S33 (7) 8 – The Rings of Akhaten

Home Forums Episodes The Eleventh Doctor S33 (7) 8 – The Rings of Akhaten

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    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – yep, it’s me off the GU site.  I don’t post there anymore, lately due to the nesting / profile fiascos, but mostly because of the right-ward turn, the US-centric news, and general dumbing-down (Twitterisation?) of the G.  Also, the comments are becoming difficult to read through – trolls / paid shills / simply nasty, angry people venting – call it what you may, it’s not pleasant nor informative any more.

    I’m mighty grateful for finding your site here, though!  I adore Dr Who but admit I don’t have either the knowledge or the attention to detail that everyone else here has.  My preferred method is to watch an episode, then immediately seek out people who can explain what I need to look out for when I re-watch it.  This site will be quite important to my ability to understand all the nuances, in-jokes, and subtleties of each episode.

    (and yep, I’m still in North Yorkshire!)

    Tiddler @tiddler

    @craig thanks for the tip about the @!

    @haveyoufedthefish, 9 may have said he’d know if there were any timelords left alive, but he obviously didn’t know about the Master until he turned up in the third NuWho series, so maybe that comment was more emotional than accurate?

    Anonymous @

    @tiddler – but strictly speaking, the Master was locked-in into a human body in the far future, so when 9 said that, at that time, there weren’t any TL’s around.

    Not trying to be argumentative!  After just coming through the Time War, his senses were perhaps still not 100% keen, although I like your ‘more emotional than accurate’ phrase.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    I’m still undecided about the episode I’ll need to rewatch it but, as I mentioned on the Grauniad blog, kiddiwinks singing really set my teeth on edge.  If I can get past that (ie with the mute button) it might improve – a bit like the Dinosaurs episode when I had to mute the Mitchell & Webb robots.

    On a more positive note, this episode should be stuffed with clues to trawl over so toe curling and grinding teeth aside, I’ll persevere.

    One of the major factoids I know about Akhenaten is (apart from being the father of Tutankhamen) was that when he died, and Egyptian religion reverted back to polytheism, any images of him that the priests could find was destroyed (ie face scratched out from frescoes) to attempt to obliterate his existence.  With careful crowbarring, this echoes what has happened to the Doctor.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @tiddler and @Shazzbot – another point is that he clearly doesn’t know Jenny’s still alive. He also couldn’t tell about any Timelords who were outside the universe.

    So, yeah, I’d rate it as ‘as far as he knows there are no more TimeLords left alive.’

    Barring Chameleon Arches, clones who aren’t properly trained Time Lords, part Time Lords, Time Lords stuck in alternate or pocket universes, and any other loopholes the scriptwriters can think of.

    [I’m fairly sure, for example, that the claim of the bonkers prophetess in End of Time that only two ‘Children of Gallifrey’ survived the Time War was deliberately phrased to allow a scriptwriter to write in any number of surviving TimeLords/part TimeLords who weren’t born on Gallifrey].

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Delighted you’ve signed on. I can’t remember if the last time we “talked” was when you were going to ask a question on “Question Time” or whether you were taking the piss out of me and JaneBasingstoke? (I’d love to see her again – her determination that Madame Kovarian was a hero was brilliant and led to some lively discussions on the Who blogs).

    The G certainly isn’t what it was. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that people like BeautifulBurnout had signed off. Really shocked. I only go there to try to tempt others to our little community.

    I live on the South/West Yorkshire border so great to have another adopted Yorkshireperson about. If I remember correctly you were originally from the US?

    Anyways – don’t be a stranger!

    Anonymous @

    @Bluesqueakpip – you’ve just reminded me, I’m frustrated by the loose end of Jenny.  (Although she was created by 10 so 9 wouldn’t know about her.)

    And could TL’s be born off-Gallifrey?  Interesting thought.  I’d always assumed that ‘Children of Gallifrey’ = TimeLord.

    Anonymous @

    @phaseshift – BB’s profile is still there but her entire posting history has been deleted.  Dunno what happened.

    Beyond the obvious loose end of Jenny, there are so many darned other loose ends, like Madame Kovarian, the Silence, etc.  Are we to assume the latter two are simply part of the last series’ story arc and thus are no longer important?

    People here are still interested in the exploding Tardis, but that was part of the last-but-one series’ story arc, so is that over and done with, too?

    I thoroughy enjoy pondering everyone’s theories and wish I could offer more myself. {sigh}

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @tiddler – The Master was temporarily transformed into a human and so undetectable (the Doc did the same to hide from the Family of Blood).

    Technically you’re right, I should have included that as a 4th option for Susan (but personally it seems unlikely – what would she be hiding from and pulling the same trick 3 times is a bit too repetitive for the writing team to consider imho)

    @bluesqueakpip – good point about Jenny though: my assumption here is that 9 could feel Timelords other than himself. Jenny was his clone (somehow a female clone – don’t ask) and therefore she would have been filtered out as apparently one of himselves.

