The Giggle

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    Craig @craig

    The Giggle

    The giggle of a mysterious puppet is driving the human race insane. When The Doctor discovers the return of an old enemy, he faces a fight he can never win.

    Neil Patrick Harris guest stars as the Toymaker, an enemy that hasn’t been seen on screen since 1966, when he was previously known as The Celestial Toymaker, portrayed by Michael Gough.

    This is the last of the anniversary specials. As with last week, this has been kept under wraps, but Russell T Davies has said that big things happen. He said it’s so big and so full that you should try and watch it live or stay away from the internet until you’ve seen it. So expect some surprises. Fingers crossed.

    He has promised a whole new mythology and controversial events. He said “I hope you’ll all find it fascinating. It’s a whole new way of looking at the history of Doctor Who and I can’t wait to see the reaction.” I really hope it’s good.

    It’s directed by Chanya Button, who I hadn’t heard of. She’s directed two features, the road-trip black comedy “Burn Burn Burn”, which won a few awards, and the biographical romantic drama “Vita & Virginia” about Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. She has also done a few episodes of “World on Fire” and “The Spanish Princess”.

    And, of course, Ncuti Gatwa makes his debut at the end as the latest incarnation of The Doctor.

    Craig @craig

    Short comment. That was weird but I liked it. It’s almost like RTD can never let David Tennant go. “I’ll create a double to be with Rose”. Then “I’ll create a bi-Doctor to be with Donna”. Is bi-Doctor the right term? I have no idea. I’m sure people more informed than me will come up with the right term.

    But of course, it means we can get the old gang back together anytime we want. And why not? And why wouldn’t you want to?

    BobbyFatv2 @bobbyfatv2

    For a moment there I thought we were heading for a meta retcon of DW as a tv programme but wasn’t to be… loved the toymaker stuff, still in shock about the denouement..

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Bi-generation? In his knickers?

    Ncuti’s Doctor is as charmingly full of charisma as I knew he would be. He’s going to eat up the role.

    I suppose the bifurcated regeneration is the Marvel-isation some were worried about, in that, should Tennant-Doc want to get back in his bi-generated TARDIS (and take Marvel’s money) there’s no reason why parallel adventures can’t take place. The Whoniverse expanded, in the way Disney has expanded both the Marvel and Star Wars universes on TV.

    I think you’re right @craig, that RTD can’t quite ever let Tennant go. But honestly, what’s not to love about that?

    In Ncuti’s world, the Master is back, in a gold tooth, and the legions of the Toymaker are still coming…

    I was wondering if the Toymaker would turn out to be a member of the Doctor’s own (unknown) species. But, for now, the Toymaker’s origins remain mysterious.

    Salt, the Doctor’s game with the salt line and the dopplegangers at the edge of the universe in Wild Blue Yonder, did indeed turn out to be pivotal, both allowing the Toymaker into our universe, and also being used to contain him, in his playing card box prison, inside a ring of salt, in UNIT’s vault at the end.  For now…

    I do love that, in these dark times, which RTD2 very much foregrounded in the madness of “everyone thinking they’re always right” and a Government which doesn’t give a bleep about us (all of which The Toymaker merely turned up the dial on) Fourteen and Donna get to eat mac n cheese with Rose and save the moles from Wilf and live happily ever after.


    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Brilliant episode, but did anyone else get the feeling we were being set up for a long term story arc again a mention of some kind of superior/ boss that even the Toymaker answered to. Is this something that Ncuti’s first series is going to be about. And the Bi-Generation WTH does this make Ncuti really 14.5 or 15 and is he going to gain memories as Tennant Mk 2 gains them or is Tennant mk 2 actually 14.5. Well RTD did promise some earth shaking new Who lore.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    OK, a lot to process. Totally agree with @craig that RTD2 cannot let Tennant go. Am really hoping what we just saw does not lead to a Marvel-isation of Who, but we will simply have to wait and see.

    Loved the idea that humanity put itself in danger of destroying itself due to the invention of television. I liked that immensely.

    Off to give it all some more thought, but hoping that Ncuti manages to find a pair of pants by Christmas…

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Oh another thought are they going to run a second stream of Who,  one with David and one with Ncuti, though to be honest it would have made sense given we are being told RTD is keen for spin-offs that if the  TennantDoc was an earth bound Doctor perhaps working with UNIT like an early PertweeDoc.

