On The Sofa (3)
27 November 2013 at 20:47 #21795wolfweed @wolfweed
It the new X-Box 3000 – But how do you plug it in?27 November 2013 at 22:17 #21805Timeloop @timeloop
A BIG hello to everybody new who has recently signed up. I hope you feel free to join in our arguments and point out stuff. I hope more and more lurkers step out of the shadows, but lurking is fine as well 😉28 November 2013 at 03:02 #21820DrSmith @drsmith
Hey guys I thought the 50th anniversary was fantastically brilliant, however what didn’t make sense to me was how “Rose” said the sonics were the same sonic but just with a different case but in the episode Smith and Jones Doc #10 puts his original sonic in the xray machine (not to sure what it’s called) and when he pulled it out the top was all burnt and he threw it away. Then in The Eleventh Hour Doc #11 used 10’s second screwdriver to mess about with electronic devices to show there was non terrestrial life on earth, which in the end destroyed the sonic. So how is it the same screwdriver, if one of you guys could explain that would be amazing.28 November 2013 at 04:06 #21821Anonymous @
@drsmith – Glad you enjoyed the show.
I’ll have a go at explaining the ‘sonic issue’ as I see it – others may do it better than I.
The Sonic is just hardware (like a keyboard or a monitor is on a pc). It can do certain practical things like opening (un-deadlocked) doors but all the analysis/calculations etc are handled by the TARDIS with the results being transmitted to the Sonic by some kind of timey-wimey Wi-Fi (Ti-Wi-Wi-Fi 🙂 ).
If that’s the case then it wouldn’t matter if the Sonic gets damaged/destroyed as it’s backed-up to what is quite probably the universe’s most powerful computer.
Hope this helps 🙂28 November 2013 at 04:27 #21822
As a general rule, I subscribe to the “Duck” theory of canon or continuity. Basically, if it looks like a Duck, walks like a Duck, talks like a Duck, lays eggs like a Duck, has feathers like a Duck, swims like a Duck… It’s a Duck. It’s about as simple as that. There are other approaches to continuity. There’s the ‘serial number’ approach, the ‘word from on high’ approach, etc. But for me, it’s about the Ducks.
So basically, if it fits all the Duck criteria… it’s a Duck. Unless of course, it’s a Platypus or a Hadrosaur or something like that.
So really, the big question for my test, is “It a Duck” or is merely a gigantic reptile with Duck features, or a small poisonous mammal with an identity crisis.
So let’s take Curse of Fatal Death. Canon, non-canon. Duck or Platypus? Why do I care? Why should I bother?
Well… I guess I came to being a Doctor Who fan in the 80’s. I remember being a University Student, walking through the Student Union Building, and there in the TV area, there was a show about a guy with an insanely long scarf. And he was dealing with two spaceships that had somehow warped together, with reality projectors and an infestation of alien apes, and a subplot about drug running. He was charming and eccentric, and somehow, that entire mess of a story was filled with incident and characterization and in the end it all came together. I was entranced. That’s when I became a fan.
Actually, I think even before that, as a ten year old going to the local Saturday matinee’s, I think I might have seen a rerun of Dr. Who and the Daleks, with Peter Cushing. Watching it years later, so many of the images, the best of the imagery, surreal and alien and haunting, came back to me. Of course, at that age, we don’t keep track, the world just keeps on turning. I enjoyed, moved on. But maybe there was something there, the memory of the blue box, that made me stop and watch the man in the scarf.
Doctor Who became a staple then, Fridays on Prairie Public Television, I worked my way through Tom Baker. And then Peter Davison. Then Colin Baker. I joined a fan club, and discovered Pertwee and Troughton. I watched ridiculously awful fifth generation VHS dubs of Sylvester McCoy adventures, thrilled to the Barbara Benedetti Doctor, and was even bemused by Wartime and K9 and Company.
And then it was over. 1989, end of the story. Finished. Not even a proper closing, no farewell, not even an acknowledgement of the end, just a stop….. and nothing.
And the abyss.
I suppose I should make some comment about young whippersnappers and all that. But here it is. I was watching Doctor Who before it was cool. When it was an obscure cult thing, and VHS tapes were traded from hand to hand. Where maybe one Video store in a half dozen might stock something from the serial, where you couldn’t just buy or download whole seasons. There was no merchandise, no memorabilia, except the occasional stencilled mug offered by Public Television on fundraisers. But it was a live show, brilliant and mercurial, changing, intriguing….
And in 1989…. stopped.
2005, Christopher Ecclestone and Rose Tyler walk through a blue box and we’re on again. Season after season, adventure after adventure. We have specials and minisodes, and animated episodes. You can buy memorabilia at HMV and collectors stores. You can download who. You can collect whole seasons, old and new on DVD, there’s actually theme packages. It’s great! More than that, it’s popular! And this is where a lot of you may come in, and its terrific, all of you, welcome aboard.
But between 1989 and 2005, there’s this vast empty gulf of 16 years, like the empty starless void between two galaxies, when the series didn’t run, when it might never run, where there might never be a future, just the old episodes getting older each year.
In those years, all we had to go on was hope. And the only thing that fueled that hope, that kept it going as we fans got older and Doctor Who risked fading away was that every few years, there’d be some new Who. Some proof, some affirmation that it wasn’t all just a dream or a fading memory, that we weren’t alone in our love for the show, that there was something going.
1993 – Dimensions in Time
1996 – The Movie
1999 – Curse of Fatal Death
2003 – Scream of the Shalka
You guys, with a live show that you can count on, specials that you can mark the days to it and debate spoilers, it was different then. These four productions were like the slow heartbeat of a coma patient, a sort of ticking over of the body, just enough to show us, to assure us, that there was life in it, that Doctor Who might just have a future as well as a past.
Of these, only one, the movie, got to be in the canon. That just feels unfair to me. So why not take another run, why not write about these overlooked and dismissed and disrespected bits of Who history.
So anyway, back to the Duck theory of continuity. And to the question of how to tell a Mallard from a Trachodont. Well, inconsistency obviously. If the critter has a feature absolutely incompatible with a duck, then it’s something else. But here’s the thing, not all Duck’s look alike, so sometimes, it takes a bit of analysis and theory. Sometimes you see something that, on its face, might not be a Duck. But if you look at it right…28 November 2013 at 04:46 #21823
Okay, so Curse of Fatal Death. I remember I was in Minneapolis when I found that released to VHS. It was a thrill. We grabbed it, rented a VHS machine, hooked it up to the hotel TV, watched with rapt fascination. Real Who, after all these years. Who, a new approach, a new vision, not perfect but by God, after the elation and disappointment of the American movie, this was classic British stuff. There was a comfort to this Who that just hadn’t been there with the movie, you could tell, this was made with love.
And of course, its got a full slate of Doctors who don’t fit anywhere into the old or new series. So how do we work around that?
How about, instead of connecting Curse of Fatal Death to the continuity of the new series…. we try connecting it to the continuity of Scream of the Shalka?
Let’s look at what goes on in Curse of Fatal Death – basically, we open with Rowan Atkinson as the Doctor, and Jonathan Pryce as the Master. The Master is in the middle of some scheme to destroy the Doctor, when the Doctor invites him to the planet Tersurus to tell him he’s retiring and getting married. There’s some Bill and Ted style time travel dueling, which results in the Master getting dumped into the sewers of Tersurus. It takes him 312 years to climb out, but luckily, he’s got a time machine. He gets dumped two more times, spending 936 years climbing sewers.
The Master allies with the Daleks, who restore his youth and upgrade him with Dalek technology – which means the Master has gone cyborg. The Daleks plan to double cross the Master, however, so the Doctor sends a warning. The Atkinson Doctor gets killed in the second half, trying to save the universe from the zectronic beam, regenerates as the Richard E. Grant Doctor, who is almost instantly killed, regenerating into the Jim Broadbent Doctor, killed again, literally a minute later, and regenerates into the Hugh Grant Doctor, and killed a final time, regenerating into the Joanna Lumley Doctor. The Daleks renounce evil. The Master allies with the Doctor(s), and after Emma breaks the engagement, ends up going off with the Lumley Doctor.
Pryce’s Master plays like a cross between Delgado and Ainsley. In the first half, the Master wears a kind of rubbishy version of the Time Lord’s ceremonial robe, but later, he switches to the conservative black uniform reminiscent of Delgado and Ainsley.
Now, we tend to focus on the Doctor, but he Master provides some interesting developments it gets really interesting. Although the Master in the Scream is played by a different actor, Derek Jacobi, visually, the Jacobi Master fits quite closely into the pattern established by Delgado, Ainsley and Pryce. Slick dark hair, goatee, arch features and a severe black uniform.
But there are two things that really tie the Curse Master to the Scream Master. In Scream, it’s shown that the Master is a Cyborg. We don’t know how much of a Cyborg, or whether there’s any fleshy bits left in there at all. But he’s definitely the Master, and he’s definitely got robotics.
Well…. in Curse, we see the Master getting upgraded into cyborgery with Dalek technology.
The Daleks, by the way, are aces at borging up humanoid robots. In the Hartnell serial, The Chase, they actually build a Hartnell Doctor Robot to try and fool his companions and take over the Tardis. In the new series, Victory of the Daleks, they build a robot Professor to pretend he’s building Daleks for Winston Churchill in WWII. So good is the Robot Professor that he doesn’t realize he’s a Robot, and when he realizes he’s a bomb, he deactivates it so he can go off to Scotland or wherever. So either way, the Daleks are probably good enough to enhance the Master with cyborg parts, or to provide him with an entirely robotic body to inhabit. After three 312 year climbs out of the sewers of Tersurus, the Master is looking pretty ratty, but when we see him with Dalek enhancement (bumps!) he’s looking like his old self.
And then, there’s the fact that in Scream, the Master is the Doctor’s companion in the Tardis. Which is basically how the Master went in Curse – allying with the Atkinson Doctor against the Daleks and becoming increasingly close through the next several incarnations.
And in the Curse, the Master’s something of a pansexual. At one point, he refers to:
MASTER:’dung slugs for food…. and occasional company on those long lonely nights’…, (Curse of Fatal Death)
later he gets Dalek bumps which seem strategically questionable, and even flirts with the Grant Doctor before hooking up with the Lumley Doctor. Now, go to Scream and listen to the ‘answering machine message’ that the Grant Doctor and the Master have left:
DOCTOR (on recording): *giggle* — You have reached the good ship TARDIS. *giggle* We’re rather — *giggle* — busy at the moment, *giggle* *giggle* so leave a message after the beep and we’ll try to get back to you before you called. *giggle* — Stop that! *giggle* *giggle*
MASTER: [beat] We really should change that message. (Scream of the Shalka)
… nuff said.
The big thing, of course are the Doctors themselves. Richard E. Grant, as we’ve noted, plays the Doctor in both Curse of Fatal Death and Scream of the Shalka. We know where the Grant Doctor in Curse comes from, we see him regenerate. But we don’t know where the Grant Doctor in Scream comes from, or goes, we don’t see him regenerate there. The Shalka Doctor just is. So it opens the door to the possibility that the Grant Doctor in Curse is also the Grant Doctor in Shalka.
There are odd bits of overlap – in the Curse, the Richard E. Grant Doctor asks for a bottle of champagne, one of the only times that any Doctor is seen to drink alcohol. (Actually, the Pertwee Doctor tippled from time to time). While in the Scream, the Grant Doctor there is hinted at being quite a drinker, referring a couple of times to spirits. Both the Atkinson predecessor of the Grant Doctor in Curse and the Grant Doctor in Shalka seem to be fed up with adventuring and would just like to quit.
If you want to look a little further – in Scream, the Doctor alludes to a bad experience with a previous human companion. The hint is that they probably died or something. But in Curse, the Doctor is about to throw everything over to marry his companion Emma…. who dumps him in the end, after witnessing several regenerations, including into a woman. So is the Shalka Doctor’s issue not so much about a companion dying, but about a failed romance with a companion, is he upset about being dumped? I dunno. It’s a small thing, perhaps smaller than the Master’s pansexuality or the Grant Doctor’s drinking problem. But it’s another piece that can fit into the puzzle.
Of course, the big problem is that in the Curse, the R. Grant Doctor is replaced, in the course of a few minutes with the Broadbent Doctor, the H.Grant Doctor and then the Lumley Doctor. Well, how do we get around that?
1) Within Curse of Fatal Death, it’s established that potentially time passes between scenes. The Master falls three times into the pits of Terserus takes 312 years to climb out each time – so as far as the Master is concerned, at least 916 years have passed before he gets the upper hand on the Doctor. It’s possible that in actuality, we’re skipping ahead, and a large period of time is taking place between the beginning of the R. Grant Doctor and the Broadbent Doctor and the rest. Basically, after the Grant Doctor regenerates, he nips offstage into the Tardis has a whole bunch of adventures, and then eventually returns to the Curse timeline to get zapped and turn into the Broadbent Doctor. … I dunno, not my preferred solution. Among other things, we don’t actually see him nipping into the Tardis, and there doesn’t seem to be a scene that allows him to disappear…. Unless it’s the one where he goes behind some machinery.
