S33 (7) 12 – The Crimson Horror

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    Anonymous @

    @wolfweed – I’m like a dog with a bone, I tells ya.

    Because I think in this 50th anniversary year that the changing ‘utility’ (for lack of a better word) of the Companion(s) is an important point.  As you point out in An Unearthly Child, the companions showed mercy that the Doctor didn’t, but then this theme was not carried forward in the classic series (as per Sarah Jane exhorting the Doctor to kill the Daleks, likening them to bacteria).

    Which is a 180 degree swerve from Rose telling off the Doctor for not shooting the Dalek with that very big gun – and the Doctor stopped, because Rose made him feel shamed.

    If this is such a massive change from the ‘Classic’ (i.e. pre 2005) series, why hasn’t it been more commented on?  No-one knows anything about the void between the 8th Doctor’s movie and C Eccelstone showing up with his hand to get Rose out of the Auton-infested basement.  Theories abound for every little detail about each episode since then – but no-one seems interested in the overall, and massive, change in the relationship dynamic between the Doctor and his companion(s) since then, compared to previously so.

    Is it ’cause I is stoopid about Classic Who, and all of this has been thoroughly chewed over a million times?

    Anonymous @

    Hi @ardaraith – “Our own age is awash with excess, with a focus on technology that turns us ever inward.”

    Your whole comment was wonderful, but that above really stood out for me.  I blame Fbook for turning us ‘ever inward’ but that was years before the development and writing of C Eccelstone’s Doctor.  “societies current thirst for fame and self-importance” is apt for current times of course; but wasn’t so wrong in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s either.

    So … we have the arc in the post-2005 series that the companion is always human, and always manages to keep the Doctor from the outcomes of his worst impulses.  This new Doctor laments the weaknesses in humans which exacerbate problems – completely forgetting where his own TimeLord weaknesses caused similar problems – and utterly relies on his [human] companions to keep him from the worst of his excesses.  None of this is [apparently] like the Classic programme.

    So … is the twist for the post 50th show that the Doctor gains a companion who eggs him on in his wildly destructive impulses?  Where could that possible go, but into a hole shaped like the Doctor who already needed to lay low so people forgot about him for a while?

    Or … a non-human companion who has ‘alien’ impulses of his/her own, with a Doctor who doesn’t require a Nanny to keep him on the straight ‘n narrow.

    THAT’s my prediction, my bonkers theory.  (FINALLY I have one!)

    The new companion will not be human and the Doctor will FINALLY (finally, finally; that was getting a bit tedious) not be tipping over to the dark side every 5 minutes.

    But wait … that makes it a ‘monster of the week’ programme, then, doesn’t it?

    Crap.  Back to the drawing board.  🙂

    thommck @thommck

    Something I just thought, that’s been hidden in plain sight, we know about certain characters returning for the 50th but there has been absolutely no references to them at. Yet we hear one mention of Susan in RoA & she’s the best guess for a return.

    This makes me think the 50th will be almost completely standalone.


    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @ardaraith  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.

    Wouldn’t mind that myself! Must admit, this conversation makes me curious about how other cultures perceive the show.

    @Shazzbot I blame Fbook for turning us ‘ever inward’ but that was years before the development and writing of C Eccelstone’s Doctor.

    Ain’t the deactivate button grand though? 😀

    So … is the twist for the post 50th show that the Doctor gains a companion who eggs him on in his wildly destructive impulses?  Where could that possible go, but into a hole shaped like the Doctor who already needed to lay low so people forgot about him for a while?

    With other theories/clean slate palaver, it might be those destructive impulses are quelled. Somehow. Maybe. It’s going to be a really long wait for those 90 minutes eh?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @ardaraith – I really don’t see the companions as having any kind of ‘exceptionalness of humanity’ or ‘human morality is the way to go’. The problem isn’t that human morality is superior or anything, it’s that the NuWho Doctor starts off as a classic case of PTSD and badly needs people to help him. The cultural vibe I suspect RTD absorbed was all those shell-shocked refugees from various wars; Kosovo, Iran, Iraq, Somalia.

    The Companions are human because they’re our viewpoint characters (for NuWho). They become exceptional. This is a family show; we do not want to teach children to aspire to being immoral and below-average. 🙂 We want to teach them to take moral responsibility – even if the person behaving badly (i.e. the Doctor) has the authority – and, basically, to grow up to become the people who save the universe, not destroy it.

    I suspect the 50th is going to see a reset in ‘the Doctor needs Companions to stop him’ and a move towards ‘it’s not good to be alone’. Back to the more Classic pattern of the Doctor travelling with a group of people because he or she likes them.

    If you look at the Paternoster Gang, the leader is definitely not human, and did not learn to be moral from humans. She has a human wife; but the Paternoster Gang is run along Madame Vastra’s principles, not Miss Jenny’s. The moral influence on Madame Vastra was stated as – the Doctor. Similarly, in Crimson Horror it’s the Doctor who suggests taking Mr Sweet somewhere he’d become harmless, and Ada who smashes the little bug to bits. 🙂

    In Journey the most caring and moral of the brothers is the one who thinks he’s an android.

    Whisht @whisht

    @thommck – completely agree (but for other reasons) – I think it’ll be mainly standalone, as for most viewers this will be their first viewing of Who (for quite a while!).

    It will leave them cold if there’s loads of “what? why did that happen? But why do they care about…. what? where did they come from?”

    mind you, I guess some episodes… (i kid, i kid).


