S33 (7) 12 – The Crimson Horror

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    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Thinking about the ‘loop in time’ idea, this morning; that is the idea that the whole of Eleven’s tenure, from meeting little Amelia onwards, may be part of one giant loop.

    The Silence have tried killing the Doctor. It didn’t work; he found a way out of being killed. Okay, assassination doesn’t work. What can you do?

    Stick him in a time loop? He goes round and round and round, and he can never do anything else beyond those events. He never gets beyond Eleven. It’s better than killing him, because he can never get beyond the 50th Anniversary. And it might also explain the multiple Clara’s – she keeps getting flung to another point in time, where the Doctor’s enemies succeed in killing her.

    Except the Doctor is a sneaky old man, and has been carefully leaving messages. Like the loop in Journey, there’s a way of breaking out of it, of changing the course of the future – if he can only find it.

    Follow the music. The music room is the heart of the house. Who is his ‘heart’? The one person in the whole of his fifty years of on-screen adventures (and several centuries in his life) that he’s actually married?

    River Song – real name Melody. But there is one question in my mind: if those constant references to music are a ‘trust River, follow River’ message – are they for the Doctor? Or are they a message to Clara?


    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @ardaraith That was interesting! The monk’s voice did remind me of the Gunslinger though. A meddling monk? 🙂

    @bluesqueakpip I hadn’t thought of mirrors for Clara before. Well, apart from Emma Grayling.

    PhileasF @phileasf

    I have a few theories (naturally).

    Theory number 1.

    At least three people the Doctor cared about have been uploaded into computer systems. River, Oswin and Clara. (Oswin was uploaded into the Dalek pathweb in Asylum, as revealed in a brief flashback near the end that seems pointedly similar to Clara’s upload in BellsofSJ.) The Doctor can rescue them… using gangers. Given what we know about how gangers work, it seems a few waves of the sonic screwdriver should make it possible to download those stored personalities (or at least copies thereof) into flesh and give them all a real life again. And the thing about stored data is, it can be endlessly copied. You can have as many Rivers and Oswins as you like. But maybe, before you can find just the right setting on the sonic screwdriver, you might have a few false starts, a few trial runs. So you get a couple of Oswins/Clara’s that aren’t quite right. You can’t just put them down (because gangers have feelings too), so you send them to random places in time and space to live out their lives. This sort of serious messing with time must have dire consequences, such as exploding TARDISes and cracks in space-time.

    Theory number 2.

    … And it was all a dream. Well, not just a dream, because the dream dramatises (dreamatises?) a real and important conflict going on inside Doctor-Dalek (Dalektor?). Was it Freud or Jung who said it was wrong to discount one’s inner experiences as less real than one’s ‘outer’ experiences? The Asylum prequel certainly seems to support this theory. What else? (Apart from all the stuff I’ve posted previously in favour of the Doctor-is-a-Dreaming-Dalek theory.) All the inconsistencies we’ve seen (bowtie on, bowtie off; Doctor is red, Doctor isn’t red), as well as colour symbolism could be explained by the episodes being dreams. The sense that the Doctor is time-loopily retracing his steps could be explained by a recurring dream that he keeps dreaming until he gets it right.

    Here’s an alternative to the Doctor-is-a-Dalek theory. In Asylum of the Daleks, the Doctor said he tried to hack the Dalek pathweb and failed. Oswin has been copied to the pathweb. Perhaps part of the hacking attempt was to upload his personality into the pathweb. Thus, there is a copy of both the Doctor and Oswin in that pathweb. Perhaps all the stories we’ve been seeing for a while are the adventures of the copies in the pathweb. The copy of the Doctor’s personality will still be trying to succeed in its hacking attempt, and to rescue Oswin.

    A little piece of pseudo-evidence for the ‘dream’ theories: we’re constantly told that Clara is impossible. A Sherlockian like Steven Moffat knows that when you have eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however improbable, must be the truth. So if Clara’s impossible, we must conclude that nothing we’ve seen since she appeared is the truth. This is the clue hidden in plain sight: we’re constantly told she’s impossible. And she is.

    Theory number 3.

