S33 (7) 12 – The Crimson Horror

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    ardaraith @ardaraith

    @thommck – I saw that, too, and was not pleased.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @ardaraith – got caught by it as well (just before @thommck posted) when I was checking for Saturday’s broadcast time. Folks, avoid the Radio Times site if you’re avoiding spoilers. The dratted thing’s on the front page.

    Having thought about it, I do suspect it’s a massive piece of misdirection. But unless it goes all over everywhere, probably now best discussed on the Spoilers thread.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @bluesqueakpip.  @ardaraith.  @thommck

    I would not get too concerned. I am sure it is managed information which will fit in with actuality but is designed to send us all into a spin.

    On the other hand….


    Moff has made it very – and repeatedly – clear that nothing goes into a BBC public realm without his approval and that, therefore, anything on the web, Radio Times etc should never be considered spoilers (Consider the emphasis given, in the run up to AGMGTW to images of Jenny – who turned out to be a minor character in the ep and came back through popular demand rather than original intent).

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    For me, I think the relative differences between show runners approach and demands for more consistency (in terms of morality, family representation, etc) are fundamentally opposed to my view. Doctor Who is weird in that for 50 years people have been telling stories about one man on TV, books and audio. I can’t think of another example in TV at all. In movies you have Bond, which is perhaps a case for an example, but the nearest pop culture comparison (for sheer volume of output) is perhaps one of the iconic heroes of American comics. Maybe Batman? He’s 74 this year.

    Back in the late 70s and 80s I read Batman books. At the end of the current issue used to be a page of readers letters. Some of them were bewildering to me. They would be complaining that the issue 3 back had run roughshod of something that happened in the issue printed June 1963. I was simultaneously amazed at their knowledge, envious they had access to such material and frankly – didn’t care. In an age before reprints I’d never get to read it. In the late 80s the continuity of all these heroes (which now included parallel worlds to explain why they didn’t age) became so tortuous they killed most of them, harmonising them into another linear reality. A short term solution at best.

    Something happened in the 90s to fandom, and I’m not sure what it was. Although you still get a few diehards who argue for some kind of linear narrative, for most, the love of Batman kept them coming back. In particular the interest in what any particular creative team would “do” with their hero. Would he be the lone Dark Avenger or hang out with a youth in tights? Would the focus be on his detective skills, or an action romp with lots of gadgets? Would he be seen on the right side of the law, or the wrong? People started to talk about Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” and Moore’s “The Killing Joke”, not really any giving a wet slap about linear continuity.

    A similar thing, for me, is the attraction of Who. Each creative team has given their own spin on The Doctor. For many in the new audience who aren’t familiar with the old, Russell T. Davies vision is the first one they encountered and therefore perhaps “definitive”. I once heard the description “The Lonely God meets kitchen sink melodrama”. Not sure I’d fully agree, but I can understand the elements and if you are aware of RTDs background as a writer you can possibly see that is how he would automatically approach the story of The Doctor. I found it a fun approach, as you had never seen it in the show before – how would The Doctor cope with an angry mum after he’d hauled her offspring across half the Universe? What if the Doctor suddenly encountered someone he’d left with a little bit of a hole in her life that he’d filled? They were good stories to tell, and largely well told.

    If Moffat had continued that approach I think some would have accused him of playing safe. If every companion had an annoying family to feature, it would soon be very tired. Rather than looking at the ties that bind to Earth he looked at the future, and the impact on the future family of a young couple. More about the odd relationships that you can form outside family that are sometimes more important than your own family – because family you don’t get to pick. Instead of the “Lonely God” we get “The Madman in the Box”. Replace “Kitchen Sink Melodrama” with “Dark Fairytale”. I love it even more, but recognise that others tastes will differ.

    In this series perhaps we’ve seen the future show runners in action. I’ve found the episodes different and usually engaging on different levels. Perhaps that was the point of the blockbuster series – audition reels to show what they would focus on, within the obvious constraints of the current showrunner vision. With Chibnall we had the return of the family, both in Brian and perhaps a reborn UNIT. With Gatiss perhaps a showcase of some classic tropes and the dark phantasmagorical humour he loves. If you truly believe that this show has the capacity to go anywhere and be anything, you really have to be prepared that sometimes you might not like the direction it will go in. The point is that a new approach may bring new converts and that’s always how the show has succeeded.

    It’s why that, although I use the term, I hate the reference to “Classic Who”. Yes, it’s a neat description for the first seven Doctors, but I think it’s almost insulting to present it as a unified consistent period. Especially to all that creative talent who worked hard to present their vision of what The Doctor is over those years.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Ouch – apologies for that. Started typing and didn’t stop. Really should have checked the length and apologised in advance!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    That’s a brilliant summing up @phaseshift. Between you and @htpbdet I think you’ve nailed the magic of the entire series!  You could also compare it to your favourite long term musicians – you may count yourself a fan, but you probably  won’t like every song/album eg Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, the Stones (delete and substitute according to your own taste 🙂 ) they’ve ever done. You may even have seen them do a duff gig. But it doesn’t take away one little bit of what they have achieved when they hit the marks.

    Or like your best friend of however many years. Sometimes your paths diverge but it doesn’t mean you won’t still meet up in the future and have great times together again. In the meantime you have lots of shared memories to keep the friendship warm.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – never apologise for length – perhaps on other websites, yes; but on this one, length primarily indicates thoughtful analysis and makes me want to read it.