    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @ardaraith @shazzbot

    You raise interesting and, in my view, complex issues.

    I don’t have any answers – but I do have thoughts.

    Firstly, the sequence in Unearthly Child is over-thought. In truth, if you were somewhere you did not intend to be and your grandchild was possibly in peril, would you prioritise the needs of a complete stranger over your grand-child? Because, that is the question. Ian and Barbara were on their first journey in time and space – they were excited, scared, blown over – they could afford altruism. The Doctor, knowing that the human race was not in danger if one person in the time they were died, prioritised Susan over that person. It’s a no brainier in my view. ( And, yes, that is a deliberate pun!)

    Secondly, and more importantly perhaps, there is a single clear distinction between Classic Who and Nu-Who: the Time War. We don’t know the details, but we do know that it cost the Doctor dearly.

    So when we rediscover him in Rose, he is a very different shade of Time Lord. He is grey, edging on black. And he does not like himself very much.

    Rose changes that, and not ( in my view) as most believe because she fell in love with him, but because he was exciting to travel with and he literally changes her horizons, makes her a better person by what he lets he see and do.  In this, Rose is the traditional companion type.

    Equally, because she is who she is, Rose challenges the Doctor. This is especially clear in Dalek, but elsewhere too.

    For my money, the Ninth Doctor is simply tired by the time he comes to regenerate. He has endured the Time War and possibly decades of solitary mourning and second-guessing. Rose makes him come to see that what he did was for the best, because, actually, he is incapable of making seriously bad choices. Seeing the truth finally, he can rest, renew.

    Doctor Ten is a much happier, more confident Doctor – much more a Classic  Who doctor. And this one Rose does fall in love with. But the Doctor does not love her the same way and that inability gnaws at him – you see it most clearly in Satan Pit. It is almost as if (and this is an analogy not a statement of fact) Rose is the equivalent of a fag-hag to his unreadable unattainably perfect( in her mind) Doctor.

    But he is unprepared for her loss to the alternative world and it disturbs him. He tries to put on a brave face with Martha, but, to his horror, she falls in love with him too. So he decides upon a solitary life again.

    Then Donna barges in and forces him to be her companion ( because make no mistake, that is what he is to her. She is sorting him out matey) and she makes marvellous progress – and then Donna Donna happens and she is lost to him.

    That is three women whose lives he has destroyed ( in his mind ) and he goes into a spin – revisiting the delusions of grandeur that haunted his sixth and seventh incarnations and saw him capable of sealing theTime Lock.

    Wilf eases him out of that – because, faced with self-importance or the death of one frightened old man whose granddaughter has already suffered profoundly, he elects suicide.

    We don’t know how much time passes between that regeneration and the start of the Pond era – importantly, we don’t know what has happened to the TARDIS.

    But Doctor 11 is both nothing like any one face that came before him and at the same time a constantly changing kaleidoscope of them all. He is an unsettled soul – he revels in being a mad man in a box – and curiously, for the very first time in his life as we have seen it, he seeks out or is drawn to abnormal humans: Amy, with her crack in time; Rory, who can wait 2000 years for a woman who he does not believe loves him as much as he loves her; Clara, the impossible girl; River, the mysterious gun-toting lipstick wielding force of the Universe who defies classification and who says she is his wife and knows him well – and seems to; Vastra, Strax, Jenny, Nefertiti and Redding – all weird and fascinating not quite ordinary Earthlings.

    He can’t travel with normal people – because normal people could not cope with him – look at Brian, for instance.

    So – the dynamic of the companion is quite different now – for reasons which, in my view, stem from the Time War. And between 9 and 10 on the one hand and 11 on the other, the companions are different again.

    I have left out Jack because I don’t really count him as a true companion – much like the Brigadier. He comes along for the ride, but his life is not entwined with the Doctor’s in the same way as Rose or Martha or Donna. He is a passerby, touched by the light of the TARDIS and enriched by his friendship with the Doctor.

    Earth has always been a special place to the Doctor – after all, he picked it as the place to school his grand-daughter. The first, third, fourth and tenth Doctors all die on Earth and the second is effectively executed by the Time Lords and then his body, changed into the third, is sentenced to imprisonment on Earth. All of the early Doctors talk, one way or another, about the incredible resilience and inquisitiveness and spirit of Earthlings – the apex of this is Tom Baker’s “indomitable” speech in Ark in Space.

    They are all, all eleven incarnations, passionately interested in Earth. And given that the Eight maintained he was half-human, you could be forgiven for thinking that one of his parents was human. Even without the Eighth, you could think that.

    I don’t think any of the Classic Who companions had the function of either egging him on or restraining him.

    I think it is unfair to suggest Sarah Jane was encouraging the Doctor to commit genocide (even though she was!) because her words need to be seen in the greater context: the Time Lords had told the Doctor that the Daleks would become the dominant life form in the universe and ordered him to destroy them for the greater good;  Sarah had seen the Daleks in action in Death to the Daleks and she knew what they were capable of; the Doctor had come to that very point in Genesis intending to destroy them. What is surprising about that scene is not that Sarah advocates the destruction, but that the Doctor does not do it. Remember, Hartnell had finally destroyed them when he first met them ( timey wimey ) and Troughton thought he had in Evil of the Daleks. Every other time the Doctor met the Daleks he was calm about eradicating them entirely – and that is the right position. Yes, truly it is.