    Interesting question (well to me, anyway) – if you’re a TL transformed into a human (with no memory of who you are so Ellie, say, could conceivably be Susan, though she’d still have to get back in time 2 centuries without a TARDIS) and have a child … is the child TL or human? If you change back into a TL does the kid remain permanently a human or change when you do…?

    nekko @nekko

    And speaking of loose ends, what about Lorna Bucket from the Gamma Forest? She embroidered a prayer *leaf* that, as we know, explained why the only water in the forest is the river. Well, (os)Wald is German for Forest. Does this mean a piece of River is in Clara?

    And another thought — Lorna was to meet the Doctor sometime in his future. Buckets are often used to hold water. Maybe Lorna had the piece of River?

    I think the Silence have to play a key role still. Their method of operation is based on wiping the memories of people — which clearly we’ve seen a lot of lately.

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @shazzbot (my most favourite ever swear word, followed closely by phooey) – my take on it was that 9 had awareness of TL’s anywhere in time as well as space.

    i.e. The Time War didn’t just take out TL’s from that point onwards, but all TL’s both before and since – presumably hugely changing history for all planets the TL’s interfered with such as the Minyans

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    On the Doctor’s speech to “Grandfather” in the Rings of Akhaten…

    I find it interesting that the Doctor first has a conversation with himself .

    “Any ideas?”

    “No, didn’t think so…”

    Way to go for doppleganger/ doubling theories.

    Then we see the “Sun-God” reflected in close-up in the Doctor’s eye and he says, “Lordy”.

    Again, a parallel between “Grandfather” and the Doctor is reinforced (already made earlier, as the Doctor’s mention of his granddaughter has encouraged us to think of him, of course, as “grandfather”).

    Then to the main speech.

    “Oh you like to think you’re a God. You’re not a God, you’re just a parasite, eaten out with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them, on the memory of love and loss and  birth and death and joy and sorrow.”

    This, as I’ve said elsewhere, puts me in mind of the way the Dreamlord scathingly calls out the Doctor on the way he “feeds” on the wonder of his young companions. The Doctor despises this false God with some measure of the contempt he has for himself. Again – a parallel is drawn thereby.

    “So, so, come on then, take mine. Take my memories. I hope you’ve got a big appetite. Because I have lived a long life and I have ssen a few things. I walked away from the last great Time War. I marked the passing of the Time Lords. I saw the birth of the universe and I watched as time ran out, moment by moment until nothing remained, no time, no space, just me. I walked in universes where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a mad man. And I watched universes freeze and creation burn. I have seen things you wouldn’t believe. I have lost things you will never undertand. And I know things, secrets that must never the told, knowlege that must never be spoken, knowlege that will make parasite Gods blaze. So come on then, take it, take it all baby. Have it, you have it all.”

    Well I laughed and cried at a re-watch of this. It manages to quote the great Rutger Hauer Blade Runner speech and some Yo la Tengo lyrics (“…take it all baby, you have it all”) in one go. Or are these Velvet Underground lyrics ? Not sure…

    Praise him! I think we are getting to the point where we perhaps take Matt’s phenomenal acting as the Doctor for granted. He delivered this speech beautifully, single tear and weight of the universe and tug of the bow-tie and heart-strings.

    The point?

    Grandfather Time confronting himself – he who devours and he who bestows, two halves of something mighty, the Sun God and the Lonely God.

    The Time Lords are returning I swear it.

    Has the Doctor actually surrendered his memories? If so @jimthefish and @bluesqueakpip‘s “clean slate” “retcon” theory could be shaping up…

    Although, “Run you clver boy and remember…” suggests that the solution may lie in a re-upload eventually.

    Anonymous @

    Oh, and more loose ends – touched upon multiple times above – what about the Ganger Doctor?  He goo-ed or somesuch but there was a definite clue at the end of that ep to imply that he would be up and about again.

    ‘Remember’ is the strongest thread running through all of Moffat’s series.  Amy had to remember Rory; now Clara is imploring the Doctor to remember … what?  himself? (not her, that’s too easy); the Doctor couldn’t remember Lorna Bucket; the Silence take away all short-term memories of themselves; the list goes on.

    Is it really as easy, and sentimental, that S Moffat is imploring us all to remember Original Who?  ‘Run … and remember’ could mean that The Show Must Go On, but none of us should forget the origins of the story which led us all here …?

    HaveYouFedTheFish @haveyoufedthefish

    @juniperfish – *cough cough* … did someone mention a memory wipe/amnesia reboot theory …

    NP its a collaborative effort, yada yada etc etc 😀 !

