Template:Infobox NewTV In The Beginning was the first episode in the eighth season of Doctor Who, featuring the first appearance of the Twelfth Doctor and his companion Billy O'Hara. It marked Tom Harper's first full story.


"New face, new times! I need some new clothes too!" - The Doctor

The Doctor, fresh from regeneration, crash lands in Dublin after receiving a distress signal. There he meets unemployed Billy while tracking a Charth scout, soon realizing that the Charth fleet hangs invisible over Earth. With the help of Billy he foils the Charth invasion plan, and offers Billy to accompany him in the TARDIS.


The TARDIS, severely damaged, flies toward the Earth as a recently regenerated Doctor tries to regain control. Unable to stop the TARDIS from crashing, he helplessly watches as it crash lands in Dublin, and is thrown from the console.

He stands up, dusting himself off and rubbing his head as the TARDIS lands violently; checking the console. Approximating his location, he notices that he has regenerated and promptly goes to the TARDIS wardrobe to change his outfit. After he is satisfied he leaves the TARDIS and steps out into a street. He removes his sonic screwdriver, realising it is slightly damaged, and fiddles with it to try and get it to work. As he is doing this, a young man emerges from one of the nearby houses with rubbish bags and curiously watches the Doctor.

He approaches him after disposing of the rubbish bags and asks him if he needs any help, to which the Doctor replies that he cannot get a connection for the sonic. The man mistakes it for some sort of mobile device, asking if it is related to the blue police box. Introducing himself as Billy, he invites the Doctor inside his house until he can fix his sonic.

Offering him a cup of coffee, the Doctor declines as Billy makes some for himself, continuing to fiddle with his sonic. Confused as to why it is not working, he accepts a jammy dodger from Billy, but spits it out after one bite, realising his taste in food has changed with his regeneration. He leaves Billy confused in his kitchen as he runs outside, aiming the sonic into the sky in an attempt to get it to work.

He then runs into the TARDIS, leaving the door open and working the console. Billy follows him, and drops his coffee mug on the TARDIS floor when he realises that it is bigger on the inside than the outside. The Doctor quickly explains the TARDIS as he fiddles with the console, clapping his hands together when he realises why the sonic screwdriver is not working.

The TARDIS has detected an unknown vessel in Earth's atmosphere, blocking any satellites or technology from detecting or affecting it. Unsure of what the origin of the vessel is, the Doctor scans his records, unable to find a match. Billy asks if he should search online, but the Doctor tells him that whatever is in the atmosphere it won't be on the internet.

Explaining that he is not from Earth and instead from Gallifrey, Billy initially mistakes it as some distant part of Ireland, but after the Doctor explains more he takes it remarkably well, much to the Doctor's surprise. He asks if he can help the Doctor, and tries to contact UNIT at the Doctor's request.

Billy hands the Doctor the phone and he tries to explain, impatiently, who he is and that he must speak to the person in charge of Ireland's UNIT branch. He finally gets through to General Andende; after mentioning both Bessie and the Brigadier, he alerts them that an unknown alien vessel in orbiting the Earth and could be a threat to the planet.

Andende tells the Doctor to go to the Dublin UNIT headquarters immediately, and the Doctor and Billy quickly rush into the TARDIS and leave. When it materialises, Billy feels dizzy and stumbles out, only to be greeted by UNIT soldiers aiming guns. The Doctor steps out behind and laments humanity's obsession with guns, waving his sonic screwdriver as proof of who he is. General Andende arrives and orders the soldiers to stand down, escorting the Doctor and Billy to the war room.

Andende apologizes for the difficulty of the Doctor locating and convincing UNIT, mentioning that they had not realised the Doctor had regenerated. He replies that it was very recent, and joyfully notes the artefacts contained by UNIT en route to the war room.

When they arrive, the UNIT employees stand and salute the Doctor at Andende's command, but he humbly dismisses them and explains to Billy that he as a long, complex association with UNIT. Andende directs him to Doctor Oliver Stonnem, UNIT Dublin's chief science officer, and the Doctor quickly explains to Stonnem and everyone else in the room the situation.

The Doctor explains that the alien vessel is camouflaging itself from human detection using an advanced device similar to the chameleon circuit of a TARDIS, allowing it to virtually blend in. Asking if UNIT have a satellite transmitter, the Doctor requests to use it and Andende agrees.

The Doctor, Billy and Stonnem are escorted by UNIT soldiers to the satellite outside, where Stonnem operates it as the Doctor amplifies it with the limited use of his sonic. When the alien vessel's camouflage device is significantly weakened, his sonic returns to its full power and amplifies the satellite enough to fully expose the ship.

The three of them get back to the war room just as the vessel is establishing a contact with UNIT Dublin. A bug-like alien appears on the screen, declaring themselves as Commander Jagrax of the Charth Empire. Andende asks one of the UNIT scientists to scan the database for any sign of the Charth, and when they find none, he asks Jagrax if he is a threat to the Earth.

