The Star Beast

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    Craig @craig

    David Tennant and Catherine Tate return as the fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble under the watchful eye of Russell T Davies. What more could you ask for?

    Well, a story based on the 1980 comic strip “Doctor Who and the Star Beast”, written by the greats Pat Mills and John Wagner, with art by Dave Gibbons. Yes please.

    This is adapted by Davies from the comic and is directed by the always reliable Rachel Talalay.

    Davies has described it as “a great big Pixar family film, like a bank holiday film – all the family watching, lots of laughs, a funny monster”. That may have something to do with the fact that Disney are now pumping money into Doctor Who. To watch it outside the UK I believe you’ll need Disney+, or a VPN.

    P.S. I really hope putting Donna on the Home page is not a spoiler. You would have had to be living under a rock. And Donna deserves to be there. Best duo since the fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane (in my humble opinion).

    Craig @craig

    And I have my treats in. Although I shop at Aldi, so they are bargain-basement treats. There’s a cost-of-living crisis on, don’t you know. Still, not the end of the world.


    Krathoon @krathoon

    Wow. I did not know that Aldi has off brand British stuff.

    The episode was good. Back to form.

    Donna had to spill the coffee. Again.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Hello Everyone <waves, wearing a big scarf>

    Ooh I’ll have a jelly baby @craig. It’s been a minute, but here we are – sixty years – what a wonderful Whovian life.

    I’ve just watched the new behind-the-scenes show Doctor Who Unleashed on I-Player and it was lovely to see RTD back in the saddle and supporting Yasmin Finney, talking about trans representation and her role as Rose.

    I didn’t realise, until I watched Unleashed, that the Meep story was based on a Doctor Who comic.

    David Tennant and Katharine Tate’s enthusiasm was just enormously infectious, and I loved the new TARDIS console as a tribute to the original Hartnell one.

    Overall, my anxieties about Disneyfication have been allayed, so far, as the show remains happily true to its British roots, apart from the fact that surely the TARDIS should be serving tea, not coffee.

    Cue, nonetheless, lots of screaming headlines about “Doctor Woke” in The Daily Fail etc. next week, which you just know RTD will chuckle delightedly over in his slippers.

    It’s been wonderful diving into the Whoniverse archive the BBC have put on I-Player for the 60th. I’m currently tickled by the Hartnell era, particularly the far-shots of various space ships and Dalek saucer craft clearly made of washing-up liquid bottles and silver gaffer tape, wobbling on string in the galactic sky. I’ll forever love the homespun low-fi origins of Who, but excited for the next chapter.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Hi all loved the episode and loved that it was based on the 80s Dr Who  magazine comic strip. There was nothing however that said to me this is an  Special Aniversary other than it brought back two much loved characters ie Donna and Tenantdoc. Yes it was a brilliant episode as a stand alone, but as I said there is nothing in the episode that makes it worthy of calling it 1/3rd of an Aniversary Special my only hope is that it is  acting as a prelude to a more spectacular storyline. Given that these 3 Specials are supposed to be celebrating 60 years of Who it would feel better if there was more of an interlink between the parts, the only thing that could be construed as a link I could see was at the end when (spoiler alert) Meep said something like “wait till I tell the boss”, which I am making an  assumption is referencing The Celestial Toymaker. Though I do hope to be proved wrong and as the next two specials go on some kind of spectacular interweaving is revealed.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Well, I enjoyed that a lot. It felt like big, proper Who and convinced me that Davies hasn’t lost his touch. This could easily have fitted in to one of Davies’ later seasons and was actually a damn sight better than some of the stories from that time.

    Tennant obviously looks a bit more, um, weathered since his last appearance, not that it matters as if he’s playing a new Doctor rather than reprising 10. I think I’d have liked them to have pushed the boat out a bit more to emphasise that though, rather than essentially giving him a re-tweaked version of his old costume and I couldn’t really see that much difference in behaviour between 14 and 10 and I’d have liked to see a bit more in that department. Still both Tennant and Tate slipped into their roles with ease and it did feel like old times very quickly (and only very occasionally like an anniversary special that was desperately willing the old chemistry to come back, which I suppose it was).

    Nice to see Sylvia back too and she’s always been for my money the most realised of the companion parents — bar Wilf, of course, and I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to see the late Bernard Cribbins one last time (I was under the impression that he had been involved in filming shortly before he died but perhaps not. Perhaps that was only a set visit.

    But the real revelation for me was Yasmin Finney as Rose. What a great performance and I really liked that they engaged with the character’s trans-ness. And as predicted by @juniperfish, the comments sections of the Mail and Express are already filling up with ‘Dr Woke’ comments, although I was pleased to see that the Mail at least ran a pretty positive piece on her introduction. And tbh, I’d have liked to have seen her as the main companion rather than Donna. She would have fitted with this Tennant-redux Doc I think.