    I don’t think ‘TL:DR’ could ever apply here.  🙂

    All of the commenters here who have been with the show since or near its inception are the lucky ones, because you can provide the kind of meta-analysis that us post-2005 viewers simply can’t have.  But beyond that there is the ultimate meta-analyser, as you have pointed out, who has absorbed the non-TV media associated with the series as well.

    You  mention a 1990’s difference in fandom and that is suspiciously close to the birth of the internet.  Suddenly, information about past episodes / series / magazine issues etc started becoming shared and more widely available.

    My own personal take FWIW is that the internet has changed Doctor Who.  Suddenly, there are sites like this where people who are charmed by easter eggs and intrigued by references to past details can congregate and theorise.  DW – and indeed any mass entertainment – simply can never be the same, because showrunners assume that they must write not only for the casual viewer but also those like me, once the casual viewer now assimilated into the dark side of bonkers theorising.

    Anonymous @

    @scaryb – I like your analogy to music – someone can still be a rabid fan but not have listened to that cronktastic bootleg from the university show early in the band’s career, not particularly like (sacrilege!) this or that album, or have read every interview.

    And your analogy to friendship – well, if paths diverge then cross again later, you spend time filling in the gaps, yes?  Or, as in my case with Doctor Who, I’m relying on the people who knew the show before I met it to fill me in on the highs and lows of the show before I had the chance to be a friend.  And if you particularly like someone (something) and find a person who has just met that someone (something), don’t you want to share your love of that someone (something) with that person?

    [as a way of again thanking everyone for their patient provision of DW knowledge, and shamelessly fishing for more  🙂 ]

    ScaryB @scaryb

    It’s interesting that the people who moan the most about Moffat era seem to be the ones lacking a sense of humour. The biggest moan is about it not taking itself seriously enough – cue extreme comments about sloppy, lazy, cheap, too many D*Ms ( 🙂 ),  cancel the whole thing etc.  Presumably they prefer their scifi totally “straight”, with a serious point, and no fun (except possibly a coda at the end, or between particularly hi-stress scenes). They have a different way of suspending their disbelief. But it’s not like there isn’t a choice nowadays – there’s a huge amont of scifi on TV to suit a variety of tastes.

    Personally I loved old Who (as you’ll probably have gathered!), it was a part of my childhood and growing up. But I love the sheer verve of NuWho, and that it tackles new questions and angles about the Doctor’s life.  I love the fact that the budgets have caught up with the writers’ imaginations and that it can attract and inspire the best creative talent around just now.

    It’s not the same as it was in the 60s/70s/80s. And if it was it wouldn’t have lasted beyond series 1 because it wouldn’t be doing the thing DW is best at – relating to the era it is being created in, and pushing the creative boundaries of its time.  The new series stands up to multiple viewings in a particular way, it’s designed with the internet in mind. Cos the internet exists, it’s how a lot of people, especially the youngsters, access information and TV!

    One of the really sad consequences of the trolls is that Moffat felt he had to come off twitter, and withdraw from social networking. I’m sure he’d have loved it in here – probably would laugh his head off at how wrong we can be sometimes hehe.  I really hope none of the writer, actors etc dip into the blogs – the personal comments make me cringe for them sometimes – I want to jump up and down and shout not to mind them, that we’re not all like that.

    Whatever you think of the end result you have to be blind not to see the effort, attention to detail, and yes, budget, that goes into each story.  Yes, old Who often made a virtue of studio-bound no-budget production, but it didn’t always have a Camfield to direct.  I’m not saying I think NuWho is flawless or that there are never plot holes, or occasional episodes that are a bit “meh”, but I get a helluva lot of fun out of watching it, and as @htpbdet says – feeling like an excited 12 year old again is great.  And then coming on here and finding out what it was all about LOL (and sometimes extending my education at the same time!)

    I keep going back to Troughton’s talk with Victoria about his family – “they sleep in my head; sometimes, when I want to I wake them up and  remember them again”  Old Doctors sleep in your head. If you’re a fan, they never go away. Don’t like the current incarnation of the series? Go and wake up your favourite one and remember their stories, or invent new ones for them.

    <Takes bow! Thank you all for you indulgence. And thanks again to EVERYone on this site who is making it such fun to be part of; it’s an achievement we should all be proud of, especially when you compare it the green toxic slime elsewhere on the web>

    ScaryB @scaryb


    All of the commenters here who have been with the show since or near its inception are the lucky ones, because you can provide the kind of meta-analysis that us post-2005 viewers simply can’t have.

    But you have the joy of coming to it fresh without all the baggage of its extremely convoluted history. (Just remember that most of his back-story wasn’t preplanned. As @phaseshift says, each creative team is free to put their own take on it, within a few parameters*.  As the current viewing audience, so are you.

    *i love the thought of what the current “Info for writers” list looks like these days – it must be pages long, especially if you include all the references, clues and red herrings etc – mirrors, bow ties, flashing lights etc etc – and that’s before you add all the numbers (random no – 27, date – various lists of Who anniversaries, significant birthdays etc)>

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I love the thought that at one point, they had an entire whiteboard in the Production office which consisted entirely of trying to relate River’s timeline to the show timeline. It must have looked like a plate of spaghetti.

    @scaryb – that music analogy’s a really good one. No, you don’t like every single song of your favourite artist, and yes, they’ve produced some crap. Because that’s the way art works; you try – sometimes you fail. And a song which half the fandom think is great will be ‘over-sentimental’ and ‘badly written’ to another section.