2) The other explanation, is that the rapid transition of four doctors in the space of a few minutes Doctors is actually just a single extended regeneration. Within the both the old and new series there’s evidence to support this.
(a) The Troughton Doctor, when forced to regenerate, appears to see several possible bodies.
(b) Romana, the T.Baker Doctor’s companion, undergoes an extended regeneration where she actually spends some time selecting among different bodies, and even walking out with them into the Tardis control room to show them to the Tom Baker Doctor before settling on her final form.
© The Tom Baker Doctor experiences a ‘two body’ phenomenon going into his regeneration, with a strange ghost self, the ‘Watcher’ appearing as some sort of premonition, and wandering around talking to people, piloting the tardis and acting independently that vanishes or merges when he regenerates.
© The Davison Doctor, coming out of the Tom Baker Doctor goes through regeneration poorly and requires extended recovery, including having to be carried in an isolation box.
(d) The Tenant Doctor has an extended regeneration period which is still in some sort of flux as he travels from the Tardis, to Rose’s apartment, to the Sycorax’ ship – during which period, which allows him to grow back a hand instantly.
In all these cases, it takes more than a few minutes to move to a stable new form – rather, it seems to involve a period of instability and flux that might well last hours. So in this case, its possible that all the apparent regenerations are actually from a single regeneration period, and that after repeatedly being traumatized and jolted into different pseudo-incarnations, the Doctor eventually reverts and settles into his R. Grant persona. It’s a stretch, but hey, I think we’ve established that the regeneration period can produce an extended period of instability.
There’s also a meta issue, in that both Atkinson in Curse, Grant in Scream, and Eccleston in the series are described as the 9th Doctor. Neither Atkinson nor Grant explicitly says “I’m the ninth Doctor” but each work make references that seem to show pretty clearly that they’re ninth, and the productions thought of and announced that they were ninth Doctors. For a while, it was a big thing as to whether the Shalka Doctor would be included in continuity and whether Ecclestone would be considered the ninth or tenth, depending on whether Grants Doctor was included.
But in the actual scripts, things are a bit more ambiguous. In Curse, the Doctor doesn’t claim to be the ninth, but the Master does, and in no uncertain terms. But does the Master really know for sure:
MASTER: I think not my child. This is only his ninth body. He has many, many more. Behold, the miracle of the Time Lord! (Curse of Fatal Death)
By the way, I should stop here and make an acknowledgement. All of the quotes from Doctor Who in these articles – including Curse of Fatal Death, Name of the Doctor, Amy’s Choice, End of Times, etc., are taken from: http://www.chakoteya.net/doctorwho/ This is a truly amazing site wherein a group of people have done an astonishing amount of work transcribing the Dialogue from literally the whole of Doctor Who. If you want to know, for instance, exactly what Colonel Lethridge-Stuart had to say about the Great Intelligence in Troughton’s Web of Fear… This is the place. A marvellous research tool, and an amazing accomplishment.
With the Shalka Doctor, there are two references in the script, but both have a certain ambiguity:
DOCTOR (referring to a dead cat): He must have used up his nine lives, rather like me. (Scream of the Shalka)
This is interesting because its often used to say that the Shalka Doctor is the ninth Doctor. But if you read this carefully, he actually seems to be saying that he’s the 10th. He’s used up nine lives, like the cat – the cat is dead, he’s on his tenth.
DOCTOR: A friend of mine, Andy Warhol was his name, said, “They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Wonderful man. He wanted to paint all nine of me. (Scream of the Shalka)
This is also pretty compelling, until you read it carefully. At which point, all that he’s saying is that when he knew Andy Warhol, he was on his ninth. Doesn’t mean that he’s the ninth now. He could be the ninth… Or the tenth… or the eleventh.
Given that the Shalka Doctor was intended by BBCi and was going to be recognized by the BBC as the ninth, is this ambiguity an accident, or deliberate?
I would argue deliberate. Why? Because the Scream of the Shalka was written by Paul Cornell. Paul Cornell was and is a Doctor Who ubernerd. He and a couple of others wrote the ‘Doctor Who Discontinuity Guide’, published in 1995 and reprinted in 2004, and which among other things, focused on continuity and continuity snarls. Now, a guy like that, would have definitely been aware of and completely up on Curse of Fatal Death, odds of him missing out on something like that are zero.
So, he would know that McGann through the movie was eight, Rowan Atkinson had a claim on ninth. He would know that Richard Grant followed Atkinson in Curse of Fatal Death. He would know that he’s writing for a Grant Doctor here here. Would he have consciously or unconsciously built in a bit of ambiguity into his lines to allow for the possibility of the Atkinson Doctor? I think he’s exactly that kind of guy. As I’ve said, might have been conscious, could as easily have been unconscious. Lawsuits have been decided on less evidence.
Of course the new series explicitly contradicts this. We aren’t yet at the point of talking about the new series, but we might as well get this particular issue addressed. There are several episodes where Tenant and Smith are established as the 10th and 11th respectively, or where they say it outright. Which makes Eccleston definitely the ninth. This apparently prevents either the Atkinson or the Grant Doctors from being anywhere on the timeline from McGann to Eccleston to Tenant, who were officially 8, 9, and 10.
But that’s been mooted by recent developments – the Hurt Doctor turns out to have been forgotten or deliberately ignored. Eccleston is actually the 10th (at least) Doctor, or at least the 10th body, and no one knew.
If Eccleston is actually the 10th after all…. We see the Hurt Doctor beginning to regenerate, but we don’t actually see who he regenerates to. Think about that. The Eccleston, Tenant, Smith Doctors have worked so hard to forget that part of the past, they may have lost more than the Hurt Doctor.
So even if the Atkinson Doctor seems to be the 9th…. well… the truth is, even the modern Doctors in the canonical new series have lost track of things, and have forgotten or overlooked at least one entire regeneration, maybe more.
There’s also the possibility that the Atkinson and Grant Doctors are a side-branch. If the Tenant Doctor could experience an aborted regeneration in the ‘Stolen Earth’ and ‘Journey’s End’ that produced three of him, then its possible that a regeneration, or an aborted regeneration could have produced a second Doctor, so that there were two lines of Doctor’s running around simultaneously.
The bottom line though, is that between Curse of Fatal Death, and Scream of the Shalka, there’s enough argument for in-story continuity, in terms of the Richard Grant Doctor, and in terms of the arc of the Master, that we can at least make an speculative case for the two specials being in the same continuity together.
Come on, it just makes sense that the Richard Grant Doctor in two different specials is probably really just the same Doctor.28 November 2013 at 07:52 #21825billyboy1989 @billyboy1989
hello, im new to this forum and would just like to say hello and cant wait to see what everyone has to say about my favourite show 😀28 November 2013 at 10:31 #21833
I like your (very detailed!!) attempt to retcon the Curse and Scream into canon. Nice one. Tom Baker’s scene at the end of DotD (and the Sisterhood’s reveal of choices available “now that Time Lord technology has moved on”) opens up a lot of additional (now legit) possibilities, and as you mentioned, the fact post War Doctor incarnations had blocked out that incarnation, certainly opens possibilities about other forgotten incarnations. He could even start as one Doctor eg Smith, go off and have the Curse incarnations and then opt to come back as Smith again ie as a “revisited” face.
Not that I think the show will, or should, go there, but it’s fun.
Welcome. We have, ahem, quite a lot to say! Hope you will too. Feel free to jump in whenever. But make sure ANY talk about spoilers only goes on the spoilers thread (some of us have a VERY low threshold)28 November 2013 at 15:57 #21900billyboy1989 @billyboy1989
thanks for welcoming me and yeah don’t worry ill jump in and give my opinions and i don’t like telling spoilers it annoys me when i read one so you don’t have to worry there …can’t wait for the christmas special though looking forward to that.28 November 2013 at 17:23 #21903
@scaryb Thank you for your feedback. I have more to go…..
Scream of the Shalka got shouldered out of official canon, but as with all things Doctor, that can be open to reconsideration, particularly in light of subsequent developments.
For instance, take the episode Night of the Doctor, featuring the last gasp of the McGann Doctor. Canon? Continuity? Apparently so. But in it, the McGann Doctor references all his companions from the audio adventures, which up to this point, have never been canon. Apparently they are now.
Or let’s take the character of Kate Stewart, the blonde daughter of the Brigadier in Power of Three and Name of the Doctor – good solid canonical episodes, part of continuity, you betcha. As Who as Who can be, all official like. Except that Kate Stewart originates in the Reeltime Production Downtime, which, despite having the Brigadier, Professor Travers, Victoria Waterhouse, Sarah Jane Smith, the Great Intelligence and Yeti… wasn’t canon… Until now, apparently.
So let’s take another look at Scream of the Shalka.
The Shalka story, just to get this out of the way, is that the Doctor’s Tardis materializes in a small English town where everyone is acting kind of weird. At first, the Doctor doesn’t want to be there and is fairly pissed off about it. But as things go along, we learn that there’s an invasion from a race of underground, insectoid aliens called the Shalka, they use ‘sonic technology’ hence the scream. The Doctor adopts a barmaid as a companion, UNIT gets involved, we discover that the Master is living in the Tardis as a companion… and he’s a robot. Eventually, after a rough start, the Doctor wins out.
Here are the downsides – the Animation is just flipping awful. I’m sorry, it’s flash animation, which is just hard to watch at the best of times, and it was designed for the Web, which back in the bad old days of 2003 just didn’t carry as much bandwidth as we are used to now. And of course, back in 2003, we all had these crappy little cathode ray monitors. So, bottom line, its pretty harsh territory.
With the harshness of the animation comes a certain awkwardness in reading and voices. Simply doing voice work can be tough, you obviously can’t use your body or your eyes. You might not even be in the same room or working at the same time as your fellow cast members. Your entire performance is in the voice work. It takes some getting used to. The pacing can go right off. Richard Grant in particular seems to struggle with this initially, to the extent that some people complain he phoned in his performance. Grant warms up as he goes along, as do other actors. But matching dialogue to the animation, and gaps in dialogue sometimes makes it play slow and awkward. Only Derek Jacobi, playing the Master, seems to catch it right away.
So for this reason, the Scream of the Shalka initially comes across as poorly. Initially. As I’ve said, it warms up as it goes along, or as we become used to its visual meter and pacing. The concepts are intriguing, the characters grow on you, the Doctor beomes warmer, and it works well.
This time, out, we don’t have the endless visual backstage connecting factors that seem to tie Curse of Fatal Death to the old series, new series and the movie. Shalka is a web (flash) animation, so it’s not like they can borrow the physical Tardis prop, raid the wardrobe department, or re-use CGI or visual effects sequences. As far as I can tell, they don’t even recycle the old series music all that much.
Rather, there are two principal backdoor connections to the main series –
The first is that this was a BBC production, technically, it was BBCi, which I assume is an online division, with permission of the BBC itself. Indeed, the BBCi project was going to be official Doctor Who, and for a while, the Shalka Doctor was the officially BBC recognized 9th Doctor, before he got unrecognized. What seems to have happened is a sort of BBC turf war. Basically, Doctor Who as a property was in the hands of another BBC corporation, BBC Worldwide, which had made the McGann Doctor Movie in a co-production with Fox, and had tried to get a series going. The McGann movie hadn’t done well enough, the series never took off. But Doctor Who was still a pretty lucrative commodity on the international market, so BBC Worldwide held onto it for the next few years, continuing to try to flog it, without any particular success. So when another division, BBCi came up with an online animation as an official continuation of the series, the BBC essentially said “Sure, why not?”
Make no mistake – the BBCi project was intended to be official Doctor Who. The Shalka doctor was the guy, and there were plans for a series of web adventures. An online fiction story, “The Feast of the Stone” was published. A second animated episode, “Blood of the Robots” was being written. It was a happening thing. There might have been some other issues there. The 40th Anniversary of Doctor Who was coming up. There wasn’t a movie anywhere close to being in the works. The BBC had to commission or support something, and the online animation looked like it might be cheap and efficient, get produced in time, and would be a nice calling card to show depressed fans that “Hey, twelve years after the show went off the air, and six years after the movie flopped, we here at the BBC aren’t giving up on the Doctor.” Well…. okay.
So what went wrong? Well, basically, BBC One, persuaded BBC Worldwide to give up on its international movie co-production, which wasn’t going anywhere, and let BBC television take a stab at running a new series. Of course, when that happens, everything is up in the air. It’s like Highlander “there can be only one” official Doctor Who, someone’s head is going to get cut off while the other guy dances around in the sparkly light show, and its usually the little guy that gets it.
BBCi in this case is definitely the little guy. Let’s face it – they were doing animation, and it was kind of rubbishy online “flash” animation, as opposed to TV animation. Better than Mighty Marvel Marching Heroes from the 1960’s, but still miles below the Simpsons. And they were proposing a series of six fifteen minute episodes, strung into something that might amount to a full typical 90 minute serial, to be followed up by a few more in the same vein. BBC TV was just going epically bigger in every possible way.
BBC Worldwide had given up, so that was fine with BBC TV. The McGann movie was a dead letter, the series it was to give birth to had died aborning. Simple enough to just glom over and incorporate the McGann Doctor. The Shalka Doctor was a live project by a rival BBC faction. It was going to get quashed, and not in a nice way.