    Forget clues within the show, let’s tackle it from a narratological perspective. Traditionally, there were two kinds of story: comedy and tragedy. A comedy ended with a wedding (The Big Bang, The Wedding of River Song); a tragedy with a death (Angels Take Manhattan, The Name of the Doctor?) Given that wedding bells don’t seem to be in the air, that suggests this season might be a tragedy. A tragedy, technically, is the story of a great man (sorry, that’s a very traditional definition, and naturally it could also be a great… Time Lord) brought low by his one fatal flaw. If the Doctor is a tragic hero, then what’s his fatal flaw? That he cares too much? That he can’t bear to lose the people he loves? Who can? But with his godlike time travel powers he can do something about it.

    So if it’s a tragedy, the Doctor has to die.

    Would they kill the Doctor? It would be a hell of a surprise, and that’s what we TV audiences love.

    The death and resurrection of the hero is another of those old story tropes. And it’s not just for religious figures like Jesus and Osiris; Mr Punch, another quintessentially British character, also fights and defeats Mr Death (the skeleton) in some versions of the Punch and Judy show. Punch also fights the Devil and wins. Can we expect the Doctor to die and face a judgement day, and come out on top, just like in War Games episode 10?

    Could he be brought back to life… well, there’s always the ganger theory (see theory 1). And by now his sonic might be capable of storing a ghost image (see Silence in the Library), so he could use it to ‘save’ himself.

    (Oooh, I thought this was pretty original, but just after drafting it I saw @HTPBET ingeniously predicts the Doctor’s death in the spoiler thread. Great minds…)


    Theory number 4.

    The truth will be nothing like any of the above, but instead will be simple, and dramatically and emotionally satisfying.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    ::psst:: @phileasf

    Don’t mention the spoilers!


    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    Ok, bonkers theory from me time…

    Part 1, Clara:  building on @blenkinsopthebrave ‘s summary of possible true identities of Clara (Docs Daughter, Docs Nanny, Docs Mother, Susan) can I throw the following into the mix –

    To lock something, you need a lock and a key.  What if Clara was the TimeLock and the Doctors name was the password (key)?  The Doctor’s statement of “Don’t you go looking for my name” (emphasis is mine) would then make sense in that the one person who really shouldn’t go near it is Clara without risking of opening the lock.

    How would she be the lock?  Well, perhaps after creating the timelock on Trenzalore, holding both lock and key inside himself was destroying his body causing him to regenerate.  The TARDIS lands on the planet the Doctor knows the best and he stumbles outside, finding himself on a beach.  As he transforms, the key escapes from him into a curious young girl on holiday with her family in Blackpool, who spotted a strange glowing man under the pier.  The memory of what she saw was overtaken by fear from the realisation that she’d lost her parents.  Looking in the history of the time war, she saw a picture of Dr 8 (or 9) and finally realised who it was she saw on that beach.  Meanwhile, as the lock needs to reside in something permanent (or someone virtually immortal), she cannot die.  But as a human, that is her fate, so the paradox resolves itself by recreating her in another time or place each time she does die, be that of old age or excessive Daleky-ness.

    Part 2 – Why doesn’t the Doctor remember?  Well, firstly, he wasn’t aware that he’d met a young girl during his regeneration into 9, he was too busy adopting a rather fetching Northern accent due to his locale!  At some point while as Doc 10, the Dr decided to ensure his own memories couldn’t be used to steal the key from him by chameleon arching himself into the body of a TimeLord named the Doctor (we know the Chameleon Arches can be used to disguise TimeLords as Humans, but maybe they can be used to hide whatever you need to hide, be it your species or just certain memories/ parts of your history? I’d be amazed, if the CA’s are brought back in as a device if they’re used in the same way again).  This then covers why parts of his memory are hazy – he can almost remember in the same way John Smith could, but he’s locked critical parts of his memory away.

    Both the chameleon arched Dr and the actual Dr underneath regenerating in the End Of Time at the same time (in the same body in fact) was then the reason the regeneration appeared so much more destructive than usual, causing the TARDIS to explode, and his own timeline to fracture into two inter weaving realities – cracking time, exploding TARDIS(es?) etc.