    On a more general note, the progressive elements were by and large (and with only a fleeting moment’s clumsiness) handled well by Davies — certainly far more than the ham-fisted heart-on-sleeviness of the Chibs era and I liked the way that it was an actual plot point rather than something that was accessorised into the story. And it seems that Davies is growing as a writer in the way that the meta-crisis wasn’t solved by a wave of the hand by the Doctor but solved by Donna and Rose themselves.

    And I’ve really got to praise the overall design of the episode too. The opening titles seem to owe a lot to the first Tennant era while also being impressively epic but with nods to the other opening titles too — strong elements of the first Smith titles in there too. And the new console room is a thing of beauty too, especially after the travesty of the Whittaker TARDIS. Again, there are elements of the previous Nu-Who console rooms in there, especially the wonderful Pickwoad one (which, for me, is now the bar that has to be met) but also elements of the first Tennant one in the spherical design and of the Smith ‘junkshop’ one. It’s huge too and I think the multi-level console room is a must these days to avoid static expository scenes in the TARDIS. Strangely, though, having got used to darkish console rooms, it did feel a little bright to me with its Hartnell-esque stylings but I dare say I shall re-acclimatise.

    But this episode had a lot riding on it for me personally, and not just as a soft reboot after the CE, with Davies having the temerity to adapt the Star Beast. And it was a bit disappointingly superfluous, although both the Meep and the Wrarth Warriors were realised brilliantly. I would have liked to have seen the whole ‘living bomb’ sub-plot included but I suppose there wasn’t ever much chance of that (although I think it would have provided some great comic material for Tennant and Tate). But I suppose Davies chose the story not just for the fan service but for the relatively simplistic bait-and-switch nature of the plot that allowed room for the interesting Doctor/Donna/Rose character stuff. (But the fidelity to the original story was nice, although perhaps the most unrealistic element was there being an operating steelworks in the UK in this current day and age).

    And another shout-out to the design once again, which did a brilliant job of recreating Dave Gibbons’ original design for the Meep’s ship and of the steelworks (some of those shots looked like they were straight out of the original). But at least there’s scope for a return of both the Meep and the Wrarth Warriors at a later point now that they’ve been introduced and it’s cool that Davies feels he can plunder the wealth of excellent material available from the back pages of Dr Who Weekly. Maybe there’s still a chance we’ll get to see elements from the Tides of Time or the Apocalypse Device in the future.

    With regards to a through-line in the specials, I’m not sure there’s going to be one really, save for that mention of ‘The Boss’ at the end (although the idea of the Meep tolerating anything like a boss seems unlikely to me). And as the link that @blenkinsopthebrave posted the other day suggested, it seems they’re going more for a unique vibe to each special rather than building a strong sense of continuity between them. I doubt this is going to be particularly Flux-like and more like the last run of Tennant specials.

    Well, thanks for letting me ramble, if you made it to the end of this epic. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to gush about a new episode. (And good choice of snacks, @craig. I too am a devotee of the Jammie Wheel and see very little difference between them and the Dodgers. The faux Wagon Jammie Wagon Wheels are good too.)

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    OK, it was outrageously entertaining, and it was fun watching RTD spend huge amounts of money that his deal with Disney+ has given him. And yet, when it came to the Doctor and Donna, I don’t know, it felt that the resolution  was too easy.  Compare it with “Vincent and the Doctor”, where at the end of the day Vincent died, because Vincent had to die.

    What I felt worked really well was the issue of Rose. Rose is fundamentally good, yet because of society’s expectations and assumptions is constantly put in a position of having to justify herself. The Meep is fundamentally bad but plays with the assumption that they will always be seen as cute because of how society is conditioned to respond.  I need to devote my answer in more detail  to another post.

    One of the other things I liked was that, bizarrely, I kept thinking of “The X Files” as I was watching. I probably need a future post to elaborate on that as well.

    Anyway, lots of fun and looking forward to a repeat viewing.

    GalaxyMage @galaxymage

    I loved this! I was excited and entertained the entire time, constantly laughing or grinning or clapping. I felt like a lot of the jokes really landed for me.

    For the most part, I liked the way Rose being trans was handled. The kids from school deadnaming her made me super uncomfortable, but I guess that’s just what happens in her life so it makes sense to show it. The conversation Donna has with her mom about Rose is perfect, in my opinion—-it shows how Sylvia is really trying, and even if she messes up occasionally, she doesn’t give up and she continues to try.

    All the characterization was amazing, too. Rose was compassionate and dedicated. I feel like her personality really shone through. Donna was as Donna as ever without being annoying. Shawn Temple felt very much like a real person. The Doctor felt like the Doctor, completely—-I’m sure that it was helped along by the tenth Doctor existing, but I was still impressed. And the characters in general felt very vivid, even when they only appeared for a brief time. Their personalities were shown subtly, but they just seeped into the whole portrayal of each one.

    I also liked how they jumped right to this story without dealing with the immediate post-regeneration and the episode kept me engaged the whole time. And while I definitely feel bad about how other non-British who don’t have Disney+ can’t watch it…it was so nice to watch the episode without ads. Really helped with the flow.