    The Genesis decision, actually, is the out-of-character decision – but it is the moment when Tom Baker’s Doctor establishes without question that he cannot be anticipated. He is a Time Lord, not a human. That is the significance of that moment and it should not be overlooked.

    With the exception of Ian and Barbara, whose role was, specifically, to humanise the Doctor, ( which really meant make him stop molly coddling Susan at the expense of everything else) all of the other companions have been just that – companions.

    They are in the adventures together, but they bring their own personalities to the journey and, accordingly, they shape the Doctor’s behaviour. All the key companions, at different times, call the Doctor on his behaviour: Vicki, Ben and Polly, Jamie, Zoe, Liz, Jo, Sarah, Leela, Romana, Tegan, Nyssa, Ace…one way or another, in their own way and to varying degrees of success, they help shape and enlighten the Doctor. The Brigadier does this too. Even the tiresome Adric, in dying, significantly affects the Fifth Doctor.

    So – although we talk about the Smith Doctor being different and darker and whatever else we say, in my view, the truth is that the 11th Doctor is, truly, the first Doctor not to have “ordinary” companions. It is almost as if Moffat believes that the modern audience can’t be bothered to invest in “ordinary” companions.

    I think he is wrong about that.

    Leaving aside whatever her mystery is, Clara is, apart from that and always saving him, quite ordinary. Like a cross between Zoe and Sarah-Jane. That is her special appeal – to me anyway. ( I love her. I just want the Impossible stuff over so she can settle into her true self, whatever that is – mind you, I am quite prepared for the fact that she will die and the story about her continuing next year to be a simple Moffat lie)

    So, my hope is that she will move from Impossible Girl to ordinary Clara (even if that turns out to be Susan or, say, the child of Rose and the other Doctor 10) – and going forward the format will return to the Classic style – the remarkable Doctor and the confused/excited/querulous/questioning companion.

    Not sure if that helps – but for what it is worth, they are my thoughts on Shazzbot’s bone.


    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @ardaraith – “i would prefer to see the doctors unique world view and moral code explicitly expressed”

    … well he kind of has (a bit) over the last few episodes with the “precious bundle” speech. Having said that, I’m not entirely sure he knows exactly what his morals are anymore, his lines are blurred relative to old who (hence the dark doctor theories)

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @bluesqueakpip – haha. Indeed!  Dare not “aspire to being immoral and below-average.”

    @htpbdet – What a poignant and considered post!  Brilliant!  I have absolutely nothing to add (how could I), but thank you!  Thank you for that peek into history!

    Anonymous @

    @HTPBDET – thank you very much for that, I’m hungry for every bit of Classic Who lore that I can slurp up.  And I was fishing for a good analysis / comparison of Classic v Nu companions which you have provided.

    However, you didn’t touch on the human v nonhuman aspect of companions, nor the tendency in nu-Who to have companions with complicated family lives (and family / friends who join the Tardis for an adventure or two).  I feel that I am pressing you to give me your knowledge, and I apologise; but your insights are so valuable it seems a shame not to press you for them in this forum.

    It’s that pesky blank spot between Eight and Nine that is so tantalising.  Anything we posit is just that, positing, because there hasn’t been enough canonical lore to explain just what went on.  After being part of this website for a few months, I’m wondering if S Moffat doesn’t fill in a few of those gaps in the 50th anniv special — or, if he will leave those gaps un-filmed because they provide such a rich seam of theorising and framing of fans’ thoughts (or, more likely, slow leaking into the episodes / arcs of the future).

    At any rate, I agree with you about Moffat not thinking audiences want a ‘normal’ companion and also agree with you that if so, he is wrong about that.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet


    I live to serve.

    In Classic Who, all of the companions were human except Susan, Leela, K9, Romana, Adric, Nyssa, Kamelion and Turlough. But apart from the robots, none were presented as “aliens”, really.

    However, there were exotic “normal” companions – Susan, Victoria, Jamie, Zoe, Leela, Romana, Nyssa, Turlough, Peri, Ace – in the sense that they were  out of their own time and place, which might not be Earth, when travelling in the TARDIS.

    In Classic Who, by and large, the companion’s back story was told in clear, but uncomplicated ways, when they were introduced. The audience knew who they were and what they represented. The real exceptions were Turlough and Ace, and to a much lesser extent Mel and Romana.

    In Nu-Who, the focus is quite different. Every companion, pre-Clara, comes with a family and some with boyfriends/girlfriends. That is an entirely Nu-Who  innovation.

    It worked, in my view, with Rose, Donna and Rory, but not at all with Martha or Amy ( although her family was, to say the least, complicated ).

    But the role of the family members, by and large, is to question and object to the Doctor. In Rose’s case, the family is more intricate to the dynamic of the ongoing narrative and, for me anyway, that works very well. The story of Rose’s mother’s transformation because of the Doctor is as profound if not as heart-breaking as Rose’s.

    Another way that Nu-Who is essentially different from Classic Who is that the Doctor is forced to deal with consequences: that has never happened before. When a companion departed in Classic Who, that was that; you never heard from them again. ( I am discounting the out-of-timeline events, Five Doctors and Two Doctors) The only real exception was Jo Grant, who returned in Planet of the Spiders in spirit if not in fact – her return of the Metebelis Three crystal started the race that would cause Pertwee’s Doctor to die.  (Harry Sullivan also came back after he travelled in the TARDIS but just once (Android Invasion) and not for any reason other than he was part of the UNIT family.)

    Planet of the Spiders was the only time – pre-NuWho – were the Doctor faced a consequence because of something he had done for or with a companion.

