The Witch’s Familiar

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    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @jphamlore Hmmm. The ‘Moment’ actually being the Silver Nemesis wearing a hat, and the ‘Hand of Omega’ waiting in the wings to appear in the new series in a different hat is a pretty interesting idea.

    For the record:

    The Hand of Omega is the florid Time Lord name for a stellar manipulating device, about the size and shape of a coffin, which was used by the Time Lord engineer, Omega, at the beginning of Time Lord history, to shape and manipulate cosmic black holes in order to provide the power to move through and master time and space. It appears in the McCoy serial ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’.

    The backstory is that the Hartnell Doctor stole the Hand of Omega when he went renegade way way back, he brought it to Earth and buried it in a cemetery in 1963. He was returning from that errand when he came back to the Junkyard, walked into the Tardis and found Barbara and Ian there, harassing his granddaughter. The events of Unearthly Child run from there.

    The Hand of Omega is then forgotten, ignored, unremembered and overlooked until a couple of years later (our time) or 25 seasons later, or seven Doctors later, when both McCoy and Davros (and some renegade Daleks) all show up in the 60’s, all searching for the Hand of Omega. There’s Nazi’s in there too for some reason.

    Davros gets the Hand, but unknown to him, the Doctor has programmed the Hand. So Davros in his effort to use it, sends it hurtling down the Time Corridor and ends up blowing up Skarro.

    Rememberance of the Daleks is one of the Classic series serials, along with the Chase and Genesis of the Daleks, that has since been retconned as part of the Time War. Early echoes, as it were.

    Omega, by the way, is the Stellar Engineer who created or engineered the Time Lord’s mastery of time. Unfortunately, while he was doing that, there was an accident, and he was blowed up, or thought to be killed. Turns out, he wasn’t killed, just hurtled into an Anti-Matter Dimension, where his sheer will power kept him alive as it merged with the Anti-Matter Dimension’s psychoactive properties. He appeared in the Three Doctors, Pertwee era, with Pertwee, Troughton and Hartnell, trying to break back into our universe. No mention of the ‘Hand of Omega’ there, but he was clearly engineering big.

    Omega showed up again years later, in the Peter Davison serial, Arc of Infinity, where he once again tried to escape the anti-matter universe, even if the price was the destruction of ours. Davison sent him back. But for a while, he walked around in a copy of Davison’s body. Again, no mention of the hand.

    Anyway, in the show’s lore, those two appearances were sufficient to establish Omega as one of the two great Time Lords who had founded Time Lord society. The runner up who tried harder and possibly did more, but got screwed over.

    I’m not sure that the Hand of Omega had the properties the Jphamlore ascribes to it. He may be referencing novels or big finish audio. In Remembrance it was simply the biggest hammer in the universe, a tool for knocking stars and black holes around as if they were leggo, and by definition, could be used as a superweapon.

    As for Silver Nemesis – that was kind of weird. Silver Nemesis was almost exactly the same story as Remembrance of the Daleks, taking place in the same season, only with Cybermen instead of Daleks. It even had Nazi’s running around, to no clear purpose.

    Again, the story is that the Silver Nemesis was an ultimate weapon, this time created by Rassilon. It was a three part thingy – A statue of a woman, a bow, and an arrow. You activated it by bringing all three parts together.

    The Hartnell Doctor had stolen it when he fled Gallifrey, way back in the beginning. This time, he separated its parts and tucked the major part, the statue of the woman, in a long 25 year orbit around earth, about 350 years ago.

    He did this because the Silver Nemesis couldn’t be hidden on Earth. Essentially, taking a page from Alex Cox’s ‘Repo Man’ it was a weapon system so insanely horrific that even being around the thing caused chaos and madness. Every 25 years, when Silver nemesis came close, there’d be an outbreak of violent horrible shit on Earth, the subliminal effects of the weapons nearness.

    Anyway, fast forward to the 80’s, the Cybermen come to earth looking for it. The Nazi’s are looking for it I suppose. And some Renaissance sorceress named Madame Peinforte who claims to know a little too much about the Doctor are looking for it.

    The Doctor eventually gives it up to the Cybermen, but once again, he kind of programmed it first, so the Cybermen, trying to use it, end up blowing up their fleet.

    Silver Nemesis and Remembrance of the Daleks actually have quite different origins and production histories, but ended up looking and feeling and presenting so much like each other, that Nemesis actually felt like a tired and second rate rip off of Remembrance. It didn’t help that they appeared in the same season, separated by one serial. (and people ask me why I’m unimpressed with Andrew Cartmel – short answer: He just wasn’t good at his job).

    The Silver Nemesis weapon seems to have been about a living metal, Validium. It had been shaped into its current form by Madame Peinforte, in ways and for reasons never explained. So the form wasn’t especially crucial. It did seem to need to be in three parts, and have those three parts united to activate.

    Like the Moment, it did seem capable of conversation and sentience, so I can see the parallel between the two. The Nemesis was less morally bossy.

    Prior to Silver Nemesis, there doesn’t seem to be any precedent in the classic series. Except possibly Raston Warrior Robots who showed up in the Five Doctors, and also slaughtered Cybermen like crazy. But any link there was speculative.

