S33 (7) 7 – The Bells of Saint John

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    Craig @craig

    Once again, this is an older topic from March and already has four pages of comments. The latest comments start here where @bluesqueakpip has written a great summary of the bonkers theories so far.

    Broadcast on BBC1 on 30 March. The search for Clara brings the Doctor to London, 2013, where something deadly is waiting in the Wi-Fi.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    …..annnnnnd we’re back. Almost as if we never had to endure 3 months of non-Who Saturdays (this will be a crime when I am appointed benevolent world Dictator).

    I found that weirdly structured for an episode, but for what promises to be a weird storyline full stop, perhaps that’s to be expected.

    Loved some of the detail, the book by Amelia Williams, for example. Really didn’t expect the early re-appearance of Richrd E Grant.

    I think there are probably acres of detail to savour on rewatching, and so I’m going to do that now!

    Who continues to hotwire my imagination to an excitable 9 year old. For a 43 year old bloke, that’s a blessing.


    I thought it a nice breezy, if lightweight, intro for Clara that established her as impressed, but not over-awed. I presume she is still a computer genius, post upload.

    (Clever that the “She’s very pretty” was about Clara – misdirection ftw. I suspect we can expect more)

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hi comrades! Well, I just posted over on Dan Martin’s thread. He wasn’t that impressed, but actually I love it. Maybe it’s the holiday spirit but it could have been subtitled “a very British romp” or “the ’60s Mon Amour” and I’m ok with that!

    Jammy dodgers, the fez, a bow-tie, a new TARDIS interior with a lot of Gallifreyan symbology above the main console? Excellent.

    Jenna Louise is more than the Doctor’s equal in stubborness, sass and smarts and that makes me happy too.

    Richard E. Grant again – what is the Great Intelligence up to?

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Oh and how much do I hate that you cannot edit your posts on The Guardian. I have just spelled “dystopia” incorrectly and now I am covered in shame 🙂

    Thanks again to our webmaster for our comfortable home here!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I agree, Jenna Louise is remarkable. I find it astonishing she looks a lot younger in this than she appeared in “The Snowmen”.

    I’m tempted to think the GI may be a mask for something/someone else. It just seems at little too direct for SM?

    If you like the edit function, apply for Modship! I can modify for an infinite time. I don’t, because i hope my frequent mi$takes add some amusement for others.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    I thoroughly enjoyed it – off to watch it again, in fact – but it did feel very much like an episode that was busy setting up a whole load of stuff for the rest of the series.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    I found myself getting rather excited during the theme tune, felt the same when the Ecclestone series began.

    In fact the episode did remind me a bit of ‘Rose’ in that the protagonist wasn’t that important, it was just a way of introducing a new companion.  I must admit I missed the author of the book, I was too busy thinking to myself ‘who is the girl on the front cover?’ to see who wrote it.  I also missed the scarf ref others have spotted.  So yes @phaseshift I think there are other things for us to rake over for multiple viewings and when combined with an arc, it should keep us busy for a bit. *pipe on standby*

    The Guardian confusingly has two comment pages open, Dan’s weekly blog and a review page.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    Oh yes, I nearly got the ref to the ‘Bells of St John’ title.  I did suggest that it could mean the church of the Order of St John who were the basis of the St John’s Ambulance brigade.

    Okay, maybe I only got the end bit by accident, but hey I’m out of practice.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    <smiling hugely>

    Interesting and fun! Interesting cos it set out what you think is the solution to Clara – large collective Aha! Rapidly deflated when she escapes from the upload.  Rethink required.

    Also have to love it cos I suspected the GI (posted somewhere on these boards!) of being the thing in the wifi. Yay! Law of infinite theories no of theories – gotta come up with the right one sometime! That’s got to move the GI up the probability board in candidacy for the Big Bad… Wasn’t defeated at the end, just shut up shop. The whole scheme a lure for the Doctor maybe? Or just rebooting himself?