For a while there was some debate over whether BBC TV’s project was going to recognize the Shalka Doctor as part of the continuity. Human nature being what it was, any sensible observer could see the response as ‘over my dead body.’ You don’t kick a rival into oblivion and then offer up a courtesy like that. The commitment to obliteration means you’re not going to be nice about things…. at least not then and there.
So, no surprise, the Shalka Doctor got de-officialised, un-canonized, dumped, eviscerated, cancelled, nuked, toasted, roasted, exploded, steamrollered, run over, pile drived, decapitated, defenestrated, they had a whip round over to the Shalka Doctor’s mothers home, punched her in the nose, and pissed on her rose bushes.
Russell T. Davies publicly said at one point:
“I thought he was terrible. I thought he took the money and ran, to be honest. It was a lazy performance. He was never on our list to play the Doctor.”
(quoted from Wikipedia)
Well, Grant’s performance has been legitimately panned in reviews. Some people like it, some people see a lack of effect. Grant himself, appeared to be holding his nose on the production, claiming not to know anything about Doctor Who (notwithstanding having appeared as the the Doctor in Curse of Fatal Death, and being from England – gee whiz, an Englisman not knowing about Doctor Who is like an Englishman not knowing what Piccadilly Square or 10 Downing is, give me a break) (Of course, he’d made a similar claim in Curse of Fatal Death, so maybe he just didn’t get out much – television deprived as a youth?) which might support Davies assessment.
Still, that tells us something – you see, people in show business, like people everywhere, by and large are a bunch of catty, backbiting, gossip-snipers, but it’s show business – the person you denounce this week might be the person you have to work with next week. So the thing is, they might say these things to each other and their pals or behind backs, but they’ll never ever say it out loud to an interviewer from a publication…. unless your intent is to nuke and sew the ground with radioactive salts.
And you have to look at it from Russell’s point of view. They’re starting a new Doctor Who series after sixteen years, the budgets are huge, everything is untried, untested, it’s a total crapshoot, and everyone’s breathing down his neck. It might fall flat on his face, and with it, his career.
He doesn’t want a rival production. If it’s crap, it’s just going to bring down his brand, pee in his swimming pool, and degrade the image of his own product. Even worse, heaven forbid people should go around saying that the ‘rival online Doctor Who is better!’ So really, it might seem trivial in hindsight, but it’s a cutthroat business and its throat cutting time.
The timing is dead tight. The Shalka project seems to start up around March or April, 2003. In July, 2003 they make the official announcement, with airdates to commence in 13 November, 2003 through to December 18, 2003. Meanwhile, things are in the works with BBC One, BBC Worldwide and BBC TV, so that by September 26, 2003, the new Doctor Who TV series is announced – after Shalka is announced as an official product, but before it airs. Come on, it’s Highlander time.
So that was that – Shalka got canon, then uncanoned. Life is tough. But if its official once… doesn’t that mean that it’s still kind of official? Can they really take away your continuity badge? And if they can… is it taken away forever… or can it get it back?
It seems to me that it’s got to be one or the other. If Shalka was once recognized as a real Doctor… then it still is. Or alternately, if Shalka’s status as real Doctor is something that can be withdrawn, then maybe it can be conferred or reconferred or regained.
Oh yeah… What’s the other big backstage connecting factor to the new series? People: Cornell and Goss.
Principally, we have Paul Cornell. Not quite a Russell Davies or a Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell would eventually go on to write three episodes of the new series. Human Nature, Family of Blood and Father’s Day. And Cornell has written a lot of published Doctor Who, over a dozen novels – he did the Discontinuity Guide, created Bernice Summerfield, etc.
There’s also James Goss, credited as a producer, who has done a large number of fan documentaries about Doctor Who. But intriguingly, he’s also credited as a producer for the David Tenant animated adventure, ‘Infinite Quest.’
So…. kind of interesting and significant, in its own way.
Scream of the Shalka gives us the Richard Grant Doctor. No idea how long he’s been the Doctor, he doesn’t regenerate to or from in this sequence, he just walks out the Tardis and there he is. So technically, we have no idea where he fits in the succession of Doctors, apart from some comments that people take to alluding to being ninth (but when you look at them closely…)
But things are a bit different for this Doctor. For one thing, he’s got the Master for a companion. They seem to be getting quite on. The Master is trapped in the Tardis, seems somewhat genial if still quietly menacing, and appears to be wholly or partly cybernetic. It’s definitely the Master, but it’s not clear how fleshy he is.
According to Cornell, the Master’s soul or consciousness is downloaded into an android body. Cornell is a huge fanboy though, as I’ve said, it’s pretty much a lock that Cornell has seen Curse of Fatal Death and what happens to the Master therein, so this may have influenced him, consciously or unconsciously, much like the Atkinson Doctor could have made him consciously or unconsciously coy about whether the Grant Doctor was actually ninth or tenth.
The tone is darker. The Grant Doctor in this phase is similar to the Ecclestone Doctor, he’s a bit haunted, got a bit of tragedy to him, and there are hints that something bad has happened to a human companion. Cornell writes on his website, at paulcornell.com, about the Shalka:
“I’m also proud of the number of decisions we made that the live action show also went with when it returned, notably a weary, post-traumatic Doctor who finds salvation in a working class human companion.” (Paul Cornell)
Cornell in describing the backstory of the Grant Doctor, comes very close to the background of the new series. In an interview online at Kasterborus.com he said:
“I had it all written down: Gallifrey had been destroyed; the planet was still there but all the Time Lords were in the Matrix. And I think the Master had been downloaded into the robot.” (Paul Cornell)
So, sounds as if something like the Time War has or is taking place, Gallifrey has or is fallen the
Doctor is traumatized by the loss of a companion, he’s isolated, afraid of getting close, but needing to. This Doctor makes several references to alcohol and is becoming a drinker, suggesting that maybe he’s dulling some psychic pain. Also from the Kasterborus interview:
“It’s interesting to see the choices. The nature of the companion is very Rose [Tyler], because that’s simply the geography – if you’re bringing back Doctor Who in this day and age, that’s what she would be like. [A bored student barmaid?] Yeah, but with a family, a series of relatable figures around her. No more orphans, you know! I think I went in entirely the opposite direction with the Doctor, all aristocratic and isolated and alienating, and no; you don’t want that on Saturday night on BBC 1. You want Christopher Eccleston, who is also a bit alienating and distant, but the character and the acting tell you that he’s relatable. You feel his pain, you look straight at him and you think, ‘I know what that’s like, I know who he is.’ And with Richard E Grant’s Doctor, he was very much saying to everybody around him ‘Go away’.” (Paul Cornell)
The Grant Doctor is also not quite in control of the Tardis, someone else is at least occasionally directing its journey, an experience that is common to the Pertwee, Tom Baker, Davison and Colin Baker Doctors. He’s been apparently sent to some English village, and he’s quite resentful and peevish about it. It seem’s that he’s still a pawn of the Time Lords in their machinations.
As I’ve said, this seems similar to bits of both Pertwee and T.Baker where the Time Lords would direct the Tardis’ movements, much to the bitter anger of the Doctor. The implication here is that the Grant Doctor is an unwilling tool and is quite fed up with it. It’s this conflict, and the apparent interference of the Time Lords which suggests to me that the Grant Doctor may well be embroiled in the Time War as a somewhat unwilling agent. Whether Cornell intended the Time War or not, or how closely his vision coincided with what would become the series vision, the vague allusions in the Shalka fit pretty closely into what gets established as main series continuity – or at least don’t contradict.
If you go back to the original series, there are indications that the Time War was reaching all the way through the Doctor’s history.
The Hartnell adventure, the Chase, featuring the third appearance of the Daleks, had the Daleks pursuing the Doctor through time and space – technological capabilities that they clearly had during the Time War, but not in many of their other incarnations. The Daleks level of technology, and mastery of time Travel varied widely from one story to another… which makes sense if its different points in their history. The point in their history where they’re able to pursue a Tardis is probably in or pretty close to the Time War.
The Tom Baker Adventure, ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ had the Time Lords sending the Doctor back to commit genocide – normally a ‘no no’ for Time Lord ethics… They put Colin Baker’s Doctor on trial on a charge of genocide. So wiping out the Daleks doesn’t make sense, unless this was a part of the Time War.
So what tips us over to including it in continuity with the new series? Apart from the behind the scenes stuff?
Two characters – the Richard Grant Doctor, and the Derek Jacobi Master.
We’re not lucky enough to have Richard Grant play the Doctor explicitly in the new series. Connecting his character in the new series to the Doctor is a project in itself. So instead, let’s start with the Master, who we’ve already kind of linked loosely to Curse of Fatal Death. We’re not going to revisit that. Rather, let’s go on to the other challenge:
How does the Shalka Master link to the new series?
Now, here’s an interesting thing: Derek Jacobi also plays the Master in the new series. In Utopia, in the Tenant Doctor era, Jacobi is kindly old Professor Yana, who it turns out, is actually the Master in hiding. Basically, the Master was unwillingly recruited into the Time War, fled to the end of the Universe, and used the Chameleon Arch to disguise himself as a regular human being and forget he was a Time Lord. Until the Doctor shows up, and he remembers…. The Jacobi Master, shortly after recovering himself, is iced and becomes the Simm Master.
There you have it – Derek Jacobi plays the Master in both Shalka and in the series itself. Hell of a coincidence. And a ‘solid’ link connecting the series to Shalka. I mean, he plays the same character in both…. What more do you want?
(Okay, yes, he got de-borged apparently, so what?)
Maybe I’m making too much of this. After all, David Tenant has a voice role as the ‘Caretaker’ in Shalka. And Sophie Okonedo, who will appear in the Matt Smith era as the Queen of England in the new series has a major role as ‘Alison’ a bartender. But we’re not using them to bolster the continuity argument. The truth is that England is a small place, and really, there are just a handful of actors, so if you wait long enough, they’ll show up in everything.
Still, the difference between Jacobi, Tenant and Okonedo here is that Tenant and Okunado are not playing their new series characters – they play explicitly different people. Derek Jacobi is actually playing the same character, the Master, in both Shalka and the new series.
Now, this makes things particularly interesting. We have the Grant Doctor in Curse and Scream at least loosely connected to the Doctor Who universe through the linkage of the Master. And Shalka and the new series directly connecting through the actor playing the role of the Master.
Here’s where it gets cool: We also have Richard Grant in a recurring role as the Great Intelligence. Is there anything to connect the Great Intelligence to the Doctor, beyond the fact that they’re adversaries?28 November 2013 at 17:43 #21905
@scaryb Just a quick follow up thought on some of your remarks. It got me thinking – yes, Day of the Doctor and Name of the Doctor shows us that the Doctor can easily overlook an entire regeneration/identity, either ignoring it or actually blocking it out or forgetting it. And as you’ve pointed out the presence of the Baker Doctor at the end seems to mean that the Doctor can return to previous ‘incarnations.’
Following up on that, the official story which seems to be bruited about in anticipation of Time of the Doctor, is that the Tenant Doctor had a full regeneration in Journey’s End. Okay. Well, that wasn’t how I saw it back when, but hey, weird, weird stuff went on, so people can characterize it however they want. Apparently for story purposes, the Tenant Doctor is now 11th and 12th – ie, he essentially regenerated into himself.
Well, that opens up all sorts of bizarre possibilities. If the Doctor can regenerate back to an earlier form, or regenerate into himself, then hypothetically, we could have any number of ‘intermediate’ or ‘hidden doctors’ – The Barbara Benedetti Doctor from Seattle International Pictures, could well have been a regeneration from Colin Baker and then a regeneration back. The Doctor’s life could be more complicated than we imagine.28 November 2013 at 18:08 #21907Anonymous @
@denvaldron — I am totally in awe of your attempts to create a unified canon. Just not sure it works totally. Or is even necessary. But definite kudos for the level of thought you’ve put into it. But personally I think it’s OK to have a few contradictory loose ends. For example, where would you place Trevor Martin’s 1974 Doctor, for instance (and never mind the fact that his assistant was a dead ringer for Zoe despite being called Jenny).
With regards to Shalka. Personally I’ve always hated it. Partially for some of the reasons you cite — standard of animation etc. But I also hated the story. I’m usually a big fan of Cornell’s work but I think it misfired on every level. I hated the idea of the robot Master, which seemed to just disembowel the concept of that character. It’s only saved by a nicely self-effacing performance by Jacobi.
And don’t get me started on Richard E Grant’s Doctor. The worst performance from what I largely consider to be an entire career of wooden performances. Grant was great in his two ventures with Bruce Robinson but since then I can’t help but feel that he’s been dining out on the goodwill that they gave him ever since. And apart from the phoned-in Doctor performance he gave, his attitude to the whole venture kind of sucked to me as well. (Which is why I’m kind of bemused when people still mention him as a possible future Doctor. I mean, he had two chances at it and he was average (Fatal Death) to awful (Shalka).