    School Reunion changed all that – the Tenth Doctor was made to face up to his sudden betrayal and abandonment of Sarah Jane Smith in Hand of Fear. It was a game changing moment.

    Since then, the Doctor has faced the consequences of taking Rose in the TARDIS, taking Donna in the TARDIS, taking Adelaide in the TARDIS, taking Wilf in the TARDIS, not keeping his promise to Amelia and taking Amy and Rory and Brian in the TARDIS.

    Compared to Classic Who, Doctors Ten and Eleven have faced up to the consequences of their adventures more than any other incarnations – and that takes a toll.

    Also, in Classic Who, companions ( at least prior to Pertwee ) always stayed with the Doctor from the time they commenced travelling to when they left. The first two Doctors could not control the TARDIS so the companions were always stuck in the TARDIS until they decided to leave ( or in Susan’s case, the Doctor left her behind ) or died ( Katarina, Brett Vyon and Sara Kingdom ).

    As Pertwee was exiled, the companions could come and go, but there was always a sense that the Doctor was not doing things without them. This continued with Tom Baker to a degree – as I say, Harry came and went – but really once he started to helm the ship, the companions were with him for the duration.

    Tegan provides an odd exception to that in the Davison era – she leaves at the end of Time Fight but then rejoins in the next story.

    It is not really until we reach Nu-Who that you get the sense of the companion being dropped home for some R&R. But that notion has pervaded all three Nu-Who Doctors to a greater or lesser degree.

    I vastly prefer it when the TARDIS cannot be controlled by the Doctor with the result that the companions must stay and cope and the Doctor has to work harder to find solutions. But that is not, so far, the way of Nu-Who.

    Please ask anything you like – others here will soon let you know if my take is wrong I am sure.

    Hope this has helped.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    While reading something just now about The Rani, I learned there were other renegade Time Lords the Doctor had encountered, and one of them sounded Very interesting: The Monk. Could the monk in the AotD prequel be The Monk?? Could the woman in the shop be The Rani??

    WhoHar @whohar

    @ardaraith @shazzbot

    Moffat’s take is that it is all about the companions; whereas classic Who was all about the Doctor. This is a bit of an oversimplification but maybe illustrates how the emphasis has changed. Some of the Pertwee / T Baker era Tardis crew were not called companions at all but were known as assistants which probably more accurately reflects their dynamic in that era. 


    thommck @thommck

    Just got a bit carried away watching the multitude of Doctor Who 50th anniversary fan trailers on YouTube. The last one featured the end bit of this episode with Angie and Artie talking to Clara.

    Angie says “We’ll have to tell our Dad our Nanny is a time traveler”. It just struck me what an odd thing that is for a child to say. What child nowadays would actually use the word “Nanny”, especially as Clara is meant to be a family friend not just some hired help. Seems like they are trying to emphasize the whole Nanny element as a plot point to me.

    On a side note about the fan trailers, they are all very good and rather epic but wouldn’t it be great to see one that only had clips from Moffat episodes, that could really highlight some clues for the 50th!

    Anonymous @

    @thommck – Eeek!  Your new avatar!   🙂

    You’re right about the jarring of that ‘nanny’ word – I felt that when I watched this ep, too, but that whole short sequence at the end was so bizarre that that one detail got lost for me.  (at least they didn’t say ‘governness’)

    I think everything hinges on Clara saying ‘that’s just basic storytelling!’ in JttCotT.  That was even weirder for a character to say.  More 4th-wall breaking than her speaking RYCBaR directly to camera was, because when has a character ever talked about storytelling in the midst of living that story for the viewer?

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @Shazzbot the tendency in nu-Who to have companions with complicated family lives

    I suspect, first, it’s simply to act as replacement for that family he’s (seemingly) lost and perhaps he does a bit likewise. Isn’t each family missing something? So, dramatic effect. That’s an overall Nu-Who view. The Waltons in Space doesn’t sound that appealing.

    Second, you could see it as another arc (by RTD not Moffat) instead really. Young working class Rose, 20something middle class Martha, 30something working class Donna (as reflection of Rose?) and finally Wilf. Not sure where the occasional companions would fit into that. Well, not yet.

    Perhaps both those possibilities at once. Perhaps I’m wrong. I’ve only just thought of them (and the rest) after all.

    But really (within that dynamic) I think it’s to ground them, as they ground him, and give some perspective. They all stop in the end.

    If we’re talking Moffatt, it’s more settled with one companion. He grows up with her, loses her to real life (she has no time for him) and he winds up marrying her kid. That’s some development eh? People say it’s all about the companions but, really, in the long run is it not his story? How he changes from that veteran.

    No clue on Clara yet. Of course 🙂

    One thing I did notice was Ace-Grace to Rose-Martha. Probably nothing.

    @ardaraith I’ve suggested that Monk possibility a few times but had doubts as I’ve never seen his episodes and there’s only one or two of them anyway. Still, nothing’s impossible!

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @satsumajoe, @ardaraith, and other enthusiasts. The monk-like figure. No. There is no way that the monk-like figure in the Asylum prequel clip would be the the monk, or more accurately, The Meddling Monk. He was a comical character from the Hartnell years. He was, indeed, a renegade time lord, but he was a bit of a conman–not entirely dissimilar to Captain Jack Harkness in his first appearance. But the main point is that he was comical. Not at all the same as the character in the Asylum prequel clip.

