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Who is Noor Inayat Khan? Doctor Who introduces another historical figure in Season 12

Who is Noor Inayat Khan? Doctor Who introduces another historical figure in Season 12
Noor Khan, a British wartime hero, appeared on Doctor Who tonight. Pic credit: Doctor Who/Facebook Video

One thing that Doctor Who loves to do is introduce historical figures into the storylines and the Season 12 episode Spyfall, Part 2, was no different.

This week, Doctor Who introduced fans to the character of Noor Inayat Khan.

As showrunner Chris Chbnall said, they told a small part of the amazing woman’s story, but there is so much more out there to learn about Khan.

“She is a remarkable figure and we tell a tiny fraction of her character. But, there’s a whole story there where you go, she was amazing.”

Who is Noor Inayat Khan?

Noor Inayat Khan was the first woman to serve as basically a spy in the UK during World War II. She was considered a hero for her service in the Special Operations Executive.

The oldest of four children, Khan was of Muslim descent and chose to join the war effort to stop Nazi Germany. She joined the Women’s Auxillary Air Force and became a wireless operator.

The Special Operations Executive was a British secret organization that was developed to conduct espionage, reconnaissance, and sabotage efforts in occupied Europe.

They recruited Noor Khan in 1943 and received further training as a wireless operator — the first woman sent as part of that initiative.

Khan ended up on a very dangerous mission, setting up her wireless operations unit to maintain a link between the men in the field and London, always at risk of discovery and execution.

In 1943, German Gestapo arrested Khan and interrogated her. During this time, she reportedly did not give up any information and lied to them constantly, while trying to escape numerous times.

It was after this that the German Gestapo transferred her to the Dachau concentration camp and executed her, along with three other women.

In 1949, Noor Inayat Khan received the prestigious George Cross Award and the French Croix de Guerre posthumously.

The episode of Doctor Who had a beautiful moment that called back to her work in the field. When Noor Khan asked the Doctor if the fascists ever win, the response was simply, “Never.”

Doctor Who airs on Sunday nights at 9/8c on BBC America.

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