[Writing] Alternative Ending for Doctor Who S11 E4, Arachnids in the UK

I enjoy writing, and have recently started getting into scripts. I don’t generally share my writing exercises, but this particular one is close to my heart because it addresses a recent Doctor Who episode that really, truly bothered me. I’ve proposed an alternative ending to Season 11 Episode 4, Arachnids in the UK. I’d like to know whether the Whovians out there agree with my sentiments and would enjoy an ending like this.

To start off, I’d like to say I absolutely love Whittaker’s Doctor and her companions. I also don’t like to nitpick when it comes to Doctor Who at all, and thoroughly enjoy everything I watch from both old and new eras, even when there’s a bit of unbelievability.

However, I have two major quarrels with Arachnids in the UK:

  1. The solution to the giant mutant spider problem was to lure the spiders into a panic room and lock them in so that they ultimately starve to death.
  2. The Doctor did not take the opportunity to put the gun-wielding hotelier, Robertson, in his place.

Above all, the Doctor values life and does not condone suffering. In this regard, a swift death is more humane than a creature slowly being tortured to death by starvation. The Doctor in this episode did not try hard enough to think of a way to save these poor mutant spiders, and walked away knowing that they’d eventually starve to death. It was an awful death sentence that broke my heart.

Moreover, the Doctor has a way with words, something that has stuck through regenerations. He/she is practically known for moving speeches and extraordinary lines about life, love, and humankind. (Here’s one beautiful compilation I found.)

In Arachnids in the UK, it was clear that a political statement was being made about Americans being a tad too gun-friendly. I’m not getting into whether or not I agree with Doctor Who as a platform for political statements, I just feel that if a statement is being made, justice should be done to the statement. Unfortunately the Doctor was fairly passive, and Robertson got away with killing the mother spider. The episode ends with him 100% sure he was in the right. The Doctor can usually put people in their place or sew a seed of doubt about right and wrong through words, and this would have been the perfect opportunity to do so. I mean, the Tenth Doctor brought down a leader by simply whispering six words into her aide’s ear, “Don’t you think she looks tired?”

I now propose an alternative ending. In this, the Doctor thinks of a way to save the spiders through relocation. I imagine she would choose a planet with parameters for which their size wouldn’t affect their breathing, so that even the mother of the spiders could live. I also imagine that she’d tell Robertson off. Along these lines, I’ve put together a couple of script snippets, to take a glimpse at how this ending might play out. Of course, the main parts of the script around these snippets would need to be re-written, but I thought this would be sufficient to show my thoughts.

Please do leave your thoughts and comments below!

A small snippet of the relocation plan, continuing from once they figure out how to lure the spiders to the panic room with music vibrations. This assumes the Doctor has established a remote summoner for the Tardis.

screen shot 2019-01-06 at 8.40.51 pm

screen shot 2019-01-06 at 8.41.04 pm


And now for putting Robertson in his place, continuing from when he makes clear his intention to shoot the mother spider, who is found in the hotel ballroom. (Bold lettering is Chibnall’s writing.)

screen shot 2019-01-06 at 8.41.15 pm

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