    UNITPICKER @unitpicker

    Ncuti from here and the preview for next time looks like he is going to be an action packed leading man, a Jon Pertwee for the modern age. If he doesn’t succeed in the role then it won’t be for lack of charisma or screen presence.

    I can understand the eye rolling at keeping Tennant in their back pocket. He is the definitive modern Doctor though and it does give them a chance to monetize the franchise more. I would prefer that the more earth based of Tennant’s future adventures take place in America or something though because there’s a danger that we get two very similar shows assuming this 14th Doctor spinoff happens.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    It’s almost like RTD can never let David Tennant go


    I think you’re right @craig, that RTD can’t quite ever let Tennant go. But honestly, what’s not to love about that?

    I honestly don’t think it’s that controversial to be honest but I think it’s bound to be read by some as a lack of faith in N’Cuti. They have Tennant in reserve.

    And … I can remember when Matt Smith took over. We had a over a year of ‘bring back Tennant’ when he was regenerated and gone. I can’t help feeling that having him in the background as a possibility is going to be unbearable.

    I just made a comment on the Guardian that I felt sorry for Martha Jones. Why couldn’t she also get a pet Tennant to keep her company. 😉

    Craig @craig

    @phaseshift I almost spat out my gin and tonic at “pet Tennant” 🙂

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    This is interesting. On the commentary to this episode you have RTD and Phil Collison on talking and suggesting this ‘biregeneration’ has echoed back through all the other regenerations.

    I’ve had a go at transcribing:

    RTD: So then, the whole timeline bi-regenerated. Sylvester McCoy woke up in a drawer in a morgue… and Jon Pertwee woke up on the floor of the laboratory.
    Phil: And Colin Baker got out up and sorted out the Rani
    RTD: Yes, he did. And they all did.

    Which I guess is what the Sixth and Seventh Doctors in the Tales of the Tardis have suggested.

    Not sure what to make of that to be honest.


    Hope nothing got stained!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Well, lots to process there so more thoughts later but overall I enjoyed it with a few nagging reservations — although that has to be the most RTDiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Martin Belam on T’Other Place suggests that the red-nailed hand picking up the Master’s gold-tooth compression-prison is the Rani.

    I do wonder if it is indeed, she.

    If Ncuti-Doc has tried to heal his past selves’ traumas through “bi-generation”, giving Fourteen a family to rest with, it begs the question as to whether the new Doctor has really just skipped off trauma-free.

    Whit-Doc found out her adoptive mother was both the originator of the Time Lords and also a Mengele-level child torturer/ experimenter. That means the Doctor now carries the new (as it was previously mind-wiped) knowledge that they are both an orphan and an abused child.

    The Rani was also a profoundly immoral eugenicist experimenter, so I’m wondering if these themes of cosmic eugenics and abusive parents will be a thread in Fifteen’s narrative.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    A few more thoughts. I thought Neil Patrick Harris hit it out of the park as The Toymaker. Hypnotically evil and a physicality that worked to perfection. Still loving the way the invention of TV (manipulated by the Toymaker) holds the potential seeds of humanity’s destruction.

    Not entirely sure what Melanie Bush was doing there, though. Yes, I suppose she provided a link to pre-gap Who, but the idea that the Melanie of Colin Baker days could end up as a techno wizard working for UNIT seemed a bit of a stretch, to be honest. Still,  Kate Lethbridge-Stewart seems to be handing out jobs to previous companions at a somewhat alarming rate, going by this episode.

    One thing I really liked about the introduction of the Ncuti Gatwa Doctor was that when the regeneration takes place, it is the Tennant Doctor who can’t really cope, and it is the brand new Doctor who consoles him. By doing it that way, it instantly gave the Ncuti Gatwa Doctor a maturity, both in relation to the Tennant Doctor and and to his presence as the new Doctor. I felt that worked very well indeed.


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Oh, really like the suggestion that the red fingernail that picks up the gold tooth could imply the Rani!

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @juniperfish @blenkinsopthebrave

    The hand with the red painted fingernails picking up the tooth is an almost exact and obviously intentional parallel to the final scene in Last of the Time Lords, where we see the Master’s funeral pyre and then a close up of his signet ring lying on the beach, and a hand with red painted fingernails reaching to pick it up. I seem to remember speculation then that it was the Rani, but was the mystery ever solved?