    Part 3 – Trying to embrace as many loose threads as possible – what happens next?  The reality streams begin to re-merge.  The Dr then has to choose (by opening the fob watch or not) which reality to accept as real and which memories to lose as a consequence – the silence disappear with the discarded history but being forced to lose precious history (River?) causes him to ‘fall’ into dark-dr ness.  Trying to save him, Clara whispers his name to him, reminding him of who he is (in a manner that won’t involve it being spoken so the audience still won’t know),  but inadvertently releases the TimeLock.    The Doctor’s underlying theme is then reset from the lonely god of nu-who to TimeLord on the run from his own (newly released and somewhat miffed at being locked away) kind.  Which looks back to the setup of old-who, but creates a new dynamic to carry the story forward.

    Perhaps not in the right place, because it could touch on the anniversary, but hopefully bonkers enough for all!  Touches on a lot of other peoples ideas about dual realities, dark drs etc, apologies for not crediting everyone, but am grateful to you all for warping my imagination!

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @htpbdet – belated thanks for the info on Hartnell as the 1st doc (or not).  Brain of Morbius was actually the first Doctor Who novel I read, but I’ve never seen it and my memory has done a Doctor, to coin a (disputable) phrase!  Thanks again 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Just a brief thought – we had Eleven adopting a bit of mockney during Cold War – probably a shout-out to Ten. Was the heavy Northern accent during Crimson Horror a shout-out to Nine?

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @bluesqueakpip – I’d suspect so.  7-2 seems to have references to all the old-who docs in close to consecutive order  (assuming we see something 6 and 7 related in the next 2 eps) but I’d been thinking they’d run out of episodes by the time they’d ref’d doc 7, missing out on the nu-who docs.  Thinking about it though, the Doc said something was ‘brilliant!’ at some point (but I can’t remember when offhand) which reminded me of 10, and Timey-whimey made a re-appearance didn’t it (or have I imagined that due to too much time spent reading this forum)?  Is the outfit change a reference to Doc 8?

    thommck @thommck

    Just finished catching up on this thread, some really nice new and refined theories from all. I especially like @OsakaHatter Part 1 bit.

    An update on my Crimson Horror poster clues (I’ve sworn to never miss a Vote Saxon clue again!). I can’t spot any more details on the one mentioning a waxwork so I guess it was just reference to the dummies/copies/double-doctor theory.

    The is also another poster about a Circus coming to town which features Ghosts & Freaks on show.

    The last poster is for a pantomime called something like “Giants of Meddlebury Pass” I forget what it actually said and Google is not helping. If you want to take a look, it is behind Mr Thursday when he faints a final time.

    I also have a new theory but I’m thinking it is more for the 50th than this month’s finally. As an aside, it is really annoying to have to guess whether this season’s finale will be a climax or a complete cliff-hanger leading up to the 50th. Anyway…

    My big friendly theory is that the Timelords will escape the Time-lock in the finale. They won’t be able to kill the Doctor but as punishment they rewind time back to when the Doctor is a baby. This is in hope the Doctor will perhaps choose a different path as shown in “Turn Left” that means the TLs never get locked up. The final seen will show Clara putting the Doctor baby in his cot. Thus effectively re-setting the playing field for brand new adventures as the Doctor grows up (including a “Timelord Academy” spin off for CBBC 😉 )!

    As that doesn’t explain Clara’s mystery, maybe my theory relates to the 50th special. I have a feeling something bad will happen to the kids in next weeks ep and she will refuse to travel with the Doctor anymore OR the Doctor will have to choose between saving the kids or Clara and he will choose the kids, hoping Clara will be reborn

    I hope that bit of rambling makes some sense!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

     Thus effectively re-setting the playing field for brand new adventures as the Doctor grows up 

    I think we may have just seen the Doctor grow up – in Rings of Akhaten 🙂

    My head is saying Clara’s a descendent. My heart, increasingly, is saying ‘she’s the Doctor’.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Whoa! Everyone’s on fire today! Just skimmed, cuz am working but “excellent bottom” all (to quote the good Captain Jack) – so many lovely layers and levels.

    @ardaraith – that prequel is very interesting – hadn’t seen that before.  I presume it’s ok to discuss it here (I’ve been staying away from the spoilers thread).