    Lula @lula

    I think @juniperfish and I are sharing a brain, because I could have very well written the same post.  One of the themes of this season seems to be memories.  (I, too, am wondering if the Doctor actually surrendered his memories to the grandfather planet.)  Memories are key…witness:

    *Oswin’s memories were so powerful when trapped inside the Dalek, she didn’t even realize she was, in fact, a Dalek.

    *In The Snowmen, Simeon was controlled by the memory snow.  Further, the Doctor didn’t appear to remember The Great Intelligence.

    *The Great Intelligence fed off the minds/memories of people by using the Wi-Fi to upload them to the data cloud in TBoSJ.  (“No one loves cattle more than Burger King.” Such a great line.)

    *TRoA gave us a market that barters in currency based on memories and a god planet that feeds off the history of its people.

    I have more to add but we’re getting ready for the return of Mad Men, which means lots of drinking is about to take place.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @juniperfish – talking about dopplegangers, or in this case a known tripleganger 🙂

    You might like to take a look at Clara’s habit of repeating herself in threes.

    So. So. So.

    So I would like to see; what I would like to see; what I would like to see is…

    Dunno if there’s any other points where she does that, but it’s made rather obvious in her initial TARDIS scene.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    This will probably come as a shock to some of you – but I quite liked this episode. But then, perhaps I see it differently from others.

    I don’t think the TARDIS rejected Clara. She didn’t have a key. She didn’t know she needed one because the TARDIS had been unlocked by the Doctor when she entered it in BSJ. The translator did not work because she was not yet a traveller – this is just her first journey. ( I am not fixed on that, but I think it fits).

    I thought this episode was straightforward – the Doctor trying to investigate Clara. He took her somewhere he knew, where he thought she would be safe – and then went back to investigate her past, to see if her backstory, the one she believes, makes sense.

    It might well be that Smith’s Dr left Clara there knowing that Hartnell’s Doctor was about to arrive and that, therefore, Clara would be safe. That might afford another explanation to the locked TARDIS if one was needed.

    Whatever – the episode was about Smith testing Clara, seeing who and what she was.

    I don’t really think he gave any of his memories up – there is certainly no extant sign that he did – but he pretends to see what she will do, to see what card she will play. He does not know if she is friend or foe, but he likes her and wants to find out. Lets not forget – he likes the Master too.

    What seemed crystal clear to me is that at some point,  possibly the Anniversary Special,  we are going to go back to the point where the Dr left Gallifrey in the first place. I suspect that we are going to see him being entrusted with Susan – the reference to her here cannot be accidental, it is the only time she has been referenced in Nu-Who directly (as far as I can remember anyway) –  and told to “run you clever boy and remember” probably by his mother. Gallifrey invaded, under attack, by the Daleks maybe, or the GI or both, and his family being killed – and he is told to take the grand-daughter and run – and he does. This looks to me to be the Moffat reboot. Note too that when he tells Clara that they will run “until they are out of the Shadow” we are reminded of the first Eccleston episode and the reference to the Shadow Proclamation.

    The Doctor’s tale to the Queen of Years is wonderful. Not the first time Lewis Carroll was referenced in Dr Who though. The emphasis on the individual is excellent, very old-style Who.

    I did not like the Dr’s speech to the creature – until I thought of it as a test for Clara. He makes the speech to try and make her show her hand – what is important to her? I thought the leaf was simply wondrous – such a great idea, the lives not lived, the alternative realities never achieved causing an evil force to, effectively, stuff itself into unconsciousness.

    The episode looks great – the sense of the alien nature of where they were was wonderfully realised. Actually, if you can’t find enough to enjoy in this episode of Dr Who, then really – why are you watching? The singing is alienating and alien – it’s all fine in my book.

    Interesting to note that there are seven races involved – the followers of the seven Classic Drs perhaps? The last singer keeps referring to “the old guard” – I suspect that is Moffat talking about people like me…

    The reason Clara thinks her house looks different when she is returned home is simple – the Doctor has walked in her past and changed her perceptions. When she looks at the house, she remembers and things are different. We may yet see other ways in which he has altered her life.

    I will be interested to see if the Dr is responsible for the leaf hitting Clara’s   Dad in the face. Or if Clara has a metal sphere in her chest. Or if Clara is some fractured version of Jenny or Susan or the Dr’s mother- I really don’t think she has anything to do with River or the Ponds.

    And the Ice Warrior story looks fantastic….

    And I love Clara…totally, absolutely, unqualified LOVE her.



    ‘Oh my stars’ will also be familiar to anyone brought up on Bewitched repeats.


    Juniperfish @juniperfish


    Oh crikey – apols for missing you off the acknowledgments <feeds @haveyoufedthefish > 🙂 Smart theory.

