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What a beautiful speech. The rhythm and... and vocabulary are quite outstanding. It's enough to move anyone with an ounce of compassion. So it's really not your day, is it?
~ Sutcliffe to the Doctor, in response to his speech about how the measure of a civilisation is how it values the life of an unimportant person.

Lord Sutcliffe is the main antagonist of the Doctor Who episode "Thin Ice".

He was portrayed by Nicholas Burns.

Biography

Sutcliffe was a wealthy businessman, whose family had owned a large sea serpent, which was kept chained in the River Thames. The family would feed people to the creature for its dung, which Sutcliffe sold as fuel as it was hotter and could burn for longer than coal, even underwater. The creature's dung was greater than anything else at the time of the Industrial Revolution. During frost fairs in London, Sutcliffe would use them to lure unsuspecting people onto the frozen river to be food for the creature. It is known that Sutcliffe's henchmen were able to persuade con artists to lure people to the fair to increase the crowd.

In 1814, (the year of the last great frost fair) Sutcliffe planned to detonate explosives to crack the ice during the fair and cause all the attendees to fall into the river and be devoured by the creature, to cause widespread panic and deaths before the ice thaws and keep the creature a secret. He met the Twelfth Doctor and his companion Bill Potts. When Sutcliffe made racial remarks towards Bill (due to the colour of her skin), the Doctor came to his companion's defence and punched Sutcliffe in the face. After his henchmen restrained the Doctor and Bill, Sutcliffe had them sent to the fair where they were tied up to also become food for the creature.

Luckily, the Doctor and Bill were able to break free from their binds and planned to set the creature free without it eating the people at the fair. Bill, along with help from some urchins, was able to get people off ice to safety, whilst the Doctor moved the explosives to the creatures chains.

When Sutcliffe detonated the explosives, the creature was freed from its chains, causing the ice to crack. Sutcliffe met his end after falling through the ice into the river and drowned. His fortune was left to his cousin, but the Doctor changed the name on the will to that of an urchin named Perry, who is eventually deemed the legitimate heir.

Personality

Sutcliffe was a self-admitted sociopath; when the Doctor told him that the measure of a civilisation is how it values the life of an unimportant person, he responded that the speech would move anyone "with an ounce of compassion", then added that it wasn't the Doctor's lucky day. He was utterly ruthless and unscrupulous, seeing the people fed to the sea serpent and the creature itself as nothing more than pawns and fodder to be exploited in order to increase his wealth and power.

Sutcliffe was also profoundly racist, instantly accosting and undermining Bill Potts simply because of her skin color and because she had set foot in his house, prompting the Twelfth Doctor to punch him in the face. What disgusted the Doctor the most about him, however, is that he was a normal human rather than an alien, saying that him being an alien would explain his complete lack of humanity.

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