    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    To my knowledge no, but consider this the timelords seemed to have resurrected every psycho Timelord in the time wars so a regenerated or resurrected Rani is I suppose possible but my bet would be one of that strange cult of the Master’s  being the hand.😉😛

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    @devilishrobby beat me to it, but the start of End of Time Part one has flashbacks to the scene indicating it was ‘The Cult Of Saxon’.

    Time to break out that copy of Lord Voldermorts Bumper Book of Resurrection Spells again!

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby


    Mudlark @mudlark

    This is an episode that I definitely want to watch again before attempting to comment at any length, and in any case it’s getting late and time I finished my glass of wine and started thinking about cocoa and bed.  I get the impression that RTD has reined in the tendency he had before of going OTT with the pyrotechnics to just the right amount and his touch has become even surer; the result here was dazzling.

    For some time I have had a good feeling about Ncuti Gatwa, and on the evidence of this introduction I don’t think there is much chance of his disappointing us


    Mudlark @mudlark

    @devilishrobby  @phaseshift

    Thanks .  Lord Voldemort’s Book of Resurrection Spells it is, then – that is, if I can find it on my double-stacked book shelves. 😉

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    I watched this too late after too many beers to trust myself to get all my thoughts down but I will say this: going head to head against Tennent and NPH (who I’m surprised didn’t actually do his own vocal) and Tate, Ncuti Gatwa burst into this episode with beautifully energetic charisma. Stunning debut.

    now I’m going to do the mature thing and Go To Bed rather than hop on T’other place, even though I know comments will doubtless be closed not too late in the morning. So obligatory thank you to @craig, and see you all Sunday.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Great comments as always, thanks everyone.

    A “pet Tennant” 😀 Who wouldn’t want one of those?!

    That’s interesting @phaseshift about the bi-generation reverberating back through all the incarnations. I think Ncuti-Doc says something about he can only go on unencumbered by the PTSD if Tennant-Doc takes his retirement/rehabilitation seriously, so yes it sounds like there’s forward memories there (same as Donna knows about the Doctor’s experiences since they last met).

    Binary, doppelgangers, bi-generation – I’m sensing a theme here 🙂

    @mudlark Totally agree re RTD’s maturity as a writer.  The threats in these last 3 episodes have felt personal, not universe threatening and all the better for it. I thought It’s a Sin was an amazing series, and I think RTD has found his own voice and a new confidence in himself, his place in the world, and being bold about what he wants to say.

    I agree with the various comments about wariness about an expanded universe/Disneyfication but for now I’m happy to trust the production team. Realistically there’s a limit to how much/how long they can use “old doctors”. Great to see the extra budget being used well, especially on the cast (all brilliant). I think they’ve just wiped the slate clean in terms of back story, which was getting just a bit overblown, but they can still dip into it if required. Ncuti looks like he’ll very firmly put his own stamp on the role. As @jimthefish said, he took control from the get-go.


    Ncuti’s Doctor is as charmingly full of charisma as I knew he would be. He’s going to eat up the role.

    Here’s to the next 60 years!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    One other thing – took me ages to dig this out, but it was nagging at me as I watched tonight’s episode.  I came across this short story earlier this year – The Magic Shop by HG Wells.  Features a father and son and a slightly creepy old fashioned Magic Shop which has mysterious hidden corridors, an ambiguous proprietor, and it disappears after their visit. The son loves it, and embraces all its surprises, the father is suspicious and unsure, but it turns out OK in the end. Probably!

    Wondering if RTD had come across it. Link here if you want to read it.

    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u

    Ok! Lots going on there. So much so it was almost more early Moff than classic, overblown, season ending Rusty…

    Red fingernails? I really dunno if the Rani was noted for the red finger nails. I think I might find it demeaning to find out… I mean we are talking about Pip and Jane Baker here.

    We had a blurry shot of Kate and Mel leaving the helipad with a soldier, but what happened to Shirley Bingham? Has she got a super overdrive for her wheels, or was she smooching all the while behind the big gun with the singular name, the one that should have finished off 10/14?

    Lots of characters… why are they there? Why is Shirley there?

    More importantly, can I draw your attention to Stookie Sue and her THREE orphaned wee babbies? Three is such a powerful number. Who could ever question the number 3? Remember Rassilon, Omega, The Other? Most Whovians have forgotten the poor girl made immortal through no fault of her own. And the three cradles over which she wept as the Black Death raged…

    We all saw the fun The Toymaker had with the puppets of the Doctor’s friends…



    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Just back from a second viewing with Mrs Blenkinsop and we both agreed that it was pretty fabulous.