    Small details – Celia Imrie’s character at the end – reverting to childhood – does that mean she’d been there ALL her life?  1st thought was how sad that was, really poignant. But.. how does that work when there was no internet 40/50 years ago?

    Off to ponder for a bit… back later

    Excited about reading everyone’s bonkers theories 😀

    Who’s back.






    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @chickenelly – nice to see the pipe of contemplation is in action once more!

    @scaryb – hope the demo went well! Couldn’t agree more on the skulduggery of the “bedroom tax”, introduced of course, by those with more than one wing to their own homes…

    Nice to see Unit making an appearance – hope we get to see the Brig’s daughter again before the year is out.

    Rob @rob

    Hi everyone 🙂 is OSWin operating system Windows?

    I really enjoyed this episode too


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    The Guardian confusingly has two comment pages open, Dan’s weekly blog and a review page.

    Good god – they breed faster than Rabbits!

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @phaseshift – I know! And honestly, the nesting thing has really destroyed the feeling I used to have over there. I just violently dislike the consequent lack of continuity and flow.

    Now why would The Great Intelligence be uploading people, particularly people with good computing skills (as Clara is only “suitable” once she’s had a computer-skills upgrade)? What is it trying to hack? The Time Lock on Gallifrey perchance?

    Could Richard E. Grant/ The Great Intelligence be The Valeyard? There WAS something creepy about seeing that both today’s villainess and the Grant character at Christmas were hijacked by the Intelligence as children. We’ve seen the Eleventh Doctor “hijack” Amy and River and now Clara as children. Wow it would be wonderfully dark if Grant was a dark-mirror of the Doctor!


    Anonymous @

    OK. I think I’m going to have an attack of the grumps.

    First of all, let me just say that I’m delighted to have the show back on the air. I know it’s not actually been that long since Christmas but the wait for this series seems to have been interminable for some reason.

    Matt was great, as usual and JLC was as wonderful too. I’m just wondering if Clara is just a bit too self-assured for my liking. I think I’m still missing the abrasive edge that Amy brought to the TARDIS dynamic. But it’s early days. Maybe Clara will be taken out of her comfort zone soon.

    As suspected, it looks as if the Great Intelligence is going to be this year’s Big Bad. I like @juniperfish‘s idea that the GI might turn out to be the darker side of the Doctor’s character and I humbly refer the esteemed JF to my recent theory that the GI was Doctorised after the events of The Web of Fear.

    But I’m afraid, like the Power of Three, this one just reeked a bit too much of RTD-itis for my liking. Lots of spectacle, set pieces and virtually a deus ex machina in the form for UNIT showing up at just the right time to pick up the pieces. In terms of plot, it actually felt more like a story from a Dr Who annual that they’d just decided to film. As a threat the Wi-Fi harvesting wasn’t up to much. Even the Doctor couldn’t be arsed making the trip from the cafe to see the denouement.

    I’d agree with whoever posted that this episode wanted to be like Rose. But that episode had a real kinetic energy to it. The pacing and the direction in St Johns seemed frankly bizarre and the episode seemed to move in fits and starts. I also thought the anti-grav bike scene was a bit botched as well — probably because of budget, no doubt. (Sad to see that The Mill is having to close its TV wing — interestingly citing the fact that the Beeb failing to order a season of Who as partly to blame.)

    So, sorry for the grump, but this just seemed like some nice Who moments tacked together without any great sense of urgency. Before the episode was even over I found myself focusing on looking forward to next week’s, in the hope that it will have a bit more substance to it.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @jimthefish I missed your “The Great Intelligence has been Doctorised” theory. But yes – bring me dark mirrors, bring me doppleganger Doctor, bring me the Doctor as light and dark versions of the Pied Piper stealing children away, either for good or for ill.