    I bet you the monk figure turns out to be the Doctor himself. I mean, he writes the symbol for Skaro in Gallifreyan. If not the Doctor then another Time Lord, surely? Or a headless monk? Hmmmm. The Doc is clearly wearing a blue-tie in this prequel.

    I did like someone’s proposition (apols can’t remember who) upstream that perhaps Clara is Mme Kovarian.

    If we are following the Osiris myth @phileasf then the Doctor dies (or – has already died) and is scattered through time/ space. River will be the one to gather his scattered parts and put them back together again, in so doing conceiving a child.  

    And NB I joked a while back that the sonic would end up being a phallic symbol (in that Osiris’ penis was the only part which Isis could not find and had to recreate using magic) and blow me (sorry) if there wasn’t a sonic-erection gag from the Doctor this episode when Jenny stepped out in that leather cat-suit…

    I am the Moff! 🙂  



    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @juniperfish – I actually spit my beverage when his sonic “rose” to the occasion in CH

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish


    Window word square

    The bottom 5 lines says:


    As far as I can see from Google, no-one has extracted those before – If anyone wants to have a go themselves and try for the upper rows, the 1080p version is here:

    … They seem remarkably relevant words, if not actually informative!

    Anonymous @

    @juniperfish, @ardaraith – I often wish I had come to Doctor Who as a child, because (esp with@htpbdet ‘s simultaneously glorious and heart-wrenching memories of the Doctor over on ‘the faces of the Doctor’ thread) I wish I could experience the programme with pure child-like wonderment.

    That having been said, I so totally missed the ‘erect sonic’ moment in CH.  I initially thought he held it up then dipped it down because he was embarrassed that he had such a rubbish ‘weapon’ in the face of Jenny’s awesome karate skills.  (Maybe I AM that child viewer!  [although I got the tongue joke in A Good Man Goes to War, so not such a child after all  🙂  ] ).

    @thommck, @osakahatter – I want all of these theories to be true!  One down-side of my assimiliation to the dark side of bonkers theorising is that I fear I will be disappointed by what actually happens in the show – you (and all others on this site doing work as good as this) posit such extravagant, detailed, well-thought-out directions for the show to go to, that either you’ve hit the nail on the S Moffat head, or, you’ve done so much better and DW itself becomes a bit of a let-down.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @bluesqueakpip – “Was the heavy Northern accent during Crimson Horror a shout-out to Nine?”

    Eh, I bloody hope not, lass. North Yorkshire and Salford are as different accents as Cockney and Mandarin.

    To a connoisseur.

    Anonymous @

    To anyone moaning about the CH’s undertaker’s accent (although that could be more due to my whirl thru the G’s blog than anyone here) –

    I’m currently involved in my local [North Yorkshire] am-dram society’s production of ‘Calendar Girls’.  The man playing John Clark – the one whose death sparks the whole charity calendar fundraising effort – is Yorkshire born ‘n bred, and speaks in our show with the same vowels sounds, inflections, and intonations as the CH undertaker.

    Whether the ‘northern accents’ in CH are indeed a shout-out to Nine as @bluesqueakpip suggested – well, this whole half-series has a lot of ‘northern’ references.  Which goes back to @osakahatter ‘s theories that the finale of this series of the show will harken back heavily to the first Doctor since the reboot.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @whofan-matt – well remembered!

    The actual line is “Six hundred feet down. Twenty miles laterally puts us at the heart of the ship. I’d say {sniffs} Lancashire”

    Heart of the ship, eh? Seems that’s becoming a common turn of phrase these days …

    Anonymous @

    @thommck – “As an aside, it is really annoying to have to guess whether this season’s finale will be a climax or a complete cliff-hanger leading up to the 50th.”

    I’m with you on that one!  There’s no point paying attention to anything S Moffat says on the topic.  My personal suspicion is that the 50th IS the finale, and although the next two episodes might wrap up some loose ends, reveal the answer to a mystery or two; the remaining loose ends will be incorporated into the REAL grand finale, i.e., the anniversary movie/show.

