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The Satan Pit
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Series Number: Series 2
Story Number: 174b
Doctor: Tenth Doctor
Companions: Rose Tyler
Setting: Krop Tor; year 43K2.1
Writer: Matt Jones
Director: James Strong
Producer: Simon Winstone
Broadcast: 10th June 2006
Format: 1x45 minute Episode
Prod. Code: 2.9
Previous Story: The Impossible Planet
Following Story: Love & Monsters
"The pit is open and I am free!"
The Beast



With the TARDIS seemingly lost, Rose and the remaining humans are trapped on the base with the possessed Ood, while the planet floats helplessly towards a black hole. Meanwhile, the Doctor is about to discover exactly what "Beast" is trapped in the heart of the impossible planet…


The three Ood advance towards Jefferson, his guard and Rose. Jefferson gives the order to open fire on the Ood, killing them. In the control room, Zack announces that the planet's orbit is stabilising around the black hole again. Danny reaches the others, warning them that the rest of the Ood are on their way. The pursuing Ood kill the female guard with a translation sphere before Jefferson opens fire again.

Zack finds himself trapped in the control room, as Jefferson reports that he is low on ammunition. Zack himself only has a bolt gun with a single bolt left. Jefferson recommends "Strategy 9"; Zack agrees, and tells him to get everyone together. To Rose's relief, the Doctor and Ida manage to contact the base. The Doctor reports that the seal is open, but nothing seems to have come out of the Pit, which seems to be bottomless.

Zack orders Ida and the Doctor back up because of Strategy 9, but Ida is reluctant and asks the Doctor what he thinks. The Doctor muses about the curiosity he and humans feel about going down into the Pit, but notes that the Beast said he was "the temptation" — perhaps that curiosity is what the Beast is relying on. The Doctor suggests they retreat.

Jefferson cocks his rifle on Toby, but Rose stops him from killing the now normal-looking and terrified archaeologist. Whatever it was possessing him, they saw it pass from Toby to the Ood. Toby cannot remember much of what happened, but believes it was the Devil.

Down below, Ida explains that Strategy 9 is to throw open the airlocks while everyone else is safe in lockdown; the Ood will be sucked out into the vacuum. However, as they prepare to be brought up in the lift, the power fails. The Beast, speaking through the Ood, takes control of the viewscreens. To the Doctor's question as to which Beast he is, given that there are so many religions, the voice answers that he is all of them. The Beast explains that the Disciples of the Light defeated him and chained him in the Pit for eternity, before the creation of this universe. The Doctor retorts that this is impossible, but the Beast tells them that they know nothing. He begins to speak to each of them in turn, playing on their secrets and hidden fears and insecurities: to the Doctor, he refers to the Time War, calling him the "killer of his own kind", and ominously predicts that Rose will soon die in battle.

The humans begin to panic, but the Doctor tries to calm them by reminding the group of the strengths of the human race, demonstrated by their defiance of conventional belief in even making it to this impossible planet, and pointing out that they are united while the Beast is alone. As if in response, the lift cable snaps, and the Doctor and Ida barely get away before the ten mile-length of it collapses on top of the capsule, severing communications. They are stuck down there, with just fifty-five minutes of air left. Ida decides to rig up the loose cable so she can explore the Pit, but the Doctor tells her that he will go down, not her.

With the power loss, Zack is unable to implement Strategy 9. Meanwhile, the Ood are trying to break through the sealed doors to reach the humans. Rose rallies them, getting them to think of a way out. Zach reroutes energy from the rocket to restore half power. Danny comes up with a way to disable the Ood: broadcasting a telepathic flare that will reduce their telepathic field to zero, disrupting their brains. However, this can only be done from the central monitor in Ood Habitation. The only access from where they are is through the airless maintenance shafts below the base, but Zack can extend the oxygen field to follow them through the tunnels.

Danny creates and stores the flare programme on a memory card and they scramble down into the tunnels just as the Ood break through the door. Zack directs them towards their goal, aerating each section and decompressing the previous one before they can go through. However, the Ood are also in pursuit. Jefferson stays behind to hold them off, but is too slow in reaching a junction before it is sealed. Knowing that there is nothing Zack can do to prevent his death, Jefferson requests that the oxygen be removed quickly so he can die before he is killed by the Ood. Zack does this, and Jefferson's life signs wink out on the monitor.

