World Enough and Time

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    Brewski @brewski

    @nick You’re reply to jimthefish sums up the he situation in BG Who better than I wrote.

    Thanks.  Even if it was a slightly little long winded sum-up. 😉

    Some of the very best Who stories, certainly in BG era, benefit from a mysterious build up, setting the scene and the key characters. I think one problem with many AG stories is that they jump into heart of the story has been too fast.

    I couldn’t agree with you more.  But surely this is the cost of going from a serialized story that has the luxury of 2 or 3 hours total time down to 45 minutes.  Short cuts have to be made, so best to make them in places where its a little more routine.  Best example of this I read (sorry, don’t remember where) was the chestnut of having the hero drive up to where the action is taking place and very luckily finding a parking space right in front!  We’re kind of willing to overlook this coincidence cuz we really rather get on with the story than circle the lot a few time. :p


    Nick @nick


    The average 4 part story would be about 90 minutes if you take out the titles and recap of last weeks cliff hanger. You could probably take off another 4 or 5 minutes running time if you didnt need 3 cliff hangers per story. Its hard to account for the impact of lower budgets, fewer smaller sets and less location filming, but I guess you could take 5 to 10 minutes of wasted scenes per 4 part story. The pacing in old who (old TV in general) is also slower.

    My finger in the air guess would refilming an old who 4 parter today would probably need about 70 minutes screen time. That’s not much different to any of the extended duration special AG Who stories.

    Brewski @brewski

    Don’t know why, but I was just thinking how funny it would have been for Cyber-Bill at the end to say “Doc – tor Who – oo.  You are Doc – tor Who – oo.”

    ‘Course the weren’t really going for funny at the moment… :p

    Brewski @brewski

    @nick I suppose you’re right.  You’re going to make me (grudgingly) admit that we just have a different viewing sensibility now.  A shorter attention sp… hey look, a new YouTube video!

    nerys @nerys

    @tardigrade Yes, that’s how my husband explained it to me. He’s a science guy, I am not (neither science nor guy), and so my understanding of this in the abstract is limited. Thanks for correcting me!

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Yep – It’s there in the transcript – Floor Zero is losing time…

    It lost 17 seconds whilst Floor 1056 moved forward 68 days…

    lisa @lisa


    I’m curious if in the next season when Chibnall takes over if he might choose

    to strike a new direction some where between the BG and AG styles?

    Broadchurch is a serial format.  He’s done both.  Maybe he’ll create a hybrid  🙂

    I’m also curious to see if he brings back any older Who characters.

    He has a history with many of them.


    that’s  a very clear explanation !


    So  one end is moving backwards and the other into the future?

    Ugh!   What ?

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    So time is running backwards on floor zero. Sooo…does this mean that it could reach a point before Bill is shot? If so…

    Nick @nick


    deliberate or continuity mistake ?

    I’d be a bit annoyed if having written a story based on some real science he then added in a real world impossibility. However, a good story is a good story and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    To continue…If they are losing time on floor zero, then it could potentially reach a point before Bill is shot.

    Now, what if the Doctor was aware that they were losing time on floor zero, and when he implants a psychic message into Bill to “wait for me”, it is all part of his plan to rescue her. Because he needs her to wait long enough for floor zero to get to the point before she is shot, and that means she has to wait for years at the other end of the ship. It also means that he has to wait on floor zero until the timing is right. If so, he could possibly then “re-set” Bill, rather than re-setting time. And if all this is the case, my money would be on the other Time Lord in the room (Missy) also being aware of what the Doctor was doing. I owe all this to the method of deductive reasoning articulated by Sir Bedevere:

    lisa @lisa

    @blenkinsopthebrave               @nick

    Great theory but only if they stay put at that end?   I  think the idea might not be to stick around?

    Unless they  go back  to the top then use the black hole to play with time.   I suppose

    if your the Doctor you can manipulate where the space ship is in relation to the

    black hole.   Maybe use the Tardis tractor beam to move this space ship into a

    different time?   Einsteins theory?  The Tardis moved the whole planet Earth in End off Time?




    Nick @nick


    Have you got you’re calculator out to work out how many thousands of years it would take ! 68 days is just under 100,000 minutes forwards, for each 17 seconds backwards at level 0. I made that 240 days per minute, but calculating in base 60 isnt one of my strong points !