    GalaxyMage @galaxymage

    Comments on the visual/audio aspects of the episode:

    I love the new TARDIS. It looks very futuristic and I think it reflects our changing ideas of what futuristic looks like. If they’d just made it plain white and clean, I would have been disappointed—while it may have looked classy and futuristic, it wouldn’t have reflected the Doctor’s chaotic personality. But this TARDIS’s curved walkways and the circular doors interspersed through the roundels—as well as the color-changing lights—made it look fun. Kind of like a toy, but the type of toy-like feel that’s perfect for a sci-fi show for families with kids.

    I liked the Meep too, and it looked very cute at first, but what I wasn’t so sure about was the change in the eyes. I would have liked if that was subtler, so the Meep went from cute to cute with a vague disturbing edge. Kind of goes against the point that its eyes transform the moment it starts acting evil. But the teeth were there all along, so I have less of an issue with that.

    I didn’t really like how the Wrarth warriors looked. I don’t know if it was the look itself or the way that look was achieved, but they looked kind of like cheap costumes. But. If I’m going to have any gripe about a Doctor Who episode, this is the one I’d most like to have. Good alien appearances aren’t what I watch Doctor Who for. It certainly didn’t affect my enjoyment of the episode—just a brief moment of “ugh” and then moving on.

    I’m not very knowledgeable about filmography, but whatever they did with the camera work worked. It felt very smooth to me and not jarring at all.

    I liked the music for sure! Especially in the beginning when the Doctor meets Donna on the street—-it felt very modern, but also quirky, if that makes sense. And the orchestral flourishes in the theme song were amazing. Also, the volume mix was great for me. I could hear everyone over the background stuff. I have an auditory processing disorder and I’m not super used to British accents, so I was kind of resigned to having trouble interpreting, but I only missed a few lines. So whatever changed between flux and this with the volume mixing really helped.

    B10essee @b10essee

    <stands up from seat, looks around and introduces self with a humble smile>

    Hello everyone, my name is B10essee and probably like many others, I’m really happy that David Tennant and Catherine Tate reprised their roles for the next rendition of Doctor Who. Regarding the whole Disney discussion…well, what better way to reach more audiences and hopefully younger audiences who are more than likely starting at this chapter but will search the internet for earlier chapters and adventures. IMO, I feel like this episode was brilliantly written, executed, and performed. I eagerly await the next as well as a continued future [ 🙂 ] for the Doctor.



    Missy @missy

    Delighted to be back now that the Doctor is back and a male.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, except for two things. The music, although superb, was/is much too loud and at times drowned out the dialogue. Secondly, not keen on the new Tardis interior, much too clinical and hospital like for me. I much preferred the Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi settings,  more my idea of HER personality. Still, that’s my opinion and things could change again when the 15th Doctor arrives.

    I wonder who the BOSS is? The MASTER perhaps? Shades of Moffat there. 🙂

    Otherwise, I am happy and can’t wait for the next episode.



    UNITPICKER @unitpicker

    Very enjoyable. I’d forgotten what it was like to get an episode that was just fun to watch from start to finish. There was some clunky dialogue and exposition but that will I think just be a problem for this episode.

    It was also funny in the right ways and in the right places. The “She’s fine, she’s not fine, she’s been fined” taxi scene was great. A far cry from Chibnall era jokes like “I suppose we’ll have to have a conversation”.

    BobbyFatv2 @bobbyfatv2

    A mere 8 years since my last post (a mere blink to a Timelord), and I’ve had to regenerate as I couldn’t access my former @bobbyfat account, but glad to be back.

    The episode did exactly what it set out to do, which was to re-engage people like me who had drifted away from the show. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Loved the reveal about Rose’s shed being a fragmented memory of the Tardis and the cuddly toys based on monsters past. I want one of her Oods for Chanukah.

    Wonder if there is a link to Rose making toys to any other Toymakers?

    And I wonder if there is something more to the mysterious person who buys her toys in Dubai (or was it Abu Dhabi?)

    The good times are back!




    Whowho2who @whowho2who

    The most woke Doctor who ever! Forever ruined and lost a life long who fan!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    You really registered just to say that? Why?

    And as for ‘most woke Who ever’, all that does is suggest you really haven’t been paying attention over the past 60 years.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @jimthefish I agree his comment felt more like a trolling comment meant to provok.

    Whilst who has not always been socially perfect it has generally been socially aware and accusing a program of being “woke” just seems to be the latest fashion with those who want to troll something just for the sake of it.

    As I previously said I really enjoyed the Episode as being a brilliant adaption of an 80’s comic strip bought up-to date.

    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u

    There’s no doubt about it.

    fools register to troll; to flog crypto; to smish and phish and catfish. Welcome to your world customer! It might make a good Who script/arc. Wanna see THOSE plushies!

    Otherwise the subscript is ‘hurry up and die granddad.’ Not very original. And it assumes no one in the future will be able to change their minds. Das ist verboten, Tommy!

    Yes. There was a message last night. This IS RTD! Was it playing to a (very small) gallery? He’s saying what he wants to say, as always. You need freedom: to think, to relax, to live. And what you do in your private life is, believe it or not, private.