    Was Mel necessary? Probably not. Was that a problem? No, not really.

    On second impressions, it was both frightening  (when it needed to be) and warm hearted (which is what Doctor Who is supposed to be).

    And whose hand with the red fingernail picked up the the gold tooth? Well, that is what Mrs Blenkinsop and I will keep discussing until the Christmas special.

    Which is also what Doctor Who is supposed to be about.



    Robert Caligari @robertcaligari

    For those of us who AREN’T  fawning Tenheads, can we please be allowed to refer to Tennant as “the Doctor who will never f*** off and die?” Seriously, I hope Sutekh comes along and nukes “BiGen” Doctor  alongside his family of happy, daffy glass-klinking gits.

    …okay, that was mean. I’m sorry.

    Robert Caligari @robertcaligari

    For those of us who AREN’T fawning Tenheads, can we please be allowed to refer to Tennant as “the Doctor who will never f*** off and die?” Seriously, I hope Sutekh comes along and nukes “BiGen” Doctor  alongside his family of happy, daffy glass-klinking gits.

    …okay, that was mean. I’m sorry.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Binary, doppelgangers, bi-generation – I’m sensing a theme here

    Exactly the same thought had occurred to me 🙂

    Your mention of The Magic Shop sent me this morning to my overstuffed bookshelves and to a hefty tome – 1148 pages – containing the collected short stories of H G Wells. It belonged to my father originally, and for once  I managed to snaffle it before my brother got his paws on it.  As for whether the encounter in the disappearing shop turned out well or otherwise; the father may have retained a lingering sense of unease but Gip, as the mysterious Proprietor said, was after all the Right Sort of Boy.

    The Toymaker’s marvellous and slightly creepy shop in this episode, does seem to hark back to a long literary tradition of mysterious and sometimes sinister toyshops and toymakers.

    UNITPICKER @unitpicker

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>As for mystery boxes, we have a few to be opened down the line. The Boss and ‘the one who waits’ could be the same person or two different enemies. Assuming they are one and the same, this will probably be the season arc for the 15th. Is this going to be an attempt to create a whole new character, or simply repurpose a familiar face?</p>

    Robert Caligari @robertcaligari

    @unitpicker Given how RTD has flat-out stated that he’s going out of his way to rile up the fans this time, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were one and the same. Perhaps he’s going to have Susan regenerate into a Lovecraftian cthulhoid horror?

    BobbyFatv2 @bobbyfatv2

    On the literary theme, the Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter. Long time since I read but very spooky I recall

    BobbyFatv2 @bobbyfatv2

    Last night’s episode has certainly wormed itself into my brain which can only be a good thing.

    It felt like two very different episodes spliced into one (kind of anti bigenerational). Loved the 1925 segments, gothic Victorian horror, very Tom Bakerish.

    But the rooftop finale felt just too weird, with the Toymaker just sat around while the Doctor had his intra-doctor chat and then the unconvincing game of catch. Was it the Toymaker or RTD who dropped the ball?

    The biregeneration thing was a nice twist as I had avoided spoilers, and I guess I like the message that it’s time to drop the angst ridden doctor and move to a more fun personality.

    but there is a paradox I cannot reconcile. The Doctor is an alien not a human, and so the overlaying of human specific constructs of gender sexuality and race and the humanisation therapy prescribed for 14 sit awkwardly. Id like to think, in theory at least, that the doctor could regenerate as a multigendered trisexual lizard creature.

    of course course in the context of a human made piece of drama the representational element is welcome and overdue, I just hope the doctor can reclaim their alienness.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    This is strange to me, really. Because I only actually quite liked RDT’s original run. I fell in love when Moffart took over – denomintionwise, I am a Moffatite through and through. I quite liked Chibs’ run, and probably had a higher tolerance than a lot of people (I’ll return to that somewhat in a second) because I never really rated, for example, the Bad Wolf arc (my laptop has caught the Christmas Spirit and autocorrected Wolf to Elf, which is cute) as an arc, all that highly. I did like Donna though, so I was looking forward but still, as I think I said in reaction to the first soft re-reboot episode, managing my expectations, because stuff happened that in Moffat era, would definitely mean something (if nothing quite as complex as the stuff this website throws up) more than it would in RDT. And I’m… still there, but maybe less so. Because if we got a three story arc, it was Fourteen working through some of the new trauma Chibs gave him, helped by Donna, and beyond that, hints of a really big, really big bad that actually scares the Toymaster, rather than being the Toymaster himself. WELL THAT’S ALRIGHT THEN. And it actually is.