    Nick @nick

    @lisa @brewski

    A lot of British TV Drama is filmed in 60 minute episodes. As a viewer I rather wish Who had the same episode duration.

    I hope Chibnall will attempt to do a few things differently. I watched all three Monk stories back to back (without any pre-watching), which certainly made me appreciate the whole story line more than the individual parts (although the last episode was the weakest delivered). Extended episode stories can work, but I think its a bigger challenge and would probably need 1 or 2 writers working together on the entire plot, before breaking it down to write each episode individually. I suspect it would also need quite a long development lead team to get right.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    You are being awfully literal! I’m not sure you have taken on board my reason for including the Monty Python clip. And if my theory does turn out to be correct, as you say,

    a good story is a good story and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    Time @ Floor Zero might be going backwards with increased rapidity…

    If constant calculation is correct, that would explain the years passing…



    Which falls faster: A Kilo of duck or a Kilo of witch?(!)

    I wonder how long the Doctor will have to bide his time to make up how ever many minutes passed…?

    Nick @nick


    🙂 I knew you had your tongue firmly in your cheek on that one, although the idea may well turn out to be right.


    Perhaps he has a lot of catching up to do with Missy, now they’re mates.

    Devilishrobby @devilishrobby

    @nick I think the BBC made a commercial decision on the 45 minute thing as outside of BBC on commercial channels you have to factor in the time added by commercial breaks which makes a BBC 45 minute programme 1 hour long. When watching  Who on say What was Uk Gold for example the episodes are shown over an hour

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    A puzzle: If the Master gets zapped by a cyberman in the presence of Missy (say, he’s turned good and is standing with the Doctor, while she has turned bad), prompting a regeneration, what would happen?? He surely could not regenerate into her if she is already standing there.  Also, is it possible there are other `Masters’ between the Master and Missy? (Apologies if this has been raised earlier and I missed it; just worked through 100+ posts after a few days away).

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @countscarlioni  In theory, if two Missy’s touch, it could cause Paradoxical Time Distortion (or Blinovitch Limitation Effect).

    Perhaps it’s what’s causing the Floor Zero phenomenon…


    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @blenkinsopthebrave — I suspect you may have hit on something with that theory…. even if not, it’s a first-class bit of bonkerising….



    Which falls faster: A Kilo of duck or a Kilo of witch?(!)


    tardigrade @tardigrade


    Now the Master’s taken poor Bill’s body and ultimately turned it into a near-helpless robot slave….
    But the Doctor can find a way to fix her like he fixed up Nardole.  It wouldn’t be quite the same, it wouldn’t be perfect, but she could be happy again as a cyborg or otherwise.

    You’ve given me an image of the Doctor taking off Nardole’s head (which can survive on its own) and putting Bill’s head on Nardole’s body. When she realises what has happened, Bill then starts hunting for a keyboard so that she can tap on the “Kill Me” button repeatedly 🙂

    Thanks- I understand your reasons for taking issue with the TLs appearing in BG Who much better now. However, as @nick suggested, I actually think that it was the early AG Who that ramped up the chumminess much more. BG Who TLs were non-interventionist and largely unknown to the wider universe. It was the Time War storyline that demanded that they were known across the universe. And it’s also the time when the stories had the Doctor telling aliens to look him up and find out who they were dealing with.


    Titan comics did a miniseries, Supremacy of the Cybermen, specifically about Rassilon trying to get vengeance on the Doctor for the events of “Hell Bent”…

    I’ve never really gotten into the side material like comics / audiobooks, but have thought about it from time to time. As it’s presumably non-canon, some of it, like the series you mention, essentially seem to explore “What If” scenarios. Although, some sources seem to treat some of the side materials as canon (is there actually “official” word on their canonicity?). I’m a bit iffy about those side materials working so close to the timeline of the main series, if they have the potential to affect the freedom of writers working after them.

    winston @winston

    So I just watched again and I have to say that it was an excellent episode with great stuff from all the cast. Still liked the comedy at the start and I think it was in such sharp contrast to what was to come next that we were even more shocked. ‘ What! he shot Bill!”