    @bluesqueakpip Hmmn I hadn’t noticed Clara’s thrice-speaking, but we do have three versions of her (at least). Ha ha – fits in with the ghost mentions too – God the grandfather, God the granddaughter and God the holy ghost? Or something 🙂

    @lula brain-sharing sounds suitably sci-fi – can you teleport me over some of whatever you’re drinking 🙂

    @Shazzbot Yes, I’m pretty sure it could be that simple – it’s usually much simpler than the elaborate plot structures we all get up to!



    Oh blimey. I agree with Geoffrey…er…SBOBET …er….@HTPBDET  

    Apologies if the world just paused on its axis. (except Moffat didn’t write the episode, so he wasn’t referencing people like us.)

    (If there is a sweepstake, I’m claiming “Clara is the doctors mum (or foster mum, maybe), even though she doesn’t know it yet”. Also, watch out for a spare shoe.)

    Also, (also) River still has not learned the Doctor’s real name.


    bobbingbird @bobbibgbird

    Hello all,

    A big flap of the wings to all the fish, various fowl and others. I’ve not been around these parts for a while, but have been catching up on the bonkers theorising. I’m very impressed with meta-narrative reading put forward, and the numerology to back it up.  I think it must be Moffatt’s intention to do this. He’s playing with us, isn’t he?
    I’ve watched this episode twice now, and enjoyed it much more second time around. Once I got over the singing (I’m with @chickenelly on this) and paid more attention to the plot and themes it explored I got much more out of it.
    The Doctor’s speech to Grandfather really was parallel laden wasn’t it? The Doctor is the Grandfather (both literally and metaphorically) and his assistants feed him what he needs to keep him sane: they are the Queens of Ages. I read a theory elsewhere (could well be here as well) that suggested that the Doctor’s companions are ‘created’ for him to save himself and the universe from his dark side. I like it, and it does explain why throughout the show’s history he finds a new companion fairly quickly after losing the last.
    Like @Shazzbot, I wish I could come up with a bonkers theory about Clara that will blow everyone away, but can’t. I don’t think  she is Jenny or Pond or Song related though.
    The Doctor is besotted with her, but is highly suspicious her, and quite right given his enemies of the last two seasons. I don’t think she’ll turn out to be a trap or a foe, though. If she has been created for him, it is ultimately to help (him remember?) when he gets to Tranzalore.  Looking forward to how this develops.
    I’ll also be looking out next week to see if he remembers a certain creature on a submarine. That will be a good test of the losing memory theory.

    bobbingbird @bobbibgbird

    oh one more thing. RE the Guardian site. There was one post that told Dan that he must be ‘easily pleased’ given the pile of ‘horse shit’ this episode was. Random poster attacks the person who set up the blog and has been running it for how many seasons? Why do people feel the need to post such things?

    bobbingbird @bobbibgbird

    oops, sorry about the lack of white space in the first post. I wrote in word for Mac then copied and pasted. Something to do with formatting I guess.

    janetteB @janetteb

    There is always one. I think in every single D.M blog someone has attacked him for his view on the episode. Some people just can’t tolerate other’s having opinions that differ from their own. Ah human beings. I sometimes wonder why the Dr cares so much about us and spends so much time saving us. I just hope he never reads the comments on Guardian blogs or we as in the human race, might be in real trouble.



    bobbingbird @bobbibgbird

    I don’t mind people disagreeing with him (or anyone), but it’s the way it’s done. It was just insulting. Sadly, people seem to get off on it.

    CiF is used by Daily Mail/Telegraph/others to vent their views and skew the general tone of its blogs. As @jimthefish has noted, CiF is becoming increasingly intolerant. I wish they’d keep to their own.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    A quick posting whilst I’m eating breakfast (ooh just like old times, except here as the Grauniad has descended into a complete negative fest).

    Re: 3 x Claras who are all similar.

    It is looking like the Doctor is meeting this person over and over again for a reason and until he finds said reason it will happen again and again.  What I’m thinking is, are these Claras the same person or individuals who have been shaped the same way?  That is, is her upbringing been replicated to produce the same person?

    It’s a bit early I know to bring in the Fuhrer, but this is the storyline of ‘Boys from Brazil’, that is producing lots of little Hitlers.  Could Clara turn out to be a wrong ‘un after all?  That would be great!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @juniperfish @haveyoufedthefish Massive reboot… memory upload – Ahem!! (Refer to Dec theory post re what we have been viewing for last 50 years is Doctor’s memory upload!! (in which case, it’s probably completely wrong, as my theories tend to be 🙂  )

    @juniperfish – nice post re text analysis/parallels

    Couple of problems with the episode  in hindsight – Dr gives “grandfather” all his memories, including secrets and knowledge “that  knowledge that should “never be told” (or shared presumably) – was that wise?!