    Why should the generation who thought they would live forever, who were super-powered by the welfare state and then want to cut it because a fat blonde fool said that might get them tax-cut, then decide to hate the generation who will inherit? Your world customer.

    Last night… wasn’t it Good!? Churlish to say bits were rushed. It was NOT a Chibnall era soap driven yawn fest. Hallelujah! But the editing might have been kinder… finding the Meep, the ‘Donna is binary! And alive’ reveal. I suspect Disney will run the full 1.5 hour cut.

    Exposition? There was some recap. No Family of Blood/End of Time/Time of the Doctor stylee earnest voice overs (I hate it when that happens).

    I do have a problem with a mythical Britain in which there are  steel plants in the south east and yet as many as five houses in a row have no loft extensions. What kinda AU is that?

    Otherwise a veritable triumph.

    The Boss though? You’d think it would be The Toymaker. But I did like the War CHIEF in the the War Games (when he wasn’t shouting at the security mob). Just a thought…

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    The password the Doctor created to Donna’s mind-wipe:

    Westerly, Pelican, Dreams, Tornado, Clifftops, Andante, Grief, Fingerprint, Susurration, Sparrow, Dance, Mexico, Binary, Binary, Binary,

    I suspect, knowing RTD’s mischevious side, that he can’t wait to watch its hyper-analysis by fandom, trying to “crack” said code, when it’s probably the Doctor’s equivalent of a Google-generated “unguessable” password.

    Because RTD, unlike Moffat, was never a Who writer much given to “puzzle-Who” (apart from the premonitory “Bad Wolf”).

    However, it does seem somewhat more of a poem, rather than either a more literal, or a randomly-generated, code; a kind of mood-map of the way the Doctor felt about Donna?

    What sort of mood?

    Westerly – well I did think about Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind (as well as thinking about the R4 Shipping Forecast, and the Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West):

    “O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,

    Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

    Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing”

    which isn’t just a nature-poem, but is imbued with Shelley’s desire for revolutionary change and his role as a poet in igniting it:

    “…make me thy lyre…

    Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
    Like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth!
    And, by the incantation of this verse,

    Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth
    Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
    Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth
    The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,

    If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

    Which certainly fits with RTD’s evident zeal to continue the progressive representational work which his original Nu-Who was proud of, broadening the Whoniverse to include British working-class companions (in Rose and Donna), the first Black companion (in Martha) and the first LGBT characters, from Captain Jack to the cat-people wives, Alice and May, in Gridlock and on. 

    Donna is a bit of a pelican, a gobby kind of bird, and also no doubt (as all humans must seem to Time Lords) a bit of a sparrow too, flying fast and short-lived.

    Pelicans and sparrows both have a long history of symbolic meaning in literature. Pelicans in Ancient Egypt were associated with death and rebirth, and Shakespeare mentions pelicans’ symbolic meaning in Hamlet, commonly understood in his time as a Christ-symbol (supposedly sacrificing her blood for her young):

    Laertes: “To his good friends thus wide I’ll ope my arms, And, like the kind life-rend’ring pelican,
    Repast them with my blood”.

    Sparrows have a long history in mythology. They were one of the birds associated with Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love, and they appear in the Bible as illustrative of God’s care for even the smallest of creatures: Matthew 10:29-31 – “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care”.

    There’s something musical in “andante” and “dance”, something whirlwind in “tornado” and “clifftop” and something tinged with loss and the fleeting nature of connection in “fingerprint”, “grief” and “susurration”; all of which, we may agree, speak to the Doctor’s feelings about his time with Donna in the TARDIS.

    Besides the words, the fact a code exists at all, adds a nice undercurrent of darkness to an otherwise upbeat revivial, which undoes the horror of Donna’s original fate of forgetting her Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. Tennant-Doc used a reversible code when he wiped Donna’s mind, as if squirrelling away the contingency to revive the Doctor-Donna in just such an emergency as presented itself thanks to Beep the Meep’s genocidal tear in London, even knowing such a revival would kill her.  I am always pleased to see a little darkness in the Doctor.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    I really enjoyed that!

    It does bode well going forward, especially with the (clearly on screen) bigger budgets.

    I particularly liked that Rose’s trans identity was a plot point, not just a random thing. “Binary” was the word that Donna’s mind glitched on originally when 10 realised he had to mind wipe her. So its resonance in The Star Beast (playing on non binary states) was especially effective. And Donna and Rose had agency in their mutual decision to “let it go”.

    @juniperfish‘s last post – mind blown!! 😉

    @jimthefish – RTD2 – love it!!

    Yes there was some necessary exposition at the beginning (and yes, a wee bit clunky) for new viewers, but mostly it was “show don’t tell” with Donna’s family sketched in very effectively in just a few scenes. I also liked the many hints about Rose’s link to the Doctor (from her choice of name, to the reveal of the shed/TARDIS, plushies) that I admit to not picking up on first watch – so busy watching Donna that I missed concentrating on Rose. 1st episode for ages that I felt the need to do an immediate rewatch.

    “The Boss” – intriguing!