    And then there is Missy who cannot understand why the Doctor likes humans or even Nardoles, she just can’t get how he can be friends with anyone but her. Jealousy of these relationships is a major factor in Missy’s behaviour towards the Doctor I think.

    Even though I know that Razor is the Master and I looked very closely while watching I still couldn’t see him under that disguise. Good job on the makeup!  Also the wardrobe people who made Bill’s clothes look so authentic for a place with no resourses , patched together, holey and ill fitted with that bulky heart replacement jutting out. The sets were also great with the bright and clean upper level contrasting with the old ,gray, dirty bottom level. I found them very convincing right down to Razors little abode with his kettle and desk and TV. It was a good looking episode.

    I can’t wait to see how this story ends but since it is the end of another series and Peter and who nose who else well ………..maybe I can wait cause I don’t like goodbyes.


    Anonymous @

    @nick @pedant @nerys @jimthefish @wolfweed @winston

    calling on anyone with science!! What is going on with the clock?

    PLs pretend I’m 4 years old: how is the clock going back? How’s it losing time?

    If so is @blenkinsopthebrave correct? They wait where they are and time travels backwards? Except Bill is already cyberised! And she’s appeared on the same floor they are…….so will she become uncyberised by staying there with them!

    Nope. I have. No. Idea.

    Thane (Puro has no idea either).

    wolfweed @wolfweed
    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Just re-watched the episode in light of my (maybe bonkers, maybe serious) theory. Well, no, not “theory”, as such, more of an idea.

    First thought: by golly, my idea might actually work!

    Second thought: while we all think about the story, we have not commented on John Simm’s performance as Mr Razor–it is brilliant! And he really deserves accolades.

    Third thought: the point at which it all goes wiggy for Bill (that is, partially converted Bill) is when she asks Razor when are the Doctor, Missy and Nardole likely to arrive. This is the point when Razor sets in process the full conversion of Bill. Why then? Not sure.

    Fourth thought: I still believe Missy knows what the Doctor knows (ie, that the Doctor has a rescue plan based on the time speed of each end of the ship) and therefore I think Missy will turn out to be on the side of the angels (not that it necessarily will work out well for Missy).

    Fifth point: I think that the Hospital is an accurate representation of Jeremy Hunt’s vision of the NHS.

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    Sorry, that wasn’t very 4 year old…

    Presumably they wait until time has travelled back on Floor Zero to before Bill was shot…

    Then travel to Floor Zero in the super-inertia lift…


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Oh, forgot!

    Sixth point: I suspect that Missy actually is aware of who Razor is and is not letting on (why? See fourth point)

    Seventh point: @thane15. OK, talking to you as if you were a four year-old…”Because Mummy says so.”

    Anonymous @


    well, we spent some time turning those diagrams upside down, going “gorh?” and “look at THAT!” and I think we’ve concluded it’s a clever clock requiring the Dr to wait some long time period.

    After which time goes backwards. All the way back to Bill saying “I thought this wasn’t a good idea” -maybe.

    Except on the upper floor Razor/Master (Mazor) is still doing his thing but without Bill.

    Or, actually nothing’s happened on the upper levels because we’re back to the beginning. Except, we’ve got time ahead and time backwards and so……no.

    Noooo, this still isn’t computing. I have space nausea.

    Puro and Thane

    PS: @wolfweed. Ah hang on, they wait until time….blabla (catches up -but catches ‘back’)  and THEN then go back down. So, they don’t stay in the same place where they are now.

    I think, I think I get it.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @doctordani  Would he sacrifice one of his hearts to save her? I know it’s probably a really daft notion, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

    I wondered abut that too — but – but – to keep her alive as a human, or a cyberman, or something in between — ?  That was a hell of a big hole blown through her middle, I dunno . . . but it’s DW, so anything is possible.

    @jimthefish  The Whoniverse of the 1960s was multifold, disconnected, unknowable and even a bit chaotic (kind of like its real-life version). It would have been far better I think if the Time Lords had been only rarely seen, if at all.