    Yet another reason why I would encourage the enthusiasts of nu Who to take the plunge and discover the wonders of classic Who. There is so much that is so wonderful out there waiting to be discovered. Creaky sets and all.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @thommck – Clara’s ‘The Nanny’ rather than ‘The Doctor’?

    Moffat being fond of timey-wimey, it could be that Clara is going to look after baby-Doctor rather than has looked after baby-Doctor. It would be very funny if the Doctor ended up in his own cot. Again. But I think they’re emphasising Clara as Mary Poppins. Or Nanny McPhee, whichever. But emphasising the idea of a magical being who drops out of the sky, takes care of the kids and sets things to rights.

    As opposed to a magical being “soaked in the blood of a thousand galaxies. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.”

    Clara is here to change the story. She may not know that’s what she’s doing – but that’s what she’s here for.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @ardaraith @satsumajoe

    I would love to see the Monk return – so long as a really good actor with comic skills was up to playing him – Simon Russell Beale perhaps? or Alan Davies? His character is bumbling bad, not malignant like the Master or the Rani.

    But remember that the Meddling Monk was not actually a Monk – he was a Time Lord pretending to be a Monk in order to meddle in Earth’s history.

    So, I think it very unlikely that he will turn out to be amongst those seen in the Monastery in Bells.

    but, as you say, SatsumaJoe, anything is possible.

    I think my favourite exchange with the Doctor and the Monk is this one from Dalek Masterplan:

    SARA: Doctor, look! DOCTOR: Ah, tut, tut, tut, my dear Monk. Now don’t be so ridiculous. Put that down at once. MONK: Well, hello, Doctor. Keeping well? DOCTOR: Oh, no complaints, no. And you? MONK: Oh, so so, you know, just so so. SARA: Who is it? MONK: Delighted to see you again, young man. STEVEN: Thanks. I wish I could say the same for you. DOCTOR: I suppose congratulations for your escape are quite in order. MONK: Oh, thank you. Most kind of you, Doctor. Yes, it took a bit of time, but I finally managed to bypass the dimensional controller. DOCTOR: Yes, a very interesting solution, yes, I’m sure, though I think it would make for rather an uncomfortable ride. However, I don’t suppose it affected you very much, being an amateur. MONK: Yes, it was rather uncomfortable, but then, we can’t have everything, can we? As for being an amateur, we shall see. Anyway, it was better than 1066. DOCTOR: Yes, I suppose so. SARA: What’s he talking about, 1066? STEVEN: It’s all right. We’ve met the Monk once before. I’ll explain later. DOCTOR: And you returned here for one obvious reason, did you not? MONK: I’m afraid so, Doctor. Revenge is a strange thing, isn’t it? DOCTOR: Yes, yes, quite, quite. Tell me, any plans? MONK: And all carried out as well. Oh, ho. Doctor, you remember you left me in 1066? Now I’ve marooned you on the planet Tigus. Look! Oh, it’s funny this. Forgive me laughing, Doctor, but I don’t seem to be able to control it. Well, goodbye, Doctor. Perhaps I’ll come back one day and rescue you

    It really sums up Hartnell’s preening arrogance and sense of intellectual superiority in relation to a fellow Time Lord, decades before Deadly Assassin, as well as highlighting the mischief-maker and grudge bearer the Monk was as played by Peter Butterworth.

    Funnily enough, I always thought Bernard Cribbins would make a good Monk…

    But thank you for making me think more deeply about Dalek Masterplan – the first time the programme ever broke the fourth wall occurred there, when Hartnell wished the viewers at home a Merry Christmas. So, for those who are rooting for the Dalekisation theory…you have a direct co-relation between Hartnell in The Feast of Steven and Clara in Asylum of the Daleks – maybe it is a new Dalek Masterplan after all?  🙂

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip      Clara is here to change the story. She may not know that’s what she’s doing – but that’s what she’s here for.

    Yes, that is my thought too – and she will change the story by saving him…again…and creating her own impossibility. I feel sure that must be right.

    But it still leaves the question of whether she is just Clara or someone else…

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    About Clara; perhaps they’ll explain the leaves, missing years, mystery photographer, penchant for dying near epic ladders (another mirror there I think; one going into the earth, the other to the sky), shop woman and her mum. Have I missed anything?

    @blenkinsopthebrave I would encourage the enthusiasts of nu Who to take the plunge and discover the wonders of classic Who.

    Must say, ‘The Faces of the Doctor’ thread has got me really intrigued about those. I do work with stats (SPSS) the odd time so Statsuma raised a laugh.

    ardaraith @ardaraith


    @blenkinsopthebrave – drat!  Oh, well.  I agree with you wholeheartedly on the discovery of Classic Who!  There is so much there – it may take me 50 years to get through. 🙂


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @satsumajoe – my current mad theory about the leaf/Clara’s mum is that she was Susan Foreman, hiding out during the Time War.

    Hiding out because the Time Lords were planning to use her as a hostage for the Doctor’s good behaviour. If his granddaughter was on Gallifrey, surely the Doctor could never destroy/Time Lock it.

    So Susan was chameleon arched, placed in Blackpool (non-canonically, an area the Eighth Doctor knew well) and takes the name ‘Ellie Ravenwood’ from an old book she picked up in a charity shop. She spots this guy about to die in freak leaf accident, and still having that acute sense of time we saw with John Smith in Human Nature, diverts the about-to-be-fatal accident. And then, just like her Grandfather in Human Nature, she promptly falls in love.

