Doctor Who: What did the woman say in ‘73 Yards’?

Jessica Cullen
The woman standing in the background in Doctor Who: 73 Yards

The newest episode of Doctor Who Season 14 introduces plenty of mystery, including the strange looming figure who follows Ruby around — so, what does the woman say in ’73 Yards’? (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

’73 Yards’ has quickly proved itself as one of the strongest installments of Doctor Who Season 14 so far. It’s reached a landmark most Doctor Who episodes would kill for, and finally solidified Ruby Sunday as a formidable companion. It’s also intensely creepy, with Ruby being stalked for decades by a distant figure who always stays 73 yards away.

Others can see the woman too, but when they approach her, they always do the same thing; look at Ruby in horror, and run away screaming. It’s tough to witness, especially when the same thing happens to Ruby’s mother Carla, and UNIT Officer Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.

But viewers can’t hear what the woman is saying to make all these poor people run away. More importantly, Ruby doesn’t hear it either. So, what did the woman say to inspire such fear? Here’s what we know.

What did the woman say in ’73 Yards’?

Nobody knows what the woman said in ’73 Yards’ to make people run away, and showrunner Russell T Davies has said that he’ll never reveal what it was.

On the latest episode of Doctor Who: Unleashed, Davies said of the mysterious dialog: “You will never know. I’m never gonna tell you what she says. It’s kind of up to you to sit there and think, ‘Well, what could someone say that would make a mother run away from her daughter forever?’

“You could look at yourself and think, ‘What would make me do that?’ And once you start to do that, you enter the real horror story. The dreadful things that are being said there, terrible things.”

So, in short, it’s up to your interpretation. While it might be frustrating for some viewers to not have all the answers, it’s a smart creative move. Seeing people run away from the woman, screaming in horror for a completely unknown reason is far more effective than hearing what she has to say. Ultimately, nothing could be as terrifying or enigmatic as the possibilities fans could imagine.

That said, Davies’ stance hasn’t stopped fans from trying to speculate, adding to the pile of clever Doctor Who Season 14 theories.

As one viewer suggested on Reddit: “There is definitely more going on than just ordinary people reacting to information. Instead, it seems that people’s fundamental perception of Ruby has changed.”

Another offered: “I’m just spitballing here, but could the reason people run from The Woman have anything to do with Ruby’s origins? That, when people speak to The Woman the curse/filter/etc., lifts and they see the real Ruby, which will be someone connected to the Toymaker, a construction made by (someone connected to) the Toymaker.”

“My theory is the old woman is a physical manifestation of her abandonment issues/trauma, brought forth as part of her punishment from whatever entity (Mad Jack?) created the fairy circle,” said another.

“Her being abandoned as a baby had a profound impact on her and in the back of her mind she has a deep-rooted fear of everyone she knows and loves to eventually abandon her. The old woman makes that happen.”

Check out our ’73 Yards’ ending explained and ’73 Yards’ review for more. You can also take a look at all the Doctor Who Season 14 villains, and find out more about the season’s biggest mystery, Susan Twist.