    Is it better or worse to spam the website with a sequence of comments, or to post one really, really long one? I’m going to go with the former option for now.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    There seems to be a lot to unpick in this episode and I’m away from home. I’m looking forward to rewatching it when I get back home on Tuesday so I’ll post some thoughts then.

    I’m pretty certain there is a lot of evidence that RTD is going to lean into the more fantasy arm of Doctor Who history as we discussed last week. The question of who the Toymaker would be afraid to play a game with is interesting. If he claims to have defeated the Master, the Guardians and the Gods of Rrrragnarrrrok (small nod to Sylvester there) who can he be afraid of?

    The natural (and probably wrong) answer must surely be Fenric, and his addiction to ‘The Game of Traps’.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    NPH as the Toymaster was wonderful in a string of wonderful here. Great casting, based partly on him working with RTD before, partly on this being a role involving a musical bit, magic tricks, terrible accents, repeated acceptance of a challenge, charisma, and raised eyebrows.I might have been looking forward to NPH here as much as I was Tennant.

    amazing disability representation, building on something I greatly appreciated in the first episode. To explain my thoughts on why showing someone in a wheelchair standing up, but not as the result of a miracle: some  years ago my partner was only using gutter crutches as a mobility aid. Some time before, he had been in a chair – his legs didn’t move at all. So, a few years ago we we’re watching one television series where the joke – at which we laughed – was a character, not even in a chair but a mobility scooter, which she’d been in constantly, gets out of it for it to be sent back to the hire place. Fast forward to nowadays, when he uses at different times: a manual chair powered by his arms, a clip on front wheel for this chair powered by battery, an electric peddle bike with stabilisers, and an electric wheelchair.  He did have a mobility scooter but it broke. In his electric chair in particular, he has drawn comments for standing up when he’s in it. We still cringe at laughing at that. Normalising standing and ambulatory wheelchair is important.

    Miapatrick @miapatrick

    And as for mr ‘I don’t want to go’ not going, I don’t know. He might become the Curator. He might get more stories. He might genuinely retire, live, work through the new dump of trauma , then die and regenerate into fifteen, wobbly wobbly etc. But meanwhile we see Fifteen adventuring around as a energetically zen madman in a box. And I think I’ll enjoy that.


    It might be interesting that right now, when we discover the Doctor cannot trace his ancestry, and doesn’t know exactly where he comes from, is when we get our first black doctor, potentially evoking diaspora, (specially before mainstream DNA tests) and the need to hold and maintain an identity without far reaching genealogy.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    @ps1l0v3y0u Red was the Rani’s signature colour; she was given to wearing red gloves as I recall, to go with the rest of her red sparkly outfit. But as @phaseshift and @mudlark point out, the red nails might be a reference to the more recent “Cult of Saxon” which recalls RTD1 era’s John Simm Master.

    I rather hope we’re not getting a retro-reincarnation of the Master; Simm was not one of my favourite incarnations. If RTD1 has a fault as a Who writer, it is when his melodrama shades into the bombastic, and the Simm Master really ended up embodying that (for me, at least).

    Thanks @scaryb for the H. G. Wells story link – lovely – magical and creepy at once. And definitely feels like an inspiration.

    If I had a quibble with The Toymaster/ Doctor face-off this time, it was that Donna was a lot more canny about the fact the Toymaster was likely to cheat, than the Doctor was. From watching the Hartnell era Toymaster, it was clear he was a dirty rotten cheat and not at all above fixing the “games” in his favour.


    We all saw the fun The Toymaker had with the puppets of the Doctor’s friends

    Yes indeed. I know some folks on Twitter were complaining that Yaz wasn’t mentioned, but Yaz made it safely back to Earth, after parting ways with Thirteen at her regeneration. The Toymaker deliberately picked companions who had more difficult fates because of their travels with the Doctor; Amy, Clara, Bill (even though each of them got a work-around happily ever after – Amy with Rory, Clara with Ashildr, Bill with Heather).

    The idea the Toymaker will return to play puppet-master to some of the Doctor’s companions, is definitely one to watch.