    And I have first dibs on a ‘mystery’ being solved in the next two episodes, which is then turned completely on its head in the anniversary show.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @juniperfish – ah yes, of course. Yeah, the monk/wraith/whathaveyou is extremely likely to be the Doc (explains the disguised voice), which answers several of my questions (except what that flippin room is)

    Which suggests a future doc is manipulating/steering himself in this timeline (I suggested as much back in March on the Guardian blog after “Bells”), and that also the future Doc has a better memory than the current one. Why, though?

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    I don’t really have theories; new at this. Erm… some other (ally) 7.1 characters will make a reappearance? Still curious about the voice-overs for those (missed theorising there) and the Shakri not appearing since. Mind you, thinking on the prophecy, perhaps it’s Silence will (or must) fall when the question is asked. Hence trying to prevent it. No doubt that’s already been suggested! Back to the start, their first mention at the fall of the eleventh hour? If he’s being followed by an invisible snapper now, maybe he was always being tailed! Unless the focus is on Clara. Human versions of her (while on Earth) anyway. Hmm.

    Best I have really.

    Oh, someone mentioned the appearance of the TARDIS changing in The Snowmen. Perhaps he did visit there (as intended) immediately after this episode? ‘Look at the muck in here’.

    @thommck Difficult to make it out but ‘The Giant of something Pass’. Dastardly Donna on the right as well.

    @ardaraith Oh yeah, that prequel. What was reflected in his eyes?

    @juniperfish Perhaps? Probably a stretch, seemed the place!

    Anonymous @

    @HaveYouFedTheFish– haven’t watched ‘Pond Life’ in a while, and am struck by the Doctor turning up in May in their bedroom shouting about terrible things … only to discover that he’s turned up at the wrong time.  Meshes with lots of current arc theories …

    However:  does S Moffat assume that all DW viewers watch all prequel / additional clips?  I’m worried about that Bells of St John prequel.  If not for the mighty @ardaraith, many people on this site – the ultimate in Whovians – wouldn’t have seen it.  Is it really possible that arc-defining clues are hidden in clips that the massive majority of programme-watchers would not have seen?

    I always assumed that these litte tit-bits were shout-outs to the fans, including details which had no tangible effect on the current arc but lots that obsessive (and I use that word in the kindest way) fans could munch on.

    Perhaps this is Moffat Misdirection at its finest – release a prequel clip, and hope that it goes viral (and so as many programme viewers as possible see it)?  Yet it contains nothing which actually changes his plan for the programme?

    Anonymous @

    @SatsumaJoe– yes, that mucky Tardis exterior must be important.  (Unless it was simply the result of the non-lethal rocket exploding – if so, why wasn’t anything else in that final scene of CH covered in the same muck?)  Many have posited that this series’s episodes are being shown out-of-order to when they actually happened, so the Doctor could indeed have been to Victorian (London) Clara’s episode after the rocket but before the end of this ep.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @Shazzbot and @satsumajoe – re the quote, “look at the muck on ‘ere,”  someone above, whom I can’t find now, identified this as a nod to Larry Grayson.  In fact, that line is one of his famous quotes.

    I just re-watched Cold War with my house mate, and two things took on new significance.  First, Clara’s singing: in JttCotT, Clara said she was more afraid of the Doctor than anything on the ship.  At the end of Cold War, when the only remaining danger was the Doctor blowing them up…she began signing.  She was afraid of the Doctor there.  Secondly, Clara’s strange underwater scene: we learned in JttCotT that the Doctor is repeating events until the ‘right’ resolution is achieved.  Clara’s underwater  / coming-to in the eerie blue light could certainly be an alternate ending to what had originally been her drowning, and the ship going under.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @haveyoufedthefish – I was thinking more in terms of ‘Every planet has a North’ rather than Matt Smith trying to imitate Chris Eccleston’s Salford tones. What Matt Smith was doing was definitely NOT a Salford accent. 🙂

    I believe his Dad’s from Darwen, though, so he may have been going for that.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Anonymous @

    @ all you male people who were introduced to Doctor Who as young boys – Lindalee offers a refreshingly un-PC girly view.  cf : ‘I thought Clara was very pretty in this episode!”

    I loved that Lindalee thought the ‘monster’ (Mr Smith) was very scary, but – at least in this edited version of her thoughts – didn’t dwell too much on The Doctor being a monster.  Oh, to be a child again – to know that the protagonist (even if one is too young to pronounce the term much less understand its literary meaning) will always prevail.