    ScaryB @scaryb

    And the new TARDIS design is awesome! I really wasn’t keen on 13’s, it felt too cluttered.  I liked the more organic feel of the other AG ones, but this contains such amazing callbacks to the original Hartnell TARDIS that I fell in love with. Although you’d think it wouldn’t be so vulnerable to coffee spills, haha.

    So… do we think this design will be continued through 15’s tenure?

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @jimthefish I was thinking about how the wonderful @craig established this site all those years ago as an alternative to t’other place, which was full of angry trolls complaining about how Moffat had ruined their childhood or some such nonsense. And we managed to build a forum of thoughtful reflection and boundless enthusiasm for everything Who.

    But now that RTD has taken Who from the BBC to Disney+ they do not have an open forum on t’other place. Hopefully, with some judicious gate-keeping, we can remain a place for thoughtful reflection and boundless enthusiasm for all things Who.

    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u


    trolls thought Moff had ruined their childhood??!

    That is AU…

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @scaryb Yes, the new Tardis interior does look pretty cool. In recent years it tends to change with each new version of the Doctor, but apart from anything else, what we saw looked so expensive that I can’t imagine it is just there for three Tennant specials. Of course, I could be wrong–I quite often am! And yes, the callback to Hartnell is a nice touch.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    @blenkinsopthebrave Seconded! Huge thanks to our mighty emperor @craig, and Time Lords/Troll Bashers @jimthefish and @phaseshift (and every member who helps keep this a civilised space. Here’s to lots more congenial discussion and bonkerising.

    (T’other place is still running (with lovely Martin Belam having taken over the reins from the late Dan Martin). But they close off the discussion thread before the trolls wake up)

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @scaryb I just discovered my error about t’other place. Good to know that close it down before the troll wake up.


    ScaryB @scaryb

    Really great to read Pat Mills’ comments and his review of The Star Beast. He goes out of his way to stress how well he and John Wagner were treated by the DW production team in terms of respect (and presumably remuneration 😉 ) as the original character creators.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    RTD2 – love it!!

    Thanks but I almost certainly can’t take credit for that. I’m sure some sharp young thing came up with it on Twitter or whatever it’s calling itself these days.

    And that’s a really nice piece from Pat. And since he’s seldom known for holding back on his opinions we can safely say that it’s meant from the heart. And good to hear that the creators were treated with a bit of respect this time. Hopefully that can pave the way for future collaborations. Maybe City of the Damned redux?


    what we saw looked so expensive that I can’t imagine it is just there for three Tennant specials

    Yes, I’m inclined to agree. I think this console room is here to stay, which I’m fine with. Tho perhaps it’ll get a few cosmetic touches as the Pickwoad one did when Capaldi took up residence.


    Greetings, fellow fish. So good to see you back.

    hyper-analysis by fandom, trying to “crack” said code

    And even as I read that, I thought ‘and you’re the ideal candidate to do it’ and lo and behold you didn’t disappoint. Great post, which I’m still mulling over….

    Mudlark @mudlark

    It’s so good to be back, seeing familiar faces/avatars returning, and to have, finally, a new episode to discuss. It’s been a long wait.

    Welcome, too, to @b10essee  and  @unitpicker: I hope you will have fun here and find participation rewarding.

    As for the episode, I enjoyed it hugely, borne along by the sheer energy in the production and cast – and if in hindsight there were possible nits to pick, who cares!  Moreover, with a Disney budget it was possible to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into the special FX, and it was spectacular enough, perhaps, to realise RTD’s vision. *

    Yes, the monster(s) of the week plot was a little on the straightforward side considering that this marked the 60th anniversary, the only complication being the twist and reveal: the alien warriors who we were led to believe were the baddies but weren’t, and the Meep, cute enough to induce hyperglycaemia, who turned out to be not at all nice – though still cute in a psychotic kind of way.

    The heart of the story, though, was the dynamic relationship of Donna and her family with the Doctor and, ultimately, the resolution of the metacrisis/metacrises.  @scaryb found the initial, expository sequences a little clunky, but for me they evoked an elegiac mood which I found moving: the Doctor with his enduring regret at the loss of a friend who had meant so much to him, and Donna, thankful for a secure and rewarding family life but with a persistent, aching and increasing sense of loss, of some element of wonder and fulfilment that was missing.

    Things, of course, quickly become too hectic and urgent for that mood to persist, and on the way to the climactic ending there are also comedic moments, such as Sylvia’s panicky and clumsy attempts to prevent her daughter from seeing the Doctor when it is already far too late. As for the climax and resolution, I found it all perfectly satisfying: the women, mother and non-binary daughter, sharing the metacrisis, have the outgoing ability to release and be free of it.

    Bonuses:  The verbal avalanche of technical-sounding gobbledygook as the Doctor, Donna and Rose work frantically to halt the dagger drive and take-off. If you were able to follow it or, as I did, had the sub-titles turned on, it was utterly absurd and very funny.  Also the upgraded sonic screwdriver, now able to create screens to view and manipulate 3D diagrams, and to construct protective screens.  I took the latter to be force screens which seems to make more sense in an SF context, although the visuals were ambiguous and they may have been solid.  Yesterday afternoon, before I watched The Star Beast, I watched the two Peladon adventures from the Pertwee era (on which I may comment elsewhere), and noted with amusement that the sonic screwdriver was then being used solely for the purpose implied by the name.

