Doctor Who (2005– )
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The Rings of Akhaten 

Still not quite able to explain just who she is, the Doctor and Clara set off on their first adventure. He takes her to see the Rings of Akhaten and its famous pyramid. The residents of the... See full summary »


Farren Blackburn


Neil Cross




Episode complete credited cast:
Matt Smith ... The Doctor
Jenna Coleman ... Clara (as Jenna-Louise Coleman)
Michael Dixon ... Dave
Nicola Thorp ... Ellie (as Nicola Sian)
Emilia Jones ... Merry
Chris Anderson Chris Anderson ... The Chorister
Aidan Cook ... The Mummy
Feth Greenwood Feth Greenwood ... Dor'een


Still not quite able to explain just who she is, the Doctor and Clara set off on their first adventure. He takes her to see the Rings of Akhaten and its famous pyramid. The residents of the 7 planets rotating around the same sun all believe the pyramid is the source of all life in the universe. There are quite a few visitors there for the Festival of Offering and Clara and helps a young girl, Merry, to have the confidence to perform an important ceremony to sooth and keep the Old God asleep. When Merry is drawn into the pyramid the Doctor and Clara go after her. When the Old God awakens, it's no match for the Doctor...or for Clara for that matter. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

6 April 2013 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS (DTS HD MASTER AUDIO 5.1 Mix)



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When the Doctor and Clara first arrive at Akhaten he mentions that he once brought his granddaughter there. This is a reference to Susan, a companion of the First Doctor and the Doctor's granddaughter. See more »


Just after Clara (Jenna Coleman) says "somewhere awesome!", to the Doctor in the Tardis (at 5.00 to 5.10 mins), she and the Doctor rush to the controls. As the Doctor (Matt Smith) grabs a lever he can be seen pulling a section of the console out of place. See more »


Clara: I say leg it.
The Doctor: Leg it where exactly?
Clara: Dunno. Lake District?
The Doctor: Oh, the Lake District's lovely. Let's definitely go there. We can eat scones. They do great scones in the 1920s.
See more »


References Alice in Wonderland (1951) See more »


Ghost Town
( Jerry Dammers (as Dammers) )
Performed by The Specials
See more »

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User Reviews

Cross With the Doctor
6 April 2013 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Writer Neil Cross takes some time off from his great detective series LUTHER to write this, the first of two episodes for Doctor Who this year.

This being the second episode for new companion Clara Oswald -- sort of -- we leave the familiar locales of Earth to show the new companion the wonders of the universe. Of course there's a huge monster that threatens the fabulous alien world; however, just as last episode strove to take series two's THE IDIOT'S LANTERN and fill out the story, this one seems more of a gloss on that season's two-parter THE IMPOSSIBLE PLANET/Satan PIT.

This will not please some fans. Frankly, it doesn't please me particularly, since I consider those stories pretty weak. While these re-dos are stronger than the originals, there's enough annoyance lingering to make me wish they had tackled something else. Still, I understand Mr. Cross' impulse as a writer to fix a story that should have been better.

Part of the problem of writing a series like Doctor Who is that if you save the universe one week and a Dulwich curry shop the next, there's a feeling of anticlimax. My favorite writer from the original series, Robert Holmes, enjoyed the small stories and redeemed them by good humor and clever wordplay. The new series is chock full of jokes, so that reset is more problematic. Add in the issues in learning to write for the actor of the new companion and we are left with the season arc to provide some scaling.

So what do we have here? There's always going to be a threat that the Doctor must save something from. That's a basic thesis of the show. It's done decently here, better than the original, since what the monster this week feeds on is actually stories; Mr. Cross' meta-fictional statement is that the untold stories are far more numerous than the stories actually told; anyone who has tried to write a story as more than a series of standard plot points will recognize that. It's interesting, if not entirely satisfying.

We also get to see more of the new companion and see how the writers, directors and cinematographers use Ms. Coleman to advantage. She shows gumption and looks very cute peering out from around a corner, which, I don't doubt, will be used later in the series. Already I like her better than the frequently strident Amy Pond.

I have commented in earlier reviews that it's hard to be absolutely original in a fifty-year-old series. Changes have to be accretive rather than ground-breaking since the series must draw in new fans without upsetting old fans who get upset because something in this episode contradicts something that was broadcast almost half a century ago. All these factors make a straitjacket for the show's staff to work in. The result here is good, if not great.

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