    I don’t share your grump. Maybe I’ve eaten too many magic jammy dodgers 🙂



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Two Doctors again

    Modern day Clara – hmm. We’re meant to think she’s the original; her name, username, caring for her friend’s kids. Or, she carries on the theme of mirroring that was evident throughout S6 and S7a. She’s a reflection, throughout time.

    Celia Imrie is 60, so I suspect she came into contact with the Great Intelligence through one of the Yeti control spheres.

    Anonymous @

    I do hope that we’re going to see some bona fide Yeti this year if the Great Intelligence is back in a recurring way…

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Hey – GI! Hurry up & invent the Yeti!


    Who stamps on Jonathan Ross Show. Also Warwick Davis coming up…

    Juniperfish @juniperfish


    Two Doctors again

    Yes, it’s been a long-standing obsession of mine -going all the way back to “Amy’s Choice” and the Dream Lord and the two “realities”…

    Agreed that we have no way to know which Clara is the “original” and, if we are in true post-modern style, there won’t be an identifiable “original”, just a multitide of larger-than-life copies.

    I need to get a closer look at the new TARDIS interior, as these seem to reflect the Doctor’s state of mind.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    Looks like you can buy the ‘Summer Falls’ book, see: http://merchandise.thedoctorwhosite.co.uk/doctor-who-summer-falls/

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    “Summer Falls”, and an Autumn leaf… and Christmas was definitely the winter of the Doctor’s discontent.

    Death and rebirth (as per our Easter theme)?

    Clara is resurrected in this episode. Twice previously she died and this time the Doctor resurrects her. He plays the part of God. This parallels his own death and resurrection at Easter by Lake Silencio.

    Did anybody see any eggs?

    ScaryB @scaryb

    In light of the recent stushie on the Gruaniad re not enough women writers on Who, I had a chuckle that the 2 fictional books they’ve introduced – Summer Falls and Melody Pond one – were both written by women. (Now… did Amy start a writing career because her daughter brought her a book to publish, or was she able to publish the Melody Pond book because she was already a writer?!)

    Who was the woman in the shop who gave Clara the phone no?

    @juniperfish @jimthefish – 2 Doctors theory… Keep watching the bow ties peeps 🙂

    @phaseshift thanks for reminding us re Win OS theory – that seemed to get flagged up when Clara was converted to computer whiz kid – need to rewatch.  So she’s now got the skills she had in Asylum – but we still don’t know how she got/gets there.

    @bluesqueakpip Nice call re Celia Imrie encountering the GI as a child in the 60s, and I missed the link about it picking up Richard E also at a young age. I’m sure REG’s in the cast list for later in the series (remember posting about it).

    And yes, what is the GI up to?Bet your boots it’s got a dastardly long term plan.

    ScaryB @scaryb


    Did anybody see any eggs?

    Damn! Am out of practice :-p  I did see a very carefully selected blue bow tie tho! (talk about rubbing our noses in a bow tie – look, look, this is a blue one!)

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Do we need any eggs? If the eggs were to signal ‘Easter’, it’s now here.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @bluesqueakpip Think you’re probably right with that.  Same way as the Christmas refs have stopped (we’ve had our Xmas present). Missed loads tho 🙁

    Any flickering lights?

    Lots of computer screen POVs tho

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @scaryb I’m not sure now, but I remember noticing flickering lights, and thinking of possible significance.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Flickering lights in the cafe when Miss Kizlet speaks through the possessed.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    Just some thoughts:

    @jimthefish although I think the GI will reoccur, I think what @phaseshift implies is right – the GI is just someone else’s (the true big bad) unwitting pawn… And therefore always was…

    Doctors scarf in the hall, River (probably) handing out phone numbers … I get the feeling that other other doctors and companions are invisible guiding hands for the current docs (ie Matt’s) course. In fact, I wonder if we’re going to replay Matt’s trick of revisiting his path in Flesh and Stone but on a grand, 50 year scale: we’ll be reevaluating certain stories, scenes and the doctors actions in old and nu who in a new light as in fact all part of a immense game now entering its end game.