    * I hope that by limiting the non-UK viewers to those prepared to cough up for a subscription to Disney plus         those with the know-how to get round that limitation they aren’t limiting potential viewers.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    PS.  I love the new look Tardis console room – uncluttered and clinical in a hark back to the original, but with masses of space for interaction. I always got the feeling that the claustrophobic interior of Whittaker’s Tardis had been designed by someone who never took it further than a visual concept, without considering the actors who had to use the space

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Second viewing and liked it even more. Still not sure about undoing the previous fate of Donna, and like @jimthefish I think I would have preferred Rose to go off for an adventure with the Doctor. Am really hoping we do get to see Bernard Cribbins again and agree with @bobbyfatv2 that it surely must be significant that Rose is a toymaker.

    Missy @missy

    Enjoyable posts, but some of you do analyse too much, just sit back and enjoy!

    What a daft word “woke” is, I had to look it up. Whatever happened to the ENGLISH language?

    Sorry, the above just made me cross.

    Roll on next week.


    Craig @craig

    @missy your comment did make me laugh.

    The tagline for the site is “Theories even more insane than what’s actually happening” which is a Rory quote.

    This site is all about over-analysing. That’s why it exists.

    And sometimes, just sometimes, the analysis is correct and revealed to be in the final episode. Or even three series later.

    It’s part of the fun.

    Pufferfish @pufferfish

    Well hello!

    Enjoyed that, but before I elaborate, a few questions:

    When Donna is at her computer, what is she looking at? RTD usually has people at laptops for reasons.

    Sylvia – TUNA Madras? Is she trying to maim them?

    Rose making toys – just foreshadowing or will something in that shed come to save the day?

    Mudlark @mudlark


    When you say

    ….. some of you do analyse too much, just sit back and enjoy!

    it sounds as if you think analysis somehow spoils or detracts from enjoyment, which I assure is not the case.   As @craig points out, this forum was set up precisely to provide space for people who want to analyse, theorise and speculate, and in fact it is difficult to construct interesting and entertaining theories, bonkers or otherwise, without some degree of prior analysis. It’s all part of the fun. Which isn’t to say that bonkerising is obligatory and shorter posts restricted to expressions of opinion are also welcome. And if you or others of like mind prefer to skip reading analytical posts and theories there is no reason why you shouldn’t do so.

    Speaking solely for myself, analysis is usually an automatic part of the process in reading a novel or watching a tv show or film. If I’m not sufficiently engaged to analyse a work of fiction – or non fiction for that matter – it will generally fade fairly quickly from my memory, but maybe that’s at least partly my academic training.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    Donna’s laptop could have been a Chekov’s laptop, but I doubt it in this case. Perhaps she had been reading emails or browsing the internet and something she read prompted her mind to drift off and ponder the matter of her sense of loss and of something ominous approaching. At any rate it provided a setting for her monologue rather than her just standing or sitting and staring at nothing in particular.


    Yes, ‘The Boss’: an open invitation to speculate. Since we know that the Toymaker is to feature in the third special, perhaps it’s him, and in that case the stuffed toy monsters which Rose makes in the shed which is her personal space could potentially have relevance, beyond the suggestion that they emerged from the suppressed memories she had inherited from her mother.

    But prior to the reference to ‘The Boss’, the Meep says cryptically that a creature with two hearts is a rare and special thing. The Meep has two hearts but is the only surviving one of it’s kind. It* knows the Doctor also has two hearts because he mentioned the fact, and even if there are other species with this peculiarity, the context implies that it is news of the Doctor in particular which would be of interest to said Boss.  So the Boss is presumably an enemy of the Doctor or, perhaps, a Timelord him/herself. Maybe the Master?

    Whether or not the Meep ever gets to see or contact the Boss again remains to be seen, but it certainly survived ejection from its space ship – we saw the parachute – and it might  go to ground on earth and escape detection.

    * The Meep’s preferred pronoun is the definite article, which is not a pronoun, so for the time being I will use ‘it’, no disrespect to species or gender intended

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    It’s great to see the band getting back together , old and new, to our delightfully over-analysing space!

    @scaryb <waves>

    I enjoyed Pat Mills’ review of The Star Beast – many thanks for that.

    @jimthefish <likewise waves>

    RTD2 is indeed a perfect moniker, and all power to the hive-mind of the interwebs for creating it. I am interested to see how much RTD2 differs from RTD1. I adored It’s a Sin, which I thought vastly superior to the earlier Tofu, Cucumber and Banana. What I’m hoping for is a bit of mystery as well as the big emotion we know RTD knows how to bring, and we’re off to a nice start on the mystery front.