    I always say: if you don’t like the current production team – another set will be along in a few years time. And they’ll have a new take, a new set of ideas, a new style. And probably a new Doctor. That’s been the beauty of Who ever since William Hartnell handed over to Patrick Troughton; from that moment, change was built-in.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @Shazzbot And of course the analogy to music also holds up in the group of fans who insist that their fave cult musicians have sold out since they got a big recording deal and are not nearly as good since they started recording with a budget and should probably break up/jump out the nearest window now before they taint their legacy any more. (Ref “Judas” calls to Dylan when he change from folkie to rocker).

    People claim ownership over people and things they have no right to, just because for a while it coincides with their world view. Then it feels like a personal betrayal when they move in a different direction, if the fan isn’t ready to move on too.

    @bluesqueakpip – and thanks for  pointing out about “room to fail” – I forgot to mention that.

    Fans are WEIRD


    ScaryB @scaryb

    Of course, if Moffat reveals the Doctor’s any part human, I’m outta here and will never watch again! (We all have our limits)


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    To be fair – my observation about fandom changing was more about the comic fandom. The stereotype of “The Comic Book Guy” who moans about continuity is really rare now. Something changed and they started not to dwell on the old, but embrace the new.

    I think certain elements of Who fandom online really remind me of a dark period pre-internet. I was a really young member of the DW Appreciation Society and a few other mail order fan organisations when I was growing up. I was a new teenager when “The Five Doctors” was shown and Richard Hurndall was cast as the First Doctor. You’ve never seen anything like the reaction that got. People crying betrayal, an insult to Hartnell, asking for the production teams head on a platter. The BBC office intercepted hate mail posted to Hurndall, who was just an older actor earning a crust. It was really horrible, and I actually walked away from interacting with fandom for a while wondering how so many twisted nutcases could actually call the Doctor their hero? It’s why I blanche sometimes when I read “oh….. cast look-alikes for Doctors 1-3, it worked in the Five Doctors”.

    Posting online for many seems an easy way to let the baser instincts out for a walk. If everyone who posts on the new series blogs who says “The old series was much better – I saw it all, me” is believed at face value then “The Green Death” blog would surely have more than 22 comments at present (nearly half from contributors to this forum) celebrating it? Negative reaction online for anything should be a given. I’m only surprised that the relatively positive tone during series 5 and 6 blogs was maintained by a small bunch of enthusiasts willing, often in the face of hostility, to engage with the programme. It’s a rare thing.


    Excellent analogy and posts.

    thommck @thommck

    @bluesqueakpip LOL your whiteboard comment reminded me of a crude picture I drew to educate some of the more challenged members of the Digital Spy forums back in the day

    River's Timeline
    Maybe I should do an update at the end of this series?

    @scaryb re: Moffat being scared off social networking. That doesn’t mean he avoids fan sites like this one. He may be here right now, Who knows who is really hiding behind those avatars 😛

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @phaseshift – yes. If JLC proves to be the Twelfth Doctor, this whole storyline with the Impossible Girl will be a result of – basically – the production team knowing that they have to smuggle a female Doctor into the show. Because you know, absolutely know, that if it was announced in advance that a female actor was playing the Doctor, there would be such a massive – well, I’ve used the term ‘Internet shitstorm’ before. Betrayal of the show, yes. Insult to the role, yes. Production team’s head on a platter – I’ve heard all this from certain sections of fandom when the possibility is even suggested; so lord knows what the reaction would be like before the poor woman even stepped on set.

    And yet it’s this whole thing about ‘the room to fail’. Would Who work with a woman in the leading role? It might well; detective series were traditionally very masculine affairs, and we’ve now got quite a number of successful series with women detectives as the leading character. It would certainly be worth an experiment; while it might not work, it might. And if it did, we might discover a whole new aspect to the character of the Doctor and a whole new approach to the show.

    Or we might not. But it’s worth a try.


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Oh yes – just the announcement would make the internet explode. I remember talking with @juniperfish (and maybe @branfish) about female Doctors. I thought if they ever wanted to do a “Doctor-lite” episode they should basically just reverse the dynamic. Walk through a door and instead of The Doctor and Clara, you get The Doctor (female) and Clarance. That would be a low risk way of exploring the possiblity in a very “Mind Robber”/”Dream Lord” way. Would the dynamic necessarily change? Some good casting and it would at least be a fun 40 minutes.

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @bluesqueakpip Because you know, absolutely know, that if it was announced in advance that a female actor was playing the Doctor, there would be such a massive – well, I’ve used the term ‘Internet shitstorm’ before.

    That’s just daft. It could be interesting and new; those are very good reasons for doing it!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @phaseshift – your analogy with Batman fans and change happening in the 90s got me thinking.  Also @Shazzbot ‘s comment about the internet starting early 90s. One of the things that changed was to increase direct access to the old issues (comics/episodes (old TV series)). Fans would scan them and them and upload so the later generation could see what all the fuss was about – or scratch their heads in disbelief at the low quality of the medium (crappy newsprint, limited colour repro, b/w (TV), if not the artwork/scripts, stories that reflected the preoccupations of their times.

    The new generation of fans isn’t getting the quite the same experience as the one who watched/read it at the time; they can’t, this is 2013 not 1963. I don’t think that’s bad, it’s just different, and inevitable.  Although both TV shows and comics now have an unexpectedly long lifespan they were both originally created for what was (and in many ways still is) a very transient medium. Some new fans will love the retro look and feel of the “originals” but others just won’t get it, especially if they’ve been used to only superslick colour graphics and glossy paper/high production values.  So the old fans who uploaded the scans of their beloved stories are left feeling defensive, and unless they can get a bit of perspective, they turn nasty.