So I don’t really have a problem with him being written out of canon and the idea of him being written back in kind of gives me the shivers to be quite honest. Personally after the events of The Name of the Doctor I think I swing to the idea that the Shalka Doctor was actually the Great Intelligence pissing about in the Doctor’s timeline, claiming to be the Doctor in order to attain some nefarious end (perhaps ensure that someone who needed to trust the Doctor later on would absolutely not do so).28 November 2013 at 18:40 #21912
@jimthefish Is it unnecessary? Yes, certainly. But then, everything worthwhile in life is unnecessary. The question is, is it fun? Is it interesting?
I can understand where you are coming from. I hated the Scream of the Shalka on first run through. The crappy flash animation and unfriendly download format was incredibly distracting, the Shalka Doctor starts out as a cold and unappealing fish, and you can clearly tell that everyone involved – actors, directors and animators were struggling with a format that was new to them. I came away with a very bad first impression.
But after sufficient time had passed for the bad taste to fade a little, I began to consider the circumstances and format, and particularly the limitations of 2003 bandwidth. I took another look, made allowances for teething, and was quite surprised and pleased to find the characters and the story warming up after a decidedly rocky start. A couple of episodes in, and I was starting to like the Shalka Doctor, in part because the character itself was becoming likeable – on an emotional journey from unlikeable isolation to caring about people again, and in part because Grant actually did seem to be getting a handle on both the role and the particular requirements of doing a ‘voice only’ role.
So, I’ve come to forgive the Shalka its sins, and even come to like it. It’s a quirky addition to the history of Who. And an interesting ‘road not travelled.’ Any new thing has bugs and teething problems. I think that if the Shalka Doctor had proceeded we might have seen considerable improvement as it found its feet and worked out the kinks.
I dunno. I guess I’m contrary. I find I’m willing to be quite forgiving of small productions which honestly try hard but have their flaws, and I can be quite unforgiving of gigantic and expensive productions which indulge in the stupid. I suppose that it comes from being an original Whovian, where at points, I was just asked to go along with a plastic garbage bag being an alien, or giant salt and pepper shakers being a cosmic threat. Let’s face it, there’s much in Doctor Who that is tosh, or even outright crap. But you have to look past that, to the strengths and imagination of the series.
Just don’t get me started on Jurassic Park: Lost World, hundreds of millions of dollars spent, state of the art CGI, top line actors, and I felt that I was being punched in the face by the stupid all through the movie.
But on to the great intelligence….28 November 2013 at 18:40 #21913IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant28 November 2013 at 18:53 #21915
The Great Intelligence is foe from two adventures in the Troughton Era, ‘The Abominable Snowman’ and ‘Web of Fear’, who appears in three stories of the Matt Smith era, ‘The Snowmen’, ‘Bells of Saint Mary’s’ and ‘Name of the Doctor.’
For what it’s worth, the Great Intelligence also features in Reeltime productions ‘Downtime’ along with Victoria Waterfield, Sarah Jane Smith and the Brigadier. Downtime’s been looking a lot better since the character of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, created here, migrated to the main series. Also, it’s got the best Yetis ever (in some ways, that’s like being the World’s tallest Midget, the Shortest Giant, the Skinniest Fat Lady, etc., but … just go with it).
In terms of the Great Intelligence’s Chronology, it appears very very roughly as follows:
* Unknown – the Monk Padmasavambha meets the Troughton Doctor. The Doctor recalls meeting the Monk centuries before and is surprised he is still alive, but shows no indication of having encountered the Great Intelligence before. (Abominable Snowman)
* 390 years ago, the Great Intelligence makes contact with and possesses the Tibetan Monk, Padmasavamha. (Abominable Snowman)
* 1860 it apparently comes to Earth and makes contact with the rather sociopathic and lonely child Walter Simeon. Simeon will grow up and found the Great Intelligence Institute. (Snowmen)
* 1892-93 the Great Intelligence is manifesting carnivorous snowmen and trying to build a human body. The Doctor and Madame Vastra foil the Great Intelligence, Simeon dies, but the Great Intelligence takes his name and face. The Doctor gives it a map of the London Subway system for the 1960’s and tells it it’s important. (Snowmen)
* 1895 (approx) the Great Intelligence interrupts a seance of Madame Vastra and her associates, as they try to commune with River Song and Clara Oswald in the dreamtime. It also sends information to a prisoner, with the coordinates in time and space for Trenzalore. (Name of the Doctor)
* 1935 the Great Intelligence, controlling the Monk Padhasavambha, encounters the Troughton Doctor in Tibet. Either the Monk or the Intelligence remembers the Doctor from a pervious meeting. It appears intent on creating a corporeal body. It possesses the mind of one of the Doctor’s Companions, and animates the body of Padhasvambha after he dies. In the meantime, until a body comes along, it uses ‘robots’ disguised as Yeti. (Abominable Snowmem)
* 1966 the Great Intelligence attacks the London Subway system, once again using Yeti Robots. It possesses the mind of one person, reanimates another deceased body. It also manages to hijack or draw the Tardis down somehow, to this time and place. It turns out its entire plot and main objective is to absorb the Doctor’s mind. (Web of Fear)
* 1970 the Great Intelligence manipulates one of the Doctor’s former companions to create a ‘New Age’ University in England as its tool. It gets into computers and tries to rule the world from the Internet. It also employs Yeti robots, and can somehow transform people into them. (Downtime)
* 1995 the Great Intelligence uses the internet to suck peoples minds, but is foiled by the Brigadier and Sarah Jane. The Doctor doesn’t get involved in this one. (Downtime)
* 2013 the Great Intelligence is sucking people’s minds out through the computer Wi-Fi through the use of ‘spoonhead’ androids. It swallows thousands of intelligences and personalities before being foiled by the Doctor. (Bells of St. Mary’s)
* Unknown Time, Gallifrey – A Yeti attacks the Master and Troughton Doctor in the Death Zone, in the Five Doctors. That poses some questions. The Yeti is a tool of the Great Intelligence, and inanimate without it. The monsters in the Death Zone were apparently recruited by the Time Lord Borusa. Did Borusa recruit the Yeti? Did he operate it? Was the Intelligence operating the Yeti? With Borusa’s consent? Or as an independent agent with or without Borusa’s knowledge? Could the Intelligence reach all the way to Gallifrey? Is the Intelligence connected to Gallifrey in some way? Interesting to speculate, but no hard information. (Five Doctors)
* Unknown far future, deep space. The Great Intelligence forces the Doctor to Trenzalore, follows him there, forces the opening of the Doctor’s tomb, and merges with the Doctor’s timeline – resulting in its death.
So what do we know or not know about the Great Intelligence? Well, we don’t know where it comes from, whether outer space, the astral plane, some other dimension, the past, the future, or wherever. We don’t know its origin or creation story. We don’t know if it previously had a body and lost it, or if its always been what it is.
PADMASAMBHAVA: Intelligence. Formless in space. I astral travelled.
DOCTOR: I see. You made mental contact with this intelligence?
PADMASAMBHAVA: It used my mind. It controls my body.
DOCTOR: But why?
PADMASAMBHAVA: Experiment. Wished material form. A voice, it said. I believed. Experiment. But now. Help. (Abominable Snowmen)
In the ‘Abominable Snowmen’ there’s some indication that the Great Intelligence may have encountered the Doctor before, or knows of him. It speaks with substantial familiarity:
GI [OC]: (harsh and rasping) The Doctor. So. He has returned.
GI [OC]: …..we must make certain that Doctor learns nothing of what is happening. He is a man of great knowledge and intelligence, but he may not show sympathy for the powers that guide us. He may even seek to hinder the Great Plan. (Abominable Snowmen)
Chronologically, of course, the Abominable Snowmen takes place in 1935. Technically, the Doctor’s first encounter with the Great Intelligence is in 1892 in London, in the Matt Smith episode, ‘The Snowmen.’ So apparently, from the Intelligence’s point of view… assuming that the Intelligence itself isn’t bopping through time as well, it has met the Doctor before.
But controlling Dr. Simeon in London between 1860 and 1892 seems inconsistent with possessing or manipulating Padmasambhava in Tibet for three hundred years up to 1935. Can it be in two places at once? Was it commuting back and forth between London and Tibet? Was it just multitasking like crazy? Maybe the Great Intelligence can move through time and space, and the Monk and Simeon are two different places along what it experiences as a linear timeline. Who knows…
It might get a little tricky. In The Name of the Doctor, the Great Intelligence moves all the way from invading dreams in the 19th century, to the planet Trenzalore in deep space far in the future or past. And as we’ve speculated, it might have been active on Gallifrey. This implies that the Intelligence isn’t really bound by time or space, which make figuring its timeline a mugs game.
Padmasambhava has encountered the Doctor before, centuries before, during his protracted life. But the Troughton Doctor doesn’t seem to have encountered the Intelligence, then, or possibly at all.
DOCTOR: Oh no, it isn’t. I know Padmasambhava. He’s my friend. Where have you come from? Why are you using his body in this fashion? (Abominable Snowmen)
These passages tell us some very significant things. This is new to him. He has no idea what it is, or where it comes from. So if he did encounter the Intelligence in Pamasambhava, it concealed itself from him. Or if the Intelligence has encountered the Doctor apart from that, then it must have been a later Doctor, most likely the Smith Doctor in the Snowmen.
In the Doctor’s timeline, the Troughton Doctor really has no idea what the Intelligence is, where it comes from, or what it wants. In the next appearance, in Web of Fear, set in 1966, (third encounter for the Great Intelligence chronologically) it’s clear that the Doctor has only the vaguest idea of what it is:
COLONEL: ….tell me, Doctor, this Intelligence, exactly what is it?
DOCTOR: Well, I wish I could give you a precise answer. Perhaps the best way to describe it is a sort of formless, shapeless thing floating about in space like a cloud of mist, only with a mind and will.
COLONEL: What’s it after? What’s it want?
DOCTOR: I wish I knew. The only thing I know for sure is that it brought me here. (Web of Fear)
In Web of Fear, it’s the transfer of some of the Intelligence’s relics to London that enables it to reactivate there in the 1960’s. The Troughton Doctor has no idea why the Intelligence is attacking the London Underground. But of course, we know that in the new series, in the ‘Snowmen’ the Smith Doctor gave it the map on a lunch box and told it it was important.
The Smith Doctor theorizes that it’s just a psychic snow, reflecting back and amplifying the child, Walter Simeon’s growing psychosis, he calls it a parasite. Of course, the Smith Doctor could be wrong, it continues to thrive and survive without it’s Simeon host.
In the Web of Fear, it becomes clear that the Great Intelligence is very interested in the Doctor. It’s established early on that it is the Intelligence that has drawn the Tardis to London in the 1960’s, and is holding it there. Ultimately, the Doctor is the target of the Intelligence’s plot.
GI: Through time and space, I have observed you, Doctor. Your mind surpasses that of all other creatures.
DOCTOR: What do you want?
GI: You! Your mind will be invaluable to me. Therefore I have invented a machine that will drain all past knowledge and experience from your mind. (Web of Fear)
So what do we get from that? It’s also apparently powerful enough to draw and hold the Tardis. To what purpose? It wants the Doctor’s memories. Oddly, it seems almost civil about the whole thing.
VICTORIA: But you’ll kill him!
GI: Oh no, he will survive, his mind unharmed. Only empty as a newborn child’s. (Web of Fear)
Ironically, in the new series, that’s exactly what the Doctor will end up doing to the Intelligence’s host, Doctor Simeon, in the Snowmen in 1982, and to a lesser extent, will inadvertently do to the Intelligence’s human pawns, in 2013. Erase their memories, leaving them unharmed but as empty as a child.
The Great Intelligence is clearly a bodiless, incorporeal identity or intelligent being. We don’t know if it ever had a body, but we do know that it seems to want one now. Despite this, it can possess or control living human minds, and it can reanimate dead bodies. You’d think that would be enough, but it wants one to call its own, apparently. Both the Snowmen, and the Abominable Snowmen deal with its quest to create a physical body. To the extent it has a self image, distinct from the minds it possesses or bodies it animates, it’s Richard Grant’s face.
The Great Intelligence, for all its moralising in Name of the Doctor is not a nice being. It kills a bunch of poor people for laughs in the Snowmen. In the Abominable Snowman, it kills several monks because they’ve gotten in the way. It’s indiscriminately murderous in Web of Fear. And in Bells of St. Mary’s and Downtime…. let’s just say, it’s no respecter of free will and personal space. While it can be quite civil and occasionally personable, it is entirely ruthless.
So what exactly is the thing going on between the Great Intelligence and the Doctor? Well, the events of the “Name of the Doctor” are very intriguing. Among other things, the Great Intelligence is very knowledgeable about the Doctor’s history. Too knowledgeable.
GI: Welcome to the final resting place of the cruel tyrant. Of the slaughterer of the ten billion, and the vessel of the final darkness. Welcome to the tomb of the Doctor.
GI: It was a minor skirmish, by the Doctor’s blood-soaked standards. Not exactly the Time War, but enough to finish him. In the end, it was too much for the old man.
VASTRA: The Doctor has been many things, but never blood-soaked.