    Definitely agree; I’ve generally found the TLs in their natural habitat too silly for words, and weirdly minimizing of whatever else is going on just by their presence.  I don’t mind the class inferences that come with the Doctor’s identity as a TL himself, and I love the fact that he himself occasionally has been a bit boastful and arrogant about it, but seems to be completely unaware of his own privileged status most of the time.  I think he completely forgets it, and maybe in part always flees Gallifrey to keep on forgetting it.

    Well, his TARDIS is old and semi-broken (as him himself often is), he never has any $, and he doesn’t get all sniffy about, say, being chained up in a dungeon (with Robin Hood, or anybody else).  Maybe  CapDoc, with all his losses, generally thinks of himself as *under* privileged because to him immortality is “losing people” and that’s a powerful deprivation he can’t escape, TL or no TL.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @thane15  Or, actually nothing’s happened on the upper levels because we’re back to the beginning. Except, we’ve got time ahead and time backwards and so……no.  Noooo, this still isn’t computing. I have space nausea.

    Not me; I’ve got Time sickness, and none of this time stuff makes any sense at all to me except at the moment somebody explains it.  Then later, when I try to remember what the somebody explained that made sense, all I can recall is blablablah.  This is why I generally just shut my eyes and whistle through the worst (or best) of the timey-wimey.  So I’m hoping (probably in vain) for simplicity . . . or, afterward, some blablablah that actually sticks.


    tardigrade @tardigrade

    @ichabod @thane15 @wolfweed On the Level 1 clock going backwards, general relativity means that the rate of the passage of time differs, not the direction. So the clock can’t go backwards from relativistic effects. The direction of time shouldn’t be different at the two levels, unless something in addition to relativity is in play- it is Doctor Who we’re talking about, so other time effects aren’t completely infeasible :-). I’d be inclined to call this as a continuity error. Or possibly it’s not the same clock, and they’re out of sync, or it’s been adjusted in the intervening year, if you really need to explain it away. I doubt it’s meaningful, but well spotted regardless.

    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod Over at the essay/discussion site DoWntime, the roundtable on this episode pointed out that privilege is a big part of this story.  The Doctor is hyperfocused on helping out his fellow wo/man Missy, convincing the reluctant Bill and Nardole to help with the test.  But when things go pear-shaped with Jorj, it’s poor Bill, a person with not near so much privilege as the Doctor — a Time Lord — who pays the price for it, as often happens to the “little people” in Who who end up going down with the ship.  No wonder he feels guilty; he wanted to redeem a privileged peer, and then even his authority couldn’t protect his all-too-human friend from harm.  Jorj was a “little person” himself, in the sense he was a janitor.  Privilege only goes so far.

    And from there, Bill remains “small”, toiling away at the hospital, a sad picture of what it’s like to live in the Whoniverse and deal with its troubles and dangers, but not have the Doctor in the vicinity.  (Class also explores this concept.)

    @tardigrade The Doctor Who expanded universe is rarely regarded as canon.  In the Gap Years, there were some stabs at making the Virgin Publishing novels and the Doctor Who Magazine comic hold to show continuity and each other, but they ultimately diverged.  The Big Finish audios went with a completely different continuity for the Eighth Doctor than the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures novels did.  At this point, most expanded universe works — novels, comics, etc. — are non-canon.

    Most are deliberately designed to fit into the downtime between televised stories, and if an author wants to do something that would grossly contradict the televised canon, they will be vetoed.  For instance, author Gary Russell wanted his 2015 novel Big Bang Generation to feature River Song as the co-protagonist with the Twelfth Doctor, but this was shot down because River meeting Twelve for the first time and not even recognizing him was the premise of the Christmas special that year.  (He rewrote it to feature Bernice Summerfield, a long-established expanded universe character, as the co-lead.)  Most of the expanded universe is just fun further adventures of the characters, although there are a lot of What If? stories too.

    The one part of the expanded universe that is semi-canon are the Big Finish audio dramas.  In “The Night of the Doctor”, the people Eight names as he prepares to regenerate are the companions he had known over the course of his audio plays up to that point.  (Several of whom had died for good; even Twelve isn’t this unlucky!)

    In general, the audio plays are designed to be compatible with the televised canon, but there have been some specifically designed as What If? pieces or are retellings of other expanded universe works — such as a dramatization of the Virgin New Adventures Novel Damaged Goods.  The televised continuity can contradict (and effectively rewrite) Big Finish stories but not the other way around.  In fact, the AG series has often loosely adapted Big Finish concepts and stories.