    Alt theory –  as Batman has been going since the 1940s, maybe all the old curmudgeons all started dying out in the 90s and stopped commenting 😉

    @bluesqueakpip – Haha. Am going to be VERY disappointed if this doesn’t happen! Although I tend to think they’d road-test it first, maybe as Phaseshift suggests, to see how deep they need to  build the production bunkers

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @satsumajoe I take it you’re new to Who fandom then??


    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @scaryb Brave new world really 🙂 I’m glad this place (and the other one, despite the odd glitch) is my first encounter with the mighty fandom!

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip“Would Who work with a woman in the leading role? It might well; detective series were traditionally very masculine affairs, and we’ve now got quite a number of successful series with women detectives as the leading character.”

    I’m intrigued by this, your relation of a potential future female Doctor Who to current female-led detective series [even if only you were trying to make a point about previously male-led TV shows which have managed successfully to gender-bend].  Because I’ve always thought of The Doctor as a detective.

    As @phaseshift didn’t say ( ! ) earlier, is Doctor Who about ‘a Lone Dark Avenger‘?  In the future, will it ‘focus on his detective skills, or [be] an action romp with lots of gadgets’?  Is it “The Lonely God meets kitchen sink melodrama”“The Madman in the Box”?  “Dark Fairytale”?

    Because I think the continual success of Doctor Who is that it incorporates all of those elements.   @scaryb said, “the thing DW is best at – relating to the era it is being created in, and pushing the creative boundaries of its time”.   And that it changes the very essence of what its protagonist is (superhero? madman? teacher? detective?), and so manages to incorporate elements from every literary tradition, yet still without forgetting [well, most of the time!] to be cracking mass entertainment.

    It appears to have always been a sort-of detective series, in the sense that the protagonist has a mystery to solve / a crisis to resolve which requires detective skills to determine the resolution to the crisis.  Whether the protagonist is alone or has assistance; a story is logic-oriented or an action romp; with added ‘kitchen sink’ [i.e. family relationships explored] melodrama or not … all of these literary tropes are found in Doctor Who in most of its incarnations.

    Those who say Doctor Who should be Sci-Fi/syfy/Science Fiction (egads, it’s so hard to get the monikers right), or fantasy, or whatever – well, again as @phaseshift says, “this show has the capacity to go anywhere and be anything”, and that is precisely the reason for it surviving for 50 years.

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    I did find this after above discussion (well, discussions). Found it interesting too! 🙂

    Anonymous @

    @satsumajoe – well, your link ( http://kvural.tumblr.com/post/5630035312/doctor-who-morality-ethics-and-narrative ) said so much more than my previous comment.  I wonder what everyone here thinks about it?

    It even contains (a potentially contested) differential between science fiction and fantasy; but because most definitions are fluid, it defines Doctor Who as ‘science fantasy’.  I’m still wondering, though, at ‘Minority Report’ being described as science fiction in this context.   Because that movie certainly re-imagined our universe, and with touch-screen technology, predicted it; it only ‘expanded on it’ in the context of people being gaoled for the idea of a crime, which many people could argue is happening in this world, today – but I don’t want to drag RL into this wonderful space.

    Anonymous @

    It’s certainly true that the internet has changed fandom dramatically. You only have to look at how BioWare had to ‘change’ the ending to Mass Effect 3 in reaction to fan pressure or the story today about Charlene Harris receiving death threats because of the way she’s ended the True Blood books. The sense of over-entitlement of fans these days because they now have a ‘voice’ that they previously didn’t can be sometimes rather unsavory and Who is by no means exempt.

    And a female Doctor would certainly cause something of a ‘Moffat raped my childhood’ shitstorm, that’s true. I’m inclined to think that seeing a female Doctor this year could be quite likely — and exactly the sort of thing that Moffatt would want to do in the 50th year. Certainly this introduce the new Doc by stealth thing is the sort of way he would want to play it, I think.

    I personally would be quite happy with this and think it could be great — but I’m just not entirely sure that JLC has quite the gravitas to carry the role of the Doctor.

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    Hmm, not liking the last page… But yes, the Mass Effect whingefest is something I’m familiar with! Such daftness. Never mind that everyone apparently loved the same set of endings when they used it in, of all things, Deus Ex.

    I demand Aeris be resurrected though.

    Failing that, and being somewhat on topic, The Corsair. Well, why not? Properly on topic! For this fandom, I can’t fathom the reluctance towards change (the foundation of the show?) though I realize it’s likely a minority and I’ve missed out on a lot of history to ‘get’ it.

    Can’t please all of the people all of the time eh?

    Anonymous @

    Awww, @satsumajoe – Clara as the Corsair?  I think you can claim first dibs on that one!

    Honestly … everyone has posited Clara as potentially almost everyone else but The Corsair.  And it has echoes back to The Doctor’s Wife (and perhaps further back into the canon?), was already identified as at least one time a woman, is a Time Lord, and what with House taking over the Tardis whilst the message box was on board [ ? Did the Doctor carry that box with him outside the universe – and does that even matter, if it was on his person when he re-materialised with Idris in the Tardis?] even affords the storyline some sort of fracturing across time – and potentially universes.

    Well played sir!  (or Madam)  I think I’m buying the T-shirt ‘Team Clara as Corsair’.

    Whisht @whisht

    my thoughts on a female doctor…

    To be honest, I don’t see the Doctor as particularly male. So I see zero issues with a female doctor (I also love the way they’ll simply cast whoever they think nails the audition).

    But, though JLC could have been the Doctor, I can’t see how they’ll now make her the next Doctor and if they do then I think they’ve hobbled her terribly.