    @scaryb and @mudlark

    Binary, dopplegangers, bi-generation

    Indeed we might add, non-binary/ bi-gendered and bisexual.

    In human terms, the Doctor is explicitly bisexual (bi-romantic) now, as rather tentatively explored in Thirteen/ Yaz by Chibnall.

    RTD2 having Fourteen exclaim Isaac Newton is hot in Wild Blue Yonder, is going to go somewhere, I am guessing.

    Gatwa Doc has already established himself as a huge, campy flirt in The Giggle, and the combination of RTD2 and Ncuti’s Doctor (gay showrunner, gay actor) and RTD’s unabashed belief in representation as one of the moral goods of Doctor Who, and I suspect Fifteen getting involved in some male companion flirting/ romancing this incarnation around (at some point) is likely on the cards.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Couple of thoughts – if all the Doctors have bi-regenerated (bi-generated?) is that RTD doing a call back to The Curator in The Day of the Doctor? (And as I think @phaseshift mentioned, it explains how they can come back looking older in The TARDIS Tales, or indeed any cameo appearances from now on).  The more I think about it the more impressed I am with what feels like a major re-set. Acknowledge the baggage (clip of Hartnell and the original Toymaker, Mavic Chen mention – woohoo!)… then just drop it and walk away! (As Donna and Rose chose to do in The Star Beast).

    Anyone got any ideas on what the hell the Vlinx(?) is? Have I missed something?

    @mudlark Of course you are spot on about the long history of mysterious magic shops in literature/media, the HG Wells one just jumped into my mind as I was watching. The young son – the rather ambiguous “the right kind of boy” embracing the magic (which could be something or nothing) – and the father worrying about the unspecified bill to pay down the line!

    @miapatrick – it’s not spamming if the posts are on point 😉 And thanks for the comment about wheelchair users/normalising sometimes standing etc. Ruth Madely has a very emotional interview about how much it meant to her to have a wheelchair accessible TARDIS.


    RTD’s unabashed belief in representation as one of the moral goods of Doctor Who

    Totally agree. Dr Who has always been an implicit “safe space” for people who felt a bit outsiderish, and now it’s explicit as well.

    And Gatwa Doc as “a huge campy flirt” – he was even flirting with his other self, LOL  I thought they were going to kiss and re-merge for a minute!

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Yes, I was wondering about the Vinx as well. I was reading somewhere about the likelihood of a UNIT spinoff. If that is indeed likely then I imagine RTD2 was establishing the look and the characters of the spinoff. Am assuming RTD2 will enlighten us in regard to the origins of Vinx at some point.


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    OK, some thoughts now that I’ve had time to mull that over.

    First a few general thoughts. NPH was fine enough as the Toymaker though for a lot of the time he just felt like a new iteration of the Master (with Simm’s version coming particularly to mind) rather than the cosmic threat of the Toymaker (certainly he lacked the suave of  Michael Gough). I wasn’t sure about the Sellars-esque cod-German accent but RTD’s explanation put my mind at rest. And at the risk of sounding like a killjoy, I could have lived without the musical interlude at UNIT HQ. It was cool in Last of the Time Lords but it’s becoming a tad overused now and I tend to feel that it kills the narrative momentum stone dead.

    I liked the 2023 ‘everyone thinks they’re right’ storyline and kind of wish they’d run with that a bit more instead of the runaround of the 2nd half. And I guess the Toymaker was defeated rather easily (more easily, say, than in the fourth part of the Hartnell episode I watched the other day). Maybe he’ll be back or maybe it would have been nice if he’d been more involved in the other specials.

    Which brings us onto the bi-generation (kudos to RTD. I suspect even the name is causing apoplexy among the broflakes.) As a concept, I suspect it’s a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s clearly designed to open up a multiverse kind of deal (as suspected by @blenkinsopthebrave) and that could be interesting. I think we’ll probably see limited series on Disney now featuring other Doctors — Tennant certainly but maybe other Doctors too. Might be nice to see McGann get another moment in the spotlight. But then there’s the problem that the other multiverses aren’t exactly unqualified successes either. If Disney ends up saturating us with Whoniverse content then viewer fatigue might set in pretty quickly. It’d be a shame if Who jumps on the multiverse bandwagon just as it’s running out of steam. And if this is indeed the game plan, I’m still not sure whether it was even necessary to give a canon explanation for it at all. There’s no reason why other-Doctor spin-offs couldn’t have taken the format of the old Virgin Missing Adventures — although I guess this way differentials in age can be taken into account. (And in my mind’s eye I can now see 12 outstretching his arms, saying ‘Doctor, I let you go’ and … then nothing happens.)