However, the humans have little time to grieve, as the next section is also filled with Ood, and the others have to scramble up into the corridor above. The Ood almost reach Toby, but suddenly his eyes turn red, like when he was possessed by the Beast before. He places his finger on his lips signalling the Ood not to attack him or reveal his secret. The Ood pause, allowing Toby to be rescued by Rose and Danny, who did not notice the momentary change. As the others reach Ood Habitation, the Ood break through into the control room, and Zack holds the bolt gun on them. At the last moment, Danny manages to activate the flare; the telepathic field drops to "Basic Zero", and the Ood grab their heads and collapse. Zack joins them back at the mine shaft.

Meanwhile, the Doctor continues his journey into the darkness of the Pit. He tells Ida how the Devil crops up on so many planets in so many religions — perhaps that is what the Devil is, in the end: an idea. The line finally runs out, with still no bottom in sight. Preferring exploration to waiting for death, he decides to detach the cable and fall the rest of the way, despite Ida's pleas that she does not want to die alone. Reassuring her, the Doctor falls and vanishes into the shadows just as the others regain communications with Ida. Rose is grief-stricken when Ida tells them that the Doctor has fallen.

Zack tells Ida that there is no way to get to her, and Ida understands. All they can do is abandon the base and make sure no one comes back here. Rose wants to stay as well, but Zack renders her unconscious and carries her along; he has lost too many people. They make their way to the rocket past the bodies of the Ood, which are beginning to stir, their telepathic field reasserting itself.

Down below, the Doctor awakens. The faceplate of his helmet is smashed, but he discovers that he can still breathe; an air cushion must have supported his fall. Rose regains consciousness just as the rocket begins to launch. Despite her protests, and even when she threatens Zack with his bolt gun, Zack tells her that it is too late to turn back. Toby seems unusually amused that they have escaped, and when Rose begins to question the relative ease with which they managed to escape the planet, given the various ways the Beast could have killed them, he reprimands her questions with uncharacteristic viciousness.

The Doctor finds ancient drawings on the walls depicting the story of a battle against the Beast, his defeat and subsequent imprisonment. The drawings also depict two double-handed jars, which are standing on separate pedestals some distance apart in front of him. He touches them and they light up, illuminating a section of the cave. The Doctor comes face to face with a gigantic demon chained to the cavern wall, complete with caprine head and humanoid body.

The Beast who previously communicated with the Doctor was intelligent and vocal, but the creature now towering before him appears to be little more than animalistic in nature. The Doctor deduces that what he is seeing is only the physical form — the mind, the idea of the Devil, has departed. The Doctor also realises, piecing it together from various clues, that the planet was the perfect prison: if the Beast had ever freed itself, the gravity field keeping the planet balanced would collapse, and the planet would fall into the black hole. The air was not provided by the Beast, but his jailers, so the Doctor could stop his escape by destroying the prison and thus the planet.

However, the Beast had prepared for this. The loss of the gravity field would also mean the rocket would fall into the black hole, sacrificing Rose. However, the Doctor tells the Beast's body that the Beast's plan implies that Rose is a victim. The Doctor adds that he has seen a lot of the universe, and various beings calling themselves gods, but out of all that, if there is one thing he believes in, it is her. With that, he smashes the jars, causing the gravity field to collapse. The rocket shakes, turns and begins to be dragged into the black hole along with the planet.

The body of the Beast writhes, flames bursting from its skin. On the rocket, the runes appear across Toby's skin as the Beast takes full possession of him. He breathes fire and angrily defies death, ranting that he can never be destroyed. Rose grabs Zack's bolt gun and aims it at the cockpit's front window. Saying "Go to Hell," she fires, shooting out the glass. As the air rushes outward, she unbuckles Toby, who is immediately sucked into space towards the black hole. Zack raises the emergency shield, but they are still falling towards the black hole. In the base, as the planet now hurtles towards the black hole, the Ood, now free from the Beast's control, huddle together nervously. Near the Pit, Ida slowly falls to the ground, the last of her oxygen exhausted.

As he stumbles away from the Beast's burning body, the Doctor finds the TARDIS in the collapsing cavern. The rocket crew watch the planet vanish, and brace themselves for death. Suddenly, everything becomes still, and to Zack's amazement, the rocket turns and heads away from the black hole. To Rose's delight, the Doctor's voice comes over the speakers, telling them that the TARDIS is towing them away. The Doctor was also able to pick up Ida — who will be fine aside from a little oxygen starvation — but unfortunately had no time to save the Ood.

The Doctor and Rose are joyfully reunited in the TARDIS once the rocket reaches clear space. Back on the rocket, Rose asks the Doctor what the Beast really was, and the Doctor replies that whatever he was, they beat it, which for him is enough. He assures Rose that when the Beast said she would die in battle, he lied. Before the TARDIS dematerialises, Ida asks who they are, and the Doctor tells her, "The stuff of legend."