    And there’s Rassilon of course, never seen in the classic stories, but often referred to. He was the Donald Trump of Gallifrey, fond of naming things after himself. Thus the Sash of Rassilon, the Crown of Rassilon, the Eye of Rassilon, the Bathrobe of Rassilon. Which makes you wonder, if he did create it, why didn’t he name this one after himself ‘The Hot Chick Fiery Death Statue of Rassilon’.

    Anyway, the two serials were probably among the most overt references to the Cartmel Master Plan – the notion that the Doctor wasn’t just a regular Time Lord, but secretly a third heavy hitter of the same stature and from the same era as Rassilon and Omega.

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    For the record, I don’t believe for a second that the Doctor left Gallifrey just because he was bored. But I don’t buy into Davros theory that he ran away because of the development of a Timelord/Dalek killer hybrid.

    But I do believe that something bad happened on Gallifrey way back then to send him running. You look at the Hartnell stuff, particularly the early stuff, and he was clearly running and hiding. His first meeting with Barbara and Susan is out and out paranoia, and in that serial, he exhibits a clear need to ‘escape’ – from the immediate situation he’s in, but you get a clear impression that he’s in the habit of fleeing from Danger.

    Oddly, he got more relaxed the more he hung out with humans, but even by Troughton’s War Games, he’s still afraid of the Time lords. Then there’s his remarks in Tomb of the Cybermen in which he says pretty nakedly that his wife and children are dead and live on only in his memory. There’s something about the way he talks about it, and his apparent reluctance to revisit those memories that suggest that whatever happened to them, it was sudden, violent and nasty.

    My own headcanon is that he was part of a Renegade/Dissident movement on Gallifrey, that initially was tolerated… leading to a handful of Time Lords leaving and taking up retirement on Earth or other worlds, and some others deciding to strike out and build empires of their own, but which on Gallifrey reached a point where the establishment just decided to purge them, sending the survivors fleeing. The Doctor was a survivor, possibly the last, together with his granddaughter. His wife and children… not so lucky.

    Anyway, not much evidence for or against, it’s just my own headcanon, and I prefer it to the lungbarrow/other nonsense of the Cartmel Masterplan. I prefer the thought of the Doctor as a renegade rather than a demigod.

    Anonymous @

    @denvaldron @jphamlore

    I liked jphamlore’s explanation! OK. You’re suggesting, Mr Vladron that the Silver Nemesis, containing valium (which I really want right now) is NOT the same as The Moment? But it has similar properties.


    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @denvaldron: Wonderful analysis, thank you.

    About the Hand of Omega in Remembrance of the Daleks, what is most interesting to me is I do believe, but I might be wrong, that Davros wanted control of it specifically to turn the Daleks into the new masters of space and time with powers equal to that of the Time Lords. I think the story clearly shows both Davros and the Doctor wanted Skaro’s sun to go supernova, only Davros wanted the supernova explosion to be contained enough to control its singularity, I presume to create a new Eye of Harmony, to fuel the Dalek conquest of time and space, whereas the Doctor just let it be an uncontrolled explosion that wiped out the entire system including Skaro.

    Yes and the McCoy era definitely had hints the Doctor was somehow more than a normal Time Lord.

    There definitely are some sort of Gallifreyan dissidents or outcasts as shown in Invasion of Time where there are even inhabited wastelands outside the Capitol.

    Rewatching Time of the Doctor, it is interesting the Doctor is able to control himself in the truth field over hundreds of years enough to never have to say his actual name to anyone else. So perhaps he was also able to conceal some of why he left Gallifrey in his brief sentence introducing himself to the town people of Christmas.

    @purofilion: In the current Dr Who series itself the Silver Nemesis is not the Moment, but I was just suggesting it had much of the same role as being this unstoppable weapon, with some sort of personality and intelligence, that the Doctor could wield that could extinguish entire space civilizations. But I was also speculating the BBC did not want the two to be identified as one because the entire Sylvester McCoy era of the Doctor is an unfinished story that the BBC would not have clear and unequivocal rights to as far as the parts that were never shown on screen.

    But just like the Silver Nemesis / Moment there is a role that has to be played regardless of the specific name. The Doctor on occasion does need to have at his disposal an interstellar doomsday weapon he can talk to.

    And now I think there is the need for another role, that of the Hand of Omega or whatever it will be called. It should have something to do with harnessing the power of a black hole’s singularity, especially given the movie Interstellar that featured special effects and science developed in large part in the UK. It should have the ability to endow a species with the power of the Time Lords.


    @bluesqueakpip @purofilion

    Something’s Up With Clara

    Perhaps she is just the humanoid equivalent of a tesseract.

    (aside: she appeared on Gallifrey because that’s where One was….)


    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    Right everyone let me appologies in advance if i appear to mix up various debates and enteries but I`ve received so many emails overnight( i must really stop subscribing to following practically every thread it gets so confusing at times). On the subject of clara and the “claricles” and why the doctor didnt seem to recognise here subsequently my opinion is that its abit like when the doctor crosses his own timeline he isnt allowed or cant always remember the events or people until his later incarnation. remember the “claricles” were created by clara entering the doctors timeline/vortex whatever you want to call it so in effect in part she became a part of the doctor so hence a similar effect with regard to his remembering events (i really hope that makes sense).

    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    One point that none of us had thought of but I’ve just seen brought up in the comment section of Emergency Awesome’s review of TWF is very interesting. Clara was still in the Dalek when the regen energy was sent. What effect will it have had on her or the nanogenes?