    The planet seems to explode at the end – does that not kill off the 7 little planets that are orbiting it? (Presumably not as the Doctor goes back there). Would it not have been better (if less dramatic visually) to put it back to sleep?

    @bobbingbird – great to see you back – we’ve missed you! And @htpbdet too, in surprisingly mellow mode 🙂

    Footnote – I rather like the idea (not original) that “grandfather” is a meta-ref to us, the audience.

    @Shazzbot (and others) nice callout re Lorna Bucket’s “name leaf”

    Moff said in an interview before he took up the reins that memories are very important, that they make us who we are. Also said (more recently – @phaseshift posted the link, I quoted some of it in On the Sofa thread)  the companions are the focus, they are the people the Dr happens to. (Which is why his vision show-runner is never going to appeal to a certain section of fandom). And that we will probably never know why he left Gallifrey in the first place (I really hope he sticks to that)

    ScaryB @scaryb

    And special call-out to @bluesqueakpip – Award for Awesome Research most def! Tying in 11/9/60 date to Sydney Newamn’s earlier show, that was FAST!

    EmmOfTheEss @emmoftheess

    I enjoyed the singing – I thought it gave the episode a bit of (more) emotional impact.

    I think the different leaf was probably a continuity thing, it looked big and plastic in this episode, and a bit naff, I thought.

    Did anyone else think the Doctor’s reaction at the very end was telling? He says something like “you did it all yourself”, whilst looking deeply concerned. I think it was more than just amazement that Clara did the leaf thing. I think he can see that she’s more than just a normal human, and is worried about exactly what. I don’t think he believes that it was the ‘infinite possibilities’ of the leaf that is what got the job done in the end, but I think it connected to his very strange reaction last episode to the leaf.

    I also think that the ‘things look different’ line was more significant than just expanded horizons, but I’ll wait and see what exactly it is!

    WhoHar @whohar


     “But I’m glad of the space to entertain all manner of Who-hah”

    Just to let you know I am very entertained (but sort your spelling out) 🙂

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    Really happy to see the new posters over here. I used to really enjoy going to the DM blog in the morning and reading through new comments, but the nesting and the quality of the negative comments are close to ruining it. Yes, there always was some negativity, but I agree with @jimthefish, there’s a particular atmosphere now.

    27. Yesterday I watched both of the new episodes and I noticed that in both, when the Doctor seems to be pulling out a random number to make a somewhat frivolous point he choses 27. 27 brains. Great scones in the lake district in 1927. I tend to feel that with Moffit, there are no coincidences but a lot of red herrings. But if he says 27 again next week I’m going with it.

    WhoHar @whohar


    And my apologies to you for missing your good wishes on my move on another thread. And I can’t even blame the infernal nesting that blights the other place.

    WhoHar @whohar

    I just commented on HTPBDET’s (positive) post on this ep. on the Guardian blog. Now he’s the kind of thoughtful dissenter that we need on here.

    I did tease him a bit though by suggesting he was getting closer to adding an “S” to his name.

    Bobbingbird @bobbingbird

    Ooh ooh! @miapatrick

    27. The 27th series was never commissioned.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @whohar good to see you over here again – and you can rib @htpbdet about the “S” in person as, happily, he’s made it over here too 🙂

    As for Smithy, he deserves all the awards. It will be pretty fascinating to see him and David Tenant at work together. I wonder if they are feeling a teensy bit rivalrous? Good for their character interactions if so!

    @bobbingbird Hurrah you have teleported safely. Good evening bird-friend (you might be asleep now).

    @scaryb A thousand apologies dear comrade – clearly my memory, like the good Doc’s, is not improving with the years. Doffs cap to your December theorising.

    @miapatrick Interesting about the number 27. Maybe our resident numerologist can help. Bluesqueakpip – any ideas?

    @emmoftheess Ah ha! I think you may have cracked something! If Clara’s Mum was a Time Lady then all her “days that never were” would be far more prolific than those of an ordinary human who had died too young, wouldn’t they? That would account for the leaf being such a filling meal for “Grandfather”.

    Sooooo – more evidence that Clara’s Mum may be of Gallifreyan origin?

    I’m going to post back on The Grauniad as I do feel it is our dark doppleganger sister blog and you can’t have the light without the dark as the Jungians would say 🙂

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @bobbingbird – Oh – nice solve on the 27! Someone needs to make a master-post of all the numerology references (please?) as I am lost already. Still impressed, lost. I can’t keep it straight in my head 🙂 Time travel, y’know…

    WhoHar @whohar

    Ah… just noticed @htpbdet is on here.  And @bobbingbird. Excellent.

     No-one’s mentioned this (I think) but Clara’s book  is “101 Places to Visit”  (may have misremembered the title). The 101 immediately jumped out at me – Room 101. Maybe her worse nightmare is in there somewhere.

