Doctor Who Logo 'The Curse of
the Black Spot'

(Story Code 6.9)

by Steve Thompson
The Doctor, Rory and Amy

“There’s a stroppy homicidal mermaid trying to kill all!” – The Doctor

In the 17th-century, aboard a becalmed ship sailing under the infamous Jolly Roger flag, Captain Henry Avery and his gang of pirates are in a state of terror. Hearing how one of his crewmen, McGrath, has cut his hand – a hand that is now marked with a mysterious black spot – the captain declares the man to be doomed. As the ethereal sound of a woman singing suddenly begins, the cursed McGrath pulls out his pistol and runs out on deck. But his fellow crewmen remain behind in the captain’s cabin, and as Avery locks the door and ties a silver medallion around the handles, the ill-fated pirate’s screams ring out. Avery and his men emerge on deck to investigate, but McGrath has vanished, just like the rest of the crew. Hearing a banging coming from the hold, the scared pirates lift a hatch and find three unexpected guests: the Doctor, Amy and Rory… The Doctor attempts to explain how his own vessel came to help a fellow ship in distress, but Avery is having none of it: believing the trio to be stowaways, he decides to put Amy to work below decks, while the Doctor and Rory are lined up to walk the plank. But as the Time Lord steps out towards a watery death, the ever-resourceful Amy dons some pirate gear, grabs a cutlass and comes to her friend’s rescue; unfortunately for Amy, even though the pirates seem afraid of being cut they still put up a fight, and after some swashbuckling action, they overpower her. During the swordfight Amy cuts one of the pirates, Dancer, and he now has a black spot on his hand; however, he isn’t the only casualty: in the confusion Rory cut his hand when Amy dropped her sword, and now his hand is also marked with the ominous spot. When the eerie sound of singing is heard Captain Avery explains to the Doctor, Amy and Rory that they are under siege from a Sea Siren, whose song enchants men and turns them into drunken fools – which is exactly how the stricken Dancer and Rory are now behaving. As everyone looks overboard, a green glow appears in the waters below, heralding the emergence of a beautiful girl in a shimmering gown from the depths. As the creature floats across to the ship, Dancer is drawn towards her – and is atomised as soon as he touches her outstretched hand. Amy intervenes when the Siren comes for Rory, but the green-tinged creature transforms into a crimson horror and blasts her out of the way. The Doctor urges everyone below decks to escape the Siren; but the room they hide in is full of leech-infested bilge-water: one pirate is bitten, and his injury causes the Siren to materialise before him and claim another victim. Deducing that the Siren is using water as a portal, the Doctor takes the captain’s advice to head to the armoury, the only dry place aboard the ship. Reaching the safety of the armoury the gang hear coughing: to Avery’s dismay he discovers that his son, Toby, has stowed away on board the ship. It seems that following the death of his mother, Toby has come to join his father’s crew; but Toby is ill: he has typhoid fever, and he too has the black spot on his hand. When the Siren attempts to reach her prey via a water barrel, the Doctor quickly puts the lid on her; then, leaving Rory, Amy, Toby and the remaining pirates in the armoury, the Time Lord leads Avery back to the TARDIS. The captain is astonished at the time-space vessel’s interior, but quickly manages to work out the basic principles of piloting the ship. Meanwhile, the pirates decide to abandon their captain, choosing to take his gold and escape; furious at their treachery, Toby pulls a cutlass on them, cutting the Boatswain in the process. Seeing the black spot appear on his doomed fellow’s hand, the other pirate, Mulligan, panics and flees. Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is dismayed to find his ship is becalmed too – until it suddenly goes wildly out of control, its console wracked with explosions. Forced to abandon ship, the Doctor and Avery rush outside as the TARDIS runs off on its own, dematerialising in a green cloud. Just then Mulligan rushes past firing his gun at his captain. As the Doctor and Avery give chase the frightened pirate hides inside a nearby storeroom, only to burn his hand while making a flame to see by. After Mulligan is attacked by the Siren, the Doctor enters the now-empty room and sees the polished jewels inlaid in a crown, part of Avery’s stolen booty; the Doctor suddenly realises that he was wrong: the Siren is actually using reflective surfaces such as still water to transport herself. Recalling the silver pendant he gave Toby for protection, the captain rushes back to his son with the Doctor hot on his heels; the duo arrive just in time: Toby has polished the pendant, and the Doctor only just manages to dull it with his breath before the Siren can appear. Avery is greatly displeased when the Doctor begins smashing all glass and mirrors aboard the ship, and then proceeds to cast all the stolen treasure overboard: the captain knows that to ensure his and Toby’s survival, he will have to give up all the gold and jewels he has pillaged. Their