The Eleventh Hour – S31 (5) 1
20 July 2013 at 11:54 #14190Craig @craigEmperor
The introduction to eleven. I think this episode is genius considering the number of memorable characters that are introduced. Some episodes can have none. Not only does Moffat introduce a new Doctor brilliantly, he introduces the new companion, Amy, her younger self, Amelia, and, of course, Rory. Even the minor characters make an impact and make you think they might grow in to regulars.
All that is done while telling a reasonably frenetic story – 20 minutes to save the planet! – which has laughs and scares aplenty. There is so much to enjoy, especially in the early scenes – fish fingers and custard – and the fact that Moffat takes away both of the Doctor’s mainstays, the TARDIS and the sonic. I think he was having a whale of a time.
Moffat does re-use his “Look up your databanks and be scared of me” tactic that he had the Doctor use in “Forest of the Dead”, but for an introductory episode I’ll let him off, especially as the montage of Doctors helps give Matt an instant place in Who heritage.
It really is one of Moffat’s finest hours. I’d like to think he pulls out his best when the pressure is on – this was his first episode as show runner and introduced a controversially young Doctor. I hope so, because there must be no greater pressure than the 50th Anniversary.20 July 2013 at 13:14 #14198Craig @craigEmperor
And one thing I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been for @juniperfish , almost everything in this episode is either red or blue without it being too obvious. Almost all of Amy’s house – blue walls, red and blue carpet, stained glass, the swings etc., little Amelia’s clothes, infact most of the characters are wearing red or blue or both, many of the cars and Rory even has a blue pen and a red pen in his pocket. Once you notice it, you can’t stop noticing it.
It is definitely an artisitic decision. But why? Is it still something that hasn’t paid off? Like why does the duck pond have no ducks? 😀20 July 2013 at 15:28 #14206Anonymous @20 July 2013 at 16:53 #14211Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
@Shazzbot – thanks for that.
Yes, I said a lot in that blog entry, so I’ll just make a few points here. I remember watching this for the first time, in Hi Def. The colour palette and the detail were just astonishing; it’s a quite beautiful episode. I agree with @craig; there’s a definite red/blue palette being used. Jeff’s Gran’s house has a purple/lilac palette (suitable for an old lady) – which of course is the red/blue colours, mixed to make purple. A lot of people are wearing some pink, and the hospital has a blue/green.
Matt Smith ‘sold’ his Doctor the moment he popped his head out of the crashed TARDIS in little Amelia’s garden. No running in period; he just was the Doctor.
Prisoner Zero, it can now be seen, is a metaphor for our ‘hidden’ Doctor. The one you can only see out of the corner of your eye, the one cut out of the succession, so that he has no number. He lives exactly where the Doctor never wants to look.
And a very nice, tiny touch that shows the detail they were using on the Eleventh Doctor’s establishing story: in the final scene where Amy and the Doctor stand outside the TARDIS you can see the breath of both Amy and the Doctor misting with the night chill. But it’s far more visible for Amy than for the Doctor. Gallifreyans have a lower body temperature. 🙂22 July 2013 at 10:14 #14257ScaryB @scaryb
Lovely red/blue spot. (And where is @juniperfish these days…?)
Another notable thing which worked in its favour – this episode is 65 mins long. It’s packed, but it has time to breathe.23 July 2013 at 01:30 #14289ScaryB @scaryb
It’s been really interesting doing these retrospectives. It’s amazing how much you forget especially the ones pre Graun blog. Like how much you missed Tennant and at the same time thinking – How amazing is Matt Smith?!
It’s a remarkable first episode (for both actor and showrunner), and as @bluesqueakpip says above – Matt completely sold his Dr from the off. I really won’t be surprised if there are threads from this looping into the 50th and/or the end of Matt’s tenure. Knowing that they picked up on young Amelia so much later on adds poignancy.
Watching again reminded me of the anomaly of Rory’s ID card – which also reminded me of the funny little anachromisms in the The Snowmen.
It’s a bold statement of what Moffat wanted do with the show.
BUT. 65 minutes. If that’s what he’s comfortable with, that’s what he should get!!23 July 2013 at 23:30 #14310PhaseShift @phaseshiftTime Lord
Finally managed to catch up with this episode. I’ll just refer people to @bluesqueakpip s excellent blogpost again.