    Alternatively, binary 101 equals 5 but not sure of the significance of that, aside from 1’s and 0’s are computer-related.

    101 also equals 65 in hexadecimal and 145 in Octal which also means squat to me. Any ideas? I’m rambling now so I’ll stop.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    @bobbingbird – right there. That’s why I love this site. Collective theorising is so much more fun, especially when you get the benefit of other peoples admirable knowledge of Doctor Who history. 😉

    WhoHar @whohar

    @juniperfish High fins all round then. 🙂

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @whohar – High fins it is! And so early in the morning (for me at least) 🙂 Right – better do some work…

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Hi fins indeed 🙂

    27 – impressed

    101 – ditto (I noticed it then completely forgot again). Have I also forgotten a 1984 ref in last week’s?

    Clara’s mum a TL…?  Yup, liking that a lot 🙂

    Hive-mind on here is buzzing 🙂

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Yeah, I like the ‘Clara’s mum’s a Time Lord’. Chameleon Arched, presumably.

    Further question: I’m not sure about the acting in that ‘most important leaf in human history’ scene; it still looks to me as if Ellie meeting Clara’s Dad wasn’t a coincidence. And Ellie knew it.

    Hmm… a Time Lord. Is this a call back to ‘Father’s Day’? Did she manage to pull him out of the way of a car that should have killed him? Given the child friendly nature of Who I don’t think we’ll go with ‘he’s not the father’ unless it’s made pretty clear Clara was adopted.

    Hadn’t spotted the ’27’ references, but yeah. Series/Season 27 is also Series/Season 1. It’s the Corsair’s eternal circle; the point where the snake swallows its tail and the cycle begins again. Going meta: ’27’ is the point on the clock where the numbers reset. ’27’ is the point of view from the old series. From the point of view of the new, ’27’ is ‘1’ – the new beginning.

    Oh, and the Telegraph has put up a metered paywall, which means all its regular bloggers will have to pay a subscription. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Guardian just acquired a lot of online cheapskates from the Telegraph blogs. However, given the general tone of Telegraph comments, this does not bode well for the Who blogs.

    Bobbingbird @bobbingbird

    Hello @miapatrick and @juniperfish and @whohar and @scaryb and @Bluesquekpip (I think that covers it)

    This is such fin -er-  I mean fun. Clara’s mum as Time Lord, eh? I wonder if we’ll find out hoe she died, and if there was a body?

    She couldn’t  be Susan I suppose? The Dr would have picked that up, wouldn’t he?

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @whohar – I am so sorry to disappoint you (and understand that you are just prodding the sleeping bear to see if it can still growl) but I am quite quite quite sure that there will never be an S. I cannot wait for a regeneration.

    Reading the massive outpouring of bilious drivel on the Guardian pages makes me profoundly sad. There is no point in watching Doctor Who if your intent is to hate it. Or worse, if your intent is to see what you think you want to see. The only way to watch it is with an open mind, to see what happens and then (a) accept it has happened and was intended and (b) deal with it.

    This story was about a lot of things. But first and foremost it sought to be wondrous and fun – and deadly serious all at once. Something, for instance, of which you could never accuse Horns of Nimon (Apologies to that earlier poster who loves Crowden’s appalling turn in that show – but…Good Grief!!)

    This episode is chiefly about Clara and the Dr trying to work her out. But that is completely disguised by everything else that happens.

    There are many distractions here – quite deliberate ones. There are the homages to famous and important films – no more or less creative and interesting than previous Dr Who riffs on famous and important films.

    But at the heart was a very awful and savage story – that a young child would be trained and then sacrificed to an insane cosmic vampire, that people misunderstood the “God” they were worshipping, that the Doctor abandonded his new companion temporarily on a completely alien world where she could not speak some of the languages, and, importantly, that the Doctor had not stopped this evil when he was there before.

    There is much to think about here: the title refers to the Rings, there were 8 of them – seven celestial ones and Clara’s. Does Clara’s have meaning we dont understand yet?

    It seemed pretty clear to me that, at one level, this story is about fandom. The watching crowd of aliens represent the fans, the seven celestial rings represent the seven Classic Doctors, the insatiable vampiric foe, capable of defeating everything and wiping the Doctor out forever, represents the howling protestors who hate everything that is offered them, consume it, but want more and Clara’s leaf is the notion of possibility, of what might happen if it is allowed.

    Its not the first time Doctor Who has raised notions about false Gods and the way the Doctor himself can be perceived – maybe its time to dust off Face of Evil and have a refresher?