    This is actually happening right now.  Some Big Finish fans have a beef with “World Enough and Time” because one of the most popular BF stories ever, the Fifth Doctor/Nyssa story “Spare Parts”, was also a Genesis of the Cybermen story.  It had previously been an inspiration for “Rise of the Cybermen”/”The Age of Steel” for the Tenth Doctor, but “World Enough and Time” draws upon “Spare Parts” more heavily, particularly by focusing on the tragic plight of the Mondasians.  Fans of “Spare Parts” are hoping that this finale won’t completely eliminate its quasi-canon status via contradiction.

    Other examples of expanded universe work being incorporated into the AG series include:

    • “Dalek” is a very loose take on the Sixth Doctor audio “Jubilee”.
    • “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood” was an adaptation of the most beloved Virgin New Adventures novel, Human Nature, by the original author Paul Cornell.  The biggest change was swapping out the Seventh Doctor and Bernice for the Tenth Doctor and Martha.
    • Steven Moffat’s first contribution to the Whoniverse was the Seventh Doctor short story “Continuity Errors” for the anthology Decalog 3.  His “A Christmas Carol” recycles its core concept of the Doctor trying to save the day by altering a deeply unhappy person’s past.
    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @ichabod, @nick et al–

    Thanks for the interesting comments on the TLs which I plan to reply to. However, don’t want to derail the discussion here too far away from the episode in question so I’ve revived @phaseshift‘s excellent blog on the subject from a few years back and bumped it back onto the front page for ease of access….

    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade @ichabod

    If science IS the thing here -with respect to clocks going back and they’re near a black hole which can’t be properly tested at this point in 2017 then why isn’t @blenkinsopthebrave‘s or others’ ideas part of a  fitting explanation?

    If there’s one thing I don’t care for it’s this repetition of ‘continuity errors’ ! Why is that  considered in this particular episode and why have certain interwebs gone nutty regarding ‘continuity and Moffat’?

    Forgive me for asking @tardigrade and/or any others but I just don’t understand that.

    This isn’t a sci-fi show -it’s been seen as fantasy for a long time now.  I guess issues about ‘continuity’ trouble me just as much as “C doesn’t equal the sum of A and B therefore the plot’s screwed up.’  I’m not saying that continuity errors should be excused continually but there does seem to be a fair group of people who, for whatever reason, bring this up. Often as part of a wider discussion to do with: a) the science doesn’t work b) we never see how Doctor 12 and Companion A survive a particular devastating experience or  c) the ducks in the pond were never explained. Oh!  and d) (my personal fave) “how can love ever save the day?”

    It irks! 🙂


    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade  (and @wolfweed )

    On the Level 1 clock going backwards, general relativity means that the rate of the passage of time differs, not the direction…

    Soooo, in this Fantasy/half sciency episode isn’t it plausible to suggest that the rate of the passage of time is, for these purposes, the same as direction?

    oruP  <coz we’re back-to-front>

    and my own personal continuity error was always about Clara being born under a clock tower. So…..clocks, massive big clocks and a super massive black hole…..?

    Missy @missy

    @nerys:   “And poor Bill. Gosh, I’m with the kids who adore her and are heartbroken by what’s befallen her. I want her to get a happy ending! Kudos to the sharp-eyed souls who think they spotted Heather looking out of one of the windows. Let’s hope that she and Heather are reunited … somehow.”

    I didn’t see Heather,but you have taken the words right out of my mouth – I wonder. The Doctor was ambiguous about Bill seeing Heather again, so perhaps. I do hope that Missy is on the level and stands with the Doctor.

    I’m slowly, oh so slowly, reading through every  post. What a marathon!








    Missy @missy


    “I agree: not a good bedtime watch! Thane had nightmares though found the opening -the first 7 mins so ‘AMAZING MUM’ that he’s memorised it: Scene 2 where Missy and the Doctor talk:





    idiot …..

    was brilliant!! The dynamic makes it watchable, continually. 2 TLs together, defeating evil? Bring it!”

    It may have upset me, but I still think it was brilliant.  With luck we shall see some of the Moffat magic in the final episode.