I’ll confess over series 5 and 6 I probably watched this more than was healthy, looking at scenes other people referenced in theories etc. It was actually a minor joy to go back to it after the Amy storyline has finished and just watch it for pure entertainment and remember how it made me feel on first viewing.
It’s certainly the best first episode for a Doctor I’ve seen, and it’s amazingly confident. The scenes with young Amelia are a delight. I can still pinpoint when my reservations about the youngest Doctor in history evaporated and I settled back to enjoy the show:
Amelia: “I’m not scared.”
The Doctor: “‘Course you’re not! You’re not afraid of anything. Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of the box, man eats fish custard. And look at you, just sitting there. So you know what I think.”
The Doctor: “Must be a hell of a scary crack in your wall.”
To me, that exchange just felt like the Doctor talking. Over the next sixty odd minutes (and I’ll echo @scaryb here – that extra time let the episode breathe a little – It would have been interesting to see some episodes from series 7 be given the same treatment) Smith does an astonishing job in bouncing off new characters. It’s every bit as important as Rose to me, in that it shows this wasn’t a one-trick pony. No carryover from the last series, just extrapolation of ideas given a new spin with polished direction.
It really is a great episode, and I hope 12 gets similar good fortune to begin with.
As no-one has posted it yet, for your entertainment is the confidential for the episode “Call me the Doctor”.24 July 2013 at 06:30 #14318janetteB @janetteb
Like @phaseshift I have watched this episode “more than is healthy”. It stands up well to repeated rewatchings and even on rewatch six or seven is still fresh and engaging. It is on my list of top twenty favourite episodes. (I am still working on the list. Have it down to about 30 now.) Matt leaps into the role, even outdoing Baker’s performance in “Robot”. The cracking script gave him plenty to work with and Amy and Rory (or Karen and Arthur) made their characters instantly memorable. And best of all, the script was so packed with detail that a rewatch invariable brings some overlooked detail to light, (especially after watching the future episodes.)
I was thinking of making this comment on the Showrunners thread but something that occurrred to me while rewatching SIL and FotD is that Moffat’s stories need to be re-watched in reverse. They tend to work in two directions. One doesn’t get the full story on first watch.
Janette24 July 2013 at 11:55 #14322Miapatrick @miapatrick
Hi, bit late to this (damn wiki assignment…)
This episode really made me fall in love with Doctor Who, set my mind to rest after concerns that the change in show runner would diminish my enjoyment of AG who (I didn’t at the time understand that Moffit had written Blink, TGITF, SITL etc) and completely sold me on Moffit and Eleven. And it told us, looking back, one part of Moffits plan for Who: it’s going to be beautiful to look at.
Although Rory wasn’t presented as a inevitable mainstay, he is, here, when you look at it, perfect companion material. He notices something odd with the coma patients. Amy is the reason the doctor is there- but Rory is the one who provides the clue that comes to save the day. And the reason for this boils down to much of the wonderfulness of Rory- he cares enough about people, even ‘vegetables’, to really look at them and see them. He noticed what looked like the coma patients walking around the village, because he didn’t just see them as bodies in need of care in the hospital, he really saw them.
The doctor uses his past and reputation to drive away the aliens again. Interesting that when ten did it in the library, he got a postponement, but when 11 did it, he got a full on retreat. I think this underlines the progression on ten near the end of his time, gradually turning into ‘River’s Doctor’ even before his regeneration. (Of course when at the end of the series River tell the Dalek to look HER up, we discover, perhaps, the one thing even more terrifying than the doctor: his wife.)
Inevitable cries of DEM, inevitably, I think, wrong. Rory with his camera phone is introduced right at the start, enables the Doctor to work out the puzzle, and is used at the end to help thwart prisoner zero.25 August 2013 at 22:10 #16690Anonymous @
Sorry I haven’t been on in awhile, but I decided to rewatch The Eleventh Hour.
I can’t watch this episode without watching Tennant regenerate first or it just feels weird. This is actually my favorite episode from Doc #11.
Can I have apple, apples I love apples: all I can think about.
