The Doctor (Matt Smith) - Doctor Who - The Pandorica Opens (c) BBC
The Doctor (Matt Smith) – Doctor Who – The Pandorica Opens (c) BBC

The Pandorica Opens

First Broadcast June 19th, 2010 @ 6.40pm (7.58m viewers)

This episode opens with one of the more entertaining and complex pre-title sequences of the modern show, featuring Van Gogh, Churchill, River Song, Liz 10 and introducing Dorium Maldovaar, all involved in an attempt to show the Doctor a simple painting. Titled ‘The Pandorica Opens’ the painting would adorn posters, postcards, key rings and t-shirts, to name but a few, and became one of the most iconic images associated with the Eleventh Doctor.

The Pandorica Opens by Van Gough - Doctor Who (c) BBC
The Pandorica Opens by Van Gough – Doctor Who (c) BBC

In a brilliant touch of writing the mythical Stonehenge monument would prove to mark where the Pandorica was buried, built to contain the most feared thing in the universe. Deep beneath the ground, in the so-called ‘Underhenge’, is the large cube shaped object which has suddenly begun unlocking from the inside. On first viewing the chills come from what could potentially be inside, described as “a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior. A nameless terrible thing soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos”. Of course, a being of such malevolence and power would appeal to every alien race in the universe, cue a role call of aliens all of whom hate the Doctor. Somehow the Time Lord must defend the Pandorica against insurmountable odds, triggering one of the great speeches in Doctor Who’s history.

Memorable Moment

Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica takes the Universe! But bad news everyone, ’cause guess who! Ha! Except, you lot, you’re all whizzing about, it’s really very distracting. Could you all just stay still a minute because I AM TALKING! Now, the question for the hour is, “Who’s got the Pandorica?” Answer: I do. Next question: “Who’s coming to take it from me?” Come on, look at me! No plan, no backup, no weapons worth a damn, oh, and something else I don’t have anything to lose! So, if you’re sitting up there in your silly little spaceships with all your silly little guns, and you’ve got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who’s standing in your way! Remember every black day I ever stopped you, and then, AND THEN, do the smart thing! Let somebody else try first.

The Last Centurion (Arthur Darvill) - Doctor Who (c) BBC
The Last Centurion (Arthur Darvill) – Doctor Who (c) BBC

Every incarnation of the Doctor could deliver this speech and do it in their own way, such as Sylvester McCoy who once performed the speech at a convention. Matt Smith delivers it perfectly, cementing his place amongst the other portrayals of the Time Lord and confirming what viewers had known for the previous twelve weeks, he was perfect casting.

The episode really rips through at a phenomenal pace and includes a superb sequence of a battered Cyberman, picking up its own head after it had amusingly fallen foul of a Celt whilst guarding the Pandorica. Even more, surprisingly Rory turns out to not be dead! And stranger still Rory is a Roman Centurion. But not just any Roman Centurion.

Memorable Moment 2 (Spoiler Warning)

The Alliance - Doctor Who - The Pandorica Opens (c) BBC
The Alliance – Doctor Who – The Pandorica Opens (c) BBC

The final revelation that the Romans, including Rory, are in fact Autons is a huge surprise and just the start as viewers then learn that all the alien spaceships surrounding planet Earth are not in conflict for what is in the Pandorica at all. The most feared being in all the cosmos which the myths spoke of is the Doctor himself! An alliance has been formed to imprison the Doctor in the Pandorica to save the universe. It is wonderful to see all these monsters in one place at the same time although it would’ve been nice to have a Draconian or Zygon in the background as they had been mentioned already in the episode. And finally to cap it all off with the Doctor sealed in the Pandorica, Rory shoots Amy, River is trapped in the TARDIS, explosions echo throughout the universe and silence falls.

Now get out of that one! Sheer brilliance.


The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
River Song – Alex Kingston
Vincent – Tony Curran
Bracewell – Bill Paterson
Winston Churchill – Ian McNeice
Madame Vernet – Chrissie Cotterill
Doctor Gachet – Howard Lee
Guard – Joe Jacobs
Dorium – Simon Fisher-Becker
Claudio – Marcus O’Donovan
Commander – Clive Wood
Commander Stark – Christopher Ryan
Marcellus – David Fynn
Dalek – Barnaby Edwards
Cyberleader – Ruari Mears


Writer Steven Moffat
Producer Peter Bennett
Director Toby Haynes


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