task completed, the Doctor, Amy, Rory and Avery return to the armoury to wait for the wind to return, so that the ship can finally leave the accursed waters. Sometime later, as the Doctor and Avery talk on deck, Amy awakes from her slumber to see the eye-patch lady again, addressing her from a hatch in the wooden hull – which promptly vanishes. A violent storm breaks out, and as the stricken vessel is lashed by with heavy rain and massive waves, Avery orders everyone to help bring the ship under control; as Amy and Rory help with the sails, and the Doctor steers the ship’s wheel, Toby fetches the compass – only to discover that his father has hidden the golden crown under the canvas cover. The Siren instantly appears, having used the reflective surface of the crown to reach the ship’s deck; the Doctor throws the crown overboard, but he is too late: Toby has been entranced by the Siren’s song, and obliterated by the beautiful creature’s deadly touch. After the Siren vanishes as quickly as she appeared, one of the sails breaks loose, knocking Rory overboard and into the turbulent waters. Amy rushes to help, but the Doctor stops her; instead he opens a water barrel, allowing the Siren to reappear and rush after Rory. After hastily explaining that the Siren may not be a ravenous hunter after all, and that her victims may not be dead, the Doctor convinces Amy and Avery to let him prick their fingers: black spots appear on their hands, and then the Siren claims them...… Coming to, the Doctor, Amy and Avery find themselves aboard an alien space ship, a distress signal sounding out around them. As the trio look out an observation window onto the deck of Avery’s ship, the Doctor explains that the alien vessel is trapped in a temporal rift that places it in the same places as the Captain’s; it is accessible via reflections, which act as gateways between the vessels. Exploring the stricken ship the trio find two alien corpses: the ill-fated crew, who died from exposure to human bacteria. After putting his hand in alien-sneeze the Doctor leads Amy and Avery into a medical-bay, where they find all the ‘murdered’ pirates, as well as Toby and Rory, lying in stasis; also here is the TARDIS, safe and sound. Noting that the black spot is actually a tissue sample, the Doctor is interrupted by the arrival of the Siren: however, this time the creature does not attack, she just calms Rory back to sleep with her song, which acts as an anaesthetic. A sneeze from the Doctor attracts the Siren’s attention: she transforms into her red-faced demonic persona and destroys the Time Lord’s hanky. The Doctor tells Amy and the captain that the Siren is merely a virtual doctor who has been looking after her patients, whom she has teleported across to the ship – however, the Siren only knows how to keep people alive, not how to actually cure them. By showing the Siren her wedding ring Amy convinces the automaton to let her release Rory; but when Amy’s husband is unhooked from the medical equipment he immediately begins drowning. After his connection to the alien machinery to restored, Rory is able to instruct his wife how to resuscitate him. The Doctor tells Avery that he must send the Siren’s ship into space, as it is too dangerous to leave on Earth; when the Time Lord then warns the captain that Toby will die soon after being released, Avery decides to remain with his son. Bidding goodbye, the Doctor and Amy release Rory and rush him into the TARDIS as he begins to drown. Inside, Amy tries to resuscitate her husband: after much effort all seems lost, but at the last minute Rory recovers, much to his friends’ relief. Some time later, in space, Captain Avery, his son and his crewmen set course on their travels aboard their new vessel… Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor happily sends Amy and Rory off to bed. But despite their jovial manner, both sets of friends are keeping secrets: Amy and Rory are withholding the Doctor’s future death, while the Time Lord is still worried over Amy’s pregnancy, which appears to be both positive and negative…

Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), Hugh Bonneville (Captain Henry Avery), Oscar Lloyd (Toby Avery), Lee Ross (The Boatswain), Michael Begley (Mulligan), Tony Lucken (De Florres), Chris Jarman (Dancer), Carl McCrystal (McGrath), Lily Cole (The Siren), Frances Barber (Eye Patch Lady)*
*(Uncredited)

Directed by Jeremy Webb
Produced by Marcus Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis
A BBC Wales production


TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
7th May 2011 @ 6.15 pm

Notes:
*Featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory

*'Siren' and 'The Siren'

*This episode was originally scheduled as episode 9, but was later rescheduled to episode 3

*A specially-made prelude to this story was made available on the BBC's official 'Doctor Who' website, posted at 6.45 pm on 30th April. In this two-minute scene written by Steven Moffatt, the captain of the good ship Fancy records an entry in his journal, dated April 1st, 1869: the vessel has been stranded in still waters for eight days, under siege from an evil presence lurking in the waters, and the captain fears that he and his crew will soon perish…