Thin Ice

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    wolfweed @wolfweed

    I like children’s stories…

    ‘Don’t suck your thumbs while I’m away. The great tall tailor always comes To little boys who suck their thumbs. Ere they dream what he’s about He takes his great sharp scissors out And cuts their thumbs clean off and then…’


    Whisht @whisht

    ah – thanks @pedant
    So, the dialogue I heard after the thug with the hand tattoo is ‘swallowed’ by the river/fish is :

    “it has a knack to it”
    and then I’m assuming the contentious piece:
    “Bill, Miss Potts I need you with me” followed by the bit about what are we going to do with ‘tiny’ the Loch less monster.

    Sorry @mudlark but I heard “Bill”. and lip reading only gives me Bill and in fact one syllable (though I don’t lip read).
    My recording was in London (whatever area that’s allocated as).

    However, you most certainly are one of the most marble-sty people on this forum. Honestly, I’ve learned more from you than many people paid to impart knowledge to me!

    Craig @craig

    @mudlark I think you’re just going to have to grab yourself a street urchin to help you. They all have smart phones these days! ūüôā

    Whisht @whisht

    ah – I now realise I’ve been tardy (not vardy) as others may have kindly been leaving me the stupidly buffoonish job of doing this.

    Yes, any and all of them could stoop this low, but they know I cannot stoop much higher.




    {ahem} {ahem}


    Knock knock.

    Who’s there?


    Doctor who?


    and you’re telling me Moffatt wouldn’t?
    With the eyebrow-raising master himself in the role?



    hm… yes, maybe that’s actually why no one mentioned it yet…


    nerys @nerys

    I am loving this season! It all boils down to the relationship between the Doctor and his companion. The Doctor and Bill have a wonderful, very believable rapport. I am enjoying watching these two learn about each other.

    This was Bill’s first insight into the fact that traveling with the Doctor isn’t a walk in the park (with a few thrills along the way). She struck by the knowledge that not only has he witnessed a lot of death, but he’s been responsible for some of it, too. Her shock was palpable. But then, she (like the Doctor) decides to “move on.” In watching and listening to the Doctor, she is exposed to more context, and realizes that he would not kill easily or without a compelling reason to do so. Justice is not always kind, especially to the innocent, but he is doing his best to keep that balance in check. I enjoyed watching Bill learn this over the course of the episode, without being hit over the head with it. Good stuff.

    I also want to praise the beautiful piano-themed music in this episode, which caught my attention from the get-go. Murray Gold’s soundtrack compositions are always great, but this one stood out to me.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    Now you’ve made me blush (insert appropriate emoji), and no need for the ‘sorry’; I have no difficulty whatsoever in accepting that everyone heard ‘Bill’ – and so did I, quite clearly, when I watched that sequence on iPlayer. But I must have watched that particular bit on my recording more than half a dozen times now, and try as I may to hear ‘Bill’, I still hear ‘River’, and I can’t see how, even on a standard, fairly crap TV sound system, I could confuse the bi-labial stop B with the rhotic R, or a single syllable name with a two syllable name.

    Sudden thought ūüí°¬† Perhaps I’m living in an alternative, very slightly different universe¬†from all the rest of you lovely people; or perhaps we are all of us in different universes, and the internet and world wide web enable not only near-instant communication round the globe but, all unsuspected, between universes via ultra dimensional worm holes, and so I saw a fractionally different episode.¬† How’s that for bonkers ūüôā

    It would be interesting to know if they¬†did in fact¬†seriously consider¬†the Doctor calling¬†Bill River in a distracted moment – after all, he has been travelling¬†with Bill for a very short time,whereas in a timey-wimey way he had known River for centuries, and he wouldn’t think of Clara because she is no more than a Clara-shaped hole in his conscious memory, and there was nothing here to prompt the surviving subliminal awareness.


    Sadly, street urchins, with or without smart phones, are in rather short supply in this neighbourhood, but perhaps I could look out for one when next I go into the city centre ūüôā¬†¬† Some of my relatives have smart phones,¬†and if one of them had been to hand I could have availed myself of their services, but even the closest, geographically speaking, is 50 miles away, and most of them a good deal further, and the next scheduled visit is still more than six weeks away.


    Mudlark @mudlark


    As I commented earlier, it seems very appropriate that the Doctor would choose Struwelpeter as bed-time reading for Kitty’s little band of urchins, and if not that, but for the¬†matter of copyright, I suspect that it would¬†have been¬†something pleasantly disgusting from Roald Dahl’s oeuvre.

    It seems to me that the attraction to the macabre, gruesome and safely frightening which attracted me to this kind of thing as a child is not very different from that which has always drawn even young children to Doctor Who Рjust so long as there was a sofa to hand to protect them.

    Is anyone here acquainted with Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes, from which I used to recite with great relish when small ?


    idiotsavon @idiotsavon

    @thane15 (Puro)¬†<span style=”line-height: 1.5;”>Ah thanks. It‚Äôs good to be around a bit more.</span>

    I suppose thinking about it, the writer needed a first victim who could disappear without causing any ripples among the people at the frost fair. A drunk vagrant would tick that box. My first thought was that he’d been selected as the sort of person the viewers would least care about.