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @purofilion Actually, I hadn’t noticed the similarity between the Nemesis and the Moment until Jphamlore pointed it out. Good catch on his part and worth examining.

    Superficially, at least, I would say the two are probably separate. For them to be the same, the Time Lords would have had to have found and retrieved the Moment/Nemesis and put it back in their forbidden weapons locker.

    As for the Hand of Omega, possession and use of it would give the Daleks the ability to move and reshape stars, they could physically rearrange the universe on a cosmic scale. So not just the power of the time lords, but a level of power that the time lords arguably never used. Scary stuff. Of course, during the Time War, there’s indication that the Daleks had reached that level of technology if they were building void ships and steadily overwhelming Gallifrey.

    Anonymous @


    Hmm? Yes, I know where One was. But to be on Gallifrey, and in her rather unique costume, implies a kind of Gallifreyan heritage which I believe is a rather profound clue.

    I find I am writing in the manner of Aaron Sorkin  just now (which is somewhat embarrassing as I couldn’t even write a birthday message with such panache).

    Why am I thinking of birthday messages relative to Sorkin?

    A puzzle….

    A tesseract! Very good.

    At least Moffat doesn’t completely regurgitate  ideas from earlier shows, seasons, episodes and …

    I shall stop writing now.

    Also, what the heck am I doing up at this hour!!

    PS: I shall now steal openly from you: It will be One; Two; Ten; Eleven, and you get the picture. I find I am tired of referring to Doctor Two or Doc Hartnell or Smithy.

    Anonymous @


    you really like Instellar a lot don’t you? 🙂

    I must visit the cinema when I get out.

    the entire Sylvester McCoy era of the Doctor is an unfinished story that the BBC would not have clear and unequivocal rights to as far as the parts that were never shown on screen.”

    Why? I’m sorry, but due to the lateness of the hour, I don’t quite understand? Other things which did not make it to screen (for whatever reason)  have since been seen on screen?

    In Who, I mean. Haven’t they?

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @purofilion Well, the ultimate backstory of the Cartmel Master Plan was that there were three, not two, towering figures that had shaped Timelord Civilisation: Rassilon, Omega and… the Other, or the Founder, the Doomed and the Renegade. The Doctor was actually the Other, either in disguise or reincarnated, depending.

    That’s why in both Remembrance and Nemesis, there are pretty blunt hints or allusions by the Doctor that he was actually physically personally involved in the creation of these super-artifacts.

    In Marc Platt’s novel, Lungbarrow, the Timelords are sterile as a result of upsetting some sorcerous cult. They reproduce through genetic looms, with each ‘House’ having its own loom and lineage. According to Platt’s backstory, Rassilon betrayed and toasted Omega, the Other, knowing his days were numbered, threw himself into one of the genetic looms, dying and being safely consigned to legend status. Aeons later, the Other was genetically reconstituted from the looms as the Doctor – basically a clone of the Other. He travelled back to Gallifrey’s beginning, Susan from that era recognized him as her grandfather and off they went

    The canonicity of Lungbarrow is open to question. Obviously, Doctor Who is such a sprawling cultural space that canon gets pretty dicy. Lungbarrow was submitted as a script, but rejected because it gave us way too much Gallifrey, instead it was reworked into a completely different story called Ghostlight, with the backstory jettisoned.

    There are at least two other explanations for the Doctor/Other connection. One is that the Doctor actually is the Other, hiding down through the Ages through the magic of time and space travel and a colossally extended life … which are seen in all those mysterious regeneration images in Brain of Morbius, and Morbius’ terrified ‘Just how old are you, Doctor?’ This explanation, that the Doctor is the real ‘other’ not just his genetic recreation seems more consistent with the remarks in Remembrance and Nemesis, and hints dropped in Greatest Show, Battlefield and Curse of Fenric.

    The other is that the Doctor physically travelled back in time to the era of Rassilon and Omega and actually became the Other – ie, he didn’t start out as the Other and eventually become the Doctor. He started out as the Doctor, had adventures, went back in time and helped found Timelord civilization. Some variation of this is in the Paul Cornell script/novel, Human Nature, when the ‘humanized’ Doctor, bereft of his memories, makes up a fable about a man who travels to a place called Gallifrey, gives them time travel, and then gives them two hearts so they will be twice as loving, but they screw it up. Of course, that’s Cornell, and it’s not clear how tightly tied into or informed as to Cartmel’s plans.

    Actually, I’m not sure how much of Cartmel’s Masterplan actually existed, in terms of a fixed backstory. Cartmel wanted to make the Doctor more mysterious and uncertain, so he wanted to drop all these hints and allusions. Actually coming out with ‘This is who the Doctor really is’ would have destroyed the mystery he was trying to build, so left to his own devices, he may never have come out with it, or he might have just kept on piling up references and allusions until, like the X-Files or Lost, his mythology became incomprehensible and senseless. Or even if he had a definite pathway, he could have changed his mind, or had it changed by JNT for him. There’s many a slip between cup and lip.

    The bottom line for the Cartmel Masterplan seems to have been ultimately that the Doctor was somehow actually the Other, a founder of the Timelords, and that while he pretended to be a humble space vagabond and regular ordinary Timelord, he was actually a primordial being, a demigod or game player above and beyond normal civilian Timelords and on the level of cosmic beings like the Black and White Guardian, the Osirans, Daemons, Celestial Toymaker, etc. etc.