    Previous doctors as puppet masters is also a nice way of getting all previous docs involved without necessarily having to have all the actual actors involved…

    I also now think “remember you clever boy and run” is an echo of a message through time. Specifically, in the special the doctor will lose his memory so he can’t answer the question “doctor who?”, then at the very end, with danger looming he’ll need to remember again and Clara will say those words, saving his life (because he runs). Possibly it will be the last words of the show. Clara’s importance to the universe is simply to be in the right place, at the right time to say those words and all the other previous docs are ushering her towards that destiny.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Re: eggs. Of course no eggs now it’s Easter.  wanted to get my boyfriend one today. No eggs left. amazing how relevant who is.

    Although, a theoretical egg is there, given that with River Moffit seems to be on the chicken side of the which came first question: River was there before Melody was even an embryo, and in this episode, the doctor mentioned the name ‘Oswin’ to Clara before she created the online identity using that name.

    We do have one important piece of information now. Clara is ‘brilliant’, but her ability to hack into things the doctor can’t, as mentioned in AOTD is explained. Her ability to withstand dalekisation is also explained. The password: rycmar- what were the numbers? isn’t an explanation but a hint.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    The numbers were ‘123’ – she’s the third Clara to say Run You Clever Boy Run.

    Porting over from the Guardian Blog, because I have a feeling this lot is important:

    Victorian Clara died age 26 – the Classic Series was cancelled at age 26.
    Modern Clara’s 23rd year is missing. The Classic Series had an eighteen month gap between Series 22 and Series 23. Additionally, Modern Clara’s sixteenth year is missing. 1979 is the year where they lost Shada due to industrial action.
    Victorian Clara was born on November 23rd 1866. November 23rd 1963 is when Doctor Who was born. 1966 is when the Doctor first regenerated.
    All the Clara’s have the surname Oswald. The first ever broadcast of Doctor Who was overshadowed by the actions of someone called Oswald.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @Bluesueakpip – nice work on the numbers!

    And @haveyoufedthefish – love the idea of the other Doctors leaving messages for Clara / Eleven in time. I missed the scarf – a re-watch is required.

    Clara told her young charge (as a nanny) that it was Chapter 11 of Amy Williams’ book “Summer Falls” which would make her cry. So (although this version of Clara may not consiciously know it) she has been “reading ahead”?

    In other words, she knows the Doctor’s future (buried in there somewhere).


    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    Nice numerology work, @bluesqueakpip !

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @juniperfish – number 4’s scarf (or one very like it) is draped over the mirror to the right of Clara’s front door. (oh and the bow tie Matt found in a box is number 2’s )

    Re “reading ahead”: I do think Amy has implanted ideas in her head via her books (invisible hand(s) at work again); it’s quite possible including number 11’s fate. “summer falls?” Maybe this summer is when the “doctor falls” that we keep hearing about but never materializes. Or that darn silence.

    Anonymous @

    @haveyoufedthefish — re. there being a Big Bad behind the Big Bad. Yes, I think this is distinctly possible. Omega probably. However, I’m still holding out for the idea that the Doctor is the Big Bad. Or rather the Great Intelligence who has been made more powerful/dangerous by being fused with the part of the Doctor’s consciousness way back in 1967. (maybe a bit like Xoanon in The Face of Evil.) This, I think, might have a nice call-out to deep in the show’s history while carrying the story onwards.

    I very much like the idea of the Doctor ‘revisting his path’ on a grand scale. Yes, I think that’s quite possible and a brilliant idea. I think it’s quite likely that Moffatt may be trying to create a Grand Narrative that ties the entire 50 years up in one story.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Will Clara’s book eventually sport the age of 33 followed by 42 onwards?

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @jimthefish – given it’s moffatt, it’s probably big bad behind the BB, behind the BB, behind the BB (behind the sofa).