    For her to be a “companion” or “assistant” is to fulfil a very specific role – for her then to become The Doctor is like an assistant manager taking over a manager’s role. Its just nigh on impossible to do as well as your ‘boss’.
    If they’re going to do it, they have to bite it off and give it to [insert strong female actor here – Julia Davis??].

    now…. Julia Davis and JLC as her assistant?

    I’d watch!

    (and I deliberately said “assistant” – not “companion” – stop sniggering at the back).

    Anonymous @

    @whisht — Julia Davis!! That’s bloody inspired. I’d go for that. My other faves are for the part are Tilda Swinton, Joanna Lumley and Siobhan Redmond….

    SatsumaJoe @satsumajoe

    @Shazzbot My first proper (possibly bonkers) theory? 😀 It does sort of fit if you consider that tattoo – a paradox or constantly recreating. Bit like a phoenix really.

    Sir Satsuma Joe 🙂

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    @satsumajoe & @shazzbot

    I wonder what everyone here thinks about it?

    I thought it was well argued and agreed with many of the points.

    For my opinion on the ethics question, I think he reflects what so many of us in a modern age have to deal with – forging our own morality.

    He abandoned his own people because he was disillusioned (and there was plenty to be disillusioned about). He recognises no God or Holy writ (while recognising their civilising capacity) so what is left? Forge your own identity. Your own morality.

    The way I formulated my opinion of The Doctor was “The Key to Time” series. Six variable quality stories in which the Doctor goes on a quest at the behest of The White Guardian, to reassemble the Key to Time. The Guardians are everlasting universal concepts – Anthropomorphic personifications of forces in the Universe. The White represents Order and Light. The Black represents Chaos and Darkness. Chaos is gaining ground, and the Key is required to restore order or balance in the Universe.

    The Doctor has six adventures and regains the six components of the Key to Time (at the expense of the life of a young woman). Assembled, he rolls his eyes and declares himself the most powerful being in the Universe (he’s winding Romana up). The Black Guardian appears as White and tries to trick him into giving him the Key. The Doctor doesn’t fall for it, reasoning that by assembling the Key he has fulfilled his mission. Order is restored. He disperses the Key restoring the young woman who is part of it to her original state.

    The Doctor is the perfect agent of order and chaos in the Universe. In systems that have become too ordered (perhaps oppressed) he presents chaos in rebellion. In systems that have become too chaotic (warlike) he brings order. For the betterment of the many.

    I suggested that his mission statement may reflect a simple Hippocratic Oath

    “I will keep them from harm and injustice”

    But you have to question how such an easy oath could be fulfilled.

    The Blog mentions a quote from the Third Doctor to the Thals:

    “You’ll all be national heroes. Everybody will want to hear about your adventures….So be careful how you tell that story, will you? Don’t glamorize it. Don’t make war sound like an exciting and thrilling game…Tell them about the members of your mission that will not be returning…Tell them about the fear. Otherwise your people might relish the idea of war. We don’t want that.”

    BUT in the First Doctors encounter with the Thals in the Daleks, he and Ian turn the Thals from the ultimate pacifists willing to embrace extermination to avoid conflict, into a people willing to fight for survival, and protect themselves and their loved ones. Perhaps the Doctor delivers his message to try to bring that balance to any given situation?

    At the end of the day he has the power to be a universal fulcrum. To give power to the weak against a stronger force. To call for peace in the middle of a pointless war. Balance is everything and The Doctor walks his own tightrope walk between perceptions of good and evil.

    Much was made on the fate on Solomon in “Dinosaurs on a Space Ship”. The thing is – what should the Doctor have done – let a mass murderer escape unpunished? He doesn’t believe in an afterlife (uploading to the Matrix was the Gallifreyan afterlife). Who delivers justice for the Silurian lives he had stolen on that ship? Surely not his own culture he was escaping to? No – he delivers a Judgment on Solomon. Perhaps the only person who could?

    When you think you are above any law, the Doctor will judge you by his greater good. It scares those with sense, so why not? People may criticise, but try walking in those shoes.

    Trying to define a simple morality for the Doctor would be impossible. Every situation a different scenario. A different rule.

    “I’m not a good man. A good man wouldn’t need so many rules”

    A Good Man goes to War.

    The list of rules probably occupies two floors of the TARDIS library. It continues to grow.

    Anonymous @

    OK, Mr Shift @phaseshift and Mr Joe @satsumajoe

    Phase, I don’t doubt you wrote most of that last post with the current theorising firmly in mind.  I can’t possibly respond without block-quoting pretty much everything you wrote!  ‘The Key to Time’ synopsis, as you provided, appears to wrap-up:

    1) re-assembling a ‘key’ (i.e., Clara’s disparate incarnations mystery); and then dispersing the key, ‘restoring the woman’;
    2) the RTD ‘I am a GOD!’ element;
    3) the death of ‘a young woman’ of the Clara episodes;
    4) the dark and light Doctors of both RTD and Moffat eras, and the Doctor being ‘a rebel’ (of many incarnations);
    5) changing pacifist people to warriors (cf. Rose, Martha and Donna – and to some extent, Amy & Rory too);
    6) looking at how ‘people’ (including humans) create gods and devils, cf Satan Pit and Rings of Akhetan and more;
    7) and, of course, firmly anchoring the 50th in the rich history of DW.

    Whew!  How many others of us nu-Who afficianados are going to have to find ‘The Key to Time’ before tomorrow night?!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Please – don’t bother! I had none of that in mind when I wrote that post. These were thoughts I developed when I was a teenager in the 80s. The concepts have been in Who since that time. If you see Mirroring in them you don’t need to bother watching the Key to Time. In particular “The Power of Kroll”.