    I think that when the new series launched, they mostly rejected the Cartmel Masterplan, and decided to make the Doctor bigger by removing his backstory – he was just a regular, renegade Timelord, but now he was special because there were no regular Timelords – Gallifrey was destroyed, the Time War had shattered the Universe, and he was the last of his kind. In fact, he was the last because he’d destroyed his kind.

    Personally, I’m not too enamored of Demigod Doctors. I like the idea of a simple renegade.

    Stella Luce 333 @stellaluce333

    @devilishrobby Each one of the Claricles have lived their own life, they were just born to save the Doctor. From The Name of the Doctor: “…Sometimes it’s like I’ve lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. I’m born, I live, I die. And always, there’s the Doctor. Always I’m running to save the Doctor. Again and again and again. And he hardly ever hears me. But I’ve always been there…”

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    If you want to go for the Doctor as a uniquely cosmic being, there’s certainly evidence for that in both the classic and new series. The earliest story that seems to be the Hartnell era, Third season serial, ‘The Celestial Toymaker’ where Hartnell’s Doctor confronts the Toymaker, a reality shaping god like being with apparently Q-level powers. Not only does the Doctor confront and beat the Toymaker at his own game, but the story establishes that this wasn’t even his first go round with the Toymaker, they’ve been adversaries at least once, and possibly several times before. This is a major levelling up.

    On the other hand, if you want to go for the Doctor as a regular renegade Timelord, there’s the fact that he does seem to have a series of ‘peer’ renegades on his level – the War Leader, the Monk, the Rani and the Master. But even past them, there’s other refugees from Gallifrey – Doctor Chronotis in Shada, that monk from the Pertwee era, Drax the vagabond mechanic from Key to Time and even that teacher from the Twin Dilemna. Beyond them, we have Morbius as the original (or at least an earlier) renegade, and we have all those self-exiles to the countryside in Invasion of Time. All of which seem to suggest that the Doctor is not a demigod, but one of a series or movement of rebels or rebellions against Time Lord establishment.

    So really, take your pick.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @stellaluce333 I wasn’t saying that the claricles just appeared or were not in someways born, but was proposing a reason for the Doctor not remembering her  encountering him especially when on at least one occasion she had directly interacted with him. Much like when at the end of the day of the doctor the Wardoc sadly states that he won’t remember any of the events of saving Gallifrey due the fact that he has in fact crossed his own timeline.

    lisa @lisa

    @denvaldron I also prefer the notion of Doctor as rebel. Thanks for the concise history.
    It’s nice to go back over it again.
    It seems to me that there have been lots of little hints in new Who about the Doctor as
    a hybrid rebel. But there are also a few I recall in other places. For instance 1 I like
    from Lungbarrow about the Doctor having been teased because he has a belly button which
    was something unique to him. That wasn’t a normal part of Galifreyan anatomy and all
    the other Galifreyan kids teased him for it and called him wormhole. I thought about that
    in “Listen” . Maybe in the scene where young Doctor was upset it was about being teased again?
    In any case, going on just an instinct, I think we will get a few new origin hints during
    this season.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    @lisa  @ichabod

    There’s a Mrs. Sarff that has democratically voted to hunt Missy down to avenge her late SO.

    I love the image that you conjure up, but since Sarff entity is/was a colony , I suspect that this kind of thing would remain strictly within the community.  Think in terms of a hive of bees or an ant or termite colony, but one in which the sum of the constituent members is fully sentient, with the sentience channelled through a prime member corresponding to the queen in a beehive – in this case presumably the big snake.*  Other colonies would be rivals and not welcome so, sadly, I doubt whether any other of its/their kind will be coming to avenge the demise of Colony Sarff.

    * If I am correct in my interpretation, then Colony Sarff must have incorporated both male and female constituent members and, since it/they were an alien life form, possibly other genders also.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @mudlark: One can dream of a Dr Who scene where Colony Sarff is on an airplane with a Samuel L. Jackson cameo.

    Maybe someone can call in a favor such as how John Cleese made an appearance in the Fourth Doctor story City of Death.

    lisa @lisa

    @mudlark Thanks for the clarity! That’s really a great perception and I like it!
    But … I wonder maybe if Mr. Sarff just had some innovative notions in regards
    to his personal life choices? 🙂

    (Just kidding… having a silly moment)

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    @purofilion: The BBC’s licensing the rights to use the Daleks from the estate of Terry Nation was quite a struggle to obtain. At first there was no agreement:

    Fortunately this was resolved:

    The question to me is what sort of editorial control does the Terry Nation estate have over the Dalek appearances.

    I am guessing with no inside information that the BBC is very careful to avoid further intellectual property entanglements. Anything that did not appear on screen during the Sylvester McCoy era, the bulk of the story, would I guess have to be licensed. Therefore it would be better to avoid any such question and simply recast the ideas to forms over which the BBC would have undisputed control.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I wonder maybe if Mr. Sarff just had some innovative notions in regards
    to his personal life choices?

    Why not?  I guess it would have depended on how they voted – they are a democracy, after all.  I have a feeling, though, that they might have been a wee bit offended by your implied assumption in referring to them as ‘Mr’    🙂

    @jphamlore   The mind boggles!