    Night, night.



    Nick @nick

    @thane15 @tardigrade @wolfweed @ichabod

    This is why the tardis has an R in its name 🙂

    Keeping the science simple, time passes for each observer at the same rate everywhere in the universe. 5 years is the same duration whether you are on the earth, the lowest level or deck 0f of the ship.

    If you travel at close to the speed of light, or get very close to something with a lot of mass, like a black hole, to an outside observer, the rate at which time seems to pass will be different for each observer.

    The classic example is if you go off on a space ship at very close to the speed of light for a 5 year round trip. For a passenger 5 years will go by just like it does on earth. However, when you get back, you’ll find 100 years (say) has gone by on Earth. From an earth observer, time has slowed down on the ship, but on the ship itself, you wont have noticed any difference at all. 5 years is 5 years to each individual regardless of where they actually are.

    This has actually been measured in earth orbit (a space shuttle experiment I think) using atomic clocks. I may be recalling badly, but at 120 miles orbit, time passes relatively “quicker” by a very small amount than on earth. I think the measured difference is equivalent to 1 second over about 80 days compared to earth orbit.

    In Moff’s spaceship, (for illustrative purposes) 1 day in deck 0 is equivalent to 10,000 days on the lowest deck [and 1,000,000 say on Earth]. As @tardigrade explained at no point can time run backwards. Even the lift, (unless it travels instantaneous at the speed of light) doesn’t work outside Moff’s imagination. In the 5 minutes (lets say) the Patients travel to level 0 and back with Bill, many years will go by from the lowest deck perspective.

    @blenkinsopthebrave explanation isnt a fitting end from a hard sci-fi perspective, since it can’t happen in the real world. However, it is a nice sci-fi concept if it provides a way for the Doctor to save Bill from being shot and then cybertised without the Doctor having to go on a Clara style mission to rewrite time.

    @thane15 When I first mentioned continuity error above to @wolfweed (and I’m not referring to what anyone else meant) I meant in in the classic TV/Movie sense. Someone on set made a mistake with the digital setting between filming different scenes, by accident. The clocks were on screen for a very short period of time, you’d need to freeze frame it to see the difference at all. I think @tardigrade was making a similar suggestion (apologies if I’m wrong on that count).


    Anonymous @

    @tardigrade @nick

    No, that’s oK. I thought that on other sites- which some ppl refer to here, there’s talk of ‘continuity errors’ which makes me do the irk dance!

    The explanation Nick was very helpful and answered some questions for me. But (forgive me if I’m being a dill) but on Bill’s end she’s waiting…..for several years .  If anyone on earth had ‘seen’ that, it wouldn’t have looked as if more than ‘normal’ time had elapsed? Would that be correct?

    It’s about where the observer sits in time?

    Although reading your explanation “5 years for anyone in that particular place…”??  could mean that Bill shouldn’t  be aware of the 5 years passing? (sticking with 5 years for consistency of explanation) -except she is: “how many more years Doctor?”

    So is Bill aware of the expanse of time she’s lived through?

    When she awoke I thought I saw a clock showing 365.. -I thought therefore a year had passed

    Ooh my, it’s soon to be midnight here!

    Thank you and ‘over’ G’night


    Mudlark @mudlark


    It has taken a while, and I’m not sure that anything I have to say at this late stage can add much to the discussion, but I have now had time to view the episode twice and at least to skim through the comments so far; so, in answer to your call-out above, what did I make of it?

    I’m not sure that I would go as far as Dan Martin in rating it better than Heaven Sent, but it is certainly among the very best.  Despite so much having to be compressed into 45 minutes it never felt particularly rushed and the pacing was, I thought, perfectly judged.

    The long pan along the ship from the rear to the front, with glimpses through the windows of townscapes and landscapes established the scale of the setting before we were into the action, with Missy, let loose to act The Doctor, camping it up outrageously; a burlesque overture which made the sudden shock of the shooting of Bill which followed all the more shocking.  Even the latter was teased out, with the reaction of the Doctor as he turned slowly, so that it was not entirely clear what exactly had happened until the camera panned down from Bill’s stunned face to the gaping hole in her torso. This was echoed at the end of the episode in the very effective slow reveal of the cyberman emerging from darkness, and the shock of discovering that the cyberman was Bill. And then there was her devastating ‘I waited for you’  which instantly recalled Amy in The Girl Who Waited.

