SNEAK PEEK – Doctor Who “The Devil’s Chord”

    We’re heading for a double bill of Doctor Who! We will have two episodes of our favourite time travel show drop on the same day for the first time. Doctor Who “The Devil’s Chord” follows “Space Babies”. It’s a very exciting time, and these episodes couldn’t be any more different from one another. While the first is about a baby farm in space, here we’re going back to the 1960s with the Beatles and dangerous musical villain to boot. Quite the series of adventures for the new Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and his companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson).

    This second episode of the season is again written by showrunner Russell T Davies, and directed by Ben Chessell. Today we’re looking through all the preview pictures, trailer clips, and a spot of speculation as well. It’s safe to say a spoiler warning is in effect from here on out. Let’s get going with the synopsis below:

    Jinkx Monsoon in Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (Via BBC Press Office)

    Preview Pictures

    As always, a couple of promotional pictures have been released ahead of the episode coming out. A lot of these emphasise the 1960s setting of the episode, showing off the Doctor and Ruby’s new outfits we’ve seen in plenty of promotional materials. We can see them replicating the iconic cover photo for the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ album. Speaking of the Beatles, we can see them playing something in the recording studio. Knowing the production couldn’t afford the rights to the Beatles’ music, I do wonder what it is they’re playing.

    There’s also a shot of the Doctor alone with a guitar in that same recording studio. It looks like there’s going to be a couple of musical numbers through Doctor Who “The Devil’s Chord”. Given how worried he looks, it seems the Doctor might be about to become a part of musical history. We can also see the Doctor having lunch with one of the Beatles, so something’s clearly not right here. There’s also a piano on a roof, which is a little strange as well. Perhaps these are the effects of the Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) interfering with history like the synopsis says?

    Speaking of the Maestro, we do have a solid glimpse of the Queen of the hour! It looks like she’s going for a very campy villain performance, in a similar vein to the Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) in “The Giggle”. We can see her sporting a couple of different outfits, including one adorned with a piano key pattern, a gorgeous blue velvet coat, and a purple dress. Interesting, that final one is in a black void, where the Doctor and Ruby can be seen looking on in horror in another shot. I’m really excited to see what she has in store for us!

    Trailer Clips

    Unlike “Space Babies”, which seems to have been the focus of a lot of marketing, this episode hasn’t had a massive burst of promotional clips. However, the day before the episode is due to drop, the BBC released a clip which gives us a solid glimpse of Jinkx Monsoon in action as Maestro. The clip is a brief interaction between her and aspiring composer Timothy Drake (Jeremy Limb) as she introduces herself. She’s wearing a coat adorned with piano keys and sporting a short, frizzy orange haircut.

    Maestro menacingly describes herself as “music” and then showers the fictional Timothy Drake composer with compliments. Perhaps her plan here involves replacing the Beatles with the work of Timothy Drake. Quite what that would accomplish is unknown, although she alludes to a “lost chord” he found. Maybe there’s a quality to this chord that has the power to destroy the world. It looks like we’re in for quite the musical showdown this weekend!

    As her monologue continues, the music towards the end of the clip gets really rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a real switch away from Gold’s more orchestral work on the series. If that sort of thing continues through the rest of the episode, we are in for a lot of fun. Monsoon’s certainly bringing everything to the table, creating a very campy and menacing villain. It will be a riot when she finally meets the Doctor later in the episode. You can check out the clip below!

    YouTube player

    Doctor Who “The Devil’s Chord” Theory Time

    As I mentioned earlier, we can see Maestro atop a white piano in a black void. She’s powerful enough to create her dimensional space, similar to the puppet show in “The Giggle”. This immediately makes me think she’s one of the Toymaker’s legions mentioned at the end of that episode. It’d be a lovely way to push that story arc forward, which, with so many little threads opened up by the recent specials, would be a nice bit of closure.

    I’m also reminded of a shot in the first trailer of the Doctor and Ruby looking out at a destroyed London. Whatever meddling the Maestro has planned, it can potentially destroy the world. While they are one of my favourite bands, I don’t think the Beatles are that integral to history. There’s something larger going on. The TARDIS taking the team into the future, showing them the destruction if the villain wins, is something that the show’s done before. A notable example of this would be “Pyramids of Mars”, and who doesn’t love a subtle 1970s Doctor Who callback?

    As for story arc stuff and guest stars, it’s important to note that “Space Babies” isn’t out yet. Writing this, I have no idea what the series arc is. It is noteworthy that recurring guest star, Susan Twist, is set to appear as a Tea Lady. After her appearances in “Wild Blue Yonder” and “The Church on Ruby Road”, many fans are excited to see who she really is. While Doctor Who “The Devil’s Chord” probably won’t hold the answer, it may give us another piece of the puzzle. There’s no doubt she’s crucial to something in this season.

    Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday and Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in a promo shoot for Doctor Who: The Devil’s Chord (via BBC Studios)


    Doctor Who “The Devil’s Chord” looks to be a very original episode of the series. I hope that Jinkx Monsoon’s take on the Maestro elevates the episode. What little clips we’ve seen are very promising, so I’m sure that we’re in for a treat in that department. I’m also a pretty big fan of the Beatles and musicals, so this episode is right up my alley. I can’t wait to see what the show does with this, there’s the potential for this to be an absolute riot.

    With so few episodes in this season, there’s not much time to get that series arc rolling. I really hope that by this point in the season that it presents itself, and maybe even has a physical presence. Knowing he wrote most of the season, I hope Russell T Davies is able to tell an exciting story efficiently. Only time will tell, of course. On another note, the double premiere is also an interesting choice, and it would be a shame if one of these two episodes really overshadows the other. Although with how different these episodes are, that’s a hard balancing act to pull off.

    Doctor Who kicked off it’s new era on Christmas Day 2023 with “The Church on Ruby Road”. The episode saw the debut of both Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson as the Doctor and Ruby Sunday. Doctor Who premieres 00:00 on Saturday, May 11th, on BBC iPlayer with a double episode bill. The episodes will stream internationally on Disney+, Doctor Who‘s exclusive home outside the UK and Ireland, giving audiences a simultaneous global launch. Episodes will also air on BBC One each week in a primetime slot on Saturday evening.

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