    I thought ultimately it might be the doc himself too, but not the valeyard. Stealing shamelessly from total recall, a twist on the doctor loses his memory idea is that he’s always (since we’ve known him) had his memory altered ie he’s not who he thinks he is. The twist is not that he forgets, but that he finally remembers and has to face he’s really something awful. (and chooses to forget again, to go back to being the hero role hed unintentionally carved for himself)

    The master with his memory supressed went on to be a hero, so why not the same for the doctor, but over 500 years (50 in ‘fan years’).

    Could also tie in with @juniperfish doppelgänger theory – if the real doc goes (back to being) bad, maybe the doppleganger(s) then take up the role of hero to defeat him/turn him back.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hmmn – so page one of Clara’s book has an Autumn leaf which links in with Amelia Williams’ novel “Summer Falls”, and we know we’re going to cry at the eleventh chapter. Clara begins (her page one) when Eleven falls?

    This could tie in with @bluesqueakpip‘s speculation that Clara could be the next incarnation of the Doctor…

    Also, does the Doctor’s “monk period” deliberately recall the Meddling Monk and hence is a hint that the Time Lords are coming?

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    Hmmm … I wonder if City of Death is something of an influence for Moffatts master plan:

    When Matt Smith was asked to give a clue about the 50th anniversary Episode of Doctor Who By Jonathan Ross he said ‘Paintings’. We’ve unexplained numbers in a van gogh, a portrait of Clara and a painting of the lord of winter in summers fall…

    Possibly previous doctors and companions may be giving history little nudges in the right direction in the background, a la Jaggaroth

    A big bad in the GI who seems to stuck here and has been here nudging humans history towards it’s own ends over a considerable period (also Jagaroth)… As indeed have the Silence! (that seems too much of a coincidence and implies that they are all actors – Jaggaroth too? – unknowingly implementing someone elses bigger plan over a very long period)

    The reveal that the GI has been quietly farming (not ‘hunting’) humans for years reminds me a little of quatermass IV btw … Always found that idea particularly chilling, maybe because it not only suggests helplessness in the face of annihilation but also denies free will; we’re just a crop. You don’t get more powerless than that.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Following on the numerology thingies: I note that Clara acquired her book at age 9. The Tenth Anniversary programme ‘The Three Doctors’ wasn’t actually shown at the Tenth Anniversary; it started its first episode on 30th December 1972, when the programme was only nine.

    Back to Omega again.

    But anyway, Juniperfish, this is your ‘Fourth Wall’ theory, isn’t it? Clara’s entire life story appears to be based around the broadcast history of Doctor Who. Not the in-show continuity; the show’s own history.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @bluesqueakpip  Oh it was @blenkinsopthebrave who had the fourth wall theory – although he was convinced the Kennedy assassination was involved and it might still be.

    But yes, nice catch – the numbers therefore do seem to reveal that Clara IS Doctor Who (the programme) don’t they. So a play on words makes her Doctor Who the programme – the computer programme. She is the Doctor in computer programme form? A version of @phaseshift‘s ghost in the machine theory?

    So all the previous incarnations of the Doctor, working together, to add in @haveyoufedthefish ‘s theory, have created a computer programme of themselves – perhaps of their future twelfth incarnation or perhaps simply a composite of the eleven so far – in Clara?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Apologies to @blenkinsopthebrave.

    Given the TARDIS’s ability to take the Doctor where he needs to go, rather than where he wants to go, it’ll be interesting to see what this Queen of Years thing is next week.

    If the Queen of Years turns out to be a living repository of history, then I’d say Clara in all her incarnations is a living repository of the Doctor’s history. And yes, we may have had a clue that the Doctor created her; when he remarks that she doesn’t run out on those she cares about and then adds “I wish I was like that”.

    If Clara is the Doctor’s ‘lifeboat’ – his way to remember himself – then he’s given himself qualities he wishes he had.