    The back story about Clara is also important – we see the Dr hanging around at different points in her apparent history, apparently watching what is happening. But is he just watching – or is he actually manipulating? Does he make the leaf hit the man’s face so the woman can rescue him? We see them cradling a baby – but is she theirs or has the Dr left her with them somehow? (I will be very profundly sad if she turns out to be Melody and this is how she was raised) Where is her father now? The “mother’s” journey starts at 11 – the number of Smith’s incarnation. That can’t be accidental. The number 27 keeps appearing – there were, I think, 27 companions of the classic series (up to McCoy’s final ep and counting Romana as one).What does it all mean? There is enough just there to make the episode worthwhile.

    Then there is the TARDIS question. At first I just thought that she had no key and could not get in. But, perhaps, that is Hartnell’s TARDIS she tries to enter and as it is too early in the Dr’s timestream the TARDIS does not permit her entry.

    Or perhaps this is some other TARDIS…

    Perhaps Clara is the shattered, scattered through time representation of Idris? Say, in the Dr’s future, the Great Intelligence takes control of the TARDIS and ejects the Idris soul (we know it can be done from Doctor’s Wife) and disperses it through time and space and becomes the ultimate battle weapon (note the discussion about that in Bells) – perhaps in aid or support of the Daleks? – the Doctor is ejected somewhere and left to rot, his memories drained. TARDIS Clara, the impossible creature that she is, helps the Dr remember who he actually is, permitting him to defeat the GI and become, once more, the Captain at the helm.

    Or something else…

    It doesn’t matter. The point is the episode is rich with possibility. And it has a superlative performance from Jenna Louise Coleman at its core. Plus good special effects, silliness, scary bits (those faceless powerful 3 were fabulous) and sentimentality.

    You dont have to love it. You are free to hate it. But, if you embrace it, even the bits you don’t care for, then there is something there for everyone. There really is.

    As to 101 – I am simple, so to me it was 10 plus 1 – another 11 reference.

    And weren’t the Bells  Monks in 1027? Ten doctors, 27 female companions? I think, if you count Romana twice and add River Song, there have been 27 female companions.

    I quite like the idea that Clara’s Mum was a Time Lord, but it does not seem to make sense – she would regenrate, not die, surely? And why would her offspring be able to exist in three (at least) places in time and space separately? Although, it is an interesting riff on Thee Doctors – perhaps the title of the last episode this season is The Three Claras? In Three Doctors, the Time lords took the Doctor from different points in his time stream and placed all three together for a common good; perhaps, here, Clara has been taken from one point and separated. although, why she has no memory of what has happened to her is another mystery.

    And does anyone want to take my bet that during the Anniversary Special Tennant will say to Smith “So you’re my replacement, eh? A dandy and a clowm!”

    Bobbingbird @bobbingbird


    that’s why I’m wondering how she died and if a body was found. Perhaps she did regenerate…

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Nice post @htpbdet although how you cannot love Smithy … I know, I know, you don’t like them dark and I agree he is… which brings us to that cosmic vampire doppleganger does it not?

    I like your vision of the “fans” as the ravening vampire God – a parallel that some have clearly failed to grasp 🙂

    I hope you’re right about the “dandy and a clown” line because that would be a wonderful call-back. But how much better if Ecclestone had been able to utter it whilst looking at Tenant and Smithy!

    As for the meaning of Clara’s ring. If the seven rings represent the seven classic Doctors as you say, Clara’s eighth plays into @bluesqueakpip ‘s theory that she could be a future version of the Doctor himself, or at the least an upload of his memories created by himself etc…

    Credit must go to @phaseshift for positing that Clara could be an entity scattered in time aeons back…

    On Clara’s Mum as a Time Lord (credit to @emmoftheess for starting me down that road with her brilliant leaf-energy musings) yes, as @bobbingbird says, we haven’t seen the body…

    It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings and we have only heard the Queen of Years sing so far.

    Oh and on the question of Room 101 – deliberate call-back to “The God Complex”. We still don’t know what was in the Doctor’s room 101 there but we strongly suspect it was himself given the cloister bell recall (we heard it sounding in that episode) in “The Bell’s of St. John” and @haveyoufedthefish ‘s excellent literary deduction that this was a reference to John Donne and his line “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”.

    The Doctor is his own nemesis. So, Clara is strongly connected to the Doctor in some way. She is his Room 101?


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Hi, @htpbdet. Welcome to our merry gang!

    In answer to your ‘wouldn’t she regenerate?’ query, I suspect most of the proponents of the ‘Clara’s mum as Time Lord’ theory are thinking of a Time Lord who’s been Chameleon Arched, as in Human Nature/Family of Blood. As we saw in that episode, such a Time Lord wouldn’t regenerate. They would die. If Susan’s role in the Time War was such that she and the Doctor’s mother were planning something, Susan might have been working ‘undercover’ from the Doctor. Which would make those scenes between Clara’s mum and the Doctor especially poignant; that was the last ever meeting between Grandfather and the granddaughter he’d brought up, and neither of them knew it. Reminiscent of the Doctor and Professor Yana meeting, and neither recognising each other.