    The disorientation of Bill as she returned to consciousness in an environment which contrasted surreally with the flight deck (?) at the front of the ship was also very well conveyed, to the extent that I shared it.  Everything in the latter setting seemed slightly off, and not just because of the contrast with what one might have expected in a colony space ship. The inadequate lighting and the shadows, plus the empty, dusty-looking corridors all contributed to that sense of disconnection,  followed by the robotic intonation of ‘pain, pain’ which led Bill to that sinister ward* lined by masked and gowned figures and the nurse from Hell  Some of the angles seemed slightly odd, also, like a 1930s expressionist movie.  It is hardly surprising that she latched onto Mr Razor and his cosy if disorderly lair, however unnerving his eccentricity might seem at first.  Like @CathAnnabel, my first reaction was ‘Fagin!’ as represented in various films; but then the Master has always tended to have a taste for the dramatic, not to say the melodramatic at times. The passage of time for Bill was also conveyed quite subtly, not only by reference to the readings on the clocks, but by her changes in clothing and her gradual adjustment to her circumstances.

    The evolution or development of the Mondasian cybermen over time was also well conveyed. The sinister figures who came to collect Bill for ‘repair’ could have been gowned surgeons or theatre nurses with rather more extensive masks than usual, but for the synthetic voices operated by keyboard, but then later we saw the ward full of slightly more advanced convertees; and when Bill tried to open the window on the ward and the alarm sounded, all the heads turned in unison, in much the same way the cyberised skeletons in the W3 vault in Dark Water turned – which was a bit of a give-away. Then we saw the introduction of the caps which would make them impervious to pain, and finally the fully developed version.  Interesting that Bill could have been the very first full cyberman of this type.

    Given the title of the episode and the synopsis in the Radio Times which mentioned ‘black hole’, it didn’t take genius on my part to work out that time dilation was likely to feature largely, so that element was no surprise.  Like @wolfweed and others, though, I spotted the figures on the clocks which suggested that time on level zero of the ship was going backwards and have been trying to make sense of it.  Disregarding that factor for the moment, though, the time elapsed between the first sight we had of the clocks and the second was 387 days on level 1056, give or take a few minutes and seconds, ( @wolfweed , I’m not sure how you arrived at the figure of 68 days, unless there is some factor that my arithmetic has failed to take into account) so the ratio of time on level zero to that on level 1056, according to my calculations, was approximately 1:151049. Assuming that time was going in the normal direction on both decks, this means that the time on Level zero should have advanced about 3.79 seconds, and the clock on level zero should therefore have read 2 days, 10 hours, 2 minutes and 20 seconds, so it could simply have been an error.  If the loss of 17 seconds was deliberate, then perhaps the presence on the ship of two Masters was having a distorting effect.

    I’m not going to speculate on where all this is leading, and for once I have been avoiding spoilers, so I await next Saturday with eagerness mixed with sadness that it will be Capaldis penultimate appearance as the Doctor.


    * Like a semi-derelict ‘Nightingale’ ward in a late 19th century hospital, similar to that which was my second experience of hospital in 1954, although that was a lot brighter and more cheerful, if only the nurses hadn’t insisted on keeping the windows wide open in late October.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @thane15 – Puro

    Bill shouldn’t  be aware of the 5 years passing?

    She most certainly would experience every minute of the time passing on Level 1056 while she waited for the Doctor,  just as people on earth would experience the 100 years or so which elapsed while the astronauts travelling close to the speed of sound would experience and age only a few years.  It’s all relative in space and time, as the TARDIS knows. I think that the Doctor said it had been ten minutes before they left Level zero to descend to the bottom of the ship which, allowing for the time taken to descend, including the increasing rate of time passing on  the levels between as they descended, and assuming that my arithmetic is approximately correct, means that for Bill  four years or more had passed between the time she first came fully to consciousness in the hospital and the arrival of the Doctor.

    I meant to note, but forgot, that time dilation, or rather a time differential, also featured in The Eaters of Light, though with a different cause.