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @jphamlore How’s this:

    <quote>The initial studio session for City Of Death was held in BBC Television Centre Studio 3 on May 21st and 22nd. The first day was devoted to scenes in the café and in the modern art museum. Since late April, Adams had been in touch with famed comedian John Cleese about appearing as one of the art critics. Cleese and Adams had worked together on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and also knew each other through Cleese’s fellow Python, Graham Chapman. As it happened, Cleese was available for Serial 5H’s first recording block, since he would be at BBC Television Centre working on the final episode of Fawlty Towers. Adams suggested that the other critic could be played by Alan Coren, a regular panellist on The News Quiz and an editor for the humorous Punch magazine. Cleese was agreeable to this, and suggested Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett (who had both shot to stardom in the stage revue Beyond The Fringe) as alternatives. In the event, the second critic was played by Eleanor Bron, a popular satirist who had been the first female castmember of the long-running Cambridge Footlights revue.</quote>

    As to the second, Terry Nation initially insisted on control over the property, from very early on. He didn’t insist on being the only writer – Milton Subotsky and David Whittaker were credited with the movie screenplays. But then again, he did write the Curse of the Daleks stage play back in 1965. He let go of the Daleks fairly early, Troughton’s first Dalek story was credited to another writer, as was Pertwee’s. Nation wrote the Daleks, Invasion Earth, the Chase, Masterplan, Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks, and Genesis of the Daleks. But other writers were doing Daleks as early as Troughton. Nation did retain a veto over scripts, and this was sometimes a pain in the ass, when he moved to Hollywood for the 80’s, he took a long time to review and approve scripts. That script approval was real – in Wheel in Space he vetoed a Cyberman Dalek team up and he was pretty aggressive as late as the 1980’s and Remembrance and Resurrection. I suspect his estate is more interested in cash than in ego.

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @mudlark I suspect that Sarf goes by Msssssssssssss

    ichabod @ichabod

    @jphamlore  . . . Clara is . . .  a plot by Missy to break the Doctor once and for all of his desire to travel with a human companion as opposed to Missy. Missy wants Clara to be the absolute limit in the good sense of what an ordinary human companion can be. Peak Clara and Doctor. And then of its own weight, perhaps not even with Missy’s direct intervention, it will all come crashing down.

    Mmm, I like it; and certainly “crashing down” is most likely, one way or another, so Missy might get her way even if that’s not exactly what she’s been plotting toward.  As to the crazy/not crazy, I dunno — I think somebody with a piano sized brain might be crazy (erratic behavior, egomaniacal, a total sociopath, but not a psychopath — she doesn’t give any evidence of being subject to hallucinations and delusions, so a threat to others but a dandy survivor in her own right) and also be a champion plotter.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion  (Missy) will exploit Clara and then carry out a further plan which may well cost Clara her life: and in the process the Doctor will blame himself or perhaps Clara may indulge a whim to do something quite mad….and the Doctor will be truly angry with her (and not blame himself and Missy will smile gleefully but quietly): Do as YOU ARE TOLD” And she does not.  This leads to her death perhaps? Or something worse?

    That would be an odd inversion of Missy’s summation of the pairing of them (which she arranged) as “The control freak and the man who should never be controlled” (which I think refers to SmithDoc, “DON’T TELL ME THE RULES!”): it would be CapDoc as the “control freak” (aka parent/dog-ownere), and Clara as the puppy that *can’t* ever be controlled.  Though she seems, in S9 so far, pretty well tamed by her new, toned-down perspective on how much of a Player in this big universe she actually is.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark  @denvaldron  @lisa   Colony Sarf is just Colony Sarf, not “Colony Sarf #1” or “Colony Sarf pal of Davros”, which suggests that maybe CS is in fact unique in its sarf-ness.  Perhaps there are similar “colonies” of other animal forms out there somewhere — ?  Then “Colony Rat” (what’s Welsh for “bat”?) might decide to avenge the rubbing out of its cousin-colony by Missy.

    Just messin’ around . . . inspired by “Sarfs on a Plane”, above.

    Anonymous @


    In your post of #43882 you mentioned much of what you later said in #43894.

    I think I  wrote (on the previous page) that I also wasn’t particularly  enamoured of the Cartmel’s Masterplan .

    I can see now there being a difference between Silver Nemesis and The Moment!  One is certainly more bossy and talks a lot.

    Anonymous @

    stellalucce333 @devilishrobby

    Sometimes it’s like I’ve lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. I’m born, I live, I die

    I wasn’t disputing that particular statement -and it’s good evidence, Stella, that the claricles are born and live and then die -but we all do this. I suppose one of the areas a number of us have been exploring, is whether the Doctor has recognised his ‘saving angel;’ whether this particular Clara was actually born to a regular mum and dad and is a ‘regular’ Clara (a Prime) or actually just another claricle.

    Additionally, does this version contain memories (buried deeply) of other claricles and how does the “birth, life and death”  to which you referred, actively materialise. Some of us believe that Clara’s literal or birth mother may well have ‘followed’ her into each of the claricle’s lives based on evidence of “I will always find you” and “the soufflé isn’t just a soufflé it’s the recipe.”

    Anonymous @


    This information you have about both the Cartmel Masterplan and the other facts you’ve brought up in the posts above suggest an incredible knowledge of this era of TV and film making. I think I suggested, once, the possibility of a published book on the matter. Is there already a book from which you’ve gleaned this or have you found material from a variety of sources? The books -or  pamphlets – which I have, only focus on stray details which can be found on Wikipedia! I imagine little research goes into those publications and many of them simply repeat each other. Yours doesn’t though -so perhaps a book is in order? Considering how immensely popular Who has become in the past 10 years, you could make a nice little nest egg!