    Good point about Lady Me. Didn’t the Doctor regret saving her in some ways – as immortality was such a burden to her? I need to rewatch that whole series again properly at some point.

    I would say it‚Äôs deliberately unclear what the Doctor‚Äôs intentions are towards the thug/guard. However I‚Äôve watched that bit again and think I‚Äôm inclined to agree with @mersey. By the time the guard comes in, the Doctor has already figured out that the sonic is attracting the fish ‚Äď yet when the guard goes to take the sonic the Doctor says nothing and puts up no fight ‚Äď indeed, he opens his hand wide. He also takes his time before mentioning the off switch. It does look a bit calculated to me.

    Then again, given that both Spider and the thug are subsidiary characters whose central purpose is to advance the plot, I must confess I was rather less troubled by their demise than I would have been by the loss of the Doctor’s screwdriver.

    Plus, the sonic is instrumental in saving both Tiny and the population of London ‚Äď so if the Doctor already had an inkling what he was going to do with it, he could be forgiven for wanting it back.


    On a not entirely unrelated note, I‚Äôm wondering whether you‚Äôve noticed any musical callback to Pompeii or the Donna Noble era this series? I thought Bill‚Äôs appeal to the Doctor to ‚Äúdo something, and save him‚ÄĚ was very reminiscent of Donna in the Fires of Pompeii, and given that Pompeii was the episode that gave the Doctor his current face (the face that reminds him to save people) I thought this might be significant. That got me thinking more generally about the focus on the Doctor‚Äôs face recently – he scrutinised it himself in the engine oil in Pilot, then had it scrutinised by the Vardy robots in Smile. So I‚Äôm wondering whether it‚Äôs just me or whether there really is a deliberate emphasis on the Doctor‚Äôs face at the moment. If this were the case, I‚Äôd expect there to be a nod and a wink to Pompeii and Caecilius in the score somewhere. Just a thought.


    Anonymous @


    No, I actually didn’t hear¬† a musical call back to Pompeii. ¬†I’m on almost a 3rd viewing -will look out.

    Interesting about the sonic/tug/wait period. I didn’t notice that at all. Will check that out too -but if there’s a wait, if he almost happily hands out the sonic then yes, he lets the dude die. Is it wrong? Yes. Is there a choice? Dunno!!


    More jokes!! Please. Do it again!

    @mudlark @pedant

    cripes, you’re all NUTS!

    Of course, I kid. I swear I heard ‘river’ too but¬†what if I was looking for it?


    nerys @nerys

    @idiotsavon I agree that in this episode, Bill seemed very much a callback to Donna in The Fires of Pompeii. She has reminded me of Donna in several ways. Good catch!

    Something caught my eye at the very beginning of the episode, after the Doctor and Bill did their wardrobe change. The Doctor bumps into a street vendor with a basket of produce. The vendor drops his basket of produce, which spills over the bridge and disappears under the ice. As the shot goes beneath the surface, we see a shoe drifting down, until finally it reaches the monster’s mouth. Where did the shoe come from? I thought we’d see bits of produce drifting down, instead.



    cripes, you’re all NUTS!

    Now you notice this?

    Anonymous @


    Cripes, now you’ve all got me watching. Are we on the same minute? For instance 2 seconds before the 33 min mark, I have the Doctor saying (rather silly): Bill, please, no, no, please.”

    Except when you watch his mouth, he’s not really saying that at all. Something’s been over-dubbed.

    But as for the second issue (later?) I need to have another look/rewind/look rewind.


    Anonymous @


    <strokes chin>

    Well, nuttier, then!

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark and all the rest.

    And yet, in the following scene (untied and arguing) he says, “Bill, Miss Potts” and it’s perfect. So, this is confusing.

    I had the overdubbed ‘issue’ 5 minutes before that….where you see the rhotic “rrrr” but in which one hears “please, no, please, please. On the 3rd please is where you see the “Ri” -and yet I don’t hear it, I see it.

    No, no bad meds. Marbles in tact. Still, don’t these things happen all the time -back to studio for ASRs?

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark @tardigrade @pedant @whisht and all the rest.

    Here’s what’s happening:

    We’re all going bonkers.

    No, seriously. Mudlark, you’re right.

    When viewing the recorded version, on the “Bill, Miss Potts” you hear “Rill”. He says “Rill.” He ‘chokes’ (to use common parlance) on the “er” -it’s a swallowed (glottal) stop.

    It’s almost impossible to pick up. On¬† catch up iview it comes across as “bill” all in tune, harmony etc. Not on the telly recording: here you can hear “rill”. Close your eyes and try it.

    Also, in the previous portion/scene where he’s inexplicably saying¬† “please, no, please, please” (dunder lines if I ever heard any) that’s been dubbed over something quite different -there’s a strong suggestion of¬† “er” (rrr) preceded by a “ray” for “Ri” -ver.¬† Long boring years of choral work¬†involved teaching “ray” for “ri”¬† and “er” becomes “ah”. One sees it but doesn’t hear it. It’s completely out of sync -ie Added Voice Recording in studio. That’s my bet.

