In Review: Doctor Who – Demons of the Punjab

Romance, culture and a divided people produces a wonderful bitter sweet story.

Synopsis: India 1947. The Doctor and her friends arrive in the Punjab. As demons haunt the land, can Yaz discover the hidden story of her grandmother’s life?

Review: Written by Vinay Patel who is one of the shows newest writers. Demons of the Punjab is a story that has a bitter sting in its tail but also provides a little bit of a history lesson due to its setting being during the British partition of India, which pretty much-fed divisions between Hindu people and Muslim people.

The Story

At its heart. This episode is a love story, but it’s also a journey of discovery for Yaz as she learns the truth behind some of the stories that her grandmother has told her over the years.

The episode starts in the present day with Yaz and her family listening to her grandmother share a few stories from her travels. When Yaz isU given an old broken watch, which belonged to her grandfather, who she never knew. It spurs her into asking the Doctor if they can visit her gran in the past to see what really happened.

They arrive in India of 1947 shortly before the official partition, which separated India and Pakistan into two different countries and created an extremely hostile environment as millions fought over the land.  In this hostile environment, we meet Umbreen and Prem. A Muslim woman and a Hindu man who are about to break with strongly held traditions and marry each other.

We also meet an Alien race who used to be assassins but have now moved on to witness the lives and deaths of other races wherever there is war. The aliens are pretty much not the Demons of the Punjab in this episode. It is the divisions that come up between brothers and the people as their country is carved into pieces by the British.

This is a very complex political story, but its also very much a love story and the story of good people caught up in a volatile situation.

Vinay Patel  is a writer I will be looking out for in future episodes of Doctor Who because they have written a wonderful episode, which I think is the best episode of the season thus far.

The Acting

Jodie Whitaker is fairly strong in this episode, but for me, the acting gongs should go to Mandip GillBradley Walsh and guest actor Shane Zaza who played the role of Prem.

Prem has a lot of really strong scenes and is very much centre stage of this story given that it is his fate, which leads to Umbreen moving to Sheffield, which is not an exotic as she thought it would be.

Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh have an awesome scene together, which sees Graham pretty much telling Yaz to live for the moment when she begins to question some of the stories her grandmother has told her.


An absolutely stunning episode. I loved that it chose to go to India and give us a tragic love story set in such a tumultuous time in India.  We get some fantastic acting performances and a brilliant story, which adds to Yaz’s character and educates us a little about the partition of India and its effects, which are still felt to this day.

I also really enjoyed the soundtrack for this episode.

Composer Segun Akinola does some fantastic work and mixes Indian style music with his take on Doctor Who incidental theme. And the music for the closing titles was stunning.

Overall. For my money. This is the best episode to date on this new series.

Doctor Who - Demons of the Punjab
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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