Heading back to Earth, Zack dictates the final report of Sanctuary Base 6, recording the names of those who died with honours, beginning with Toby and continuing with every Ood.



to be added


  • As the Doctor abseils into the Pit, he lists some planets and races whose mythologies have horned demons, such as Draconia and Dæmos. He also makes reference to the Kaled god of war.
  • The TARDIS appears to be using its tractor beam to tow the spaceship.
  • The Beast states that Rose was going to die in battle. While this did not occur literally, the Doctor does state that following the Battle of Canary Wharf, she was listed among the dead.
  • The Doctor states that nothing could have existed before time, when the Beast claims this to be true for him. It's possible that this is a reference to the Pre-Universe.
  • Zack identifies the expedition as representing the Torchwood Archive.
  • Other religions the Doctor mentions is Christianity, New Judaism, Pash Pash, San Klah, the Arkiphets, Orkology and the Church of the Tin Vagabond.
  • Abaddon, a very similar-looking (and similarly large) demonic creature, is seen in TW:End of Days, identified as "son of the great Beast, cast out before time, chained in rock..." He is, as the quote suggests, the Beast's son.
  • The Beast, when possesing an Ood, mentions "taking up war against God" when he escapes, hinting that there may actually be a true God behind the mystreries of the Doctor Who universe.

Story Notes

  • Coincidentally, this episode was shown in the week of 6/6/06, hence it followed a wave of Devil-related stories in the media.
  • During the Tardisode for this episode, the letters "SB6" (presumably standing for Sanctuary Base 6) are seen on a display changing into the numbers "666".
  • The closing scene in which the Doctor tells Rose that they're "the stuff of legend" was the final scene Billie Piper shot as a regular cast member on the series; her departure episode Doomsday had been filmed months earlier.
  • According to DWM Issue 401, when the production team couldn't figure out what would be at the bottom of the Pit, they considered using Davros.
  • Except for footage from The Impossible Planet and Love & Monsters, the Doctor is not seen in his regular costume at all.