    I grew up in a house that ignored religion. My school lightly touched upon it and I thought it fairy tales. As a self obsessed teenager (is there any other kind) I thought a lot about it and developed my own philosophy on life. It still remains the cornerstone of my “beliefs” and gives me comfort while disturbing anyone I relate it to. I will not trouble you with it. It still develops to this day.

    Anyone who says they have a simple answer to morality will hand you a holy book. They really should be distrusted. There are no simple answers. Just stupid questions.

    confuseus @confuseus

    I have always thought the Tweflth Doctor should be female.  I shall be very disappointed if the show producers can’t find a way of making that happen, indeed insisting on it!

    Clara, however, isn’t the Tweflth Doctor.  As @jimthefish says, she doesn’t have the gravitas.  Unless, she does, and we haven’t seen it yet because she is acting NOT being The Doctor.  However, it doesn’t explain why she is scattered through time as a human with identical DNA.  I thought for a while River Song might be the Twelfth, despite the crossing timelines, and I think she would have pulled it off magnificently, but sadly not.  I would have loved her as the Twelfth, she is quite brilliant, slightly psychotic, erratic, incredibly self-assured, mysterious, and oddly compelling – just as the Doctor himself is.


    Yes, the Doctor isn’t particularly male, I quite agree with that.  He’s not really camp either, I think it’s more that his mind is in control and there is so much in it thoughts of gender don’t really figure.  I suspect he chooses a male form because it’s what he started with and throughout most of (Earth) history he wouldn’t have the opportunities to behave as he does while a female.

    Nowadays, though, things have changed here on planet Earth and it would be almost criminal NOT to portray the Doctor as female.  I suspect the Doctor himself might like the change, after being the avenging god and so traumatised by the death of his home planet by his own hands something like this would help him start afresh.  It also allows a lengthy final series, with opportunities for wonderful events like having children, which would allow the series to run on forever.  The Doctor as a male will never have more children; as female she might well change her mind.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – but, really, … now that you think about it, you really can’t see any parallels between what you wrote about ‘The Key to Time’ series, and the attempts of everyone on this site to wrap up the mystery of Clara?  It seems so obvious to me; at least, that some of those elements are what The Moff is working with.  (mind, I’m still wearing my ‘Team Clara is The Corsair’ Tshirt)

    I was baptised myself, but no-one ever did anything about it afterward.  Except for childhood summer holidays with my paternal grandparents, who were staunch Catholics.  To this day, I still remember being petrified with fear in church, because it was like the actor’s nightmare over and over again – being in a play and you haven’t rehearsed and you don’t know the lines.  Everyone would stand up / sit down / kneel down / respond / sing / stand up / kneel down / ad infinitum … and I didn’t know what to do!

    I blame those experiences for my current agnosticism.  Plus a few more experiences which are not relevant to discussing the CH episode ( ! ).

    Anonymous @

    @confuseus“Nowadays, though, things have changed here on planet Earth and it would be almost criminal NOT to portray the Doctor as female. “

    Which fits exactly with what several people have been debating here tonight.  Having a female Doctor before now would have been a much bigger problem than in today’s times.  The mystery of Clara could indeed be building up to a female Doctor for the 12th, but personally – as much as I am in favour of shaking up the series in this way – I agree with you, the Clara character hasn’t yet been allowed to portray the gravitas necessary for the Doctor.  She’s still too much of a blank slate.

    Although to be fair, she has been portrayed as saving the Doctor or pointing out what the Doctor has missed on a fair few occasions; not to mention the ‘you’re the boss’ / ‘I’m the boss!’ rat-a-tat at the end of CH.

    All hail this Saturday’s Nightmare in Silver episode!  Which will probably {sigh} leave us no closer to a definitive theory on her mystery.  In fact, in a despondent funk I predict that even ‘The Name of the Doctor’ won’t tell us who she is … we will have to wait until November.  Because The Moff is the worst kind of tease.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    We are programmed to see parallels, draw comparisons to stories we have seen before. Last series I explained to @juniperfish how I saw parallels between The Doctor (Odin) and his Raven servants (Huginn and Muninn) – the one who wanted to leave, Rory, and the other he would miss, Amy. She laughed her head off. I’ve been delighted this series with her opinion this is a Osiris story. It’s breathtakingly barmy, but true. Look at her posts!

    We kind of see what we want to see. Our theories are developed from us. It’s glorious. I can see parallels, but if you see them stronger, that’s brilliant. I might see them when I watch “Key to Time” again in August.

    Plus a few more experiences which are not relevant to discussing the CH episode

    I hope they were good ones. Thing is, for better or worse, those experiences made you, well — you! You’re the person I’m communicating with, and the way you see the patterns and formulate theories is down to you. The sum knowledge of your experience and cognitive skills. Welcome to the team supreme. 🙂


    Glad to meet you @shazzbot

    confuseus @confuseus


    Clara is an enigma, for sure.  She is very self-assured and comfortable in her environment, despite it being so weird – and unlike most companions who almost invariably suffer some form of culture shock.  She seems to have a unique ability to see into a situation (even without prior experience of these situations) and find the solution (is the Doctor deliberately pretending not to be able to fix things to test Clara’s ability to do so? – that would seem in character for him, and explain his erratic behaviour).