    There’s also the worry that bi-generation devalues the concept of regeneration a bit further. I have problems with regeneration in general anyway as an apparently cost-free get-out-of-jail free card anyway but what stakes and mavity it once had and for regeneration stories to become ho-hum in the extreme.

    But in the context of this particular story, I have to admit I liked it a lot. A big emotional regeneration probably wouldn’t have had much of an impact coming so soon after Whittaker’s so it probably had to be something a little bit different. And I’ve always wanted to see a regeneration story where the plot starts with one Doctor and is resolved by the next. Although I think my preference would have been for 14 to go and leave cede the floor to 15. Rather like Matt Smith coming back to nobble Capaldi in his first outing, I can’t help but feel that Tennant prevented Gatwa from truly having a chance to shine — although he did a bloody good job of holding his own and is just as charismatic and engaging as I thought he would be. It’s a shame he had to hit the ground running so much tho, so to speak. (No regeneration trauma for him, apparently.) And at least it’ll mean that he’s ready to go straight from the start of the Xmas episode.

    I’m in a similar state of doubt about the ‘home’ (apparent) resolution to 14’s story. I can see why RTD wanted to put all the Doctor’s PTSD and survivor guilt to rest once and for all. And it’s good that 15 gets to go off unencumbered by all that (or at least until he’s loaded up with some fresh trauma) but on the one hand that really should be the ultiimate end-game for the Doctor so it’s odd (or perhaps utterly appropriate) that we get to see it now. But on the other hand, it’s not really an end game of any kind. This is a pretty new regeneration and if it ends up being as peaceful and restive as they’re trying to make out it’ll likely be a pretty long one. And Donna will be gone in what 60 or so years, Sylvia and Wilf even sooner. And Rose in maybe 80 or 90 years. And what’s he going to do then. Have a load of more people to mourn and be on his own again.

    But despite these carpings. I enjoyed this a lot although much of it was rather familiar — essentially a mash up of Journey’s End and The Last of the Time Lords. So barring the Star Beast, which was conceived by someone else, I hope this doesn’t mean that RTD is running on empty plot-wise and that Gatwa’s run isn’t going to have the same sense of repetitiveness and the recycling of old ‘greatest hits’. (And talking of LOTTL, I’m not sure the red nail polish is that significant and is just a callback to that story when it was the Master’s missus who picked up the ring. Not sure we can assume it’s the Rani. (In fact, maybe it’s Missy, crossing timelines to save herself or maybe get some payback for her killing herself.)

    BobbyFatv2 @bobbyfatv2

    Occurs to me that if RTD2 is serious about all previous doctors having bigenerated, that means as well as 14 and 10.5, 10 will also now be knocking around somewhere, leading to the possibility of a triple Tennant episode.

    And could the Master have also bigenerated? Could it be the Master as Missy picking up the gold tooth in which another version of the Master is contained.

    We may need a flow chart!

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

      We may need a flow chart!

    That is brilliant! While this web site already has a wonderful sub-heading, I think your line would be an excellent header for subsequent discussion of the world of RTD2.


    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u


    I have STILL not seen Time and The Rani. Truth be told I have avoided it and not just because I didn’t like ‘Mark of’ much either. As I remember, the best thing was the disdain the character showed for The Master. But I’m not very excited by her potential return; as Timelords can change gender, I’d rather welcome back The Monk or The War Chief (without the shouty tho.)

    The bioengineering aspect of Rani’s backstory is the most intriguing detail… as we’re stuck with some kind of narrative related to the Timeless Children, could the infamous Tecteun have become The Rani?

    But I return to Stooky Sue and her ‘wee babbies’; I’ve read about Logic Baird’s other puppet, ‘James’, but Sue and the 3 babes would seem to be RTD’s own invention. So… surely they must mean something? Surely ‘Bill’ isn’t William Hartnell (actor) and ‘Sue’, Susan Foreman (character). I wonder if RTD didn’t have (and still has) his own Cartmel masterplan, developed in turn by Moff… and even maybe (rather less successfully) by Chib.

