Doctor Who/The Girl in the Fireplace

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The Girl in the Fireplace
Reinette, Madame du Pompadour, is held hostage by clockwork robots from the 51st Century.
Season 28, Episode 4
Airdate May 6, 2006
Writer(s) Steven Moffat
Director(s) Euros Lyn
← 28x03
School Reunion
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Rise of the Cybermen (1)
Doctor WhoSeason Twenty-Eight

The Girl in the Fireplace is the fourth episode of the twenty-eighth season of Doctor Who, and the seven hundred thirty-sixth episode overall.

The Tenth Doctor, Rose and now Mickey land on an abandoned spaceship in the 51st century. Clockwork robots from the ship have opened time windows to 18th century France where they are stalking Madame de Pompadour.

Cast: David Tennant (The Doctor), Billie Piper (Rose), Noel Clarke (Mickey), Sophia Myles (Reinette), Ben Turner (King Louis), Jessica Atkins (Young Reinette), Angel Coulby (Katherine), Gareth Wyn Griffiths (Manservant), Paul Kasey (Clockwork Man), Ellen Thomas (Clockwork Woman), Jonathan Hart (Alien Voice), Emily Joyce (Alien Voice)


Plot Overview

At Versailles during the court of Louis XV partygoers are screaming in terror. Madame de Pompadour calls for help from a broken clock on the mantle of a fireplace. Some 3000 years later the TARDIS materializes in an abandoned spaceship. While exploring the Doctor finds a fireplace with a little girl named Reinette on the other side. Investigating he finds a clockwork robot disguised as a French doll. The Doctor lures the robot and back to the spaceship and freezes it, but it teleports away before it can be interrogated. The Doctor returns through the fireplace where the girl is now a teenager. Smitten with the Doctor she kisses him and he realizes her identity. Admonished to stay close to the fireplace, Rose and Mickey go exploring where they find an eye in a camera and a heart used as a pump. While looking for the two, the Doctor encounters a horse on the spaceship. After finding several time windows, our travelers realize that these open to different parts in Reinette's life. They freeze another clockwork robot in the young woman's presence and learn that the robots have used the crew as spare parts to repair the ship and are looking for Reinette to grow "complete" so they can take one more part from her. The robot teleports back to the ship and the Doctor sends Rose and Mickey after him. He then performs a mindmeld with Reinette to figure out what the robots are after, but she also sees into his mind. On the ship, Rose and Mickey are captured by the clockwork robots.

The Doctor returns from France drunk to find Mickey and Rose captured. The Doctor rescues them and tries to shut down the time windows. However, there is still a clockwork robot in the field who has discovered the time they were looking for, Reinette aged 37. The clockwork robots teleport away and lock the time window. The Doctor, Rose and Mickey can only look on helpless as the robots terrorize Versailles. Rose travels through a time window to warn Reinette before she is attacked. Reinette follows Rose and Mickey back through to the spaceship where she hears her speech from the beginning. Realizing she must travel the slow way through time while the Doctor takes the quick route she returns to her time. As Reinette attempts to stall the clockwork robots, the Doctor tries to figure out a way to save her. Just as the robots are about to kill Reinette the Doctor crashes through the mirror time window on Arthur, the horse. The Doctor saves Reinette, however by destroying the time window he has broken the circuit and has no way back to the 51st century except the slow route. However, Reinette's fireplace has been moved to the palace and is undamaged. The Doctor fixes the time window and offers to take Reinette with him. After he goes through the fireplace the Doctor tells Mickey and Rose to get ready to leave. When he returns through the fireplace he meets Louis XV who gives him a letter from Reinette who has recently died. Dejected the Doctor returns to the spaceship and leaves. As the TARDIS dematerializes we see a painting of Reinette and the name of the spaceship: SS Madame de Pompadour.


  • Time and Space: 18th century, France, Earth, and 51st century, outer space.

Arc Advancement



  • Mickey: This is Mickey's first adventure accompanying the Doctor on the TARDIS.


  • School Reunion: While discussing Madame de Pompadour, Mickey mentions Sarah Jane, one of the Doctor's previous companions, as well as Cleopatra, who was referred to by the Doctor as "Cleo".
  • The Empty Child: The Ninth Doctor professed a fondness for bananas as well.
The Doctor: I think I invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early. Always bring a banana to a party, Rose.


The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • Colors: The color palettes used during the scenes in France reflect the times of Reinette's life as seasons: child/spring, teenager/summer, adult/fall, deceased/winter.

Allusions and References

  • Madame de Pompadour: Reinette was King Louis XV of France's mistress. She was a great political creature and very popular.

Memorable Moments

  • The Doctor crashes through the time window on horseback to save the 37-year-old Reinette from the clockwork robots.


  • The Doctor (to clockwork robot): I mean this from the heart and, by the way, count both. It would be a crime, it would be an act of vandalism to disassemble you—but that won't stop me!
  • Rose: The queen must've loved that.
    The Doctor: Oh, she did. They got on very well.
    Mickey: King's wife and the king's girlfriend?
    The Doctor: France. It's a different planet.
  • Mickey: What's a horse doing on a spaceship?
    The Doctor: Mickey, what's pre-revolutionary France doing on a space ship? Get a little perspective.
  • The Doctor (about the horse): I've called him Arthur!
    Rose: You are not keeping him.
    The Doctor: Why not? I let you keep Mickey.
  • The Doctor (after fixing the fireplace to go back to the 51st century): How long did you wait?
    Rose: Five and a half hours.
    The Doctor: Good. Always wait five and a half hours.