    But the Twelfth?  No.  She just isn’t the right character.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Anyone who says they have a simple answer to morality will hand you a holy book

    And they will be wrong. People who see the world in black and white will tend to find simple, straightforward answers in the most complex of texts – often while their co-religionists are looking at them funny and saying ‘it’s not that simple’. Most holy books are very far from describing a simple morality; because, y’know, life isn’t simple.

    But moving away from religion (because I’ve got a Masters in the subject, and I will go on) – I think people are perfectly right to say JLC’s portrayal of Clara currently doesn’t have the gravitas to be, say, the Twelfth. But that’s written in – whoever she will be, she’s presently An Ordinary Human Girl, and all she appears to remember is her life as An Ordinary Human Girl. She’s not one thousand-and-however-many-centuries-really-can’t-remember years old. She’s twenty six.

    Did twenty-six year old John Smith from Gallifrey have the gravitas of The Doctor? I doubt it; he was probably busy chasing girls and worrying about his grades. The closest we came to seeing The Doctor before he was ‘The Doctor’ was watching ‘Doctor Who?’ turn into The Doctor.

    And in this fiftieth anniversary year, that might be what’s happening. The cycle starts again as we watch ‘Doctor WHO?’ turn into ‘The Doctor’. In which case you would not expect the actress to be playing the finished product; she’s at the beginning of her character arc. The story is about the Companion and their journey – in this case, the Companion is also The Doctor, and the story about – I dunno. Possibly about who can lay claim to ‘The Name of The Doctor’. 🙂

    I seem to have nailed my flag firmly to the mast of ‘Clara as the Twelfth’ (or possibly ‘Clara as the Potential Twelfth’); I’d say that – at the moment – if I had to place a bet I’d still be looking at even money. Fifty fifty. There’s other  possibilities open, other bets I’d still be willing to take a punt on (she could still be his great-granddaughter, for example, and that’s why she’s so like him); Moffat’s got this tendency to pull out something that makes perfect sense in hindsight, but you could never guess in advance.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift @bluesqueakpip

    religion is not really intertwined with morality any more than culture is – it seems so because many (mainly Monotheistic) traditions are culturally based and were formulated at a time when it was religion’s job to administer law. Now we have evolved Society it is not needed – wasn’t actually in many early societies like the Sumerian also which had evolved high levels of societal structure.

    I think you can see this division clearly in Classic Who – there are several mentions/inferences of a ‘God’ or ‘Higher Power’ but He is never an Interventionist God (in theological terms) and it is up to humans – or the Doctor in this case – to do any adjusting that needs to be done.

    In fact the idea of a Non-Interventionist God is really the only one that makes sense and which is implicitly present in both the Qur’an and New Testament but which (strangely) modern Western ‘Christian’ society seems to not build on but leans more towards Judaic Old Testament conceptions of a God who intervenes if things ‘dont’ go His way’. Doctor Who is perhaps on one level a perfect theological expression of a society which has lost its God and thinks God is dead because the God they are envisaging is misdescribed by them…..so art fills the gap with what could and should have been. DW is a very developed example.

    Anyway, as Bluesquakpip says – enough religion!

    Re Clara – I think you are all looking wrongly. It is now WHO she is but what she is. In terms of function and as a (plot) device.

    Can’t say more than that – been carpeted for spoilers in the wrong place before!!! 😉


    janetteB @janetteb

    Finally. I have read to the end of the thread!!! I was away last weekend and so only watched CH on Tuesday night and have been reading posts, when I have time, ever since. As usual there have been so many interesting remarks made that I have wanted to comment upon but by the time I got here I’ve forgotten them all.

    So to recap, as much as I recall, C.H. was a fun episode. I don’t think it was lacking in clues or arc detail, just it didn’t add anything mostly because we have covered so many different ideas that there isn’t much to add.

    I loved the mother daughter themes where is where I feel the heart of this series lies. Clara as the mother of the TARDIS? I think I am returning to my original vague suspicion that the big mystery involves Time Lords, the time lock and children. I really like the suggestion made pages back by ??? that Clara is the Dr’s nanny.

    C.H. depicted Clara at her most normal but I am convinced that normal she is not. Clara is a blank slate, an empty vessel to be filled, hence she often reflects the Dr or those around her. We assume that only one incarnation is the blank slate but maybe the other incarnations have learnt from the first, which appears to be contemporary Clara. Clara is a fake, a forgery and the other incarnations are splits of that.

    To the discussion about companions/assistants I feel that it was time to vary the pattern, to have a companion/assistant who was not earth -normal. I liked the old who mix of assistants from earth present, past, future and far flung colonies. Variation adds to the interest and when it comes to Dr Who the only rules are there to be broken.

    As to a female Dr, I admit I’m not keen but I wasn’t keen on having a younger Dr either and didn’t think Matt Smith could carry it off so I loved to be proved wrong.



    WhoHar @whohar


    Amen to that, er, sister. 😉

    I’m all for questioning things but when it comes to religion, the questions asked always seem to be negative. I’d be interested to hear your further thoughts on the subject.

    I’ve always thought that some scientists pursue their pet theory with a fevour bordering on religious.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    People who see the world in black and white will tend to find simple, straightforward answers in the most complex of texts

    The opposite of Who enthusiasts then 😆

    @fulcanelli   For a show that’s been to the beginning and the end of  the universe, was created in the 60s and has had a multitude of writers, directors producers, DW has been refreshingly free of speculating on God (as opposed to gods). A few higher powers than the TLs are hinted at or occasionally met eg the Shakri, but none proposed as an omni-creator as  far as I can recall.  I don’t think you can divorce religion from morality though, as they all have very clear views on how to behave and rules to follow (correct me if I’m wrong BluesqueakpipakaMaster)


    thommck @thommck

    I’m starting to think Clara is a but of smoke & mirrors

    designed to distract us from what’s really going on.