    On another thing @nerys -indeed, where’s the green food gone when the grocer tips over?

    I also like the tardis blue door very near the entrance to the Thames -we pass it constantly. Like that colour a lot. My house is painted in an Observatory Blue tint. I think I’ll try Tardis blue next. It’ll shock the neighbours.

    However, I could be off my head, totally nuts….


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    I highly recommend Tardis blue. And having lived in Toowong, if it’s like the rest of the town, I can confirm that it’s not you, it’s the neighbours who really are totally nuts.

    Anonymous @


    if it’s like the rest of the town, I can confirm that it’s not you, it’s the neighbours who really are totally nuts.

    An important distinction!

    It was in Toowong shopping centre, in my 20s when, shortly after getting my license, I wrapped my car around a cement girder -twice. The amount of “fu** orfs” and “ged outa here” were certainly uncivilised. St Lucia was odd ¬†during this time too.¬†When I mentioned I lived on the South Side (Holland Park, at that time) they revealed a sneer followed by a “why would you want to live there?”

    Strange town indeed. Before that, Adelaide, so arriving in Joh’s ‘home playing field’ was a baptism of nuttery.


    tardigrade @tardigrade


    We’re all going bonkers.

    No need for that- ordinary psychology is plenty. Priming is a powerful phenomenon and the expectation of what you’re hearing can most definitely colour your perceptions. And your sense of hearing is definitely affected by what you’re seeing.¬† Take a look at videos of the McGurk effect for examples that may make you question your senses’ reliability:

    I’ve looked again in iView at the “Bill, Miss Potts” line – the sound is synced with Capaldi’s lips and he certainly appears to me to be making a plosive sound- b or p at the start- his lips close and a Scottish ‘r’ sound will be an open-mouthed sound. Take away the visual information by closing your eyes and do your best to hear “River” and you may well prime yourself to hear it, though that didn’t happen for me when I tried. Roll on a few seconds later and Capaldi again says “Bill” and to me they’re very similar sounding.

    Agreed there’s something odd with the earlier line you mention though and there might well be overdubbing there. I wouldn’t hazard a guess what the original line might have been though.

    Missy @missy

    Did the quiz and got 9/10 I couldn’t remember the girls name.

    I cannot add much more to the comments. I really enjoyed this episode. I found it more serious than the previous episodes and the Doctor …whimsical? ¬†Is that the right word? He was different anyway, more gentle. Liked the reference to the colour of Jesus being a White Wash. Bill making the decision, as did Clara in Kill the Moon and Amy in The Beast Below. I shall watch it again, to see what i might have missed.


    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade¬† Aw, you’re wrecking my fun */*

    Yes, priming: after¬†20¬†years lecturing in music, I know it, believe me -but my ear’s in blessedly good nick. I’m certain that’s what I heard: not after @mudlark spoke about it but because I heard it myself originally -and separately. I have no doubt there was fiddling in ‘after action’ studio¬†but¬†we (the hybrid) ¬†appreciate the psychology lesson in any case.¬† Also, you’ve seen the headline to our forum: Theories More Bonkers than…” Otherwise, no fun!

    *-_-*  Stay frosty,

    Puro and Thane.

    MissRori @missrori


    ‚Äď the vault ‚Äúwhat‚Äôs he told you?‚ÄĚ seemed important; this won‚Äôt be a monster to fear, but one that deserves our sympathy. Maybe something that has taken 50 years to ‚Äėcook‚Äô (such as a body to be possessed by the next regeneration..?)

    Hmm, this would be in keeping with the “monsters” so far this season…Pilot!Heather, the Vardy, the loch-less monster. ¬†None of them were malicious by nature…they just didn’t understand and/or were being exploited by others. ¬†And they’re all, effectively, set free in the end. ¬†Freed of chains, of programming, of…oaths…or promises…don’t mind me, I’m just overthinking things again. ¬†ūüėČ

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    I’d never look to wreck your fun. I hadn’t realised that you heard it as “River” initially. I thought you’d gone back looking and primed yourself to hear it. I tend to leave the subtitles on in iView, in part so that I don’t have go back if I do somehow miss something. So with those showing “Bill” and an expectation of that being what was said based on context, I was never going to hear it differently.

    I still hear it as “Bill”, but with 2 people in a fairly small sample hearing “River” on first hearing, I’ll certainly accept it at least as a black & blue / gold & white dress situation.

    Anonymous @


    No worries at all. Initially when I watched it with subtitles mine also said “I’m totally in love with her” but later we found it was: “low-key in love.” (referring to the Tardis etc). The subtitles on iview can go awry -I think it’s the Butterfly Effect ūüôā



    Mudlark @mudlark


    Bless your sharp trained ears, puro.  I had nearly got to the point of wondering whether I was suffering from aural hallucinations. The only other thing I could think of, after all other possibilities had been ruled out, was that there might have been a very tiny glitch in the cable transmission which had slurred the sound of Bill.