    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @bluesqueakpip – just to add to your numerology voodoo:

    Age 24 means that Clara was born the year dr who was cancelled (1989), if on the 23 dec then just a) a few weeks before the last episode of survival was broadcast and b) to the day the “somewhere someone’s tea is getting cold” final soliloquy was filmed.

    She was killed in the snowmen aged 26 – the age show was when cancelled… And then came back from the dead. In the Easter special no less – reborn?

    Missing year 16 is 2005 the year nu who started.

    Whether it has any relevance to the plot, she really does seem to represent the show itself, especially its life sustained by fans post cancellation. Personally I don’t think it’s part of the plot, I just think its a nice little Easter egg for fans. It is Easter, after all!

    Interesting that she “raises” other people’s children – representing how we as fans were raised on who?

    Fits with my theory expounded elsewhere that anniversary will be (in allegory at least) a love letter/thank you note to the fans.

    If she is the show itself, why has she been killed and reincarnated twice, not just once (fake cancellation theory again? Does that mean at some point we, as fans, will have to save Clara as she faces extinction?)? What does being uploaded twice (first time unsuccessfully) mean in this context?

    Oh I’ve missed this! {takes aim at breeze. Fires}


    HaveYouFedTheFish I tend to agree that it is mainly just continuity porn to keep the fans in ecstasy.

    (Pity the gruaniad seems to have been taken over by amateur feminists with a low attention span.)

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    Ohhh apologies for ducking out early yesterday. I did something really stupid last night (rather my forte), slipped down the stairs and pulled my back out. I’m being eased by powerful medication and reading your posts. So, many thanks.

    Some lovely detail from @bluesqueakpip and @haveyoufedthefish. Cheers.

    I missed out raising the question of the shop girl who is supposed to have given Clara the Doctor’s number. It seemed very throwaway, and given the casting announcement for the anniversary one answer seemed a bit too obvious. Anybody have any thoughts?


    fake cancellation theory again? Does that mean at some point we, as fans, will have to save Clara as she faces extinction?

    I did have some fun back-and-forth (with @Juiperfish iirc) some time ago about about the Peter Pan comparison…

    feralcat @feralcat

    ‘Summer Falls’ is surely just Amy taking her adventures with the doctor (Silence Falls) and writing them as a children’s adventure story, in the manner of Famous Five books (the cover has the heroine with her two boys behind her and a dog at her feet). Love that one of the boys holds a torch rather than sonic screwdriver!

    As the Doctor says to Clara, the beauty of time travel is exactly the beauty of those stories, that one can have adventures all one likes and still be home in time for tea.


    chickenelly @chickenelly

    *lights pipe* I think you’re right @phaseshift, the ‘girl in the shop’ must be Rose.  Not wishing to be ageist, but River would surely be described as ‘woman in the shop’ by Clara.

    Now that Tennant & Piper are on board, the mirroring/reflections and references to parallel universes are beginning to make sense.  It also fits in with some other posters theories of there being two Doctors.  In this case literally. *puff puff*


    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    I meant 23 nov not 23 dec for the date soliloqy was filmed/claras birthday above (obviously)

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @phaseshift and @chickenelly. She defo says “woman in the shop” not “girl”, so river is still a contender. (I made exactly the same mistake on CIF and had to correct myself.)

    Given the casting announcement, that she’s worked in a shop, has form for meddling under her own steam (I did not know till today that her own spin off show got as far as budgeting at the beeb) and did use a mobile to contact the doc (can’t remember river using anything as prosaic as a mere phone when you can use mile high letters) Rose looks like shoe-in.

    Having said that, if my pet theory today holds water and everyone has got a meddling oar/flipper/sink-plunger (delete appendage as applicable) in, then it may not matter by the end exactly who did what to whom, when.

    Sorry to hear about your back old chap. I can only hope the soporific effect of my overlong and excessive posts is in some way analgesic!

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