    I don’t want Simm to reprise the Master. To tell you the truth ALL the Masters are quite overated. I don’t like good vs evil played like that; you might as well have black and white Guardians. It’s just tiresome. However the second and third iterations of Simm’s Master were things of wonder: could have done without the Prisoner Cell Block H resurrection scene (even RTD can misread the campometer sometimes) but; ‘you’re going to BE ME!!’; ‘I want EVERYTHING! I’m SO hungry!’ Rescuing the ridiculous Kalid transformation from Time Flight in World Enough and Time…

    Otherwise… not really sure what Mel was doing there… I wondered when she was going to switch on her Megabyte Modem, unless it was The Vinx was looking after that singular piece of extraordinarily advanced equipment? And, by the way, The Vinx… what? WHAT? Why? I suppose we’ll find out…

    But Mel… like The Rani stories, she’s not remembered fondly in this neck of the Whoniverse. Now, rescuing Peri from the clutches of Yrcanos would have been an interesting story. Maybe Nicola Bryant wouldn’t do the cod yank accent anymore… they might have had to get a super intelligent slug to wipe her mind!


    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Right after a quiet rewatch( was watching  yesterday with my client) had what I thought was quite a disturbing though as I noticed that the Unit ladies all were wearing a similar if not the same coloured nail polish red as the hand that seemed to be about to pick up the Master Gold Tooth prison…… do we have a branch of the cult of Saxon within Unit…….. just saying.

    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u

    And ooh sir! Sir! Thought of something else, sir… that Max Capricorn guy in Voyage of the Damned… he had gleaming gold tooth too!

    just a few barrels left to scrape. Nearly there.

    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u


    Try and find Shirley in that final shot of the helipad. And whose idea exactly was it to put machine guns in a wheelchair?

    WhoHar @whohar

    A bit late to this party, due to Timey-zone, Wimey-zone stuff. I only watched this Sunday morning (my time) and was then out at the theatre in the evening, so didn’t get the chance to post before now.

    And I’ve not read any other comments, so apologies for any repetition. And apologies for any repetition.
    First off – I really enjoyed this. From my perspective – everything’s relative right? – I thought the specials improved as they went along. The Meep was a bit meh (The Mehp?), and the WBY I thought was terrific. I admit to some pre-viewing concerns about this ep, mainly because of the title “The Giggle” didn’t fill me with inspiration, but my fears were allayed in the first 10 minutes.

    The Toymaster did go full Prince Ludwig from Blackadder @ps1l0v3y0u, @phaseshift. But showed his sinister side with that “sunnier climes” comment. With the excellent “I was born in Cheltenham” as the response.

    And this tone continued: some social commentary mixed in with some good jokes. My favourite: after Kate L-S was restrained and her inhibitor restored and she started apologising to everyone for her rant, except to Donna / Mel for the “gingers” retort. There was a fairly subtle look that Donna gave to Mel just at that point which topped it off beautifully. I love things like that.

    RTD2 was clearly on a crusade regarding the lack of tolerance in society, (someone should invite him here to show him it’s not all bad), and he certainly doubled down with the bi-generation. I thought there was a thunderstorm here in the early hours of Sunday morning (when the ep aired in Aus), but now realise it was part of the internet cracking in two.

    Anyhoo, I shall now go and read the comments from you lovely people, and may post again once I’ve ordered my thoughts.

    WhoHar @whohar



    He might become the Curator.

    This is interesting. Someone else said this to me, and I went away and thought about this for far longer than is healthy. That would mean that 14 at some point regenerates at least once and can – potentially – choose his new face.

    My assumption was that 14 wouldn’t be able to regenerate again, but maybe it’s another bifurcation (“bi” again) in the Doctor. My initial thought is that I’d prefer it if he couldn’t regenerate again but there are some interesting possibilities if he can. Needs more (!) thought.

    And…I thought Kate L-S comment (during her rant) about not trusting people who use a wheelchair and can also stand was actually a terrific bit of that scene. It also showed people can be differently abled in lots of ways, so think before you rant. Loved that the standing up was foreshadowed in the Meep when she crossed her legs – it’s almost as if RTD2 has been thinking about this.

    WhoHar @whohar

    Two other random thoughts:

    1. After the bi-generation and the clothes share, it occurred to me that 14 had gone commando. Strange the way the brain works.

    2. Tonally, I thought the scene with 14, Donna et al a bit off. The, frankly, unmitigated horror was too much for me, and I had to turn away for a moment. Cauliflower Cheese! <shudders>

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