    @mudlark and others re The Boss – Mystery Number One – I see we’re discussing The Celestial Toymaker, which I hope doesn’t count as a spoiler, as it’s already been in the specials’ trailer and the Beeb publicity that Neil Patrick Harris will play him.  The Celestial Toymaker’s previous incarnation was rather like a cross between Star Trek’s Q and Squid Game, so whether he and The Boss are one and the same or not, let the games begin (and may the odds be ever in our favour).

    My other note of speculation is the Chekhov’s Gun of Donna’s daughter’s name. I mean, sure, RTD2 used the name congruence between Billie Piper and Yasmin Finney’s characters to drive interest in the 60th specials (and troll the toys-out-of-pram, “They’re-turning-Rose-trans” brigade) but, is RTD2 really not going to follow through on this massive neon flashing sign? We all saw the way the script had Tennant Doc react to the name “Rose” in The Star Beast.

    So, I wonder, are we going to see Billie Piper’s Rose 1 again, before Tennant Doc becomes Gatwa Doc? Can RTD2 really resist the great love story of his RTD1 tenure getting a final outing?

    UNITPICKER @unitpicker

    I certainly feel like these first three episodes are a free hit for RTD to go through his greatest hits. An appearance from OG Rose seems almost inevitable even if it is via some villainous trickery.

    There is added poetry to Donna having a daughter named Rose. Rose and Donna are inextricably linked when you consider that Rose is in a parallel world all loved up with a man who shares aspects of Donna’s personality.

    I did get a bit caught up in some of the negativity about Tennant being back in the build up. Whether it was a mistake to bring him back, whether he would undermine the incoming Gatwa and whether it would have been better to leave the memories alone. Not a bit of it. He is the definitive Doctor of the modern era as much as some (including myself at times) are reluctant to admit it.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Who for an American audience: I was amused by a couple of things that did not seem entirely British in the new Disney+ iteration–the result of an American budget and the hope of a larger American audience?

    As someone noticed upstream, the new Tardis console could now dispense coffee, but not tea. And  when the Doctor stops everyone in the factory to find out who is on whose side, he pulls out a legal wig from his jacket pocket and acts out the role of Judge. Now, I have no issue with the Doctor pulling a legal wig out of his jacket pocket; it is what I would expect of a Time Lord. Yet he does not pull out a judge’s wig, but rather a barrister’s wig!

    OK, perhaps an American viewer (or an executive at Disney+) would not know the difference, but I sensed the hint of those terrible words, “mid Atlantic”.

    I shall be on the lookout for similar transgressions in the coming weeks…


    Mudlark @mudlark


    Rose: Presumably she chose the name herself when she transitioned, but the choice could very well have been influenced by another of the suppressed memories she inherited from her mother – Donna would certainly have heard a lot about Rose from the Doctor.  Agreed. the name also served as one more item in the pile of coincidences which clobbered the Doctor and drew him into the whole adventure. Whether it is really more than that, I’m doubtful.

    If it does signal a return of Rose, I’m not enthusiastic. It’s not at all that I disliked Rose as a companion, but I wasn’t a big fan of the romantic build up in her relationship with the Doctor, and the big emotional parting left me dry eyed, I’m sorry to say. I think that to bring her back might be a step too far, like the tenth Doctor’s long drawn out farewell, when ‘I don’t want to go’ would have been enough.

    On the other hand, I welcome the return of Donna. She is among my favourite companions for the very reasons that many others dislike her; her stroppiness, mouthiness and readiness to stand up to the Doctor. The tragedy of her parting I did find truly affecting, and I’m glad to see the metacrisis resolved.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I shall be on the lookout for similar transgressions in the coming weeks…

    🙂  I’ll join you. I can be hawk eyed when it comes to transatlantic cultural false notes

    Pufferfish @pufferfish


    The most egregious Americanism (and I should know) was 14 saying LONDON TOWN. FFS, not even Dick van Dyke etc etc…

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Just a few thoughts on the above…

    @juniperfish — I’m not sure we’ll see Billie P as Rose again — although I agree that RTD might have to fight hard against the temptation. If she does show up, I’d say it’d have to be on Saturday as having her in an episode that features the return of the Toymaker plus presumably includes the Tennant/Gatwa regeneration might be over-egging the pudding and would mean Rose taking the backseat. Still, perhaps we’ll get 14 seeing Rose 1 again as 11 saw Amy just before he regenerated. I suspect that from here on in, Finney is Rose and I’m hoping she might play a part in the show beyond these specials.

    RE. ‘The Boss’. It’s probably just the Toymaker, isn’t it? Though it would be nice if it’s pointing to someone/thing else, maybe something that’s not going to be resolved until we’re into Gatwa’s run. And good shout to all those that noticed Rose being a ‘toymaker’ herself. I wonder if that’s just a nice bit of foreshadowing or is going to be something larger?

    Ah, bonkerising …. how I’ve missed it….

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @pufferfish — yeah, that one stuck out a mile even to me. (Tho it has to be said that there’s more than a bit of Dick Van Dyke to 10/14)….

