The Ghost Monument

"The Ghost Monument" is the second episode of the eleventh series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. It was written by showrunner and executive producer Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai, and first broadcast on BBC One on 14 October 2018.

278 – "The Ghost Monument"
Doctor Who episode
Directed byMark Tonderai
Written byChris Chibnall
Script editorFiona McAllister
Produced byNikki Wilson
Executive producer(s)
  • Chris Chibnall
  • Matt Strevens
  • Sam Hoyle
Music bySegun Akinola
SeriesSeries 11
Running time49 minutes[1]
First broadcast14 October 2018 (2018-10-14)
← Preceded by
"The Woman Who Fell to Earth"
Followed by →
List of Doctor Who episodes (2005–present)

In the episode, the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), an alien time traveller, accidentally transports her human friends Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh), Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), and Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) to a distant solar system, whereupon they become part of an interplanetary alien rally that crash lands at their final stop on the hostile planet of Desolation. Becoming involved in the race themselves, the Doctor and her friends find themselves seeking out the finish line, revealed to be the TARDIS, in order to get back to Earth.

"The Ghost Monument" is the first to air the programme's title sequence for Whittaker's tenure, which was omitted from the season's premiere, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth". The episode was viewed by 9.00 million viewers and received generally positive reviews from critics.


After arriving in deep space by mistake, the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends are rescued by Angstrom and Epzo, two humanoid pilots competing in a large intergalactic race. Reaching the dead, yet hostile planet of Desolation, slightly removed from its gravity field, the group and pilots meet with the race's organiser Ilin, using a long-distance hologram. Both pilots learn that the race's final event involves reaching an object referred to as the Ghost Monument for extraction before the planet completes a single rotation. A curious Doctor learns from Ilin's data that it is the TARDIS, stuck in mid-phasing due to the damage it suffered. Joining the pilots in their race, the Doctor promises to get her new friends home once they have reached the finish line.

The group and the pilots locate and repair a solar-powered boat, using it to reach the ruins of a former civilisation that is now inhabited by sniper robots. The Doctor uses the remains of one robot to temporarily disable the others with an electromagnetic pulse, locating a series of tunnels the group can use as a shortcut to the finish line. During this time, the Doctor learns that Angstrom seeks the cash prize to save her family from ethnic cleansing by the Stenza, while Epzo is out for himself due to his upbringing to distrust others. Uncovering Desolation's history in the tunnels, the group learn that the residents died from creating weapons of mass destruction for the Stenza, with the dead cleared up by cloth-like creatures called the Remnants. Trapped by a group of Remnants when forced to a gas-ridden area on the surface, the Doctor destroys them with Epzo's self-lighting cigar igniting the gas.

Reaching the monument's location, the Doctor convinces the pilots to claim joint victory in Ilin's holographic tent. Ilin reluctantly agrees to this, but refuses to teleport the Doctor and her friends off the planet with the pilots. A despondent Doctor apologises to her friends for stranding them, but pauses when she hears the TARDIS emerging, using her sonic screwdriver to fully materialise it. With her ship returned, finding that it changed itself both externally and internally in her absence, the Doctor offers her friends a trip home as she promised.



Shaun Dooley was announced to be appearing in the series in July 2018,[2] while after the premiere episode, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", was broadcast, it was confirmed that Susan Lynch and Art Malik would be among a number of guest actors that would appear in the series.[3][4]


Exterior shots for the episode took place within South Africa, marking the first time that Doctor Who conducted filming within the country.[5] The choice of site by showrunner Chris Chibnall was aimed at providing the right environment for this story, though this encountered issues when filming began in January 2018.[6] One major issue faced by the cast and crew during the three weeks of exterior shooting, was a severe drought that restricted cast members to two minutes for showers. The heat at the location also led to one member, Tosin Cole, to develop heatstroke, requiring treatment.[6]

The interior scenes – including those involving Art Malik’s character Ilin – were primarily filmed back in the United Kingdom once the cast had finished in South Africa, at Cardiff’s Roath Lock Studios.[6]

Broadcast and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Rotten Tomatoes (Average Score)7.54[7]
Rotten Tomatoes (Tomatometer)93%[7]
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyB+[8]
Daily Mirror     [9]
New York Magazine     [11]
Radio Times     [12]
The A.V. ClubB−[13]
The Independent     [14]
TV Fanatic4.7/5[15]


The new opening title sequence was not included in the premiere episode, "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", but instead premiered in this episode.[16]


The episode was watched by 7.11 million viewers overnight, making it the third highest program of the week, accounting for an audience share of 33.4%.[17] The episode received a total of 9.00 million viewers and an Audience Appreciation Index score of 82.[18]

In the United States, the broadcast on BBC America had 1.12 million viewers for the night.[19]

Critical receptionEdit

"The Ghost Monument" received positive reviews from critics.[20] The episode holds an approval rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 7.54. The website's consensus reads "The return of an old friend and a new nightmare-inducing monster make 'The Ghost Monument' both a powerful step forward and fun callback to the Doctors of yesteryear."[7]


  1. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  2. ^ Fullerton, Huw (19 July 2018). "Has Doctor Who just revealed a surprise new guest star?". Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  3. ^ Fullerton, Huw (7 October 2018). "Doctor Who casts Mark Addy, Chris Noth and Julie Hesmondhalgh in mysterious new roles". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  4. ^ Graham, Alison. "Doctor Who – Series 11 – Episode 2 The Ghost Monument". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  5. ^ Daly, Helen (14 October 2018). "Doctor Who season 11 location: Chris Chibnall drops SHOCK episode 2 bombshell". Daily Express. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Where was Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument filmed?". Radio Times. 14 October 2018. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Doctor Who – Season 11, Episode 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  8. ^ "'Doctor Who' recap: A happy reunion". Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  9. ^ Jackson, Daniel (14 October 2018). "Doctor Who review: The Ghost Monument has "strong characters" but "bland" baddie". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  10. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (15 October 2018). "'Doctor Who' Delivers a 'Proper Awesome' Episode That Is Pacifist, Pro-Science, and Anti-Gun". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Doctor Who Recap: Brains Beat Bullets". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument review: "a clearly told adventure, realised with pace and panache"". Radio Times. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  13. ^ "The new era of Doctor Who is off to the intergalactic races". Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Doctor Who episode 2 review: The Ghost Monument is a dystopian rhapsody with phasers set to stunning". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 2 Review: The Ghost Monument". TV Fanatic. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  16. ^ Kelly, Stephen (8 October 2018). "13 questions (and some answers) we have about Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who debut". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  17. ^ "The Ghost Monument - Overnight Viewing Figures". Doctor Who News. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  18. ^ "The Ghost Monument - Official Ratings". Doctor Who News. 22 October 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  19. ^ "UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.14.2018". Showbuzz Daily. 16 October 2018. Archived from the original on 16 October 2018. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  20. ^ "Doctor Who News – The Ghost Monument – Press Reviews". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 16 October 2018.

External linksEdit