    And while we saw that such a Time Lord could have apparently human children with another human, what we didn’t see (since those were also ‘days that never were’) was whether those children were human – or apparently human. That is, could they be chameleon arched back into a Time Lord themselves? Or were they, like Melody Pond, human with ‘something extra’?

    I like the theory simply because it fits my sense of neatness; if we’re to go forward in a new cycle then I like the idea that we’ll restart as we began. The Doctor (Doctor Who?) travelling with his granddaughter, exiled from some unspecified world. It fits Moffat’s constant refrain that this ‘Lonely God’ stuff is dangerous. The Doctor should not be alone; he should not be so unconnected from the universe that the only ‘sentimental’ item he can find is his damn screwdriver!

    And in fact, he’s not that unconnected. He’s still wearing Amy’s glasses.

    Though possibly we restart with him travelling with his great-granddaughter. It’s a new cycle, after all.

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @Bluepipsqueak – I see. Yes the fob-watch solution would explian why and how Clara’s mother could be a Time Lord, I see that. Thanks.

    But the Doctor left Susan on 21st Century Earth and, ever since the fob-watch thing began, I have always satisfied my romantic inner-self by thinking that Susan chose to use one to make herself human so that she and David Campbell would have lives that were likely to be of similar length. That she died in his arms, happy and content.

    So, do you think Clara’s Mum is Susan? Is that the idea?

    Or is she the Dr’s real daughter, not Jenny, hidden on Earth and Chameleon arched by the Dr to protect her? Which makes Clara Susan?

    But if Clara is Susan, then who has put her in at least three different time streams? The Time Lords? Omega? The Dr? River Song? And why doesn’t she know who she is and what she is to the Doctor? Why does she want him to remember? Or is the idea that he has to remember what he has done in order to fix her?

    HTPBDET @htpbdet

    @ Juniperfish: I don’t mind some darkness in a Doctor – each of the first six Doctors had moments of darkness. That is part of the richness of the character. Eccleston and Tennant were excellent at conveying the sense of loss, darkness and infinite weary sadness that comes inevitably with over 900 years of travelling the Universe.

    That’s not it.

    I just don’t believe he is the Doctor. Just as I never believed Colin Baker was the Doctor. I dont like what he is asked to do and I dont like the way he does it.

    Its wonderful, and just as well, that many peope adore him – otherwise, the programme would die. And I would rather it continued, with new blood, companions and Doctors than it be stopped cold dead again. So please – love him to bits – you have my complete support in that.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    So, do you think Clara’s Mum is Susan? Is that the idea?

    @htpbdet – I honestly don’t know.

    I’m now fairly secure in my belief that ‘Clara’, on a meta-level, represents ‘Doctor Who’. The dates are too precisely focussed on – by all the rules taught to TV scriptwriters, they must have significance. And they all match with significant points in the history of ‘Doctor Who – the television show’.

    But the only date significant in-show is Clara’s mother’s date of death. That’s the date the Ninth Doctor returned to Earth. In-show that suggests there is some connection with the Time War – she can’t outlive it. It may be that there’s no body in that grave; but the grave marker is very likely true; if she left her husband and daughter, it was in the knowledge that her ‘fake’ death was shortly to become a real one. And if she was Susan, that would imply (since she’s in an entirely different time-zone to the one where we last saw her) that there was some kind of background plan going on.

    From the point of view of ‘background plan’, Susan would make perfect sense as the agent – she’s probably the one Time Lord who’s actually lived in human society, actually (according to the extended universe) brought up children, actually been married to a human man.

    I haven’t the foggiest idea why Clara, in-story, is split into three. But if she is ‘Doctor Who – the show’, she has to be split into three. Classic Series, Paul McGann Movie, Nu-Who. And what defeats the angry audience of the Grandfather God? The potential. All the unrealised days the old series never got, all those untold stories of the sixteen years that never happened. There were an infinite number of stories we could have had.

    And we never got them.

    And we never will. The leaf is burned up, gone. The old show and its forebears (Clara’s mother) have died. But what’s left standing, what they gave birth to, is the modern Clara. Who may represent the new incarnation of Doctor Who, all that potential, all those stories that haven’t happened yet.

    Whether Clara also represents the Doctor himself (that is, she’s the Twelfth Doctor), is something I don’t know. She may simply represent his soul; like the Queen of Years, she’s the repository of all the stories, all the songs, all the legends of the Doctor. And since she ‘hated history’, she’s clearly a repository that’s focused on the new, not the old.

    Sorry – my reply seems to raise more questions than it answers. 🙂

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