    I take your point about priming, but I certainly wasn’t primed to hear ‘River’ the first time. In fact it startled me into backing and replaying that bit immediately, to check if I had misheard.¬† As I have said, even after I had viewed the same sequence on iPlayer¬†where¬†the ‘Bill’ was quite distinct, and¬†when everybody else assured me that they had heard nothing but ‘Bill’, it still sounded to me much more like ‘River’ on the recording with, as puro¬†says above, ¬†a rhotic ri rather than a voiced bi-labial stop.


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    On the simplicity of these more-or-less standalone, less arc-heavy stories — apart from the focus clearly being on establishing the relationship between the Doctor and Bill (which to me is far closer to 9 and Rose’s than 10 and Donna), I get the feeling that this series is SM ‘putting his toys away’. He’s had his fun, done what he wanted to do, created the couple of long, intricate arcs that he wanted to (and which I never thought particularly overly complex) and he’s leaving the toy room pretty much as he found it for Chibnall coming in. In fact, I’d say he’s leaving it even tidier than he found it, having cleared away a lot of the canonical clutter of the show’s first 50 years. He’s leaving his successor with a lean, streamlined Who (possibly with a view to being able to say that it wasn’t his fault if Chibbers bodges it up).

    Having said that, I know it’s only three episodes in but I’m starting to feel just a little hungry for some arc. Next week looks like another interesting ep (I’m getting vibes of Hide meets Fang Rock with a bit of Cabin in the Woods thrown in) but I think I’ll definitely be ready for something a bit arc-ey by the end of it.


    Passing thought – can’t recall is this has been noted, but in this one the Doctor’s “I am your teacher” meme was quite directly lampshaded.

    I wonder what he is teaching – pretty sure it’s not PPE.

    tardigrade @tardigrade


    The subtitles on iview can go awry -I think it’s the Butterfly Effect

    I’ve been caught out by that in the past. I don’t know why the ABC can’t use the BBC subtitles for Doctor Who and instead seem to redo them. The iView subtitles certainly aren’t a reliable source of truth ūüôā

    janetteB @janetteb

    @jimthefish I am really enjoying these episodes but feel that it is time for something meatier. I did like the two parters last year though they would have benefited by the odd single story and would like there to be a two parter this series, just to vary the pace. I don’t think we are entirely without an arc this series. There is the mystery of the vault to keep us guessing and Moffat teasing.

    @tardigrade. Subtitles are frequently incorrect I have noticed which is surprising really. Insufficient time allocated for the task I would guess.



    Brewski @brewski

    Hello all.  Late to the game again, but the most annoying thing has begun to happen at work.  They expect me to work and not discuss DW.  Talk about bonkers!

    I enjoyed this ep.¬† More classic style Who.¬† Although I grudgingly admit that it was teetering on the edge of packaged sci-fi. Take one seasoned time traveler, add a companion, marinate one exploited “monster” and beat the true-monster-human to tenderize.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I did still enjoy it.¬† But I am tending to agree with others who have are looking for something a little meatier now.¬† (Hi <span class=”useratname”>@janetteb</span>)

    @pedant: I think the final scene somewhat arses up brewski‚Äės splendid bit of bonkerising.

    Lol… out but not down for the count!

    We have the notion that the Doctor has made some sort of promise.¬† And we have the vault, which now appears to contain something sentient.¬† But we don’t know how the two things are related (assuming they are.)¬† It seems unlikely that he made a vow TO or FOR whatever is in the vault.¬† So, for example, he probably didn’t lock Susan in there to keep her safe. ūüėČ

    It’s easy to go with the idea that his promise was to protect something/someone from what’s inside the vault.¬† (Almost TOO easy to go with that.)¬† So how could that tie into anything we know about?¬† Based on what I’ve seen of Moffat’s style, I’m going to guess its nothing we’ve seen before.¬† A brand new knock-y something.

    I am really liking the theme of monster-isn’t-really evil (and must shamefully confess that I did not pick up on it myself) so it feels like a good idea to expect the same thing of whatever is in the vault.

    We are expecting to see Missy soon.¬† And we know she had some sort of brilliant idea the last time we saw her.¬† Wouldn’t surprise me if this is related to that.¬† Maybe what’s in the vault is something the Doctor is protecting from Missy.¬† Or maybe the result of Missy’s meddling that he is keeping locked up.

    Things I DON’T want it to be in order from Worst to Worstest: 1) The Rani, 2) An exploding Fob Watch, 3) The Valyard.

    Mersey @mersey

    I don’t know if anyone has spotted that:

    Martha vs. Bill via

    MARTHA: But are we safe? I mean, can we move around and stuff?
    DOCTOR: Of course we can. Why do you ask?
    MARTHA: It’s like in the films. You step on a butterfly, you change the future of the human race.
    DOCTOR: Tell you what then, don’t step on any butterflies. What have butterflies ever done to you?
    MARTHA: What if, I don’t know, what if I kill my grandfather?
    DOCTOR: Are you planning to?
    MARTHA: No.
    DOCTOR: Well, then.
    MARTHA: And this is London?
    DOCTOR: I think so. Round about 1599.
    MARTHA: Oh, but hold on. Am I all right? I’m not going to get carted off as a slave, am I?
    DOCTOR: Why would they do that?
    MARTHA: Not exactly white, in case you haven’t noticed.
    DOCTOR: I’m not even human. Just walk about like you own the place. Works for me. Besides, you’d be surprised. Elizabethan England, not so different from your time. Look over there. They’ve got recycling.