GI: Tell that to the leader of the Sycorax, or Solomon the trader, or the Cybermen, or the Daleks. The Doctor lives his life in darker hues, day upon day, and he will have other names before the end. The Storm, the Beast, the Valeyard.
VASTRA: Even if any of this were true, which I take the liberty of doubting, how did you come by this information?
GI: I am information. (Name of the Doctor)
That’s peculiar when you stop to think about it. The Great Intelligence knows a lot more about the Doctor’s career than its own run ins with the Doctor. That’s kind of interesting. When we’ve encountered other villains or enemies, like the Cybermen, they often go over their own history with the Doctor. I remember one old series scene where the Cybermen reviewed the different regenerations of the Doctor that they’d fought. But this is different. Somehow, the Great Intelligence knows, not just its own history with the Doctor. It knows the Doctor’s whole history.
Specifically, the Great Intellligence is aware of and referencing recent specific actions of the Doctor that it simply was not present for, not involved in, and shouldn’t and couldn’t possibly know – the death of Solomon at the ‘hands’ of the Doctor in ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ and the Sycorax in ‘The Christmas Invasion.’
Now, the Sycorax… I can understand that, after all, that was pretty public stuff, it was right there in all the newspapers, the British government had all sorts of files. The Prime Minister got brought down over it. All the Great Intelligence really has to do is snoop the internet.
On the other hand, what went on in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship…. That takes place in the future, when India is a superpower, and it takes place in deep space, on a long voyage ship. Not even the Doctor’s companions, apart from Nefertiti got the full skinny on that one, and its not like there were a lot of other witnesses. Nefertiti wasn’t leaving stuff on the internet. So how did he know about that? Where would he get that information?
Okay, so maybe the Great Intelligence was just paying attention to the Doctor…. including the Doctor’s adventures in the future of Earth?
GI: ….The Doctor lives his life in darker hues, day upon day, and he will have other names before the end. The Storm, the Beast, the Valeyard. (Name of the Doctor)
The Great Intelligence knows about the Valeyard, the Doctor’s final, evil regeneration, seen in trial of a Time Lord. That’s many incarnations down the road. Not only several regenerations from now, but on Gallifrey, in the Matrix, in the future, and probably not the sort of information that the Time Lords are interested in getting out. I suspect that knowledge of the Valeyard is restricted to the highest members of Council.
How does he know about the Valeyard? Was the Great Intelligence present at the Trial of a Timelord? Did it raid the Matrix or go galoophing on Gallifrey? Because right now, Gallifrey is toast, as is everyone else who should or could have known about the Valeyard…. You can’t even reach Gallifrey’s past, its under a time lock. So how does the Great Intelligence know?
GI: It was a minor skirmish, by the Doctor’s blood-soaked standards. Not exactly the Time War, but enough to finish him. In the end, it was too much for the old man. (Name of the Doctor)
Okay, so here, the Great Intelligence is alluding directly to the Time War, and apparently knows all about that. And he knows about the final battle where the Doctor died…. Throw in the reference to the Cybermen and Daleks…. And its clear that the Great Intelligence knows a lot about both the Doctor’s past and the future, the Doctor’s entire history.
How does the Great Intelligence know about Trenzalore?
RIVER: You too, Strax. Wake up now!
(River throws her champagne into his face. Strax sits up in Glasgow, surrounded by the same creatures. Apparently they are known as Whisper Men. They are also with Clara and River.)
WHISPER MEN: Tell the Doctor. Tell the Doctor. Tell the Doctor.
CLARA: Tell him what?
(The face of the Great Intelligence appears.)
GI: His friends are lost for ever more, unless he goes to Trenzalore.
GI: The doors require a key. The key is a word. And the word is the Doctor’s.
GI: Open the door, Doctor. Speak, and open your tomb.
GI: The key is a word lost to time. A secret hidden in the deepest shadow and know to you alone. The answer to a question.
GI: Doctor, what is your name? (Name of the Doctor)
How does it know any of this? How does it know what Trenzalore is? Or that it’s the place where the Doctor died? How does it know that there’s a tomb there? The secret of the Tomb? How does it know the key to opening the Doctor’s Tomb is the true name of the Doctor? How could the Great Intelligence possibly know this…
And for that matter, how does the Great Intelligence get around? Yeah, it’s a disembodied intelligence, but you know, it accosts Madame Vastra in the 19th century, how does it get all the way out to Trenzalore on the other side of the universe, long after the Doctor has died? Clearly, the Great Intelligence seems to be able to move through space and time. What about that?
DOCTOR: I know. I’m sorry. Now then, Doctor Simeon, or Mister G Intelligence, whatever I call you, do you know what’s in there?
GI: For me, peace at last. For you, pain everlasting. Won’t you invite us in?
SIMEON: Less poetry, Doctor. Just tell them.
DOCTOR: Time travel is damage. It’s like a tear in the fabric of reality. That is the scar tissue of my journey through the universe. My path through time and space from Gallifrey to Trenzalore.
GL: The Doctor’s life is a open wound. And an open wound can be entered. (Name of the Doctor)
Here’s the thing – the Great Intelligence doesn’t just know where the Doctor died, and where his tomb is. It knows what’s in the tomb, what it represents, and how to use it.
How could it possibly have this information? Madame Kovarian would have given her ovaries to have that information. The Silence would have shouted for joy to get it. The Companions certainly don’t know it, never heard it.
In fact, at this point, it should be almost impossible for the Great Intelligence to know. The Doctor, after his adventures with the Silence, Madame Kovarian and his apparent death by the impossible astronaut has taken steps to erase his records from the universe. As we see in the mini-episode “The Inforarium.”
So where does the Great Intelligence get this information? How? If the Doctor’s erased all records and information about himself, if he’s concealing himself from History, how is it that the Great Intelligence seems to know the Doctor’s past and future, on and off earth, including seemingly impossible things, so intimately?
How? Or Who?
The only other person who knows, the only person who could possibly know, apart from the Great Intelligence…. is the Doctor.
GI: Welcome to the final resting place of the cruel tyrant. Of the slaughterer of the ten billion, and the vessel of the final darkness. Welcome to the tomb of the Doctor. (Name of the Doctor)
The contempt and hatred of the Great Intelligence for the Doctor in this episode is profound. He describes the Doctor as basically a world class monster, a genocidal, destructive force. This seems a bit harsh… until we realize that if the Great Intelligence knows about the Doctor’s present and future, he may also know what the Doctor did in the Time War, may have been a witness to the Hurt Doctor.
In short – the Great Intelligence really hates the Doctor, and he states reasons that the Doctor deserves to be hated…. He doesn’t just hate the Doctor, he’s got a case, examples and everything. Several of which he shouldn’t be able to know. Weird.
Now…. let me take you to another Tenant Episode, “Amy’s Choice” and a conversation that Doctor has with a character calling itself the ‘Dream Lord’:
DOCTOR: Drop it. Drop all of it. I know who you are.
DREAM LORD: Course you don’t.
DOCTOR: Course I do. No idea how you can be here, but there’s only one person in the universe who hates me as much as you do (Amy’s Choice)
And later in the same episode….
DOCTOR: No, no. No. Sorry, wasn’t it obvious? The Dream Lord was me. Psychic pollen. It’s a mind parasite. It feeds on everything dark in you, gives it a voice, turns it against you. I’m nine hundred and seven. It had a lot to go on. (Amy’s Choice)
That’s pretty suggestive. There’s only one person in the Universe who could hate the Doctor that much…. There’s a streak of self loathing in the Doctor. The comment in Amy’s Choice is the most blatant of course. But you can find similar sentiments running through the Doctor’s history, even in the old series. There’s a lot of regrets in there.
So not only does the Great Intelligence possess an apparently impossible level of knowledge of the Doctor’s past and future, he holds a loathing much like the Doctor’s own self loathing.
In the end, the Great Intelligence merges with the Doctor’s Timestream. Allegedly to take revenge upon the Doctor. To destroy the Doctor, and avenge all the injustices and injuries perpetrated by the Doctor… even at the cost of the Great Intelligence’s own existence.
Hold on a second there – the Doctor says that it will destroy the Great Intelligence, to which the Great Intelligence replies ‘fine, I’m down with that, buckaroo’ (he didn’t really say it, but that’s the gist.) But minutes later in ‘Name of the Doctor’ Clara Oswald goes in. Let’s go back and take another look, shall we… What does the Doctor actually say is going to happen to the Great Intelligence:
DOCTOR: No, it would destroy you.
DOCTOR: It will burn you up. Once you go through, you can’t come back. You will be scattered along my timeline like confetti. (Name of the Doctor)
And here’s what the River says is going to happen to Clara Oswald:
RIVER: Whatever you’re thinking of doing, don’t.
CLARA: If I step in there, what happens?
RIVER: The time winds will tear you into a million pieces. A million versions of you, living and dying all over time and space, like echoes.
CLARA: But the echoes could save the Doctor, right?
RIVER: But they won’t be you. The real you will die. They’ll just be copies. (Name of the Doctor)
That’s pretty consistent. But that’s not quite how the Great Intelligence see’s its own fate.
What the Great Intelligence says, is easy to overlook or misinterpret. The Doctor and River are claiming that the same things will happen to Clara and the Great Intelligence. But the Great Intelligence subtly contradicts the Doctor…
GI: The Doctor’s life is a open wound. And an open wound can be entered.
DOCTOR: No, it would destroy you.
GI: Not at all. It will kill me. It will destroy you. I can rewrite your every living moment. I can turn every one of you victories into defeats. Poison every friendship. Deliver pain to your every breath. (Name of the Doctor)
GI: For me, peace at last. For you, pain everlasting. Won’t you invite us in? (Name of the Doctor)
“Not at all’? “Peace for me at last?”
There’s something peculiar here. The Doctor talks about both the Great Intelligence and Clara being torn into confetti, scattered over a million moments. That’s what he means when he says ‘destroy you’, and that’s what he talks about to both Clara and the Great Intelligence.
But listen to the Great intelligence. He is arguing with the Doctor. The Doctor and River may be right on in terms of what happens when Clara enters his time stream. But the Great Intelligence got a subtly different take on what will happen to him when he merges with the Doctor’s time stream.
“Not at all.”
– It won’t destroy him, he’s not going to be torn to confetti and scattered over a million moments of the Doctor’s life. “It will kill me.” “Peace at last.” Killed, rather than destroyed. He’s going to be ended, stopped, erased. He will find oblivion, not confetti. “Peace at last…”
And then he makes the emphatic point – “It will destroy you.” The Great Intelligence is killing itself, ending itself, to destroy the Doctor. And then there’s this “I can rewrite your every living moment…”
Not just being there, like Clara, not just kind of being this person who perpetually shows up everywhere, over and over, in life after life… he’s going to rewrite the Doctor’s life. Meaning, he’s going to be there, living in the Doctor’s life and rewriting it. Well, there’s only one way that works.
And of course, here’s the thing – when Clara enters the Doctor’s timestream, she sees all sorts of Doctors, and all the incarnations of his memories. Even the one he won’t remember. But there’s someone missing. Where is the Great Intelligence? The Great Intelligence should be right there at every moment that Clara is.
Why isn’t the Doctor’s history one of Clara eternally tussling in the background with the Great Intelligence? She never sees it, hears it, never encounters or runs across it. Unlike Clara… the Great Intelligence vanished when it hit the Doctor’s timestream, merged with the Doctor’s existence in a way that Clara didn’t.
It seems to me that the story is saying, and the Great Intelligence is pretty clearly saying here that it is the Doctor, and it is intent on suicide, but not just suicide of itself, of retro-suicide, erasing the Doctor’s whole history. “Peace at last.” Well, to quote the series… Who else could hate the Doctor so much as to want not only death, but to unmake his history?
You put all this together, and really, it’s hard to avoid the possibility that the Great Intelligence is some sort of disembodied, half-insane incarnation of the Doctor.
Okay, but you’ll say to me… the fact that it might be possible that doesn’t prove the Great Intelligence is actually some sort of schism or avatar of the Doctor.
Yeah, it’s all circumstantial evidence. I’ll admit, that if all I had to go on was the Day of the Doctor, and the other appearances of the Great Intelligence in the Troughton and Smith eras…. well, I’d have a suggestive case, but it wouldn’t quite be proof.
But let me remind you, that the face of the Great Intelligence in three episodes was the face of the Doctor in Scream and Curse. In short, you had an actor who had established somewhat as the Doctor, playing the Great Intellligence. Within the logic and continuity of the series and the productions, that’s pretty suggestive.
And let’s face it…. the producers and show runners knew Richard Grant’s prior turns as the Doctor when they cast him. Steven Moffat, who wrote ‘Curse of Fatal Death’ certainly knew Grant’s turn as the Doctor in that special, clearly knew his turn as the ‘Doctor in Shalka’, and wrote every episode featuring the Great Intelligence in the new series… So it might be a coincidence… Or it might not be. It’s entirely possible that it was in their minds, you can’t rule that out.
And then there’s the other stuff: Throw in the Jacobi Master. Throw in the similarities in tone and style between Shalka and the modern series. Throw in the Doctor/Master connections between Curse and Scream. Throw in all the connections that Curse has to the old series, new series and even the movie. And the circumstantial evidence becomes overwhelming.