    That is, The Doctor being an unknown man in the universe. Shouldn’t the Daleks have taken over now? There is nothing dropping them. Maybe that is why the Doctor will need to release the Timelords, to give him some back up!

    Then again, I’m nit sure the timelords will be set free as that is a bit if a re-hash of RTD’s finale


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    er, sister

    @whohar – correct. Yes, my avatar does reflect my gender; with Pip being more a boy’s nickname than a girl’s nickname, things can sometimes get a little confusing.

    I was the smallest and the youngest in the family and so inevitably attracted the nickname ‘Pipsqueak’ 😀


    Craig @craig

    @Shazzbot If you want to watch the first story of the Key to Time arc, The Ribos Operation, you can watch it here:


    That user, Tardismedia, has also posted the others, which you can find if you go through their playlists. I’m not sure of the legality of uploading them, but until they’re taken down I don’t think it’s illegal to watch them. 😉

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @Fulcanelli  If you so much as breathe a hint of the suggestion of a spoiler in my direction I will send you so far back in time it will take you the next 50 years to catch up again – assuming you do have a tardis! 😈


    You may remember I was originally sceptical re JLC’s ability to be the Doctor, and you reminded me (correctly) that I was confusing the character with the actor).  It would be quite something if they pulled that one off (or any surprise regen for that matter – I would be beyond impressed. Not that I am in any hurry to see Smithy to go, I think he’s great).  I think you’re right, she could be great, BUT she’d need to be armour plated on a personal level.   Can anyone check if they’ve reinforced the production bunkers recently? 🙂

    So, summary of current theories

    Clara could be (in no particular order) –

    Normal human who has meta-crisis/time fracture either by accident or as choice to save the Doctor

    The Doctor

    The Doctor’s daughter (Susan or Jenny), or granddaughter

    The Doctor’s mum, sister or any other female relative

    The Rani


    A Time Lord, inc the Corsair (love that one)

    A reincarnation of any previous companion (anyone but Mel!!!!)


    The (or a) Tardis


    The Master

    A trap

    A solution

    A D*M

    A computer programme

    A computer virus

    A computer upload

    Dr Who the programme/all the Doctor’s memories

    A Zygon

    None of the above

    Prediction – the mystery of Clara will be revealed in TNotD. That will be/will precipitate a gamechanging reveal that sets up the 50th (with the challenge there to sort out which of the 2 (or more) Doctors/universes is the real one (clashing time streams or virtual Doctors))

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Re Clara, I forgot –

    The Dr’s nanny

    A fake or a forgery

    Thanks @janetteb

    And I also forgot (specifically, tho she’s covered as TL or companion) – Romana

    A ghost

    (Actually it should be easy from here, check the list, see what we’ve missed – and that’ll be it!)

    @thommck LOTS of smoke and mirrors, esp in JttCotT 😉  Btw, meant to say ages ago, love the new headgear

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    What an excellent series of posts. Posts which clearly encapsulate why Doctor Who can be so many things to so many people all at once.

    I particularly like @phaseshift‘s Batman and Key to Time musings and @scaryb hits the nail on the head with her music analogy methinks.

    I guess I have always ( well, not always, but when I was old enough to be reflective about such things and did not simply get carried away by the sheer fun of it all ) thought of the Doctor as a Best Friend, someone you admire, love spending time with and can learn and laugh with. Sometimes, though, the BF does things you would not do yourself, or hangs out with women you don’t like who seem to change him, or betrays you, or is unexpectedly cruel or unforgiving. But he is still your BF and you cope, and eventually you get over the bump caused by whatever and go back to being best friends.  Even if the BF decided to have a sex change it would not matter really.

    I think too that it is absolutely right that the Internet has changed everything. In two key ways. Firstly, it means anyone can say anything and that those who want to be “cool” or part of the “cool majority” can adopt other opinions as their own and in quite short time those mass views can be taken, by some, as the Gospel.  Secondly, it means that the opinions of “official” reviewers have a greater audience than they ever did in the 60’s to 80’s.

    The second can affect the first, either positively or negatively, by whipping up an issue or by uniting people in either accepting or rejecting a stated opinion.

    While it might be that the Doctor does not believe in the afterlife, there do seem a lot of people who think Doctor Who is its own religion. It is these people who called for blood when Hurndall was cast in Five Doctors – as @phaseshift pointed out. These people, these self-appointed priests of the sacred temple of TARDIS, do more harm than good by their idiotic blinkered ways. They hold onto precious missing episodes to give themselves power; they have props and other paraphernalia which they stole and which they lord over newer fans. They make the Daleks look benign. The Daleks do what they do because that’s how they were made; these people, ostensibly devotees of a Television show which has decency, fairness and tolerance at its core, do what they do for personal gain, be it social, monetary or sexual.

    It is the ones who called for blood over things such as the casting of Hurndall who were silent about the casting of Matthew Waterhouse ( for instance ). Because Nathan-Turner was behind the anti-Hurndall protests as he saw it as good publicity. His repugnant engagement with “senior fandom” and very young male fans was another moment which changed Doctor Who fundamentally – and not in a good way.

    Doctor Who, both programme and character, has never been stuck to a particular path or character. There are all-embracing concepts which, for the most part, are consistent, but to think Doctor Who is a particular character or genre is nuts.

    The only thing you can rely upon Doctor Who for is the unexpected. And that is it secret of success.

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