise things are wrong soon before Diane disappears and a projection of the Doctor appears. When the Doctor disappears Dan is left alone, before finding himself by the docks with a projection of the Doctor.

Yaz finds herself back in police uniform in a car with a partner who, at first, appears to be the Doctor. In the car mirrors she sees something odd (a Weeping Angel) but when she looks round there is no sign of it. Later Yaz finds herself sitting on a sofa with her sister playing a computer game when her sister changes into a projection of the Doctor. As the Doctor explains how Yaz has been locked in a different time stream she realises Weeping Angels have been trapped as well when they appear in the game.

Vinder finds himself back home, re-living memories of being given a commendation for saving the lives of three colleagues and a posting to the side of the Grand Serpent... by Yaz. Vinder starts to feel disorientated, and it's not helped by a projection of the Doctor. But as soon as the projection disappears he accepts the posting Yaz offers him. As guardian to the Grand Serpent his duties are to protect and to record details of a meeting with the Alforia. But there is one part of the meeting the Grand Serpent does not want recorded. The Grand Serpent has a list of nine people. Five he wants returned, four he wants to have an accident.

Vinder re-lives the memory of reporting this to his commanding officer, which is a bit concerned about the whistle-blowing against the Grand Serpent when there is not official record of the event. This led to Vinder being reposted to an outpost - away from his girlfriend.

On Atropos the Doctor, Yaz, Dan, and Vinder, are preparing to storm the final temple. Before they enter the Doctor is pulled back into the time storm where she encounters three of the Mouri. The Mouri warn the Doctor that the time storm will overwhelm even her.

Inside the temple the Doctor, leading her companions, sees her reflection in a mirror. Only the reflection is that of the fugitive Doctor - and she is equally surprised. Making her way to the inner temple where she finds Azure, old Swarm, and five Passengers. The Passengers are prisons for millions of life forms, and old Swarm dissipates two of them with just his touch. But the Doctor has control of one of the Passengers and has used it to contain the Mouri. When they are released they are able to re-take their places on the dais in the centre of the inner temple.

Using two Lupari weapons Dan and Vinder trap Azure and old Swarm in energy fields before teleporting them. As time starts to correct the Doctor begins to realise who her companions really are: Karvanista and other Lupari. The Doctor is ejected from her time stream into a new one where she meets Aswok, and learns the Flux was manufactured - because of her - before being returned to the temple.

With the guardians repaired time is stable. In the temple are real Yaz, Dan, and Vinder. But also Azure and Swarm. Swarm tells the Doctor that time was broken for long enough for him to disrupt it with the aid of blue insect-like swarms that disrupt the time stream of anything they touch.

The Doctor takes Vinder back to his home world - but it has been left ravaged by the Flux. Inside the TARDIS Yaz sees a Weeping Angel on her phone before it manifests itself inside and takes control.

Regular Cast

  • Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
  • Dan Lewis: John Bishop

Guest Cast

  • Bel: Thaddea Graham
  • Azure: Rochenda Sandall
  • Swarm: Sam Spruell
  • Vinder: Jacob Anderson
  • Diane: Nadia Albina
  • Fugitive Doctor: Jo Martin
  • Joseph Williamson: Steve Oram
  • Grand Serpent: Craig Parkinson
  • Sonya Khan: Bhavnisha Parmer
  • Old Swarm: Matthew Needham
  • Karvanista: Craige Els
  • Awsok: Barbara Flynn
  • Passenger: Jonny Mathers
  • Police Officer: Chantelle Pierre
  • Voice of the Cybermen: Nicholas Briggs
  • Voice of the Mouri: Amanda Drew
  • Priest Triangle: Nigel Richard Lambert

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 3. Once, Upon Time Sunday, November 14, 2021 6:30 PM - 7:25 PM 4.70M 75

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