A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Story 219


Series 6 – Episode 8

“Shut up, Hitler!” – Rory

First UK transmission
Saturday 27 August 2011

Amy and Rory lure the Doctor back to Leadworth by creating a crop circle. Their childhood friend Mels pulls out a gun and insists they go back in time and kill Hitler. They arrive in Berlin 1938 where a Teselecta, a shape-shifting robot manned by a miniaturised crew, is already on the scene with the same intention. In the fray, Hitler shoots Mels, Rory knocks out Hitler, and Mels regenerates into River Song. The Doctor soon learns that she’s been trained by the Silence to kill him. Amy uses the Teselecta to show River the woman she’ll become. Persuaded of the Time Lord’s goodness, she sacrifices her remaining regenerations to save his life.

More like this

March to April 2011 at Temple of Peace, Cardiff; Brangwyn Hall, Swansea; Cyfartha Castle High School, Merthyr Tydfil; Hensol Castle; Upper Boat Studios. July 2011 at Penmark Place near Barry.

The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill
River Song – Alex Kingston
Mels – Nina Toussaint-White
Amelia Pond – Caitlin Blackwood
Young Mels – Maya Glace-Green
Young Rory Williams – Ezekiel Wigglesworth
Zimmerman – Philip Rham
Carter – Richard Dillane
Anita – Amy Cudden
Jim – Davood Ghadami
Harriet – Ella Kenion
Adolf Hitler – Albert Welling
German officer – Mark Killeen
Professor Candy – Paul Bentley
Nurse – Eva Alexander
Female teacher – Tor Clark

Writer – Steven Moffat
Director – Richard Senior
Producer – Marcus Wilson
Designer – Michael Pickwoad
Music – Murray Gold
Executive producers – Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger, Beth Willis

RT review by Patrick Mulkern
“Don’t tell them that Mels is River,” Steven Moffat begged fans and press at the BFI’s preview screening in August 2011. “You all loved it, so don’t give that away. It spoils the whole thing. In fact, if you could bear not to mention her name...”

Well, of course, RT duly complied. We even omitted Mels (Nina Toussaint-White) and Young Mels (Maya Glace-Green) from our cast list so that eagle-eyed readers wouldn’t have time to make the connections.

Although I cottoned on early to this season’s other big twists (Amy being a duplicate, River Song being her baby), I must admit the Melody = Mels = River development took me completely by surprise. As she says herself: “Penny in the air..? Penny drops.” Melody/Mels? Duhh! How slow was I!

So to recap: in this sixth series “River” has been played by six people: twins Madison and Harrison Mortimer as baby Melody; Sydney Wade as the girl in the spacesuit; the two aforementioned actresses as Mels; and, of course, the inestimable Alex Kingston…

The regenerated spacesuit girl spends years seeking her parents Amy and Rory, then grows up alongside them as their best mate. They get Mels out of all sorts of jams – thus, unwittingly, bringing up their own daughter. She, in turn, brings them together as an item…

Hijacking the Tardis in 2011, Mels takes another pop at the Doctor’s life (as programmed by the Silence) but is shot by Hitler in 1938. As she regenerates again, the Doctor explains to Amy, “You named your daughter… after your daughter.” A familiar middle-aged man-eater surfaces (“I’m all sort of mature. Hello, Benjamin!”) and, paradoxically, she learns of both her name, River Song, and catchphrase “Spoilers” from the Doctor…

Eventually seeing the good in the Time Lord, she surrenders her remaining regenerations to save his life. He leaves her at the “greatest hospital in the universe” with a blue diary that will chart all their future encounters. Then, at the Luna University in 5123, River asks to study archaeology because she’s “looking for a good man”…

Phew! That’s some biographical info-dump from Moffat – as he promised last year – yet seamlessly woven into 48 minutes of hugely entertaining telly. Did you spot any holes? I did wonder what Melody was doing between regenerating in New York 1969 and joining Amy’s childhood some two decades later. Did she remain a child for a very long time?

The episode moves too fast for such quibbles to stick, and it is hilarious – River running riot through Nazi Berlin (“Well, I was on my way to this gay gypsy bar mitzvah for the disabled…”). However, for my money, Arthur Darvill gets the best lines as Rory: “Shut up, Hitler!” “Right, I’m putting Hitler in the cupboard” and “OK, I’m trapped inside a giant robot replica of my wife. I’m really trying not to see this as a metaphor.”

Did anyone else spot Matt Smith placing his hands carefully over his groin after the Doctor’s clinch with River? Is this our first hint in 48 years that Time Lords do actually have something going on down there?


And what of the eponymous, briefly glimpsed Führer? Asked at the preview how long Adolf remained in that cupboard, Moffat deadpanned: “There’s historical evidence to suggest that he emerged – smelling of wee.”