No Yog-urts my favorite, give me Yog-urt Get a girlfriend Jeff.25 August 2013 at 22:11 #16693Anonymous @
Oh and delete your Internet history.12 October 2013 at 15:57 #1833629 December 2013 at 11:10 #23588Starth @starth
I loved this show and so did my 6 year old lil girl ….so much so that i now need to try and find all the things for what young Amelia pond was wearing so i can get it for her to wear for comic con.I got the boots but i need to find a night gown,red jumper and suitcase like she had.If you have any idea where i could find those items please let me know.10 February 2017 at 14:06 #55508TheBatGames @thebatgames
I love this episode, but there is one thing I find worth pointing out that I’m surprised not many people picked up on, when asking the Atraxi, “Is this world protected?”. They show scenes from episodes that do not happen on Earth, like the Cybermen from the Parallel Earth in Age of Steel and Rise of the Cybermen; the Ood from the Satan Pit, Impossible Planet and Planet of the Ood; the Hath from the Doctor’s Daughter; the Vashta Nerada from the Forest of the Dead and Silence in the Library. They are still great scenes, but if they searched the World for these, how can it see things that happen in the future and not even on the world?11 February 2017 at 02:40 #55511Anonymous @
Hey! Welcome to the Forum. Good question!
But yes the earth is protected. The Atraxi scan the actual ‘protector’ and recognise, pretty fast, that he’s an alien and looks after the earth in all its capacities -whether on Earth or on another planet. Possibly they have the ability to ‘know’ time travel or maybe they read the Doctor’s mind -I also think the Doctor ‘shows’ them what HE wants to show them? It’s canon that the Doctor can put thoughts into the minds of beings -and he could easily have done that. They would know by ‘scanning’ that what he’s thinking/seeing/communicating is actually true. Also, more importantly they scan him for previous doctor incarnations.
If you like Doctor Who you might like to go to the Sofa or the Companions thread and maybe talk about what doctors you’ve liked; companions and favourite episodes.
Enjoy this Forum.
Cheers!11 February 2017 at 02:54 #55512
@thebatgames Hi ! Welcome the the site. I agree with @thane15 that the Doctor was showing the Atraxi what he wanted them to see. If you want someone to take you serious you show them all your best stuff. I really love this episode and our introduction to the 11th Doctor.11 February 2017 at 08:42 #55514Anonymous @
Yeah, me too! I think right from the start I loved it -Mum says that often but as I was really young I have to rely on ‘knowing’ that -like the Atraxi! I was so sad about Tennant and that was the first time I cried about a show.
Going back, I have loved Doctor 11 more than 10 (it’s a personal thing) and was astounded (amazed) that with 12 it could get even better.
The change was good, though. 11 was friendly, preoccupied and always predicting what would happen next. Also, he seemed so old. I have a poster/frame of 11 in my room. The light under it brings out the Doctor’s amazing face. I’ll never get tired of Mat Smith’s Doctor -considering he was a young guy and Tennant was and is a stage actor, I didn’t think it could get better -and it did.
Optimism is the ticket Dad says.13 February 2017 at 20:05 #55534ichabod @ichabod
@thane15 It got better, I think, because its creators got more ambitious, seeing the potentialities in growing it up a bit (well, by the time AG rolled around, there were all these grown-ups out there in the viewership who’d started watching as kids and were now — some of them — looking for — what? More bones under the meat? More developed depths?
Come on, April, where the heck are you?!!!9 January 2019 at 03:21 #67152
This Christmas my son got me a set of all of Matt Smiths episodes as the 11th Doctor and I finally got time to do a major re-watch. I just watched The Eleventh Hour and it was so very good! I forgot how much I enjoyed the episode that introduced us to a new Doctor and 2 new companions. A little girl praying to Santa hears that wheezing sound followed by a crash in the garden and thinks that Santa has answered her prayers and he has. There is the poor old Tardis on her side and smoking badly when the doors fly open and a hand appears followed by another and then that face pops up. It is a young wonderful ,silly face with old eyes. Out hops our raggedy man, soaking wet from the pool and wearing 10s ripped clothes ,craving apples and wanting to help a little girl with a crack in her wall. Fantastic!