  • 5.5 million


to be added

Filming Locations

to be added

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • How could the TARDIS be in the Beast's prison? It first fell in DW: The Impossible Planet into a crevasse, but how could the TARDIS gone down the seal? The beast has been shown to be able to telepathiclly link to living things and take control of them, the TARDIS being a living thing, therefore it is likely the Beast took control of the TARDIS and placed it in captivity. Otherwise could have been a lucky fall. As shown in the Visual Dictionary, the crevasse leads directly to the Beast's pit.
  • When Rose shot the window, wouldn't the air have been sucked out? (The air was being sucked out, however they closed the emergency shutter before it all was.)
  • How could Zack still speak with the window open into open Space? As Zack was speaking, the air was still rushing into space. His voice could still be heard through the remaining air.
  • Why don't the Ood register as proper lifeforms? The humans see the Ood as pure slaves. The machines of the 42nd Century don't register Ood as proper conscious life forms because they are not classed as "proper lifeforms" in the human society
  • If the Beast was imprisoned before the universe, and assuming that he was always imprisoned in Krop Tor, then how did Krop Tor and the black hole survive the Big Bang? How could they be carried over from one universe to another? The same could be asked of the Beast himself. The Ancient Lights survived the Big Bang and as an extremely powerful entity the devil (even more so than the Ancient Lights) was able to survive as well and have the ability to hold surrounding objects. Due to the technology holding the planet being unseen and incomprehensible, it is likely that the Disciples of Light created a way of keeping the black hole static, with the planet around it."
  • Why didn't the Disciples of the Light just kill the Beast when they had the chance? Trapping the Beast may have been all they could do with their powers/technology, possibly keeping him in this universe due to the possibility of the black hole not destroying him. It could also be that they wanted the Beast to remain imprisoned for eternity as punishment.
  • Why doesn't the Beast try to escape out of Toby and into a new host when Rose shoots out the window? The scene where Toby is sucked into the black hole is heavily slowed down. The Beast wouldn't have had time to make its escape - it would have been dead or too far away to move within seconds.
  • The Doctor claims that he could not save the Ood as he only had time for one trip. But he has a time machine. How could he not have enough time? ( DW: The Parting of the Ways and DW: The Girl in the Fireplace suggested that the Doctor cannot use the TARDIS to time travel if he becomes "part of events". This is because he would be in the same place at the same time in twice or more circumtances, and the episode Father's Day shows the extreme danger of attempting it.)
  • If the Time Lords invented black holes, then how could the Disciples of Light have imprisoned the Beast in Krop Tor orbiting the black hole before the universe was created? (It is likely that naturally black holes existed before the Time Lords and the Disciples of Light used one of those. The Doctor was simply saying that the Time Lords were the first to create artificial black holes.)
  • It is clear in the Impossible Planet, that the Beast has total control of Toby and can work his will through him, so why is it necessary to actually open the underground seal at the end of that episode if his mind had already reached beyond it? Though he is able control minds he cannot actually leave the confines of his body until the seal is open and the key to achieving that lies in the intonement of the words which only Toby can translate; and indeed are the means by which the Beast is able to possess him in the first place.
  • Why bother to possess the Ood and set them on the 'Aliens'-esq rampage, as this only alerts the Doctor and the other humans to the impending danger? If the Beast's intention is merely to escape, why not simply use Toby to open the seal surreptitiously and then sneak away in the rocketship when no-one is looking and any the wiser? Creating fear is a vital ingredient in the Beast's opening of the seal. If he is after all, just an idea, perhaps he needs other people's awe/terror to 'make him real'. Either that, or as the devil, he simply enjoys killing and frightening people.
  • If Torchwood was working there, then how come none of the people knew who the Doctor was as it is revealed in DW: Army of Ghosts that Torchwood has records of the Doctor? They do not work for Torchwood, they represent the Torchwood Archive, which will use some of Torchwood's knowledge and history. Torchwood's knowledge of and interest in the Doctor also began to fade following the destruction of Torchwood 1, and Jack taking over.
  • Zachary Cross Flane confers honours to the deceased Ood, which they consider pure slaves. Why are no such honours given to the Male Guard and Female Guard? How do we know that he didnt, just because we see him confer honours to the Ood, does not mean he did not extend that same privilege to the Guards
  • Why exactly does strategy 9 require 100% power? (Is there a reason to suggest that it shouldn't?)
  • Given that the service ducts have open grills between them and the rest of the base, how can they be airless? They are airless in certain parts only.
  • The scene where Rose shoots out the window really doesn't work. Firstly, why does the rocket need a window made out of a material that can't resist a bolt gun? Surely a meteorite impact would be fatal if the material was that weak, unless the ship has energy shields. (The ship has energy shields. Any spacecraft moving at anything near relativistic speeds would have to, otherwise the tiniest speck of dust would puncture the hull, never mind the window.)'
  • Secondly, all the air would have been sucked out along with Toby, so how would Zack have been able to speak? (See the answer already given previously in this Discontinuity section.)
  • Thirdly it would surely be more effective to have the emergency shutter come down automatically rather than leaving it to a human struggling with sudden exposure to the vacuum to operate the controls. (Perhaps, but sometimes even design engineers overlook things. Regardless, power can fail, so a manual operation would have to be an option anyway.)
  • Fourthly, why didn't Rose just shoot Toby in the head? (Even if that would have worked, and even if she had thought of it, the Beast could not have been sure that the Beast wouldn't have just jumped to another person.)
  • Why does the rocket turn around when the gravity funnel collapses and again when the TARDIS grabs it? (It's a result of the interaction of the various gravity fields - the funnel's, the black hole's, the ship's, and the TARDIS)
  • Why did Zack claim that he , Danny and Rose would be the first human beings to be sucked into a black hole , if they already knew that Scooti Manista was sucked into the black hole , and as was Toby , seconds before ?



DVD Releases

Series 2 Volume 4 DVD Cover

See also

External Links

  • Official BBC Website - Episode Guide for The Satan Pit
  • Episode Commentary by Russell T Davies, Peter McKinstry, and Gareth Skelding (MP3)
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Satan Pit
  • The Whoniverse - The Discontinuity Guide to: The Satan Pit
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Satan Pit
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Satan Pit
Series 2
Mini-episode: Children in Need Special  • Christmas Special: The Christmas Invasion

New Earth  • Tooth and Claw  • School Reunion  • The Girl in the Fireplace  • Rise of the Cybermen  • The Age of Steel  • The Idiot's Lantern  • The Impossible Planet  • The Satan Pit  • Love & Monsters  • Fear Her  • Army of Ghosts  • Doomsday

Ood TV Stories
The Impossible Planet/ The Satan Pit  • Planet of the Ood  • The End of Time
Minor appearances: The Waters of Mars

This article uses material from the "The Satan Pit" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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