10 questions we have after Doctor Who series 9 opener The Magician’s Apprentice

Who was the magician's apprentice? Did the Doctor used to be a little girl? And how did Davros survive Journey's End?

1. How did Missy survive?


You remember – she was shot to bits by the Cyberman version of the Brigadier, but turned up right as rain in this week’s episode with only this explanation:

“OK, cutting to the chase; not dead, back, big surprise, never mind.”

Maybe episode two will go into a bit more detail as to how she escaped death, or maybe that is genuinely all the detail we’re getting. Still, whatever her method was it’s apparently something the Doctor recognised, considering he knew to send her his will before he died. Perhaps she used some sort of teleport system?

2. Who is the magician’s apprentice?

It’s not made explicit, but ‘the magician’s apprentice’ probably refers to Bors, the beardy dude who the Doctor challenges to an ‘axe’ fight. For beyond Bors calling the Doctor a magician in the episode, there’s also the American prequel The Doctor’s Meditation, which shows how the Doctor ended up partying in the past, and teaching the locals how to do magic tricks. You can watch it here.

As for why the episode title leads on someone so insignificant to the plot, it’s probably just a simple sleight of hand – a way to distract people away from speculating about Davros. 

3. What song was playing in The Maldovarium bar?

The Weeping Song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds


4. What songs did the Doctor play on the guitar?

Yes, as he made his entrance on the tank, the Doctor really was playing the Doctor Who theme – Moffat confirmed it himself. Later, after he spots Clara and Missy, he starts playing Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison, followed – later – by Toni Basel’s one-hit wonder Mickey.

5. How did Davros survive Journey’s End?

The last time we saw Davros, of course, was in series four finale Journey’s End, where he seemingly died in an exploding Dalek ship. But this is Doctor Who; unless you literally see the life leave a baddie’s bones, it’s probably fair to assume they’re not dead.

As for how Davros survived – who cares? Again, it’s Doctor Who, and stuff like this should just be taken with a pinch of salt.

(It was definitely a teleport, though, wasn’t it?)

6. Why are all the different Daleks there together at the same time?

Generally, the different versions of the Daleks from the show’s history don’t tend to hang out – so why are we seeing so many older models this time round? Is Davros planning something that required the older Daleks, and if so what is it? Answers on a Skaro postcard.

7. Will the Doctor kill wee Davros?

Infanticide is not really the Doctor’s scene, so probably not, no. Here’s guessing that he ends up shooting the creepy handmines instead.

8. Are Missy and Clara really dead?



(Missy has form with escaping certain-death-rays.)

(Really, no.) 

9. How did Skaro come back?

It could have been shunted into another dimension like Gallifrey. It could have been rescued from the distant past. It might be that the Skaro that was destroyed in the Time War was a fake Skaro, or that the Daleks have taken over another planet and named it Skaro. (Both are things they’ve done before. The Daleks may be murderous mutants, but they get homesick.)

The Daleks might have even rebuilt the planet from scratch, like Earth-2 in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. All we know for sure: it’s back, and it’s invisible.

10. Did the Doctor used to be a little girl?


Missy certainly hinted it – we’ve evaluated the evidence in more detail here.

See Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi LIVE at the Radio Times Festival  on Friday 25th September