    Anyway, I fear this should be on another thread like The Cloven Hoof

    Sorry mods!

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @purofilion God, I’m embarrassed to say this. But I just make it all up. I have no idea what I’m talking about.

    DenValdron @denvaldron

    @purofilion More seriously, I haven’t had good luck with books, and that’s really what it comes down to. So be it. I’m happy enough trying to promote the works of fans more dedicated and talented than myself, and maybe shedding a little insight and epiphany on obscure corners of the Whoniverse. I’d like to think, for instance, that some of my comments about Daleks gave an insight into their historical reception. Anyhoo. I suspect I’m going to miss the next episode, which is a shame, because the word is very good so far.

    Anonymous @



    Oh yes, all that material -like a symphony, ‘a la creatione’

    And I’m back to my own personal nightmare: creation, eternity.

    STOP!!  🙂

    PaperMoon @papermoon

    Ok, so this is my takeaway from the two episodes.

    The Doctor’s method of escape that Missy also used to get her and Clara away from the Daleks may also explain how the Doctor knew she wasn’t dead. We see the Brigadier blast Missy and that may have been the energy source she used to escape and the Doctor realized what she’d done.

    Now, for some reason, he needs her help and sends her the CD to get her attention, which works. But, Missy can’t find him so she goes to Clara and when they find him, because he’s drawing attention to himself, Missy brings Clara along. @ichabod you were right, he was surprised, but if he sent Missy the CD, then he must have been expecting her, I think. So, maybe he wasn’t expecting to see Clara. Is Missy using the Doctor’s ‘pet’ as an insurance policy? I don’t know, but maybe.

    So, on Skaro Missy uses the energy from the Dalek blasts to escape and because Clara’s vortex manipulator is slaved to Missy’s, when the Daleks blast her she is also transported. The Doctor is aware of this and doesn’t want Clara to run as this will mean she will end up with Missy. Which is interesting as it suggests that the Doctor seems to view Missy as more dangerous, at least to Clara, than the Daleks. When the Doctor steals Davros’ chair and goes to the Dalek control room to make his speech about bringing Clara back safe and sound he hits a button on the chair that allows his demands to be heard all over Skaro, including the sewers where Missy and Clara are. I wonder if the Doctor’s demands are intended for Missy and not the Daleks. He seems to have suspected that Missy and Clara were still alive (why demand for her to be returned if he thinks she’s dead), but I think he is genuinely fearful for Clara’s life and wants her back unharmed. Missy, on hearing the Doctor’s demands, comments that this is the Doctor ‘without hope’ which causes Clara to look at her. She also says, ‘He’ll burn everything, us too’, which makes me think of the War Doctor burning Gallifrey.

    Another thing I noticed is that Missy seems genuinely shocked to see Skaro rebuilt. So either she didn’t know it had been, or wasn’t expecting it to have been.

    Also, the Doctor riding in on a tank is a nice reference to the Daleks.

    The CD has been opening since we first see the Doctor give to Ohila. But, when Davros has it, the Doctor is more interested in getting his glasses back. Two notable times where these have been used are in ‘The Girl Who Waited’ and ‘The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood’, in both stories they are being used to look at things that can’t be seen with normal vision. So, I wonder if they are for seeing things beyond the visual spectrum, phase shifted and/or time shifted. If so, why was he wearing them in Bors’ village and on Skaro? What could he be looking for? Ack, so many questions, lol.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Colony Sarf is just Colony Sarf, not “Colony Sarf #1” or “Colony Sarf pal of Davros”, which suggests that maybe CS is in fact unique in its sarf-ness

    Perhaps, but there could be other snake-colony entities who call themselves by other names.  How many words meaning snake must there be throughout the universe   🙂

    I have been trying to imagine a Colony Bat or Colony Rat feeling kinship or affinity with a Colony Snake, and so far I’m failing!

    I suppose it all comes down to whether Colony Sarff was an artificially created entity, in which case it/they might well have been unique, or a naturally evolved composite life form originating on some exotic planet or other.  If the latter, then it follows that there would almost certainly be some method of reproduction, and at some point the colony would probably become overcrowded and a new leader would emerge among the little Sarffs, to hive off with some of the surplus population and found a new colony under a new name.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    Also, the Doctor riding in on a tank is a nice reference to the Daleks.

    Exactly what I thought, especially when the Doctor referred to the Dalek ‘travel machines’ as tanks.  That tank wasn’t there solely for the purpose of making an anachronistic splash which would resonate through time, or to provide the Doctor with an opportunity to make corny jokes – jokes which, incidentally, served to focus further attention on it.  Moffat was also hitting us over the head with a socking great metaphor!


    Mudlark @mudlark


    “Colony Rat” (what’s Welsh for “bat”?)

    I meant to look up the answer to this, and having now consulted a dictionary I am able to inform you that bat in Welsh is ystlum, and rat is llygoden fawr   😉

    Juniperfish @juniperfish


    Yes, I like your thoughts on the Doctor broadcasting re Clara as a warning to Missy to keep her safe as much as to the Daleks. As for the Doctor without hope… “He’ll burn us all”, I just got my copy of the Day of the Doctor and watched if for the first time since the anniversary. Capaldi Doctor’s face appears in there, from the future, as all the incarnations work together to shift Gallifrey into its pocket universe.