    BILL: Wait, you want to go out there?
    DOCTOR: You don’t?
    BILL: It’s 1814.
    (Bill points to her face.)
    BILL: Melanin.
    DOCTOR: Yes?
    BILL: Slavery is still totally a thing.
    DOCTOR: Yes, so it is.
    BILL: It might be, like, dangerous out there.
    DOCTOR: Definitely dangerous.
    BILL: So, how do we stay out of trouble?
    DOCTOR: Well, I’m not the right person to ask.


    BILL: So, what are the rules?
    DOCTOR: Rules?
    BILL: Yeah. Travelling to the past, There’s got to be rules. If I step on a butterfly, it could send ripples through time that mean I’m not even born in the first place and I could just disappear.
    DOCTOR: Definitely. I mean, that’s what happened to Pete.
    BILL: Pete?
    DOCTOR: Your friend, Pete. He was standing there a moment ago, but he stepped on a butterfly and now you don’t even remember him.
    BILL: Shut up! I’m being serious!
    DOCTOR: Yeah, so was Pete.
    BILL: You know what I mean. Every choice I make in this moment, here and now, could change the whole future.
    DOCTOR: Exactly like every other day of your life. The only thing to do is to stop worrying about it.
    BILL: Hmm. Okay. If you say so.

    Kharis @kharis

    I’m really enjoying this season. ¬†Loved Capaldi’s Doctor in season 9 and with his new companion I’m enjoying him even more in season 10.

    So far this season is just what I was hoping for.  Wanted more whimsy, more humor, a playful friendship with the companion, and more thought provoking questions and themes, even loving the costumes, scenery and music more.

    This episode had some great lines and great flow. It really dragged me in. (;

    Haven’t had a chance to read through all the comments yet, but enjoyed the first few I read. It’s theater week for my dancers, so busier than usual.

    Craig @craig

    @thane15 / Puro If you still have the recorded version maybe you could take a quick clip on your phone and email it to me.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    Well spotted. Still, I have been known to repeat jokes. I think we all have. If they work well the first time…

    Anonymous @


    Ooh I’d love to but erm, it’s a 9 year old Nokia. I know. You’re thinking this is a plan -both @mudark and Thane are not only nuts but in cahoots! Neither has a smart phone. I do however, have a laptop -what I need to do is download the clip from the telly bla bla.

    Let me get back to you.

    @mersey well spotted! @brewski. Oh you’re never out… has to count to 10 first.

    Puro <USB searching>


    Anonymous @


    THANE has a propa phone. I’ll get him to do this upon returning from school.

    Missy @missy

    Right. I watched this again last night and realised what it was about the Doctor that was different. He acted towards Bill as if he were her Father. that’s the way it felt to me. I couldn’t understand why¬† I wanted to hug him, and it was just as I was nodding off the penny dropped. (as Mel/River would have said.)

    In fact, I think he’s been acting fatherly ever since he spoke to Bill, completely different to the way he treated Clara.

    I’m loving it and so is my OH. (other half)


    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @jimthefish    Much as I hate to torpedo a fine bit of bonkerising, I think the reference is to the Pertwee story The Time Warrior. As to other oaths, I’m not sure. Depending on what kind of Doctor he actually is, he might have taken the Hippocratic one?

    Always a sad moment to watch a bonkers theory slip sedately beneath the waves….

    In Tooth and Claw,¬†I think the 10th Doctor claimed he’d studied under Bell in Edinburgh. If he made it to the end of his training, I suppose he could have taken the Hippocratic Oath. I’m still unable to come up with any other oaths.

    Don’t think there is much to be done with the paintings this week, though I think we did get a long shot of `Coalbrookdale by Night’ when the Doctor was inside the dastardly Sutcliffe’s town house.


      Image result for coalbrookdale by night

    Anonymous @


    Yes, we thought that too -teacher/grandfather/carer. Where Clara was his carer, Bill is now in his care and yet needing ‘orders’ serving at the pleasure etc….

    I find the scientific affect important here. In this episode, Thin Ice, ¬†you hear the Doctor speak of “propositions and conclusions” much as he did at the beginning of Season 9 and in particular during The Witches Familiar.

    Actually, what’s interesting (bed rest therefore watching 2015 Doctor Who!) is that¬†the brooding, sad and forging Doctor all “clean and neat” by the end of Series 8 leads to a “funny” Doctor -ie the tank and the glasses.