One bit here, we could discount that. Even a couple of bits, something here, something there, well it can be overlooked. But after a while, the sheer volume of connections and overlaps and crossovers starts to become insurmountable, the weight of it becomes irresistible.
Ladies and Gentlemen, voila…
One more hat trick…28 November 2013 at 19:06 #21917Anonymous @
‘Bells of Saint Mary’s’
You’re in TL:DR territory. And you don’t encourage people to read your long posts when you make that kind of error so close to the beginning.28 November 2013 at 19:19 #21919
Bell’s of St Mary’s
That one took place in a branch line of an alternative timeline (manipulated by the GI then retconned by a Claricle)
🙂28 November 2013 at 19:23 #21920
Correction: Bells of St. John. Thank you for pointing out that glitch.28 November 2013 at 20:00 #21926
Shouldn’t this be in the
fanwankfan creativity section? Or is that place reserved for slash (I wouldn’t know – it is the one bit of board I never look)?
Tell me @pedant – back on the Guardian, what would your summation be of someone who dismissed something with contempt, while confessing that they hadn’t really had a look?
There is a word, I’m sure. Begins with “T”.28 November 2013 at 20:12 #21927DickieGarvey @dickiegarvey
Does anyone else think that Tom Hiddleston would make an amazing master even if only for a one of him and cap also bouncing off each other could be amazing 🙂28 November 2013 at 20:23 #2193028 November 2013 at 21:49 #21939Craig @craigEmperor
@denvaldron Sorry there’s been a bit of negativity towards your posts. I for one really like what you write and hope you will continue to contribute despite the reaction you’re getting from some. You have a thumbs up from me.
Your posts are bonkers and entertaining (everything we want here). I have no idea why some people are reacting as they are and I hope they don’t put you off and that they will think twice in future.
Yes, I do mean you. Apologies, but I think you’re not being terribly inclusive. Especially as a lot of time and effort, and a lot of creative thought, is being put in by DenValdron. You may not like it, but that’s something that can be debated with civility, surely?28 November 2013 at 21:59 #21940Anonymous @
Shouldn’t this be in the fanwank fan creativity section? Or is that place reserved for slash (I wouldn’t know – it is the one bit of board I never look)?
You really should. There is, for example, some rather excellent fiction on there….28 November 2013 at 22:11 #21941Anonymous @
–Interesting post on the GI. And echoes some of my own ideas about it. Just to reiterate them.
1. That the events of the Web of Fear ended up with some of the Doctor’s mind being uploaded to the GI. That the GI essentially became Doctor-ised at this point. Wouldn’t this account the link you posit between the Doctor and the GI and its fascination for the Doctor.
2. That the GI could somehow be the Matrix, sundered from the time-locked Gallifrey and having gained (or been given) sentience.
Good point about The Five Doctors btw. That thing about the Yeti has always bugged the crap out of me but I’d just always assumed that it was Borusa controlling it, standing in for the GI.
Also good point about chronology with Smith’s encounter with the GI technically being the first. And has it ever been explained why he doesn’t seem to remember the GI in that episode? If the GI is a disembodied, formless thing, could a case be made for it being unaffected by time also? Therefore it can’t necessarily follow the chronology of its encounters with the Doc but merely that it is somehow linked to him and that he is the enemy?
As to your final point, are you saying that with all the links between Scream and the new series that Shalka Doc is meant to be connected to the GI in some way. As I said above, that’s about the only way I could countenance the Shalka Doc being canon. Or are you suggesting something else?
You’re probably right that I should revisit Shalka. I’m just not sure I could bring myself to do so. I just remember thinking at the time ‘if this is the future of Who then I’m done with it’. The revived series was such a damn relief for me that that wasn’t the last gasp of Who. But fair play to you for persevering with it and giving it a second chance.28 November 2013 at 23:46 #21944IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant
I can’t think of anything much more excluding that lecturing other users on “storytelling 101” in the style of a over-condident 6th former (or whatever they are called these days, and if over-confident 6th former isn’t an oxymoron) and then whining about passive aggression.
By the same token, tolerating massive wodges of text on a format that is simply not designed for it, letting it swamp every other discussion, is about as off putting and contrary to any concept inclusiveness as is possible.
@phaseshift – I’ll leave you to work out the honking great fallacy in your question. Message understood?28 November 2013 at 23:49 #21945
Also good point about chronology with Smith’s encounter with the GI technically being the first. And has it ever been explained why he doesn’t seem to remember the GI in that episode?
I don’t think so. I think that it might be possible that it has honestly slipped his mind, there’s six or seven hundred years between the last encounter of the Troughton Doctor and the first encounter with the Smith Doctor. My own take on it is that he’s misdiagnosed the Great Intelligence in the Snowmen. He remembers clearly the being he twice encountered as Troughton, but he’s formed an exclusive theory of ‘psychic snow’ – in essence, he completely misunderstands what he’s dealing with. This is why he’s so shocked when wiping Simeon’s memory doesn’t dissipate the Great Intelligence. He might figure it out on reflection, especially after remembering that he gave it a London Subway map for the 1960’s and what that might lead to.
But this highlights another problem for the Great Intelligence – the Abominable Snowmen has it coming to Earth in the 1600’s, and the Snowmen seems to show it coming to Earth in the 1800’s.
If the GI is a disembodied, formless thing, could a case be made for it being unaffected by time also? Therefore it can’t necessarily follow the chronology of its encounters with the Doc but merely that it is somehow linked to him and that he is the enemy?
I’ve wondered about that myself. The Great Intelligence seems able to boot itself to Trenzalore on the other side of whever in the far future/past, while harassing the Doctor’s pals in the 19th century. This implies that it may not be bound by space and time, or may not be required to experience space and time in the linear sense that we do.
In which case, things get very strange. The only chonology that we could construct for the great intelligence would be in the context of relationships in its own life. So let’s see…. We would then know that the Snowmen takes place before Web of Fear because of the London Subway map connection. And we would know that the Name of the Doctor is the last event of its life. That seems to be pretty much a lock.
Apart from that, Abominable Snowmen, Web of Fear, Downtime and the Five Doctors all feature Yeti, which seems to have been its ‘go to’ instrument. But the Yeti robots don’t make sense as constructs outside the Himalayas, so we’d have to assume that it genuinely started using Yeti in Abominable Snowmen, and possibly continued to use them later in its ‘life’ as useful tools in Web of Fear and Downtime. Which would mean that the Great Intelligence’s existence was roughly matching linear chronology. Or maybe they were just accessible tools at those particular points in time and space, in which case, we can’t tell.
Downtime probably relates to Bells of St. Mary’s because in both cases its using a very similar tactic. But in Bells of St. Mary’s, it’s using a lot more sophisticated constructs than Yetis. Is that just the tools available to it, or does that suggest its a more mature entity? Again, useful to speculate, but difficult to say.
As to your final point, are you saying that with all the links between Scream and the new series that Shalka Doc is meant to be connected to the GI in some way. As I said above, that’s about the only way I could countenance the Shalka Doc being canon. Or are you suggesting something else?
I think that my basic thesis, as developing, is that the Great Intelligence is in fact the disembodied, formless, remnant of the Grant Doctor of Scream of the Shalka, that Doctor having regenerated from the Atkinson Doctor in Curse of Fatal Death. Basically, the Atkinson and Grant Doctors represent a ‘hidden line’ in Doctor Who – and something really awful ended up happening to the Grant Doctor which produced the GI.
1. That the events of the Web of Fear ended up with some of the Doctor’s mind being uploaded to the GI. That the GI essentially became Doctor-ised at this point. Wouldn’t this account the link you posit between the Doctor and the GI and its fascination for the Doctor.
2. That the GI could somehow be the Matrix, sundered from the time-locked Gallifrey and having gained (or been given) sentience.
Holy Crap!!! Those are terrific ideas! Not ones I’m advancing myself, as you can tell, I’ve gone off in a different direction. But both of them make very interesting theories as to the GI’s fascination with the Doctor and his super-ordinary and apparently impossible knowledge of the Doctor’s life.
Let me throw in a wild card, just to make things interesting. My main argument is that the GI is actually a disembodied fragment or rendition of the Doctor, derived from the Grant Doctor. Okay, I still think that’s pretty nifty, cause it folds in all three Grant appearances, and explains the knowledge and obsession of the GI. Interestingly, the GI also goes by the name ‘Doctor’ – ‘Doctor Simeon’. I was thinking ‘Doctor Simeon’ might be a little tip off to the GI’s true identity. But go and look at ‘Abominable Snowmen’ – the GI inhabits or possesses the Monk. And what is the Monk also called by in the story…. ‘the Master!’ Well, just the ‘Master’ the exclamation point is mine. But you get where I’m going. The interpretation that the GI is actually a disembodied version of the Master seems to work almost as well.
You’re probably right that I should revisit Shalka. I’m just not sure I could bring myself to do so. I just remember thinking at the time ‘if this is the future of Who then I’m done with it’. The revived series was such a damn relief for me that that wasn’t the last gasp of Who. But fair play to you for persevering with it and giving it a second chance.
I remember in the early 90’s, watching a fifth generation VHS dub of Dimensions in Time, in a crappy little Library audiovisual room, on an aged TV and VCR, sitting on the most uncomfortable chairs ever made. Five minutes in, I was bleeding from my ears and eyeballs. Ten minutes in blood vessels in my brain were exploding like firecrackers in self defense. By the time it was over, I could feel reality unwinding. It was that bad.
Almost twenty years later, I had occasion to watch a much better image in comfort on youtube, and I was surprised at how I was able to enjoy it. I mean, oh my god – what a piece of crap! But still, there was something to love in it, the way you might love a retarded, crippled dog whose hindquarters have been crushed by a car, so that it’s dragging itself around by it’s forelegs, leaving a trail of drool and piss behind it, but somehow, looking up at you with big brown eyes and just wanting yout to pet it.
So what does this mean? Wait 20 years to watch Shalka again. Maybe not that long. But tell you what, give it another try when you feel ready. You might be surprised by your willingness to forgive and enjoy.28 November 2013 at 23:56 #21946
@craig Not to worry. I take no offense. It’s quite easy online for people to say things more harshly than they are meant, or for thing to be taken the wrong way, so a certain amount of good will is a good thing. I know that I often rub people the wrong way. I have no patience for genuine Trolls, but we find those anywhere. As far as Shazzbot goes, he or she pointed out a legitimate error, I acknowledged the error, that’s the long and short of it. As far as I’m concerned, Shazzbot and I are good.29 November 2013 at 00:04 #21947Craig @craigEmperor
tolerating massive wodges of text on a format that is simply not designed for it, letting it swamp every other discussion
It’s only on one thread. And there’s a mousewheel, scrollbar or swipe available if you don’t want to read it (and in terms of page load, a massive post is probably many less kb than the recently active members avatar box). He’s not just copying and pasting the phone book, he’s making an effort, an informed effort from the point of view of a fan. I appreciate that effort. But I guess you see it differently.
Even if/though you do, I’m just asking for everyone to be a bit nicer to people with different ideas and different ways of posting (unless they’re obvious trolls of course, then they can be exterminated).29 November 2013 at 00:12 #21948
Wrapping things up
This will be a little different in style, possibly pretentious, bear with me…. 😉
Okay, so let’s assume I’m right.
Let’s assume that the Atkinson Doctor is a real Doctor, and he regenerates into the Grant Doctor. Let’s assume that the Grant Doctor allies with the Cyborged Pryce Master, who becomes the Cyborged Jacobi Master, and that the two of them have adventures together, and are used as pawns of the Time Lords in their Time war, and that the Jacobi Master eventually flees to the end of the Universe, and the Grant Doctor ends up as the Great Intelligence….
How? And Why? And how is it that the Doctor seems to have misplaced or failed to notice two incarnations? Or that one of his incarnations somehow hived off into a malevolent bodiless entity?
Geez, what I have to do all the heavy lifting?
Well, all I can say is that like season 6B, the evidence implies that there must have been a really screwy series of adventures occurring off Camera.
Here is what we can say though:
* The Atkinson and Grant Doctors have only three possibilities.
(1) One is that they’re future regenerations of the Doctor. We haven’t seen them because they haven’t shown up. The difficulty here is that this seems inconsistent with internal references that suggest that the Atkinson and Grant Doctors are somewhere around 9 and 10, rather than teens, and we are now past the Time War, the Time Lords and the Daleks and possibly the Master should be dead letters in the future, it just doesn’t seem consistent with the various events in the two specials. On the other hand, you never know – as of Day of the Doctor, Gallifrey is still out there, the Daleks keep coming back, and the Master is the Master.
(2) Or they are hidden or lost regenerations, much like the War Doctor, and possibly occurring within the same frame – it appears that the Tenant and Smith Doctors are unaware of, or have forgotten about, or someway blocked out the Hurt Doctor. Even Clara couldn’t quite see the Hurt Doctor, while standing in the Doctor’s timeline. So they may be two or more examples of that. This is somewhat valid theory, since we see the War Doctor regenerate, but we don’t actually see him regenerate into the Ecclestone Doctor. There might be room to stick a few extra Doctors in there. However the Atkinson Doctor seems rather soft hearted, and by the time the Grant Doctor shows up, the Time War should be over or close to it, there’s no one left to pull his strings, and the Master is hiding out at the end of the Universe, so that’s not a perfect fit either.