    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u

    Transatlanticisms? This was written by RTD… script editor Scott Handcock… Welsh/english… difficult to see how egregious Americanisms could be a deliberate ploy. Or are we saying some unnamed Disney suit is telling them: ‘hey! You don’t have to go to Port Talbot for steelworks. We just gotta a vague idea you’re next to Yoorp; or ‘Americans don’t get loft extensions. Jeez why don’t you guys just build bigger houses?’

    Though Tennant does favour the non kosher cockerney cliffs of Ham, I admit. Could this be the end of the regionally accented doctor??

    this is all nit-picking. It was great! This be the Fam I like.

    Still like to know how long the BBC were pitching Who to prospective streaming networks with deep pockets. Might explain a lot about late Moff and then Chibnall..?

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Wasn’t the first of special filmed before the Disney+ Streaming Deal was confirmed and yes I do realise the actual deal was probably struck well before it was officially announced, but planning for the 60th anniversary would have been well advanced before the deal was struck. It’s probably just coincidental that any Americanisms were accidental, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find RTD did it on purpose to get the exact response it seems to have initiated. To be honest they totally went over my head probably because as a rule most sci-fi I watch originates in the States so I’ve probably become “blind” to them and to be fair Who hasn’t always portrayed our Trans-Atlantic cousins in a non stereotypical manner.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @pufferfish  @jimthefish  @ps1l0v3y0u

    That reference to ‘London town’ is indeed weird. I confess I missed it at the time – possibly I was so engrossed that my mind filtered it and I just heard ‘London’ – but I checked the transcript and, yes, there it is. But even if the writer hadn’t been RTD, I’m not sure that it can be counted an Americanism.  I know that in the USA, for historical and geographical reasons, the terms ‘city’ and ‘town’ have a significance different from that in the UK, but no American writer would refer to New York and its boroughs as a ‘town’, so why would they so term a  conurbation the size of Greater London, even if this hypothetical American was confused by references to the City of London (granted city status by charter in 1067), the City of Westminster and the various boroughs.

    Maybe someone’s thoughts were straying to song lyrics at the time –  A Foggy Day, and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, both  refer  to ‘London Town’.  Or perhaps it was just RTD getting in a dig at London centricity. *

    * Is there such a word? I must check the dictionary.


    janetteB @janetteb

    @mudlark I think it is an old English or British term found as you note in ballads and songs. Early colonists in Oz would refer to Sydney as “Sydney Town” so maybe it originates in the home counties and London. (Origin of many original convicts sent to N.S.W.)  I am certain that I have encountered that usage in older Australian literature.



    Mudlark @mudlark


    maybe it originates in the home counties and London

    People certainly used to, and presumably still do, speak of ‘going up to Town’ when visiting London for purposes such as shopping or meeting friends, but not ‘London Town’, which sounds distinctly odd in a modern context except, as you say, in songs and poems. Another such reference very familiar to me is in The Ballad of John Gilpin, by William Cowper.

    John Gilpin was a citizen                                                                                                                                                                    Of credit and renown.                                                                                                                                                                          A train band captain eke was he,                                                                                                                                                      Of famous London Town

    I knew most of that ballad by heart before I even learned to read, because it featured in a Ralph Caldecott picture book which was one of the few books I had in my early, wartime years.

    To account for the Doctor’s usage one could weasel ones way round the problem by assuming that in the heat of the moment his capacious memory threw it up randomly from his large store of knowledge of London past, present and literary, but it is a bit of a stretch.

    Incidentally, the writer of the lyrics of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Eric Maschwitz, whose varied career  included a spell working for the BBC,  played a small part in the beginnings of Doctor Who


    ps1l0v3y0u @ps1l0v3y0u

    London Town… to tell the truth I didn’t actually notice that one. There were worse anachronisms. Maybe someone wanted ‘London, England,’ in Moff style letters and what we got was an acceptable compromise.

    I ain’t really bothered. Mind you, if it had been Chibnall, I would be frothing at the mouth! I’m afraid this is the way it will be… you takes the money and you break out the star-spangled paint.

    But there were more examples; I’m sure RTD must be making a meta nod to the True Brits. Sorry guys. Can’t be parochial anymore. Just stoopid.

    Juniperfish @juniperfish

    Den of Geek has a nice article identifying as many as possible of the Who aliens fashioned in Rose 2’s Toys:

    Which Doctor Who Monsters Were Hidden Among Rose’s Toys and Childhood Drawings?

    I think they missed one though – top left in the dark corner, The Face of Boe, right?

    @craig I couldn’t get the image to insert.

    I’m wondering why, in universe, Fourteen has returned with the Face of Ten.

    What did Ten leave unfinished?

    Perhaps answer enough is that he’s undone the great wrong perpetrated against Donna originally, now the reverse mind-wipe has restored her memories.

    His other misdeed,  which also, interestingly, involved denying free choice/ free will to a companion,  is sealing Rose 1 into the parallel universe (with Ten 2) without really giving her a choice in the matter.

    @jimthefish Yes, I would expect Rose 1 to appear perhaps on the TARDIS scanner or, briefly, in a rift between the universes or something – enough for an emotional exchange.




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