    I don’t understand that! Are people taking away from those superb two-parters ONLY the party, the tank and the guitar (and the word “dude”)? This is all tucked¬† away¬† in the middle of¬†an existential crisis experienced by the Doctor -and¬†shame at leaving the frightened¬†boy Davros; Colony Sarf searches Karn¬†and is flatly told¬†by Ohila, ¬†“if you don’t leave we will take your skin”; Missy, a typical attention seeker, kills two innocent guards whilst shouting, “I’m not good!” After that she speaks coldly about the human race: ¬†it’s¬†perverted inability to go “beyond procreation and to consider real friendship.”

    That two-parter, perhaps even more than the final act of The Husbands of River Song, was anguished and¬†relentless in its sadness, it provoked compassion; we understood¬†the coherence and insanity of the Doctor’s friendship with one mortal (Clara) and one immortal (Missy)¬†-and we were reminded of the Doctor’s wisdom -assume you’re¬†going to win. That he’s not only clever but affected by his friendship with the once¬†Impossible Girl.

    Yup, @jimthefish -Moffat is putting his toys away.¬† ūüôĀ¬† The arc-heavy nature of those two seasons was unforgettable but it’s necessary to create balance with something lighter but still¬†portentous -I believed, as it was his last season, that Moffat would ‘ramp’ things up, throw everything at it ¬†-something so meaty it might be indigestible by different viewers (but then I’m a carnivore. I do love my meat!) ¬†@JanetteB I agree with your assessment about needing more substantial stories next. But I suppose it’s a¬†tabula rasa;¬†the Tardis and¬†Doctor are¬†clean skins for Chibnall’s honing.

    There was a lot of talk (even here) about the actress, Jenna, or Clara in general -and the talk wasn’t always kind. We had the “she’s impossibly beautiful and slim” and the “she talks too fast” as well as other pretty meaningless drivel.

    Looking back on her oeuvre, :\ I think Clara’s character was wonderful.¬†Freed from the Impossible Girl arc she became even better. I suppose that for me, Donna was the best fit: no “snogging and texting” and yet I think Clara was equally riveting as was Missy in the Witches Familiar: “[I”m] murdering a Dalek. I’m a Time Lady, it’s our golf”…meet the locals -all slime and squelchy and outta their tiny minds.”

    There’s¬†such terrific dialogue, momentum driven, not hobbled by Series 8 at all but chugging along like an unhinged rollercoaster at any¬†country fair!

    Loved it. Will mourn it.


    Anonymous @

    @countscarlioni ah, the expert! Well spotted! I didn’t pick up the¬† painting (also seen in the 50th anniversary)¬† in Smile either. Coalbrookdale was a picture used some years ago when our students studied¬†the Industrial Revolution. It has such a great colour and texture,¬† the buildings almost growing from the mountainside and the tired horses bearing their load.

    I’m in the middle of trying to work Thane’s phone so I can snap a screen shot¬† (actually¬† a two second clip) of Thin Ice to compare that with the version which headed out to the UK and which could be different -or possibly a weird glitch in the recording in Australia. But @mudlark heard it too. It’s SO tiny but it’s definitely there. Shame, I’m technically useless!!


    janetteB @janetteb

    @countscarlioni You are doing well with the art spotting. I love that painting (have used it when talking of the evils of industrial revolution) and it would be very apt for Sutcliff’s house. I need to look out for it on next watch.



    ichabod @ichabod

    @missrori  . . . they’re all, effectively, set free in the end. Freed of chains, of programming, of…oaths…or promises…don’t mind me, I’m just overthinking things again.

    Oh, please, indulge — Well, drat, I just overthought of something: the Doctor, end of S9, set himself and Clara “free” of each other. ¬†Is he now going about committing other “liberations”, until his own final “freedom” from this current incarnation?

    Ah, bonkers.  Overthinking is such a pleasure!

    @jimthefish  @janetteb . . . I’m starting to feel just a little hungry for some arc. Next week looks like another interesting ep (I’m getting vibes of Hide meets Fang Rock with a bit of Cabin in the Woods thrown in) but I think I’ll definitely be ready for something a bit arc-ey by the end of it.

    Yes. ¬†Yes, yes. ¬†I think this, that we’re seeing, is exactly what the Moffat critics want and what he’s determined to give them (see, a-holes, I can do this stuff with bells on) — monster of the week, and (so far) comic book depth, mostly (IMO). ¬†It’s delightful; it’s also, for yrs truly the OverThinker, a bit — thin? ¬†In the way that I found so much of early AG DW a bit dull. ¬†Bill is great — she’s giving us what depth there is here, but it’s all — sociological? ¬†I’m missing some compelling personal connection, but maybe that’s being saved for when the Masters come on the scene. ¬†I hope so. ¬†Maybe it’s just because this is so *exactly* what I was expecting, after the deeper waters (IMO) of S8-9; but I’m thinking, I wonder if PC decided to leave because he saw how this was going; foresaw that it might¬†go back to character-heavy work with Chibnall but Chibnall is not Moffat, so why do more of it but — with heavier, more obvious and bathetic scripts (judging by “Broadchurch” now)?

    @thane15 ¬†Puro — . . .¬†Clara‚Äôs character was wonderful. Freed from the Impossible Girl arc she became even better.