Everything about this episode made me happy and who doesn’t want to be happy? I am looking forward to cold winter nights so I can curl up with a fluffy blanket and watch series 5,6 and 7.9 January 2019 at 06:01 #67153blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Absolutely! The Eleventh Hour has to be one of the most perfect episodes they did. It has everything. Wonder, magic, hope, excitement, adventure…Like you, I loved it. And even out here on the relatively balmy west coast, Doctor Who isn’t complete–at this time of the year–without a blanket.4 April 2020 at 06:26 #70395blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
just about to make a new comment, and then noticed my comment above. not much more to say, really. except that this opening laid the groundwork for a brilliant season built around the idea of a fairy tale. which was why season 5 was so wonderful.4 April 2020 at 16:20 #70397JimTheFish @jimthefishTime Lord
This is one of my favourite comfort Who watches. It was interesting of how dismissive Moffat was of it plot-wise on Twitter and, yes, it is kind of plot-lite but only in the same way that Rose was. It’s what works best for introducing a new Doctor. Whittaker suffered from having too much screen time taken up with Ryan, Grace and Graham and Capaldi from a slightly overly complex plot and then being sidelined by his predecessor for the crucial final five minutes.
But this is a joy. Smith has nailed the Doctor almost right from the off. It’s an incredible performance not bettered by any other actor in the role imo. Also I’d been swithering between Amy and Bill being my favourite companion but I think I’m down for Team Amy. 11, Amy, Rory and River are my Fam I think.
However, beyond the leads, there’s so many other great elements in place here. SM perfectly pitching from comedy to drama. So many great lines. The Atraxi are by no means a classic villain but still offer up some genuinely creepy moments. And Olivia Colman brings a nice line in truculent insolence to the final confrontation. Oh, and the score, this is Murray Gold at his best, if you ask me.
All in all, I’d say that if I was looking for one episode to introduce a newbie into the world of Who, it would quite probably be this one….5 April 2020 at 01:08 #70398
@blenkinsopthebrave I also watched it again and I am trying to say something I didn’t say above. Still think it is the best intro to a new Doctor and companions that I have watched.When Matt Smith pops his head out of the Tardis with that cheeky grin and the twinkle in his eyes I still think “this is going to be an exciting ride” and it was. I also have always thought that Raggedy Man is the best nickname ever. Like @jimthefish this is a comfort Who for me and it never fails to deliver.5 April 2020 at 10:24 #70400Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip
Also watched it again – it really is one of the best of the ‘introducing the new Doctor’ episodes. In a way, it’s a shame this didn’t get a cinema live-stream because it feels very cinematic.
When Matt Smith pops his head out of the Tardis with that cheeky grin and the twinkle in his eyes I still think “this is going to be an exciting ride” and it was.
He had me at that moment. There was no ‘bedding in’ period, no giving it a series for him to become the Doctor. Matt Smith just was the Doctor, from the first moment on screen. It was the weirdest and yet most brilliant bit of casting.28 October 2022 at 17:35 #73631Rewvian @rewvian
I’ve made it to the Smith/Moffat years in my rewatch, and this rewatch is still going back quite far to over a decade ago. Right off the bat I have to say they did a good job of packing this episode with content. We’re thrust into the moments just after the Doctor’s regeneration, to witness the chaos that ensues in his regeneration-damaged TARDIS as it spirals madly out of control. And then we explore three different points in time following his crash-landing.
The vast majority of the episode the Eleventh Doctor continues wearing the Tenth Doctor’s clothes, which I had forgotten about. In fact young Amelia Pond meets her “Raggedy Doctor” while he is in these clothes, and again when he returns to her 12 years later.
The best part of the Doctor meeting young Amy was his attempts to find food that his new form liked. The Doctor goes through about ten different things before settling on the fish fingers and custard, spitting out and throwing plates of normal foods he’d tried. Nourished, the Doctor tends to the crack in Amy’s wall, but has to leave and take the TARDIS 5 minutes into the future. It was cute seeing little Amy packing her things and eagerly awaiting the Doctor’s return, but unfortunately due to the Doctor’s poor sense of timing we know what’s going to happen next…
Grown woman Amy is a bit harsh to her childhood friend, but given the 12-year-gap of time it’s understandable she would be cautious. Karen Gillan in a fake officer’s uniform was the stuff of dreams. Her interactions with the older lady down the street about being a nurse and a nun was lol-worthy after finding out she is a kiss o’gram.