    Anonymous @

    @wolfweed – thank you again for posting these Lindalee clips.  I cynically look at the massive amount of obvious editing, and hope she isn’t being turned into a talking monkey for the sake of her parents being utube stars.  She truly seems to enjoy the show, though, and recounting what she saw and how it made her feel, so I’ll tie down my cynicism for now.

    The way they edit in the relevant clips from the show as she is talking, implies her parents are in showbiz.  Does anyone know who Lindalee is – and who her family are?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Her parents own a production company that specialises in entertainment news. I too hope that her parents are giving her plenty of down time, but it may simply be that she really enjoys being part of her parents work. Kids often do want to ‘help out in the shop’.

    I believe Steven Moffat’s older boy has been acting as an unofficial script reader for some time now; he also had a small voice-only part in one of the Sherlock episodes (produced by his grandmother’s production company), playing a child hostage.

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @ardaraith Ah. Just when I thought I was onto something! Like the matriochka stuff during the first half. Speaking of blue light/into water, red light/away from fire. I may still be seeing things which aren’t there 🙂

    PhileasF @phileasf

    @Bluesqueakpip, re spoilers.

    Sorry if I startled you with spoiler talk. The @htpbdet post I was referring to was in the spoiler forum, but his ‘Doctor’s funeral’ idea was based on spoiler-free thoughts (mostly in fact predating season 7).


    On the topic of spoilers, I feel I have been pretty badly spoiled in the last week or so, by none other than Steven Moffat. I read an interview with him, assuming he would only tease, as he’s gotten so cross about spoilers in the past. But the interview seemed horribly spoilerific. I can only hope he knows what he’s doing, and everything he said about the finale will happen in the first three minutes, or not at all.

    And because I don’t really believe he would give away anything really important, my theories outlined above aren’t based on what he said.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Thanks @phileasf – it would be very unusual for Moff to give away too much detail – as you say, if he’s referenced it, then it’s more likely to mean it’ll all happen in first 3 mins! (OTOH even experienced people get tripped up by the press occcasionally inc eg on things like it’s for the June issues (but it’s out in May!)) Am avoiding all such stuff for now, including the big red flashing button that is the Spoilers thread, LOL

    ScaryB @scaryb

    I’m not convinced there’s much timelooping – I think that can only happen in special circumstances – eg when in an exploding Tardis. (An on the G-Blog – which has now closed CH, but JttCotT is still open, along with a random few others)

    ScaryB @scaryb

    passing trivial thoughts – Mrs G’s staircase (and subsequent fall) reminded me of the staircase to the Tardis in the Snowmen, and Clara’s fall. Mrs G’s looked more convincing

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @phileasf – thanks for the clarification – like @scaryb I’m trying to go cold turkey on spoilers and it’s not easy. I’ve never forgotten being spoiled for the ending of Utopia – and waiting for the big reveal you know is coming is quite a different experience to having your jaw drop to the floor when it happens.

    I’ve discovered I prefer the latter.

    As far as Steven Moffat is concerned: Rule One – The Moff lies. Through his teeth, in fact. Not ‘equivocates’; he’ll flat out tell a blatant lie to protect his surprises. I don’t trust anything he’s said; including his current explanations for past episodes.

    ‘Production error’ is such a handy phrase. 😀

    WhoHar @whohar


    Rule One is the Doc lies, Rule Zero is the Moff lies. 🙂

    It’s a clever tactic by him though. Disinformation.

    Totally agree.re.the spoilers thing though. I am treading very carefully through t’internet right now.

    PhileasF @phileasf

    I enjoy the Lindalee videos, but I don’t imagine for a moment that they’re entirely her own thoughts. Still, even if she’s reading an autocue written by her parents, she’s very talented and very comfortable in front of the camera, and no doubt will go on to bigger and better things. In this video, I thought maybe the last few lines, about how pretty Clara was and how good it was to see Mr Potatohead again, were her own thoughts. (I agree entirely.)