    Yes!  That was the key to the intensity of S8, setting up S9.

    Loved it. Will mourn it.

    Me too. ¬†Already. ¬†But I am (however grudgingly) all right with this shallower level of entertainment — you can’t do Sibelius all the time — but I’m already feeling hunger for more: I want some meat, some heft, some solid bass notes, deep and long. ¬†Can’t help it, rational analysis aside. ¬†I’m not sure I’m made for fun so much any more . . . but that’s the darker shades of my soul speaking, and it’s not as if there wasn’t a lovely feast of sable velvets in S8-9.

    Just — restless. ¬†But patient, too. ¬†Moffat will deliver what Capaldi needs, to deliver his own contribution. ¬†Bring it on.


    Mersey @mersey


    Please show me a companion who wasn’t slim and pretty? There’s one, only one, Donna Noble. And I think that’s why she’s perceived as one of the best companions ever. She’s average everywoman but at the same time very unique. Clara was slim, pretty, intelligent, sweet, educated with job and flat, independent, without ties (they tried to change that with Danny) and more and more special with every episode. Really hard to identify with such character. I never had impression that Clara is a real person from our world.

    @jimthefish @pedant

    And it’s really unfair to mark those who doesn’t like Clara as sexists.



    If you are going to be wilfully blind to the crass sexism that spewed across the Graun’s BTL comments, then I – and I suspect @jimthefish – can’t help you.

    Brewski @brewski

    @thane15  Brewski: Oh you’re never out… has to count to 10 first.

    Oh I know!  When I would make my mom mad at me she used to count to 10.  And THEN I was dead!

    @mersey Please show me a companion who wasn’t slim and pretty?

    Well I was going to say Jamie McCrimmon.  But come to think of it he was both, too.


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    And it’s really unfair to mark those who doesn’t like Clara as sexists.

    Eh? Don’t think anyone has ever done that. (Personally I think Clara did stay slightly too long and was hobbled initially by having a rather McGuffin backstory. And I generally preferred Amy as a character.) And that’s just different strokes for different folks — but Jenna was never any less than excellent. At no point did I say it was ‘sexist’ to have a character preference or to offer any kind of criticism.

    However, @pedant is correct that some of the criticism of her especially on but not restricted to The Graun was very much couched in sexist terms and from individuals who I strongly suspect hate any deviation from patrician, superior Doc and a breathless, deferential companion. (In other words they prefer ‘assistants’ to ‘companions’.) During Clara’s run these oafs became more and more vocal (witness all the ‘it’s more like The Clara Show now’ drivelish). And that frankly was the lighter end of what was being said and I’m afraid I’ll make no apology for ever calling anyone out on that kind of nonsense.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I wonder what he is teaching ‚Äď pretty sure it‚Äôs not PPE.

    Life, the Universe and Everything, of course, from an entirely unorthodox perspective ūüôā (and I’ll bet that the answer isn’t 42)

    The Doctor says, ‘I am your teacher’, and I see him in his relationship with Bill¬†as mentor and guide; not fatherly, grandfatherly or avuncular, but a¬†teacher who has found a particularly promising and rewarding pupil and has seized the opportunity to foster that potential. The fact that the pupil has ended up as his companion in adventure was obviously not his intention, though it is clearly to the benefit of both.


    Well spotted, the Coalbrookdale painting. I begin to wonder whether there is anything at all in the background detail of these episodes which is without significance.  Nevertheless, the painting romanticises the industrial revolution. The landscape is picturesque in the sense it was used at the beginning of the 19th century, and even the rusting, discarded castings in the foreground add pictorial texture.  The foundry in question was, I believe, nicknamed Bedlam, and early 19th century written accounts of the industrial West Midlands describe dreary, hellish landscapes, with everything from the buildings to the grass blackened by soot and pollution, the sky veiled by smoke and the smoke illuminated at night by the glare from furnaces and forges.  The name The Black Country was well earned.


    It‚Äôs delightful; it‚Äôs also, for yrs truly the OverThinker, a bit ‚ÄĒ thin?

    Really?¬† The narratives¬†in the three episodes¬†so far have lacked the complexity of the preceding series, I agree, so in that sense there is less on which to exercise the mental muscles; but all three, and this one not the least,¬†have considerable substance and texture, so I¬†can’t, myself,¬†see them as in any way ‘thin’ or of little more than comic book depth.¬†In their own way I have found them very satisfying. ¬†The plots of the stories have certainly been comparatively straightforward and very much¬†old-style Doctor Who, but they have been well constructed, well written¬†and¬†entertaining, whilst addressed a few moral and ethical issues along the way. Above all, they have provided an excellent vehicle for¬†presenting us with¬†a¬†Doctor who, at least fifty years post-Clara, seems much more at ease with himself, even stable – insofar as that is an adjective which could ever be applied to him; they have also introducing us to Bill and¬†established her character effectively, and with great economy have shown the development of a thoroughly convincing¬†relationship between the two of them.¬† This focus on character so far has, to my mind, been well judged, and I suspect promises to be the prelude to something more meaty.




    ichabod @ichabod

    @jimthefish ¬†(of Clara hate) . . .¬†individuals who I strongly suspect hate any deviation from patrician, superior Doc and a breathless, deferential companion. (In other words they prefer ‚Äėassistants‚Äô to ‚Äėcompanions‚Äô.) During Clara‚Äôs run these oafs became more and more vocal (witness all the ‚Äėit‚Äôs more like The Clara Show now‚Äô drivelish). And that frankly was the lighter end of what was being said and I‚Äôm afraid I‚Äôll make no apology for ever calling anyone out on that kind of nonsense.