    And then, she dies. And the Doctor returns to Earth. Perhaps the Time Lords found her – but the Doctor destroyed Gallifrey anyway, even knowing Susan was there.

    Who Clara is in this scenario remains to be seen; Susan’s own human child, River and the Doctor’s child hidden with her or possibly a reborn Doctor?

    The photographs, I’d guess, are being taken by the Big Bad, who obviously has time travel. In which case, given that this probably is some timey-wimey plan by the Doctor’s friends, it’s vitally important that any investigation comes up with ‘normal, Clara’s perfectly normal, impossibility is due to time accident, nothing to see here, move along’. 🙂

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @htpbdet – After reading your comment above regarding The Feast of Steven, I went searching for it and found this reconstruction.  There certainly was a lot of yelling! lol.  The Doctor certainly, and very clearly, breaks the fourth wall.  Are there other instances of this happening in Classic Who?

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @ardaraith          Not in that way, no. Caves of Androzani does provide some interesting direct-to-camera work, but it is not in the league of Feast of Steven.

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @ardaraith @shazzbot @htpbdet

    Just catching up on your discussion of companions and the Docs morality – some illuminating and fascinating observations there, thank you.

    For my money, I think @htpbdet is spot on when he highlights everything changing with the Time War.  As I see it, your personal morality constantly evolves based upon your experiences and the society around you – see for example how attitudes towards social security have changed since it’s inception.  The Doctor’s own society is now gone, so his moral compass is only influenced by his own actions and has been corrupted by self disgust at committing genocide and self righteous arrogance because he did it for the greater good – and therefore his judgement is supreme.  He now needs companions to act as a moral guide, but ultimately, they are providing human morality, so we as viewers understand where they are coming from, but also accept that the Doctor, as an alien, may not.

    As far as how the role of the companion has changed, I think attaching the arc to the companion rather than to the doctor is just a mechanic that allows the show to play with new themes without relying purely on regenerations to spark our interest once again.  I think this season has directly referenced this – for the Doctor, just a new companion and a new journey isn’t enough anymore, it has to be a mystery to solve, something to tax his mental prowess and the impossible girl has done that.  Companions are an addiction, he’s periodically going cold turkey but he needs them – and like any dependency he eventually needs something stronger (or more mysterious in his case).

    I still suspect that whatever happens in the 50th anniversary, and whatever happens to Clara (and especially if she turns out to be completely normal) the show will be set back up for doctor related arcs with companions developing through traveling with him, rather than the other way round – we may yet even get to see a happy parting of the ways!

    Anonymous @

    @osakahatter – thanks for your input on companions.  I started this topic partly because, as @whohar said elsewhere, the bonkers theories seem to be slowing down (but @bluesqueakpip is valiantly keeping up her end!).  We weren’t given as many arc-based tangles to unravel – or so we think – in the last 2 eps.  And anyway, it’s been an extremely educational discussion.

    I’m wondering again, though, how Clara ended up with the Maitlands.  She said she came to stay ‘with friends’ for a week before travelling, but then the Mum died and she has stayed for a year.  Erm … friends?  The father (and presumably his dead wife) appear too old and the children are definitely too young.  Are they family friends?  Was Clara’s (dead) mother friends with Mrs Maitland (also dead)?

    Oh jeez, is Mrs Maitland some timey-wimey version of Clara’s Mum?

    Ooh ooh!  OR, is this a story-telling thing, that because Clara’s own Mum died, she can only imagine families that are also motherless?

    CraigNixon @craignixon

    Phew. FInally caught up!

    Phone doesn’t like replying on here and toooo busy at work!


    ANyway, I liked TCH, thought it was a decent little story.

    As for predictions…

    The Doctor travels to Trenzalore (sp) and finds out…its New Gallifrey!

    THere were a couple of other surviors who took the Looms to create new timelords (the book Lungbarrow. Not sure on the canonicity of the books/radio etc) and started up a new race of timelords.

    The silence is his silence when his Jawdrops 😀

    Either that or Omega has masterminded the whole thing

    Anonymous @

    Hello @craignixon and welcome to our warm little world of bonkers theorising!  Omega has a raft of theories around him so you’re in good company with that thought.

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @Shazzbot She said she came to stay ‘with friends’ for a week before travelling, but then the Mum died and she has stayed for a year.

    Converse to Harvey (Artie? Nah) also being trapped on the asylum planet for a year but thinking it was only a few days? Never spotted that ‘friends’ thing! Thought she just meant the families knew each other.

    Anonymous @

    @satsumajoe – nice catch on the potential mirroring with a year / a few days.  So many mirrors people have caught!

    Although, the first view we have of the Maitlands, they don’t seem like they just lost their Mum / wife a few days before.  And Clara looks very integrated into their morning (but not mourning, ba-doom-tish!) routine so I’d guess she had to have been there a while.  But a whole year? …  who knows?

    And, the girl who always planned on travelling just happens to call a guy who can take her to even better places than her 101 list.  More of this ‘storytelling’ theme, I think.

    CraigNixon @craignixon

    Thanks Shazzbot.

    I’ve been saying Omega is coming for a few years now (no real reason, just gut feeling) and I predicted Rassilon as well.

    Mind you, I did think it was The Rani who picked up the Masters Ring. WOuld have been a Lot better IMO!

    I always saw the ‘Friends’ thing as ‘friends of the family’ IE, her mum / dads friends who she knew and was friendly with, rather than her mates.