    I remember being Lindalee’s age, and how I thought about TV then. It was all intensely real. In fact, I remember the very moment, at about age 6, when I realised that people who die in TV shows don’t really die. It was during an episode of ‘Whodunnit?’, a mystery series hosted by Jon Pertwee. At the end of the episode the actors, including those playing characters who’d died, reappeared and took a bow, like at the end of a stage production. I remember being puzzled that they weren’t dead after all, and asking my parents how this could be. They looked at me kind of weird, no doubt wondering if I needed some kind of help, and explained that the actors had only been pretending.

    It was a real light-bulb moment. At that time, I understood that the people on TV were actors acting out a script… but in the back of my mind there was always the nagging problem of why an actor would be willing to die just for a TV show…. If they were only pretending to die, it all made sense.

    Whisht @whisht

    Hi @scaryb – there may not be much time looping but….

    there’s a really ostentatious and unnecessary squealing of wheels in tBoSJ when Clara and the Doctor are on the balcony of the cafe.

    Unless its a Chekhov’s Herring (of the reddest kind…)?

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip       OMG! Someone told you the ending of Utopia before you saw it? I hope they died a long and lingering and very very painful death…

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @whisht I didn’t rule out alternative/crashing time streams and/or false realities etc  I just don’t think he’s going round and round re-doing things till it’s right – except for JttCotT – and there were noticeable clues to it happening in that episode which I don’t see in the other ones. I’ve been known to be wrong before though.. in fact I don’t remember actually being right yet hehe.

    <Hmmm, Chekhov again, huh? He wrote Three Sisters (3 Claras…!) Goes off to reread Chekhov to fish for  more clues>

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @scaryb               I agree. I cannot see any sign of the Doctor fixing things til they are right. Don’t think 3 Sisters will help either…I remain convinced that there is but one Clara who is yet to make herself the Impossible Girl but which she will do in the finale via some sort of timey-wimey paradox.

    I think this arc is about, in its simplest terms, how the Doctor needs his friends to survive.

    But, like you, I don’t expect to be right!  🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @htpbdet – ’twas someone online. And it was before broadcast, so they had NO excuse.

    As the saying goes: may they be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels …

    Anonymous @

    @HTPBDET“I remain convinced that there is but one Clara who is yet to make herself the Impossible Girl but which she will do in the finale via some sort of timey-wimey paradox.

    I think this arc is about, in its simplest terms, how the Doctor needs his friends to survive.”

    Me too, so it’s not just you, on both points.

    But, I thought that all of nu-Who has been pretty explicit about how the Doctor needs his friends.  Ada’s comment in CH ‘it’s good to have a friend’ was simply the lastest expression of that sentiment.

    Was it not thus in Classic Who?  Did the companions not perform the same role?

    I think about Rose with 9, saying ‘it (the Dalek) is not the one pointing a gun at me’ ; and Amy – in her glorious early incarnations in Beast Below and Churchill’s Dalek – seeing the truth of the starwhale’s love of children, and that making an imminently exploding robot think of love was more human than making him angry.

    Did any of the original companions not fulfill this important role with the Classic Doctors?  Or has stopping his excesses been a post-2005 character trait for them?

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @Shazzbot – mostly a post-2005 thing. Before that, although sometimes he verged on going to far (genocide of the 1st generation of embryo daleks, for instance, in GotD) he generally acted as his own conscience. I can’t think of any exception to that.

    If anything, his companions were egged him on to excess! To quote SJS in the same scene after the Doctor questions if he has the right to play God, if that would make him no better than them, she replies, “Destroy the Daleks? You can’t doubt it?… he most evil creatures ever invented, you must destroy them! … If it was a disease or some sort of bacteria you were destroying, you wouldn’t hesitate.”

    It’s a marked reversal of the Doc-Companion dynamic, it really is.

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @htpbdet I think this arc is about, in its simplest terms, how the Doctor needs his friends to survive.

    Hmm, isn’t there some literary thing about heroes being surrounded with allies/friends while villains are alone?

    @Shazzbot Did any of the original companions not fulfill this important role with the Classic Doctors?