    Yes! ¬†As I saw it, the people who disliked Clara for being basically a Mary Sue were reacting to Clara pre-Capaldi, where she was. ¬†They never bothered to notice (or refused to see) that under the stress of losing SmithDoc, she sprang to life as a human with her very un-Mary Sue response: resentment, anger, havering over walking out or not, super-frustration with this old-new guy, casting around for an alternative as opposite as he could be (Danny), growing an ambition to be “a Doctor” herself, etc. ¬†On the other hand most of the “she was good until S8” was, IMO, from the sweet-and-helpful is okay crowd, who read all of her later character development as taking away from¬†the stature of the Great Man — because Mary Sue, more or less, is the ¬†proper role for a woman in the Tardis. ¬†And that *is* a sexist attitude, flat out.

    The misogynist rancor was unmistakable, including what I read as a weird form of — jealousy? — from some female fans, furious that Clara — a complex and sometimes unlikeable woman — got to travel with the Doctor (yeh, crazy, I know — fictional people and all) despite her being “mean” to him, while they, who would have been properly adoring Mary Sues in her place, could only look helplessly on, grinding grinding their tiny teeth . . .

    As you point out, complaints about “the Clara Show” didn’t really appear until “Deep Breath”, where she went from sweet little magical thing who’ll do anything for her hero to “WTF just happened, and how we *fix* him?” ¬†Compare and contrast early Clara, sashaying around in her Cutesy Barmaid outfit, with Clara snapping back at Mdme Vastra, or raging at CapDoc in KtM. ¬†The Magical Barmaid “born to save the Doctor” is a cartoon character. ¬†Angry Clara, defensive Clara, demanding Clara standing her ground — she a workable rendering of a woman with a mind of her own. ¬†That always brings out the misogyny in those who discomfited by women stepping out of “their place” (as “the assistant”).

    Which doesn’t mean that there aren’t other reasons to dislike Clara as a character (for some, her edgy volatility read as incoherence, for example). ¬†I just didn’t see much of that in the haters’ ceaseless carping and sniping. ¬†It was a lot like having mosquitos whining in your ear as you’re trying to fall asleep . . .
    @mudlark  The fact that the pupil has ended up as his companion in adventure was obviously not his intention

    I thought he was obviously giving in to temptation, and explaining to himself how it was okay, really, because they’d be back before teatime. ¬†Uh-huh. ¬†On the painting — a nice gloss to the episode in terms of commenting on the grinding harshness of the Industrial Revolution, deftly un-romanticized in this story of an enslaved creature churning out fuel that men with rags tied over their noses prepare for shipment so that an aristocrat and his family can stay rich. ¬†Plus urchins with a business sense.

    In their own way I have found them very satisfying.

    So have I; and I agree that it’s all been very well done, with elegant efficiency and charm (that blue silk top hat; that feathered bonnet! ¬†That gorgeous stone bridge! ¬†That punch, which, considering the strength of a TL, should have pretty much caved in Lord Sutcliff’s face but hey, family viewing).

    This focus on character so far has, to my mind, been well judged, and I suspect promises to be the prelude to something more meaty.

    Agreed — Moffat is fully capable of catching us up in a vortex of emotional arcs and call-backs, closing out with a lion’s ¬†roar (“Take THAT!”); which would be, for me, more satisfying still. ¬†Meantime, I’m not going anywhere — as long as I can watch PC and Bill, I’m in for the ride to the — bitter? ¬†Uplifting? ¬†Rip-roaring? ¬†Sad and meditative? — end.

    Nick @nick

    <span class=”useratname”>@countscarlioni</span>

    I think the reference to Studying Medicine under Bell goes back to Pat Troughton. I’m probably wrong, but I think it was the “Moonbase” story.

    Nick @nick


    Clara only became a character (as opposed to a cut-out of one) from series 8 onwards in my opinion. A lot of people on line seems to post with little thought and a lot of anger and have lost any ability to see there is more than one answer/opinion to most questions. South Park’s Troll story line sums it up for me.

    Nick @nick


    re assistants and companions

    I wouldn’t like to analyse very much of what some people post on the basis that there may not be any thought given except to wind (some supposedly PC) people up.

    That said, can we not try to find a new descriptive term as I don’t feel either should be used any more. How about “Friend” ?

    Jo Grant was employed by Unit as the Doctor’s assistant and the rest have been traveling companions, which can have a bit of an old fashioned connotation, which can suggest a slightly formal arrangement you’d come across in some 1930’s set Poirot drama.

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