    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @Shazzbot @satsumajoe  The coda to The Snowmen led me to believe Clara was walking in the cemetery with her friend–the friend who later died.  However, this doesn’t fit, does it.  Clara’s friend was her own age, and Clara is certainly not old enough to have children the ages of Artie and Angie.   It would make sense for Clara to mean ‘friend’ in the sense of ‘family friend’ but why confuse the issue with the coda? hmm

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Thanks everyone for thoughts on companions and the Dr’s morality.   The Dr needs companions/assistants, not because he needs a moral compass, but because he needs a different perspective sometimes, specifically that of a short lived, inquisitve, creature like humans, especially the ones with a strong sense of empathy.  Sometimes in looking at the big picture he can miss the small, but important details eg Amy in TBB.

    Definitely took a big hit with the Time War, but presumably no other option but total obliteration of the universe, time and everything. I’d say the Dr’s made his morality pretty clear each season and it’s been pretty consistent over the years. As @htpbdet pointed out in his masterful summing up the Doctor is about embracing change, other creatures’ points of view and not pre-judging who he meets – not all monsters look like monsters (and vice versa). He’s (still) excited about seeing all the things the universe can offer – the little glimpses Moff in particular offers of 11’s life in lightening fast montages which  suggest he lives life on a very different level from humans 🙂

    Most of the time he’s still an explorer/adventurer but occasionally we get a glimpse of authoritative Doctor – a role Matt has been coming into particularly strongly – recent assertions of “I’m a Time Lord” (to remind us that this is a being capable of pushing the buttton/pulling the switch to condemn the rest of his race (and the Daleks) to the time lock, when that is the only possible thing to do.  There will always be a doubt though – what if he missed something?

    Moff is on record as saying that the journey happens to the companions, that the Dr – while he can be threatened, imprisoned etc – has to stay essentially recognisably “the same” (including being seen to have continuing atoms (ie no replacing him in a permanent way with ganger, duplicate, tesselecter etc)). There should always be a mystery to him. OTOH rules 1-5…  All I can say is he’d better stick to that!!

    Introducing “families” allows us to think more about how we would react if we had the chance to travel in the Tardis. It’s about the effects the Dr has on everyone (good stuff included eg Wilf), and also helps to highlight his alien qualities. Sometimes he just thinks and acts differently from himans. Because he’s not. Since season 5, his alternative family have been introduced, and they are a very diverse group (Vastra et al). Maybe they will take a trip in the Tardis one day, there’s no reason why not. Meanwhile, here’s to frequent cameos.

    Charlie Cook @charlie-cook

    Re Satsuma Joe comment:”Byron also had an illegitimate daughter with Mary Shelley’s stepsister. They christened her Clara.”

    Byron had a legitimate daughter ada lovelace (after whom the programming language is named).

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @ardaraith  Clara does seem to have a habit of being associated with mother-less families, including her own. She turns up and the incumbent female carer (including the governess) dies soon after, or just before.  Angie looks as if  she’s mid-teens, which means her friend (the mum who died) must have been 30+ (nearer in age to the father).

    Incidentally re nanny – I think it’s a word which is in more common usage in Scotland, not that I have a lot of experience with them. But eg a name for a grandmother might be Nana, so nanny doesn’t sound particularly odd here.

    Charlie Cook @charlie-cook

    Re osakaHunter comment about Brain of Morbius’ – in the mind battle Morbius’s past lives show on his ‘screen’ so the pre-hartnell pictures must be the doctor. Mind you if you go by that, the Doctor has passed his twelfth generation so we are in other trouble elsewhere…

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @Shazzbot It’s the main thing I’ve got from this site! Never really watched the show in that way, it adds a whole new bonkers dimension 😀

    Also picked up the focus on motherless children (perhaps including Ada), more as a comparison to the fatherless ones in earlier series than anything else. Pretty sure I’ve seen that idea mentioned on here.

    @charlie-cook Indeed; I thought it possibly relevant (that new bonkers dimension again) or more likely just Gatiss naming her Ada (and Doctor as monster) after the fact as another little nod 🙂

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @Charlie Cook

    You can’t move for Claras these days, LOL. Incidentally Ada Lovelace had the programming language named after her because she was regarded as the first computer programmer (just thought I’d add that detail 🙂 )

    So.. the Doctor – bit Byronic you think?

    Mad, bad and dangerous to know

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @ardaraith (The Snowmen)

    why confuse the issue with the coda? hmm

    Good question – it establishes Clara’s alive in contemporary time, she finds her gravestone and makes the cheery remark about ghosts

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @Shazzbot – you’re welcome!  I think it’s a worthy discussion, not least because us fans so often talk about ‘our’ doctors and ‘our’ companions, or an individual’s stories and time in the TARDIS, that you don’t take a step back and look at the evolution of the doctor-companion relationship despite it being crucial to the show.  With such a long history, so many people have different starting points with the show and different perspectives.  And from the writers point of view, to keep people interested in a 50 year old show must be a massive challenge/responsibility (given that most shows fall by the wayside by the 6th or 7th series), so the dynamic of that key relationship has to evolve, but in a way that is still recognisably Doctor Who.