    Not sure they did; seems like they protect him from those excesses or going off the edge from the aftermath of the Time War. A Town Called Mercy with Amy talking him down.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @Shazzbot and @haveyoufedthefish – I would like to know the reasoning behind that shift.  Has the formula for episodics changed?   Have any of the show’s writers or producers discussed it?  Maybe taking a different perspective, it seems to me they are presenting a very human centric view of the cosmos.  By portraying the Doctor’s ethical choices as wanting, they establish that human morality is superior.  I don’t want that type of human centric cosmos.  I am very happy for the Doctor to possess and express a vastly different ethical code than humanity, in fact it would make for great juxtaposition with the companion.

    Anonymous @

    @HaveYouFedTheFish – then, in the face of all Classic Who afficionados everywhere (but especially here, because I value all of your opinions!) – I think nu-Who is better because it introduces the concept of the human companion doing the ‘exceptional human’ thing.

    One thing that’s always bugged me about Doctor Who (the programme) is that he’s so keen to save humankind.  Because we are generally pretty horrible.  I thought this was interestingly dealt with after the Silurian adventure when the Doctor basically tells off the mother that shot the Silurian captive, because she gave in to her fear and went all Rambo.  ‘You can be so much better than this!’ he cried.  I thought, yah, well, that’s humans for ya.

    But I can’t understand the difference in dynamic between Classic Who and nu-Who with respect to how the companions now keep a brake on his excesses – perhaps because only in nu-Who the companions have been solely human?.

    I’m sadly lacking in the Classic Who lore, which so many here are not; but I think it’s a worthwhile discussion to have, to think about what the companion brought to the Tardis (other than father-watching perve value, ugghh) between the 60’s and the noughties, and what a difference to the show have been the totally human post-2005 companions.

    Is it that we are that much more needy as a race nowadays, that we must see ourselves stopping the excesses of a pseudo-god simply by what we see as our ultimate human virtues?


    Anonymous @

    Hiya @ardaraith “Maybe taking a different perspective, it seems to me they are presenting a very human centric view of the cosmos.  By portraying the Doctor’s ethical choices as wanting, they establish that human morality is superior.”

    And that is exactly the discussion I was hoping to provoke!  Because human morality ain’t as grand as it likes to think it is.  So, what is different about our times that the ‘exceptional human’ is more desirable as a Doctor Who companion than anything/anyone who came before?

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @Shazzbot, @ardaraith – nothing explicitly mentioned by the showrunners that I know of , but the many subscribers to DWM on here will be more of an authority on that!

    I think it’s just an artefact of him now being a war veteran, no more, no less. It shifted the boundaries of his ethics, and not in a good way.

    Humans now have to be his conscience not because of any special qualities we have, but by default – post Time War, there’s simply no-one else left to do it.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @Shazzbot (et all)

    In ‘An Unearthly Child’, some of the cave people chase the TARDIS crew who have escaped. The main Cave-chap is savagely attacked by an animal & is bleeding to death. Ian & Barbara want to stay & help, whereas the Dr wants to just leave (or brain the guy with a large rock). Most surprised of all are the Cave-Folk, who can’t understand this concept of mercy.

    I don’t think this Humane Human-TimeLord relationship was oft repeated in the old series though…

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    Heya @Shazzbot – I think I am as lacking in Classic Who lore as you, so we may need other minds to jump in.  Tea, anyone?

    Perhaps the show is making a statement regarding the perpetual mid-east wars and their impact.  Or perhaps the societal forces shaping the alienated and self-possessed thinking of Europe and America are simply revealed in the writing.  After all, the writers are part of the sociological dynamic we all feel and experience.  Culture is self-absorbed.  The cult of personality is thick in the streets, and on the air waves.

    Or perhaps the companions reflect the dominant culture of their era.  The 60’s and 70’s counter culture was a reaction against a rigid and dogmatic society.  Can that be seen in the companions of the time? Our own age is awash with excess, with a focus on technology that turns us ever inward.  Are nu-Who companions reflective of this, or any other social commentary?  I don’t know, but I doubt it.

    It could be argued that the myth of the “exceptional human” is wrapped up in the cult of personality, and societies current thirst for fame and self-importance.  Whichever it is,  I would prefer to see the Doctor’s unique worldview and moral code explicitly expressed.  It would delight me to see a human perspective contrasted with that of an alien species, and both respected. It’s such a great narrative for exploring cultural and ideological diversity.  In fact, I thought they did that pretty well with the Ice Warrior in Cold War.

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