The commander mockingly laughs, declaring that the human race is no threat to the Charth Empire and that the Earth will be invaded easily. The Doctor interrupts Andende and explains to Jagrax that he is a Time Lord and warns him not to threaten the Earth. Jagrax mocks the Time Lords and declares the Doctor's threat as empty.

Suddenly, the satellite picks up two other vessel in the Earth's orbit, and Jagrax confirms that three Charth vessels are preparing to attack Dublin, where the Charth will launch their invasion of the rest of the Earth. The Doctor tries to reason with Jagrax, but the connection is ended by the Charth.

Trying to formulate a plan, the Doctor is interrupted by a UNIT operative informing General Andende that the city centre of Dublin is being attacked by unknown aliens wielding energy weapons. Andende orders the UNIT soldiers to fend off the Charth strikeforce, as the Doctor and Billy return to the TARDIS.

The Doctor locks the TARDIS on to the chief Charth ship but struggles to maintain a connection as the Charth interrupt it. Managing to maintain enough of a connection to land on the ship, albeit quite roughly, the Doctor and Billy emerge from the TARDIS onto the Charth command ship.

They begin to sneak through the ship's corridors, trying to find the deck, but are intercepted by some Charth soldiers, who bring them both to the deck where Jagrax is. He orders the soldiers to remove the Doctor's sonic screwdriver from him and establishes contact with the other two ships. Colonel Vrangorz, another Charth commander, greets him and confirms that the attack on Dublin has been successful so far.

The Doctor tries determine where the Charth are from and why they are invading the Earth, but he is unable to reason with Jagrax as he prepares for the rest of the Charth force to join the attack. He mockingly laughs as his soldiers bring the TARDIS to the command deck.

Jagrax orders some of his soldiers to open the TARDIS, but it backfires and in the ensuing chaos the Doctor and Billy escape in the TARDIS. Materialising back at the UNIT headquarters, they find the place in disarray, as the Charth invasion force and UNIT soldiers fight each other.

Andende kills a Charth about to attack the Doctor and Billy, and then escorts them back to the war room, which is secure. He receives several reports that the Charth invasion force is becoming too strong for the UNIT soldiers to contain. Andende decides that several missiles located at the UNIT base are necessary to destroy the Charth ships, much to the Doctor's request that they not resort to such extreme measures.

Andende and the Doctor agree that if he cannot reason with Jagrax to retreat and leave the Earth in peace, then Andende can order the missile attack on the Charth ships. Re-establishing contact with the command ship, the Doctor offers Jagrax the ultimatum, but the commander spurns the offer and says he would rather die a warrior than a coward.

Andende orders the missiles to be deployed as the Doctor and Billy watch. The connection with the command ship is cut off as the first missile strikes it, destroying the Charth and their vessels. Andende concedes to the Doctor that the missiles were an extreme measure, but the Doctor lessens his regret by explaining most of the Charth would have escaped on evacuation pods.

The Doctor, Billy, Andende and Doctor Stonnem emerge from the war room and the Doctor comments on the amount of debris caused by the destroyed vessels, sympathising with UNIT and the mess that they will have to clean up. The remaining Charth soldiers have surrendered, and the Doctor mentions that Torchwood might require a few Charth.

Andende thanks him and Billy for their assistance in repelling the Charth invasion. The Doctor salutes him as he enters the TARDIS, and remembers he lost his sonic screwdriver. Much to his delight, the TARDIS produces a new one, which he promptly places in his jacket coat.

Returning Billy to his home, the Doctor thanks him for his assistance and then tries to leave without any further word, but Billy demands to know more about the Doctor. He tells him that he often travels with companions, but warns him that a life in the TARDIS is a dangerous one. Billy tells him that he needs some excitement in his life, and the Doctor gleefully welcomes him aboard. He approaches the TARDIS console and activates it.




This episode was written by head showrunner Steven Moffat, influenced by earlier stories The Christmas Invasion and classic story Nightmare of Eden in the creation of the Charth.

The story was unique in that it did not explain the regeneration and transition from the Eleventh to Twelfth Doctor. This was instead explained in the Doctor Who novel, The Trial of the Doctor.

Story notes

  • Several working titles were Twelve, Doctor in Dublin, and The Dublin Invasion


The episode received mostly positive reviews. Critics praised the writing, performances and humor of the episode, although some others criticised it for being too confusing and trying to do too much in the space of one episode. Both Tom Harper and Adrian O'Donnell received positive reception for their roles, and the Charth were also well received as "an original, slightly silly, Doctor Who villain".

Season Eight of Doctor Who
In The Beginning  • New Dublin  • No Tricks  • Mars and Venus  • The Frozen Earth  • Count the Shadows  • The Doctor and the Demon  • Serpent's Tongue  • Phoenixfire  • The Omens  • Into the Void  • The Infinite Realm  •

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