    I’ve found my views on the the companions have changed with distance, so comparing their roles is something of an impossible task.  One of my early memories of the show is Five regenerating into Six and I immediately didn’t like Six – something that tainted my view of his companions as well.  Guilty by association, I didn’t really give a monkey what happened to them and resentfully remembered Davidson’s stories instead.  In the 90’s however, between UKGold replaying available Doctor Who serials on a Sunday morning and the novels, somewhat older (wiser?) I found my opinion on the 5th Doctor and his companions soured in favour of the Pertwee and Tom Baker periods (and I couldn’t bring myself to reassess Colin Bakers time).  Similarly, I never had an issue with Rose when nu-who started, a likeable companion and my favourite show back!  However, the desperation amongst parts of the fanbase for her to come back to the show put me off her (and I know that’s unfair, it’s not Rose the character I dislike – it’s the Rose deification).  I need to go back and revisit old-who again, and see if time has changed my opinion once more.  Not sure if I can risk Colin Baker though 😉

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter

    @bluesqueakpip – Clara’s mother’s maiden name was Ravenwood?  I missed that.. another Indy Jones reference!  Does this mean the episode with John Hurt is gonna be rubbish!?

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @osakahatter – my sympathies go out to 6 & 7 – lumbered with possibly the worst companions ever. (Kate O’Mara dressing up as the red haired squeaky one was the worst and I nearly never watched another episode again!)  I was only dipping into Who occasionally by that stage, tho I had a soft spot for McCoy.

    Does this mean the episode with John Hurt is gonna be rubbish!?

    This phrase does not compute, LOL 🙂

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @Charlie Cook


    Re osakaHunter comment about Brain of Morbius’ – in the mind battle Morbius’s past lives show on his ‘screen’ so the pre-Hartnell pictures must be the doctor. Mind you if you go by that, the Doctor has passed his twelfth generation so we are in other trouble elsewhere…

    I have always taken the view that we, as viewer, do not know who is winning the mind fight at the point when the Hartnell image disappears and the new series of faces appears. It may be the Doctor and therefore they are earlier incarnations, but, equally, it may be Morbius, who does, after all, lose the fight.

    I have always thought it better to think that Morbius pushed Tom Baker backed to Hartnell but then he rallied, knowing he was at death point, and fought back with renewed vigour – a bit like an arm-wrestle where one participant almost has the other beaten but the other gets a new wind and thrusts the other arm smack down the other way.

    Anyway, its all up for debate that ole Brain of Morbius question – if only some writer who cares would sort it out! Moffat does seem a proponent of Hartnell was the first (see Vincent and the Doctor) so…


    HTPBDET @htpbdet


    Not sure if I can risk Colin Baker though ;-)

    Quite right too.

    Who needs Guantanamo Bay when you have Twin Dilemma?

    Anonymous @

    Hi @osakahatter“the desperation amongst parts of the fanbase for her [Rose] to come back to the show put me off her (and I know that’s unfair, it’s not Rose the character I dislike – it’s the Rose deification).”

    Ahh, but assuming which part of the fanbase that is, you’ve talked about this earlier in the same post of yours (nice thoughts on companion arcs btw!) – “so many people have different starting points with the show” and “us fans so often talk about ‘our’ doctors and ‘our’ companions”.  A lot of people started with nu-Who (as did I) and I can imagine people especially wanting ‘their’ companion to be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

    Me, I wouldn’t worry if Rose wasn’t taking part –

    1) if only for practical actorly reasons.  I remember a clip with Billie Piper talking about coming back at the end of Donna’s reign, and having to re-watch her own episodes to remember how she played Rose.  It sunk home how far away from the part she was, and how many different things she had done in the interim.  Actors like new challenges; and re-visiting an old role might feel like a negation of the various other roles they’ve had.

    2) none of the other nu-Who companions are taking part (that we know of) so it seems unmannerly to include Rose and not Mickey, Captain Jack, Martha, Donna and all the rest.

    CraigNixon @craignixon

    I would like to see Donna back. I really didn’t want Catherine Tate as I hated her sketch show. But I ended up quite liking her.

    OsakaHatter @osakahatter


    “This phrase does not compute, LOL :-)

    Ha!  It could of course mean Clara is actually the Doctor’s unknown delinquent son?


    “Who needs Guantanamo Bay when you have Twin Dilemma?”

    I heard it’s on loop 24/7 in there…


    “Ahh, but assuming which part of the fanbase that is, you’ve talked about this earlier in the same post of yours (nice thoughts on companion arcs btw!) – “so many people have different starting points with the show” and “us fans so often talk about ‘our’ doctors and ‘our’ companions”.  A lot of people started with nu-Who (as did I) and I can imagine people especially wanting ‘their’ companion to be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.”

    Completely agree, and I’m a bad hypocrite complaining about people wanting Rose (or references to her) when I’ve been enjoying the refs to previous docs in this series and the return of old enemies (and loved the Sarah Jane appearance in School Reunion).  I’m with @craignixon on Donna – really didn’t want Catherine Tate because of her sketch show but then Donna became my favourite nu-who companion, so felt the end of her stint was a bit undermined by all the returnees – perhaps that influenced my feelings on Rose at the time. Ultimately, I like the show’s ability to refresh itself but the end of season 4 felt a bit inward looking.

    However, I’m also still convinced that the anniversary will tie closely to nu-who in terms of story lines (Time War I’d expect, particularly after JTTCOTT), but be referential to the original beginning of the show, and am fully looking forward to the prospect!


    thommck @thommck

    Ohjeez, just saw a big spoiler on the radio times sute on who John Hurt is playing :'(

    It’s in quotes so in hoping its ambiguous :/

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @thommck – I tend to regard the Radio Times as releasing what the producers want released. So either a) John Hurt can’t keep his mouth shut, and they’re making the best of it 😈 or b) it’s not as obvious as it looks.


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