    Brewski @brewski

    @thane15 I’m not saying that continuity errors should be excused continually but there does seem to be a fair group of people who, for whatever reason, bring this up. Often as part of a wider discussion to do with: a) the science doesn’t work b) we never see how Doctor 12 and Companion A survive a particular devastating experience or  c) the ducks in the pond were never explained. Oh!  and d) (my personal fave) “how can love ever save the day?”

    I think it might help if we were all clearer on what is meant by “continuity errors”.  I believe, in the strictest sense, it refers to boo-boos on the part of the production staff rather than plot or character flaws.

    Clara saying she was born under a clock (and that idea never being revisited) is NOT a continuity error.  (I’m not sure it can be considered an “error” at all since she is merely telling children a bedtime story, there is really no reason to take her literally or expect it to be followed up on.)  So… <nitpick>  even if it was a “mistake” – say, they intended to get back to that and forgot about it – it might be a plot flaw, but not a “continuity error”.</nitpick>

    A continuity error would be something like a piece of costume appearing and disappearing from a character throughout a scene.  It would be an editing mistake where the actor and/or dresser forgot to put a belt or badge back on between different takes of the same scene and no one catching it in the final cut.

    Contrast this to Doc 11 talking to Amy in “Flesh and Stone”: what LOOKS like a continuity error (the Doctors clothes changing from one cut to another) turns out to be deliberate.  We are seeing a future Doctor talking to her.

    Is the clock moving backwards?  (BRILLIANT observation, btw @blenkinsopthebrave :O)  Intended.  Or did someone in post-editing add the images in in the wrong order?  A continuity error.

    Sorry, I’m talking like I know I’m talking about.  I’m just parroting back what I’ve read.  I welcome corrections on it. 🙂


    Brewski @brewski

    Or…. what @nick said much more succinctly! 😉

    Nick @nick


    @mudlark is right. The key word is Relative. We all, regardless of location, see time pass at the same rate. 1 year is 365 days etc for all of us. What happens at extreme speed or in proximity to extreme mass, is that time passes at apparently different speeds relative to each other. In effect a person (observer) traveling close to the speed of light, or close to a black hole can “time travel” to the (distant) future without that much time passing in their personal frame of reference.

    Einstein’s theory (and mathematical proof and subsequent physical measurement and tests) doesn’t pass the “common sense” test. Time is a constant in each individual frame of reference, but doesn’t act like a constant in very special circumstances.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @mudlark    Yes. My maths is sh*t. It’s 398 days of movement for Floor 1056. I don’t know where I got 68 days either…



    This has actually been measured in earth orbit (a space shuttle experiment I think) using atomic clocks. I may be recalling badly, but at 120 miles orbit, time passes relatively “quicker” by a very small amount than on earth. I think the measured difference is equivalent to 1 second over about 80 days compared to earth orbit.

    It has also been measured using airliners over the Atlantic. The difference is very, very small – but measurable. That’s why the Theory of Relativity gets to be called a “theory”. In science your idea doesn’t get to be called a theory until it has empirical support. Until then, it is mere hypothesis (this is why people who say “evolution is just a theory” are such dunderheads. Of course it is a theory – it has masses of evidence to support it).



    @brewski @thane15

    A continuity error would be something like a piece of costume appearing and disappearing from a character throughout a scene.

    Or an entire pirate….

    also @nick

    And we haven’t even considered spaghettification… 😉

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    To all those certain of what a Black Hole can or can’t do – how do you know for sure?

    ein stein

    PARSONS: You cannot travel faster than light. Einstein.
    DOCTOR: What? Do you understand Einstein?
    PARSONS: Yes.
    DOCTOR: What? And quantum theory?
    PARSONS: Yes.
    DOCTOR: What? And Planck?
    PARSONS: Yes.
    DOCTOR: What? And Newton?
    PARSONS: Yes.
    DOCTOR: What? And Schoenberg?
    PARSONS: Of course.

    DOCTOR: You’ve got a lot to unlearn. Ah.


    Brewski @brewski

    @pedant Or an entire pirate….


      And we haven’t even considered spaghettification…

    Is that part of Pastafarianism?

    The Theory of Rotini

    Or… Carb Annuity errors?

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