(3) Finally, they could be side-Doctors. Somehow, the Doctor’s lifeline got split by a traumatic event, and there were two Doctors going their separate ways, perhaps unaware of each other. There is something of a precedent for this in the Tenant Era, in Journey’s End, when a screwy regeneration interruptus resulted in a second half-human Tenant Doctor, and Donna Noble containing a Doctor Donna identity – Three Doctors. However, for this to happen, given the limited example we have with the Tenant Doctor, you would need a profoundly, profoundly, profoundly traumatic event. A trauma even greater than the Dalek’s taking over, killing all your friends and you, blowing up the Tardis and reshaping the Universe. A Trauma so profound and comprehensive that it would not only schism the Doctor, or schism a side-Doctor, but leave the two Doctor’s willingly ignorant of each other. Oh, and split the Tardis, or take place somewhere that a side-Doctor could get his hands on a second Tardis.
…. You mean…. something like a Time War? Like perhaps a gigantic history encompassing Time War which ultimately destroys the Time Lords and the Daleks, half of the universe and countless other civilizations and histories and rewrites the universe horribly over and over again?
Hmmm…. I suppose something like that… maybe. I think we’d need something more….
…. You mean, like maybe the Doctor finding himself having turned into the Valeyard or some Genocidal, Mass Murdering, Civilization destroying warrior/warlord War-Doctor who eventually apparently destroys Gallifrey and stands in direct opposition to everything that the Doctor has ever held dear?
Errrm…. That’s pretty bleak.
…. You asked.
Well…. I suppose that those two things taken together might do the trick. If, hypothetically, there was an event like a Time War that catastrophically awful, and the Doctor did turn into or find himself turning into such an appalling being.
….. If, hypothetically, those things were to happen…
….. There might be a lot of spare tardises lying around, waiting to be stolen… Even the Master could probably get one.
…. Assuming that the energies involved in the trauma itself didn’t create a duplicate Tardis somehow, or they were using the actual Doctor’s Tardis but from a future point…
But…. what about the Great Intelligence? What could possibly happen to turn the Doctor, or the Grant Side-Doctor into a ruthless, discorporeal entity, unbound in time and space, suffering anger and identity issues? You would have to have another huge trauma of some sort. Some incredible, vast cataclysm….
…. As if the Time War was still going on?
Errm…. I suppose, if we hypothetically allowed for a Time War, and circumstances bad enough to split the Doctor and create a couple of Side-Doctors, then… maybe at some later phase in the War, some further event could commute the Doctor into a bodiless intelligence.
….. Like Rassilon wanted?
…. Rassilon… Lord High Poobah Time Lord, founder of their civilization, the guy with the sash, the tomb, the harp, the hush puppies….
We all know who Rassion is.
…. Well, in the Tenant Episode, ‘End of Time’ Rassilon wanted to win the Time War by erasing the universe, while turning the Time Lords into a race of beings of pure bodiless consciousness, much like the Great Intelligence.
“RASSILON: We will initiate the Final Sanction. The end of time will come at my hand. The rupture will continue until it rips the Time Vortex apart.
MASTER: That’s suicide.
RASSILON: We will ascend to become creatures of consciousness alone. Free of these bodies, free of time, and cause and effect, while creation itself ceases to be. (End of Time)”
Exactly like the Great Intelligence, when you think about it. You know, a creature of consciousness alone, free of a body, free of time….
What’s your point?
Except…. how did Rassilon know that whole ‘create a person into a bodiless intelligence, unless he’d tried it out on someone. Someone he really disliked… And maybe destroyed their tardis in the process.
I have no idea. Listen, I’m trying to talk to people here.
Funny, how in the Matt Smith era, there’s something badly wrong with the Tardis and it’s all blowy uppy. That’s never quite been resolved or explained, when you think about it.
“DOCTOR: Space and time isn’t safe yet. The Tardis exploded for a reason. Something drew the Tardis to this particular date, and blew it up. Why? And why now? (Big Bang)”
We all assume that it had something to do with the giant Time Paradox in the next season that gets sorted out in the Wedding of River Song, but there’s nothing in that episode that actually says that. If it wasn’t that, then what?
Are you getting at something?
No, just thinking out loud.
Well, shut up. You have no idea how distracting a bodiless voice can be.
I’m trying to talk to people here, about serious Doctor Who stuff. Your blather and free association isn’t helping.
Okay, where was I?
Shut up! Anyway, if the Atkinson and Grant Doctors are side Doctors, there’s no way to tell where or when they split off from the Doctor’s main timeline. They could have split off anywhere from the first Doctor to the last.
Except for the hat and scarf?
Well, if you look at the opening of Curse of the Fatal Death, it looks like Tom Baker’s Scarf and Sylvester McCoy’s hat are hanging off a coatrack in the Doctor’s Tardis control room. So we can be sure that the Side-Doctors take place after Baker and McCoy at least.
Probably during the Hurt Doctor, when you think of it, all the evidence points that w—
Sigh. Okay, let’s take a new track. Let’s look at the Atkinson Doctor. Interestingly, there’s a sort of parallel – Rowan Atkinson is most famous for Blackadder.
…. (coughs significantly)
Blackadder. And in one of the final Blackadders, he accidentally builds a time machine and goes back and forth through history. Although this Blackadder behaves rather more like the Master. But, of course, it’s impossible to come up with a theory to reconcile the Blackadder time traveller with the Atkinson Doctor.
I bet I cou….
But as I was saying, let’s look at the Atkinson Doctor. We don’t get to see much of him, but we do see more of him than any other version in Fatal Death. What are his distinctive features?
He got laid.
I’m ignoring you.
Really. It’s official, he got laid. Quote:
“DOCTOR: I remember you lot, of course. And, er, you’re my fiancée?
EMMA: You remember me then?
DOCTOR: How could I possibly forget the only time travelling companion I’ve ever had?
EMMA: You’ve had lots of companions.
DOCTOR: The only time travelling companion I’ve had.
EMMA: Oh, right. (Curse of Fatal Death)”
Unquote. The Doctor was a dog, the Doctor got a bone, the Doctor buried his bone. Pre-marital sex. This is the first confirmed Doctor Sex in like since before the ‘Unearthly Child’. And with a Companion too! Well, I suppose there’s River Song, but that was probably marital sex, if at all, or marriage without sex. Certainly the Doctor didn’t seem to be gagging to see River. But with Emma…. URK!!! (Strangling noises)
Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for that. We’ll acknowledge for the record that the Doctor did have sex and did intend to settle down and make an honest woman of her, both definitely firsts in a Doctoral history which involves a lot of chaste relationships with a great many attractive men and women, and a history of leaving them. But there’s something deeper.
First and foremost, he wants to retire. He’s tired of saving the universe. He wants to quit. I think that’s significant. This is a Doctor Who is making a conscious decision to try and leave the good fight, or the bad fight. He just wants out.
“DOCTOR: Very well. I recently calculated that I have saved every planet in the known universe a minimum number of twenty seven times. But you know, I have grown weary of all the evil in the cosmos. All the cruelty, all the suffering, all those endless gravel quarries. And so I have decided to retire, settle down and get married. (Curse of Fatal Death)”
Interestingly, this would be reflected in a throwaway comment from ‘Name of the Doctor’…
“DOCTOR: Always thought maybe I’d retire. Take up watercolours or bee-keeping, or something. Apparently not. (Name of the Doctor)”
Now, it’s interesting, the Doctor doesn’t seem particularly upset or despairing about the decision. This might be because in Emma, he’s found or decided upon a positive reason for retiring – ie, he’s moving toward someone, rather than running away from something.
“DOCTOR: Yes. Without even knowing I was looking, I have found a woman to love. A woman more fascinating than all my travels through time and space. A girl more exciting than an escape up a ventilation shaft. A lover more thrilling than an army of cybernetic slugs. (The Doctor and Emma kiss.) (Curse of Fatal Death)”
In many ways, he’s the same Doctor we know through all the incarnations, quick witted, a touch ironic or sarcastic, articulate, clever, brilliant. He’s clearly a compassionate Doctor, as he makes his effort to save the universe, and as he mourns the Terserons. But the defining feature of this Doctor is that he wants out. No more saving the universe, no more travelling, he wants to get married, settle down and retire.
There are some interesting details. He feels the need to announce his marriage and retirement to the Master? There’s something going on there.
And there’s an overlooked element of bathos? Where does he go to announce his retirement and marriage to the Master?
“DOCTOR: The Planet Terserus, once home to the Terserons, the most kindly and peace loving race I’ve ever encountered. And yet one of the most shunned and abhorred species of all history. (Curse of Fatal Death)”
To a dead world. A world whose people the Doctor describes as wonderful and shunned. A world whose past he visits, but whose end he cannot change. There’s a hint of underlying sadness. It reflects the often bittersweetness of the Doctor, the self loathing beneath the enthusiasm.
If we accept that the Atkinson Doctor was born from the despair and rage of the Hurt Doctor, then that might make sense. The McGann Doctor tried to sit out the Time War, to continue on his way, as a neutral ‘good guy’. The Hurt Doctor is the one who commits to fighting the time war whatever it takes.
The Atkinson Doctor is almost the opposite of the Hurt Doctor, he just wants to walk away, he’s quitting the game altogether. He doesn’t want to care about the universe, no longer wants to save it, he wants to focus on one person, making a commitment he’s never been willing to give a person before. If we see McGann in the center, the Hurt Doctor goes one way from McGann, the Atkinson Doctor goes the opposite direction.
In the end, the Atkinson Doctor is killed because he cannot give up on the Universe. If the Hurt Doctor was the one that hardened, that girded for war and brutality, then the Atkinson Doctor was the one that hung onto the moral core.
We can assume that the Grant Doctor kept that same moral core, and shared at least some of the Atkinson Doctor’s traits. We know at the end of Curse, that his relationship with his companion and intended wife, Emma, is over. The Grant Doctor worries about this when he first appears, but despite her efforts, by the time the Lumley incarnation shows up, she’s had enough. Even if the final version returned to the Grant Doctor, she might well have been outof there.
It’s possible that this relationship breakdown is what the Grant Doctor is suffering in Shalka. Every other time, he’s been careful not to let Companions get too close, not to open up too fully. Well this time, he went all in, and it blew up in his face. The thinking has been that the Grant Doctor in Shalka is haunted by Tragedy, but the Doctors have lost companions before and got over it. Maybe this time its heartbreak.
If the hints of something with the Master is anything to go by, the Grant Doctor in Shalka is also sexually active, and even more of a drinker. Yet in Shalka, he retains that Doctorish moral core, and a willingness to eventually live again. But there’s also some clear indication that the Doctor here is under the control of the Time Lords.
This may be part of the deep loathing of the Great Intelligence for the Doctor…. keeping in mind that the Great Intelligence went on to do horrific and ruthless things. It remembered the original moral core, even if it no longer followed it. And it saw the surviving Doctor’s lineage as the line that repudiated that moral core utterly.
But, getting back to the Grant Doctor existing parallel to the Hurt Doctor, this leaves us with the prospect in the Time War of two Doctors as active agents. The Hurt Doctor as a dangerous renegade, trying to pull it all down on both the Time Lords and the Daleks, Rassilon’s nemesis, and the Grant Doctor as Rassilon’s pawn. Carefully used, kept out of the way of the other Doctor.
Was the Grant Doctor’s eventual fate the result of his and the Master’s rebellion against Rassilon? A rebellion that left the Grant Doctor a bodiless intelligence, and sent the Master fleeing to the end of the Universe.
We don’t really know. The Time War is a giant empty space at its core, where anything might have happened. All we can say is that in that vast blank space, it is possible to write this story. How’s that?
So, want to hear my Theory on Blackadder and the Doctor…
No.29 November 2013 at 00:14 #21949
I believe so. You’re a drama queen who has declined my offer to talk about this via PMs (something I believe you’ve advocated in the past), and instead want it public and messy.
No more warnings then. Continue as you see fit, and I’ll respond accordingly.
Or don’t forget to close your account as you leave for pastures more suited to you.29 November 2013 at 00:57 #21950
@jimthefish The presence of the Yeti in the Five Doctors has always bothered me too.
I suppose on the one hand, it’s pretty simple – there was a Yeti costume, or enough parts of one to shoot around, sitting there in the props department so why not?
But then again, isn’t the Yeti the intellectual property of Lincoln and Haisman, the original creators of the Great Intelligence and the Yeti. They certainly weren’t using Daleks because of rights issues with Terry Nation (or so I’ve heard). But the BBC had had a huge falling out with Lincoln and Haisman, which had resulted in no more GI or Yeti stories. So how did the Yeti get in here – production wise – was there an unauthorized use? Or was the use limited to some threshold, after which they’d have to pay royalties? Or did they just get a small license?
Within the context of the series, the appearance of the Yeti here didn’t make any sense based on only the Abominable Snowmen and the Web of Fear. Clearly within those stories, its a robot and not an autonomous entity, so who was controlling it and why? Is the GI involved? Was it Borusa’s agent?