    So yes, despite the relief that “Gallifrey Falls – No More”, Moffat hasn’t, as we speculated he might, ditched the guilt which weighed heavily on the Ecclestone, Tenant and Smith Doctors. The Time War is still echoing. I know you want it to be over @bluesqueakpip 🙂 but, the story waiting in the wings, of the search for Gallifrey and its eventual (no doubt messy) return, is too good to let go of IMHO, and that contains a necessary link to the Time War, given it’s the reason the Time Lord planet is in a bubble universe in the first place.

    Capaldi Doctor is clearly still weighed down with guilt (“Am I a good man?”). I still regret so very much that Ecclestone didn’t want to be in the 50th – such a shame! I can understand not wanting his Doctor to be the War Doctor (clearly the original plan) but it would have resonated more, if it had been him. Ah well..

    @denvaldron and @jphamlore – I’m definitely up for old Omega making a re-appearance.





    Anonymous @


    Welcome back! (I think you’ve not been on these waves for a long time & I’ve missed your fabulous imput. If you have, then I look ridiculous. So ignore that)

    Right: the glasses, brilliant. He was using them on an infra-red setting in Cold Blood. They were also used in The Girl in the Fireplace.

    He says it’s “wearable tech” so the Sonic is a pair of glasses which act as a ‘check’- to see if what you’re looking at is real (human ‘real’): like a zygon, perhaps? Pointing a Sonic at something/someone in a subtle manner so it’s ‘sensitively activated’ and doesn’t scare ones enemies.

    Brilliant idea that the Doctor was talking to Missy all a long whilst in the sewers.

    Lots more to puzzle over.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @mudlark   Gawd, you’re right — Colony Istlum or Colony Rat would be searching for Missy to give her awards and banquets.  I suppose Davros might have “made” CS, or found it already made and hired it on.  I like the idea of naturally evolved colonies like this (what evolutionary forces would produce them?), and would hope that democracy would be common among them — although it’s not all that common among other social animals that live in packs of one kind or another, and I have my doubts.

    Many groups go for hierarchy, a successful strategy that reduces fighting (over food, mates, etc.) within the group if everybody knows who eats first, and next.  Ideally, group members are protected (from each other) by the hierarchy itself, as long as they stay in the niche assigned to them.  Minimal internal strife would promote the health of all.  And then fewer group members will be disabled or injured when it comes to a fight with outsiders over territory, resources, etc.  It’s depressing but not surprising that among humans, no matter how egalitarian the intentions are, hierarchies tend to appear given a bit of time (ask anybody who lived in a hippie commune in the sixties).

    lisa @lisa

    @ichabod @mudlark Just because all the snakes got ‘voting’ rights surely
    doesn’t guarantee democracy. In fact even though Colony threw the word
    democracy around to be honest he struck me as more of a collective. Sort of
    like the Borg collective from Star Trek. It occurred to me when Mudlark
    said the words hive and collective. Separate snake individuals yet all linked together.
    So saying the word ‘democracy’ is a bit of a deception just like when we
    refer to our democracies. To me it was that big snake playing the part of
    a funnel thru which the collective engages with outsiders.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @lisa   I did wonder about that big snake . . . They were voting, though, it said.  Do collectives have individual votes?  Majority rule?

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @lisa  @ichabod    I agree that the terms ‘voting’ and ‘democracy’ which Colony Sarff used were probably a somewhat inaccurate approximation to what was actually going on.  As Lisa realised, I was thinking in terms of a collective entity analogous to a hive of bees, but whereas bees only form a single physical identity when they swarm in the process of hiving off,  Colony Sarff is evidently able to combine and shape itself into humanoid form at will and as required.  Perhaps it can also assume other forms if need be(?).  What I suspect was actually going on was an internal consultation – finding the ‘feeling of the meeting’; but Moffat as writer might have thought that too tricky a concept to convey without a more lengthy explanation or paraphrase.

    I doubt if such a collective would be hierarchical in the sense that a pack or herd is hierarchical, although component members might have specialised functions determined, not by a pecking order but by the way they developed in embryo, perhaps in response to chemical signals or pheromones emitted by the coordinating member (the big snake).


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Just a riff off Genesis of the Daleks before we tootle off to undersea adventures:

    last time the Time Lords tried to re-engineer the Daleks, they sent the Doctor. Suppose this time, they sent Missy?

    She does mention fighting the Dalek Supreme. And it would fit with Missy’s attitude towards the Doctor if she’s decided that she can’t do this herself. Because what needs to happen is a kinder, gentler Dalek, and kinder and gentler isn’t really her thing. 😈

    Okay – so that would explain:

    • Why Missy is so keen for the Doctor to survive that she sends Clara to him in the first place.
    • Why she seems to have a very detailed knowledge of the Dalek engineering constraints.
    • Why she uses Clara to both test the limits and show Clara the limits.
    • Why she encourages the Doctor to kill Dalek Clara – she wants Clara to beg for mercy, so the Doctor hears a Dalek begging for mercy (knowing Missy, I can entirely believe she’s heard a Dalek beg for mercy).
    • Why the Doctor, who was looking for a bookshop, suddenly finds his TARDIS diverted to an important moment of Skaroan history.