The lie about Amelia being gone from the house for 6 months turns into the perfect comeback when Amy points out she waited a lot longer than the 5 minutes the Doctor promised. Probably the best scene here is when the Doctor says they have back-up, Amy corrects him and says there is no back-up and the Doctor rolls with it, and then the Atraxi appear and start broadcasting leading the Doctor to say once again that they do have back-up.
Prisoner Zero is the main antagonist in the episode, a ‘multi-form’ that normally looks like an anaconda thing with several sharp teeth, but it can copy the form of patients in comas at the hospital. The funny thing is that whenever it copies people it usually goofs up and has the dog or child doing something instead of the adult. Zero gives several cryptic warnings to the Doctor, including a far-off one about the Silence which I don’t think even comes into play during this season.
The whole plot to capture Prisoner Zero by using the photos Rory took of its other forms, along with the warnings of ‘0’s’ on every sign everywhere in the world, was pretty good. Even better was when Zero tried to copy Amy, and brought up her dream version of her younger self and the Doctor, and the Doctor outed Zero by having Amy remember when she looked at it to make Zero appear as itself. The Doctor calling the Atraxi back to Earth was unexpected, but makes sense when these things threatened to blow the planet up throughout the episode.
The whole of the scene showing the Doctor finding his new outfit while marching off to confront the Atraxi was well-done. Even more amusing is how he was still mid-dress and trying to figure out the final details of his outfit while beginning conversation with them. Finally his outfit is complete right as he reminds the Atraxi that the planet is protected thanks to him, and the scene with him stepping through the hologram of his past selves was a nice touch.
It’s funny that the episode ends with the Doctor going away another 2 years before finally coming back for Amy. I had forgotten that she leaves the day before her wedding. The reveal of the new TARDIS just made me think of pentagons and hexagons. I feel like it took me seeing it a few times before back in the day to get an idea how much it had changed since the first 4 seasons. Some of the controls got weirder, with a whole typewriter integrated into the console.
I would have to agree with @bluesqueakpip that Matt Smith “became” the Doctor pretty much a few moments into the episode. He was able to pull off an old man in a young man’s body, with just the right touch of madness. I don’t think Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant achieved that as quickly, but Matt Smith seems to have. I will once again reiterate, however, that they all really grew into the role better with time.
Also the series got a brand-new intro with this episode, following the changes made to the theme back in season 3 or so. I like the stormy clouds at the beginning, with the TARDIS bouncing around all over them through time. I do miss the old theme with its epic violin pieces, but the new one is light and refreshing.29 October 2022 at 14:08 #73636Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent
@rewvian I re-watched this a few days ago, so your review made interesting reading. I thought the episode was well done, on the whole. Though the newly reconstituted Doctor has appalling table manners!
It’s evident that Rory is very conventional, while Amy has a tough streak in her. Suggesting to Mr Henderson that he goes and has a coffee while she ‘borrows’ his car to interrogate the Doctor – which he meekly obeys. Or when the Doctor is changing his clothes, Rory modestly looks away while Amy – just looks. I wonder how much the Doctor’s bad timing contributes to Amy’s personality – quite a lot, judging by her account of her childhood. She kept biting her psychiatrists. Gotta love it.
(I kept writing ‘Arthur’ for Rory, for some reason. Maybe he reminds me of my namesake Arthur Dent, which I suppose would make Amy Ford Prefect.)
Of course the Atraxi are the stereotypical gung-ho galactic cops. Don’t care about collateral damage. We’ve seen that before with the Judoon on the moon, and much later again with the Judoon pursuing Doctor Ruth. And probably a few other occasions that my brain’s too lazy to think of right now.30 October 2022 at 16:50 #73642Rewvian @rewvian
@dentarthurdent You made some good observations about how polarized Rory and Amy are. I guess I wasn’t looking for that as much but they really had opposite personalities.
Also the Artraxi were like the Judoon. I wonder if the Atraxi ever show up again. Probably they wanted some alien race in the skies for the Doctor’s rooftop confrontation, and decided on this new one to fill the role. I guess there’s got to be more than one set of galactic police anyway huh.
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