I think that the Name of the Doctor adds more options to it, if for no other reason than that it depicted the intelligence as having far greater and more extensive abilities to project itself effectively, and much more interest and knowledge of the Doctor. Moffat isn’t just a showrunner and writer, he’s a Doctor Who superfreak, so I could imagine him re-watching old episodes or audio’s, and looking for little plot holes or discontinuities that inspire him to do new things. Process is process, whatever works.29 November 2013 at 01:55 #21952
Well this is all really rather fascinating – reminiscent of your first posts regarding trying to place the two Cushing movies into canon.
I realise it’s not everybody’s thing but purely as an exercise in logic and retcon / storytelling, I’m impressed.
However (@Craig also here), this seems perfect for the blogs, if only so it can be seen all together. Any easy way to transfer?29 November 2013 at 01:58 #21953
Moffat isn’t just a showrunner and writer, he’s a Doctor Who superfreak, so I could imagine him re-watching old episodes or audio’s, and looking for little plot holes or discontinuities that inspire him to do new things
When NotD was broadcast, I remember having a debate with someone on the G blog about just this. Moffat has pulled a blinder here – it effectively allows him to explain away any of the old incosnsistencies or, as you say and evidenced by @wolfweed‘s post re Unit dating on tDotD blog, Moffat can indeed explain stuff away.29 November 2013 at 04:32 #21957
WhoHar one of the cool things is so many people involved with the show have such histories of being unabashed fans. They bring love to it. That counts for a lot.29 November 2013 at 06:20 #21961
However (@Craig also here), this seems perfect for the blogs, if only so it can be seen all together. Any easy way to transfer?
Seconding @whohar‘s suggestion.
I don’t have the time ATM to read and follow the analysis in the posts which @denvaldron, @scaryb, and @jimthefish have made in the last day or so. I’d find it helpful to have this entire discussion — plus further posts on the topic — located in a central place. That way I could easily return to it when I have the time *and* the extra mental processing power required.
I fear that having the discussion interspersed with other On The Sofa posts will drive me certifiably bonkers before I even begin to try to follow your sophisticated and encyclopedic contributions.
Plus, we’re growing and adding many new voices to this thread. :::waves hello at all the new members::: I may not be the only one who wants to bookmark this discussion and return to it after acquiring a bit (or a lot) more familiarity with Who.
Fifty years and multiple story-telling media is a lot to catch up on. I’ve heard of Shalka. I’ve heard of The Curse of the Fatal Death. I’ve not read, seen, heard, … either of them. It’s going to take me more time to read — really read — and study and research and ask questions about, etc. what the three of you have said here.
And I *do* want to take the time — when I can find it. Learning more, exploring the Whoiverse more, being challenged in ways I hadn’t imagined … I’m in. But I don’t have a pocket universe, and Real Life will show up and tug at my shirtsleeves, demanding my attention.
It’s a holiday weekend here in the states. RL is making impatient noises in the background.
When I come back here with some spare time to study up on PhD level bonkers and not-so-bonkers theorizing, I’d rather not have to read/skim through every single Sofa post to locate the ones pertaining to this discussion. Looking in the blogs and/or SIDRAT — Some Idiosyncratic Diverse Ramblings About TARDIStimes — would make it so much more convenient. @Mods (including @phaseshift and @Shazzbot as well as @jimthefish), @Emperor, what say you?
@DenValden, your posts and thoughts have caught the eyes and intrigued the brains of some of our best and brightest, like @jimthefish, and @scaryb,. Bravo. I’d certainly understand if you want your future participation to follow along the same path.
But there are times when I feel like raising my hand and stammering in a soft and embarrassed voice, “I’m sorry. Not quite getting it. Could you mebbe slow down just a bit? Could you set up a special study session for those of us who’re not so conversant with all of this ?”
@jimthefish, @scaryb, @craig, and at least a dozen other voices are some of our best and brightest. They’d pass Doctor Who O levels with highest honors. Folks like me still have a lot of ground to cover before attempting O levels …
The forum’s diversity is definitely larger on the inside than our posts would lead you to believe.
Our founders were nearly overwhelmingly from the UK. They’ve pretty much been avid Whovias since, like, forever. As the site has grown, we’ve attracted members from Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and all over the place. I hope you’ll bear in mind that not all of us have ready access to the vast amount of information and materials out there about Doctor Who.
And — *so* appropriate for me to acknowledge with gratitude since it’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. — our wonderful moderators, key master, and fellow members have gone out of their way to provide those of us scattered around the globe and from differing time periods with links to episodes, interviews, stories, and so much more.
I’d be tickled pink if you’d take a moment every once in a while to throw me a bone. Or a link. Or some footnotes at the end. Take a look at the intros to our retrospectives and the breadth and depth of our blogs to see how their generosity of spirit and contagious enthusiasm has helped me, and others like me, to grow into “half the whovian” our founders have been. That’s why I’m so grateful I found this forum, and that so many wonderful people around the globe are dedicated to maintaining and strengthening it.
TardisBlue29 November 2013 at 06:55 #21964
I hope you read the post just above here in the way I intended it. I don’t bear you any ill will (other than the fact that I’m jealous as all get out — of your mastery of this big, big, big Whoiverse of facts and all that).
My thought process was kinda like
1. WOW! OMG! That’s some pretty serious theorizing.
2. I want to see what he’s saying and understand it, along with what the folks who are responding to say in return.
3.. Gotta set me aside some thinking about serious theorizing time.
4. And then I gotta make sure I know something about the facts and sources he’s used here.
5. Gee, that’s going to take even more time.
6. Yikes! (Do you ever say “yikes” in the UK?) By the time all those conditions precedent are met, a gadzillion googleplex million times squared number of posts might have gone up on that thread. Will I ever be able to locate and retrieve the posts relevant to this pretty serious theorizing?
7. Wouldn’t it be loverly (in my best attempt at Emma Doolittle’s Cockney accent) if all these tantalizing and bedeviling posts could be easily accessed somewhere?
8. Hmmmmmmm. There’s a section for blogs. There’s a section for SIDwhatever it is — @Shazzbot, got some smart way to remember what the rest of the letters are, and what they mean, anyway?
9. Crossing fingers. Holding breath. Joining Amelia Pond in imploring Santa Claus.
10. Deep breath. And gee. Shucks. I know I’m only in kindergarten and @DenValdon and the others are Fifth Graders (!!!). I’m trying my best to keep up. Wish they’d realize me and my fellow kindergarteners are trying our best, but sometimes it’s a bit over our heads.
11. Yeah, I know it’s recess. And the Fifth Graders can play together all they want. They don’t have to play with all of us all the time. Or any of the time. Unless the Principal or the Yard Duty Teacher tells them they have to.
12. If the Fifth Graders don’t want to play with all of the grades below them, I’ve got to accept that.
13. But I know I’d be thrilled to bits if there was someone patient enough to give me a little boost so I can reach the stuff on the top shelf. Or drop a hint or something like that when I’m really, really, really stuck.
14. Just sayin’29 November 2013 at 07:43 #21966
I thought the only people who said “Yikes” anywhere was the cast of Scooby Doo. You Americans. Jeepers. 🙂
Good posts btw.29 November 2013 at 09:45 #21975thommck @thommck
Firstly, I just wanted to echo the plea to move all of @denvaldron‘s posts to a blog.
It is obvious some people are interested in following this particular flavour of bonkers but I can see why, like me, @pedant is getting frustrated by it filling up the sofa. I love seeing all the fan creativity stuff but these posts in question read more like fan fiction which would definitely suit it’s own blog/thread.
Secondly, and on a more light-hearted sofa vibe, I re-watched The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith and Death of the Doctor last night with my youngest. Watching one after the other really helps you see the differences in how Tennant and Smith play their Doctors. Smith is so much “older” in his performance.
In the latter episode, there are some great lines about the amount of regenerations, what the old companions are up to and even Timelords get a mention. I won’t spoil it by revealing anything here but really recommend watching them. Both episodes are available on BBC iPlayer until this Saturday afternoon (30th Nov)29 November 2013 at 11:44 #21979
Thanks for your ideas on the posts idea. I’ll give it some thought today, and get in touch with you tomorrow @denvaldron, if you don’t mind. We are interested in ideas like this, but it’s a case of giving them the right exposure.29 November 2013 at 11:57 #21980
@tardisblue Thanks v much for your summing up and suggestions – a blog for especially long posts makes a lot of sense I think. It’s what we’ve done in the past for theses/PhD posts/life’s work publications that are longer, and slightly off the current topics.
Been a funny week this week – lots of new members to welcome and that post-Xmas feeling when the friends/family have gone back home, we’ve opened all the presents but aren’t sure which ones to play with. We’ve got a month till New Year, with a promised surprise, and some nasty Daleks threatening to teleport in and spoil it.
This space has always felt like a little DW family. Like the best families it has so far managed to accommodate a wide range of views and personalities. In the best sense we are “blind” – we interact on an intellectual level only. The downside of course is that we can miss all the little social cues from voice, body language etc. So it’s easy for things to be occasionally misunderstood, and disagreements to escalate.
I like to think we are a wide range of intergalactic species, with an equally wide range of abilities and disabilities. Some of us could be hermaphroditic hexapods with one gigantic eye or tentacled heads in a glass dome needing constant life support. We could include farting monsters, Ice Warriors or maybe even a cyberman or 2 rebelling against their conditioning. We don’t know, but we are united in our membersip of this space and our love for this silly old TV show.
At any given time some of us will be hurting, grieving, be sick, intoxicated, panicking at RL, ecstatic, whatever. We have different opinions on life, politics and Dr Who. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if individuals have a strop from time to time, fall out, make up. It’s what adds colour to life. Sometimes people need their families more, sometimes less, but family is always the place you can come back to where they will welcome you and accept you as you are, unquestioningly. Like the Doctor we should aim to be the best we can. Sometimes we have to work at it. Just a little.29 November 2013 at 11:59 #21981
Yikes! (that was for @whohar (complete with little jump!) (and please keep your dodgy watery perversions to yourself in future – I have to go and buy ANOTHER bloomin keyboard. Next one’s going to be waterproof) 😉
a section for SIDwhatever it is
SIDRAT (reverse the letters to get an easy way to remember 😉 (Check out The War Games (Troughton’s last story) for more info)29 November 2013 at 12:33 #21986Juniperfish @juniperfish
Thanks for the thought @Phaseshift , like others, I would prefer the sofa to be a space for shorter posts as it is the “welcome” space for new members and arriving to be greeted with a series of gigantic posts (however interesting) can be a bit off-putting on a landing page!29 November 2013 at 14:07 #21992Anonymous @
Just to echo that @denvaldron should probably put all his uniting of the canon stuff in a blogpost. Good idea. It was getting a bit rambling.29 November 2013 at 22:31 #22004TimeLordNinja @timelordninja
I have a question – is James Bond actually a Time Lord?
Think about it – he has changed bodies numerous times over the years. I think that he was a Time Lord secretly helping the British Government, but that apparently has been “killed” by various evil bad guys over the years, and has had to regenerate numerous times (there have been six different Bonds out there from the movies). Of course, we have never seen a regeneration scene, although it would be great if someone made such a collection of scenes made to look like such, and uploaded it to Youtube…29 November 2013 at 23:04 #22005Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip29 November 2013 at 23:15 #22006TimeLordNinja @timelordninja
Ok cool; I had no idea that this was talked about somewhere else – I just thought of it today while watching a James Bond movie marathon on SyFy, hahaa.29 November 2013 at 23:40 #22008
@timelordninja You had a terrific idea there, no fault no harm, and I’m glad you shared it with us.
You should wander over to TVtropes.org and browse around. You’d love it. But I warn you, it’s seriously addictive. One of the hidden Tropes that gets referenced over there is that a lot of fictional characters must actually be Time Lords – given their many incarnations, penchant for showing up in impossible places, and stories whose plot holes are so huge that the only way it can make sense is if the protagonist has a time and space machine working overtime offscreen.30 November 2013 at 02:44 #22012janetteB @janetteb
HI, waves at the crowd and what a crowd it is. (I tend to slink off to the garden to contemplate quietly when it gets too noisy) I have also been busy all week catching up on R.L. (if designing xmas cards can be described thus) and whenever I check in I am bewildered by the number of posts which I don’t have time to read. I have just got back as far as @scaryb ‘s brilliant post at 21980. Very well put.
Janette30 November 2013 at 04:19 #2201430 November 2013 at 08:40 #22016
Thanks for the big hint.
SIDRAT is nothing more than: The Awesome Result Due [to] Inverting Sentences,
D’uh. Perfectly clear. Now.
And a big thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful and compassionate post about our big and remarkably happy (all things considered) Whovian family. On the whole, we’ve done an exemplary job communicating respectfully without all the non-verbal clues that help guide and inform people IRL. (Metacommunication — a fascinating subject!) As you said, “Like the Doctor we should aim to be the best we can. Sometimes we have to work at it. Just a little.”
Or, as Aretha sang, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T , just a little bit, re-re-re-respect, just a little bit …”
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