    Her plan in Dark Water/Death in Heaven also depended on people being constrained by engineering, incidentally. And the Master was so bloody terrified of the Time War Daleks that he literally ran to the end of the Universe to escape them. As Missy points out, it’s normally the Doctor who does the running. 😉

    PaperMoon @papermoon

    @mudlark agreed, I think it was a metaphor Missy would have gotten as well.

    @juniperfish it seems he will continue to struggle till he finds Gallifrey, remember his reaction when he went to the co-ordinates Missy gave him and nothing was there. The TARDIS console got quite a beating – poor Sexy.

    @purofilion yes, back after the summer hols and looking forward to the rest of season 9. Ohh yes, I haven’t seen those two episodes in ages, but you’re right, he’s had this wearable tech for ages. Could be Zygons, but then he wasn’t wearing them in the 50th anniversary and it may have saved him some awkward moments if he had. lol

    lisa @lisa

    Corny idea about the prophesy of a hybrid that will rise—Like a soufflé perhaps?
    Clara did just get ‘baked’ in a Dalek oven. Maybe the Dalek nanobots/genes are
    in the process of cooking/converting her into something new? SM is very fond
    of story loops. Clara started out as a Dalek and might end up as one too or some
    version of one. In any case my money is on Clara being the hybrid either from
    this Dalek incident of from the time she came back out of the time stream.

    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @mudlark – Nail on the head. Good call!

    after she has made her offer to the Daleks, she says  ‘Or would you rather just kill me?’ and poses, much in the same manner as she did in ‘Death in Heaven’ just before the cyber-Brig shot her, and even though she hasn’t bothered to explain how she escaped on that occasion, we can assume that she probably used a vortex manipulator to depart the scene at the last minute.


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    I’m not sure whether this is a spot, or just me – but I think there are musical callbacks to A Town Called Mercy.

    At the beginning, there is a prairie “feel” to both the scenery and the music that plays as Clara hangs and Missy whittles her pointy stick.

    But far more striking is the music that kicks in at the end. The Doctor says “So long as there’s Mercy” at which point a bell chimes and rhythmic strumming begins. It’s a similar rhtyhm and chord sequence to the guitar we hear in A Town Called Mercy – it’s around 3 minutes in on this BBC clip:

    Obviously the tracks aren’t exactly the same, but to my ear the resemblance is too strong not to be deliberate. Certainly there are thematic similarities between the two episodes. A musical bridge between them would perhaps make sense?

    Anonymous @


    No, your mind isn’t playing tricks with you -neither is your ear. You are quite correct, the similarities in rhythm and chord progression are evident. In fact, a student who visited me on Monday (the one who is about to present her MA in conducting having revised and re-orchestrated a Doctor Who score)  is a total fan of the show and a fan of anything Toby W. writes: she mentioned A Town Like Mercy and even played me some of the score (she managed to get her hands on the whole thing: she clearly’ knows’ people !).

    She’s also a great fan of the new Doctor’s theme -it was almost an erratic theme last year: quieter, hesitant and less ‘noble’. These past three episodes, the Doctor’s theme, is orchestrated with more bass;  the speed varies but is generally slower paced with almost triumphant ease -like a coda, or a beginning of a symphony, with a clearly ‘stated’ or delineated theme. It very much mimics this new, confident Doctor.

    Anonymous @


    so nearly lost this whole post and added what I could above quickly but what I had originally written was that there’s rubato in this portion of A Town Called Mercy and in The Witch’s Familiar it’s played grazioso as well.

    I think the melody is different however. I originally burst her bubble when I said composers re-orchestrate themes when they’re running out of time and where similar scenes (as you mentioned; the prairie idea) indicate, thematically, how a musical ‘echo’ can be utilised. Certainly as I tried to write above, the Doctor’s theme now is tutti (whole orchestra)  as if we’re in no doubt that we have a ‘full’ converted Doctor -no hesitance, but certainly played grave in both The Witch’s Familiar and since.

    ichabod @ichabod

    Oh, boy, goodies — getcher goodies here!  Found this this morning, Moffat on writing TWF of Davros/Doctor scenes:

    I have to admit, the conflicting viewpoints part sailed *completely* over my head.  Yam an idiot.

    jphamlore @jphamlore

    Rewatching Genesis of the Daleks, I conclude the two-parter to open this season is one of the greatest feats of continuity spanning decades, at least in the depiction of the Daleks.

    Davros programmed the original Dalek containers to restrict certain thoughts, and the Fourth Doctor confirms this as well.  Davros also issued the orders to remove all compassion and other positive emotions from the very DNA of the Daleks in the incubator room … but the Fourth Doctor actually winds up destroying that incubator room.  (To be precise he goes back a second time to destroy it and then a Dalek drives over the wires to complete the circuit.)  Even the old Daleks discarded in the sewers remind me of the former experiments of Davros on animals left in the Kaled underground passages.

    It is actually astonishing how many ideas find their way into later serials, such as the Daleks being defeated by a virus, Davros being asked by the Doctor if he would use a weapon that would destroy all life in the universe, Davros’ contempt for democracy, the conflict at the very beginning between Davros and his children the Daleks.

    I continue to wonder if there is some sort of decision either by the estate of Terry Nation or by the BBC that nothing other than what can be traced back to Genesis of the Daleks can be permitted in subsequent depictions of the Daleks.

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